Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Theo-logical versus the Teleo-logical

Theo-logical versus Teleo-logical
The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

Psalm 118 v 15

We rejoice because we are saved by the Lord. We have not won victory in life on account of our own mortal strength or craft. We have won the victory over sin and death, curses and afflictions, adversaries and the enemy of our soul by the mighty right hand of the Lord that is always outstretched over us, ready to defend and ready to strike. He causes us to rejoice in the safety of our homes or our tabernacles. He is tabernacled with us and in us. He sets in motion a spring of joy in us that will never dry up. From that root of salvation, He causes righteousness and rivers of life-giving water to flow from our hearts. The joy of the Lord becomes our strength, our source of hope and sustenance in any and every situation.

He has turned our mourning into dancing. He has girded or surrounded us with gladness. As the Lord dwells in us after our repentance and our confession, we are declared righteous by grace. He now expects us to at least try to be righteous or upright in thoughts, words and deeds so that grace is not taken for granted or is not in vain. We must develop an attitude of zero tolerance for unrighteousness or wickedness that was so natural to us before we believed and received Christ as Saviour and King of our hearts.

Only our hearts and our voices are involved as there is no reference to our hands and limbs. There is an alignment of our beliefs and the confessions of our mouth. We need to declare with our mouths our faith and only then does it get validated in the eyes of God. We no longer believe what our eyes see or our ears hear or what any of our other tangible senses tell us. We believe the words of the Word of God, the word of Jesus, the word of the Spirit. We deny what our flesh and blood affirms to us. We confess the words of faith. When we do so, the right hand of the Lord will establish the truth of His Word. The reach of our own hands are limited but nothing limits the hands of the Lord. Our affirmation and confession of faith in the Lord gives Him permission to act in our lives. Our eyes and not just ours but the world’s , our ears and not just ours will now hear the voice of triumph, the voice of rejoicing. The spiritual will become tangible and real while our real threats, fears and afflictions will melt away. Grace and peace will outwork great wonders and marvels in our lives. As the Psalmist writes, “ the testimonies of the Lord are the rejoicing of my heart.” He says again, “ the statutes of the Lord are the songs of joy in the house of my pilgrimage.” We recognize that our lives are a journey that is in preparation for another journey to the everlasting land and joy. Affirmation of faith first happens and then the action in real time happens according to the Word. This is what I call Theo-logical or the logic of God and not teleo-logical – the logic of man and this world.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Pardigm Perfect

UV 1076/10,000 The Godly Paradigm

For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

Job 36 v 4

The words of God are not just spoken but breathed on us. They are meant not to intimidate us or make us crawl in fear but to give us hope and confidence, to show us the direction in which we ought to move, to instill in us the strength and peace. God willed the universe into existence by His spoken word, “ let it be”. He willed us into existence by His inspired or breathed out word. We cannot be passive observors of the world but allow the word of God to seep deep into us and create change from within us so that we conform to the very image of God. The words of men give us information while the words of God give us insight into ourselves and the world at large. With the growth in information and knowledge, the words of men in every age keeps changing like shifting sands of a desert. The templates and models offered by men are incomplete, imperfect and fallible. What is considered true today is determined as false tomorrow. The standards of men are relative and fickle.

We are imperfect in our knowledge as it mixes good with evil. This is our natural constitution with which we are comfortable. But God is perfect in knowledge. He desires that we too be perfect like Him for Jesus said, “ be perfect because my Father in heaven is perfect.” He desires that we aspire for something better. It can happen only as we increase in our knowledge of His Word and as we apply His Word to our lives. When we lay up His Word in our hearts we will be built up. The process of perfection does not happen overnight but it is a slow but steady growing into the likeness of God in all we think, speak and do. When we meditate on His Word we will have greater understanding. When we obey His Word, we will be greatly blessed. When we declare His Word, we will be issuing decrees that will be established.

The words, “ …is with you” implies that since the God whose knowledge is complete, perfect and immaculate is with each of us, we should naturally look to Him for wise counsel in every decision and every word and action we take. He is our constant and consistent consultant who does not charge us any fee. He only wants us to be free of the snares of temptation, the follies of our own wisdom, the evils of our own willful ways. We should not lean on our own thoughts and understanding, skills and talents, resources or connections. We should not depend on the market to make it. We should only depend on our Maker. Yet why do we mess up often. The reason is that we take our eyes off Him and look at what is visible, appealing and attractive in this world. We do not look at what His Word prohibits or permits and go ahead and do just what pleases us. We then blame God for the results for after all He is with us. He says, “ I have laid out before you in My Word my thoughts on every single aspect of life- how you should choose your mate? How you should spend your time? How you should speak, relate and interact?” I have also given you examples or templates of people in flesh and blood who either followed my Word or disobeyed and gave you the illustration of the consequences in their lives. I have also given you the Holy Spirit to whisper in your ears wise counsel and to amplify your own consciences.” It is not lateral thinking that we need but scriptural thinking or godly thinking- how intertwined with our thoughts is the Word of God?
Prateep V Philip

Divine Sign Language

UV 1074-10,000 Divine Sign Language
Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.

Isaiah 7 v 11

It is not wrong for a believer to seek a sign of God’ s favour on his plans and intentions just as Gideon asked first for the fleece to be soaked and the next time round, he asked that the ground around the fleece be moist with dew. God gave the young Joseph dreams that encouraged him that he had hope and a future. God gave Moses a sign of His power when he threw his stick on the ground and it turned into a snake. Gideon could squeeze a whole cup of water from the fleece. Similarly, the Lord reserves a cup of favour full to the brim for the seeker or the believer. Hezekiah sought a sign from the Lord of asking that the shadow on the sundial go back by ten degrees .

The greatest sign in history that God gave all mankind of His eternal love and grace was when a virgin conceived the Messiah to be – Jesus. He confirmed the gospel with many signs- the star over the manger where Jesus was born, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, the dream that Joseph saw that persuaded him to marry Mary. But despite these many supernatural and extraordinary signs and wonders, people continued to test the Lord and remained faithless. If we are not spiritually sensitive, we might miss the signs. If we are forgetful, we will not remember the signs the Lord gave us in the past. A sign from the Lord is meant to encourage us in the faith and in hope.

There are various occasions and reasons when we can seek a sign from the Lord: when we need to confirm a certain decision or course of action, when we need some encouragement as we are facing some desert or wilderness experience in life, when we are in doubt or fear, when we need a proof that God has spoken and that He will keep His promise to us. I once was professionally in a valley experience. I asked the Lord for a sign of his favour. He first spoke through a prophetic word- VIBGYOR- the acronym standing for the colours of the rainbow and symbolizing victory by grace in seven different domains of life-physical, social, emotional, financial, familial, professional and spiritual. He showed me a variety of rainbows including a miraculous reverse rainbow not in the depth or in the height of the skies but right on the ground and reaching up to the foliage of trees. These signs are signposts that we are walking in fellowship with God and that we do not need to despair even if circumstances may not be that bright or hopeful.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Mandate of the Witness

The Mandate of the Witness

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43 v 10

Witnesses are normally people who happened to be there when an event like a crime took place. They are accidental witnesses. They never planned or intended to be there. If you ask them they would rather not have been there to witness the ghastly crime. They look upon it as an unwanted burden or responsibility cast upon them by chance and the law. They know it is their duty to speak as to what they saw and heard so that the truth is established or proved in a court of law. It could make the difference between the innocence or guilt, miscarriage and justice. They know they would be grilled about every aspect of what they said they saw and heard.

But the Lord designates all believers as witnesses. He calls us servants as we are His witnesses in this world. It is not a burden or responsibility but a privilege given us. We are chosen out of the rest of humanity to be His witnesses, of what He spoke and did and about what we experienced before and after we believed in Him and His word. The scripture says that our spirits witness to us and the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirits. When we witness to others, we are helping to birth their souls to be re-born. Once they like us had no clue as to the light, as to who is God but now like us they would be transported to be part of the light, to have God as not just part but the focus of our lives. Elsewhere in scripture, the witness is also described as leader and commander. In short, leadership involves being a witness of God, a servant of God, the elect of God and the commander anointed by God.

In order to be good and faithful witnesses of God, we need to know Him more fully. We need to know His Word that describes Him in great detail. We need to believe His promises and experience His grace as He fulfills His promises in our lives. We need to understand the dimensions of His love, the length, the breadth, the height and depth of His love for us in Christ. We need to understand that the one who defined Himself as “ I AM WHO I AM” is God, the self-existent, eternal, unique, merciful, loving and gracious Creator of life. He has no beginning or end. He knows the end from the beginning. He is not formed or created but He formed and created all things in the universe with a form or design and a purpose. When we study the formations of God, we get information. When we study information, we get insight. He left a desire in all human beings to know, believe and to relate to Him. In the name of atheism, modernity, rationalism, secularism, agnosticism, we can cut out God from our lives. But in the absence of a reference to God, science, art, music, literature, history and life itself is like a pilotless, rudderless boat on the waves of time and space. There is an ache in the heart, a vacuum, a gap, the missing piece in the jig-saw puzzle that the witness can help to fill in.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 26, 2014

DIligence, Persistence and Devotion in Leadership

UV 1073/10,000 Diligence, Persistence and Devotion in Leadership
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Romans 1 v 9

God is a witness of all that we think, feel, speak and do. He is a faithful witness and keeps a faithful record of all our words and deeds. Saul, who once persecuted the followers of Christ, leading the crusade to have them captured and killed in public as an example, realized the importance of always checking his motives and actions with the Holy Spirit. Paul served God in his spirit and not with his hands. He persevered for the cause of the gospel, taking it to distant Rome, to the Greek islands and across the mainland of Europe. Though he ministered to a large number of people, he could say without exaggeration that he always remembered them in his prayers. He was diligent in his prayer life. He rightly called God to be his witness for no one else could certify the truth of his claim that he unceasingly prayed for them.

Paul brought the people with whom he shared the gospel before God in prayer. He interceded for them, praying for their continued growth to maturity, their protection and their blessing. It is a sense of empathy and burden that enables us to remember others all the time in our prayers. It is not as if we have to run through with God all of their needs. We only need to make mention of their names and believe that God who knows all of us in our entirety will undertake for them. Not that God had forgotten their names but He wanted to see how committed the apostles were to the flock entrusted to them.

Paul was not only faithful to God, he was faithful and sincere in his devotion to the people he shared the gospel with. He did not just say, “ believe and be blessed” and then forget them. He visited them whenever it was possible, communicated with them through letters carried by personal couriers sent by him. His ministry to people is an example for others to follow. He did not tax them with claims on their contributions or offerings. Even as Jesus prayed, “ let not one of them be lost”, Paul’s concern was that as many as possible be saved and all who were saved by faith, grew in knowledge, understanding and in character. He was conscious that God was watching his every move, listening to his every word and accompanying him on his travels.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 25, 2014

Our Personal Act and Song

UV 1072/10,000 Our Personal Act and Song

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Exodus 15 v 1

Like Moses and the Israelites, we need to compose our own song of exaltation and worship of the Lord. The song of Moses starts off with a commitment, “ I will sing unto the Lord”. The reason he praises God is that He had triumphed gloriously. Similarly, we need to say in our hearts, “ I will sing unto the Lord, for He has done great and glorious things in my life so far.” Then we need to enumerate the great things the Lord has done for us. Finally, we can extol the qualities and attributes of the Lord.

The greatest thing the Lord has done for each of us is sending His son Jesus to die for our faults and failings and to deliver us from eternal death. Moses and the Israelites praised God for delivering them from a temporary death for sooner or later all of them died, many in their wandering through the wilderness and many after reaching the promised land. The attribute that we can derive from the great and blemishless sacrifice made by the Lord Himself is His great compassion and love for each of us.

We can then recall the great acts of God in our own personal lives: of how He provided for us, how He delivered us, how He protected us, how He lifted us up and honoured us. From each of these acts, we can derive His attribute. For provision, we can praise and thank Him for His generousity and grace. For deliverance, we can thank and praise Him for His might and power. For protection, we can thank Him for His care and kindness. For lifting us up, we can humble ourselves. How often should we sing in this manner? These lines we write should be the constant refrain of our minds and spirits, an act of continual worship on our part. But as someone said, the greatest act of worship is imitation. We should then aim and aspire to imitate God in His deeds and in His attributes. We need to be increasingly generous, kind, caring, gracious, humble, powerful, practical and effective.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blessings - Micro to Macro

UV 1072/10,000 Blessings – Micro to Macro

The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!

Deuteronomy 1 v 11

Our faith in the God of the Universe, the God of Israel, the Great I Am, the God who revealed Himself in history as in our lives today makes each one of us a force multiplier. In ancient times, He multiplied the children of Israel in Egypt. They became so numerous that one of the Pharaohs became alarmed and thought of enslaving them so that they do not outnumber and overpower the native Egyptians in due course. The cattle that were to be given to Jacob as wages for his labour by his father-in-law Laban similarly multiplied. Each of the 12 sons of Jacob became a progenitor of a tribe of Israel. For God as for people, human resources are the greatest recipient as well as the source of blessings.

Today, the Lord God has called each one of the believers to be a spiritual force multiplier. Scripture says, that one shall put a thousand to flee. Two will put ten thousand to flee. The spiritual commands of believers will send the spirits of evil to flee just as Jesus commanded a legion of spirits to leave a demented man and they entered a herd of swine. The spiritual words of believers will bring healing to the nations. The testimonies of believers will increase and strengthen the faith of thousands upon thousands of people. They will depopulate hell and populate heaven. By our faith, we can not only move mountains but we can set up fountains of praise and worship of God and become force multipliers and generators of blessings.

The Lord keeps every word of every promise He makes under the old and new covenants. Jacob was zealous for the blessing of the first born by his father Isaac. He was willing to conspire with his mother Rebecca to steal that blessing. If he and his mother Rachel knew better at the time they would have only have been zealous for the blessing of God our Heavenly Father. There would have been no need to deceive or steal for God is generous and is eager to bless the people who seek His presence. The Lord God had blessed Abraham and made him a blessing. He promised him that though he did not have a son at the time that he would be a father of many nations. Through both Isaac, the child of promise and Ishmael, the son by a slave girl of human logic and persuasion, Abraham had descendants as numerous as grains of sand on the seashore and as many as stars in the sky. Only God can make such a promise and only He can keep it. Only He can draw forth a nation from a single man’s loins. The sandgrain is a symbol or metaphor of the small things in which the Lord God blesses us. Yes, indeed He is also the God of small things. Sand incidentally is the source of silicon and the microchip. So the work we do on our microchip technology will be blessed. The stars are the symbol of the great things in life, the goals that are beyond our reach, knowledge and comprehension. The Lord blesses us at the micro or cellular level as well as at the macro or universal level. The blessings of men and women of God pass on as a spiritual legacy to their children and the children’s children and thereon from generation to generation. Blessings are a supernatural fallout of a personal relationship with the God of our fathers.

As an application, we can daily or as often as possible open up Deuteronomy chapter 28 in the Word and thank the Lord for the blessings of obedience and for protecting us from the curses of disobedience.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our God-given and Prepared Destiny

UV 1071/10,000 Our God-Given and Prepared Destiny
Jesus said to them, “ You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right hand or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

God has prepared great and wonderful places and things for His heirs, the children who inherit His Kingdom. It is impossible to understand the meaning of this life or the shape of eternal life hereafter without reference to God and His Word. Only God knows all the dimensions of time and space. Only He can see beyond it. Jesus left more than broad hints of the city of Heaven, the mansions that the Lord God has prepared for those who come home to Him. Our response to Christ will determine if our destination is Heaven but our destiny in Heaven is only God-given. It is not only God-given or granted by the expressed judgement of God but it is prepared. Preparation implies planning, designing, execution, building, establishing.

Those who are joint heirs with Christ Jesus are those who drink from His cup of suffering. We need to identify with Christ in His sacrifice and in His suffering. Since we have suffered with Him, we will be glorified with Him. Since we have partaken in His suffering, we will also reign with Him. Our faith in Christ gains us entrance into Heaven. But Jesus stated in this uni-verse that the prerogative to determine the place we get in Heaven, the kind of mansion that each of us get belongs to God the Father. Even Jesus did not know the exact details of the places prepared for even the inner circle of His disciples. It is said that the kind of good deeds we do on earth in this lifetime provides the material for the angels constructing our future mansions in Heaven.

In this uni-verse, Jesus guarantees that we will suffer like Him in this lifetime but that we will be duly rewarded by a just Father in heaven. Since we know that suffering is certain even as reward is more than proportionate and just, we need to pray for the grace, the strength and the patience to endure the suffering. The sons of Zebedee and their mother wanted a place of proximity and power next to Jesus in heaven. But Jesus was asking them instead to focus on what is at hand, that they should aim at overcoming the challenges of this lifetime. Our focus should be on loving God and reciprocating His love rather than seeking rewards. Our destiny has been decided by Him and prepared from the foundation of the world.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stirring up the Spirit of Rulers and People

Stirring up the Spirit of Rulers and People
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying
Ezra 1 v 1

A hundred years before the coming of King Cyrus, it was prophesied by Isaiah that a king by name Cyrus would arise and defeat many nations. Cyrus though the King of Persia sought to honour the God of Israel, hailing Him as the God of heaven. The Lord stirred up his spirit to fulfill the good word that was prophesied about him, that he would subdue kings, to open closed gates, shatter bars of iron, to be given secret treasures of darkness. In the very first year of his reign, he issued an edict to let the captive Jews return to Israel to re-build the temple at Jerusalem.

Even today, the Lord stirs up or inspires rulers and princes of His people to do many exploits for His glory. He gives them victory and subdues the opposition. He gives them the resources required to fulfill His plan. He breaks down barriers and enables them to re-build His temple. Only God knows the future. He reveals His mind through visions, dreams and word of knowledge and wisdom to His chosen vessels. Cyrus was chosen by God to fulfill the prophecy of Daniel that the Babylonian captivity would be ended and the temple at Jerusalem would be re-built. He devoted considerable treasures of his kingdom to beautify the temple and sent it with the Jewish people who were commissioned to re-build the temple.

We too should devote a part of our time, treasure and talent to build the body of Christ, for the edification of believers or the strengthening of the faith of people. The reign of Cyrus was a time of favour for the Jewish people. Similarly, there are testing times and times of favour for each one of us. But we can pray that through thick and thin our faith will be unflagging, that the Lord will stir up the spirit of rulers to be in our favour and be zealous for the work of the Lord. It is amazing that by our prayers and our pronouncements we can even influence people born a hundred years after our time.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Celebration of God

UV 1069/10,000 The Celebration of God
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Zephaniah 3 v 17

Our personal relationship with The Lord our God has four aspects: one, our experience of His might and power. Two, our experience of salvation in all aspects of our lives and not just of our souls, three, His celebration and rejoicing in our relationship, four, the quiet assurance , rest and peace we find in His embrace. It is not as if these four aspects happen in sequence or in phases. It could be our experience of the Lord every day of our lives. Worship is a celebration of the joyous moments of our lives, the high points of our encounter with the Lord.

Scripture says that every morning He brings His judgement to light. He is in our midst and we are in His presence at all times. His love is unfailing. His mercy is sure. His peace is lasting and surpasses our understanding. The Lord rejoices over His own as a bridegroom rejoices over His bride. He takes pleasure in being part of our lives. He who has taught the heavenly bodies to join the cosmic dance of the universe and set in motion all the rhythms of nature rejoices over us with divine song and dance.

Whenever we experience a great deliverance on account of the might of God acting justly on our behalf, we also are overcome with joy. Even if we are not normally talented or inclined to sing or dance, we will automatically be moved by the Spirit of the Lord to sing, dance and rejoice in our hearts, with our lips, our speech and with our feet. On account of the great deliverances, I experienced in my life, despite being musically challenged, I was led to compose the longest praise and worship song now available on Youtube under the title “ The Great I Am”. Often I remember how the Lord delivered me and dance while playing this song. There is one thing that is not recorded in scripture about Jesus- He never danced or sang. But the book of Revelation says that ‘ they sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.” Moses who was by his own confession slow of speech was moved by the great experiences of the might of God to compose, sing and dance. Similarly, Jesus rejoices over every soul who is delivered from eternal death and released from the chains of spiritual bondage.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Don't Be Slack

UV 1068/10,000 Don’t be Slack for I will be back
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
Zephaniah 3 v 16

For as John 3 v 16 puts it, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son..” Jesus poured out His life on the cross, was resurrected and ascended to heaven to the Father’s right hand. But in this uni-verse, Jesus is telling the people of His kingdom, God’s nation Zion, “ Don’t be slack for I will be back” -this time as a Righteous King and Judge. A king is someone who has jurisdiction over our lives and to take it away too. We will have to give an account of our lives after we were saved even though our previous debts are cancelled. We are expected to trust in the Name of the Lord but we are also expected to be diligent. The risen Saviour does not exhort us to neglect the opportunities of life but He eggs us on to greater and greater heights of faith, wisdom and excellence.

Our success in every domain should not be ordinary but astounding, out of this world. Our success and excellence should exceed in an abundant way the world’s conception of success and excellence. We are manifestations of Trinity power and grace. We are spiritual planet shakers. We can raise the bar for nations using the lever and perspective of faith. Some of us deliberately drop the “ e” in planet and try to become plant shakers who are too lazy to climb a tree laden with fruit and remain content to stay at the foot of the tree and shake it, hoping to catch a fruit as it falls. The Lord calls us to deal with our fears. We should not be afraid of success or failure, heights or depths, mountains or valleys, the mighty or influential for He who is greater than all is in us and with us and He will never leave us nor forsake us. Whether we rise to the highest heaven or sink to the bottommost part of the ocean He promises to be at our right hand. His Word is both a shield and a buckler, that is it is both a weapon of offence and defence to accomplish His purpose in our lives.

We are to think, act, speak and behave as citizens of the new Jerusalem. We need to think in terms of abundance and not have a scarcity mentality. There should be neither lies nor deceit uttered by us. We should be meek and humble before the Lord, the Lion of Zion. We should be fearless for what can man or satan do to us when God is with us. We are more than conquerors in Christ and have conquered our fears, our fear of death and its consequences being the greatest fear of mankind. We believe in and exercise the resurrection power and authority of Jesus to stamp on spiritual serpents and scorpions, to break the jaws of the roaring lion, satan, to thwart the attack of foxes and wolves. We should rest in the Lord even as we are restless in prayer.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 19, 2014

UV=Uni-verse: Combining the Spiritual, Intellectual, Social, Phy...

UV=Uni-verse: Combining the Spiritual, Intellectual, Social, Phy...: UV 1067/ 10000 Combining the Spiritual, Intellectual, Social, Physical and Practical Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them,...

Combining the Spiritual, Intellectual, Social, Physical and Practical

UV 1067/ 10000 Combining the Spiritual, Intellectual, Social, Physical and Practical
Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise
John 21 v 13

The third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He asked them to change the direction of their nets and that led to a miraculous catch of 153 large fish. He used this miracle to get the attention of the disciples as He had done a similar miracle when He first called Peter to follow Him. The resurrected Jesus was not other-worldly. Before the disciples could drag the net full with fish to the shore, Jesus had Himself prepared a fire and barbecued some fish for the disciples since He knew they were tired and hungry and needed to eat. Here was Jesus who had undergone great torture, trauma and suffering and then put to death cruelly on the cross and had risen from death. He now had a glorified body. Yet, He knew the immediate need of the disciples. He served them the food they needed before teaching Peter the last lesson of leadership- to feed the sheep. He ate with them and had fellowship with His disciples. He was completely spiritual and yet He was totally practical.

Our spirituality does not mean that we should live unreal lives. We need to know the need of people we are called to serve and feed that need as best we can. Just as Jesus changed the direction of their nets, we too should show people how to change the direction of their lives and their efforts. The great result produced of catching 153 fish led to Peter recognizing that it was the Lord Jesus who was speaking to them. The number 153 interestingly is a combination of 1 3+3 3+5 3, a symbol that after the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the Trinity is involved in multiplying the Trinitarian grace of God in our lives, in spirit, mind and body. The disciples were blessed by the ministry of Jesus in spirit, mind and body. The Father shaped and created our bodies and breathed the Holy Spirit into our lives. He has given us the mind of Christ- generous, loving, spiritual, practical, forgiving, wise, truthful, fearless and kind. We have access to the Resurrection power of Jesus in all that we do. When we seem to have a hopeless situation on hand, we can pray, “ Lord, resurrect my dead hope in this matter.” When we have a dying or dead relationship, we can command it to be resurrected. When faced with a health issue, we can claim His resurrection power of healing.
This uni-verse teaches us that our spirituality should be rooted in practicality. Our heads might be turned heavenward, our perspective may be eternal, our priorities God-ordered but our feet should be planted on the ground. Faith is meant to be practiced, real, practical and need- satisfying. As a student when I came to the Lord, He satisfied my need of higher grades. As a police officer, He has satisfied my need of being effective in handling law and order and detecting or preventing crimes. As a husband and father, He provides for the need of the family. He gives us grace to run in the race we are currently running. He enables us to face the challenges we are currently facing. The Lord is always upto date and never behind the times. There is no God-man gap. He is always abreast of the changes in our lives and in our generation.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Dangers of Judging Others

UV 1066/10,000 The Dangers of Judging Others

Judge not, that ye be not judged
Matthew 7 v 1

We do not know the whole story or totality of circumstances of another person. Hence, we ought not to judge others. Only the Lord knows our whole story, our pain, our motives, our thoughts, our past, our challenges, our hopes and our future. Only He is qualified to judge us. Only He can judge us in a fair manner. Only the Lord is perfect, holy, righteous and blameless. Only He has the right to judge us. When we judge others, we tend to diminish our own deep faults and gross mistakes to make it look as small as a speck but magnify even the errors of others to look as if they are very serious and irreparable. If there is one thing the Lord hates it is hypocrisy and He hates it when we put on a show of goodness, hiding our true intent and character. He hates it when we slander others even in our thoughts or words. He expects us to extend similar grace and forgiveness to others. If we fail to do so, we forfeit His mercy, forgiveness and grace. He will be like the ruler who mercilessly threw a debtor into prison who showed no mercy to a servant who owed him a much smaller debt. The Lord asks us to daily look at ourselves honestly against the standard of His Word as a man looks into a mirror, clearly see the blemishes and flaws and take steps to avoid, reduce or overcome these apart from genuinely repenting of it.

When Joseph’s eleven brothers pleaded for his forgiveness since they feared he would take revenge for the way they treated him by conspiring against him, trying to kill him, throwing him in a pit and finally selling him off as a slave, Joseph said, “ You planned it for evil but God turned it to good.” He trusted God and his sense of security and trust in God was so strong, he felt no need to take revenge. Then he said, “ Am I in the place of God to judge you?” He was acknowledging that only God has the right and prerogative to judge men for their deeds and misdeeds.

Jesus looked with compassion on the people of Jerusalem who bayed for his blood and his life. He told Pilate that only God gave him and rulers like him the authority to judge people. He did not even condemn Judas, his betrayer. He forgave Peter for denying he even knew him. He asked the Father in heaven to forgive those who nailed him so cruelly to the cross, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The Father will forgive us but the trouble is that we act as if we know exactly what we are doing. Jesus is the returning judge. He says to us, “ Do not judge others. I am at the door.” The Lord asks us to trust his sense of justice. He asks us not to trust people as people can be fickle as they were with him, one Sabbath hailing him King and the next, asking for his crucifixion without a thought about how unjust and cruel was their demand. He asks us not to trust princes or rulers as they can be partial, corrupt, unjust, moody or mean. When we entrust matters to the Lord, He will give us wise counsel. He will vindicate us.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Wisdom and Power Unto Salvation

UV 1065/10,000 The Wisdom and Power Unto Salvation

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1 v 16

The believer’s stance must always be, “ I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, rather I am proud and committed unto death and beyond into eternity to my faith in the risen Saviour.” For those who regard themselves as wise, the intellectuals, academicians and philosophers, our faith that Jesus Christ was put to death for our sins on the cross and that He rose on the third day might appear to be foolish and illogical. They are therefore ashamed to be associated with such a belief. For them the path of salvation is knowledge and wisdom. For those who regard themselves as rich, famous, powerful and those who aspire to be so, the idea that Almighty and All Knowing God sent His only Son Jesus to be sacrificed like a gentle lamb for the sins of humanity seemed absurd. It does not seem an attractive proposition to them. For them the path of salvation is power, fame and riches. For ordinary people who try to do good and avoid evil, they look for God in places and people where great miracles, signs and wonders are performed, the gospel seemed like an anti-climax unworthy of their belief or commitment. For them the path of salvation is religion and good works. But to all these categories of people, the Lord Jesus says, “ If you are ashamed of me before the world, I will be ashamed of you before My Father.”

But the gospel is not just good news but the great news that the belief in Christ as the once crucified Saviour and now and forever the Risen Lord and Saviour is the source of all power and wisdom of God sufficient to save us forever. Every one whether Jew or Gentile, man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, weak or strong, high or low, upright or wicked have access to all the wisdom and power of God unto the salvation of their souls for all eternity. Everyone who believes is given eternal life. Everyone is given abundant life. To everyone who believes, regardless of his past and his deeds, is imputed or attributed the righteousness of God. We are the righteous representatives of God on earth. We are united to be one with Him. We are His family, heirs waiting to claim our inheritance. Our identification with Christ is so complete that we are deemed to have died with Him on the cross and are now experiencing the entirety of His resurrection power in our whole being. We owe everything we are and everything we have to Christ who has purchased us with His own body and blood. We do not hesitate to share the truth of the gospel with anyone and everyone who recognizes that he or she needs it and everyone who wants to hear it. We are not ashamed to share it with the poor, the broken hearted, the high and mighty, the kings and queens, rulers and authorities of this world. We apply the power and wisdom of God in the gospel in our everyday lives.

The gospel gives us access to the five fold power of God: it gives us the power of the Name of Christ. It gives us access to the power of the cross of Christ that cancels all our punishments, sins and consequences. It gives us the power of the blood of Christ that sanctifies us and safeguards us from every plague and curse even as in the first Passover the cross of blood of an ordinary lamb safeguarded the Hebrew people in Egypt from the angel of death. It gives us access to the power of the word of God and the priceless promises of God to mankind dealing with every need and every conceivable situation in our lives. The Word is the key to every treasure on earth and in heaven. It gives us access to the power of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us and makes us worthy vessels for the gospel of whom God is not ashamed. The gospel gives us access to the full wisdom of God. He teaches us precepts that govern our everyday lives. He inspires concepts and ideas in us as we meditate on His Word. He breathes His wisdom on us. He gives us counsel and guidance. He adds life to our days and days to our life and in the end He will show us His salvation and take us into His eternal realms. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management said when he was asked by another famous management guru of our times, Ken Blanchard, “ Why do you believe in the gospel?” - “ There is no better deal!” It beats me of how anyone can be ashamed of the gospel.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lessons from Pottery

UV 1064/10,000 Lessons from Pottery

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Isaiah 45 v 9

We are not created to quarrel with our Maker. We are created to be friends with Him and to be His divine instruments. We are created to carry a message from Him to the rest of mankind just as a pot is created not for its own sake but to hold some water. Without a relationship with our Maker, we are but potsherds or broken fragments of pots that have fallen on the ground and competing for space and attention with other similar potsherds. We will fight with not just the Maker but with our own kind and fragment our lives, our peace, our purpose and our power even more. We have neither purpose nor meaning nor power in life without our Maker. We will be striving in vain all our lives, not knowing what we are striving for. The clay can become the pot but never the potter. We must realize our limitations and understand the vastness, greatness and awesomeness of the love, power and grace of God.

Scripture says that before the intervention of God, the earth was without form, and empty and darkness was on the face of the deep. In other words, the earth was like the other planets in the solar system. Similarly, before we were formed by God, we were without form, empty and darkness covered the depths of our souls. We were like the rest of mankind- formless, empty and devoid of purpose, meaning and power. We were like a sieve that could hold no water in it for long. The more was poured into us, the less we held back. Whatever we thought, heard or spoke just slipped through the sieve of our understanding. Whatever experience we went through, we did not get any wiser for it. In our folly, we would ask God who made us, “ Who made You? What have you made of our lives? What do you want to accomplish with such a handiwork? Don’t You have any power to change things?” No wonder all the years we struggled with God like Jacob or Israel, our lives were full of chasing of mirages in the desert, shadow boxing, wandering, fleeing, misery, powerlessness, doubt and fears. If we have to ask questions of the Potter, we only need to ask, “ Am I doing your purpose? Are You satisfied? What more do You want me to do? How can I hold, contain and pour out more ? How can my chipped and broken parts be healed?” When we ask such questions, we will be increasingly please the Potter and be greatly blessed.

But the Lord is telling us in this uni-verse that though we are as fragile and vulnerable as a pot, in His hands we will accomplish His great purpose for our lives. He will plug the gaps in our understanding, the holes in our lives that keep us from being focused. He just wants us to be still as He applies the Master’s touch to some area of our lives. The designs He has put in us are His gifts to be used for His satisfaction. He just wants us to be still as He in His mercy washes us clean and then, pours His love and grace into our lives. He wants us to bear the heat and pressure of many troubles and tribulations in this life for it has a purpose to strengthen us further that we will endure. As the Master Potter, He knows where to place us and how to use us. He desires that we pour of His love and grace into the lives of others. Each of us is the jar of clay that was washed and filled with water to the brim. We are washed with the blood of the Lamb Jesus and filled with the Word of God to the brim. Now it waits for the Master, the Potter, the Maker, the Saviour to speak the word to transform what we contain into the finest wine. As faithful pots, not quarreling or questioning pots, we only need to wait on the Lord as Mary told the servants at the feast at Canna, “ Do whatever He says.” Since we are the work of His hands, He will perfect that which concerns us. He will perfect our character, our destiny, our work, our relationships, our thoughts, our words, our very lives.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Uncertainty of Riches and Certainty of Faith

UV 1063/10,000 The Uncertainty of Riches and the Certainty of Faith
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
I Timothy 6 v 17

We need to say with spiritual authority to those who are rich in the possessions of this world not to be haughty, proud or highminded. We are not to esteem ourselves or look down on others on the basis of our financial position. It is better to trust in God from day to day than to put our trust in uncertain riches. Riches are uncertain for they can take wing and fly away. Riches are uncertain as it cannot satisfy the deepest longing of our souls. Many people focus on shoring up their finances and building up their asset and investment portfolio as they think that in a life of much uncertainty, riches gives them a hold on certainty. They want to build the foundation of their lives on something solid, precise and definite. But there is no certainty that we would even enjoy it for some time. There is no certainty as to who will succeed to our wealth once we die. There is no certainty that our successors will be worthy heirs.
Riches are uncertain as we do not know how circumstances will change. There was a certain wealthy man in the city who was known to me. He was considered one of the wealthiest in the country. When one of his kinsmen and employees told him that he was resigning and going to serve God, he made fun of him, saying that he would come to his senses once a bucket of cold water is poured over him. Suddenly, the rich man developed a stroke that kept him even from talking and after many months of treatment in different countries he did not improve. Before he died, his younger son died of a sudden heart attack and he attended that funeral. Indeed, as surely as we know the date of this day, today, as being so many years, months and weeks after the birth and death of Jesus, the only historical certainty is that Christ died for our sins and is alive today. The belief in this certainty can help us combat a legion of uncertainties- how long will we live, how will we live, how will we die, where will we go after death.. et al. As long as the day is known as today, faith in God as the ultimate provider will be alive.

It is God who has blessed us with all manner of gifts, blessings and provision. IF we are thankful for all the blessings and things we have in life, we will not have time or space to complain or worry about those that we do not have. As long as we hold on to our faith in the God who not only endowed us with life but gifted us with eternal life through His Son Jesus’s sacrificial act of redemption, He promises us to give us spiritual riches that neither moth or rust can decay or thief can steal. Such riches cannot take wing. He promises to also meet all our physical, financial, emotional and spiritual need according to His riches in heaven and on earth. The Lord wants His children to enjoy all things and all manner of blessings. He does not want us to be burdened with heavy labour in order to amass riches. He does not want us to be burdened with thoughts and worries about how to guard our wealth. He does not want us to be burdened with debt and financial worries.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 14, 2014

Perfect Peace

UV 1062/10,000 Perfect Peace

LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.

Isaiah 26 v 12

The Lord will ordain or organize, arrange and anoint us with abundant and overflowing peace. He is the cause and source of our peace, our blessings, our success, our hope, our strength. He is also the substance. His presence in our lives is sufficient to fill us with peace. When we are in Christ we have peace with God and peace with ourselves. We also enjoy peace with others. As our minds are focused on God, we have perfect peace. It is a wholesome peace. It is not made up or fake or artificial. It has deep roots from within. It is not dependent on circumstances. It cannot be taken away by anyone.

We have perfect peace as we have absolute security in the Lord. All that we have accomplished, He has done for us. He fulfills His purpose in our lives. Nothing can thwart or defeat His plan for our lives. We can rest in Him like a child who is weaned and lies satisfied in her mother’s arms. He meets all of our need. As He forgives us, we can make peace with our past. There is nothing that He will not forgive and so there is no limit to the peace we have with our past. As He resides in us and lives with us as God Immaneul, we have peace with the present and in the present. As He is our God Ebenezer, He helps us with all our present tasks and responsibilities. As He is the Alpha and the Omega, He will stay with us to the very end and far beyond into eternity. We have no anxiety about the future as well as about our eternity. More than all that the Lord has done and does for us on the outside, He does a greater work within us of increasing us in faith, love and hope.

The Hebrew word, “Shalom” best sums up the comprehensive peace the Lord accomplishes for us. It is a holistic concept that represents and contains forgiveness, peace, progress, wholesomeness, prosperity, joy, health, success and eternal life. When Jesus said, “ It is finished”, He implied that He had finished His work to establish peace for all humanity, individually and collectively. He had broken every curse or limitation in our lives and set us free from guilt and the consequences of sin that destroys our peace. He had also poured out upon our lives the blessings of the Lord. The beautiful thing the woman Mary Magdalene had done for Him before His crucifixion in breaking her alabaster jar of nard to anoint Him, that He had done for all humanity. He had given up His precious and sacred life to guarantee our Shalom. The world cannot give this peace. The world cannot take it away too. Hence, it is not worthwhile losing this peace for anything in this world.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 13, 2014

No Obligation to Anyone But God

UV 1061/10,000 No Obligation to Anyone but God

That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Genesis 14 v 23

The king of Sodom wanted to reward Abram aka Abraham with the spoils of war that belonged to the king and Abram had brought back to him. Abram had pursued four chieftains and brought back the goods that belonged to the king of Sodom. But Abram refused to take even a thread or a thong of a sandal so that the latter would not be able to say that he had made Abram rich. Abram said that he had raised his hand in praise and prayer to the Lord, God Most High, Elohim, Creator of heaven and earth and he had taken a covenant oath. He could not be obligated or in debt to anyone else.

The Lord does not want us to be in obligation to any human being. He desires our complete allegiance and devotion. He undertakes to provide that which we need. We only need to look to the Lord in faith. Abram which means “exalted father” was later called Abraham or “ father of many nations.” He had exalted the Father and as a result, Abram became greatly blessed as the father of many nations, the father of Israel as well as many nations of the Middle East and the father of faith in all nations of the world.

We should not just say with our lips the Lord’s prayer, “ Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.” Like Abraham, we must hallow or keep holy the Name of the Lord in our daily lives. Our worship of God becomes true only when our understanding of who He is, how great He is mingles with our lifestyle, our attitudes and our choices in life. It becomes true, meaningful, powerful, effective and beautiful only when we realize how real is His grace in our daily challenges and struggles.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Logo of Logos

UV 1060/10,000 The Logo of Logos

And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

Zechariah 9 v 16

The people of God are His sheep. We have not made ourselves but the Lord God has made us. We cannot save ourselves. He alone can save us from the day of judgement. Though we have many flaws like the blemishes on a stone, we will escape the judgement and the Lord will assess us like a merchant of precious stones evaluates the beauty of the stones in his hand. His grace and love will make our blemishes as of no effect. We are precious to the Lord. We are beautiful in His sight. He takes great pleasure in holding us in His hand. As a good shepherd who loves his sheep, He has wrapped us around His shoulders. He has made us as a royal scepter set with diamonds and precious stones. He knows we have gone through a lot of heat and pressure of trials and tribulations but our faith has not flagged or weakened. We have therefore become a flag or a banner of victory for the Kingdom of God. He has raised us up to be a royal ensign or a bearer of the standard of the Lord. People of all nations shall see this ensign and come to it that they too be blessed to be the jewels in the crown of the Lord. We who believe are the inheritors of His showers of blessings on earth and His kingdom glory and power forever.

The ensign refers to the victory banner or flag with a logo of a crown symbolizing the majesty, the beauty, the power, the greatness of the Lord. The ensign lifted up is to indicate that He will bless us in all domains of life. We will be symbols in the land of Jehovah Nissi, the God of Victory who gives us victory in all our struggles. He is the lion who is leading the army of sheep, harmless, meek, obedient, trusting and vulnerable by themselves but mighty in and with the Lord. We shall stand and feed on the strength of the Lord. We shall stand in the majesty of His name. His name shall be great unto the ends of the earth and we are the letters of that great name. We are the logo of Logos, the Word. We are known by God by our names, our attributes and our personal features. We will not lord it over the flock of God but be examples of service and humility. On the day He comes for judgement and for rewards, He will give us a crown of glory that will never fade.

The Lord will reveal or manifest His goodness, His greatness, His beauty, His justice and His mercy in the lives of His people, those who believe, trust and follow Him wholeheartedly and do not swerve to the right or left. They do not rebel against His Word. They love to hear His voice and obey it. We need to fully believe the Lord to live fully. We are not pastors who live in the past but live in the present moment, feeding on the pasture He leads us to, knowing that the pasture on the other side of this life is far greener. He will vindicate us when the predators attack us. On that day, we will remember this promise of the Lord and we will rejoice as Miriam rejoiced when the Red Sea that parted for the Israelites drowned the ensign and the troops of Pharaoh. As the eyes of the seemingly hapless people of Israel focused on the Lord, He turned the entire people into the mighty sword or weapon of a warrior. The only ensign or standard to which the unarmed people of Israel could turn to as they were pursued by the powerful Egyptian cavalry was the Name of the Lord. Whenever we kneel and pray, when we acknowledge His Name, we are lifting the royal and holy ensign of the Lord and the angels of the Lord of the hosts of Heaven rush to our aid.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 11, 2014

Overriding Power and Authority of Belief

UV 1059/10,000 The Overriding Power and Authority of Belief

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Luke 10 v 19

The Lord says that when our thoughts cause us anxiety and worry that tears our peace into pieces, we need to claim this amazing promise in prayer. The enemy exerts his power over our minds through an array of fears, worries, guilt and tension and so throws our lives into disarray. The human mind moves like a pendulum from guilt about the past, worry about the present to the other extreme of anxiety about the future. Some of these thoughts uncoil like a huge serpent in our lives and some sting us like scorpions. But the Lord has given us power to tread, trample and crush the head of the serpent under our heels. The enemy can launch a subtle serpent-like attack or a frontal brutal attack like a ferocious lion. After we spend some time on our knees in prayer submitting the challenge or problem causing us anxiety, fear or worry to the Lord, when we stand up, the serpent of that fear or scorpion of that worry or anxiety will be crushed there and then under our heels. We will behold and enjoy like Samson on our way to the Lamb’s wedding feast the sight of the decaying carcass of the lion with a full thriving beehive of the Lord’s honeyed promises. The more bitter the attack , the more savage the assault, the sweeter and more efficacious will the promises of God be.

Apart from our fearsome, guilty, worrisome, anxious or depressing thoughts, the Lord has given us blanket authority over ALL the power of the enemy. It implies that even real weapons, conspiracies, plots, plans and agents of the enemy cannot ever hurt us. By our spiritual weapons and by engaging in spiritual warfare, we can annul and bring all of these to nought. He who speaks against us, his words will turn against him. He who rolls a stone towards us will find the stone rolling back on him. He who digs a pit or sets a trap for us will fall into it.
The Lord protects and fends for us and holds us in perfect peace through the agency of His Word, the blood of Jesus, the shadow of His presence, the agency of the Holy Spirit through His wise counsel and comfort and through agency of His host or army of angels. We need to believe and behold, implying understand, comprehend and utilise the power that the Lord has given us over every power of darkness. The power that the Lord has delegated to us rules over life and death issues. It is comprehensive, defensive, complete, absolute, trustworthy, authoritative, legitimate and eternal. If we let it be dormant or passive or inert, then the powers of darkness will rule over us and hurt us. The Lord has given us the peace that passes all understanding and above all circumstances. But the enemy has the power to steal it, hurt, rob it and kill it. We got to use our authority as a bulwark against every device of the enemy in order not to lose the peace of Jesus. We got to use it more and more in all aspects of life, to claim the victory and the surpassing peace of Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Material is Immaterial

UV 1058/10,000 The Material is Immaterial

Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Matthew 10 v 10

The Israelites as they were led through the desert were provided manna for food and quail’s meat for nourishment. The Lord heard their plaintive cry that they had no meat since they left Egypt and sent flocks of quail so that they had enough meat within reach of their hands. The manna today symbolizes the spiritual nourishment we need that the Lord gives us every day from His Word. The meat symbolizes all our earthly, fleshly and material needs. As long as we consider ourselves a faithful worker of the Lord, skilled in rightly distributing or disseminating the good news of the Lord, He undertakes to provide our wages or all that is needed to meet our every want.

We should not worry about how we are going to provide for our families or how our needs are going to be met when we are old and unable to work. The Lord reminds us that all the silver and gold is His. We must just live and serve the Lord in such a way that we are worthy or faithful. The Lord is a wonderfully generous and gracious paymaster. He will ensure that our cup runneth over with joy. Faith is the equivalent of spiritual gold and we must always take measures to increase our stock of faith. The enemy of our souls wants us to be preoccupied with pursuit of money in order to deplete our faith inventory. The Lord desires that we make money our servant whom we can dismiss from our attention and presence at will. Our decisions should not be “ bread decisions” or thoughts about how much money we will loose or gain in doing or not doing a particular thing. The concept of payment by the hour for work in western culture is one of the tools to condition the human mind to always think of profit and loss, to be obsessed with trying to gain as much as possible in available time. The joy of many people in today’s world is like a yo-yo that rises and falls with the Sensex. The Lord says, “ Provide no scrip for your earthly journey..” It is not scrip but scripture that will help us meet all the needs of our journey on earth including the meat or “flesh needs” of our bodies.

God is jealous and when we end up spending more time worrying about our money, material needs or bank balance, He sees where our sense of security rests- not in the provider but in the provision. We must always have this vision before us- The Lord will provide whatever I need, whenever I need and as much as I need. Our financial challenges will test the extent of our faith and our dependence on the Lord while our financial attitudes will demonstrate the quality of our faith. This is the reason Jesus said that the competition for the attention and commitment of man is not from other gods but from Mammon or materialism, the god of this age. It does not however mean we neglect our estates or the physical resources the Lord has placed in our care or stewardship. We need to be faithful stewards of all that the Lord has given us. More than the lifeless silver and gold, the greatest resources He has given us are : thought, temperament, tongue, talent and time. Unfortunately, the love of money has a corrosive effect on all these resources. The love of money displaces faith and the primacy of place of God in our lives. This is the reason the Lord Jesus said, “ the love of money is the root of evil.” He does not say that the converse – the hatred for money is the root of all goodness- is true. In fact, the love or obsession with God is the root of all goodness and godliness. Our attitude should be – the material is immaterial and the immaterial or spiritual is material.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Feed like a Shepherd, Graze like the Sheep

Feed like a Shepherd, Graze like the Sheep

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21 v 17

Peter denied Christ thrice before His trial and crucifixion but he also affirmed the risen Christ thrice after His resurrection and just before His ascension to Heaven. He affirmed that he loved Jesus. Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him thrice. But the purpose was to annul the three denials that Peter made. Satan could no longer accuse him of having said that he did not know the man Jesus and had nothing to do with Him. We might have denied Jesus a thousand times but our affirmations and confessions of faith will cancel the weight and consequences of the denials. Up till this point, Jesus had been playing the role of the good Shepherd who fed His sheep. By asking the same question thrice, He was preparing Peter to take on that role to feed the disciples and believers. “To feed the sheep” meant to encourage, guide, admonish, inspire, teach, minister, explain, illustrate, declare and demonstrate in practical and real ways.

Jesus rarely repeated His golden words for He is a person of perfect speech and perfect wisdom. Yet why did He chose to ask Peter the same question thrice? Jesus is driving home not just to Peter but to all humanity that the greatest task of leadership is not to lead but to feed, to feed not our egos but those who follow Him. Peter was being commissioned for the task of leadership – to feed the other apostles as well as disciples, followers and believers of the time with the words of eternal life that He Himself had taught him. We feed others around us with spiritual nourishment when we teach them the Word, when we share our experiences of the love, grace and mercy of God. When we love the Word of God, it is the surest sign that we love God with all our heart, soul and mind. When we satisfy the longing for truth and meaning, the searching, the spiritual hunger and thirst of people of our generation we are fulfilling the highest calling or purpose to which the Lord has called us.

Through this uni-verse series of meditations, the Lord has called me to feed His sheep in different parts of the world. It will augment their faith, answer unanswered questions, ignite faith in new areas, increase them in maturity and release the wisdom and power of God in their lives. I am also being fed the spiritual food at the same time. Just as a water tank has water flowing into it and then flowing out of it to many outlets, we need to be a reservoir for the Lord. In terms of the frequency of feeding, we ought to be like the sheep. The sheep do not just graze and feed thrice or four times a day but they are grazing wherever and whenever they find pasture. If they are not grazing, they are chewing. Similarly, we need to be feeding as frequently as possible and in between those times of feeding, we should be chewing or meditating on what we had read or heard.

The leadership and management concept derived from this uni-verse is that the chief function of leadership is feeding the sheep and not leading per se. Most of the time the leaders of this world are wolves who feed on the sheep and instead of meeting the spiritual and other need of the sheep are using the sheep to feed their need. The principles evolved from this concept are: a) Our love for God is reflected in how and how much we are involved in feeding His people
b) The more the sheep are fed, the quicker they turn into shepherds
The practical steps that we can take to translate these principles into practice is 1.) set aside time in our daily schedules to feed on the Word
2.) set aside time in our weekly or monthly schedules to feed the believers with spiritual food or the Word

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Components of Living Faith

UV 1057/10,000 The Components of Faithful Living

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah 6 v 8

The Lord has shown us what is good. He has shown us which is the better part that we should choose of spending time at His feet, listening to His Word and enjoying His company. He has taught us what He requires of us, that we should act justly. We should try to relieve the oppressed as much as it lies in our power, to help the widow, the orphans , the poor, the defenceless and the distressed. He has taught us that whatever we do to the least of our fellow beings that we do unto Him. When we give to the poor, we are lending to Him. When we cast our bread upon the waters, the Lord sees it and blesses us in our hour of need. When we visit the afflicted and sick and imprisoned, we are visiting the Lord. When we give clothes to the naked, we are clothing Him. Once while I was sitting as Commissioner of a city, an old woman came to see me and said she needed a small sum to do a surgery. Thereafter, the Lord told me, “ I have come to you in many forms seeking help and you helped Me.”

The ministry of Cornelius, the Roman centurion was precisely this: to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. Cornelius was known for his charity to the poor in Israel. He had a good testimony among his soldiers and was known for His fear of God. He was always in an attitude of prayer and reverence. There was no trace of arrogance of power or position in him. But he knew in his heart that this was not enough. He felt a need to know God more intimately. God prepared him first to be the first Gentile to believe and receive the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit by sending him an angel who said, “ Your prayers have been answered.” The angel asked him to send for Peter who was in the house of a tanner in Joppa. Cornelius acted promptly with obedience. God sent Peter to him to tell him about His Son and Saviour of the world, Jesus. Cornelius did not treat the mercy of God lightly or take it for granted. Power did not go to his head nor did he consider it below his dignity to consult or meet with a member of a subjugated race, the Jews. He valued or loved it. In fact, he fell down and knelt before Peter recognizing that he is a representative of the Almighty God. He and his family obeyed the Lord’ s word spoken through Peter , believed and were baptized. He knew that to be a centurion or a military officer was only a temporary earthly calling and that there was a higher and eternal calling. The result was that a succession of mighty Caesars, in whose army Cornelius served, perished with their empires and armies but Cornelius and his family were saved and live forever.

Cornelius had done everything right and yet in the vision of Peter he was included among the unclean. It was the Word that cleansed him and made him worthy of the kingdom of God. This is the true circumcision of the spirit and heart of man. The Word moves like a sword in the hands of the Holy Spirit and circumcises or cuts all round us to remove our most fundamental lusts and our pride of life so that we can walk in faith and in humility before God. Cornelius had got the “ works” aspect of faith right. Now that the “ faith” component was in place, he was complete, perfect, not wanting in anything. God is calling us to such a living faith, a faith that we live and a faith that causes us to live fully in spirit, mind and body. Faith has a hidden invisible component and a visible component. The invisible component consists of the elements or aspects of our belief. The visible component consists of our behavior, our actions and reactions.
The leadership and management concept contained in this uni-verse is that faith has an invisible root component and a visible component. The principles evolved from the concept are: a) We need to know who we believe in b) we need to know what we believe in c) increasing our intake of the Word of God will increase the depth and strength of our faith d) our faith should express itself in good works
The practical steps to translate these principles into a habit are: 1.) Spend more time reading, studying and meditating on the Word 2.) Spend more time in silence and prayer seeking the Lord and His will 3.) Using every opportunity and means to help others in need around us

Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Heirs of the Righteous

UV 1056/10,000 The Heirs of the Righteous
They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.

Isaiah 65 v 23
When we are walking in faith and fellowship with the Lord, we will not labour in vain. We will enjoy the fruit of our labour. We will live in the houses we built and eat the fruit of the vineyard we planted. We will enjoy the wholesome blessings of Shalom, of joy, peace, prosperity, health, love, wholesomeness, well being and grace. The eyes of the Lord will be upon our walls and His angels will surround our homes. He will be our fencing, fortress and strong tower.
Many people in this age and time are worried whether their children would be worthy heirs or whether they would land in great trouble and bring trouble upon them in their old age. Yet when we are blessed by the Lord, the children He has given us will not be taken into captivity by the enemy of the human soul. They will not be children who bring trouble to us but all who see them will know that they are blessed of the Lord. The God who created heaven and earth will bless them with increase in due time and measure. They will grow in wisdom, stature, gifting and in spiritual and social favour. When Isaac, the son of Abraham planted the Lord gave him a hundred fold increase in his crops. Like Isaac, our children will uncover old wells that have been filled in by the enemy, meaning that they will discover new blessings and renew old ones. The Lord Himself promises to be their teacher and guide and to give them great peace or Shalom. Instead of increasing our burden for our children and their future, give them back into adoption by the Lord. We should recognize that we are temporary and inadequate guardians for them.
When we bring up our children in the fear of the Lord and in obedience to His Word and to trust in His promises, they become heirs like Isaac to all the blessings bestowed by Jehovah on Abraham under the old covenant. When we bring them up also in the love of the Lord Jesus, they also inherit the blessings of the new covenant enumerated by Jesus in Matthew chapter 5, the sermon on the Mount. The baton of faith will also be passed on by them to their descendants. Compared to the patriarchs of faith like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we have a double portion of blessings, the blessings of the Old Covenant as well as the blessings of the New covenant relationship.
The leadership and management concept derived from this uni-verse is that we need not worry about our succession plan or our legacy. The principles that flow from this concept is that 1.) we submit and surrender our children to the Lord 2.) we trust the Lord to do the best for them The practical steps to translate these principles into practice are: 1. ) thank the Lord for the amazing grace and peace He gives us and our children at least a couple of times every day 2.) quit agonizing or worrying about the details of their future 3.) Enjoy what the Lord has given into our hands today, here and now. We should not let our anxiety about the future rob us of the peace, joy and harmony of the present.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Sun, the Sea and the Sand

UV 1055/10,000 The Sun, the Sea and the Sand

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.

Psalm 113 v 3

This morning before the break of dawn I mounted my cycle and went down to the beach to do my half hour prayer walk. The vastness of the sea combined with the vastness of the skies, the infinite number of the sand grains on the beach, the rising sun, the unstoppable waves that keep rolling are a perfect ambience to worship the Lord. Once the Lord told us, “ The people of Japan proudly call their country the land of the rising sun. But I rise where the people acknowledge me as their Creator and Redeemer. I rise in your home because you praise my name every morning and continue to do so right through the day.”

In Las Vegas, in its many hotels and casinos, there are grand shows on a particular theme based on the name of the resort that take place every hour on the hour. Similarly, we need to acknowledge the Lord and praise His holy name, His loving nature towards us who are mortal and sinners, fallen far short of His ineffable and infinite glory and we need to do it every hour and on the hour. What a privilege it is that though we are so small, weak and puny, we can magnify the Lord’s name and ascribe glory to His name. From the rising of the sun to its going down implies that from our birth till death, from our rising every day till we go to sleep, in all of our activities and movements, in all of our thoughts, words and actions, in all our relationships, we need to acknowledge that it is the Lord who gives us warmth, light and power. Like the inexorable waves, streams of praise and thanksgiving need to flow from our hearts and minds. This is what Jesus said, “ Rivers of life-giving water will flow from your hearts.” The streams of praise and thanksgiving will enhance, enlarge and bless all aspects of our lives and all who come in touch with us. As I watched the fishermen set out in their boats, the Lord reminded me that each day we are off into uncharted territory but the Lord is in command of our boats. He will teach us to throw our nets in the right direction. The saltiness of the sea water and the sand grains that enter our shoes remind us of the sinfulness of the world and how sin so easily infiltrates and mingles with the elements of our lives.

Jesus is the Morning Star or the Sun of our lives. We revolve around Him as planets around the sun. The word planet in the original Greek root meant “ wanderer.” Jesus called us not to be wanderers or flotsam and jetsam on the sea’ s surface but to be followers. We praise Him most by following Him in His gracious words and ways. Every day we need to offer praise to Him in a new way or sing unto Him a new song. He is also waiting to give us new experiences of His manifold blessings. The words He speaks into our lives are the rays of light that penetrate our very bones and core of our being. The beach sand will remind us that each of us individually is like a grain of sand on the seashore to be trampled upon. But in the hands of Jesus we become like a precious and priceless pearl of eternal value. The Lord gives us innumerable blessings like the grain of sand on the shore. I was reminded of the Lord’s promise to Abraham that He would give him descendants as numerous as the sand grains on the seashore and prayed that people from Japan to the western most shores experience His love and grace.

The leadership and management concept implicit in this uni-verse is that our lives are God-dependent for sustenance, for protection, for provision, for guidance, for remission and salvation even as people and all creatures and plant species are dependent on the sun’s light to sustain them. The sun above, the sand below and the sea besides us all remind us that we are surrounded by the power and majesty of the Lord. The earth is His footstool and we would be fools not to recognize His great and awesome power and our vulnerabilities and susceptibilities if we take our eyes off Him. The principles evolved from this concept is that a)in all our ways and always we need to think, thank, praise and worship the Lord first for creating us and second, for giving us the saving knowledge of Christ, the morning Star of our lives. b) we need to be creative in our methods of worship and bring Him a new offering of thanksgiving every day . The practical steps to translate these principles into practices in our lives is : 1. Aim to remember the Lord with thanksgiving and praise every hour and on the hour as far it is possible in the course of the day 2. Think every day of something new to thank the Lord for

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Principles and Practices that flows from the Concept of Level Praying Ground in UV 1054

The leadership and management concept implicit in this uni-verse is that despite all the differences in stature, status, wealth, glamour, beauty, power, position and talent, before the Lord it is only our humility, integrity of heart and faithfulness that counts. The principles that can be evolved from this concept are: a) depend not on our extrinsic differentiation but on the intensity of our faith b) we should organize our lives not to depend on the high and mighty of this world but to trust in the Lord c) never gloat on our triumphs, talents, achievements or acquisitions but feed continually on the Word to strengthen, bless and enlarge our vision and our lives d) seek the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of God. The practical steps we need to take on a daily basis to translate the principles into practice are: 1. Spend more and more time in prayer, repentance and in reading the Word and understanding God’s will for our lives 2.) Be joyful and worship the Lord with song and dance at least once a day 3.) Before acting, reacting or deciding, consult the Holy Spirit at every turn of every day

Prateep V Philip

The Level Praying Ground

UV 1054/10,000 The Level Praying Ground
And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.
Ezekiel 17 v 24

The Lord God is sovereign and just. He brings down the mighty crashing like a falling tree. He lifts up the humble and broken hearted. He counsels them and causes them to prosper. Those who flourish and gloat in their wealth, power and status will be brought in due time to nought like the drying up of a green tree. Those who have no hope and no strength or support, the Lord revels in causing to flourish to the sheer astonishment of the people around. To some He reveals Himself as a mighty God and consuming fire, to some others He reveals Himself as a compassionate Father. To some He reveals Himself as a merciful Saviour and to some as a righteous Judge.

Whatever the Lord speaks, He does it. The one source of sustenance and power for all types of human beings is the Word from the mouth of God. Hence, we need to focus on what the Lord has spoken in our lives. If we are a proud tree, we would humble ourselves lest the axe of the Lord fall on our trunk and roots. If we are a barren tree, we will start bearing eternal and useful fruit for the Lord. If He has given us warning, we need to repent and heed His words. If He has counseled us, we need to carry out every word in letter and spirit. If He has promised us, we need to cherish His promise. The spirit of the Lord will rest upon us as we seek the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of God. He will quicken our understanding and we will not judge by our sight or by our hearing but by the Spirit of the Lord. The more we lower ourselves in His presence, realizing our inadequacies, the more He will lift us up and supply what we are lacking.

The Lord desires that we go out into each day, praising, thanking and rejoicing in His presence. The mountains or challenges we face will then melt like wax in the heat of His presence. He will cause it to be a level playing ground and level praying ground where the mighty or powerful or glamorous or influential have no decided advantage over any of us. They will fall sooner or later to the righteous and sharp axe of the Lord while we will enjoy the mighty as well as gracious and faithful acts of the Lord in our lives. We clap, dance and celebrate the greatness of the Lord. He has breathed His breath of life into us. We can rejoice for life is not a chance, an accident but a deliberate choice that the Lord has made and a thoughtful choice that we have made. It is this mutual voluntary choice that makes our bonding with God a type of spiritual everlasting marriage.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 4, 2014

Roots and Wings

UV 1053/10,000 Roots and Wings
"'But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.”

Ezekiel 17 v 7

The great philosopher Goethe wrote, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” Education cannot provide the roots and wings that we desire both for ourselves and our children for what it teaches as truth and fact today, is revised within a short time. The truths of one generation become the heresy of the next. Education conditions the mind to believe in the limitations of nature. It is only faith and the Word of God that can provide both the roots of the good vine and the powerful wings of the eagle. Jesus provides us the good root with many branches so that we can grow with stability as well as dynamism in the very plot where we are planted. The vine of our lives is often pruned by the Holy Spirit so that we bear many kinds of fruit, good fruit and much fruit. Our faith in Jesus and the Word roots us. Everything else in the world changes but Jesus and the Word remain the same forever. But for the Bible, our lives would have been Babel and babble. The leaves of our lives, our goals, opinions and circumstances can change or fall. But our lives are founded on solid rock. We in turn become the good root in our families, workplace and nations.
But we are not grounded for we are meant to fly like an eagle. He provides us the two powerful wings of prayer and the Word. With prayer and the Word, nothing can limit us. We can fly in the spirit across barriers, mountains, reefs, oceans, fears, obstacles, persecutions, opposition. We can fly across nations, above the highest offices and across the span of the entire universe. The full plumage that the uni-verse mentions are the golden feathers of the promises, precepts and commands of scripture that we have claimed in faith and prayer. Both our roots with all its branches and our wings with all its feathers will keep stretching towards the water that the Lord provides for the roots and the oil that the Lord provides to lubricate the wings and as it happens, the roots become stronger and grow deeper enabling us to bear even more fruit on many more branches , the wings become longer and stronger enabling us to fly even higher and longer.

When we fly with strong faith and a sanctified imagination, our hitherto limited vision expands. We can see what ‘s wrong with our world and attempt to set things right for we believe we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. We look at everything from an eternal perspective. We are confident as we know the Lord is watching over us day and night with a mother eagle’s eye. We are living under the shadow of the Almighty and so our lives are blessed, protected, provided for, exalted, surrounded by angels. We will tread upon the lion and the cobra, trample these threats under our feet. He will be with us in trouble, deliver us and honour us. He will satisfy us with long life and after that show us our eternal salvation. The Holy Spirit hovers over the dark and grey areas of our lives and brings forth life. We are filled with hope as we can see the distant shores of heaven.
The leadership and management concept implicit in this uni-verse is that we need to strive to combine the anchorage of faith with the leverage of hope to improve our lot. We need to combine universal values contained in the Word with our vision and our day to day goals. The principles that can be evolved from this concept are: a) strengthen our faith by studying the Word b) meditate on the Word and pray as two wings of a bird need to flap together to cause flight. C) deepen our relationship with our Creator and Redeemer . The practical steps to be taken to translate these principles in our lives into real habits are: 1. Spend more time on a daily basis reading the Word, meditating and praying 2. Praying internally on different issues right through the day 3. Work daily towards using our talents or bearing more fruit in a variety of ways. 4. Increasingly use intuition, imagination and spiritual discernment to take various decisions.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Wonders of the Acts of God

UV 1052/10,000 The Wonders of the Acts of God

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Habakuk 1 v 5

When we look around among our midst, in our circumstances and among the nations of the world, we will be able to discern the hand of God working wonderfully, putting down some and raising some. This is an amazing promise to the believers that the Lord will do a work in our lives that would be unbelievable even by us if told to us today. The Lord God is the God of the future as much as He is of the past and the present. He choses to reveal now just what is needed by us to know and understand. There are many incredible secrets that He withholds from us. But He would act in accordance with His promise in due time. An answer delayed is not a prayer denied.

While we are up and about doing what we need to do, the Lord is working unseen in the background. He guarantees that in the end He will make all things beautiful, even the sordid, the sad, the painful, the regretful, the disappointing parts of our lives. As a master craftsman and artist, the Lord knows how to turn all that into an awesome mosaic reflecting His glory. Nothing is wasted or in vain once we believe in sharp contrast to the refrain of the philosopher in the book of Ecclesiastes that “ all is in vain, a chasing of the wind”. The Lord blew down on the Red Sea causing it to part to create a safe passage for the escaping Jewish nation. He then withdrew His breath and the same waters drowned the pursuing Egyptian cavalry.

But we need to hold on to our faith and be observant for the Lord will break out suddenly in our circumstances. Often He does not give us advance notice of what He is about to do. As parents we like to see the incredible expressions of joy mingled with surprise and love on the faces of our little ones when we give them a present. The Lord also apparently enjoys giving His precious children a pleasant surprise from time to time. The Lord does His wonderful works in our lives but in the midst of unbelievers so that it will be a open testimony among the nations and diverse people. The principles of leadership and management that we can draw from the concept implicit in this uni-verse are :a) that we should be prepared always for marvelous surprises that the Lord will do in our lives. b) that we should expect the Lord to do amazing things in our midst. c) that we should remember with thanksgiving and sincere praise the marvelous things He has wrought already in our lives. The practical steps we should adopt as part of our daily walk are : 1. From time to time during the day remember the amazing things the Lord has done for Israel 2. From time to time every day remember the amazing deeds He has executed in our lives so far and praise the Lord 3. Expect and believe God is about to do something amazing in the areas we are facing challenges even today. Thank Him in anticipation. 4. Turn these steps into a lifelong habit of appreciation and worship of God who marvellously participates in our lives and does not remain an aloof bystander.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rejoice in the First Rain as We Wait for the Latter Rain

UV 1051/10,000 Rejoice as We Wait for the Latter Rain

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
Joel 2 v 23

Our very identity as children of Zion or children of God is enough to give us a reason to be always glad. The precious children of Zion, of God are comparable to fine gold and are very valuable in His eyes even though we are earthen pots made from mud by Him. It is the molten gold of faith that makes us precious though we are contained in earthen pots. If we have any idea how big, how good and great, how perfect yet forgiving and loving, gracious and humble, how mighty and powerful God is, that knowledge is enough to cause us to rejoice continually all our living days and beyond. When we keep affirming that God is not just good but great all the time, when things are going good for us , when the going is tough, when we win and when we lose, our hearts and spirits will rejoice in the Lord. Scripture exhorts us to” rejoice in the Lord. Again I say, rejoice.” We rejoice as He has made us in His image. This morning as I meditated I could hear the birds chirp their morning songs. The squirrels also joined their chorus. I guessed they were shouting, “ We are glad we are here. We are thankful to our Creator for making us, for giving us another day. We want to say “ hello” to Him. Just talking to You makes us joyful, gives us a reason to face the hardships of the day. We know He will give us our food and drink and shelter. We know He will protect us from those who are stronger than us.”

We rejoice in praising and worshipping the Lord. We rejoice in making a joyful noise unto the Lord. We rejoice for He has given us the garments of salvation. He has called us to the Lamb’s wedding feast and given us fitting clothes to wear in place of our tattered and torn rags. We rejoice as our confidence is not in flesh and blood but in the Lord. We rejoice as He has made us like the sword of excellence of a mighty man. We rejoice as joyful praise fits the upright by faith like clothes fit a man. We rejoice as though we were regarded barren, we have borne much fruit in our lives. We rejoice because we are declared blessed. We rejoice as we meditate on Him and His Word that is sweeter than honey and finer than gold. We rejoice as we trust in the Lord. We rejoice as He has cancelled the judgements against us and holds no remembrance of our evil deeds. We rejoice as our souls can magnify the Lord infinite though He is. We rejoice as our spirits know Him as God our Saviour, God our righteous, gentle and kind King. We rejoice as He that is mighty is in our midst. We rejoice as we can always dwell in His presence. We rejoice as He gives help and strength. We rejoice as He blesses the work of our hands and He causes us to flourish and gives us abundance of peace. We rejoice as the Lord reigns in our lives and on earth as in heaven.

It is an irony that the same water that can quench our thirst when poured in small proportions, can drown and destroy us when it comes down as a massive downpour. The same flame that can give us light and warmth can destroy us in a huge blaze. This is the reason the Lord gives us moderate rain or blessings in the early days of our relationship. We should never covet the blessings more than we desire a relationship with the Lord. He gives us the first rain or early rain to make us grow and mature in faith, truth and love. As we wait patiently with joy, gladness and thanksgiving for the blessings of the early rain, He is preparing us for a fresh anointing, for the latter rain. The latter rain will surely come in the month when it is due like a child that is born in due time is neither premature nor post maturity. Like Elijah we must see with our spiritual eyes the coming rain even though today the trenches and troughs may be dry. We need to rejoice in the first rain as we wait with faith for the latter rain.

Prateep V Philip