Monday, March 31, 2014

Signs and Wonders

UV 049/10,000 Signs and Wonders

Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.

Isaiah 8 v 18

The children we have are not ours but they belong to the Lord. He has entrusted them to us for their upbringing in the fear of the Lord. Yesterday, in a time of prayer the Lord said, “ Your children are not yours but mine. Your house is my tabernacle. You own nothing. You only own G O D and J E S U S. “ We need to live as if we own nothing and everything that is ours is the Lord’s. We are owned by the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel who dwells in Zion as well as in us and with us. God dwells on the mountain of Zion. But He is the one who created all the mighty mountains. Though He is the God of Israel, He is the One who created all nations and people and so, dwells in all nations and places. Hence, He dwells everywhere but specially in Zion and in human hearts who believe in His love, mercy and grace. Our attitude should always be like that of Isaiah the prophet who always offered his life as a sacrifice before the throne of the most High God, saying, “ Here am I!” We need to also dedicate the children God has given us back to Him, saying, “ they are Yours!”

One of the names of the Lord in the book of Revelation is Lord Amen. He taught us the meaning by revelation of the Holy Spirit. The expansion of each letter of AMEN is: A stands for “agree”. We agree in the spirit with the Lord and agree with His Word and He causes it to be. M stands for “motive”. He knows every motive behind every thought, word and deed and establishes His motive in and through it. E stands for “end”. What we start in Him, we will end it in Him and in success and satisfaction. N stands for “ Nation” . We belong to the Lord’s spiritual nation. We are citizens of His kingdom. We are rulers and authorities of this nation and what we decree or command or order, the Lord will cause it to be. Indeed, every letter in God’s Word has a hidden meaning and interpretation that can enrich our lives and equip us to face up to our challenges and so become overcomers.

The children of the righteous are taught of the Lord. We are the children of the Righteous God of Israel and great shall be our peace both now and forever. We are kept as signs and wonders by the Lord of the armies of heaven. Our lives are a signboard pointing out that Jesus is the way, the truth and life. When we dwell or live in close union and fellowship with the Triune God, our lives will be full of signs and wonders. Many signs and wonders will be made manifest to us. Our lives will be full of the wonders of the testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness in difficult if not impossible situations. Our lives will also be testimony of the fulfillment of the wonderful promises of God contained in His Word and waiting to be released by faith into the lives of people.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our Best Friend Pact

UV 1048-10,000 Our Best Friend Pact
The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; He will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.

Psalm 41 v 2

Satan is an implacable foe of humanity. He seeks to steal our peace, rob our health, happiness and family unity in a variety of ways. He is not only a thief and a robber but a murderer. He even attempts to cut short our lives in treacherous ways. He disturbs us and distracts us. The enemy does all this to vex us but the Lord redeems us to wax or increase us. The Lord has signed a covenant of word, blood and spirit with us to protect us, our lives, our well being. He heals and delivers us of all our afflictions. He will bless us in the land and not let satan or his agents triumph over us. He will bless us not just on a local or domestic scale, not only in our homes but on a national or country-wide level. The word “ bless” implies the absence of “ gross lack” or critical want or chronic deficiency in any area of life. In real life, we find that the man who is immensely rich has a massive problem in his personal relationships. The one who is famous has a serious addiction to a promiscuous lifestyle. The one who is extremely gifted is facing a health issue. Virtually, every human being is hurt by the poisonous sting of the serpent. But the head of satan is crushed under the heel of the Son of God and so we are healed. The Lord not only protects, sustains and preserves us, He promotes, enhances, strengthens, enlarges, magnifies, encourages, equips, shields, anoints and lifts us up.

The Word of God cures the ills of the world of man as nothing else can. Many are the afflictions of man on this planet but the Word of God has an effective remedy to counter it. There is a specific promise verse for every issue we can potentially face in life. The very name of Jesus acts as a balm of Gilead to heal our wounds. In the area of Gilead in Israel, a particular palm tree proliferated from which an aromatic ointment oozed that could relieve pain and heal wounds. When we pray we are spreading the ointment over all our wounds and aching parts of our lives. Jesus heals us of our inner pain, a pain that is not visible to any one else but we do sense it in our hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit has satan’s subtle and not so subtle moves on his radar and He forewarns, counsels and comforts us in a variety of ways- through dreams, visions, prophecies, word of knowledge and the word of wisdom.

The hidden desire of our foes is that we be weakened. But the proclaimed will of the Lord is to strengthen us and His will always prevails as long as we exercise our faith. The word “ desire” is far weaker than “will”. Desire implies that if it is possible, let it be. But the word “ will” implies to a degree of absolute certainty. The desire of our foes is that we perish but the Lord’s will is to preserve us. The desire of our foes is to malign us and to dishonor us but His will is to honour and exalt us. The enemies stab us in our backs but the Lord covers our backs. They imagine the worst happening to us but the Lord not just imagines but wills the best for us. The enemies want to spoil our testimony but the Lord will uphold us. Even our closest, dearest, nearest can betray us but the Lord proves consistently that He is our best friend forever. David and Jonathan, the son of Saul, David’s sworn enemy had a best friend pact between them that bound them together despite the enmity and hostility that Saul exhibited towards David due to the incitement of satan. Abraham was called just a Friend of God but today thanks to Christ, we have a special relationship for we are the best friends of God and He is our best friend.

Prateep V Philip

Meditate further on these Power expressions: protect, preserve, bless, not surrender

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Circle of His Angels

The Circle of His Angels

All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God.

Revelation 7 v 11

When we worship the Lord God in the beauty of His holiness and in truth, we are encircled by the angels of the Lord. When we fall on our faces before His throne of grace and mercy and lie flat, Jesus will come to us and say, “ Enough, arise!” As we humble ourselves before Him, He will lift us up and His angels will protect us and keep even our toe from dashing against a stone. The most intense worship is not singing, praying or praising God but it is to lie still in His presence. Though we are living we assume the position of the dead in His presence. He will breathe on us and resuscitate our spirits. By faith we are fast forwarding our lives to heaven.

Every day in my quiet time, I spend some time lying prostrate before the throne of God. The significance of lying flat in an attitude of complete surrender, submission, reverence and love is that we are saying with our bodies that we are not worthy to look at the Almighty, that we have lowered ourselves to our lowest position voluntarily before Him. We are offering ourselves as a living sacrifice before the throne of God. We are acknowledging with the totality of our being, spirit, mind and body the sovereign power and authority of the Lord. We trust in Him and He rules and reigns in our lives both now and forever.

As we surrender our lives to the Lord and lie on the crystal glass surface of heaven, in complete stillness before His throne, surrounded by the circle of His army of angels, witnessed by the elders and the creatures guarding the throne of God, the peace or Shalom of the Lord will penetrate and saturate our lives. All the hurting thorns of our lives will burn rapidly and God’s throne will be established in our lives. The Lord God and His Son the Lamb Jesus will not let us rise from our position of assumed death without anointing us afresh and bestowing on us a portion of blessing, glory, wisdom, honour,power and might that belong to them God for ever and ever. As we rise and move about our daily chores, the circle of His angels will continue to accompany and watch over us.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Shepherd-King

UV 1047-10,000 The Shepherd-King
He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
Micah 5 v 4

Normally, only a shepherd watches over the sheep. A King has people to watch over him. David was first a shepherd and then anointed King of Israel. He gave up shepherding when he became a king. He was a humble lad when he looked after his father’s sheep but his name spelt majesty and respect when he became king. As king, David fought wars, administered justice, issued decrees and commands. But Jesus is the unique Shepherd-King. He combines the role of Shepherd and King for He watches over us both day and night. As Shepherd, He cuddles us , wraps us around His shoulders and holds us to His bosom.
As the lion-King Jesus fights on our behalf, issues decrees and commands the angels to rush to our aid. He shows mercy on whom He decides to show mercy and executes judgement on whom He decides. As King, His name is majestic. It is higher than any king, conqueror, saint, leader, authority, freedom fighter, constitution maker, hero of any nation and of any time preceding His birth on earth and after His resurrection from death. It spells awe in heaven as on earth, in the spirit world and among flesh and blood human beings. God has ordained that He is the one Shepherd-King under whose banner all of His flock gathers. We hear the voice of our Shepherd-King in the Word and we recognize and understand His purpose and His will. We find our joy, comfort and consolation in the strength of the Lord. His Name symbolizes and means everything we can possibly desire in life.

When we read the name of Jehovah, the Father which means “ I AM WHO I AM” along with the name of Jesus which means “ He saves,” we discover that God saves us through Jesus from the enemy of our souls, from every precarious situation, in every circumstance. Salvation is not a one off event. It is a continuous and growing experience of God’s love, power, majesty and grace. Our faith and hope in Him is the source of our security and not our position, our fame, our resources, our contacts, our physical strength. Left to ourselves, we realize that we are as weak and vulnerable as sheep. Sheep unless they are maimed or injured do most of their walking on their own but they rely on the Shepherd for their sense of direction and safety from predators. Similarly, we should look to Jesus for directions. It requires His higher knowledge and wisdom to help us find the direction in which green pastures lie, the direction in which the still pure springs arise. It requires His higher knowledge as well as His higher stature, power and weapons to warn us of predators and to defend us. As we depend on Him for guidance and leading, He will lead us beside green pastures and still waters. The green pastures are a metaphor to indicate that the Lord will meet all our need. The “ still waters” refer to the living waters of the Word that will not let us thirst again. The sheep feed daily and continually graze on the pastures. Similarly, we need to have a daily filling from the still waters of His presence, His spirit and His Word. We need to continually graze on His green pastures and not wander off like self-willed loner goats. We need to be immersed in the greatness and awesome grace of Jesus. As the wool of the sheep gets coloured by the water in which it is immersed, we too emerge a little greater and a little more graceful. The Shepherd-King does not hesitate to share His greatness provided we celebrate and emulate not just His king-like qualities but also His Shepherd-like qualities. All our other communication is like the pointless bleating of the sheep but our communication and sharing of the greatness of God and the goodness and sufficiency of the gospel of salvation alone will stand and remain as our lasting legacy. This communication of the greatness of God, the majesty of His Name, the sufficiency of His strength and the abundance of His provision for our comprehensive salvation needs to reach the ends of the earth.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Savour the Saviour's Triumph

UV 1047-10,000 Savour the Saviour’s Triumph
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

2 Corinthians 2 v 14

I am by myself just like the grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. I am in vain and wasted. But in Christ, the very causator of the entire universe, I am like a cedar of Lebanon, a palm of great beauty, grace and much fruit. When we are “nuts” about Christ, He will make us more than just nuts. He teaches us the alphabets or the alpha to omega of life, of success, of failure, of relationships, of knowledge and wisdom. Many people say that God or Christ is the Alpha and Omega of their lives, implying that they rely on God for start and finish and for the rest they do just what they please. He is the alpha to omega of our lives. We revolve around Him as the planets revolve around the sun and held in place by the gravitational forces of the sun. He causes us to triumph in amazing ways. In the world, our triumphs are both temporal and temporary. It is termed a Pyrrhic victory or an empty triumph. When we savour the Saviour, we taste of complete triumph, the ultimate victory that not just vindicates us but justifies us. It is a triumph in which our efforts do not count. It is received and relished by grace and with a thankful and joyful heart. Triumph by grace is what makes each of us more than a conqueror for the triumph of Christ enables us to trump death, defeat, disaster, disease and damnation.

When we taste of the Saviour’s love, our lives become tasty and we become tasteful. He has with His spiritual culinary skills, stirred the soup of life and formed every form of life. God is a Master Chef- after all, He has put together our amazing taste buds that can distinguish between a million different flavours. He has thrown in the salt, the oil and the spices into our lives so that we taste the savour of the Saviour. We in turn manifest the taste of God in life. Our personal knowledge as opposed to a religious, theological or impersonal knowledge of God through the medium of Christ is what adds taste, meaning, purpose, direction and power to our lives. When we speak, act or react, people ought to feel the taste of God. Our words should be flavoured with the Word of God.

The words, “ in every place” implies that we cannot have a split spiritual personality that speaks one language and behaves in one way among believers and quite another at the workplace or in the streets or in the shopping mall. It should be universal and consistent. People should see the “alpha to omega” phenomenon operating in every sphere, circle and domain of our life. Every part of our lives should taste of grace, truth and power. Some parts of our lives are sweet- the good times, some are bitter- the tough times, some are hot and spicy- the fun times. Some parts are salty- the learning times. We should not resent any of the tastes but be thankful for the tough times along with the good times. We should also take time to chew and savour each bite of the Word so that we drive the strength and power in our innards and into our very bones.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yearn, Obey, Know, Excel

UV 1046-10,000 Yearn, Obey, Know and Excel
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
Matthew 11 v 30

The yoke is the center of the egg as well as the heavy yoke of the plough that is used to rake the field. But Jesus says that the yoke or responsibility that He gives us is easy, cool, light and simple. He yokes us or unites us with the Almighty Father. Hence, whatever burden we face, we need not be borne down with the sheer weight of it but cast it as if it is of no avail at the feet of the Lord. I recently read an illustration that made the idea of how burdens develop and trouble us. If we hold a glass of water in our hands for a few minutes, it will be no trouble. But if we are compelled to hold it for hours and days together, it becomes a big burden. Similarly, our burdens as well as our hopes grow in us, the former to become a source of pain and the latter to become a source of joy. We need to lighten ourselves or unburden ourselves in prayer the moment a troublesome thought or stimulus occurs. We need to cultivate the perspective that whatever happens in our lifetime is only a light and momentary trouble that cannot be compared with the weight of the prize of eternal glory.

The letters in the word “yoke” stands for yearn, obey, know and excel. We need to yearn or love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength. We need to be passionate people before we can be compassionate. We need to obey His Word and His will for our lives wholeheartedly. We need to know the depth of His love and the expanse of His grace outworking great things in our lives. Finally, we need to excel in our faith, works, work, character and contribution. The word excel can also be written as X-cell, the single cell or yoke or the unknown factor that grows and multiplies to become every living being on the planet. No scientist or biologist is able to explain why that single cell grows and multiplies to form organs and finally an organism. The force that drives it is nothing but the power of God. We need to plant, nourish and sustain by faith an X cell or yoke in every area and domain of life. I make a distinction between works and work for the former indicates our actions done to express our faith while the latter is our profession or career or what we do for a living. We also lighten each other’s burden or yoke by praying for one another as well as taking practical steps to lend a helping hand. In doing so, we show that we love one another.

The yoke or seed is a kernel of truth that the Lord places on our heart. The managerial, leadership and life concepts that are couched in simple language and illustrated with parables and testimonies of real flesh and blood people successfully facing awesome challenges right through the Bible act as a yoke in our lives to transform our knowledge which is an intellectual penetration and retention into understanding which is an emotional penetration and retention and our understanding into wisdom- a penetration and retention in all aspects of our lives. The yoke is the simple gospel of salvation that each of us need a Saviour and that Saviour is Jesus. He can help us turn every millstone in our lives into a milestone, a marker of progress in our upward journey. These are the Jordans that the Lord has helped us cross. How we faced the challenge of each millstone becomes a memory of God’s grace, a cause of thanksgiving, a source of strength and joy, a testimony to encourage many, to induce faith and induct them into the kingdom of God. In other words, the way the Lord lifted the yokes of burden will itself become a yoke of faith, blessing and growth.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When the Tough Get Going....

UV 1046/10,000 When the Going Gets Tough
And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Exodus 3 v 7

The Lord knows our sorrows, our nagging worries and haunting anxieties. He hears our cries, our moans, our groans and even our sighs. He sees our afflictions. He knows the longing of our hearts to be set free. He who is the author of life and of the universe and all in it knows the cause, the effect and the solution for each of our sorrows, worries and problems. The question may be asked- why does He allow His beloved to be troubled in the first place? It is the only way His Lordship, His love and power of deliverance is proved and established. It is the only way to cure our fickle hearts and minds of our doubts and infidelity. Imagine – the Israelites even after so great a deliverance through amazing miracles returned to worshipping a golden calf they made for themselves in the desert. They even cribbed and criticized Moses. They even were moved to rebellion against his leadership. Even their leaders like Aaron and Miriam fell to this error. The Lord knows that only through a whole lifetime of troubles, deliverance and lessons of life, any of us will be drawn into a more and more intimate bonding with Him.

God saw the sorrows of the Israelites who were in bondage in Egypt and He empathized with their afflictions. He remembered His covenant with their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His heart was moved and so He sent a reluctant savior and leader Moses to break the chains of Pharaoh and set them free. Pharaoh and his slave managers were tough taskmasters and oppressed the Jews in order to extract their labour and build the massive cities, temples and pyramids of the Egyptian empire. God saw the sorrows of all mankind in bondage to satan and sent a willing Savior and Messiah Jesus to break all our chains and bondage in this age and time. He remembers the covenant He has made with each of us. In the case of Moses, God used a series of plagues as many as ten of them, which increased in severity and intensity , to redeem the Israelites. In the case of Jesus, God uses a flood of blessings in as many as ten areas of our lives-physical, spiritual, financial, familial, filial, emotional, ministry, relationships, testimony and legacy- to redeem us.

Someone had modified the saying, “ When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” to “when the going gets tough, the tough get creative.” In the case of believers, when the going gets tough, the tough get in touch with the Creator-Redeemer.” Belief brings relief. Sometimes, we might have an unreasonable boss who takes pride in being a tough taskmaster. When we pray, the Lord will bring amazing change of attitude or of circumstance. Jesus having suffered in flesh and blood every type of trouble, trial and sorrow a man can possibly undergo, identifies with us in our sorrows. He is even today our High Priest on high in heaven who mediates on our behalf and sends us comfort and counsel through the Holy Spirit, encouragement from His Word, help and protection through the angels of the Lord and through people, resources and circumstances that He sends our way in the hour of our need.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Position of Destiny, Our Character of Destination

UV 1045/10,000 Our Position of Destiny, Our Character of Destination

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Genesis 50 v 20

Sometimes when God our beloved Father in heaven gives some of us a multi-coloured coat, implying many gifts, it inspires not admiration or friendship but jealousy and bitterness among the have-nots. Joseph was doted upon by his father Jacob, perhaps because he was the son of his favourite wife Rachel, the one for whom he had worked fourteen years for his father-in-law Laban. His father gave him a gift of a multi-coloured coat when he was a teenager. His brothers were even more bitter and angry with Joseph than before. When Joseph narrated the gist of a dream that he saw wherein he saw his father and brothers bowing to him, that was the last straw and the nail in the coffin of his future as far as his brothers were concerned. They conspired together against him and decided first to throw him in a pit and then decided to profit by his disappearance by selling him into captivity as a slave to a passing caravan of Ishmaelites bound for Egypt. Quite a parallel to how Jesus was sold by Judas to the Pharisees to be put to death! But God had other plans for Joseph, for Jesus and for each one of us that those who conspire against us cannot imagine. He turned the evil that they planned against Joseph for his good so that step by step he rose to his position of destiny as Prime Minister to Pharaoh. When we rise to our position of destiny we fulfill our potential and God’s purpose for our lives.

Joseph had enough time to reflect on the rollercoaster of his life and he realized that though his brothers planned to harm him, the Lord God had used it to fulfill the dream of his life to take him to the position of destiny and the purpose of his life: to save many lives in a time of famine including that of Israel, his own family. There is a greater plan and purpose hidden in our every present trouble and trial as long as we are walking in faith and not according to our own human and short term calculations of profit and pleasure. From God’s perspective the down turns in Joseph’s life became opportunities for Him to invest into his character and prepare him for his eternal destination. Joseph lost the desire to pay back his brothers. He lost the sting of vengeance. Instead, Joseph yearned to nourish the brothers and their little ones. He comforted them, assuaged their guilt and allayed their fears. God had built character, magnanimity, patience and faith into the warp and woof of his heart and mind. These are the godly traits that enable us to bless our enemies, to seek the good of our malefactors. God was also establishing for all time that not only His Son Jesus but even a son of Jacob, a mere man could display such Jesus-like qualities.

When I was exactly the age of Joseph, I was falsely accused by some kith and kin of having done something I had not even imagined. That rude shock, the shame and embarrassment, the betrayal taught me to put my faith in the Lord and to aspire high, to work hard to achieve a position of destiny and influence. So much so, the same kith and kin came on various occasions for my help and intervention in their times of trouble. What they had thought for bad, God had turned to good, my own as well as theirs. This is a kind of divine judo where the strength of the opponent is turned against him in some deft moves. Indeed, as scripture says, “all things happen for good to them that love Him.”

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Extensions of Our Legacy

UV 1044/10,000 The Extensions of Our Legacy
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
Genesis 49 v 22

The name “Joseph” or Yosef in the original Hebrew means “he will add.” The Lord will bless the lives of the faithful and He will add no sorrow to it. He will make us a fruitful bough by a well. We will be like a tree planted by the river side whose roots run deep into the soil to access the seeping underground streams of water from the river. We will be like tree that bear different kinds of fruit, every month of the year. Our lives will be blessed, fruitful and productive. We will be fruitful consistently not just in a season of plenty when things are favourable and when we are expected to do well but also in a season of famine when things are unfavourable for growth and contribution. We will be like Joseph who aimed to do everything well. Joseph excelled wherever he went- at home among his brothers, in the household of Potiphar among the slaves, in the prison among the prisoners, in the palace of Pharaoh among the ministers of the realm. His influence spread from the four walls of his home in Canaan to the four walls of his master’s home in Egypt. It then spread to the four walls of the prison where he was incarcerated. Thereafter, it spread to the four walls of the palace of Pharaoh. Thereafter no walls could contain his influence. It spread to the whole of Egypt and wafted its way back to Canaan where he began and ultimately it spread to the whole world and every generation since as it was incorporated in the Word of God as a template of what God can do when you let Him make your body His temple.

Like Joseph, many archers will fire their burning arrows at us just as his jealous brothers did, just as Potiphar’s adulterous wife did with her false accusation, just as the fellow prisoner forgot the good his prediction brought him. We will have three types of arrows fired at us: temptation from within to indulge ourselves, to be conceited and proud, the arrows of our colleagues and fellow beings and the arrows of forces of darkness meant to defeat us, to neutralize our growing influence. People will hate us without adequate reason and some will conspire against us. Only a legend will leave a lasting legacy. God wants to make us part of an incredible story, a legend for our times.
As the hand of the Lord is upon us, we will be looked upon with favour by the persons who matter like Joseph’s father, the slave owner, the overseer of the prisoners and Pharaoh himself. He will make our bow strong and our hands will be strengthened by the cornerstone of Israel, the Shepherd Jesus. He will make our lives fruitful and blessed with blessings from far above, deep within, all around and will send blessings on our spouse and our offspring. We will break the boundaries and limits set for us so that the overhanging fruit of our lives will satisfy the need of people all around. In every area of our lives, we should stretch ourselves so that we reach the limit of our aspirations. Once we overreach that limit, a new boundary or goal should be set. So the Lord will add to us. The well will get deeper and bigger. The walls will keep falling. As we expect more in faith, we will receive more strength, more power, more blessings. Even the branches or extensions of our influence and legacy will exceed our natural abilities and our expectations.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Lordship of Jesus

UV 1043/10,000 The Lordship of Jesus
It is written: “ As surely as I live,: says the Lord, “ every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.”
Romans 14 v 11
Our knees are made strong so that we can bend in prayer. Our tongues are made strong so that we can confess our faith. Our knees give us the very wings to fly into the presence of the Lord. Our tongues give us the power to speak the very words of God. Spiritual anointing comes into our lives on account of our praying knees while spiritual power is released by the confessions of our tongues. This uni-verse describes the vision of all people who have ever lived eventually acknowledging God if they do not do so during their lifetime. When we confess the name of Jesus, God dwells in our hearts by faith. All that God is –is contained, symbolized and reflected in the very name of Jesus.

When we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and say with our mouth that He is the Lord, we are declared saved. The word “lord” implies “love that rises over death” for in Him and His death and resurrection, the love of God overpowered the sin and death of man. When we kneel in worship, prayer and thanksgiving as an act of adoration and submission, we are expressing with our bodies the belief of our hearts, the words of our mouth and the action of our bodies. There is a perfect alignment of thought, word and deed, of spirit, mind and body. The guilt of man is turned into the gilt of the pure gold of truth and faith. The deception of man is turned into a reception of God.
When we are in the presence of God, even an unbeliever will be automatically on his knees and confessing with his mouth, “ Jesus is Lord.” A friend of mine told me the story of how while he and the whole family including his mother who was no believer were grieving the loss of his only son in a tragic road accident, there was the rush of the Holy Spirit into the room like a wind. Then, he was surprised to hear his mother saying, “ Lord Jesus, forgive me.” Later, she denied she had said anything like that. When a bomb brought me to my knees, covered with blood and mud, I too had one name to cry out to and I cried, “ Jesus, Jesus, save me.” In the presence of the Lord even the unrepentant sinner will repent, bow on his knees and confess the name of Jesus. If the action is not voluntary, it will happen involuntarily. Scripture says that at the name of Jesus, persons in heaven, persons on earth and persons under the earth will bow on their knees and confess with their mouths.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 21, 2014

The God of Deliverance

UV 1041/10,000 The God of Deliverance

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

Daniel 6 v 16

Whatver the king or the executive commands, his servant or employee does. How much more effectively and decisively God who created the universe and sustains it with His Word is able to execute His will? The king’s or boss’s power can only produce respect and compliance but the Lord’s power will produce jaw-dropping awe, reverence and faith. King Darius knew he was doing an unjust act in yielding to the accusation of his advisers against the upright Daniel. He ordered Daniel to be thrown into the den of lions since he had broken the law of the Medes and Persians in worshipping His God as was his habit even after the promulgation of an edict prohibiting it. But Nebuchadnezzar had a gut feeling that the God of Daniel would deliver him from death in the lions’ den.

The only way we can serve God is by acknowledging, thanking and praising Him for our lives and every aspect of our lives. Daniel’s testimony had reached the king’s ears and had touched him. Daniel had humbled himself from the days of his youth before the God of Israel. He had realized that the nation of Israel was sent into captivity and scattered as they had displeased the Lord who had delivered their ancestors from slavery and misery in Egypt. He knelt three times at the window of his room that faced towards Jerusalem and prayed for Israel. The Lord gave him a spirit of excellence and wisdom. He listened to his every word from the first day he humbled himself and prayed. He gave him gifts of visions, dreams and their interpretation. He made him and his companions Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego outstanding administrators. Darius had developed some faith that God would save Daniel from the lions’ deadly jaws as he had heard of how Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego had come unscathed (with not even a hair singed) out of a fierce furnace into which they had been cast for refusing to worship the image of his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar. He thought that the same God who had delivered those three would possibly deliver Daniel too.

When we serve God continually, wholeheartedly and faithfully, the Lord will deliver us regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Daniel and his friends were ready to stake their lives for their faith. It is an irony that even several millennia later that even today, many men of God in the area of ancient Babylon or modern Middle East are condemned to cruel deaths. It is said that more people are being martyred for their faith in Christ today world-wide from North Korea to Africa than even in Roman times. The question arises as to why does God not deliver them? Many are delivered though many are martyred as it is the Lord’s sovereign will. Their blood would not be shed in vain and the Lord will accomplish His purpose. Just as the deliverance of Daniel and his companions led to even the king realizing the might and power of God and to give Him praise, either way it will lead to more people serving God, more souls being saved. The lions’ den today is also a metaphor for the various threats and dangers, believers face on account of their faith. The Lord the great Deliverer promises that His presence would be closest to us at these times. He will shut the lions’ mouths that it cannot harm or endanger us. Daniel escaped the lions’ jaws, his friends escaped the fiery furnace. I survived a bomb blast and a drowning in the sea. The times had changed, the threats had changed but it is the same God of deliverance at work even today in our midst.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What it Means to be a Star

UV 1041/10,000 GLQ or God-Like Qualities or What it Means to be a Star

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Daniel 12 v 3

The wise are the ones who fear the Lord and love His Word. The wise are the ones who are in obsessed with the Creator-Redeemer and in a love relationship with Him as if nothing else matters that much. The wise are the ones who lead others to righteousness and eternal life. The wise are the ones who spend time and effort and winning souls for the Lord. The wise are the ones who are not blinded by the allurements or distractions of this world. The wise are the ones who seek the Lord and His will with all their hearts, spirits and minds. The wise are the ones who do not trust in flesh and blood or the words of the mouth or mind of man but trusts in the eternal promises of God. The wise know that the more the absorb the Word, the more they will shine, the more they pray, the more their lives and that of others will light up. The wise know that just as the stars do no control human lives or destiny, they cannot control the lives or others, that they can only be guides and pointers to others. The wise also know that if they become too dense with pride and conceit at their brightness and power, they can implode and self destruct like a falling star.

The wise shall shine as bright as the stars of heaven. They are part of a great spiritual nation formed by God and located in eternity. They are blessed with supernatural favour. They are the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous and resplendent as the stars in the firmament. Just as each star continually burns to emit light, we continually burn to give out light, love and grace. Just as each star is unique and different, we are all not the same but we are unique in ourselves though we bear the same image or DNA of God. Just as each star moves in its own orbit without clashing with the others, each of us need to move in the professions, positions, homes where we are placed. The stars also shine brightly unceasingly. Similarly, we need to shine unceasingly. A star does not say to itself or others, “ It is dark all round. Hence, I too should not shine.” Instead, it says, “ The darker the universe is, the brighter I shine.” As Jesus said, " No one lights a candle and keeps it under the bushel." Whatever God has given us, it is meant to experience, exercise, exhibit, and reflect such that people see the greatness, grace, power and love of God.

In order to be a star, we got to start somewhere. The best place where we can start is where we are right now. We can ask ourselves what is it that we can do to shine brightly with all the glory, greatness and grace of God. The Lord is just examining what are we doing with what we have been given and does not judge us on the basis of what others have or what we do not have. Shining brightly is a synonym for excellence. In the police, we use the term or phrase in training- “ develop OLQ or Officer Like Qualities.” We need to develop and exhibit GLQ or God-Like Qualities. We also need to disciple others around us to similarly develop GLQ.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Springs of Life

The Springs of Life
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

Psalm 87 v 7

The Lord God is the source and substance of all the love, joy, peace and blessings of our lives. The world and its people will find their source in wealth, knowledge, pleasure, power and fame. But whatever is not from the throne of God and of His Son Jesus will be so full of thorns. The wealthy, the powerful and the famous unwittingly wear a crown of thorns. But Jesus embraced the agony of the cross willingly so that we will experience the ecstasy of union with God or eternal salvation. God is an eternal Being and therefore whatever He does, He does eternally. The living waters that Christ gives us is given freely as grace. Nothing we do can earn its supply. We can never learn it too. The waters of our salvation will flow like a spring forever. A river can dry up but a spring never dries up. But a spring can turn into a river.

The source of our joy are the Word of God and prayer. As we immerse ourselves in the living waters of the Word and prayer, an inexplicable joy that nothing in the world can give, springs up from deep within our heart and soul. This is the joy of the Holy Spirit that bubbles and flows like a river unceasingly. Our joy makes us break out into song and dance in uninhibited worship of the Creator-Saviour like David the shepherd-King of Israel who composed most of those beautiful songs that we today call psalms. Our bodies and minds become the very instrument or many-stringed harp of God and our life’s testimony of His grace, our song. At times, some of our springs will be blocked or dammed or choked by our own thoughts, words and actions or those of others. But the Lord of the springs of life will re-open these sources of blessings.
Psychologists tell us that all our responses are variations of the primeval fight or flight syndrome but the Lord says, “ Your life is not fight or flight but flow.” We become channels of the love, peace, mercy, power and grace of the Lord. Like musical fountains in a garden, these springs will rise and fall for when the spring of strength falls, the spring of faith will rise, when the spring of joy falls, the fountain of peace will rise, when the fountain of justice falls, the stream of grace and mercy will rise sky-wards. The springs of our health, finances, family, well being, creativity, ministry and contribution also arise in the Lord. The springs that arise in the Lord are inexhaustible. Each uni-verse is a spring of the Lord and can be the source of much blessing and rejoicing in our lives. Scripture says, “ Draw water with joy from the wells of salvation.” The spring flows on forever but it is our responsibility to draw the water we need from the wellsprings. We need to appropriate the blessings of salvation by joyfully exercising our faith in the Word by prayer. We should not strike the rock with anger or impatience like Moses but declare the Word gently. If we do not draw with the right attitude of faith, assurance and joy, the springs can turn into the waters of Massa and Meribah- symbols of rebellion, lack of faith and bitterness.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Goad of God and Nails of Christ

UV 1039-10,000 The Goads of God and Nails of Christ
The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
Ecclesiastes 12 v 11

Scripture says that there is no one who is wise. Even the worldly wise Solomon erred in his ways. But those who study the Word of the only eternally wise one, Jehovah and the Word of His Son Jesus and apply it to their lives acquire the attribute of wisdom over time. The Word needs to remain in our minds and not seep through like water in a sieve. It needs to be fixed like the stirrups or goads on the riding boots of a rider of a horse so that it can be used from time to time to prick the horse’s side so that it goes faster or remains under control. The Spirit of God will use the words like goads to stir up our spirits. The horse we are riding is our own bodies and minds. Left to itself it will be like a wild horse but we need to goad it to move in the direction and the pace the Lord wants us to go. Our eyes will be focused on the good Shepherd Jesus and the prize of the crown of eternal life He is holding in His hands for those who finish the course and complete the race. Our passions will be tamed and yielded to Him. God uses different types of goads to tell us to go faster or slower. We should not gallop when we ought to canter, we should not trot when we ought to be galloping. When He places a barrier before us, He also gives us a kick in the side so that we take the leap of faith and jump over or if it is too big to sail over, He will tug the rein a little to the left or to the right so that we sidestep the barrier. Now neither goads nor nails are that pleasurable. Rather they are quite painful but the time will come when we will respond to just the reins of God like a well trained horse that knows the mind of the rider and goes exactly that way. It is only when we are completely rebellious that He puts a hook through our nose.

This uni-verse divides scripture into two parts: the goads or motivators, namely the promise verses and the assurance verses, the testimonies of saints and fathers in faith that encourage us and give us hope and strength and the nails or the fixer verses that fix or nail to death our lust, our pride,our deceitfulness, our stubbornness, our unteachability, our laziness, our negative attitudes and attributes. Once we are branded as His, God uses a variety of goads and nails to train and groom us. When we apply the Word in different areas of our lives, we are driving truths like nails into our spirits, minds and bodies. These nails are given by the Chief Shepherd and Master, Jesus. He Himself bore huge, cruel and painful physical nails but to His sheep He gives spiritual nails in the form of the Word so that we will be crucified with Him in spirit and mind though not in body. His truths remain transfixed in our lives and do not get drained off like water off a duck’s neck. Those truths driven deep into our souls will transform us from being the spiritual equivalent of infants into mature adults, from being sheep into shepherds, from being followers into disciple-makers, from being fish into fishers, from being victims into victors. The revelation and understanding of the deeper mystery of life turns a person into a master of life. We will realize that we can hit the nail on its head or have an accurate understanding of all the basic issues and truths of life.

Once I had a revelation that though my name was in the Book of Life, it was yet to be included in the book of the Shepherd. But once I started this uni-verse series of devotions, the Lord revealed that I was included among the shepherds. A shepherd is by definition one who feeds the sheep. The Chief Shepherd Jesus desires that people show their love for Him by feeding the faith of His flock of the faithful. This is the reason that the resurrected Jesus asked Peter thrice if the latter loved Him and each time exhorted him to feed the sheep.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Great and Awesome Life Coach

UV 1038-10,000 A Great and Awesome Life Coach

Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.
Deuteronomy 7 v 21

Moses was unarmed and he had only a staff with him. Yet when he confronted the mighty Pharaoh, he did not tremble or hesitate for he knew that God had commissioned him and that He accompanied him. With Pharaoh was only the arm of flesh but with Moses was the mighty outstretched right arm of Almighty God. The ones we confront in life may be stronger, more powerful or in higher positions, or wealthier and more influential but the Word exhorts us not to be terrified or awed by them for a great and awesome God is with us. The fear or awe or reverence for God, His wisdom, love and power will liberate us from the follies bound up in our hearts, free us from our own deceptions and fears. The fear can be expanded to mean-“forgo every attitudinal resistance.” God is backing us up like a good coach and saying, “ Go for it.” The word “ God “ itself means “ Go with devotion, dedication, determination, diligence, doggedness.” He is not an athletic coach, a retired athlete who stays near the starting line and yells encouragement but He is a life coach who fills us with His awesome and great power and grace. If God is with us, then supernatural favour is on us. If God is with us, nobody can stand before us or resist us just as they could not stand before Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Israel. Such a great and awesome God journeyed with these people. He stayed in their midst. Today, under the new covenant, He resides not just among us but inside us. Greatness and awesomeness will emanate from within us even as the light inside a bulb cannot be held back but shines forth from within.

Yesterday, in response to a post on the mystery of the still missing Malaysian airlines Boeing 777, I wrote that “ Godknowledgy is far greater and more useful any day than technology.” The greatness and awesomeness of God is revealed in the universe, in the earth, its flora and fauna and in human beings. God has made the earth a million times different and better from other dry, lifeless, uninhabited planets like Mars. He has made heaven a million times different and better than our temporary home, the earth. There are some 14 resemblances between earth and heaven. One of the resemblances is that there are places on earth where God is continually worshipped for His greatness and awesomeness just like I heaven. Another resemblance is that just as there are homes here on earth where people experience the freedom of heaven, there are prisons where people experience the bondage of hell.

We need to pray and appropriate a portion of the greatness and awesomeness of God for every day and in every situation of our lives. For whatever we can do, God can certainly do it better. He is not in our midst and inside our bodies, hearts and minds merely to be a spectator. He is a partner with us in leading our lives, leading our business, our professions, our families, our people.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Power of Unceasing Prayer

The Power of Unceasing Prayer
Pray without ceasing.
I Thessalonians 5 v 28

This is one of the shortest uni-verses but it has the greatest significance. Prayer is the equivalent of spiritual breathing. It is what keeps us in continual fellowship with the Spirit of God. It is what sustains us and keeps us spiritually alive. It is the deepest level of communication and being. It is wireless, hands free and has no strings attached. It can penetrate the thickest skull, the hardest heart, solve the toughest issues of life. It can be done without words but never without a feeling of love and reverence towards our gentle Saviour and Almighty God. We pray not to receive answers but as we believe in our Redeemer God, Our Ebenezer or Helper, Our Immanuel or indwelling God, our Adonai or ruler.

When we read the Word, oxygen or power from the very mouth and nostrils of God is released into our hearts, minds and lives. When we pray, we release the same power into the world and the lives of others. Just as we cannot take a break from respiration, we cannot take a break from praying. The practice of continual prayer is one unction or anointing that I sought and exercised over the past twenty plus years. Every thought, desire and word is made captive to the Lord through the process of prayer. Every breath is a prayer of praise and acknowledgement of the Lord. The Lord has also confirmed that He accepts my thought life as prayer for He once said, “ My servant Daniel used to pray thrice at set times but you are praying all the time.”

Continual prayer is clinging to the hem of the cloak of Jesus, the presence of God. Every sigh and moan is accounted as prayer. Continual prayer is continuous awareness of the presence of God which automatically means continuous worship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration. It does not mean that we are on our knees all the time but that we replace our internal self talk that is continuous and unceasing with God talk or talk with the Lord. When we pray without ceasing, we are also constantly letting out the negatives and bad qualities that are embedded in our human nature. A continual exchange takes place in the spirit between our inner being and the Triune God. We will increase from moment to moment in grace, truth, power, wisdom and the fruit of the Spirit. We will never feel alone or forsaken at any point. The continual communion with the Spirit will feed our spirit, minds and bodies. Our faith so strengthened over a lifetime can move mountains as well as stars out of its orbit.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Glorying in Our Intimacy with God

UV 1036/10,000 Glory in Our Intimacy with God

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches;”

Jeremiah 9 v 23

Our ultimate destiny lies not in the increase of our wisdom, our knowledge, our power, strength, glamour, beauty, influence or riches. The fulfillment of our destiny and our purpose lies in a personal understanding, knowing and personally relating with the Lord God who created us. We can delight in a personal relationship with God as Creator, Father, Best Friend, Lord, Master, King, Ruler, Provider, Affirmer, Protector, Source of Strength and Power, Beautifier, Equipper, Enabler, Enricher.. Wisdom will be found to be foolish in comparison with the dynamic and amazing counsel and excellent guidance we receive from the Holy Spirit. The discernment of people and spirits, the gift of knowing what to do or say in a given situation, the gift of remembering the apt Word of God are imparted by the Holy Spirit. We can delight in the fact that the Lord has revealed Himself to us. In that revelation is our glory, greatness, pleasure, wisdom, power and riches. Our world or our little universe changes not due to revolution but due to revelation.

When a man exults in his limited knowledge, wisdom, brilliance, strength, prowess or resources, he is like a firefly that exults in its own light for a short while and then it perishes and that light is extinguished forever. Wisdom lies in recognizing the finiteness of our knowledge, the limitations of our talents, power, strength and abilities, the transient nature of our earthly riches. A man tends to boast of what he is full of, of the things that constantly saturate his mind, that fill his heart with pride and confidence. In this uni-verse, the Lord warns us against such misplaced confidence and trust in wisdom, power or riches for these are deceptive and short-lived. Yesterday, after I boarded a flight I saw a man with a majestic moustache climbing up. It was apparent that he was proud of his massive walrus moustache. Our confidence in the things of the world is as vain, empty and hopeless as that man boasting silently to all the world of his kingly mane.

Like in the Song of Songs, we must be like a lover whose sole delight is in the embrace of her beloved, whose comfort is in His presence, whose life is enriched by His Word, whose steps are guided by His voice, whose protection lies in His strong arms, whose security consists in His promises. We find our wisdom, strength and riches in the Lord. Our hope is in His promise, “ He shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory.” He supplies all my need according to what is available for me but according to the measure of His infinite, eternal, inexhaustible resources in heaven. My need for wisdom, power and resources is met here and now but its source is from a different plane and place, different magnitude and dimension. But I delight in my intimacy with the Lord not because He supplies my need but I value this relationship for its own sake, far above what blessings or benefits it doubtless brings me.

Prateep V Philip

My Redeemer Lives

UV 1035/10,000 My Redeemer Lives For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth: Job `9 v 25 Job was at his tether’s end. He had lost everything he had valued in life- his family, his property, his vast possessions, his health, his friends, his influence, his status in society, his reputation, his skin. Yet he made the good confession of faith that “My Redeemer lives. “ These three words hold volumes of meaning. For it means that Jesus is our faithful advocate in heaven. It implies that even as our eternal Redeemer lives forever, we too will live forever. It implies that whatever we have either lost or gained so far is only temporary, transient and incomparable with what the Redeemer has in store for us. His grace is sufficient to redeem us. Job comforted himself in the knowledge that his Redeemer lives and would vindicate and reward him at last. The personal possessive “ MY Redeemer” is used to imply that our relationship with the Saviour is individual and personal. Everything else can be taken away but the assurance that Jesus our Redeemer lives will save us on the day of reckoning. When the Lord counts His jewels, we would be counted among them. Like Job, we too must confess in every situation that “our Redeemer lives..” We must not trade or loose this assurance for anything in the world. It is our one lifeline. Job’s wife found his situation unbearable and not worth living. Job’s friends too felt the same. But Christ in Job was the hope of his salvation, redemption and glory. The greatest and most valuable knowledge a man can have is to know one’s personal redeemer. The value of a man’s soul is so great that it cannot be redeemed by just another man. It can be redeemed only by the Messiah anointed by God to buy us back from the enemy of our soul who has taken us on ransom. The word “redemption” is synonymous with salvation, “buy back”, restoration, deliverance. Only someone with the capacity to buy back. Jesus has the capacity to buy us back from any type of indebtedness, bondage, captivity.. It implies that we once belonged to satan. Buy back also implies that God is ready to pay any price to have us back in His fold. Jesus redeems us not only from satan but He also redeems us from our own selves and from the world. Jesus said, “ Sufficient are the troubles of the day.” It means that the grace of Jesus is available not only for our life in the hereafter but right here and now, He redeems us from all the troubles of the present day. Job used the present perfect tense, “My Redeemer lives”. This implies that Jesus makes our lives perfect in the present moment. We are not only potentially perfect but we are gracefully perfect in Christ. If our Redeemer lives, we have no reason to be afraid, depressed, anxious, frustrated, stressed out, dejected. If our Redeemer lives, we have no reason to be faithless, hopeless, demotivated. If our Redeemer lives, we have no excuse to fail, complain, feel bitter or bear grudges. It is an irony of life that we do not value a thing until we happen to loose it. We do not value our freedom unless we loose it. But a prisoner who is set free after a long time in jail, celebrates that day as if he has been born again, as if he has been brought back from death and as if something great has happened. I was watching the poignant film, “Twelve Years a Slave” in which a free man is abducted and forced into slavery. Finally, when his friends come to redeem him, he weeps tears of joy and embraces them. He is then restored to his long lost family. Similarly, the Lord has redeemed us from being slaves to sin. Where formerly, we had no choice but to sin and be under the influence of satan, now we have a choice not to sin. On the last day, the day of the appearing or second coming of the Redeemer Jesus, we will be rewarded in accordance with our faith and our deeds. Our last living day on earth would also take us into the gracious presence of Jesus. Two days ago I attended the funeral of a man of God who after his first wife died of cancer, suffered financial loss, lost his house, his church, his possessions, his reputation and his testimony. His two sons and his in-laws also deserted him as they did not agree on his choice of a second wife. He broke his hip and lost his mobility. Then his support from friends ceased. But I believe he died with the good confession of Job, “ My Redeemer lives” and he was received at the finishing line by the Redeemer. Though all was lost, nothing was lost for what he had lost, he lost for a time but now what he gained, he could keep forever. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Faith Heal the Source

UV 1034/10,000 " And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, " Thus sanity The Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land" 2kings 2 v 21 When people of the city of Jericho came to Elisha and complained that the water there was bad and made them sick and the land unproductive, Elisha asked them to bring him a bowl and then he put some salt in it. He went to the source of the water and put the salt in it and declared the Word if God over it, pronouncing it healed Faith in the Word is the salt of life. Salt has taste enhancing qualities. Faith in Jesus makes our otherwise bitter or tasteless lives tasty and enjoyable. Salt has preservative qualities - faith in the Protective promises of God will preserve our lives from spiritual as well as physical threats, dangers and risks. Salt has curative properties- the health -related and healing promises in the Word assure us of good health and healing. Salt is crystalline in form and structure and it does not get mixed with sand particles. Similarly, we ought not to get mixed up with the ways of the world. Salt is chemically a combination of two poisonous substances that neutralise each other and make the end product harmless, edible and useful. Similarly, the Spirit of God will lay the Word in our hearts and minds such that the internal poisons that can harm us and others are neutralised and made useful. This Uni-verse teaches us that healing is needed and possible not just for our bodies and its organs but the entire gamut of our lives. When people come to us with a problem, we can surely find a solution by faith in the Word and by application of the Word. We are only as salty as long and as much as the Word is in us. Faith in the Word makes us problem solvers in this world. Like Elisha we must go to the very source of the problem, throw the Word in and declare it solved, healed, cured and blessed. If we find a problem in our relationships, our workplaces, our homes, our communities, our nations and the world, we need to go to the source and apply, pray and declare the Word if healing. Faith in the Word supplies the answers to questions and problems that reason, knowledge and education teaches us to ask but cannot answer or solve. This is the reason why education by itself cannot solve the world's problems or answer all the questions. It is only faith and faith in the Word -based education that is not barren but produces health, healing, hope, wisdom and life. Elisha did not throw a ton of salt in but only a small bowl of it. Similarly, we need not have an overdose of faith but just enough to spark the change from barrenness and death to usefulness and life. Once Elisha declared the Word of healing the water of Jericho remained healed to this very day. Hence whatever we apply the salt of faith in the Word will be healed and remain so forever.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Calling by Faith and by Sight

UV 1033-10,000 Calling by Faith and by Sight (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were Romans 4 v 17 Abraham who was childless for the best part of his life was promised an heir and accordingly in God’s time, Sarah bore a son Isaac. Their tears turned into laughter for Isaac means “laughter”. Sarah had laughed the laughter of disbelief even as Abraham had rolled over and laughed in disbelief when the angel told him that they would have a son long past the age of child-bearing. But Abraham had in the past believed God who had called him out of Ur of Mesopotamia to the promised land of Canaan. He had taken the step of faith believing the Word of God. He believed God to be the one who not only gives life but can also bring back to life the dead. The example of Abram the fatherless who became Abraham, the father of many nations for his sons by Hagar and Keturah became the nations that people much of the Middle East today, was cited by St Paul to bolster our faith that God can at any time call that which is not as if it were already there. The universe and time is so structured that none of us knows what is about to unfold or happen. But if no one knows what is about to happen, then the world is made to a design of anarchy. Thankfully, God knows what is about to happen now as well as in the distant future. Not only does He know what is happening but He knows what is wanting in any situation and how to cause it to happen. He who knows how to turn the tasteless water into the best and choicest wine knows how to turn our tasteless, hopeless and barren lives into salty, tasty, hopeful and productive lives. By our thoughts, our words and our actions we can call into being that which is not as if it is already here. Our spoken word is not a mere word but it is a powerful weapon. Every spoken word is an action involving our bodies, our lips, our vocal chords, our mouths, our minds and our hearts. It is just like whistling or calling a puppy. If we call out the name or whistle, the puppy that is now not visible will appear from wherever it is. Similarly, when we are living by sight and not faith, we call different events and circumstances into our lives by our faithless thoughts, words and actions. If we say, “ I feel like I might die early,” or “ I feel something bad is about to happen”, the devil gets permission from our thoughts, words and behaviour to call into being the very negative that we have a sense of foreboding about. Likewise, if we by faith, confess positive thoughts, words and actions, the Lord will see and hear our thoughts, feelings, words and conduct and bring into being that which we are hoping for even in seemingly hopeless situations. A school principal narrated her story of how she went about renting a building for a school by faith and there was absolutely no enrolment. Then she went from class to class, calling into being the staff, teachers, the students and the Lord sent within just a day the first two students to enrol in the new school. I myself remember how I hoped to run into a million rupees to start an training centre for Friends of Police and the Lord moved the Home Office to institute a new award-the Queen’s Award- with a sum just larger than what I had in mind. Indeed, faith is calling into being that which is not as if it already were. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

You Shall Prevail

UV 1032/10,000 You shall Prevail Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place. I Samuel 26 v 25 David had saved the honour of Saul and Israel by killing Goliath. Yet Saul’s spirit was stirred against David out of jealousy at his reputation among the ordinary Israelites. Saul and his men were in pursuit of David when the latter stealthily came into the place where they were sleeping and secreted away Saul’s spear and container of water to prove that he had Saul’s life in his hands and yet had spared him. When Saul learnt of this, he declared David “ blessed” , prophesied that he would “do great things” and that he would “prevail.” A believer may have many struggles in his life with rivals, foes, enemies whose spirit of animosity, jealousy and hostility is stirred against the people of God. But being blessed or touched by God, we would do great things and in the end we will prevail. There is a saying that I was fond of as a young man, “ It is not the triumph that counts but the struggle.” But today I say in the light of much experience from my own struggles, it is not just the struggle that counts but also the triumph. The struggles build our inner strength, patience, faith, courage and character. The triumph in the end enables us to be joyful, hopeful and confident and it further reinforces our faith. Saul was anointed by the prophet of God, Samuel to be the first king of Israel. David did not harm the sleeping Saul and restrained his follower Abhishai also from stretching his hand to strike Saul as he knew that Saul was anointed or chosen by God to be king. David told his follower Abhishai that either the Lord would take Saul or he would die a natural death or die in battle but they should not sin by striking the anointed of the Lord. He did not take the Lord’s law into his own hands but allowed the judgement of God to work itself out in due course and in God’ s time and God’s way. Similarly, we are anointed by the spirit of God. Our cup of anointing is full and in our hands. But we should not get distracted or the enemy will snatch it away in our moment of weakness. The secret to triumphing or prevailing in all our struggles is to “ stay anointed” and to stay the course regardless of the turbulence or the distractions or the resistance. Neither any man or human agency nor representative of the spirit world or principalities and powers of darkness can prevail against us. We need to declare to ourselves that we are “ blessed”, that we shall “ do great things” and that we shall “prevail.” Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Lord of the Universe

UV 1031/10,000 The Lord of the Universe He is the sole expression of the glory of God, and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high. Hebrews 1 v 3 Jesus is the perfect translation of God for the complete transformation of man. Usually, when a language is translated there is some loss of meaning or power. But Jesus bore the complete DNA of God. He is the very image of God. Nothing about God was distorted, deleted or added to in His person. He created, upholds, maintains, guides and propels the universe by His sovereign, mighty, unquestionable and undoubted word of power. He set in place all the laws of the universe. This is the reason I have undertaken the task of analysing the Word, verse by verse to discover and illustrate the laws, precepts, principles and promises of God that govern the larger universe as well as the little universe or the circle of control and influence of our own lives. He upholds our lives, our families by His word of power. He maintains, guides and propels us, our work, our relationships by His Word. It is the same mighty word that brought Him back to life after having been nailed and left to die on the cross. That power is sovereign and above all angels, saints, spirits, principalities, kingdoms, princes, titles, positions and persons. We have access to this very same power to sustain us as we have been declared righteous and holy by the attribution of faith in the perfect sacrifice that cleanses us of our sins and rids us of our guilt. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God’s throne. He rules over both heaven and earth, the invisible world as well as the visible universe. Each uni-verse is a slice of His eternal power. As we take it in, we will have access to that power. We will be filled with a greater and greater measure of His grace, truth and majesty. He invites us in turn to take our place on thrones beside Him. We are the expression of the glory and love of God in this day, age and time. As we hold His Word in our hearts and minds, it offers the Lord ways in which He will reveal His power, majesty and glory to others and His love to us. Without His Word and His power, it would not be possible to be effective leaders or wise managers or successful people. He sustains us. He guides us. He propels us on the trajectory we should take. People are questioning in their minds about how the Malaysian airlines aircraft with more than 270 crew and passengers just disappeared and had not been tracked so far. Just a few days back, a believer from Australia met me and recounted how his daughter had a dream of the aircraft she and her friend were to travel in had caught fire. He prayed with them and asked them to take the flight. While airborne from Adelaide, one of the engines of the Tiger airlines aircraft caught fire but by the mighty word of Jesus, the flight returned and landed safely. The word of Christ and faith in it had made a difference between absolute disaster and absolute salvation. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Joy of the Lord

UV 1030/10,000 The Joy of the Lord Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8 v 10 The Lord God does not call us to a life of mourning but one of overflowing, abundant joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength- this implies that what delights the Lord’s heart is what gives us strength. The Lord delights in the Word. He delights in righteousness. He delights in faith. He delights in our obedience. He delights in our diligence. He delights in answering our prayers. He delights in our praise and worship. He delights in thanksgiving and grateful hearts. He delights in relieving our pain and suffering, in forgiving our sins and healing our diseases. He delights in His Son Jesus. He delights in fulfilling His promises to us. He delights in vindicating us in our struggles with our enemies. He delights in our salvation. For all these reasons, we need to be glad and celebrate our lives and not mourn or be sad. When we consecrate or dedicate ourselves at the start of each day, the day will be sacred and holy in the sight of God. He will bless our food and victuals so that we enjoy it. He also tells us to share the good things that He has given us with those who have none. In our happy moments, we need to consider those who are less fortunate than us. Success, they say , is getting what you want while happiness is wanting what you get. In real life, the moment we get what we desire, it appears to be far less desirable. Success is vain and empty and happiness is like a mirage-it keeps receding the more we get close to it. But the Lord says that life is neither about success or happiness here and now but it is about enjoying our walk with Him and about fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. Scripture says that the kingdom of God is not about feasting but about love, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy is not an effervescent or transient emotion of pleasure like happiness. It is an unfading and ever growing experience of God’s grace and truth. Joy flows from deep inside our souls. Its source is the knowledge that we belong to God. Our strength comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. What He has given us from heaven and earth is our portion, our inheritance. Our joy comes from believing the Lord and His promises. Our joy comes from the victory He gives us as we lean on Him. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Shareholders in the Kingdom of God

UV 1029/10,000 Shareholders in the Kingdom of God Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust 2 Peter 1 v 4 A currency note of any country is not itself something of immediate value but it is a promissory note guaranteed by the currency issuing and controlling Central Bank of the country. Yet we believe when we have these notes in our wallet or account, we hold something of value with which we can buy the things or services we need. The promises of God that mankind believes and values so little are much greater and precious. These constitute the currency of God’s economy of abundance where the means outlast and outnumber the wants. They make our lives glorious and excellent. Our lives transcend the ordinary, mundane and the humdrum on account of these promises. There are promises that will hold good in every conceivable situation we face or can face in life to meet our need- emotional, spiritual, social, financial or material. God reveals that whatever He has promised with His mouth, He will do with His hands. The promises are given to us as an inheritance meant for the children and heirs of God, so that we are partakers in God’s nature, character, power, glory, greatness and purpose. We are shareholders and stakeholders in the Kingdom of God. We have been purchased, ransomed and redeemed from the world, its lust and its consequent corruption by the invaluable blood price paid by Jesus. The promises of God are the new equity He has given us freely so that we can invest it in our lives and multiply it to meet every need. It will enable us to partake in God’s nature as it will teach us to be more generous, to be more trusting and trustworthy, to be faithful and grateful for every grace. The promises are described as “ exceeding great” as they are beyond our imagination and our rational thought process, beyond our expectation and our asking. We cannot predict in exactly which way or at what time the promise will be worked out or fulfilled. Jesus said, “ I am the way.” He works out the way in which each promise of God is fulfilled. The promises of God are the agency and means by which our eyes will see, our ears will hear the wonders that the Lord has reserved for His people. They are the instrumentality by which He blesses us and keeps us. They are the means by which we can live a life full of hope, faith, optimism and joy as we have the assurance that God will keep His word to the last letter. They will work for us in our life and death situations to give us a great salvation. In life situations, I experienced the blessing and power of His promises in my academics, family life and profession. In death situations, I experienced the power of His deliverance in high risk and near- death encounters. Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cause and Effect

UV 1029/10,000 Cause and Effect He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. Psalm 78 v 26 The Lord sends a wind to ward off any attack on us. Sometimes He sends an east wind to provide for us even as He sent the loads of quail when the Israelites were wandering in their sojourn back to the Promised Land. They were provided manna or supernatural food from heaven that were flakes that tasted like honey but they craved for meat. We too when we are given abundant supernatural and spiritual food, we crave for the natural food. When we are given abundant natural food, we crave for the supernatural food that we receive from the hand of the Lord. The Lord then sent enough quail that lay on the ground in large numbers, piled up to within their hands reach. By His power He will provide generously, naturally and miraculously as He did by sending the wind to blow enough quail to fall within their hands reach all round their camp within a day’s distance. The south wind is a metaphor for blowing away our blessings if we break faith with Him. A certain family we know did not acknowledge the Lord all the years they prospered. As a result, when their only son who was quite bright and smart as a child had matured the Lord said He sent the south wind to blow away the grain at the time of harvest. Phenomena like lightning, thunder, winds, rain, sleet, snow, fog and blizzards are to remind us of the might, power, grace and mercy of the Lord. The Lord blew the wind that caused the Red Sea to part to form two walls or flanks to allow the Israelites to pass through from Egypt to Israel, from bondage to freedom. Similarly, the Lord blows the wind to ensure safe passage for us, to remove barriers, to destroy all walls of hostility or resistance. The Psalmist puts it beautifully, “ He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” The plural “ treasuries” implies that He has different types of treasuries of power, provision, healing, blessing, deliverance, restoration and retribution. His blessings as well as His penalties come as powerful gusts of wind that we cannot withstand. He sends the wind of the Holy Spirit to anoint, empower and embolden us. When we are mentally or emotionally disturbed, He blows gently on us like a mother blows her breath to cool her fevered child. Prateep V Philip

Day-Night Difference

UV 1028/10,000 Day-Night Difference 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 The Lord divides people into four categories: the unjust, the filthy, the righteous and the holy. The standards, character, lifestyle, goals and priorities of the people of the world and the people of the Lord are directly contrasting even as day differs from the night. The people who are in a position to be just, if they are unjust the Lord promises to give them their due reward. The Lord says that we need not be unduly concerned with those who persist in being just, persist in being vile and impure. This does not mean that we should make no attempt to improve the world around. It does not mean that the kingdom of God is a kind of liberal laissez faire wherever every one does what he pleases. It implies that we should make our best and diligent efforts in improving things but we need not be frustrated if the unjust oppress us, if the deceivers and the deceived persist in what is not true, righteous, pure and holy. The Lord promises, “I will be back . Don’t be slack.” We should keep the brass lamps of our spiritual life bright and shining. We need not mourn the fact that the world and its patterns are running counter to the word and will of God. Every one will get their due rewards or penalties and in due time. The fear of God and love of the Word will keep the faithful from being unjust or filthy or wicked. It will keep us on the straight and narrow path without any tendency on our part to take a detour or to dabble in what is not pleasing to God. This uni-verse also helps us understand why we are now living in times like that of Noah where there were few just, pure, righteous and holy individuals. We need not be discouraged wondering why their lot seems prosperous, healthy and joyful while we are miserable, weak and in sorrow or pain. They are being short sighted while our priorities are eternal in line with the plans and purposes of God. We need not be puzzled that the numbers of people engaged in what is ethically incorrect or blatantly unjust is increasing by the day. As the day of the Lord approaches, such activities and evil is bound to increase just as it gets darkest just before dawn. The believer’s role is like that of a watchman to stay spiritually vigilant in each watch of the night. We are to take the things that burden us to the Lord in prayer and He will convey His burden through and to us. The night in Israel was divided into five watches or periods of time. When we are living in the end times it is like living in the last watch of the night. We need to persist in believing the goodness and justice of God and in believing that He will both redeem and reward us for our deeds of righteousness. We need not be deterred or discouraged that the majority of people are conforming to the patterns of the world in being unjust, in being unclean and impure. We need to be focussed on being transformed into the very image of God by being just, pure, righteous and holy. The Bridegroom Jesus Christ appears at the break of dawn. He will reward those who have kept their clothes or their lives clean, white and pure. He will reward those who have kept their spiritual lamps full of oil of the anointing of the Holy Spirit and burning brightly. The Lord says that it is more important to be wise than to be smart, more important to be righteous and upright than being successful and prosperous. Prateep v Philip

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Source of Our Strength and Power

UV1027/10,000 The Source of Our Strength and Power God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. 2 Samuel 22 v 33 This uni-verse does not say God gives us strength and power but that He Himself is our strength and power. He clothed David, the shepherd boy, David, the anointed heir to the throne of Israel, David the challenger, David, the fugitive, David the warrior, David the King of Israel with strength and power. Different types of strength and power are needed by us at different times and different situations in our lives. Strength is the ability to defend oneself while power is the overflow of strength- the ability to rule over others and wrest victory. The Lord causes the strength and power to flow not from above us or outside us but from within us. It is a deep change that He has wrought in us and not a superficial or cosmetic change. Since He is the source of our strength and power, our strength and power is immense, unlimited, infinite and inexhaustible. Therefore, we are called to be warriors and not worriers, princes and not paupers! Different parts of our bodies are also given different types of strength and power. Our head is given the power to lead, the power of both knowledge and wisdom, the power to imagine and create, the strength to withstand different types of fear, the power to believe and to trust, the power to strategize, the power of insight and understanding. Our eyes are given the power to envision. Our ears are given the power to listen, the ability to receive. The ears are shaped like a funnel to take in all sounds and is also curved like a foetus in the womb. The more we listen to the messages the Lord sends us, the more we will grow in strength and power like a foetus develops on only one source of food- the mother’s milk. Our mouth is given the power and privilege to speak the very Word of God and God-like power and strength is released on both the listener and the speaker. Our fingers are taught to battle, our arms to be strong to work, our legs to stand firm. The Lord invests our spirit with the strength of steel and the power to rule over ourselves. Just as muscles are the source of strength in a hand or leg, our faith is the source of strength in our spirits. God’s natural provision is itself awesome and great but His supernatural provision is beyond our understanding and imagination- it takes faith to recognize the supernatural provision of strength and power. We are not perfect but as we strive for the very perfection of Christ, the Lord attributes perfection to us by grace. He does not see our faults, failings and our limitations. He assesses us by our eternal potential and by our faith. The Lord is satisfied that as we go, we make improvements in the way we think, speak, relate, solve and do things. He will enable us to set our goals and standards very high and give us the grace or power to achieve these. He will deliver us from enemies who are too powerful or too subtle for us to handle. As long as we handle the known, He will handle the unknown. He will enable us to successfully cross hurdles and barriers in our lives. He will enable us to come through unscathed in great dangers and battles so that we as well as others will know that it could only the hand of the Lord that had done it. As long as we are trying to live upright lives and in accordance with the Word, our way is perfect. Prateep v Philip

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Word Cycle

UV 1026-10,000 The Word Cycle So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55 v 11 Just as the rain, dew and snow fall from the upper atmospheric levels down onto the earth, just as the hitherto dry soil drenches in the fallen moisture, drinks it into its depths, the Word of God has been sent in sufficient abundance that we drink deep of it. What is not immediately used up is collected several hundred feet below the surface of the earth as underground pools and rivers of water that can be drawn and used to satisfy need as it arises. The water softens the hard ground and lets plants send down their roots. Similarly, the Word softens human hearts and minds and allows the tree of eternal life to grow and send down its roots. Just as the rain soaks the soil and allows a variety of flora and fauna to survive and thrive, producing crops and fruits for food and herbs for healing, trees and flowers for the joy of beauty of ornament, the Word provides both food and fruit, medicine for healing and ideas to make our lives more colourful and vibrant. Just as the rain does not return to the sky or clouds, the Word will seep in deep into our souls, producing and expanding faith in God. It will accomplish that which will please the Lord. The Word is living and organic. It will grow in the place where it is planted. The Word will prosper in the place or person or situation to which God has sent it. The Word is a personal communication from God to every person who hears, reads and believes it. It is irrevocable. It will not return to God null and void or without results. The Word releases the life-giving miraculous power of God. But like the rain that makes the seed grow, it will all happen in a gradual and seemingly natural way. If we want to accomplish great things and achieve great feats for the glory of the Lord, we should ask the Lord to send the rain of His Word. He reigns on earth as in heaven through the promise of power in His Word. When we declare His Word over every effort or challenge or difficulty or activity, it will be blessed and transformed. We will then turn the Word back to the Lord as prayers of praise and thanksgiving even as water vapour evaporates from the surface of the water bodies, the ponds, the lakes, the rivers, the seas and oceans on the earth in order to charge the clouds again. Just as water vapour needs to evaporate and be loaded on the clouds in sufficient quantity for it to rain, the frequency, regularity and consistency of our prayer life is important. Just as a cooling is required for the moisture to condense and fall as a downpour, we need to be cool and calm in every situation in life, not wondering –will it or wont it- but being sure the Lord who has spoken will do as He has said. Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hooking on to the Infinite

UV 1026-10,000 Hooking On to the Infinite For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts Isaiah 55 v 9 The difference between the ways and thoughts of God and that of us is infinite. His ways and thoughts are beyond knowing by man and beyond the realm of our intellect, perception and study. Yet He has promised that He would reveal Himself if anyone seeks Him with all his heart. Nobody is able to estimate how high are the heavens above the earth. In similar vein, nobody is able to gauge the extent of God’s knowledge, wisdom, power, holiness, love and mercy. While some of us are sometimes able to discern the feelings of people from their faces, God is able to understand our inner thoughts, fears and motives. While we are constantly thinking of what we can gain, the Lord is thinking of what He can give. While we are thinking of how small we are, He sees and knows our potential in the light of eternity. While we are thinking in terms of the constraints of our limited resources, He is thinking in terms of possibilities and abundance. We can plan short term or long term or for a lifetime but the Lord plans for all of eternity. While we are afraid and baulk at difficulties, death and other consequences, the Lord is undaunted. While we remember past wrongs with bitterness, He forgives and forgets. While we need a lot to accomplish a little, He needs only a little or nothing to accomplish a lot. A little achieved can cause our minds to swell with pride for example, John Lenon boasting that he was more popular than Jesus Christ using the talent God had given him. While our knowledge and wisdom are mismatched, the Lord is equally great in both knowledge and wisdom. The thoughts, words and ways of the best of us are miserable while His thoughts, words and deeds are awesome. His purpose and His methods are different. The thoughts, feelings and actions of the greatest or most mature of us are like those of a child vis a vis the Father in heaven. At the height of our lives, we are vulnerable and weak while the Lord is Almighty and all powerful. The practical implication of this uni-verse is that in everything we think, speak and do, we need to ask and seek what is the Lord thinking, speaking and doing about it? We need to sync our lives with Him with the help of the Holy Spirit. We need to depend less and less on the quicksand of our own thoughts, words and actions and increase our dependence on the Lord. The question arises that if God and man are so different, then how can we relate to Him, how can we connect with Him, how can we understand Him? It might increase our sense of awe and reverence but how do we bond with such a Person? The Lord has revealed His thoughts, words and deeds through His Word. The Lord has revealed Himself through the person and mind of Christ. When we integrate our lives with Christ by faith, when we saturate our minds with His Word, our thoughts and ways get elevated to the very level of the Lord Himself. We become imitators of Christ and God Himself. We are reflections of the Lord’s glory in a darkened world. We are transformed into His image,degree by degree, day by day, thought by thought, word by word and way by way. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Our 153 Moments

UV 1025-10,000 Our 153 Moments “Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was so full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.” John 21 v 11 Each of us as believers must have our “153 moments”- moments when we experience an abundance that is miraculous, a time when we know that it had to be the Lord who had caused it to happen. Jesus said , “ I have come that you may have life and life in all its abundance.” The disciples were out in the boat trying to catch fish all night but they drew only an empty net. Early in the morning Jesus appeared on the shore. Similarly, we may be trying in vain for a long while but we should not give up hope for the Lord’s appearance and His word of direction will happen before the “153 moment.” A 153 moment is a miracle that is precise, specific and stupendous occasion when the Lord blesses our hitherto failed attempts with amazing and awesome success. He will fill our nets to the point of bursting. They had an experience of failure and emptiness just moments before but now they had caught more fish than they expected, more than they needed. The pessimist believes that life is a half- empty cup, the optimist believes that life is a half-full cup but the believer believes that life is an overflowing cup where not only is our need met but we can help to meet the need of others around us. As we look to Jesus, He will tell us to change the direction as He told the disciples to cast the net on the right side of the boat. Only when they saw the net was so full of fish did they recognize it was the Lord –in fact, it was only John, the most beloved disciple who first recognized Him. It is no wonder that only John gives this account of the miracle of the 153 fish. The implication of this number in the gospel of John is that the gospels were so accurate and authentic that John recalled even the exact number of the fish caught. The empty net is a symbol of our vain lives before we met and believed the Lord Jesus and His words. The full net is a symbol of the life after we believed and received Jesus into our hearts and lives. He is now the director of our lives, the CEO who tells us in which direction we should move or cast the net. He will enable us to catch many "large fish" or to have a significant impact in our lives. The disciples who were disappointed in their attempts to fish all night were overjoyed when their nets were full. But they were even more overjoyed at seeing Jesus. So much so, Simon Peter jumped into the water to move towards Jesus on the shore. But Jesus, always the practical one asked them to bring some of the fish they had caught. He had already prepared a fire of burning coals and was barbecuing the fish on it and toasting the bread. Jesus is so down to earth that even after His resurrection, He first thought of the physical need of His followers. He wanted to satisfy their hunger since the disciples had been at sea all night. Their empty nets were accompanied by empty stomachs. I have had many 153 moments after I believed, received and recognized the voice of the Lord in many of the things I have attempted in my life so far. One of the earliest 153 moments was when I stood first in the state out of all the students who took the examinations and won a coveted National Talent search scholarship where I had only a first class or grade in the year before. We should be not on the shore but out in the water trying to fish for the Lord to be able to experience a 153 moment. We should also be willing to follow or obey the new direction He gives us. Once it happens we know that it could only be God who has done it. It usually happens when we are not expecting it and when we are spiritually, empty or broken. It happens to prove that the Lord can do a lot with an empty net, a failed life and a broken heart. It will be so strikingly miraculous that we will always remember the precise, specific details just as John remembered that the net held 153 large fish. Prateep V Philip