Friday, January 31, 2014

Benefits of Praise and Thanksgiving

UV 1001/10,000 Benefits of Praise and Thanksgiving I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 89 v 1 Sitting in my garden I can hear the birds chirp. Each bird has its own song. Why do they seem so cheerful early in the morning but go about their business the rest of the day, mostly flying around quietly? The birds deem it fit to thank the Lord, the Creator whom they know instinctively though not personally for giving them another chance to taste of life. These birds are not given the intellect or memory to think and recall. They are not given clothes or food or transportation. Yet all their lives they sing with apparent joy at being given one more day to live. In contrast, most people have nothing to rejoice of sing about. A song is the reflex of a grateful heart. As they think they have nothing to be thankful for, they are not cheerful. But those who know the Lord have tasted of the multitude of His tender and precious mercies- health and healing, safe journeying, peace and joy, forgiveness of sins, grace to overcome faults and failures, relationships, fruits of character, protection from the evil intent, jealousy and hostility of powerful enemies, foes, and rivals, eternal life, strength to endure, victory, success, abundance of provision, wisdom and divine insight, guidance, blessings of every kind..The list is virtually endless. We can thank God for our context as well as the text He gives us from His Word that builds our faith in His unseen, unsearchable but experienced and varied mercies. We have no pretext not to thank and praise Him. We need to make known the great faithfulness of the Lord to our children so that their faith grows. We need to describe and give evidence of His faithfulness to the generation of our children. We need to speak of His faithfulness to older generations. We need to speak of His faithfulness to our own generation. It is not enough to appreciate the mercy ad faithfulness of God in the silence of our souls. It is necessary to speak it aloud as a witness, as a testimony and in worship of the Lord. We need to take time off to recall all His goodness to us all our lives. A sister in faith was telling me the other day that she found a particular friend always looking youthful. She asked him, “ What is the secret of his renewed youth?” He replied that several times a day, he prayerfully recited Psalm 103, “ Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise His holy name and forget not all His benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases…” God’s Word acts as an elixir in renewing his youth. The word “ benefit” means something that promotes or enhances our well-being. We need to thank the Lord for all the beneficial things He has done for us and all the beneficial things He has given us, not taking for granted even the smallest of our blessings. The mercies of the Lord are numerous, fresh every day, sufficient, certain and wholesome, blessing our spirits, minds and bodies. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Glory is Greatness Fulfilled

UV 1000/10,000 Glory is Greatness Fulfilled But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 9 v 24 We ought not to have confidence in the flesh or the things that mankind through the generations have taken pride in, namely, the wisdom of man, the wealth of man and the strength of man. There is an inner desire for greatness and immortality in every human being. Wisdom, wealth and strength are the traditional claims to greatness. The word “ delight” means derived from light. It is a heady mixture of joy and pride that it is our very own. When our source of joy and pride is derived from our own lights, when we make these our source of delight, sustenance and power, we are being vainglorious. Our glory is vain, futile, limited, transient and deceptive. It will perish with us and it will also be the cause of our perishing. The true source of eternal glory is having a personal and intimate relationship with God through His Son Jesus. The true source of wisdom, riches and strength lies in understanding who God is and knowing Him in all His glory. Understanding His love, mercy, grace, justice and righteousness as manifested here on earth will make us wiser than Solomon. It will give us access to greater riches of the spirit, intellect and emotions than Solomon. It will give us more power and strength than Samson. When we delight in what delights or pleases the Lord, He delights in us. The glory of God is so awesome and amazing that we will be at a loss of words to describe it. It has a jaw dropping effect on us and others around us. There are two ways to understand and know God’s love, wisdom and power: one, by studying and delighting in the revealed Word; two, by experiencing these facets of God in our personal lives in real time and in real ways. The Lord does not follow a hands off policy with regard to those who know Him personally and intimately. He delights in actively exercising or manifesting His love, kindness, justice, righteousness and power in our lives. The words in the uni-verse –“ in the earth” implies that the Lord manifests Himself and these qualities in down to earth ways in our daily lives. This is the reason He allows people who delight in or lust after the things of the flesh - wisdom, wealth and strength- to hate us. Unless they hate us, how can God show that His love is greater and better. Unless we suffer injustice, how can He demonstrate His justice. Unless we admit our weakness and vulnerability, how can He reveal His strength. Once He reveals His love, kindness, wisdom and strength, we need to continually delight all day and night or all our waking moments in the very memory of His marvellous deeds on our behalf. After the revelation of His love, wisdom and strength, comes the time for His impartation of these qualities to us. Once these qualities are imparted or transferred to us by anointing of the Holy Spirit, we cannot at any time boast of it as we know that these are not our own qualities but only gifted to us by grace. But He has given us the privilege and honour to claim Him as our own and to proclaim His eternal glory, grace and power. The glory of God is not a selfish glory. The purpose of Jesus's coming is to share God's glory with all mankind forever. In Christ, we are no longer fallen short of the glory or greatness of God. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Perfect Peace

UV 999/10,000 Perfect Peace Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26 v 3 The Word makes a distinction between perfect peace and an uneasy peace, a temporary truce won by appeasement or compromise, a false peace that disguises great and hidden strife, a partial and limited peace known in certain areas of life. The Hebrew word for such a holistic and comprehensive peace where nothing is lacking or wanting is Shalom. When we follow the Lord like sheep follow the shepherd, seeing his footsteps, recognizing, hearing and obeying his voice, trusting Him for direction, guidance, wisdom, leadership, protection and provision, we experience such Shalom in our lives. We are building our lives, our families, our careers on a rock foundation made not with human hands but by God Himself. Nothing in the world or in the spiritual realms or in life can take away the peace. Perfect peace has many dimensions: we have peace with God won through faith in the shed blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus, the perfect sacrifice to obtain perfect peace. We have peace with ourselves since the partition wall of distrust and enmity between the spirit, heart and mind is removed. Our guilt about the past, fear about the present and our anxiety about the future are done away with. Our sense of security is rooted in the sufficiency of the grace and power of God both to fend and to defend us against any onslaught. We have peace with others as we no longer have the natural tendency of trying to judge, avenge, hate or compete with others in order to prove ourselves better or wiser or smarter. Perfect peace does not fluctuate with life’s changing circumstances and challenges. We have perfect peace as our minds, implying our intellects, our emotions and our wills are focussed or fixed on the Lord. Our focus should be like that of an archer or a marksman who trains his eye to look through the hindsight and the foresight at the target. His covenant and His promises surround us like fortress walls and we are fully persuaded that God is able and willing to fulfil His promises to us, given His past record of doing so for the faithful among our contemporaries as well as in the biblical past. We are yielded or surrendered to Him and He will never ever betray our trust. This uni-verse brings out the importance of steadfastness of faith. We must not yield our minds even for a moment to doubt or fear or allow it to be drawn away by something seemingly more attractive or persuasive. If we do not have such perfect peace on any day or in any period of our lives, we need to examine our minds and our lives and find where we have strayed away and lost our focus, our first love for God. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

True North versus False South

UV 998/10,000 True North versus False South I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30 v 19 Spiritual Compass There are two ways to life: one according to a human script or according to scripture that God has revealed. In a human script whether it is written by oneself or others, our views, values and opinions are relative and nothing is definite or absolute or sure. But scripture is certain, precise, absolute and definite. This uni-verse is unique in all that is written. In order to find it this morning, I just typed in the words on google, “ I have set before you life and death..” and without a mention of the word Bible, this verse turned up in the search proving that in no other book in the world or in any nation are these powerful words found. Scripture is not only man’s God –given , God-revealed and God-interpreted spiritual and moral compass, it is the only way to choose life and blessing not only for us but even for our succeeding generations. Scripture is meant to be lived, appropriated and applied and not just read, heard and forgotten. The needle of this spiritual compass not only points in the direction we should move all the time- the true North of obedience, blessings, success, abundance, salvation, eternal life, peace, prosperity, creativity, health, happiness, joy, satisfaction and legacy , it also points away from the true South of sin, curses, failure, death, destruction, disease, worry, fear, disease, debt, poverty, frustration, desperation and vanity. The choice one needs to make seems to be obvious. Yet, why do so many choose their own script and why do so few choose to live according to scripture? One, it is on account of ignorance of scriptural truth. Two, there is always a downward drag or a gravitational pull on our human minds and flesh and the way South is easier, wider and smoother from a short term perspective. Once we choose the South, the compass somehow reverses and what is actually South appears to be North in a kind of mirage or illusion. Man cannot tell God at the end of a life lived in ignorance of the Word, “ God, why didn’t you tell me and make it plain to me.” God through Moses was not speaking in riddles or parables or mysteries that could not be fathomed. He made it plain to all Israel. He called witnesses of heaven and earth- all the spirits of heaven and earth to be a witness of having set the choice before all mankind through Israel. Our consciences are also set in such a way as to align with the principles and precepts of scripture. He not only sets the choice before us, He also urges us at every step of our way like a GPS to choose the latter so that we get the “latter rain” or the “ latter blessings”. The validity of this promise is for “ this day” or every recorded day in human history. Man hereafter and for all time was free to choose between the scripture of abundant life and amazing blessings and the script of death and awful misery or failure. The choice that was given to Adam and Eve was again being re-played and offered to a whole nation. After the coming of Christ Jesus, the same choice would be offered to the whole of humanity, all nations and every individual in the world. We are also given by virtue of our reasoning, discernment and experience the choice making ability to proceed in the right direction and to make mid-course corrections wherever necessary. Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spiritual Weapons

UV 997-10,000 Spiritual 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 Each believer is not called to be passive observors but to join what St Paul called the “good fight.” It is called the good fight as this battle is the Lord’s. It is not shadow boxing or boxing with mirages and illusions but the fight is real. As one man of God told me some twenty years ago, “ The real world is the spiritual world. The physical world is only the shadow of the spiritual world.” Everything happens first in the spiritual world and then in the physical world like a light casts a shadow after its appearance. What triggers changes in real time and eternity is not the intellectual, the political, the scientific, the religious, the social or the emotional but it is the spiritual. The weapons of warfare are spiritual and mighty. The weapons of warfare are praise and worship that breaks spiritual chains, prayer and supplication and the Word of God which is the effective two-edged sword of the spirit. The weapons of defence are a life or armour of righteousness by faith in Jesus, the helmet of knowing for sure that one is saved for ever and that one has eternal life, the belt of truth, the shoes of the readiness to go places for God. He has set us over the nations and over the kingdoms or realms and principalities of darkness to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. Our battle is not against human foes or adversaries but against the very hierarchy of the powers of darkness. We are involved in a spiritual struggle in which we are guaranteed victory. David the shepherd boy went to battle against Goliath armed only with his faith and a sling and a stone. Our sling is our prayer life and our stone is our prayer request. Like David’s stone dented the skull of Goliath, our prayers cause changes in the spiritual world. The words of confession or proclamation we speak from our mouths sets up our victory. David spoke these words as he went to fight Gideon: “ you come to fight with sword and spear and shield. But I come against you in the name of the Lord of the armies of heaven, the Lord God of Israel.. For the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” Like Gideon’s companies of a hundred men who blew the trumpets after walking around the walls of Jericho seven times, every day of the week we should pray in the spirit once claiming the promises of God in respect of any one challenge. On the seventh day, the Sabbath, we should pray seven times and go around the walls or boundaries of this challenge seven times. The stronghold of darkness will be pulled down, the change we are expecting to see will begin to happen. Spiritual warfare is not waged with violence, hatred and fear but with love and faith. It is fought in stillness and silence. Malcolm Gladwell, the well known author of the best seller, “ The Tipping Point” says that the intention of a mother who wanted to share the love of God with her ten year old son’s murderer restored his faith in God. She was not overcome with hatred but was filled with love for the unknown killer whom she wanted traced so that she could share agape love. Love is the ultimate spiritual weapon by which she overcame both her grief and her desire for revenge or justice. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 26, 2014

God's Math

God’s Math How many loaves do you have? Jesus asked. “ Seven,” they replied, “ and a few small fish.” Matthew 15 v 32 Jesus had compassion on the hungry crowd that had followed him to a remote place on the mountain side. Along with compassion, He had faith that there would be enough to feed the multitude. He could see into the invisible realms with His eye of faith. He did not even pray for the multiplication of the seven loaves and few fish. He just gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to the disciples to distribute. Jesus could do this confidently as He knew there was no limit to God’s grace and power. A small boy’s lunch was enough to feed many adults. Jesus did not materialise the bread and fish. He looked for what is available and then blessed it. There was a balance or mix of the natural and the supernatural, the physical and the spiritual. The disciples could only see the inadequacy of resources and the limitations of their circumstances that they were in a remote place and that the crowd was large. After the crowd had eaten and were fully satisfied, there were seven basketfuls of broken pieces. They had much more at the end than when they started. We too as believers should not be unduly concerned about what we do not have. Instead, we should focus on what the Lord has given us, be thankful for these and ask the Lord to bless it. Even if a man has plenty of resources but does not have the blessing of the Lord, it will turn out to be inadequate. Last evening a breaking news revealed that the head of the automobile division of India’s leading corporate empire had apparently committed suicide by falling off the 22nd floor of a five star hotel in Bangkok. He had been given plenty –an abundance of ability, resources, finances, privileges, opportunities but it was found to be not enough to satisfy even one man. In contrast, if we have a few resources with the blessing of the Lord, it will prove more than enough not just for us but for the people we are called to serve. God is the infinite source of our resources. Like Jesus He knows our need and knows how best to fulfil it. We need only to open our eye of faith and look into the invisible realm of His provision. We need to thank Him for whatever He has given us and ask Him to bless it to satisfy our need. By our faith we call into being that which is not as if it were. God’s math is multiplication and addition while satan’s math is division and substraction. Truly, man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Once the words of blessing and thanksgiving proceeded from the mouth of Jesus, the seven loaves and fish began to multiply. Plenty of resources, money or food does not satisfy us but the Word of God can satisfy us and also multiply our resources. Once we intake the Word, word by word, every moment will be blessed, every need will be met in a mix of the natural and the supernatural, the physical and the spiritual, the logical and the miraculous. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Barrier Breaker

UV 995/10,000 Barrier Breaker I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. Isaiah 45 v 2 A hundred and fifty years before King Cyrus the Medo-Persian king (c 539 BC) came on the scene, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Lord had anointed him to subdue the nations like the empire of Babylon. In this uni-verse, the Lord promised to remove the obstacles in His way. When his armies reached the gates of ancient Babylon, they found the bronze gates that led into the streets of Babylon had been left open. When they reached the palace, the iron gates were opened by the guards to ascertain the cause of the noise. Cyrus was chosen by the Lord even though he did not know Him to re-build the temple at Jerusalem that the Babylonians had destroyed. The Lord goes before us wherever we go and He prepares the way for us. It might not be a smooth path but He promises to level the mountains, remove the barriers to our spiritual, intellectual and personal progress. He promises to make the crooked places straight. We are bound to encounter a lot of crooked people and crooked ways in our lives. We need not compete with them and become more crooked than them so that we are not outwitted. We need not conform to their crooked ways in order to gain acceptance. The Lord undertakes to make the crooked ways straight. Before an army troop passes into potential minefields, they send a minesweeper ahead to clear the path. Similarly, the Lord sends His angels to clear the way before us. Cyrus was named by God to fulfil His mission long before he was born though He did not know or acknowledge Him as God. How much more will the Lord anoint us who know Him and acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour! He calls us by our name even from our mother’s womb. Under the new covenant of the blood of Jesus, each believer is chosen and anointed like King Cyrus to rebuild the temple of God in the spirits of mankind. Like King Cyrus ruled over the realms, we are ordained to rule over the spiritual realms and subdue powers and principalities of darkness that rule in this world. The Lord promises to remove the impediments, the hindrances that hamper our growth, our progress. Some of the most significant and persistent obstacles to our growth, progress and fulfilment lie deep within our own minds and spirits- our inner being and our attitudes. The Holy Spirit does a deep work within us to remove these. The persons, forces and factors that prevent us from realizing our God –given vision and mission are all put on notice. The doors or opportunities He has opened for us will stay open, come what may. In my personal experience, I have found that when I am undertaking something for the Lord, He miraculously removes seemingly insurmountable barriers. Bronze is an alloy and it is a symbol of spiritual forces combining with human forces to create obstacles in our work life or personal life. We have this wonderful promise that the Lord will defeat their designs and clear the path before us. Iron is a symbol of earthly power. Even as the iron is being separated from its ore, the Lord knows what weapons are forged from it. He ordains that no weapon is formed against us, whether sword or firearm or the stroke of the pen. No earthly power can obstruct us in any aspect of our lives, work, family or ministry. Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 24, 2014

Leadership and Life in the Ditch

UV 994/10,000 Leadership and Life in the Ditch He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Revelation 22 v 11 God has laid all His cards on the table and now He says, “ It is all up to you. If you want to follow your own whims and fancies, your own reasoning and wisdom, you are free to do so. If you want to follow the blind, go ahead. If you want to follow me and walk the straight and narrow path that winds upward to heaven, you are also welcome.” When He says, “ Let the blind follow the blind”, He implies that spiritual blindness is a blindness by choice. We have an option to see the way ahead clearly but we choose not to. We bind ourselves in bondage as we choose to be blind. As long as people do not accept the leadership of God Himself, they are bound to fall into the ditch of injustice either as perpetrators or as victims, the ditch of filth, the ditch of unrighteousness and the ditch of impurity. The degree of wickedness, impurity, injustice and lust is only going to increase and worsen with the passage of time. But those of us who look into the mirror of His Word and see our faults and attempt to correct these flaws with the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, we need to be steadfast and persistent in being just, righteous, clean and pure in our thoughts, words and deeds. When we look intently into the mirror of the Word, we see our impurities, our blemishes and our shortcomings. We are no longer blind like the rest of the world who do not know who they are, where they came from, why they are here and where they are going. Once we are able to discern our blind spots and our blemishes, the Word becomes the spiritual water to wash us clean. The words “ be still and know I am God” also means “ be still and be just like God, be still and be righteous like God, be still and be pure like God, be still and be holy like God.” As for the unjust, the unrighteous or the deliberately unrepentant wicked, the wantonly impure and unholy, the Lord will deal with them in due time. We cannot expect real justice, purity or righteousness in this world from the people of the world but the world can expect justice, mercy, purity and righteousness from the people of God. The two will be like oil and water that cannot mix. The more the world moves into darkness, the more we should shine like stars in the darkness. We are not part of the problem but part of the solution. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Great Escape from Death

UV 993/10,000 Great Escape from Death O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Psalm 30 v 3 The recent judgement of the Supreme Court commuting the death sentence of those on death row having implications for the convicted prisoners in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case reminded me of how the Lord had spared my life in the world’s first “Human bomb “ and prevented me from going down prematurely to the grave. Yesterday, I could re-tell my story to more than a thousand students and hundred and fifty teachers in a rural school. The Principal had heard me several years ago in a training session and was keen on inviting me over to the school to speak to the students. I was happy to learn from the founder of the school that after attending my session on leadership, this young principal ‘s life began to change dramatically. I felt vindicated that the Lord had spared my life as a Father spares His son in order to fulfil His purpose. I recall that some time in 1993 when I attended the funeral of an elderly relative, the Lord turned my eye to the neighbouring graves and to my utter surprise I saw that both the gravestones had the same date as my own missed tryst with death- 21st May , 1991. I looked closer and I found that both had perished at Sriperumbudur in the blast. The Lord was telling me through this apparent coincidence- “ If I had not spared your life, your bones would now be lying here. So now make good use of your life to bring the hope of eternal life into the hearts of many.” When I survived in the blast, a faithful friend of mind wrote saying, “ This is a dramatic confirmation of God’s purpose for your life.” Had I perished in Sriperumbudur, only my near and dear would have remembered me with tears. But since the Lord kept His covenant with me to keep me alive, I am now remembered for bringing hope into people’s lives, for augmenting the faith of many. I am a witness of the saving grace and mercy of the Redeemer. King David escaped death several times in his life both as a young shepherd, at the hands of the giant Goliath, at the hands of the envious and hostile King Saul. He even faced the threat of death and usurpation from his own son Absalom. He faced death on the frontlines of battle with hostile neighbours and kingdoms of the age. He wrote this uni-verse based on his experience that it is the Lord who not only daily helps us bear our burdens but that escape from death comes from the Lord. Yet when the time came He did not spare His most precious Son Jesus knowing that His death would be for the eternal redemption of many. Scripture says that the Lord will give people in exchange for our lives. It is written that He would preserve us like a valuable jewel. Some of the police men and women I posted on security duty on the night of May 21st, 1991 had perished. This might seem unfair but the Lord’s decision is sovereign and His will is higher than that of any Supreme Court or any other authority of any country. It is not necessary that a person should go through this kind of traumatic experience to realize that God had kept us alive for a specific purpose far beyond the fulfilment of our earthly or physical needs but my experience drives home the point. Have we pondered for a moment –why did God endow mankind alone of all species with a mind, the capacity to believe and trust and mouth, tongue and vocal chords to speak? Our mind is to be used to know God, our hearts to believe Him and our mouths to thank, praise Him, talk to Him and to proclaim His faithfulness. This is the specific purpose for which He has given us life and spared our lives many a time. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Teeth of Faith

UV 992/10,000 The Teeth of Faith Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Song of Songs 4 v 2 The Lord sees the body of believers as if they are a flock of sheep just shorn, gleaming white as they have been washed in His blood and in the water of His Word. He himself set the example of one who endured suffering without a word of protest or resistance or defence. We are now expected to be as fixed and focussed on Him as our teeth are set in the gums. Just as no tooth stands alone but are set in matching pairs on either side of the jaw, believers are to not to stand alone and isolated but connected with at least one co-worker or disciple of Christ. Just as the teeth are closely packed and work in unison, we are to work with unity of spirit and purpose. There are different kinds of believers just as there are different kinds of teeth- canine, molar, pre-molar and incisive teeth. But just as every day we bite into a variety of food and just as sheep graze all day in the pasture, we need to bite and mull over often on the Word of God and not just confine it to one part of the morning like during the quiet time. Just as sheep whose coat is washed is kept clean and neat and just as teeth are brushed to be shining white, we need to maintain a lifestyle of righteousness, a testimony that will not put the Lord to shame but will be bright and attractive. Just as the health of the teeth depends on having a healthy root and enough continuous and consistent blood supply and nourishment through the veins from the root of the teeth, our faith, hope and love should always be nourished by the supply of His grace. Just as teeth that are over sensitive are a sign of bad dental health, we should not be bitter or angry with anyone for too long. Just as when something goes wrong with any of our teeth, we visit a dentist for treatment, we need to go to the Counsellor , the Holy Spirit when we hit a lean patch in our faith life. Another metaphor that comes to mind is that faith without good character and good works is like a set of toothless gums. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Act of Grace

UV 991/10,000 Act of Grace Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? James 2 v 25 James raises the question of whether it was faith that justifies a person or whether it is his or her works in this uni-verse. Rahab had saved the spies of Israel sent by Joshua the commander from being captured by hiding them in her house and letting them out on the city wall. She was an outcast in the city and lived on its outermost periphery, virtually on the city wall. But she had heard of the amazing and awesome victory the Jewish slaves had over the mighty Egyptian army that had been sent in pursuit to re-capture them. She had the common sense to understand that it could have happened only on account of the power of the God that Israel worshipped. She knew that same God would back the Israelites in overcoming the besieged city of Jericho too. It was no act of treachery but as she believed and feared the God of Israel that she decided to throw her weight too behind the winning side- Israel. It was her faith, however small and nascent, based on the testimony of the Israelites that had led her to take the risk of shielding the Jewish spies. It was her faith that led to her works. Without her act of saving them, her faith would not have been evident or proven. Similarly, though we cannot ever be justified by our faith, our works make evident and prove our faith. Faith is the good root and good works are the fruit. An act of grace is a combination of faith and good works like that of Rahab. Rahab did the act without any payment being sought or any reward being in sight. The Hebrews kept faith with Rahab for when they took over Jericho, they remembered their promise to her that she and her household would be spared. The scarlet rope she had tied to her balcony window was the sign and mark of identification. Scarlet is a symbol of royalty. In retrospect, it was a sign that she was going to be the forebear of the eternal King of all mankind. Despite her evil and shameful past as a prostitute who sold her body to make a living, her faith in the God of Israel and not in the prowess of Israelites led to her entire family being spared from certain death. Her faith redeemed her past and transformed her future forever. She became the good root in whose lineage was born the ultimate and eternal Saviour of the world. God is no man’s debtor. For every good work we do for Him or on account of our faith in Him, He blesses and rewards us in known and unknown, visible and invisible ways. About my own house, He has testified, “ You are like Rahab for you have helped so many in their distress and gave them hope and comfort. You have shielded my people in times of danger. Therefore, I will bless and save your entire family.” Even if we have given a glass of water to a believer in Jesus, He would remember and repay us for that act of kindness. God’s rewards are disproportionate to the cost of the act of grace that prompted His favour. Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 20, 2014

Work and Word

UV 990/10,000 Work and Word They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. Nehemiah 4 v 17 Our life and our faith and all that we do is like building a wall. We need to work brick by brick, moment by moment. The Lord gives us burdens and responsibilities that we can bear. If we feel that our burdens are a little too heavy, when we pray and focus on the Lord and His promises, He will lighten the load and give us an easier yoke. The Jews have a wailing wall in Jerusalem, a symbol of their defeat but we have a wall of deliverance and rejoicing in Jesus. He will enable us to scale the walls or overcome the barriers we face in our life and our work. Nehemiah and the Jews who were building the walls knew that they faced the threat of some foes and adversaries planning an attack on them to prevent them from re-building the walls. Nehemiah asked all those he enlisted as volunteers in re-building the walls of Jerusalem to carry their tools of work and do their work with one hand and to carry a weapon like a sword in the other hand. This implies that each of us is both a builder for the Lord as well as a soldier in the spirit. The Word of God is the sword that enables us to do our professional work effectively and consistently. The promises of God enables us to overcome all resistance and opposition. Labouring with our hands, talents, minds and natural gifts is as important as claiming cover and protection of the Lord in prayer. Prayer is spiritual labour. The words “ work, Word, worship and worth” have the common root “ wor”. We need not separate these aspects of our lives into watertight compartments but integrate our spiritual, personal, professional and emotional aspects of our lives. When we pray in the spirit, recalling the Word of God even as we are at our work spots, the Lord will undertake for us. He will fight for us. He guarantees success in our work as well as protection and provision in our lives. Our work tests the Word and the Word establishes our work. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Process of Purification, Refinement and Testing

UV 989/10,000 Refinement and Purification And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3 v 3 The Lord God is not only a worker with clay, a potter but one who works on refining precious metals- silver and gold. The silver is a symbol for our speech. The lips of priests should preserve knowledge and lead many away from sin and error to salvation and the freedom and blessing of truth. The Word of God in our mouths is what acts as a refining fire to purify our minds and our mouths. The gold referred to in this uni-verse is a symbol for our faith and our works. Our faith and our works will be tested with the fire of suffering and the challenges of everyday reality. Does our faith melt or evaporate in the heat of personal suffering and the hardship of reality or does it get further strengthened in the face of threats, persecution and difficulties of life? Our faith, patience and hope should endure any of the tribulations we face. At the end of the day, people should see the image of God in our faces, our deeds, our words and our lives. We are the glory of God unveiled in flesh and blood. We are to be pure as purest gold. The Lord removes the doubts and errors in our faith and our character in order to prepare us as priests of righteousness or “ the sons of Levi”. Our works should reflect that we love God more than we love ourselves and we love others as much as we love ourselves. Since the Word of God is described as being like silver and gold that has been refined and purified seven times over, the more we intake the Word, meditate on it and apply it in our lives, the less work God has to do in purifying us, the less personal suffering we need to undergo in order to remove the impurities in our lives and become an “ offering” or living sacrifice of righteousness before the Lord. Instead of resisting and resenting suffering, we need to understand the larger purpose of the Lord in allowing us to undergo such fiery trials. Unlike gold and silver that are passively subjected to purification, refinement and testing, we play a role in shortening or lengthening our periods of refinement, purification and testing. As we study the examples of the people of faith in the Bible and emulate them, as we absorb the Word like a sponge, our learning curves are shortened. The extent and period the Lord needs to refine us and mature us is greatly shortened. Like a skilled goldsmith or silversmith, He will not hold us in the melting pot or crucible of fire a moment longer than needed. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Treasuring the Word

UV 982/10,000 Treasuring the Word But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2 v 19 Mary secretly treasured up all the things that happened to her from before the birth of Jesus, the circumstances of His birth and how He grew up, the things Jesus did and spoke and often thought about these things. Mary stored it in her mind or memory but pondered it in her heart. It was a life-giving and life-enhancing fusion of thought and emotion, reason and passion. It were these memories that were a balm of healing after her own heart was pierced at the sight of her beloved Son being crucified. These memories became the basis for providing the details in the gospel of St Luke as the latter interviewed Mary and became privy to her treasured secrets. The Word remains dormant unless we treasure it in our minds and ponder over it in our hearts. When we ponder over it, the awesome wonder of God will be revealed in due time. Even a single line or even a word or phrase from scripture is powerful as it is authored not by man but by an absolutely holy, gracious and awesome God. It is backed by His absolute authority. Even the most revered or most famous award winning books will one day be forgotten but the Word is treasured by those who believe in every generation. When God spoke the words, “ let there be light”, the sun, moon and stars came into being. The universe and all in it barring man was brought into being by the very words of God. Man was formed by God with His own hands. We not only have feet of clay but we are formed completely from clay but we are made in the very image of God. We alone can understand and follow the words of God. Though He forms us with His hands, He transforms us with His Word. He has given us the power to hold or treasure or retain His Word in our hearts and minds. He has given us the gift of faith to believe in each word, phrase and line. The world was brought into being with His Word and now the Word can be spoken to bless the world. He has given us the power to speak, to declare, to proclaim the Word of God. As we do so, the grace and power of God is released. We receive the power to rule, dominate and subdue the world within us and without, the seen and the unseen even as God has commanded us to subdue the world. Each uni-verse needs to be treasured or esteemed as most precious in our lives. Like a connoisseur of rare and precious treasure, we need to store it carefully in our memories and thoughts. David wrote that “ I store your words in my heart that I might not sin against you.” We need to daily and often run our thoughts over the words and their inner meanings and applications. It should not be like treasure that is buried and forgotten but we should put it to use in our lives. The source of this treasure being infinite, we never run the risk of it being used up or exhausted. As we use it, it gets replenished and ready to use again and again. The more we store, the more we use, the more we are blessed and the more we become a blessing. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Purpose and Power of Jesus

UV 981/10,000 The Purpose and Power of Jesus And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19 v 13 Adam and Eve after they fell from the grace or favour of God by disbelieving His Word of permission and His Word of prohibition first recognized their own nakedness and felt a sense of shame. Guilt is the first negative emotion they experienced followed closely by shame. God then killed a wild beast and gave them clothes of skin to wear. Death itself came into this world on account of sin. To this day it is God who provides man the clothes of salvation. But instead of slaying an animal, He allowed His own Son, an integral part of Godhead, a member of the Trinity to be slain by man instigated by the same enemy that had first tempted him. This uni-verse refers to Jesus who is clothed in a robe dipped in His own blood. It is that blood that cleanses mankind for all time as nothing else can. We are freed from all guilt of our sins of commission and omission and freed from shame and the consequences of sin. Our clothes are now washed in the blood of the Lamb provided by God. Every requirement of the law is met in the blood of Jesus. The blood price of salvation is paid by Jesus with His own blood. It obviates the need for any other sacrifice by man. Every requirement or need of man is met in the Word of God. The blood of Jesus is for our redemption and salvation while the Word of God is for our edification and sanctification. Our forefather Adam and Eve sinned by not believing and obeying the Word of God that permitted them to eat of the fruit of many trees and prohibited them from eating of just one tree. He was confronted with many right choices and just one wrong choice. He chose the latter. Today, after many generations, people of all nationalities have many wrong choices and only one right choice. Today, people of all nations are like the people of Nineveh who do not know their right hand from their left hand, who do not know right from wrong. All people are clothed but they can wash their clothes white only in the blood of the Lamb. By faith in His Name, they will be restored to a relationship with God wherein they will believe and obey the Word of God. This uni-verse reveals that there is complete and sufficient power unto salvation in the blood of Jesus, the Name of Jesus and the Word of God. The history of mankind is the story of man climbing the wrong tree, the tree of pleasure, riches, fame but the only right tree is Jesus. From this eternal tree and from the Word of God we can obtain all the fruit that we need in our lifetime and beyond. When we believe in His name, we are deemed to have washed ourselves in His precious sacrificial blood that cleanses, revives ad makes us whole and clean again. When we believe in His name, we also believe in His Word. We pursue what He permits and forsake what He prohibits. We are restored to a righteous relationship with the Father. Instead of guilt and shame, we inherit the esteem of God and His appreciation and His reward as faithful and true children. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Setting Our Hearts to Understand

UV 980/10,000 Setting Our Hearts to Understand Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. Daniel 10 v 12 Daniel received many revelations and visions which filled him with a sense of awe and fear. He fasted, confessed and prayed. The Lord sent one of His chief princes, Michael to give him the message that his prayers were heard. When we humble ourselves before the Lord, fast and pray, He will hear our words and similarly send us His Word. He will also send His angels to minister to us and to strengthen us as Daniel was strengthened by Michael. Daniel considered the visions and prophecies he received and set his heart to understand it and to repent before the Lord God for his own sins and the sins of Israel. Similarly, we must set our hearts to understand the Word of God, the prophecies we have heard and the visions we have seen. The uni-verse states that the Lord heard the prayers of Daniel right from the very first day he had set his heart to understand the Word. It is interesting that almost every time an angel of the Lord appeared to people right through the Old Testament times and even till the book of Revelation, he starts by saying, “ Do not fear. “ When we hear from our fellow human beings , “ Don’t worry”, the words trigger the embedded command to do the opposite- we begin to worry and fear. But when we hear the Word of God, a tremendous sense of peace and assurance will come upon us whatever be the situation or provocation. It is said that the words, “ do not fear” occurs 366 times in the Bible, one for every day and the leap year is also taken care of. The angel Michael addressed Daniel by his personal name, showing the intimacy of relationship. Daniel was no stranger to Michael. We need to only replace our own names with the words, “_______, Do not fear.” We need to use our fear to turn it into an occasion for prayer, an opportunity to approach the Lord instead of denying it or putting up a brave face. Daniel did not hide his fear but his face changed ashen, his body became weak. The angel’s touch and words restored his physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual strength. The Lord once revealed, “ You need my grace, I need your heat,” heat meaning our prayers and fellowship. We need to imitate Daniel in cultivating regular habits of prayer, self discipline, study and devotion in order to excel like him in our spiritual understanding of revelations from the Lord. The response of the Lord is immediate and effective. Our fervent words of prayer are enough to prompt the Lord to send His angels to minister to us. The words, “ I am come for thy words,” expresses this sense of urgency and immediacy of the Lord’s response to our prayers. Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Last Laugh

UV 979/10,000 The Last Laugh Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. John 16 v 20 While the people of the Word lament and are in anguish, the people of the world rejoice. But the victory, success and happiness of the latter is short-lived. They seem to triumph but for a fleeting moment in comparison with the eternal, everlasting, never dying hope and joy of the people of the Word. The world will laugh at us now but the Lord will enable us to laugh at them later. The image that scripture draws is that of a sower who goes forth to sow precious seed with many heavy thoughts and burdens bearing down on him but he returns with many sheaves of crops at the time of harvest. We sow the seed with prayer in the fields of the spirit. Prayer is sowing in the spirit and when we reap the answer we rejoice greatly. The reason scripture gives for why the Lord delights in answering our faithful prayers is that He desires that our joy should be full. Jesus likens the predicament of believers or disciples to that of the labour pain of a pregnant woman during delivery. While it lasts it causes great pain and many tears but the moment the baby is born, it turns into much laughter. The moment our prayers are answered and our hope is fulfilled, our sorrows turn into a great source of everlasting joy, not just for us but for all those who hear our testimony. This is the reason that the aged Sarah who gave birth to Isaac whose very name “laughter” said that those who hear that a woman her age bore a child will laugh with her. She would laugh with joy while many of them would laugh with disbelief even as Sarah and Abraham laughed when they first heard the promise of God. Some of them would even explain it by saying that she must have adopted or picked up a child somewhere. But the Lord will enable us to have the last laugh in every situation. The Lord has given us a promise that whatever trouble we face we would face any problem for two days and on the third day, He would revive us in His presence. Many believers grow through great torment and strife. Some face premature bereavement of their loved ones. I myself know of some believers who died early or lost some dear one prematurely. Some face great opposition and troubles of different kinds. This is the reason Jesus said, “ In this world you will face tribulation but rejoice for I have overcome.” Jesus also said, “ I will send you the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.” Jesus will wipe every tear from every eye. He will give us the strength to overcome or the patience, faith and stamina to endure and not give up. He will comfort us. St James wrote that we should “ consider it pure joy when we undergo suffering” that the Lord has allowed for it is intended to build our character and patience. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Role of Wisdom and Understanding

UV 978/10,000 Role of Wisdom and Understanding The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. Proverbs 3 v 19 Scripture teaches us that the Lord founded the earth and the universe and beyond using the principles of wisdom while science teaches us that it all came about by the sheer accident or chance of evolution. Scientific and circumstantial evidence however substantiates scripture that it all came about not by chance but by deliberate design of a Creator. Some scientists have written about the holographic universe in which there is the same hologram or stamp of structure in each atom and cell as in the entire universe. In each uni-verse, I am attempting to unearth the underlying principles of wisdom hidden in each verse that constitute the foundation of the universe. The application of these universal principles leads to understanding. Mankind by and large have stayed away from wisdom and knowledge and contented ourselves to operate primarily in the more visible domains of knowledge alone. When we follow the principles of wisdom and understanding, our lives are on a rock foundation or else our lives rest on the randomness of chance and changing circumstances. The foundation whether of a tree or of a building is hidden below the ground. Hence, it takes much digging to fully uncover it. The application of the principles of wisdom to our daily lives is understanding. This constitutes the more visible superstructure of a tree as of a building. Wisdom is the strong taproot from which grows the stem, the offshoots, the branches, the leaves, flowers and fruits of life. The Lord once revealed that when we dig a hole for the foundation of a building, it does not look good. In fact, it looks cavernous and ugly. But, once the building is completed, it looks beautiful. Similarly, it is wisdom that gives us a firm footing, a strong foundation. If we are easily shaken by events around us, then our foundation is not strong. If we are easily moved, convinced and persuaded by people or swayed by emotions, our foundation is not secure. If we do not have faith in an unchanging God and His Son and our Saviour Jesus who was present with Him at the foundation of the earth and the heavens, we do not have a solid foundation. Faith gives rise to wisdom and wisdom leads to understanding. We need to found our lives on wisdom and build or establish our lives with understanding. Even in technology, there is a combination of the seen and the unseen, for example we have electric cables and the unseen energy runs through, we have internet modums and the invisible communications of images and words runs through it. Our faith has an invisible part- our inner lives and a visible, palpable and audible part- the good deeds, good words and good relationships. Wisdom is knowing the underlying invisible principles of the universe while understanding is using those principles in visible ways to build. Our lives to be complete must have a combination of the visible and the invisible. Prateep V Philip Power phrases: The Lord by wisdom, founded the earth, by understanding established

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dealing with Shortages and Challenges

UV 977/10,000 Dealing with Shortages and Challenges And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. John 2 v 8 The manager of the marriage feast ought to have planned and obtained the quantity of wine needed for the number of guests expected or invited. The bridegroom’s and bride’s parents and families ought to have known the number of guests coming and the proportionate quantity of food and drink needed for the feast. But neither the event manager of the banquet nor the hosts seem to be prepared for the sudden shortage of wine. It would have been embarrassing if not shameful and painful for the families and the couple and it would take a long time to live down the shame. It would not be a good way to start their married life together. But Mary knew the answer lay with Jesus for she already had witnessed His power and authority over the material as well as spiritual world. Nobody else at the feast including those who were responsible had a solution for the shortage. Even the world's best leaders and most competent managers need Jesus to enable them to get a grip on the big picture of life and take the most crucial decisions. What would it profit them to just deal with profit and the shortage of money or resources and not do anything about what affects their spiritual and eternal well being. Whatever be the shortages in our lives, our marriages, our families, our workplaces and our circumstances, Jesus has the answer. There may not just be a material or monetary shortage but it could be a shortage of love, a shortage of peace or patience or understanding. In all these predicaments of life we tend to stare and are at a loss, not knowing what to do or how to proceed. The Lord is able to provide an adequate answer. The wine Jesus provided miraculously was far better than the first wine that ran out. Similarly, the answers, solutions and provision He supplies according to His riches in glory are far greater than the solutions and resources we have on hand. If there was no shortage, Mary would not have turned to Jesus. If Jesus was not present at the feast, she would not have turned to Him. If Mary had not turned to Jesus with an attitude of faith that He could resolve it, He might not have acted to fill the shortage. Similarly, we need the presence of Jesus in our lives. We need shortages, problems, challenges, deficiencies, difficulties to manifest His glory. Similarly, if we do not turn to Him and ask with expectation, the miracle might not happen and His glory will not manifest. More than any one else in our families or our network, it is Jesus who knows what we need, and it is He alone who can meet that need. He is the Lord of the banquet of life. He knows what are our sorrows and what are our shortages. Though He knows, He waits till we ask Him with expectation or faith that He alone can solve it. Jesus did not materialise the wine but He asked that six jars of stone be filled with water to the brim. Jesus did not accept instruction from even His mother Mary about what to do. This is the reason, He rebuked her saying, “ Woman, my hour has not yet come. What do I have to do with you?” Mary got the hint. Mary asked the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. She quietly slipped out of the scene having entrusted it to Him. Similarly, in our lives, He would ask us to do some natural and logical steps before He intervenes in a supernatural way. We need to do whatever He asks us to do as servants obey a master. Once we entrust a matter to Him, we can rest assured He would do the needful. The governor of the feast did not know where the new wine came from and he chided the bridegroom for reserving the better wine for the second serving when it was the norm to serve the better wine first. Similarly, the people who do not know what is the source of our blessing will begin to wonder at the blessings we receive. Jesus did this miracle at the marriage at Canna so that His glory would be manifest and his disciples would believe in Him. Similarly, when the Lord does a miracle of meeting the shortages in our lives, it is to strengthen our faith and to make us a witness of His greatness and power. He removes our shortages and fills our lives to the brim. Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 10, 2014

Broken Stereotypes

Broken Stereotypes When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, He said, “ I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7 v 9 Israel from the time of Abraham, the father and founder of the nation had an inheritance of faith in an unseen God who revealed Himself to Abraham and many others in his lineage through the generations. No other nation was privy to such revelations through history. Jesus was destined to hung on a tree, the cross to be cursed for sin that the Gentile or non-Jew nations might believe and be blessed. But Jesus was amazed that even before He made the connection possible between non-Jews and the God of Abraham, the first man of faith and Friend of God, that a Roman centurion believed in His power and authority as the Son of God. God delights in finding unusual faith in unusual places. People were amazed at the teachings, wisdom and the acts of miracles done by Jesus but Jesus Himself was amazed at the extent of faith of some people He came across like the centurion. The centurion broke all stereotypes. The average centurion would be a man of the world, who took pride in his own power and authority, his uniform the symbol of majesty of the Roman empire. He would naturally feel superior to the average Jew, a member of a conquered and subjugated nation. The average centurion would not even be concerned about the well being of his own soldiers and servants and treat them as dispensable tools in his service. But this nameless centurion believed that Jesus had authority over disease and could speak the word of authority and healing so that his servant is healed. The stereotype of a person in high position, prestige and authority not being a person of faith was broken. The stereotype that a pagan and a foreignor not being a person who believed in the unseen God was broken. The centurion sent his friends to ask Jesus to command the word of healing for his servant as he did not deem himself worthy of approaching Jesus. He did not want Jesus to visit his residence as he did not deem himself worthy of receiving the Lord. He was assured that Jesus’s mere word was sufficient to cause his servant’s healing. He subjected himself to the authority of Jesus even as his soldiers subjected themselves to his commands. Today, when people ask me, “ how can you be a witness of Jesus even while being a senior police officer?” I only have to point them to the fact that Jesus broke all stereotypes or casting people in iron and unchangeable moulds so that they conform to only some limited role expectations. Faith is needed for every human being, regardless of his or her station in life, abilities, resources, nationality, background. It does not make us weak or ineffective but rather it makes us stronger and effective in whatever roles we are performing. The more we flex and expand our faith in the face of challenges in life, the more the stereotypes, moulds and boundaries of expectation are broken, the more likely the Father will be amazed and pleased by the exercise of our faith. The centurion understood authority and power very well. He knew that while his own power was mundane and limited, the power and authority of God or of Jesus is unlimited. That faith and understanding made the impossible possible-the servant was healed even without Jesus saying the word of command of healing. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Diligence leads to Excellence

UV 975/10,000 Diligence Leads to Excellence Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2 v 15 Our study of the Word of God should not be casual or irregular but diligent, intensive and sincere. We cannot come to read or study the Word with a lackadaisical attitude. God sees how much value we attach to the study of the Word. He sees what is in our heart towards Him and His Word. What He sees in us should please Him and win us His commendation. We do not do it to win the approval of men or to give people an impression of our piety. A skilled workman involved in risky work with his tools and machines knows that his very life depends on how well he has learnt his trade and how carefully he puts his tools to use on a daily basis. He cannot afford to take his eyes off even for a minute but he is the picture of intense concentration. All the tools and answers we need in life are contained in His Word. We need to use analysis and synthesis as our methods to overcome our intellectual and spiritual paralysis. The Holy Spirit as a master trainer will instruct us on the inner meaning of each word and how it applies to our lives. Just as a skilled worker has a certain pride and love of his craft and takes good care of his tool set and his skill set, we need to spend time and effort in enhancing our methods of studying and applying the Word in all areas of our lives so that the enemy does not find a chink in our spiritual armour and put us to shame in that area. As a student when I spent time in studying the Word diligently week after week, month after month and year after year, the Lord sharpened my methods, tools of study and grasp even in the subjects I was studying for the course examinations. The Lord will teach us and train us to correctly discern the truths of every verse we read and study. He will teach us to analyse and synthesise new thoughts while revising old ones. He will illustrate the abstract to make it plain and simple as daylight. He will give us the grace or power to overcome barriers , handicaps and limitations in our understanding and comprehension. Our minds are sharpened and quickened by the Spirit as He sees us fully involved and committed to understanding and obeying the Word. In fact, I was inspired to evolve a completely new method of study, note making and review that catapulted me from mere first class to first rank in the state. A couple of days back the Lord told me that the human brain thinks all thoughts only in phrases or a couple of words . That enabled me to come up with the concept of power phrases. Yesterday, one of the regular Uni-verse readers sent in feedback about this tool, “ The power phrases of the day are powerful, active, energising and it works. It gives me wherewithal to face the work pressures of the day.” Glory to the Lord. Prateep V Philip Remember the power phrases: Study to show, workman approved by God, not ashamed, rightly dividing the truth.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Power to get Wealth

UV 974-10,000 Power to Get Wealth But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 8 v 18 In return for all that the Lord does for His chosen,universally chosen by grace and personally chosen by faith, we only need to remember Him in our daily walk. I literally do that every morning first thing even before I drink a glass of water or have a beverage. I walk half an hour and with every step, breath and thought remember the Lord and His goodness to me. I sing praises and give thanksgiving from my heart remembering His goodness and grace. I raise my hands often in worship and acknowledgement of how He led us from one thing to another without us even setting goals, planning or executing anything in that direction, how He saved me from a watery grave, a fiery explosion, from accidents, dangers, conspiracies, controversies, ill health,strife and losses. Recently, in a time of prayer the Lord reminded me that I had come to this city with only a stick in my hand. “The stick” is a metaphor for faith. But the Lord had prospered me. For it is the Lord who gives us the power to get wealth. It is the Lord who multiplies our abilities, our opportunities and our resources. Wealth in scripture is a holistic term like Shallom which means blessing, peace, health, longevity, prosperity, grace, wholesomeness, strength, and joyfulness. In the absence of the Lord’s blessing, in vain does the builder do his work or the police watch over the city. It is the Lord’s intention that His children flourish and that all their legitimate needs and aspirations met. But at the same time, we should not allow wealth to be a snare or temptation that keeps us from remembering the Lord’s goodness. We must never think that it is our power and our ability that has got us this far. Instead, we should think, “ what am I and what is my family that He has brought us this far?” The uni-verse above gives the answer- it is not because of our personal abilities or qualities or our family background but it is because the Lord is faithful to His covenant with our fathers of faith and with us to this very day. It pleases the Lord when we pray daily not for greater wealth but for greater contentment and gratitude for all that He has bestowed us in His grace and mercy. In the prayer, the Lord Jesus taught us it is said, “ lead us not into temptation.” One believer I know puzzled for long over its meaning for how can the Lord lead anyone into temptation. The meaning was revealed to him- it meant that we are to pray that we do not become so wealthy that we are tempted to rely on our riches instead of on the Lord. It is indeed the Lord who gives us the ability to get wealth. But we must not allow wealth to be a snare for our own souls, a barrier for our relationship with the Lord and for our overall spiritual growth. Wealth that is acquired by hasty means develops wings and flies away but when the Lord makes a person wealthy, He adds no sorrows to it. He makes it instead a source of rejoicing and continual thanksgiving. The one who imagines that he has acquired all his vast resources by virtue of his own smartness or ingenuity or hard work is only deluding himself. Such a person is never contented and he strives harder, wearing his soul thin, never contented, never joyful- for as Solomon said, “ it is but a chasing of the wind.” Today, we notice many so called “men of God” making their faith the means to acquire more and more wealth. As they do so, it becomes a snare and a temptation for their souls. A covenant implies that we too remain faithful to our part of the divine agreement and not give vent and free rein to the desire for aggrandisement. Prateep V Philip Remember the power phrases: Remember the Lord, the power to get wealth, covenant that He sware, this day

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fountains of Life

UV 973/10,000 Fountains of Life Rev 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Jesus is portrayed as both the Lamb of God who was slain and as the good Shepherd who feeds the sheep of God. Like the blemishless lamb that Abel sacrificed to God out of the best of his sheep, Jesus presented Himself as a blemishless lamb. His was considered a better sacrifice for while Abel’s lamb was physically blemishless, Jesus is spiritually blemishless and blameless. While Abel’s lamb was not a sacrifice that would be enough for all time, the sacrifice of Jesus is enough for all people and for all time for their absolution. The Lamb in the midst of the throne is a sign that Jesus no longer moves in our midst as a meek lamb but He is as a mighty lion, mighty God, Ruler and Redeemer. He is sovereign and all powerful. What He speaks or ordains from His throne will be executed in heaven as on earth. The enemy attacks us a roaring lion- a deadly attack on our life and well being or as an anaconda-an assault of deception and temptation and as foxes- nibbling and vexing troubles of daily life. The Lamb on the throne having faced all these types of assaults will fend for us and defend us from the lion, the anaconda and the foxes of cunning. While Abel’s lamb did not come back to life, Jesus came back to life and continues to serve mankind for all time. He now presents Himself as the good Shepherd. The shepherd’s responsibility is to find watering holes and lead his sheep to pastures to graze and water to drink. Jesus as the good Shepherd leads us daily to spiritual pastures to feed. He feeds us from the holy scriptures. He leads us to living fountains. Each promise of God is a living fountain of water. A fountain is a beautiful and awesome arrangement of water that wins the appreciation of all who see it. Similarly, God’s grace will flow in our lives beautifully and in an awesome way. Each verse in scripture holds the water of life that continually renews our lives even as we face different types of need in our lives. The plural “ waters” implies that we have different types of thirst or deep need as human beings – spiritual, emotional, intellectual and the Lord will cause living fountains of waters to rise to satisfy our thirst. As the psalm says, “ as the deer pants for the water, my soul longs for the Lord.” The Lord promises to wipe all tears from our eyes. Each of us has different types of sorrows, regrets, fears, anxieties nagging us. The Lord sees the cause and source of all the sadness in our lives and He will comfort us. He will cause these sources to dry up and remove the cause of our sighing, fears and tears. Indeed, sorrow and sighing shall flee away. This uni-verse shows that the Lord provides for us, protects us, comforts and encourages us. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Staying on Track

UV 972/10,000 Staying On Track The law of His God is in his heart. His feet do not slip. Psalm 37 v 31 In the Old Covenant relationship, God wrote His law on stone and gave it to Moses to carry it to the people of Israel and to teach it to them. The people broke the law even before the stone tablets with the commandments were given to them. The stone tablets fell from the hands of the distraught Moses and broke symbolically. But under the new covenant relationship, the Lord writes His law or His Word in our hearts. His Word remains in us all the time and like goads or spurs provoke or stimulate a horse, it stimulates us. His Word teaches us all the time as we delight in meditating on it. His Word gives us wisdom, power and guidance. Just as our blood carry oxygen and nutrition to all parts of our physical body, when we memorise and meditate on His Word, verse by verse, it will carry spiritual oxygen and nutrition to all parts of our being. When we break the law of God written on our hearts, our hearts are broken and not just stone tablets. When we keep the law of God, our hearts and lives are blessed and we become a blessing in turn to others. As we memorise, meditate and obey the Word, our feet will not slip or stumble. We will be kept from the errors of passion, the errors of judgement and the kind of mistakes that destroy many people who live ignorant lives. As we intake the Word on a constant basis, it produces joy, security and peace in our deepest being. The steps of the righteous man are ordered by the Lord. As we trust in the Word of the Lord and delight in doing His will, He directs our paths. The Word of God lays out the tracks on which we should run, not turning to the left or to the right. The physical universe is governed by certain physical laws like the law of gravity that science has discovered and taught. But the laws of the spiritual and moral universe are contained only in the Word. When the physical laws are respected and obeyed, we live in safety and progress. Whey they are disobeyed, there are accidents, hazards and disasters. When the laws of the spiritual and moral universe as contained in each unique verse or uni-verse are learnt, trusted and obeyed, we are greatly blessed and our souls prosper. The way to use the uni-verse meditation to bless our lives fully is to remember the verse verbatim including the exact reference, to run it in our mind from time to time through the day, if possible at least once every hour, to try to understand the meaning and nuances of every word, to claim it in prayer from time to time and at the end of the day thanking the Lord for writing His precious Word on our hearts and for releasing His power, grace and blessings through it into our lives. During the day we should examine if we have obeyed the particular uni-verse for the day. We can share the uni-verse with some people we interact with in the course of the day and bless the rest of the universe with it. As a result of these exercises of reading, memorising, meditating, praying, claiming, sharing and obeying, we are in tune with God, with our inner self, with the universe around, with others around. The next day we should remember the previous day’s uni-verse before starting afresh. Gradually, we will be transformed degree by degree, verse by verse into His very likeness, the Anointed of God, the Chosen One, the Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ. Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Pleasure of Obedience

UV 971/10,000 The Pleasure of Obedience “And the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “ You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3 v 22 The greatest honour and glory a man can receive is to hear from the Lord God, “ You are my beloved son or daughter with whom I am really pleased.” Our purpose is not to live for our own pleasure or to please ourselves or those who are near and dear to us but our purpose is to please the Father in heaven. According to the Constitution of the country, a person occupies a particular office during the pleasure of the President. Similarly, we live for the pleasure of the Lord God. Jehovah expressed His pleasure with His first born Son Jesus on seeing how He obeyed Him. In obedience, Jesus humbled Himself to become a baby born in a manger. In obedience to prophetic instruction, He humbled Himself to be baptised in the waters of Jordan by His forerunner, His herald, John the Baptist who was apparently much less in greatness than Him. When we humble ourselves and submit in obedience to the Word and the leading of the Lord in all the details of our daily lives, we too will hear the voice of the Lord God, endorsing us as His beloved children. After Jesus obeyed the waters of baptism that would foreshadow His own death, burial and destruction, the Lord God sent the Holy Spirit for the first time in bodily form like a dove. A dove is a symbol of gentleness and peace. When we obey the Lord and His Word like Jesus, we too will be anointed with the Holy Spirit and we will reflect His character of gentleness and peace in our lives. We experience the selfless, agape love of the Creator, Maker and Repairer, Saviour and Redeemer, Provider and Protector, Vindicator and Potter. When we pray, heaven itself will open and the Lord will hear our every submission. One of the implications of this uni-verse is that every believer once He comes into a faithful and personal relationship with God through Jesus needs to obey the Lord in submitting to the waters of baptism. Once we are baptised in water, we come out of the shadow of bondage to satan, the shadow of Egypt. The Lord as a mark of His being pleased with us will send the Holy Spirit to anoint us, to comfort, strengthen and to lead us. Before this, we only heard our inner voice or our own conscience but after we are anointed with the Holy Spirit, we will hear the voice of God. He will direct our steps. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Grace to Help

UV 970/10,000 Grace to Help Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4 v 16 The Lord sits on His mercy seat of pure gold, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim. The use of pure gold is a symbol of His absolute purity and the great value we should attach to the mercy of the Lord. Though He sits on high in His great majesty, He is accessible to each of us. He is always only a prayer away. He is mingled in our thoughts and emotions. His throne of grace is established not just in heaven but in each of our hearts and in each of our homes. Our “knee mail” or our prayer for both mercy and grace should reach Him every day, every morning and every hour. A fine believer I know saw a vision of the Lord God seated on His throne. Outside His throne hall were a throng of rulers, kings, presidents, rulers and authorities who were bowing in fear and trembling from afar before the throne of God. Then he saw a child running to the very throne of God and climbing on His lap, unmindful of all the great people who were trembling outside. We need to approach the Lord with such child-like innocence, boldness and confidence, knowing that the Lord will not chide or reprimand us for coming so close to Him. His mercy washes us clean and white as snow. When we are so washed, our lives will be full of peace. The power of sin is broken. Only those who know they are truly forgiven can truly forgive. When we know that we are truly forgiven, we can start life again with a clean slate. Jesus freely and truly forgave even those who cruelly nailed Him to the cross. He freely and truly forgave those who falsely accused Him and shouted that He be crucified. How much more has He forgiven each of us as we confessed our sins. The guilt and fear of punishment is gone. This gives us boldness and confidence in our personal relationship with the Lord. Once the Lord has granted us His mercy and peace, He then gives us grace to help us in our need. Each of us have a different type of need at different times in our lives. Each day brings its own trouble and He will give us grace to overcome every temptation and every pressure. His grace is sufficient to meet our every need fully. We need to stick to Him like a leech and absorb the grace we need. We need to lean on Him like a ladder that is fixed on a tall wall. We need to hide in Him as a child hides in the folds of His parents’ clothes. He gives us grace to bear our burdens and responsibilities in life. He gives us grace to fulfil His mandate or purpose for our lives. He gives us grace to use our time, talent and treasure for His greater glory. He gives us grace to overcome our inner weaknesses and to bear any thorn in the flesh that the Lord has given us as He gave St Paul. We have opted out of the rat race to join the race of grace, the race to win the prize that Jesus has called us to receive- the crown of eternal life. Grace is the one word used for the myriad ways in which the Ebenezer God helps us. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Avoiding Strife

UV 969/10,000 Avoiding Strife “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” Philippians 2 v 14 The Lord expects us to engage in all that we do without murmuring or disputing among ourselves. When the Israelites murmured against Moses, the latter warned them that they were not complaining against him but against the sovereign Lord. The Lord had used Moses to lead them out of a greater evil- slavery and bondage in Egypt and they were complaining while on the journey to Canaan that they did not have meat to eat while back in Egypt, it was better as they were supplied meat by their Egyptian masters. The Lord had daily and faithfully provided them flakes known as manna that was sweeter than honey and in abundant quantity. Yet they were murmuring against God and the good man that God had chosen to lead them out of Egypt. When we complain and argue among ourselves, it is a sure sign that we are driven by the lusts of the world- to have more in less time. It is a sign that pride has taken root among us and we regard ourselves better than others. Indeed, pride causes strife and contention. When we murmur, it shows we are not listening to the voice of the Lord. When we complain and argue, it shows we are harbouring grudges against each other. We have not truly forgiven for we are not sure we have been truly forgiven. The destroyer of our souls uses this root of bitterness in us and causes it to grow that it will devour our souls. To avoid complaining and argument we need to give up our egos, our record of wrongs and our selfishness. It is envy that leads to the spirit of one-upmanship. In all lowliness of mind, we should assume that others are better than us. We must regard the interest of others before our own. We must know that Jesus the righteous Judge stands at the door. We must use our tongues not to complain or dispute with others but we should use it to wield the Word. When we use the Word of God, our tongue becomes like a hammer and a fire. As a hammer, it will demolish the tendency to find fault, the tendency to prove oneself right and others wrong. As a fire it will consume the evil that is afoot. When we live without complaining and arguing, holding onto the Word as the basis of our communication with each other, we become worthy children of God, blameless and harmless, without blemish or reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation and nation, shining lights in a world of darkness. We are to be imbued with the wisdom from above, the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives- the wisdom that makes us pure, gentle, easy to be persuaded, full of fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility, free from partiality, insincerity and hypocrisy. We validate our faith when we live without strife and contention. Prateep V Philip

Seeking the Counsel of the Lord

UV 968/10,000 Seeking the Counsel of the Lord The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. Psalm 33 v 10 The thoughts, ideas and advice of people who do not acknowledge the wisdom of God contained in His Word are nullified. They are proven to be vain and futile, weak and without purpose or meaning in due course. He reduces the plans of such to be of no effect. Their legacy does not endure. But in contrast, the counsel of the Lord stands forever. The standards of the Lord contained in His Word does not change from generation to generation but last forever . Leadership or management that is not based on the rock solid principles of God’s Word is fast or popular but futile and will not last. Leadership or management that is based on the rock hard principles of God’s Word is destined to last forever. No wonder the long line of Pharaohs remain largely nameless and unremembered despite the elaborate rituals and massive pyramids they planned to perpetuate their lives, legacy and memories while the graveless Moses is remembered through the ages. It is the power of leadership based on the spoken and written Word of God. Absalom, the son of David consulted Ahithopel, one of the royal advisors who was known for his shrewd advice. But the Lord made the advice of Ahithopel seem foolish and since Absalom disregarded his advice, the former took his own life out of shame. He catches the crafty in their own wisdom. They fall into the very pit or trap they set for others, especially those who belong to the household of the Lord. Ahithopel failed as he thought he could join Absalom in conspiring against the aging King David who was the chosen of the Lord. Absalom himself had his head trapped in the branches of a tree. The worldly try to exalt themselves by their craftiness. Therefore, the Lord ensures that they fall and fail. But the godly humble themselves before the Lord and seek His will for their lives. They will rise not on account of their own efforts or wisdom or skills or the advice and counsel of other wise or knowledgeable human beings but as the Lord has decided to exalt them. For us to succeed, we need to consult the Lord at every step. We need to seek His wise counsel. His counsel will never fail us. He will guide us as we depend on Him for the direction we should move on as well as in the details of the execution of our plans. We may seek advice from a variety of people in our line of activity or in our network but we must not fail to recognize that if the Lord’s counsel is to move in the opposite direction, we should not hesitate but we should trust and obey. Sometimes we foolishly think as we often do about our own parents that the Lord God might be out of step with the latest developments in our profession or He may not be tech savvy or well informed about the complexities of modern management. This is a different kind of generation gap between God and man. But the thoughts of God are up to date with every generation. He knows our problems, the alternatives available and the dilemmas we face on a day to day basis. Whatever the Lord touches, whatever He is involved in will never be in vain but it will fulfil its purpose. Our plans and our lives will be brought to fruition even as the wily schemes and plans of the devious will be nullified. The Lord literally has the last word in everything. Hence, we might as well seek it in time and abide by it. Prateep V Philip

Explaining and Solving the Unexpected

UV 967/10,000 Explaining and Solving the Unexpected He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. 2 Kings 4 v 33 The Shunamite hostess of Elisha the prophet had not asked for a child as a blessing knowing that she and her husband were too old for them to have a child. But the prophet Elisha wanted to show his gratitude for the trouble she took to care for him on his visits to Shunam. He prophesied that she would bear a son in a year. But one day when the child was accompanying his father to the fields, he suffered a headache and later died in his mother’s lap. The woman without even informing her husband that the child had died, set out to meet the prophet whom she believed could restore the child to her. She had the faith that the prophet, who could bless her with a child when she had no hope of bearing a child, could also restore the child when there seemed to be no hope of doing so. Elisha the prophet on seeing the Shunamite woman coming from afar could not figure out that she was in great distress. She did not even confide in Gehazi the servant of Elisha that she was in great distress as her son had died. She reached the man of God and taking hold of her feet, poured out her great grief. Elisha sent Gehazi ahead with his staff to lay upon the dead child. But the woman insisted on his coming and he too accompanied her back to her home. When he reached her home, he went in, shut the door and prayed to the Lord. The reason for the woman’s distress was kept from the prophet. He sought the reason from the Lord in the privacy of the room. The Lord directed him to do the unusual thing of lying down on the child’s dead body. When he did it a second time the child came back to life. The implication of this uni-verse is that when something unexpected and unexplained happens, we should not waste words or time but like the Shunamite woman and Elisha take it to the Lord in prayer and in private. Gehazi’s staff was not sufficient to cause the miracle. As the Shunamite woman believed-only the prophet’s prayer and coming to the scene could resolve the crisis in her life. The Lord who knows our sorrows, who hears our prayers and knows the answers, solutions and remedies will reveal what we are to do. We must take recourse or refuge in the Lord as soon as possible and as privately as possible. Elisha even kept the mother and his own servant out of the room as he conferred with the Lord. This uni-verse spoke to me when I suffered an unexplained sickness two days ago that the Lord healed rapidly as I prayed to Him in the privacy of my room. Prateep V Philip