Friday, February 28, 2014

Hope Power Greater Than Horse Power

" if thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trusted, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan. " Jeremiah 12 v 5 God expects us to be meek but not weak, strong and not stung. He manifests His strength in the weakest of us. He trains us through the troubles, challenges and difficulties of our lives. We are His runners and cavalry. Only when we move mountains or meet the challenges head on do we experience the fountains of His amazing grace and power in our lives. Every day and every moment, in every situation He expects us to drink deep of His grace and to fly on the wings of prayer and Word. When we do so we can exceed and excel. We will run and not grow tired. We will be not content with what we have done in and for The Lord so far and aim to go higher and further. The Lord wants us to be winners and not whiners. Our hope, our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual stamina or staying power is based on how we stay in The Lord as well as what we say to ourselves and others. The Lord knows that He will catch us in His safety net if we fall. But He tests and checks our inner attitude when we are well within our comfort zone as well as when we are stretched and challenged. We need to be like a resilient rubber ball. The harder we are hit, the higher we bounce. Our focus on the locus of our faith -the Lord, our diligent study and obedient application of His Word determines the altitude we will climb. We will be filled with extraordinary courage. We will be untiring or indefatigable in our efforts for The Lord. Philip literally ran along side the chariot of the Ethiopian official in order to explain the meaning of the scripture he was reading. We are to be strong, valiant and enduring like warriors. We know the battle is the Lord's, that the enemy can get his horses ready but The Lord gives us certain victory even if it seems as if the odds and probabilities are against us. Our souls will never get weary as long as we wear the garment of praise and thanksgiving. Our hope power is far greater than horse power. He will strengthen our feet like the hind feet of mountain goats that are able to climb even near vertical cliffs in order to reach the virgin pastures of the higher reaches of the mountains.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

God's Guerillas

"And David spake to the men that stood by him saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine , that he should defy the armies of the living God?" 1 Samuel 17 v 4. The words we speak are very vital to set up either victory or defeat. The words we speak with faith in God, confidence in ourselves and hope in our future are the seed we sow in the spirit. David sowed the seed of his victory by questioning the credentials of Goliath in defying Israel and their God. The Israelites had faced many challenges as a people and a nation but here was an individual challenge thrown at them. The Israelites saw Goliath' s gargantuan dimensions, his formidable armour and spear and they shuddered at the prospect of a one to one fight with him. But David did not look at the height or strength or weapons of Goliath. Neither did he listen to his defiant and arrogant words. David knew that he worshipped a God who is much bigger, wiser, stronger and nobler than any challenge he faced in life. His faith filled him with confidence in himself, courage and wisdom. David's three brothers who were soldiers in Saul's army thought that it was sheer imprudence and bravado on his part to even think of taking the gauntlet against the giant Goliath. Saul himself thought it was impossible for this callow youth to attempt to fight with that experienced giant of a warrior. But David recalled how he had fought and overpowered a lion and a bear in his career as a shepherd. He had encountered impossible or improbable odds successfully in the past and he was confident he could do so again. He knew that he did not have to be as strong as his quarry to defeat him. He only needed to be more wise, shrewd and resourceful. He only needed to be more skilful. But beyond that he knew that he had the spiritual armour that no weapon could possibly penetrate- his faith in the living God who had delivered him in the past from many threats, risks and dangers. The secret of David's victory over Goliath was the anointing he received from The Lord when the prophet Samuel poured sacred oil upon him and declared him as the king if Israel chosen by The Lord. Facing Goliath and causing him to fall to the ground face down and then slaying him with Goliath's own sword was part of God's plan to make him king of Israel. David did not wait till he was in striking distance of Goliath. He struck him on his forehead with the stone shot from his sling. His skill with the sling developed even as a shepherd played a crucial role in his victory. He was God's own guerrilla. Goliath was before him a brainless, feckless, clueless " uncircumcised gorilla. " God also uses our natural talents, skills and prior training coupled with our faith in Him to deliver us and give us amazing victories in life. We are His guerrillas today.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All Our Springs in Him

UV 1022/10,000 Our Springs are in Him As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee. Psalm 87 v 7 In Zion or the kingdom of God, the singers go ahead praising the Lord with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, followed by the players of instruments like cymbals, harps, gongs, flutes and trumpets. Those who sing lift up their voices with joy. Those who play the instruments play with zest and great enthusiasm as if they can make those instruments compose and sing songs in praise of the Lord. Praise and thanksgiving if it is truly faith-based should precede and not follow our blessings. Those who are born again in Zion, a name signifying not a geographical location but a spiritual place where God dwells and rules, will always have a reason to sing, a reason to rejoice. The different aspects or domains of our lives, the physical, the intellectual, the emotional, the social, the spiritual, the familial, the financial, the creative, the aesthetic, the professional are like the ten strings on an instrument. Each of these aspects gives us both reasons to be glad and thankful to the Lord. All the things that we own or possess are given to us by the Lord so that our joy is full and to employ as instruments to praise the Lord. Others may attribute their blessings to their hard work, talent or luck but we must always be firm in our belief that all our springs have their source in the Lord and the Lord only. It implies that we have no source of joy apart from Him. When His spring is in us, we sing. A spring never runs dry even though a river can go dry. When people find their joy in wealth, position, power and pleasure, it can run dry. But when we find our joy in the Lord, when we find our joy in prayer and the Word, it becomes eternal springs that never run out of living water. All our springs arise from Jesus who gives mankind living water that will never make us thirst again. Living water is a metaphor for hope, for precepts and promises that we can apply and claim in our everyday lives. Rivers of life-enabling, life-blessing and life-giving praise and thanksgiving should always flow from our hearts, minds and bellies upwards, against the law of gravity and towards the Lord. When we dwell in or with the Lord, our lives will be like Elim an oasis in the desert that had twelve wells and seventy date palms. The twelve wells are symbolic of the provision of the Lord for every month of the year and the date palms are symbolic of every single year in our lives of seventy plus years being fruitful. The living water that flows in us that has its source in Jesus will not only never run dry but it also runs deep as a well. We can draw water with joy not only to satisfy our own need but the need of others in all ten domains of life. The enemy of our souls will try hard to close some of the springs and wells that bring joy to our souls. He will try to afflict us, hamper us, hinder us, disturb us, distract us, irritate and annoy us with a million little things. He steals our peace, kills our joy and robs our faith. But like Isaac re-dug and re-opened the wells closed by his neighbours and foes, we must be alert and pre-empt the enemy of our souls. We need to zealously guard the springs and wells the Lord has caused to rise up in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Crown of Glory, A Royal Diadem

UV 1021/10,000 A Crown of Glory, A Royal Sceptre Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God Isaiah 62 v 3 People take great pleasure in possessing jewels but God takes pleasure in the same way in His people. If we ignore Him, He ignores us. But if we value God in our lives, He will value us as His most precious and priceless possessions. The word priceless means that it will not be traded for any price or exchanged for anything in the world. We are priceless in the eyes of the Lord. Each faithful believer is a crown of greatness in the hand of the Lord. We are a royal sceptre in His hand. He brings glory to His name and He executes His will through us. We are the crown jewels of the Lord and He guards us zealously. He esteems us and cherishes us as a royal family takes pride of the royal jewels that have passed down from generation to generation. The crown jewels are a symbol of the power, majesty and authority of the royal family. The word “jewel” can be broken into two root words: “jew” and “el” . By virtue of our faith in Jesus, we are the new Jews of God. Jesus wore a crown of thorns that pierced into His scalp and head all round. That act of His relieves us of all our own thorns or worries, fears and pressures. Our thorns are exchanged for a throne of Heaven. We wear a crown of glory and we are a crown of glory in the possession of the Lord. The expression “crown of glory” emphasizes the esteem in which we are held by the Lord. Crowns are set with the most precious stones that are lifted up against the base of pure gold. Just as diamonds have many facets and qualities, each of us have many facets and qualities. The value of a diamond is judged by the following four C’s: cut, colour, clarity and carat. Our troubles and experiences in this world are responsible for the “cut” of our lives. The colour is determined by the extent of our faith. The clarity is determined by the extent of God-given and availed wisdom. The carat is determined by the extent of our contribution to the kingdom of God as well as to the world around. The expression “ royal diadem” in the uni-verse implies that we are given royal authority by the Lord to rule over the powers and principalities of the world. Our thoughts, words, prayers and commands are like royal decrees and the Lord will not allow a faithful word spoken to fall to the ground. Our fellowship with the Spirit will determine how firmly we are held in the hand of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 23, 2014

At Peace with God and Man

UV 1020-10,000 At Peace with God and Man When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16 v 7 When we have the favour of the Lord, He will not let our enemies triumph over us. We have the favour of the Lord when we believe in the one perfect sacrifice He provided for the salvation of mankind in His Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace and the fountainhead of blessing. We have the favour of the Lord when we consistently do His perfect or pleasing will. We have the favour of the Lord when we humble ourselves before Him. We have the favour of the Lord when we delight in His Word and in keeping it or storing it in one’s heart and mind as well as living in accordance with it. We have the favour of the Lord when we show compassion to our fellow beings, especially the poor and needy among His flock. We have the favour of the Lord when we worship Him in spirit and in truth and clothed in the beauty of the clothes of salvation He gives us. When we have the favour of the Lord, we are blessed. When we are blessed, we prevail with God by His grace and prevail with men again by the grace of God. Even when the countervailing forces are greater, we prevail. A person who prevails with God and man is a true prince –in contrast to the writings of Machiavelli that attribute duplicity as the art and craft of the prince. A prince maintains his integrity and the Lord enlarges his territory. This was the experience of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham prevailed against enemies who were numerically stronger than him like the chieftain Abimelech. He was blessed by the King-Priest of Salem, Melchizedek- forerunner of Christ. Isaac prevailed against hostile neighbours and tribes. Jacob stole his brother Esau’s blessing and fled out of fear that Esau would kill him after the death of their father. That fear continued to haunt him in all the years he lived in the community of Laban, his father-in-law. After working for fourteen years with Laban and winning the hand in marriage of two of Laban’s daughters, Jacob decided to return to the land of his father. When Jacob heard that Esau was coming towards his location accompanied by four hundred men, he feared for his life and that of his family. But as scripture says, the Lord will cause our enemies to treat us well. Esau hugged and embraced his long lost brother Jacob. Jacob had struggled with the angel of the Lord and said he would not let go unless the latter blessed him. He was so zealous for blessings that the first time as a young man, he had won his earthly father’s blessing by deception. Later on during his sojourn he learnt that the blessing of the Lord is more permanent and is in fact eternal. No earthly or heavenly power can take it away or prevail against it. Eternity spans the past, present and future. It was Jacob’s zeal for the blessing of the Lord that pleased Him and turned away the bitterness and anger of Esau. Indeed, when we please the Lord, even our enemies will be at peace with us. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Prodigal to Prodigious

UV 1019-10,000 Prodigal to Prodigious Son But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: Luke 15 v22 Our Father transforms us by His compassion and love from being prodigal sons and daughters to being prodigious sons and daughters of God. The more we understand, perceive and realize how undeserving we are of His love, the quicker and greater will be our transformation from being prodigal and rebellious to being prodigious and obedient. The older son thought he was entitled to his father’s love given the fact that he stuck it out with him and slogged for him all the while the younger one left him to indulge in debauchery. The Father in heaven prefers a broken soul to a self righteous and outwardly religious or pious person who thinks he has earned whatever he has got by virtue of his character, conduct and good works. Salvation is all about returning to a right and love relationship with the Father. It is preceded by repentance and brokenness, accompanied by joy and celebration and followed by abundance of fruitfulness or divinely ordained and blessed productivity. The father hugs the returning prodigal son and calls for his servants. Similarly our Father delights in hugging and kissing us and in lavishing His love on us. He calls for His servants, the angels to give us the best robe- or the robe of His salvation. He gives us the multi-coloured coat that Jacob gave his favoured son Joseph so that we manifest or make known the glory of the Father in a variety of domains of life. It will make us the envy of the self righteous, the religious and the worldly. He gives us the signet ring of authority over disease, demons and the powers of darkness in the world- the same powers and principalities that had drawn the prodigal son away from the father’s love. He gives us shoes so that we travel places for Him and proclaim and convey His love to the world around us. The fatted calf that the father kills to provide for a feast of celebration is a symbol of the wages of the eleventh hour worker. It is a symbol of the blessings and rewards that we do not deserve but our Father in His great generosity gives it to us. Our response hereafter is to be prodigious or extraordinary and marvellous and not to be prodigal. Our life hereafter is a grace fiesta or a festival of grace. Any progeny of man can either be prodigal or prodigious. It is the acceptance of the freely available grace of God in the gospel of Christ that makes the difference. Prateep V Philip

Friday, February 21, 2014

Reasons God Celebrates Us

UV 1018-10,000 Giving God Reasons to Celebrate Us The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3 v 17 God does not need to repent for He does no wrong and can do no wrong. But scripture records that in the days of Noah, when sin abounded and Noah was about the only righteous person on the earth, the Lord repented or regretted His decision to create man. Instead, we must give reasons in this day and age for His Father heart to rejoice in us, His creation. When we remain faithful and committed to Him, He celebrates us every day and every moment of our lives. He celebrates our achievements to announce His greatness. He celebrates our victory over sin, weakness, temptation, trials and tribulations. He celebrates the personal qualities of each one of us. Just as Jacob enumerated the personal qualities of each of his twelve sons and pronounced His blessings, the Lord knows the personal qualities of each one of us and pronounces His blessings. He dances and sings around us and on account of us. The word “sing” interestingly is a combination of “sin” and the letter “G” that stands for God helping us overcome our misery and thereby rejoice in our hearts. A song after all is the reflex of a joyful heart. Our earthly parents rejoice in their offsprings’ success. Similarly, the Lord rejoices over us. Our earthly parents lament over us when we fail their expectations. Similarly, the Lord laments over us. The Lord also finds joy in us as a young man delights in his bride. Just as a child rests in her mother’s arms and is lulled into sleep by her singing, we can rest in the arms of the Lord. He cradles our heads on His right hand and wraps His left hand around us. We can lie still in the assurance that God is mighty and He can and does save us. He knows our every need and fulfils it. Scripture says that He will beautify us with His salvation. He delights in those who fear Him and walk in faith. He prospers us in every work of the hand, the fruit of the body, the fruit of the land and the fruit of the cattle. Yet human experience is that when the going is good, people tend to move away from God and when the going gets tough, we move closer to Him. The Israelites had to be enslaved in Egypt and delivered through the mighty right hand of God manifesting in the leadership of Moses. God had to show Himself mighty in their midst and yet they proved fickle and complained against Moses and the Lord. The Lord does not take pleasure in the pain we undergo but history is replete with examples of people who moved away from God when the times were good. They shifted their faith from the invisible but mighty and loving God to visible things. The Lord found that only pain and affliction could wean us from the world and cure us of our infidelity. Often the Lord needs to put a hook in our nose and a bit and bridle on us in order to make us go in the proper direction. Prateep v Philip

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Specialist of Specialists

The Specialist of Specialists And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. Exodus 15 v 26 It is man’s sin that brought death and disease into the world. But this uni-verse gives us the remedy- if we diligently listen to the voice of our Lord and our God and do that which is right in His sight and not merely in the sight of men or our own sight, if we heed His commandment and obey all his principles and precept, He will not allow us to be afflicted with any of the diseases that He plagued the Egyptians with. He will bless our water, our food and the very air we breathe so that no germs present in these can cause harm to us. It is my testimony that over the past three years as I daily and diligently studied and imparted the uni-verse I have hardly suffered any sickness or disease. It is not laughter that is the best medicine but it is the Word of God that acts as a powerful prophylactic to prevent and pre-empt disease and ill health. If we cleave or cling to Him and strap ourselves with His Word as a life-jacket is strapped all round a person, no disease will cleave or stick to us. The Lord has revealed that He is the specialist of specialists. He knows exactly what ails every tiny part and organ of our bodies and minds and He is the one who heals us. Jesus is the Balm of Gilead who heals our inner wounds. The uni-verse above says that we need to obey ALL the statutes of the Lord. While this is near –impossible for sinful people like us with all our frailties, Jesus provides us the grace to fill the gaps. The Holy Spirit scans our entire being and highlights the areas that need healing. The Lord blesses our food, water and the very air we breathe so that no germ present in these could harm us. The Word also promises that He will put these diseases on those who hate us without reason. If they come to us asking for forgiveness and prayer, we are duty bound to pray for their healing. If we ourselves are righteous and upright in the eyes of the Lord, our prayers will be effectual and they will be set free and their faith will increase. Yet some may ask why do some believers get afflicted with disease and some even die of some deadly diseases. The answer is that it is the Lord who is the healer and His sovereignty and authority always stands. In some like St Paul, He allowed a thorn in the flesh- some form of discomfort or physical weakness so that he maintained his dependence on God, faith and humility. In some like Lazarus, He allows it not for grief but to reveal the greater glory of God through the exercise of faith and the awesome miracle of resurrection. This morning I was saddened to hear of the accidental death of a police constable working in one of my units in a southern district. But the Lord had forewarned us in a time of prayer last weekend that we would soon hear of a death. Yesterday, I also heard of a young believer who contracted the deadly rabies disease from his own pet dog. I cannot claim to either understand or explain this. Perhaps, the Lord has some hidden purpose. Suffice it for us to keep affirming , “ You are the Lord who heals me.” Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Uniqueness of God

The Uniqueness of God Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Exodus 15 v 11 God is unique. He is perfect and awesome. He is nonpareil and without comparison to anyone in heaven or on earth apart from His Son Jesus who reflected His power, majesty, love, holiness, humility and grace in all its fullness. This uni-verse attributes three qualities to God- “glorious in holiness, fearful in praises and doing wonders.” The glory and greatness of God is beyond human comprehension and description. This is the reason Jesus was sent in our likeness in order to o make Him known to mankind. Jesus is the perfect translation of God for the complete transformation of man. But for the grace of Jesus, we are not even worthy to offer our worship to God as He can see us in the nakedness of our sin and misery. The dirty rags of our good deeds and character are washed in the blood of redemption and regeneration of the Anointed One, the Christ of God to enable us to be white as snow in His presence and strong as steel that we will not melt in that awesome heat of His holiness and glory. We praise God for His goodness and thank God for His marvellous deeds unto us. When we worship God in this manner with praise and thanksgiving, His awesome power is released in our real life situations on earth. The reason is that our worship brings the presence of God around and within us and the presence of God is sufficient to deal with whatever be the situation we are facing. The “doing wonders” aspect of God’s nature is a natural outflow of the first two qualities of being awesome and praiseworthy. He is not a passive spectator of what is happening in our lives but He engages with us in dialogue. The shadow of His right hand is always upon us as we walk close to Him with an attitude of trust, awe or reverence and gratitude. He will both provide for us and protect us in amazing ways. He will also promote us. Whether we know it or not, He has done marvellous things in our lives so far and will continue to do so. Not only is God unique but our relationship with God is unique. No other relationship can match it for its depth, width, height. Depth refers to our mutual understanding of each other. Width refers to the broad spectrum or variety of ways we impact each other. Height as used in the expression the “height of imagination” refers to the extent of unpredictability, surprise, creativity, incredible dimension involved in the mutual relationship between God and us. The rainbow is a symbol of the banner of love God puts over us to indicate that we engage with each other in the spiritual , the physical, the intellectual, the emotional, the social, the financial and the familial domains of life. We can use the rainbow concept to praise, worship, thank and pray by recalling both our need in each of these seven areas as well as the goodness, greatness and completeness of God’s marvellous deeds in each of these areas. God showed me as many as seven different types of rainbows to remind me of his covenant love. Some of these I have photographed. Indeed, God is incredible and that’s why so many through the generations found it difficult to believe in Him while still others were willing to die for that belief. Prateep v Philip

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Power of Anointing

UV 1015/10,000 The Power of Anointing And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. Isaiah 10 v 27 Sometimes when we are hard pressed for time, troubled by some thoughts or by circumstance and do not have the enthusiasm to worship the Lord, a burden or yoke bears down on our shoulders and neck as a heavy yoke on the oxen’s neck. But we are not beasts of burden and it is not the will of God that we are weighed down by such worry and anxiety. Both worry and worship has the same starting root or syllable. We can either worry or worship for we cannot do both. We can wholeheartedly worship God or we can have our minds full of anxious thoughts. Jesus said, “ Every day has enough challenges for that day. Why add to it by worrying about tomorrow?” While man consoles himself with the words, “ this too shall pass away” the Lord says as in this uni-verse, “It shall come to pass..” This implies that the day we are anointed from that very day, our burden shall be taken away, our yoke shall be destroyed. The words are precise, specific and definite. The yoke of anxiety is destroyed by the anointing of the Lord. We receive three types of anointing- the anointing of fire that destroys the thorns and briers in one day, the anointing of oil that gives us the spirit of gladness over that of our companions, the anointing of the spirit that teaches us all things. The anointing fills us with the power of God that enables us to easily defeat the enemy of our souls and our earthly foes. It is by virtue of our anointing that the Lord hears us from heaven and saves us by the strength of His right hand. It is on account of our anointing that the mercy and faithfulness of God is always with us. It is His anointing that makes us higher than the rulers of the earth. It is His anointing that blesses and causes our descendants to endure. It is His anointing that makes us victorious and more than conquerors. We can loose the power of our anointing like King Saul if we disobey the Lord and His Word. We are not appointed as kings and priests but we are anointed as such. People are appointed for a fixed period of time but we are anointed forever. Our anointing has no expiry date. Our anointing is not static but it grows or increases as we walk closer to the Lord and we increasingly obey and worship Him. Our anointing manifests itself in a variety of ways: in Samson it was manifested as immense strength, in David it was manifested in victory against all odds, in Solomon in his God-given wisdom, in Elijah and Elisha in miracles of provision and resurrection. In Moses, the anointing was manifested in his leadership. In the apostles of Jesus, it was manifested in amazing signs, wonders and miracles of healing and deliverance. Prateep V Philip

Monday, February 17, 2014

Overcoming in Life and Death

Overcoming Death And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12 v 11 The biggest challenge of life is to overcome the enemy of our souls. If we have handled all the other challenges of life and failed in this, we have failed indeed. If we do not we succumb to death and we know that death annuls all our accomplishments, extinguishes all our hope, all our relationships. If we believe Jesus is the Son of God, we overcome the second death which is an experience of continually dying without it ever ending and the fear of death that makes us love this short life on earth as if this is the only life we have to live. Scripture says that through fear of death, we are held in spiritual bondage all our lives. We overcome the enemy and such bondage by faith in the blood of the Lamb provided by God to all mankind even as He provided a lamb for Abraham to sacrifice in place of his son Isaac. When the Word of God is tested in our lives, it becomes the word of testimony. These are the two sides of the coin- faith and the Word- that purchases for us eternal victory over death. This uni-verse emphasizes the importance of both faith and the Word –in –action in our lives. The irony is that if we love our lives in this world, we loose it. If we hate it, we keep it. Not just that, we receive the reward of the crown of righteousness at the appearance of Christ. Jesus confesses our names to God the Father as those who belong to Him. He writes our names in the Book of salvation of the Lamb for it is His prerogative to give salvation to whom He chooses. He gives us a new divine name to signify that we are a new creation redeemed by His blood. He rewards us for our righteous deeds. The American President is the most powerful living person on the planet at least for now. He can use force in virtually any part of the planet to impose or execute his will subject of course to constitutional restraints and safeguards. The Bible is the spiritual constitution of the Kingdom of God. According to this constitution, every believer in Christ is more powerful than the US President as he is liable to be overcome by sin and death but we have overcome sin and death. The US President swears his allegiance to the constitution with a lip level commitment while we have a heart level commitment to Christ and His Kingdom. We are given power over the nations by virtue of our faith. Indeed, greater is He that is in us by faith than he that is in the world. Jesus says, “ Rejoice and overcome, for I have overcome.” We do not overcome and then rejoice as a military victor after a triumph. We rejoice as Jesus has overcome sin, tribulation and death and by our faith in the Vicar of our souls, we too overcome. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spiritual Wisdom

UV 1013 /10,000 Spiritual Wisdom That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: Ephesians 1 v 17 God is the Father of glory, greatness and wisdom. He imparts His glory, greatness and wisdom to such as those who know Him and acknowledge Him and His Son Jesus. He does so by giving us the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Spiritual wisdom does not have a human or even a religious source. It has a spiritual source in God. The spirit of wisdom is pure, peaceful, easily approachable or accessible, full of mercy and good fruits of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control and a sense of trust and security. The spirit of wisdom is without partiality and hypocrisy. In contrast, worldly wisdom is full of impurities, strife, competition, one upmanship, unforgiveness, love of money and the spirit of aggrandisement, greed and lust, restlessness, aggression, pride, unfaithfulness in dealings, insecurity, suspicion, partiality, insincerity and hypocrisy. Each of these aspects feed on the others and reinforce the vicious cycle. The spirit of revelation is expressed in visions, dreams, prophecies, word of knowledge and word of wisdom. The word of knowledge is a spiritual gift imparted by the Holy Spirit that enables us to know which portion of scripture applies in a specific situation while the spirit of wisdom is the spirit of counsel where we know what decision to take or what words to utter in a specific situation. The Holy Spirit will counsel us even on what words we need to speak. Jesus said, “The eyes are the windows of the body and if the eyes are full of darkness, then the body will be full of darkness.” He exhorts us to take care of the source of our vision. Leadership without a vision is blind leadership. A vision is only imparted by God. Hence, when we divorce leadership and management from the spiritual wisdom of God, we are consigning ourselves to be blind leaders following blind leaders since neither know where they came from, where they are heading and how to find the right way. A blind man does not lack in strength of his limbs or any other organ. He only lacks in a sense of direction and the ability to correctly perceive obstacles in his path. Such leadership and management will be full of bad fruit like rivalry, hatred, stress, gossip, depression, conflict, impatience, rudeness, corruption, arrogance, lust, pride, partiality and hypocrisy in subtle ways or in full bloom. I recently attended a global conference on “ Spiritual Wisdom for Management” at Yale University. It was felt by teachers of management and leadership from different nations that in the absence of spiritual wisdom, management was bound to be shorn of visionary, life- giving and life- enhancing values. The spirit of wisdom and revelation will supply the vision that we lack due to the personal knowledge we have of God through His Son Jesus. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gleaning Leads to Meaning

UV 1012/10,000 Gleaning Leads to Meaning I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? Ruth 1 v 21 Naomi and her husband Elimelech of Bethlehem in Judah had moved to Moab in a time of famine in their native place. They had two sons. But Naomi lost in quick succession her husband and her two sons. She was now returning home to Bethlehem emptied of all hope, full of pain and sorrow. She asked her two widowed daughters-in-law to leave her and return to their own homes. The name Naomi means “ beautiful,pleasant, delightful” but she felt that the witness or hard evidence of her life was that God had allowed her to be depressed, empty, barren and stripped of all fruit and every leaf of hope. She felt that she should be called “ Mara” or very bitter, cursed or empty. Ruth however proved her faithfulness by vowing to remain with Naomi though marital vows had committed her only to the point of death of her spouse. She said, “ Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God.” On account of the faith of Ruth, God caused the barren tree to blossom again. On the counsel of Naomi, she went to the fields of her “kinsman-redeemer” Boaz to glean for barley. She won the favour and love of Boaz and eventually married him and bore Obed the ancestor of King David and much later, the Messiah Jesus. Today, the Lord is calling the faithful, afflicted, spiritually hungry and needy to glean His nourishing grains of truth in the fields of God, namely, scripture. Then we will be blessed like Naomi, Boaz and Ruth to be the forebears of a royal lineage. When we are loyal to God, He blesses us and ours to be royal. The other day we witnessed a rare happening. There was a dead coconut tree whose top was cut off and it was but a dead stump. But suddenly we found a large company of parrots descended on the dead stump of the coconut tree and either fluttered over it or landed on the flat top or held on to the sides. The Lord was conveying a message that He can bring life, hope and fulfillment of hope even to a dead stump. Indeed, gleaning the uni-verse brings meaning into our otherwise barren and useless lives. He will make us fruitful and useful. Unlike what Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, nothing we speak or do will be vain. Even when we are afflicted, we should not give up on our hope or faith. Our afflictions should make us better and not bitter. It is a sign that the Lord has chosen us as a special vehicle to deliver His purpose, power and blessing. Noah, Daniel and Job faced huge afflictions but the Lord made their lives a model and a message forever. The reason why the Lord has to afflict human beings is that when left to ourselves, we will be so full of ourselves, our plans, our desires and our thoughts that we do not have any space or time for the Lord. When He afflicts us, the Holy Spirit will work powerfully and revive us by His power and make our lives eventually beautiful, delightful and pleasant. Prateep V Philip

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Mastery of Mystery

The Mastery of Mystery 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 The depth of God’s wisdom, knowledge, judgments and ways cannot be fully plumbed by any man. The secrets of God are unsearchable and beyond our comprehension. But what He had kept secret from the foundation of the earth, that is for millions of years, He has revealed in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. He has confided the secret of salvation in His Son and His Son reveals it to mankind. These secrets relating to this life and our salvation have been made as plain and clear as crystal though it still remains secret for those who choose not to believe His Word. The Lord has also revealed and continues to reveal some of His secrets through His servants, the prophets through the ages from Moses and Daniel up to prophets in the present day and age. Scripture says, “He does nothing without revealing it to His prophets.” Many secrets of science and technology He has hidden in nature and He reveals it to those who persist in seeking such discovery, knowledge and understanding. But there are certain secrets that are beyond the ken of human knowledge, understanding or even revelation. These are the areas of God’s sovereignty that He alone knows. For instance, we do not know the exact time or season when certain events prophesied will happen. Even Jesus did not know the hour of His return. He only gave us some pointers or signs indicating the likely time. Jesus though He spoke with parables, explained these parables to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. By revealing these mysteries, He has given us entrance to a mastery of life. But what God has revealed in simple words, and not in enigmas or riddles or puzzles, in scripture is abundant and sufficient for us and our children and their children to know, understand, believe, obey and be blessed. God does not play a “ hide and seek” game with man. He has revealed who He is, what His nature is, His expectations and His commands for us to obey or follow, His terms for our salvation and blessing in this life and the life to come. Even today, He is pouring His spirit upon all flesh to reveal mysteries and given the gift of the word of wisdom and knowledge to enable people to interpret and explain the unknown, the spiritual, the secret, the invisible and the mysterious. We must tie these revealed truths as a tight fitting belt around us through the loops of reason, historical knowledge, fear of God, common sense, wisdom, scientific understanding and practical application in our daily lives. We must not attempt to peer through the loopholes of the belt trying to discern the things yet kept secret in the heavenly realm or be unduly curious and speculate over matters that do not belong to us or are not necessary for us to know. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Test of Faithfulness

UV 1011/10,000 Test of Faithfulness Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16 v 10 God tests us for our faithfulness by first entrusting us smaller resources, smaller responsibilities and letting us face smaller challenges. He checks if we are faithful stewards of the little that He first gives us. He looks to see how diligently we handle smaller responsibilities. He examines our hearts as we take on small challenges, difficulties and problems. Do we muster the little strength that we have in our inner selves to confront the challenge or do we succumb to fear, insecurity, worry and do we whine, complain, curse ? The principle of honest and ethical conduct is contained in this uni-verse: if we are honest and trustworthy in a little, we will be honest and trustworthy in much. When we prove ourselves honest and trustworthy in a little, the Lord promotes us to the next level. Our hearts should not be seduced to depend on our resources, abilities or positions of power and authority, whether in little or much. Abraham passed the test of faithfulness in his response to God’s call to leave his father’s land and travel from Ur to present day Israel. He further passed the test of obedience in offering to sacrifice his only begotten son, Isaac. Therefore, God was pleased with Abraham and called him a Friend of God. God entered into covenant with him forever to bless his descendants. He even tried to fulfilled his responsibility as a father and a husband to Hagar and Ishmael. Under the instigation of Sarah he was compelled to send them away. But before sending them away, he placed a bottle of water and a piece of bread in Hagar’s hands as provision. That bread and water that Abraham provided did not last and God provided for Hagar and Ishmael in the desert and even fulfilled His promise to the descendants of Abraham through Ishmael that they would be numerous and be the princes of nine nations. The Lord tells us today that we should not trust in the bread and water that Abraham or man provides but trust in the provision of the Lord. Though it appears to be little it will be sufficient for all our need. We need to believe and act on the assurance that a little gained honestly is far more blessed and greater than a lot gained with dishonest means. Just as Abraham was promoted to be a priest of righteousness, a prophet of God and a prince of blessing, when we prove ourselves to be faithful at each level in our spiritual journey, the Lord promotes us to be priests, prophets and princes of Zion or the Kingdom of God. It is a sense of absolute security, certain or sure hope and trust in the Lord taking care of their every need that the honest and faithful have that they remain content with a little, knowing that when that is over, the Lord will replenish them. It is a sense of insecurity and distrust of God that drives people to put their trust in uncertain riches and to be never satisfied, regardless of how much they have in their possession. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blessing Hidden in a Warning

The Blessing Hidden in a Warning My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4 v 6 The legal meaning of the expression “ want of knowledge” is denseness, ignorance, illiteracy,incomprehension, inexperience,lack of education,unfamiliarity.. Ignorance of God and His law is no bliss but it makes us miss the mark. There is a legal principle that operates in the world: ignorance of the law is no excuse. People are destroyed for want of personal knowledge of God, our Maker and our Redeemer. The converse is also true- that people are blessed to live forever due to a personal knowledge of God. Our personal knowledge of God wins us His favour or His grace. Our personal knowledge of God causes us to acknowledge Him at every turn of our life, every day of our life. The Word of God increases our personal knowledge of God as well as our faith. It should be studied like a law, breathed in like oxygen, drunk and eaten like water and food, enjoyed like choice dishes, mined like a gold-mine, collected like a treasure, valued like diamonds and precious stones. When we are doing all this, we are paying full attention and not ignoring God or His Word. Whole nations as well as families and generations of individuals and institutions like marriage today are in decline due to ignoring God and His Word. Formerly, they were greatly blessed for their personal knowledge of God. What does personal knowledge mean? It means we should know the person of God, we should know His name, His character or nature, His words that have been communicated to us. It is not a one way street. He too should know our name and acknowledge us. He should know our character or nature. He should hear us and talk with us. It also means we greatly value each other. Personal knowledge of God is what gives a leader the edge. It makes us a royal priesthood of God. He anoints us as priests and kings. As priests, we can approach the throne of God and stand in the gap for people to intervene on their behalf. As kings, in the right hand we hold the Word of God and in the left, the sword of execution or obedience to the will of God in all matters, great and small. The hidden promise of this uni-verse is that our children would be greatly blessed. The uni-verse is also a caveat or warning to people. When we ignore God, He too will ignore us. Scripture says that even the ox knows its master and the donkey, its crib, but we do not recognize the voice of the Master or understand His will for our lives. We will be foolish and follow our own bodily passions. We will perish like the beasts of the earth. He will reject us as priests. Since we have forgotten His Word, He too will forget our children. He will blow a wind so that at the time of harvest or at the time of maturity, the corn head will be empty or shorn of fruit or blessings. We will be like the oxen that bear its own yoke. We will not rule but be ruled. When we reject God, we reject life itself. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Grow Like a Cedar, Praise Like a Palm

UV 1009/10,000 Growth like a Cedar The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Psalm 92 v 12 Jim Rohn said, “ Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.” But in the kingdom of God, growth is supernatural and spiritual. The cedar is the king among trees. The believers will grow like the cedar tree. The cedar tree is strong, full of calcium and grows full of strength to a great height. We will be “ fat and flourishing” like the date palm tree. We will bear good fruit even in our old age, implying we will be useful to God and man right till the end of our lives and leave a legacy of testimony beyond our lives. Our prayers will bless people, our words will bring hope, encouragement and meaning into people’s lives, our advice will guide them into paths of righteousness. The trees of the Lord are full of “sap” or spiritual anointing power. He will send His fire to destroy the thorns and bramble, the troubles of our lives. The unrighteous in contrast will have the appearance of prospering- but the Lord will destroy the fruit from above and the root from below. They will flourish like the grass that is here today but will be gone tomorrow. Their roots however numerous are shallow and will be uprooted in no time. The fruits are borne largely for their own use, being not substantial, will vanish in the perspective of eternity. Since we are so blessed, everything that moves in our spirits, minds and bodies including the emotions, brain waves and breathing patterns should be waved like branches of palm trees to rejoice, sing and dance, praise and worship the Lord. The Lord revealed three wonders that we take for granted all our lives: a sound or a word falls on our ears and it is immediately communicated to our brain and we comprehend it. Our brain then reacts and a word issues from our tongues. An image falls on the retina of our eyes and it is immediately conveyed to the brain. Even if nothing else happens in our lives, we could spend all our living days thanking and praising the Lord. When we do so, our eyes, ears and tongues are “ circumcised” and anointed. Our minds are anointed and the results will flow like a river. Prateep V Philip

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Secrets of Invincibility

UV 1008/10,000 Secrets of Invincibility What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8 v 31 If God inhabits us, who can inhibit us? Who can limit us? Who can overcome us? Who can stand against us? Who or what can cause us to deteriorate? The Lord has promised that no one and nothing can cause us to deteriorate. Our enemies cannot prevail against us for we have joined the winning side. He has made us more than conquerors for by Jesus, the only death-conquering hero of history, we have overcome death by our faith in His resurrection and resurrecting power. He now intercedes on our behalf at the right hand of God. He is our prayer warrior on high. Christ wept outside Lazarus’s tomb but when He went into the cave where Lazarus’s body was interred, He praised God and raised Lazarus from the death. We can overcome our trials, troubles, challenges, enemies, persecutors and death itself not with force or power but with the love of Christ. We overcome all these threats and forces by praising God. To Abraham, God promised “ I am your shield at your right hand and your exceeding great reward.” He is our most proximate defence or shield. The words, “ at our right hand” means He is always present in close proximity to us. He is within our reach- if we stretch our hands, we can touch Him and He too does so. His right hand defends us so much we do not even need to lift our own right hand. It implies that we need not even use our own strength to fight or to defend ourselves against any onslaught or assault on our spirits, minds or bodies. Not only is He our defence, our fortress, our stronghold, He also gives us amazingly great rewards, in the spiritual and temporal dimensions, exceeding our expectations or our requests or our need. Joshua and his motley army of Israelites were able to overcome powerful adversaries on account of God vindicating their faith. God had promised Joshua that “ no one can stand against him all the days of his life.” We need to affirm our faith by saying to ourselves, “ As God was with Moses, Joshua and David, He is with me.” Those who contend against us will surely fall and regret. We need not fear those who are mighty like the giant Goliath who fell to a single stone from David’s sling. The Lord revealed that David was able to overcome Goliath on account of the anointing he received from the Lord. We are more than conquerors as we are anointed. When we pray, we are anointed to overcome. We loose the anointing when we do not close the door of our mouth, the door of our eyes and the door of the ears to the world. We need to close these three doors to the world and open it to the Word. When we do so, the boundaries and contours of our intellects, our spirits, our abilities, our vision, our faith, our hope and love will expand. When we keep affirming our faith in this manner, He will manifest His grace and glory in similar ways. He will do with our lives an awesome thing in the eyes of the world. This is what we should say or declare to these things that threaten us or try to affect our relationship with God or afflict our peace and joy- troubles, hardship, persecution, famine, lack, danger, weapons, death, enemies, critics, fears, losses, failures, demons, the past, present or the future. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Four Corners of the Tabernacle

UV 1008/10,000 The Four Corners of the House And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. Genesis 32 v 2 The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings and it holds the beginning of all His promises and blessings for His people, for the house of Jacob, for all who trust Him and believe His promises. Jacob was terrified at the prospect of meeting his estranged brother Esau who had with him a large band of 400 able-bodied men. But God sent a band of His angels to encourage him and he called that place, Mahanaim or camp of angels. When we please God, He surrounds us with His army of angels or His host and our house will be literally the great camp of angels or Mahanaim. The house of Jacob has four corners that we should maintain. Last evening in a time of prayer at the Tabernacle, the Lord revealed this amazing message and He even exhorted me to share it on uni-verse that hundreds of people read and be similarly blessed and encouraged. Once we make Jesus the cornerstone and the keystone of our lives, our house or our home will be having four corners: The first corner is an excellent and growing faith. Faith is seeing the things that cannot be seen with such clarity and certainty that the things that can be seen either fade into insignificance or acquire a new significance in its light. The second corner is an excellent hope. Our hope is in the Lord and His presence and not in the visible or material or monetary dimension of life. The third corner of our house is that we are wrapped with the Word of God. We are poring over it all the time, meditating and claiming it all the time as it is the very life-giving breath of God. Heaven and earth will pass away but His Word is eternal and remain forever. The fourth corner of our house is being covered in the redeeming and protecting shed blood of Jesus. When these are the four corners of our home, the Lord’s Shekinah glory will dwell with us. “Shekinah” is the Hebrew word that means the indwelling or inhabiting manifesting presence of God. When He inhabits us, who can inhibit us? Last week a drunken man, apparently with a knife, banged violently on the door of our daughter’s house and even broke the lock of the front door, terrifying her roommate who was inside the house. For some unknown reason, the man left after some time. The Lord had kept our daughter away from the house during the time at church and later at a dinner outing. The four corners of Mahanaim, the camp of the army of the Lord had preserved her from even being present and saved her companion from harm. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, February 8, 2014

God's Words, Man's Ways

UV 1007/10,000 God’s words, Man’s Ways God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23 v 19 Man is not born a liar but we learn to lie as we grow. All of us at some time or other indulge in some form of lying and justify it as “white lies.” We change as we age so much that in different stages of our lives, we have completely different personalities, opinion, beliefs and habits. We resemble the young Jacob in our cunning and deceptiveness. God is not like us. He never lies. He does not change. He does not vacillate. He is the only constant in a world where change is constant. If He has promised something, He will do it without an iota of doubt. If He has spoken, it will happen accordingly. Balaam, the prophet rightly understood the nature of both God and man. He did not expect an absolute level of integrity in man but he knew God to be absolutely truthful, resolute and capable of executing His every intent and fulfilling His every purpose and promise. This uni-verse has practical implications for our daily lives: One, we need to trust God completely and believe His promises. There are two aspects of our trust: one, is He willing to do what He has promised us? Two, Is He capable of doing what He has promised us? The Word says that He is both willing and able to do what He has promised. He can do what He says He can do. He will do what He says He can do. He will not fail in fulfilling any promise He has spoken into our lives. A few months ago, a young lady wrote to me that her marriage has not happened even though she is getting older and ineligible. I encouraged her to hold onto her faith in the promise of God. Today, she wrote to me expressing her joy that she has found a match that exceeded her expectations. Many believers get bitter with others when in their perception that the others cheated, or lied or did not keep their word or commitment. At such times, we must remember the converse of what Balaam’s revelation of who God is: Man is not God and is liable to lie and to change his words and to break promises. But this being so, it is not an excuse for us to lie or cheat or to break our promises. Instead, we should strive to be completely truthful, honest and become known as people who keep our promises. At the same time while we ourselves should be credible, we should not become gullible and susceptible to be taken for a ride by all and sundry or even by so called believers. We need to be as Jesus said, shrewd as serpents and gentle as doves, shrewd enough not to get deceived and gentle enough not to harm or deceive others. We need to increasingly align our ways with God’s Word while testing man’s words and ways with more than a pinch of salt. Prateep v Philip

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Assembly Line

The Assembly Line But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord 2 Corinthians 3 v 18 Man is made in the image of God. We are expected to be the mirror image of God. We are far from being God but we are the mirror image of God. Sin and ignorance distorted that image. But when we believe in Christ we become new creatures. We are renewed in our spirits, day by day even as our old man perishes day by day. The veil which prevented people from looking into the Holy of Holies in the temple at Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross. We can now look at the Triune God with unveiled faces. Our views are unobstructed. Each day when we look into scripture, we see the image of God to which we must conform in different aspects of our lives. Scripture is like a mirror that gives us a clear picture of our faults and failings even as our warts and facial marks are seen in a mirror. Our spirits are the image of God and should reflect the beauty, power, majesty and glory of God. Our minds are the image of God and should reflect the beauty, power, majesty, grace and glory of God. Our bodies are the image of God and should reflect the beauty, harmony, strength, power, grace and glory of God. If we do not get a feedback on how similar or how different we look compared with Christ, the first born Son of God and do our best to take practical steps to improve in our goodness, knowledge, self control, patience, humility, kindness and love, then we are like a blind man who looks into a mirror. Every day and every time we look into the spiritual mirror, we need to take away a learning point and a point for specific application. Day by day and little by little, our intellectual, emotional and spiritual resemblance to Christ needs to increase. God is not interested in taking us through a crash course to groom us to look and behave like Christ. He works on us patiently over a whole lifetime as He did with the apostles of Christ. It is like a long assembly line- the assembly of God: a part needs to be replaced, a nut needs to be tightened, another part needs to be polished, another washed, brushed and cleaned. The end product should be finished, complete and perfected. The Holy Spirit scans every part of our lives and will quicken it to our minds and spirits where we need to do a bit more or a lot more. He is responsible for quality control and He takes His job very seriously to ensure six sigma or zero defect compliance. He knows that is a tall order given our frailties, fragility and vulnerabilities but He applies a lot of grace to cover up the gaps just as a factory engineer would apply grease over any cracks. Prateep V Philip

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Spirit of Excellence

The Spirit of Excellence I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. Daniel 5 v 14 Daniel’s contemporaries credited him to have a keen mind, knowledge and understanding. They told the Babylonian king Belshazzar that Daniel also had the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. He had these attributes as the spirit of God dwelled in him for the spirit of God is the spirit of excellence. Daniel excelled on account of the anointing on him. He had a prophetic calling and the Holy Spirit imparted these gifts to him that he used wisely, boldly and with a lot of humility. To prove that the gifts of Daniel were not natural but supernatural in origin and administration, God invested such wisdom in three of his fellow Jewish captives: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Their being subjected to prolonged period of training and education in contemporary Babylonian science and religion did not make them prey to learned incapacity. They were evidence that even in the most unfavourable circumstances, with God’s grace, one can excel even in captivity. Each of us is in captivity in this world where sin, misery, violence and curse abounds but the grace of God will enable us to excel. Belshazzar wanted Daniel to interpret the mystery of the writing on the wall. He promised to give Daniel rewards for doing so- clothes of purple, a gold chain and the position of the third highest ruler in the kingdom. But Daniel was not enticed by these gifts. He asked the king to keep his gifts for himself or give it to someone else. Then he spoke the prophetic word from God that rebuked the king for setting himself up against the Lord of heaven, worshipping idols of silver, gold, stone, metal and wood, for not honouring God who held his life and all his ways in His hand. Then Daniel interpreted the meaning of the words written by the hand on the wall of the the banquet hall of the palace, “ Mene,Mene, Tekel, Parsin.” Daniel interpreted that the king’s days were numbered and his reign would be brought to an end, that he was weighed and found short and that the kingdom is going to be divided. Yesterday, I read somewhere that a life without God is like an unsharpened pencil and there is no point. When we walk humbly and close to God, His wisdom rubs off on us. He sharpens our intellect to make it keen. He moulds our attitudes to make it wholesome, balanced and healthy. He gives us the gift to understand and interpret mysteries. He turns our life from being a mystery into a mastery. We develop insight and understanding into a variety of critical issues of life. We will be wise in our choices and decision making. The wisdom that we are anointed with is no ordinary wisdom but it is outstanding. It will tend to make us gentle, pure, peaceable, hopeful, helpful, humble and excellent. We should be people who can explain the enigma of life, the meaning of unusual events. We are called to be problem-solvers and solution-finders. It is no wonder that some of the greatest leaders of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were people anointed by God- Abraham Lincoln who is rated as the greatest ever of American Presidents, Martin Luther King Jr. who continues to inspire generations of leaders like even the present President of the USA. Even in the twenty first century, there are leaders like Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany who professes her faith openly and submits her leadership to God. The God of Daniel is present to this day and is always willing to anoint leaders and people who wait or depend on Him. Led by the Holy Spirit, we too should number our days to render ourselves wise unto God. We should confess our faults and failings that make us fall short of God’s esteem. Not only does the Lord sharpen our minds but He gives us an eraser to rub away our shortcomings. Our minds should not be divided between the world and the Word but we should always learn to look at the world through the templates of the Word and interpret temporary reality in the light of eternal revealed truths of scripture. The life of Daniel has always been, or at least from the days of my youth, a shining and alluring example for me. When people ask me “ How is it possible to be a faithful witness of Christ in a corrupt, brutal , hardened world of law enforcement ?” I say, “ The dimmest light shines brightest in the darkest night.” Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Transforming an Ass into an Asset

UV 1005/10,000 Transforming an Ass into an Asset Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she said to Balaam,” What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Numbers 22 v 28 Very often in our lives we become as blind as Balaam the prophet that we do not see what the Lord has placed in our paths to prevent us from going that way. We become as stubborn as an ass, if not more, stuck and set in our ways that the Lord needs to cause unusual, signs, circumstances and people and sometimes even the equivalent of a donkey to communicate to us and so open our eyes. Balak, the king of Moab wanted the prophet Balaam to come and put a curse on the Israelites. Balaam knew of the Abrahamic covenant promise of God, “ He who blesses you will be blessed and he who curses you will be cursed.” Sensitivity, discernment, faith and obedience is what distinguishes a man from a beast like an ass. Scripture says that folly and madness is bound up in the heart of every man. Even receiving a whipping will not drive it from us but if we prick up our ears to constantly listen to what the Lord is speaking to us through the Word, through other people, through circumstances and through even nature and beasts, we will be transformed from being an ass into an asset for God and people. We will be transformed being a beast into the best for it is only the letter “a” that separates beast from best and that a stands for attitudes of sensitivity, discernment, faith and submission to God’s will. Balaam knew that he could not do what was clearly not the will of God but he prevaricated and told the official messengers of Balak to tarry a while as he sought and discerned the will of God. The next morning he discerned the permissive will of God to go with them. Since Balaam was more stubborn and insensitive than his own donkey, the Lord had to teach him His pleasing will through the turn of circumstances. The donkey saw the angel with a drawn sword blocking its path and hesitated to go forward only to be beaten by its master. Thrice it happened: the first time the donkey went off the path onto a field. The second time, the angel stood in a narrow passage between two walls and consequently Balaam’s foot got crushed against the stone wall. The third time, the angel stood in an even narrower place with no room to turn. This time the donkey gave up and just lay down. Often the Lord gives us such warning that we must heed at the earliest or suffer some form of injury, loss or harm. After many such painful learning experiences, I made a covenant with the Lord, “ Whatever You want me to do, just tell me and I will do it.” Today, even if my foot or my toe dashes against a stone, I take it as a warning to re-examine whatever I am doing and make course corrections to follow the pleasing and not just the permissive will of God. Unseen and unknown to our senses, the Lord’s presence is always moving ahead of us, removing wilful barriers, neutralising wanton blunders and pointing us the direction in which we should move. Our spirit needs to be tuned to the Holy Spirit to discern clearly the will and purpose of God in every single move, decision and plan of ours. In today’s context, it might not be a donkey that speaks to us but it might a flat tyre, a bounced cheque, a word of warning or counsel from those who know better or so on. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Establishing the Kingdom of God

UV 1005/ 10,000 Establishing the Kingdom of God “Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy Name.” Psalm 103 v 1 Praise is the deepest appreciation we can offer to God, first, for being our wonderful Creator and second, for being an even more awesome Redeemer. Praise is the rejoicing of our inward parts to resonate with the heart of our God and our Redeemer. When this kind of spiritual resonance occurs, chains and bondage break. What we see of ourselves is only the hardware part. The soul is the invisible part or the better half of our being. Initially, we need to consciously direct our souls or our deepest being to praise God but over time it will become a natural flow. As one writer put it, “ Regardless of what lies outside us, what lies inside is far greater.” Our inmost being consists of thoughts, emotions, hopes, dreams, desires, plans, goals, ambitions, memories, expressions, self talk, insight, knowledge, wisdom, decisions, visions, prayer, will power, conscience, energy, strength, stamina, qualities of our character and psyche … We need to praise God with our thoughts, emotions and self talk. We need to praise God for our hopes, dreams, ambitions. We need to praise God for our memories. We need to praise God for His knowledge, wisdom and insight. We need to praise God for decisions, plans, goals and the power He has given us to execute and realize these. We need to praise God for the inner compass of the conscience that guides us. We need to praise God for all our inner organs and the health and healing of these organs. All these together constitute the inner temple of God where He expects continual worship and thanksgiving. It is the sanctum sanctorum of our being. The plans and outlines given in the scripture for the construction of the Tabernacle is actually a metaphor and templates for living temples. The outer courtyard where we wash our feet before entering the precincts of the temple are a reference to our inner repentance and confession. The inner tabernacle is the soul of a man surrendered to God. The altar is the place where we place our thanksgiving and offering of sacrifice of our attention, time, talent and resources. We think, speak, do and move in His awesome Name, for the greatness of His Name and with the greatness of His attributes. The greatness of His Name is the sole focus of all of our inner being. The more we attribute greatness to His Name, the more it will manifest in our outer lives and the more our inner being has both occasion and cause to offer praise. Jesus said, “ The kingdom of God lies within you and amongst you.” We need to discern the inner kingdom that lies within us. We need to discern and understand the kingdom that lies within others around us. Is it a kingdom that acknowledges God as Creator and Redeemer? Then we will be well governed. In the absence of God ruling over our inner being, we will be ruled by our blinded egos and it will be anarchic. In the presence of God, where He is given His due place, the hierarchy that is established is orderly, peaceful and progressive with the Spirit of God over our souls and our spirits, our minds and our bodies. Prateep V Philip

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Love Relationship

UV 1004/10,000 The Love Relationship And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments Exodus 20 v 6 God gave us only ten commandments but ten thousand promises as a sign of His everlasting love and mercy towards all who believe, trust, obey and love Him and His Word. The commandments give us direction in life while the promises give us the power to follow God. If we love Him, we will also love, cherish and obey His Word. He calls thousands of people out of the millions in every generation in every nation to enter into this love relationship with Him. He brings us out of the house of bondage into the house of freedom and blessedness. He gives us grace not because we are better than the others but owing to His mercy. His mercy has two qualities: one, it is everlasting. Two, it is abundant. Jesus summed up the essence of the ten commandments in just two : to love God with all one’s heart, mind, strength and to love man as one loves himself or herself. The first commandment of Jesus implies that we should love God more than we love ourselves or others. There are parts of us that we ourselves do not like or even hate. Hence, to God with all one’s heart, mind and strength implies to love Him more than we love ourselves. God loves us in this manner as demonstrated in the agape or selfless love of Christ on the cross. He did not withhold Himself from being given entirely for our sakes that we may be entirely forgiven, cleansed and blessed. We are asked to love others only just as much as we love ourselves. There is a basic assumption of self-love implicit in this second command of Jesus. Under the new covenant relationship, the Word or the commandments of God are written on the hearts of believers with the indelible ink of the Spirit. We need to need to have a constant remembrance of the Word. As teachers in primary schools used to say, “ We need to learn it by heart.” Learning by heart is not just memorisation but a constant meditation, a constant burning up and refilling of the Word as the fuel that lights up our hearts with love, joy, peace, praise and thanksgiving. Of the ten commandments, only are three are related to God, one is related to honouring parents, one is related to work and rest and five are related to our relationships with other people. When we love others as much as we love ourselves, we will do unto them only that which we would want them to do to us. We will not steal, kill, bear false witness or covet. One command among the five related to people is about being faithful to one’s spouse and about not committing adultery. As a senior police officer, I can discern that all the laws of the nations of the world in its essence are derived from the Ten Commandments. The Ten commandments is about the minimum that man can do for both God ( serving God) and fellow beings ( not harming others) while the two commandments of Jesus is about the maximum that man can do for God and fellow beings (loving God and fellow beings). The Ten commandments are about what we should not do while the two commands are about what we should do. As a manager, trainer, writer and human being, I can discern that the essence of all leadership, management and wisdom is contained in the two commands of Jesus. When we love God more than we love ourselves or others, we are prepared to pay any price for our faith and our relationship with Him. This is the reason why people through the ages have preferred to die rather than deny their faith. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Verse by Verse, Degree by Degree

UV 1003/10,000 Verse by Verse, Degree by degree But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Isaiah 28 v 13 For the past thousand days plus or more than three years, the Lord has been revealing His truths verse by verse, precept by precept, line by line and word by word through this uni-verse series of meditations. I have endeavoured to extract nuggets of truths meant to make us effective leaders, managers and people. By reflecting on all the related verses in a concordance I attempt to bring into the uni-verse all the various dimensions of the truth. Each uni-verse contains a management precept or concept that can be easily understood, remembered and applied in our daily lives. Even a single line, a phrase or a word from scripture can open to us the windows of the Lord’s blessings and grace. It can give us insight that whole volumes of other books cannot possibly give. We appropriate His blessings promise by promise. Each promise verse is a commitment from God to be our help. Each command verse reflects a commitment expected from us to do our part. The promises that are wide-ranging and cover the entire spectrum of any man’s needs and challenges in any age are the rights on earth of the citizens of the Kingdom of God. The commands are the duties and obligations of the citizens of the Kingdom of God. The purpose of the uni-verse is so that the children of the Lord go forward and grow in faith and strength, that we do not backslide or loose our first love, that we do not get discouraged or broken, that we are not snared by our own thoughts or desires or trapped by the wiles of the enemy of our souls. The purpose of the uni-verse is to communicate God’s love to us in practical ways. As we intake each verse and line, understand and apply each precept, we will be transformed into the very image of Christ. We are enabled, anointed, equipped, empowered and edified verse by verse, degree by degree, little by little. The Lord does not expect us to take great leaps but to advance little by little. When we keep doing what we can, we will end up doing what we cannot. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pre-condtions for Divine Responsiveness

UV1002/10,000 Pre-conditions for Divine Responsiveness Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say, “ Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression , with the pointing finger and malicious talk..” Isaiah 58 v 9 When the child Samuel heard his name being called, he responded by saying, “ Here am I.” It is a response of complete submission, humility, respect and obedience as to a master or a beloved one. It is like saying, “ I am here to respond and do whatever you have called me for.” Likewise, the sovereign almighty God who owns and established the heavens and the earth set aside His majesty and greatness humbles Himself as a little child to respond when those who are righteous by faith call Him by name. God is not nameless, anonymous, amorphous or insensitive. He hears our sighs and cries. For weeks after I survived the bomb blast that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi I cried and winced with the bone -crushing pain caused by steel pellets that had embedded in my feet. The pain killers gave me only temporary relief but I decided that I will keep calling out “ Jesus, Jesus,” till He heals me and the pain is completely gone. In a few days the pain ceased, never to trouble me again. His help may not be instant but it is certain to come and it will be effective like the Balm of Gilead. It will bring healing and deliverance to us and glory or the attribution of greatness to God. Our prayer life needs to be backed by empathy and compassion for the oppressed. Just as Jesus lifted our yoke of oppression, spiritual and eternal, we need to through both our prayers and our practical efforts lighten the loads on the backs of people around us. Like spiritual watchmen, we should identify the different types of oppression and suffering that is currently happening in the world around us. We need to carry these burdens to the Lord and carry the burdens of the Lord to the world. We need to manifest in real terms a God-like heart of compassion for people, looking far beyond our own immediate concerns and needs. This is the meaning of the parable of Jesus where He talks about different categories of people who claim to have served Him. Jesus tells them, “ I do not know you. Go away! Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you do unto me.” Heaven will appear bronzen and our prayers will bounce back without an answer if we lead double lives. The Lord will not be fooled by our double lives, our double mindedness or our forked tongues. Nor will He be impressed by our attempts to look better ourselves by attributing blame to others, or by our judging or criticising others. We need to train and discipline our speech so that we do not speak maliciously, loosely or thoughtlessly. We need to think and talk. The word “ THINK” gives us some guidelines and yardstick to measure the quality of our spoken words, “ Is it True? Is it Helpful, healthy or harmful? Is it Necessary and nicely put? Is it Kind?” This uni-verse reveals the truth that while we cannot win salvation or eternal life by our good deeds and good words, for the Lord to be pleased with us, in order for Him to reward us and to hear our prayers, our lifestyle and speechstyle of righteousness does count. Prateep v Philip