Monday, June 30, 2014

Treating God like an ATM

UV 1133/10,000 Don’t Treat God like an ATM
Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies.

Psalm 78 v 36

The Lord Most High is sovereign. He is compassionate. He is all powerful. He is loving. He is faithful. He is unseen. He is quick to forgive and slow to get angry. But once His anger is provoked, no one and nothing can restrain it. The Israelites under Moses had seen many mighty signs of deliverance that broke the yoke of Pharaoh. But it had not broken the yoke of satan- the attitude of doubt, disbelief and lack of gratitude and thanksgiving. When they were travelling throught the desert they complained that they did not have meat to eat for they were given manna. Even today we complain of our lack of many things when God has given us His heavenly manna- the Word as our daily bread to sustain our souls. This provokes and puts the anger of the Lord to test. What provoked the Lord is that people so easily forgot the mighty deeds He did on their behalf when they came face to face with relatively minor deficiencies or difficulties. It proved to Him that their faith and their hearts were not really focussed on Him. He hates it when people treat Him like an ATM.

Just like we have our testimonies, God has his testimonies of His faithfulness. When we do not remember these testimonies of His provision and His deliverance, we are doubting Him and indirectly calling Him a liar. Like David, we should remember that He who has brought us this far, will take us the whole way. Keeping our own testimony is another way of showing our faith. Keeping our testimonies implies that we should walk in faith and obedience and not allow our spiritual reputation to be tarnished. God ‘s testimonies in our lives is the narrative of how He kept His Word in our lives, how He fulfilled the promises we believed and claimed, how He answered our prayers and heard our cries.

In addition to counting our blessings, we ought to recount in our minds and cherish the testimonies of the Lord Most High in our lives- how He knit us in our mothers’ wombs, how He kept us safe in our childhood, how He provided and protected us, how He blessed us and raised us up as a witness for Him, how He dealt with our opposition, how He strengthened us and encouraged us. When we do this spiritual exercise, it will give us a perspective of faithfulness and strengthen and equip us to face the challenges of the moment or of the day, without a trace of regret, fear, doubt or despair.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Sign of Favour

UV 1132-10,000 The Sign of Favour

Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord has holpen me, and comforted me.
Psalm 86 v 17

Jesus said, “ Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” When we are persecuted and troubled without any provocation or justifiable reason, we are to consider ourselves blessed by the Lord for the Lord will intervene in the situation on our behalf. If we look to Him for a sign of His favour, He will come to our help and comfort us. He is the great Ebenezer whose help is sufficient to enable us to overcome even the greatest of troubles, the most severe of persecution. The Holy Spirit is the great Comforter who will comfort and assuage our feelings, even the deepest of our sorrows and grief. When the Lord wipes a person’s tears over a particular issue, he or she never needs to be sorrowful over that again.

Gideon asked for a sign of favour from the Lord when the Israelites were being greatly troubled and the Lord had anointed him as leader. He sought the sign of favour of the fleece getting wet on the first occasion and the second time to re-confirm the ground around was wet with dew. Hezekiah the king of Israel sought a sign from the Lord in turning the shadow on the sundial forward some degrees and then backward. Abraham’s sign of favour when he was most distressed in spirit that he was about to sacrifice his precious son Isaac was a lamb that God provided. Jesus in like manner was the sign of favour for all mankind. Signs are God’s signature and emblem to show that He is on our side in life’s conflicts and challenges, that we are not alone and that He has a plan and a solution to redeem us from whatever situation is causing distress to us.

I too have specifically asked for a sign of God’s favour in times when I was discouraged. The Lord answered with the rare sign of a reverse rainbow that I photographed with my cell phone. It was a sign that the Lord ‘s salvation is finished- the seven colours are the sign of the glorious way the Lord completes His plan in our lives. Our salvation is not meant just for the hereafter but it begins here and now. The rainbow is a sign that the Lord sitting on His throne has ordained our salvation in seven different but linked domains- physical- our health and healing, emotional- our joy and feelings, intellectual- our understanding, knowledge and wisdom, social- our relationships, professional- our work and our challenges, financial- our need, spiritual- our eternal life and our relationship with the Triune God. We will wax strong in these areas while our enemies will melt like wax in the presence of the Lord. They will have to eat their words while we eat the Word of the Lord. They will be confounded, astounded and ashamed at the extent of their folly and their failure to execute their evil designs for our downfall. What they plot for evil, God will turn to good.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Key to Single-minded Passion

UV 1131/10,000 The Key to Single-minded Passion
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Philippians 3 v 13

Paul revealed in this uni-verse the key to the single-minded passion with which He served Christ. He did not think that he had already arrived or achieved his goal of being like Christ. But he chose to forget the things of his past, both the good things and the evil. He forgot all the things that gave him a sense of identity and pride- his orthodox upbringing, his education, his intellectual attainments, his credentials. He even forgot all the things that brought him a sense of shame and pain. One thing however that he never seemed to forgive himself for was the way he led the Jews in persecuting the believers and followers of Christ. This made him declare that he was the worst of sinners. But he knew that the grace of Christ had absolved him of this guilt too. He forgot the former things as he knew that if he did not, he would be rendered ineffective by his double-mindedness, that he would be torn between guilt and pride, that he could neither be decisive nor productive for God or man.

Paul focussed all his energy and attention in pressing forward to do the expressed will of God. He did not fritter away his time or efforts but consolidated all his resources to obey the call of Christ upon his life. He worked hard to make tents to earn a living. Apart from that he focussed on communicating the great love of God for men and women of all races, cultures , languages, backgrounds demonstrated in Christ. He spent time in prayer, meditation and fasting. He undertook extensive travels in the then known world, reaching the farthest shores of Europe and Asia Minor. He was not deterred by threats, imprisonment, flogging, calamities and execution. He wrote elaborate letters to explain the basic truths and tenets of the faith.

We too need to forget our past triumphs, failures, bitterness, disappointments and regrets and focus on the high calling the Lord has given us. We are called to effectively communicate the love of God in Christ to all we can reach, both verbally and non-verbally, in speech and in writing, in our home town as well as in places we go to. We should keep reminding ourselves that we have not yet attained that to which the Lord has called us to. We must focus on that mark and keep reaching out to it. Our confidence should not stem from our own gifts or strength or past achievements. Neither should fear and diffidence arise from our past failures, weaknesses and limitations. Our traditions and associations should not be the source of our security. We should both demonstrate and exercise our commitment step by step, day by day. Our complete reliance should be on the leading of the Spirit, the grace of God, the effective dynamism of the Word of God, the resurrection power of Christ who called us from the utter hopelessness of death to the abundant joy of eternal life,from the sheer vanity of human philosophies and empty traditions to the exceeding excellence of personally knowing God.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Sword of Separation

UV 1130/10,000 The Sword of the Lord
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10 v 34

Jesus was seen as the Prince of Peace. He surprised both His followers and the people who opposed Him when He said that He had come not to bring peace but a sword of division. What He meant is that Jesus separates the people of God from the people who choose to belong to the world. He divides people with the sword of the Word of God. He divides people into two types: people of the Word and people of the world. The former are distinguished by their faith in Him and their love for the Word. The latter are characterised by their disbelief and their love for the world. Jesus said that within the same family, they would be divided on these lines. There are so many instances even now where children have been separated from their parents on account of their faith in Jesus. Jesus recognized that this would be as painful for both as to be cut with a sword but He said it to warn people of the things to come. He did not want to give anybody a false hope that everything will be hunky-dory. He knew the high price had to be paid by many of being separated from their own near and dear ones.

Jesus is the focal point of history where His birth and life divides history itself into two parts. He is also the dividing line between people. The sword of the Word of God pierces and penetrates human hearts and produce faith and a rich harvest of righteousness. It produces an inner peace or Shalom but it also causes people even of the same family to persecute those who profess such faith. Blood is thicker than water and faith in Jesus is thicker than blood. Even persons with the closest ties need to be prepared for division and hostility as they begin to profess their faith in Christ. Jesus said this not to discourage us but to give us an idea of the true cost of our relationship with Him. The inner peace and security that Jesus brings into believers’ hearts in such circumstances will give them the strength to bear with it. The Lord will bring into the lives of such people persons who will be as close or even closer than their kith and kin.
God comforts the troubled and troubles the comfortable. He brings peace to one and allows strife and trouble for another so that the first will know the reality of his faith and the second- the one troubled- will begin to seek God and His help. When we are troubled in our hearts and minds even without any explicit or known reason, it is a sign that we should seek the presence and comfort of the Lord. We should be sensitive enough to discern such times and situations. The sword of the Word is always active and working in our spirits, hearts and minds, smoothing out the rough edges and removing the angularities. It is an act of self-disciplining when we submit ourselves willingly, consciously and continuously to this kind of pruning by the Spirit of God. The Word is not a weapon forged against us but for us, to enable us to prosper in spirit, mind and body, to build and shape us up as a living temple for God, a place of holiness, peace and blessings where God can dwell.

Prateep V Philip

The Secrets of the Lord

The Secrets of the Lord

Psa25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant

The secret of eternal life, the secret of well being, the secret of wisdom and knowledge, the secret of success, the secret of relationships are all known to the Lord. The Lord reveals these secrets to those who seek Him, know Him, love Him and understand Him. God makes Himself manifest to the believer and the seeker. He writes His covenant promises and commandments on the hearts of His beloved. The secrets of the world and of man are delusionary, deceptive and often lead us on the path of red herrings. The Lord Jesus explained all the mysteries of the inner life as well as of eternal life, of our life in this world as well as of eternal life. His disciples discerned,”With You are the words of eternal life. He has led us into a mastery of mystery. He has revealed the hidden manna or the wonderful truths hidden in the Word of God. He has revealed the hidden meaning of the parables Heused to reveal the secrets of human nature and the nature of God to His followers while hiding it from the rest of the world. The greatest secret is God Himself and the mysteries of His love and favour. Jesus revealed this secret of the Godhead that he who keeps His commandments will dwell with God and God will dwell with him and manifest Himself to him.

The spirit of man communes with the Spirit of God to discern the deep truths. A man who fears the Lord will be able to discern His will.He will also receive the strength, the means, the grace to do it. The Lord manifests His power and glory in and through the lives of people who trust Him.The secrets of wisdom and knowledge are hidden from the natural man. The secrets of the heavenly world also cannot be accessed by the natural man.

The spiritual man understands and judges all things but he cannot be judged by anyone as by faith in Christ, he is spared all judgement.The Lord enters into a covenant or sacred and intimate relationship with the believer in His beloved Son Jesus. He reveals all His secrets to us as we are not just His servants who do His bidding but we are His friends.The covenant is not only written in His Word but it is also written in the hearts and minds of the believers. A covenant is a sacred, inviolable relationship. All the promises of God are the provisions He has made for our relationship to succeed.It is meant to meet our every need in the flesh as well as in the spirit, both in this world and in the Kingdom of God, both here and now and in the life eternal.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Put on The New Man

UV 1128/10,000 Put on The New Man
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13 v 14

We are called to be like a new man, the epitome of whom is Jesus who is meek but powerful, simple but excellent, kind but strict, perfect and humble, loving and merciful. We should model ourselves on Christ and develop the mind of Christ. In different situations,we should ask ourselves what would Jesus say or do in these circumstances and we should say or do like-wise. We should clothe ourselves with an armour of light, the different parts of our clothing or armour should reflect the holiness and perfection of God. Our good thoughts, words and deeds should distinguish us from the rest of the world. Our increasing knowledge of the Word will renew us in the image or likeness of Christ. We must not return to our former lusts that ruled over our lives.

How does one distinguish lust from need? If it is not a need, it is lust. Lust is excessive desire. Up to a point, a desire is necessary, justified and good but beyond a point it deteriorates into lust. For instance, up to a point we all need money, food, appreciation, love.. But when our desire becomes excessive, it takes the shape of lust. God has given us the spirit of love, power and self control to discern the point at which a legitimate desire becomes lust.

We should discipline our bodies and minds so that we make no provision to fulfil the lust of the eye, the pride of life and the lust of the flesh. By refusing to feed our lusts, we starve and put to death such excessive desires. We should deny our sinful selves and affirm the spirit of Christ in us. By feeding the spirit with the Word, by kneeling in prayer, by constantly communing and listening to the Holy Spirit, we enable the new man in us to grow in strength, grace and maturity.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Pleasure and Pressure of Treasure

UV 1127-10,000 The Pleasure and Pressure of Treasure

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, whereneither moth and rust destroy,and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6 v20

A treasure can be a source of both great pleasure as well as pressure. For many people, their pleasure is their treasure. For some, it is their accumulated wealth. For still others, it is their talent, fame or power. Jesus asks us to store spiritual treasures that are durable and stay with us through all eternity. We need to store our treasures in our hearts where no one can take it away from. It becomes burglar-proof. It is a life-saver, a life-enricher, a life-enhancer. A treasure is something of great value. It is a source of strength and confidence. It is something that can sustain us through difficult times. It can get us whatever we need or desire. The treasures of this world deteriorate in value. These are susceptible to rust, decay and can be a source of trouble as others will aim to steal it from us. Recently, I heard about a man who had a precious diamond ring as a family heirloom. He wanted to sell it and he made it known by taking it to jewellers to have it valued. It ended in tragedy as some criminals murdered him with the intent of stealing it from him.

The Word of God, the promises, warnings, commands and counsel it contains is eternal treasure that we can store in our hearts and minds. It becomes our source of strength and confidence. It can sustain us through periods of drought, famine and persecution. It can be the key to our every need being satisfied. Natural and human factors cannot affect our faith. Nobody can steal our faith. The Word will teach us to be successful and victorious. It can accompany us wherever we go. We will be greatly blessed. The Word we store in our hearts will keep us from sin and temptations. The Word we store in our minds will give us new ideas and prompt us to take wise decisions and choices. The treasure will not itself turn into a source of curse or tragedy in our lives. The treasure itself can prove to be a snare for our souls. When Gideon after the great victories he led Israel to, asked the people of Israel to contribute a piece of gold like an earring each and then, used the collected gold to build an ephod that became a snare to his family and his people.

The good we do to people to reflect the grace and love of God is another eternal treasure for which we will be rewarded in eternity. When we give to the poor, we are lending to the Lord and storing treasure in heaven that is lasting. It is said that our homes or mansions in heaven are built out of the good deeds we do on earth. The word “ Earth” is composed of two syllables-ear and th. We need to use our ears to hear the Word of God. When we look at the structure of our ears, we see how it acts as a funnel to collect all sound and channel it into the inner ears. Then the sound is conveyed to the human brain that assigns different meanings to the various sounds we hear. We need to then Think about the meanings of these sounds, its applications to our daily lives. As we think and meditate on the inner meanings of these words or sounds, the treasures of truth and eternal life are being stored and stacked up in our hearts and minds. Once it is stored in our inmost beings, it creates a transformation of our thoughts, feelings, speech and actions. Such eternal treasures are not inert but interact with the rest of our lives and make us stronger, better and more effective.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Candlestick

The Candlestick

No man, when he lighteth a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

Luke 11 v 33

Jesus said, “ We do not light a candle and then hide it under a bed or another cover or vessel.” When we keep our gifts, knowledge, wisdom, talents and opportunities dormant and idle, it is like hiding the candle under the bed. We run the risk of allowing the bed to catch fire as we are sleeping. It is downright dangerous. The cover or bushel is a metaphor for a weak testimony, a poor correlation between our faith and our relationships, between our beliefs and our attitudes, between our gifting and the manifestation of our gift. We do not hide the candle under such camouflage. For one thing without oxygen, the flame will get extinguished and secondly, the light is meant to shine in the darkness. Similarly, we are not to hide the truth that God has spoken into our lives. We are to share the light of the truth with people living in darkness and ignorance of where they came from, of what is right and wrong, what they need to do and where they are going. Once they know they came from God and are children of God, that they are to do the right thing and avoid the wrong, that they need to bring glory to the Father in heaven by their deeds and words and they have the security that the knowledge of eternal salvation gives them, their whole lives become meaningful, effective and powerful. They like us move from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge.

We cannot keep our faith a secret. Even our thoughts get manifested in words and deeds. Every word we speak should bring glory to God and not make Him hide His face from us. Everything we do should distinguish us as people who belong to the light. The taller the candlestick, the greater the arc of light it throws all round. Similarly, the bigger our responsibilities, positions, titles and network, the greater is the arc of our influence. The candlestick or pedestal is a metaphor for our jobs, careers, qualifications, titles, activities, profession, contacts. We must not be unambitious for God but we must aim for such vantage positions in life that will enable us to shine for God in this dark world, in our work and in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation.

Candlesticks are made of wrought iron or brass or such other hard metal that have a high melting point. We too should have a high melting point to resist the heat and pressure of this world. We must not wilt under pressure or heat but seek to be consistent at all times in the fervour of our faith and our walk. The reason is that the candlestick should not itself get burnt by the heat of the candle flame as it burns and gets closer to the base. The candlestick should be stable and durable. If it is not stable, the melting wax will fall all over the place. As our lives get closer to the finish, our faith should be fanned into full flame. Even after the flame is extinguished, the candlestick remains. Our testimony and legacy will remain to inspire the next generation to move forward in faith.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Using the Authority of the Author

UV 1126/10,000 The Authority of the Author

See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant.

Jeremiah 1 v10

We should not just read scripture but we should see that which is promised as if it is already real and happening. Belief is the equivalent of what knowledge is in the seen world. We see only that which our minds know. We should know that God has set us over nations and all kingdoms. We should see ourselves set up as spiritual leaders over the nations and over the kingdoms. The Lord has set us up with the purpose of rooting out or uprooting spiritual kingdoms and principalities of darkness. He has given us spiritual authority and weapons to pull down and to destroy strongholds. We are to uproot evil and to plant goodness, to overcome wickedness and to build the strongholds of the Lord.

Everything happens first in the spiritual world and then it gets reflected in our physical world. We exercise our authority to break curses, heal diseases and relationships. The word “authority” comes from author. A person becomes an author when he or she has the mastery of a particular subject or topic. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He is also the author of life. The rules and principles of the seen and the unseen worlds, of heaven and the earth are all written in the Word. Jesus has delegated His authority to us who believe. We can consult Jesus in all matters of faith and life and He will give us discernment about what we have to root out of our own lives, what we have to pull down in our lives, what to destroy and throw away and what to build and plant. Our faith needs to be built and the Word of God that is the good seed has to be planted in our hearts.

We need to pray in the spirit and the Spirit will establish and build us up. He will also uproot that which has to be eradicated in our own lives as well as in society, be it evil, traditions, poverty, violence or terrorism. The Spirit will also plant us in good soil and nourish us so that we bear good fruit in season and out of season. We ourselves need to be rooted in the Lord, the Spirit and the Word just as the teeth are rooted in the gums. When we are so rooted, He will give us the power over all the power of the enemy. He has given us kingly power to root out, to pull down strongholds, to destroy and throw down. He has given us priestly power to build, to bless, to plant. We need to align our plans, our thoughts, temperament, tongues, talent and time with the revealed will of the Lord. When we live and act according to the plan of God for our lives, we become a plant for Him to manifest His love and splendour.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 20, 2014


UV 1125/10,000 Paring Down to the Minimum
And the Lord said unto Gideon, “The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”

Judges 7 v 2

The Lord pares us down to the bare minimum so that we know that it not our own strength or power that secured success or victory for us. When all generals would have aimed to mobilise the maximum possible strength in numbers, the Lord chose to have Israel only opt for 300 men. These three hundred were chosen on the basis that they lapped water from the Jordan not bending down on their knees but by lapping it like dogs from their cupped palms. The metaphor implies that it is not people who spend all their time on their knees that God uses. Rather He looks for people who lap up the Word of God like a dog, enthusiastically whenever they feel the need and when they are thirsty. He is looking for people who stand for Him in their workplaces.

The Lord hates it when people say that they did it all on their own strength. He rejoices when we give all the glory for all our breakthroughs in life to Him and Him alone. The other day I heard the testimony of a very successful businessman who said that he believed God’s promise that He would make him the head and not the tail as he trusted Him and His Word. We need to go out into the world wearing only the armour of faith just as David went to fight Goliath not wearing the heavy armour that Saul gave him but only his shepherd’s clothes. He was pared down to the minimum so that all the world knew that he achieved his great victory only on account of the faith He demonstrated in the Lord.

As we pare down the world and its influences on us to the bare minimum, we must increase in the grace and strength of the Lord. Then, it becomes the responsibility of the Lord to deliver us and to enable us to be successful and victorious in both the goals we set and the challenges we face. Even the bare minimum of resources are sufficient to accomplish a task if the Lord is with us. When we pare down to the minimum, we are pairing up with the Lord Himself. As D L Moody said, “ With God as our partner, make big plans.” The Lord God is not constrained by any limitations of circumstances, resources, ability, power or strategy. He delights in manifesting His glory in such situations on behalf of the underdog, the weak but faithful, the ones who believe and trust Him.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 19, 2014


UV 1124/10,000 The Sources of Joy and Strength
We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.
Psalm 20 v 5

Salvation is a joyful experience. It is a multi-dimensional experience. It is an experience of great intensity as well as stability and durability. It is like having a continual feast in the company of the Lord. The dishes served in the feast of life are the varied promises of God that we claim in diverse situations of our lives. The lessons of success teach us how to win while the lessons of failure teach us how to be victorious. The Lord teaches us how to win as well as how to be victorious through a series of both successes and failures. Whether we win or whether we are victorious, our faith in the Lord is strengthened. We are willing to state openly on large banners our faith that it is the Lord who has heard our prayers and fulfilled His promises to make us both win and to be victorious. Without goals we cannot be successful. Without struggles, we cannot be victorious. We need to be thankful for the opportunities, abilities and help we received from the Lord to enable us to fulfil our goals. We need to be thankful for the strength, capacity to endure and the hope the Lord inspired in us to overcome our struggles. Our success or victory causes us to erect a spiritual banner over us that proclaims the glory of Jehovah Nissi, the God who is victorious and who brings victory. Each and every name of the Lord is a different dimension of our salvation experience, a different tower of strength, a source of unceasing power another cause for rejoicing and eternal jubilation.

People who are successful in this world set up banners only in their own names to proclaim their claims to greatness and glory. Whether we are successful or victorious, we set up our banners to proclaim the greatness and glory of God. We attribute it all to the grace of the Lord. In ourselves we know we are inadequate but it is the Lord who fills the gaps with His abundant grace. Each banner we set up has a promise or uni-verse that has been fulfilled by the Lord in our lives. We will have a colourful banner above us that proclaims, “ Jehovah Jireh”, the Lord God has provided all that I need. It cause the joy of gratitude in our lives for all the blessings we have received from the hand of the Lord. Banners were used in battles to rally the troops, as a standard of victory to motivate the troops. As long as the banner is up, the fight was going well for the respective side. The reasons why we believe in God are the banners that keep us going from strength to strength, from winning to victory. The past victories and successes we have had believing in the promises of God are the banners of our testimony. The scripture verses we based our prayers on are the banners that ban fears, discouragement and weaknesses. The different names of the Lord are the banners we hold aloft for others to see and draw their faith and strength.

A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, a prayer answered increases our faith and joy. The Lord is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. We need to be joyful and thankful for all the prayers the Lord has answered in our lives so far. Our prayers should be based on the Word. When our prayers are intermingled with the Word, it is joyful to the Lord to hear. Our joy, faith and strength will increase as we increasingly intertwine the Word with our prayers for Jesus said, “ Ask in my Name.” He also said, “ If you abide in my Word and my Words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be granted unto you.” We have the confidence to ask only on account of our Saviour Jesus. We now live within the boundaries indicated by the Word. We live by imbibing the Word on a regular basis. We do not just take the Word as an imposition on us but as something to delight in and to draw inspiration, encouragement and guidance from.

Prateep V Philip


UV 1123/10,000 Continual Leadership
And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isaiah 58 v 11

The Lord undertakes to guide the faithful continually, all our days and lives, till our dying day. The word “guidance” implies that it is not coercive, that we need to opt consciously to listen to the Lord’s voice, heed and understand His wise counsel and to decide to act accordingly as well as to act or execute His directions. He will lead us beside green pastures or in short, He will lead us into good prospects. He will lead us to still waters or times of quiet, deep and enriching rest and reflection. Our lives will not be all strife or “all sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We will not lead vain, empty or meaningless lives. We will lack no good thing for the Lord will supply all our need according to the generous measure of His abundant riches. The Lord knows what we need,howmuch and when we need it more than we ourselves will ever know. He even allows testing times of drought so that our roots and branches become longer, stronger and more resistant. The deepest satisfaction and fulfilment a man can find is in knowing God more and more personally and more intimately.

As we depend on the Lord for the satisfaction of our souls, He will make our souls “fat” or faithful, available to the Lord and teachable. In so doing, we will flourish and be fruitful. We will prosper even in times of apparent famine or drought. Even when conditions do not seem congenial or favourable to us, He will cause us to prosper. We will be like a fenced and watered garden. We will be people who are taken good care of by the Lord. Even our bones and bodies will be unusually vigorous and strong. Since we have watered others, He will water us day and night. He will provide for us while we are sleeping and resting, unaware of the amazing provisions He is making for us. We will be fruitful well into old age and bear a variety of fruits for the glory of God. When people expect us to dry up, we will be still green and flourishing. He knows our frame, our bones and the condition of the health of all our organs far better than any physician or doctor.

A river can dry up but a spring of water never dries. Recent discoveries show the source of such perennial water lies deep within the earth’s crust, that there are huge reservoirs of water held in a different form far below the earth’s crust that is equal to three times the quantity of water of the oceans of the earth. The waters of the Lord run eternal and will always refresh us.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


UV 1122/10,000 Eternal Excellency

Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
Isaiah 60 v 15

Though many may hate or despise us and look down upon us, the Lord promises to make us an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Our legacy will be an enduring and glorious one. Many people try to achieve excellence in different domains and a few achieve it but to become an eternal excellency and a source of joy for many generations is something only the Lord can accomplish. Usually both excellence and joy have an expiry date but the excellence and joy the Lord calls His beloved into is eternal and enduring. Abraham by His faith is an eternal excellency as well as a joy of many generations- his outstanding faith that enabled him to offer as a sacrifice his only begotten son of promise shines as a foreshadow of what the Lord God Himself was about to do in human history for the salvation of all generations. There are not any before Abraham or after him who was willing to attempt such a sacrifice. Similarly, our faith and its expression should be an unique testament.

In order to be an eternal excellency, we should not look to natural or human sources for illumination but to the Lord whose everlasting light and eternal Word will guide us step by step into His eternal and magnificent glory. The Lord is a force multiplier- the smallest of us will be like a thousand in terms of impact and greatness. Where people despised us for our apparent weakness, our lack of external glamour or prestige, they will now see the ineffable brightness of God shining through every pore and aspect of our lives. Those that despised us will bow at our feet. He will make our enemy the footstool for our rise. The Lord God’s sacrifice of His only begotten Son Jesus is what enables us to be an eternal excellency and a joy of many generations.

Our walls shall be called salvation. A wall is made of up of thousands of bricks. The things we think, say and do for the glory of God will constitute the bricks of salvation. It will help to save people from eternal death and be the cause of rejoicing of many. It will strengthen many and enable them to walk in faith and in the strength of the Lord. Our gates shall be called Praise. Our words and deeds will cause the entrance of praise and worship of the Lord God into the lives of many people. Our work of faith will outlive us and inspire people in coming generations. It will bring solace, encouragement and strength to succeeding generations of people.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Mind of Christ

UV 1121/10,000 The Mind of Christ

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

I Corinthians 2 v 16

The Lord who formed us in our mothers’ wombs undertakes a second exercise when we are born again by faith in His Son Jesus. The Holy Spirit re-forms our natural minds and turns it into the mind of Christ. The word “ mind” being a composite of thoughts, emotions and will, our thoughts, emotions and will are re-shaped after the likeness of the thoughts of Christ. We begin to think like Jesus. We develop the attitudes of Jesus. We lead our lives like Jesus. We lead others like Jesus. We feel like Jesus. We will be counseled, instructed and directed by the Mind of Christ, step by step, day by day, decision after decision.

The nine attitudes that Jesus spoke of to the multitude in the sermon on the mount together constitute the frame and matrix of the mind of Christ. The first attitude is the realization and recognition of the extent of our spiritual want- our spiritual poverty. It should move us to desire the eternal, incorruptible, imperishable riches of heaven the way men lust after the corruptible and perishable wealth of this world. It will move us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. It will move us to seek first excellence of both character and accomplishment rather than excess of possessions. It will re-define our attitudes towards money, pleasure, position, beauty, fame and power. It will lead us to the second attitude of Jesus: to hunger and thirst after righteousness. The third attitude is that we will seek the comfort and help of the Lord in all our troubles for blessed are those who mourn. The fourth characteristic of the mind of Christ is: we will be meek, humble and not proud, arrogant, conceited or egoistic. The fifth attitude is that we will be merciful. We will not judge, grudge, fudge or budge. We will discern and judge in the way Jesus discerned and judged, not by the outward appearance but by the discernment of the Spirit and the will of the Father. The sixth attitude is that purity of heart or purity of both desires and emotions. We will not give room to bitterness, jealousy or lust and covetousness. The seventh attitude is that of peace, to always seek to be at peace with others, to be a peacemaker and a problem-solver, to alleviate suffering and division and to reduce conflicts and violence. The eighth attitude is faithful endurance, to be willing to take risks in taking a stand for Christ and face persecution, ridicule, opposition and rejection. The ninth attitude is to be joyful and glad, always giving thanks to God in all circumstances.

The nine attitudes that constitute the mind of Christ together also are the fruit of the Spirit, also nine in number: love,joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. We can draw up a table of these attitudes and fruit of the Spirit and measure ourselves against these on a scale of one to ten every day of our lives. As we grow more mature spiritually, our decisions that arise from our surrendered wills to Christ will also reflect these qualities of mind and heart.

Prateep V Philip
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Spiritual Realisation/Love

Spiritual Yearning/Love


Seeking Grace/Patience


Purity of heart/self control




Sunday, June 15, 2014

UV 1120/10,000 Not One fails

Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

Isaiah 40 v 26

The Lord God has not created mankind and all things in order to fail but to succeed. Not one of the plans of the Lord fails. Not one of the people of God fails. He upholds us by His might, strength and power. We need to lift our eyes and focus on Him. We should not be blinded by the glory of the things He alone has created. Like the stars, He has created us to shine for Him in the universe not with rays of light but with days full of thoughts, words and deeds that glorify and please Him. If His intention for the inanimate stars is that not one fails, how much more is His intention that all people, the crown of His creation succeed, that no one fails.

Each of us is called to be a star for God. In order to be a star we got to start. We can start with our thoughts, then move on to our shining with our temperament, tongue, talent and with the optimum utilization of our time. This is a striking concept and phrase: “not one faileth.” Yet in the world right through the ages, there have been few who succeed at the expense of the vast majority. The reason is that people relied on their own limited thoughts, ideas, strength and talents. A tree that grows in shallow soil cannot bear much fruit and even if it produces fruit, it might not be sweet or useful.

In the book of Genesis, the Lord says that He created the infinite multitude of stars to rule over the night and to provide signs. The fixed position of the stars gave people journeying on land or traveling on the oceans and seas a sense of direction in the absence of modern sophisticated instruments. Similarly, the ethical positions or principles we adopt on the basis of the Word of God will enable us to find our sense of direction and to also leads others on the paths of righteousness, so that we do not clash with each others in our orbits. The mighty stars are also symbols of the infinite greatness, might, strength and power of God. Just as the Lord God has created enough space for each of these mighty stars to revolve without colliding with each other, He has created enough space for each of us to move, shine and excel without colliding with each other.

Ordinarily, we cannot approach God in His absolute holiness and omnipotence just as no spacecraft would ever be able to approach even the nearest star. But Christ Jesus gives us grace to approach God and draw from His inexhaustible strength, might and power. Grace that means divine favour and enablement is the bridge between our weakness and God’s strength. We need to use His infinite strength and power to overcome our weaknesses, to utilize opportunities and to overcome threats.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Just versus the Unjust

UV 1119/10,000 The Just versus the Unjust

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

2 Peter 2 v 9

This uni-verse answers the question, “ why do bad things happened to good people?” as also why do good things happen to bad people. In God’s categorisation, there are no good or bad people since all are sinners. But the uni-verse above states that there are godly persons who desire to be free from sin and to be righteous in the eyes of God and the unjust who just do it the way they like. The godly are just or justified by their faith in Christ. Their faith rather than their deeds declare them righteous. The righteous seek the favour of the Lord. They seek to be like Christ, the model of good and godly behaviour. The popular Nike tagline says, “Just do it.” The Word of God says, “ don’t just do it but do the just.” The righteous are God-fearing, wise and strive to keep doing the right thing or what is just and correct.

But in this mixed up world, the righteous come up against many hurdles and roadblocks. The enemy of our souls works overtime to tempt us and make us fall. The devil tempts us while God tests us. He tests to see if our faith is genuine and enduring both in good times and bad times. It might appear that those who are given to do as they please have a free run. It is just that the judgement is reserved for them and they would face it at the end of their days. The devil leaves the unjust alone and focusses on the just or godly, to try to trap them. God leaves the unjust alone for the moment and focusses on delivering the just or godly. We are always caught in a just versus unjust combat much like David versus Goliath. David’s faith gave him inner strength and power while Goliath relied on his brawn, his physical strength that was unmatched in the entire army of Israel. It was a grossly unequal contest, a young inexperienced lad against a fully equipped giant and champion soldier. David invoked the name of the Lord and therefore the Lord God quickened his mind to cast away the armour and sword given by Saul and go armed only with his slings and five smooth stones he picked on the way to the fight. As we exercise our faith and invoke the name of God, He will quicken our spirits to think of winning or effective strategies in the battles we are fighting in every domain.

The Lord knows how to deliver us from every trial and temptation. He provides us the way of escape. We must be sensitive enough to recognize the way of escape that the Lord has prepared for us. He could warn us in a dream as he warned Joseph to take Mary and the new-born Messiah out of Israel to Egypt. He sent angels to rescue the apostles when they were incarcerated in prison. He gave Moses’s mother counsel on how to save the child from bloodshed. He saved me from certain death on more than one occasion. Indeed, when we have a personal pact with the Lord, He keeps His Word to keep us in tact and in fact, thereby increases our impact.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Torch Bearers

1119/10,000 The Torch Bearers

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4 v 13

Believers are vessels of clay holding a torch of fire like Gideon’ s volunteer soldiers. We are ordinary people who have been brought out of darkness or ignorance regarding our own origin, meaning of life, purpose and destiny. Now that these questions have been answered in Christ we are now torch-bearers for this generation. The rulers, elders and teachers of the time before whom Peter and John were arraigned on a charge of heresy saw that Peter and John were fearless and full of conviction. They knew that they were ordinary fishermen and wondered to themselves how they could communicate so boldly, knowledgeably and clearly. They realized that it was the impact of having spent time with Jesus. They realized that these ordinary men spoke with greater authority and power than they themselves with their titles,learning, positions and possessions.

When we spend time at the feet of Jesus, we become learned. He will give us the tongue of the learned and will teach us what to speak and when to speak. He will fill us with the Holy Spirit as He filled Peter so that he spoke with boldness defending his actions and explaining his faith. Signs and wonders will be wrought through us even as Peter raised up the crippled man and asked him to “ walk in the name of Jesus.” Peter told the crippled man who was begging at the gate of the temple, “ Silver and gold have I none but such as I have I give thee.” Jesus will teach us to use what we have to fulfil the need of people.

Our belief in Jesus defines us, describes us and drives us. His presence distinguishes us. It becomes the defining characteristic of our lives- that we have spent time with Jesus. We derive our sense of purpose and power from Jesus. Peter and John’s lack of schooling or gifting or exposure or finances did not limit their impact or effectiveness. Similarly, when Jesus is with us and we are with Him, we lack nothing, we lack no good thing. He supplies what we need. Spending time with Jesus is the one habit of highly effective believers. We must enter His presence as an empty vessel and lower ourselves in humility and repentance as He fills us with the Holy Spirit. As He fills us and anoints us, the torch of fire is lit in us.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Race of Grace

UV 1118-10,000 The Race of Grace, the Fight of Faith
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
2 Timothy 4 v 7

We are called to be great and not to “rat” it out. Man has two options before him: to run the rat race or to run in the race of grace. Grace is restoring us to the greatness that God had always intended for us. The rat race is about somehow by hook or by crook and on one’s own strength and gumption staying ahead of others, of accumulating more than others, of having more to show off. When we by faith opt out of the rat race, we opt into a race of grace. In this race, it is not speed or finishing first that counts. It is holding the baton of faith. It is staying focussed on finishing the course with faith and in faith. It is not about outdoing or outrunning the competition but it is about pacing one’s life against the Word of God. It is about casting off things that weigh us down either in terms of burdens, worries or sins. It is about staying focussed on the author and finisher of the race- Jesus who qualified us to run the race of grace. We have a reward waiting for us at the finishing line- a crown that is not corruptible or perishable. The race of grace requires us to be disciplined, patient, humble, contented, hopeful and faithful.
In the good fight to which we are called, we do not fight with others. We struggle and wrestle with our own body to bring it under the discipline of the Holy Spirit. We fight to tame our own tongue and our own inner passions. We fight to overcome temptations. We do not hurt or harm others but build our own faith even as a body builder trains to build all his body muscles. Our enemy is not another person but our own inner weaknesses that give an opportunity for the enemy of our soul to penetrate our lives and attempt to defeat us, neutralise our testimony and our influence. We fight our own evil desires and strive to nail it and to put it to death on the cross. We need to fight every day to deny ourselves and to affirm our faith with our words and our actions. The good fight requires us to be internally and spiritually strong, to endure hardship, to build up our spiritual stamina to resist evil, to guard against any weak moments when we feel like yielding to temptation or pressure or to give up. The good fight requires us to use our practical and robust common sense, to exercise strategic thinking like David when he offered to fight the giant and champion fighter Goliath.
Whether we describe our lives as a race of grace or a good fight, we need to finish well. Having begun well, we should not lose the plot while running or fighting. After every victory or challenge overcome, we should not be complacent or proud of ourselves. Our success should not puff up our minds or egos to think that hereafter we can do it on our own strength. We need to keep the faith till the very end, the last step, the last breath of our lives. Then the Lord will receive us and placing the crown of righteousness on our heads say, “ Welcome to your inheritance, you good and faithful servant, you competent runner, you great fighter.”

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Blessings of Divine Strength

UV 1117/10,000 The Blessings of Divine Strength

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

Psalm 84 v 5

Nations through history draw their source of strength from military power. Individuals draw their strength from wealth, position, qualifications, family background, personal talents, glamour and other personal attributes. But all these sources of strength can prove to be undependable and even be the very root of strife. But when a man draws his strength from the Lord, he is greatly blessed. We draw our strength from the Lord by imbibing His Word. When St Paul said, “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me,” he was implying that Christ strengthened him through His Word. When he first heard the voice of Christ on the road to Damascus, “ Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me so?”, the words awakened him to his life’s purpose and gave him the strength to turn away from all that he believed in and lived for till that moment. The Word of Christ had penetrated his heart and begun a transformation that was going to impact the contemporary world as well as succeeding generations in ways which St Paul could never have imagined or planned.

The words of Christ will bring about a turn-around in our lives, a change in direction, a change of focus, a change of priorities, a change of thought process, a change of goals, a change of habits, a change of attitudes and emotions. The ways of God will be laid out in our heart and we will hear a voice, “ walk in these paths for they are mine.” He will give us the strength to trod these paths. He will give us increasing strength and grace as we increase in acceptance, understanding and obedience. He gives us the inner power to overcome our own weaknesses and limitations. When Samson was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, he could do many great feats. Similarly, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit to overcome the challenges we find in our lives. As we depend on the Lord, our strength will be greater in magnitude than that of horses or that of chariots- natural power and strength as well as the strength of the products of human ingenuity and invention. The strength of a horse or of weapon or a muscular man is visible to the eye. It does not require any faith to depend on these. But, the strength of spiritual origin is invisible yet discernible for God delights to reveal not by might or power but by His Spirit. The more we exercise our faith, the more our spiritual strength increases. The purpose of giving us such immense spiritual strength is to ensure and enable us to be victorious in life. Our strength is divinely originated, divinely organized and divinely increased.

St Paul who was the scourge of the early believers and responsible for putting many to death, became a source of blessing to the early believers. He became a carrier of the gospel to many parts of the then known world. Many amazing miracles were wrought by him. His writing to the early churches became the basis of church doctrine through the ages.
When we make the Lord the sole source of our strength, He builds His highways in our hearts. We need to foreswear all our erstwhile sources of strength for the Lord will test our hearts to see on what we lean the most. He leads us step by step. He removes the barriers in our paths as He enabled the Israelites to cross the Red Sea and the Jordan. He leads us into a greater and greater experience of His grace, love and mercy. The path of faith is not to obtain forever an inexhaustible reserve of strength or power. But, every day to go to the Lord for a top up of strength and then go and spend it the rest of the day in the world, then to return to the Lord again for a renewal of strength till all our days are done.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Process of Transformation

UV 1116/10,000 The Process of Tranformation

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3 v 18

Moses had his face veiled while the Israelites had a veil on their hearts. Jesus lived on the earth, full of grace and truth. When the requirement of the law- a perfect sacrifice was fulfilled in the death of Jesus, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the view of the people in the temple was torn from top down to the bottom. The glory of the Lord God is reflected in the gospel- simplicity, truth, holiness and grace. When we first believe the gospel to be God’s truth, our spiritual eyes are unveiled. The veil on our hearts, minds, understanding and our spirits are removed. We begin to increasingly perceive the Shekinah glory or greatness of God. As we worship God, we behold His beauty, His ineffable glory.

The words “ with open face” implies that the barriers to our understanding, perception, comprehension and experience of the glory of God are removed. We perceive and understand the glory of God in His Word. His Word is a mirror in which we can see ourselves as we are and God as He is. We see our own faults and failures. We will not be short-sighted or blind as we were when our hearts and minds are veiled but we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit in being transformed into the very likeness of Christ. We see how God’s grace in Christ covers us and declares us potentially perfect. We see how the Holy Spirit is liberating us from our faults and failures so that not only are we potentially perfect but are actually being perfected in Christ. He is transforming our hearts and minds so that we conform to the very image of God and of His Son Jesus. We are now the mirrors to reflect the glory, grace and greatness of God in all we do, think, speak and feel.

Even as the egg of a butterfly changes into a caterpillar, as the caterpillar feeds ravenously on the leaves, we are born again in the spirit and we develop a hunger and thirst for the Word of God. Finally, we are transformed into a glorious multi-coloured butterfly with the wings of prayer and the Word. We become the carrier of the seed to other people, to cross pollinate the lives of other people around us. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We will be freed from the bondage of dead habit and sin. The expression “ from glory to glory” implies that we will increase from strength to strength. We will experience growth as we increase in knowledge of the truth and the application of knowledge that is wisdom. We will experience increase in grace. Our metamorphosis does not take place overnight but happens degree by degree, day by day and gradually over our whole lifetime. Our dying to ourselves and our living for Christ is not a wrenching or sudden experience but a gradual process. The Spirit of God in us is a catalyst who speeds up the process.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Giving Importance to Giving

UV 1115/10,000 Giving Importance to Giving

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again

Luke 6 v 38

Giving is the next most important action of a believer to forgiving. When we forgive, we are giving spiritually while giving involves the material and the monetary. The extent to which we both give and forgive determines how much we are given and forgiven. The measure with which we give to others is the measure that will be used to bless us. The size of our measure is the dimensions of each individual act of giving. Giving that is declared by God to be most blessed and honoured is not out of a super abundance but even when we are in need, even when we have not yet provided for all of our needs. It is the size of the measure that gives God pleasure and brings us treasures of blessings forever. It is in this manner in our hands to determine the dimensions of our blessings. This uni-verse encourages us to give generously, to see that what we give is heaped up so that the maximum possible that we can afford is given. Giving is the most practical way of demonstrating our gratitude to God as well as our faith.

God is no man’s debtor. Hence, when we give to the poor or when we give to His work, we are lending to God. He is waiting for an opportunity to pay us back in kind. These are the treasures that we store in heaven. Giving is like an investment into eternity. Giving also brings us other spiritual blessings. When we are in trouble, the Lord remembers our acts of charity and He will deliver us. Giving is an acknowledgement that what we have is but by the grace of God and that we owe everything to the Lord. While giving, we need to exercise due diligence and discernment of the causes or organisations or people to whom we give so that we are not taken for a ride, we are not beguiled or deceived and we do not feel let down or taken advantage of.

Another aspect of giving is that it enables us to break the grip that money and material possessions have on our hearts and lives. It kills the love of money that is the root of all evil as perhaps nothing else can. It kills our inner lust to possess more, our trust in uncertain riches and sense of insecurity and fear of scarcity or not having enough that feeds our desire for more. It demonstrates our confidence and faith that God will provide for us according to His riches in glory. We must not give out of pressure or persuasion of others or reluctantly. We need to give cheerfully or willingly or it will detract from the value of our giving and cancel our blessing. God sees the motive behind our giving as well as the attitude both before and after we give. Scripture says that not giving what we need to amounts to stealing from God. When we give, God will open the windows of heaven and pour in such measure that we will find it difficult to find space to store it.

Prateep V Philip

A Good Soldier of Jesus

A Good Soldier of Christ

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2 v 3

A good soldier endures hardship. He is used to a hard life, to travel at short notice, to be called to fight in a war he never started. He is loyal to his commanding officer. He is obedient and respectful. He would give his life for his commander and for his nation. His life in fact is always at stake. He keeps himself fit physically and mentally. He is constantly in training towards this end. He is focussed on victory for his side. He knows that strategy is as important as strength in fighting to win. He does not waste his blows or indulge in shadow boxing. He is not involved in civilian affairs. His loyalty cannot be purchased with bribe or allurement.

A good soldier is well equipped for every type of contingency. He wears his whole body armour to protect himself from head to foot. He carries his personal weapon. Similarly, a good soldier of Jesus needs to exhibit all these qualities and adopt all these habits. He should understand the mind of Christ, His commander. He will not give any quarter to the enemy to compromise the security of the wider army he belongs to. He trusts his commander that He is invincible, that neither sin nor satan nor death could defeat. Sin, satan and death had defeated virtually every other commander of any army in human history. A good soldier of Christ knows that most of his battles would be won as he spends time on his knees.

A soldier of Christ will help to recruit and train other followers. His goal is the goal that Christ has set- the salvation of every human soul. He will not develop habits that will weaken him. Rather, he will develop habits that will strengthen him physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and socially. He will keep his s-word, the Word always unsheathed in his heart and mind. He will draw his strength therefrom to do whatever the commander bids him. He will be prepared to face grave risks and threats to his life but at the same time, he will not be foolhardy or tactless or naïve. He will claim ultimate and immediate victory based on the promises of God. A good soldier knows when to make strategic advances and when to make tactical retreats. A good soldier knows the terrain as well as the people he would be dealing with. He is practical and never takes leave of his senses. A good soldier would be stern and strict as well as humble and willing to learn from the humblest of human beings. Naaman, the Syrian general was a good soldier. Despite having a formidable reputation as a general and the confidence of the king, he was willing to listen to the counsel of a maid to seek healing for his leprosy. A good soldier would know where to seek remedy for his afflictions. He knows how best to use the resources available to him. He never lets down his guard and is always watchful and alert.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Qualities of the Remnant

UV 1114/10,000 The Qualities that Set Us Apart

The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

Zephaniah 3 v 13

Believers in every nation will only be a remnant, a portion of people who are set apart for God, who have peculiar characteristics or qualities. They will not form the brute majority but be a silent but influential minority. They will be distinguished by the presence of God in their lives and certain qualities of character, head and heart. They will not sin or speak lies or deceit. They will feed on the Word of God and will be secure in their knowledge of God such that nothing or no one can make them fear anything. The promises of God are their safety net. These are the qualities that distinguish those who qualify to receive salvation by grace and faith in Christ. In the world, we normally have to demonstrate we have the qualities required before we receive a qualification. But in the Kingdom of God, we are first qualified by grace and then we develop the qualities.

It might appear that the charter of qualities of a citizen of the spiritual Israel or Zion or the Kingdom of God are all described in negative terms. But in actual point of fact, the characteristic of believers that they feed on the Word of God implies that we develop very positive qualities described in various characters and chiefly, the qualities we see in the person of Jesus. We are called to be agents of change, the salt and the light of the world. As salt, we preserve the peace, increase the taste and value of our life experiences. As salt is crystalline, it does not mix with the dust and sand or the sinful ways of the world. Similarly, our spiritual DNA structure changes. As light, we disperse the darkness in the world. We become agencies to bring people from out of the darkness of ignorance into the light, by bringing people who do not know God into a personal relationship with Him. We enable people to see what normally and naturally cannot be perceived by them.
The person who has faith in Jesus has an absolute sense of security. The word “ none” implies that nothing, absolutely nothing can make him or her afraid: neither death nor depth, neither threats or weapons, neither disease nor loss, neither spiritual enemies or human foes. The opposite of fear is not courage but it is faith. We will be able to end each day with peaceful rest or sleep and eventually sleep or rest in the Lord after our days are over. To modify the lines of the poet Longfellow, “ Something attempted, something done (for God, for Jesus, for man) has earned a night’s repose.”

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Intimacy with God

UV 1113/10,000 What Intimacy with God does

Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.

Lamentations 3 v 57

The Lord draws near only when we call to Him out of a deep need and a deep faith, on a particular day and at a specific time and situation in our lives. He draws near to us, regardless of who we are and what we have done this far, if we call in truth. We should not be double-minded. We cannot half believe in His Word and half believe in what the world teaches us just as it is impossible to be in half- light and half-darkness. We must either embrace totally the darkness, the untruth as truth, or totally embrace the light, the truth, the goodness and grace of God. We cannot keep one hand for the Lord and one hand to embrace the world and its ways. We should keep our hands clean before He can hold our hands. Once He holds our hand in His, not only does He hold our hands but all of our lives, our every organ, our every relationship and our every thought, desire, goal and activity.

When the Lord draws near to us, our own issues and challenges appear to be diminish in size and significance even as the morning sun drives away the mist by its sheer light. He sets us free from our own fears and inhibitions. The word “fear”, someone said, means “false evidence appearing real”. Science for instance presents the evidence of evolution. But we should not believe such false evidence that speaks against our faith that we live in a God-created and sustained universe. Our minds will also throw up thoughts that appear to be real, our problems and challenges will appear as impossible for anyone to solve including God. It feeds our sense of insecurity and leads us into desperation and prolonged desperation leads to depression. We need to deny such false evidence and doubts and stay close to the Lord, trusting Him for providence, protection,preservation, promotion and pro-vision.

When we experience intimacy with God, the fears that stymie our vision and affect the quality and impact of our lives are effectively dealt a death blow. Some of these fears are the fear of death, the fear of punishment for sin, the fear of success, the fear of failure, the fear of losses, the fear of disease, the fear of aging, the fear of powerful enemies, the fear of threats and insults, the fear of rejection.. The spirit the Lord has given us is not one of fear but of love, hope and self control. The spirit gives us hard evidence of the reality of God’s promises and truths, not all at one shot but enough manna for the day in every way.

Prateep V Philip

The Flight of the Spirit

UV 1112/10,000 The Flight of the Spirit

Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:

Haggai 2 v 4

Zerubbabel, a ruler and Joshua, the high priest were both commanded to be strong and to work for the Lord. Zerubbabel was a descendant of King David and he was used to fulfil the mission of re-building the temple at Jerusalem. The word “yet” implied that even when circumstances are not favourable we should stand for God. Faith does not make a person a weakling. We have a priestly vision and a kingly mission. Our faith constantly strengthens us to fulfil our God-given vision and mission in life. The source of the strength is the Lord Himself. Since He is with us we can be daring, optimistic risk takers and leaders. But the Lord exhorts not just the leaders but all people to be strong, to be courageous and to be active for the Lord.

The Lord of all angels and saints of heaven is the One who is with us. He resides in us and with us. He who is with us is greater than he who is with the world. He instils strength and power in us through His inspired word. He enables us to identify and overcome our weaknesses. He gives us the wings of the Word and prayer to enable us to fly high above our circumstances. God does not solve our problems for us. He enables us to rise high above our problems as an eagle flies over the mountains. His strength will not only rise up in us as we wait on the Lord to fulfil His promise or to answer our prayer but it will cause us to rise up. When we fly over our problems we gain a perspective. We no longer pray or wish for their removal or disappearance but thank God that He has made them the cause of our strength. This is not the flight of imagination but the flight of the spirit. The eagle soars with impunity even as the lion roars below as its paws or its teeth cannot harm or maim the eagle. The uni-verse exhorts us to be strong in faith, to work in building the kingdom of God. To be strong also means to be fearless and mindless of the consequences. Fear limits one’s options while faith expands our options.

The references to “son of….” implies that God sees our life’s work beyond our own generation. He sees the spiritual legacy left behind by our fathers and that which we will leave behind. We are commanded to be strong in our present circumstances. He knows that left to our own each of us has little strength but when we connect by faith to the abundance of His power and grace, our ability and strength knows no limits. Today, “ I AM” is with us. The one who is the way, the truth and the life is with us. The Holy Spirit is with us. Any increase in faith in a person is synonymous with an increase in strength, power and effectiveness. As we trust in the Lord and His Word, our strength will be constantly renewed.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Golden Hearts and Silver Tongues

UV 1111/10,000 Golden Hearts and Silver Tongues

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Matthew 12 v 35

Just as a tree is known by its fruit, a man is known to be good or evil by the fruit of his lives. A good man treasures the law of God or the Word in his heart. The word “ treasures” implies that we need to consider the Word our priceless and most valuable possession. If we treasure something said by somebody we know, we will hang on every word and run it in our minds over and over again not as an imposition but with great relish, till it becomes part of our mental wiring and our nature. Similarly, we need to delight in running every word of the Word that we store in our heart over and over again till it becomes part of our life. When we store the Word of God in our hearts, our hearts become golden and our tongues will be made of choice silver. A good communicator needs a heart of gold and a mouth of pure silver. People will begin to value and relish the words we speak. The Word transforms the very place it is stored, -our core or our hearts of flesh get changed into hearts of gold. Scripture says that “ the heart of the righteous studieth to answer..” The Word is a living teacher that teaches us how to answer our deepest and most fundamental questions as well as the questions of others.

We cannot mix evil with good just as oil does not mix with oil. Hence, we should not attempt to adulterate the Word with our own words, or with the vain and empty philosophies of man. We should not treasure in our hearts the words of man. Just as a spring cannot bring forth both sweet and potable water as well as hard and bitter water at the same time. According to the need, the Holy Spirit will enable us to recall the apt Word for the healing, blessing, deliverance, admonition, encouragement, salvation of people we interact with. The Word has a curative as well as preventive and redemptive or restorative effect on human hearts. David’s heart turned to adultery and murder at the lowest point in his life and yet God endorsed him as a man after his own heart as David’s heart stored up psalms, spiritual songs and hymns that he sang with grace unto the Lord. The alternative to having a golden heart and silver tongue is to have a heart and tongue of wickedness,careless and lying lips, foolish and darkened minds and perverse attitudes.

Whatever we value in life, we learn by heart. It implies that not only do we memorise it but we meditate on it continually. As we do, it will enhance us in wisdom, knowledge, creativity and understanding. Thinking that hinges on the Word is creative thinking. It impacts both the one who stores the Word as well as the hearers. It penetrates to the core of our souls as nothing else can. It transforms our intrapersonal communication as well as our interpersonal communication. It is written in Scripture that the lips of the righteous feed many. It satisfies the spiritual, intellectual and emotional hunger and thirst of mankind. The spiritual hunger and thirst of mankind is to know how did we get here and to know where we are heading. The spiritual hunger and thirst of man is the salvation of our souls. It is to answer the age-old question asked by people in all nations, the very question Nicodemus asked of Jesus, “ What must I do to live forever and not let my soul die?” The intellectual hunger and thirst of mankind is to know how can we be happy, successful, healthy and prosperous in this life? The Bible contains the words of life that teach us how best to live. The emotional hunger of mankind is to know how to love and how to be loved by both man and God.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Cause and Remedy of Strife

UV 1110/10,000 The Cause of Strife

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

James 4 v 1

Strife at the individual level as well as wars at the national and global level occur due to the basic lusts that operate in human beings. We see it in the race between powerful nations to become superpowers. We see it also in the sibling rivalry between children in the same family. We see a so called spiritual jealousy between different men and women of God. It began with the rivalry between Cain and Abel. The desire of both was to please God with their sacrifices. Abel offered a better sacrifice that was more pleasing to God and that angered Cain and it led to his plotting to murder Abel.

When Cain was unhappy that God was more pleased with Abel’ s sacrifice, God chided him saying, “ If you do well, will you not be accepted? Sin lies at the door waiting to enter. But you must rule over it.” Our own desires tempt us. Sin lies at the door of our hearts, waiting to enter our lives and rule over us. When we feed and foster our evil desire, sin gets permission to enter and rule our lives. Evil is packaged as something that is seemingly good for us, necessary for our well being and happiness. It brings more harm than good for where evil desires rule, confusion and every type of evil work prevails. We need to bolt the door of our hearts securely and not allow even the toe of temptation in our doorway. We need to pray for a hedge of protection around our hearts, homes and children that we do not allow sin to enter and rule. God’s will is that we do well and are acceptable in His sight. St James wrote that we do not have what we need as we ask with the wrong motives. The principle is : trust God for our need and not for our lust. Abel made a costly, precious and wholesome sacrifice to God. He was killed by Cain but even in his death, he became a blessing, a fore-type of the Messiah to come, Jesus.

Scripture aptly sums up the three elemental drives of sin and strife: lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life. Lust is the uncontrollable innate desire to be something more or have something more. It puts us in direct conflict with those who desire the very things we want. We need the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these fundamental drives in human nature. We need to first settle the war within our own being. Contentment and thankfulness to God for what we have and what we are should replace contention and covetousness. Humility and meekness should replace godless ambition, pride and aggression. This presupposes that there is something called godly ambition. Godly ambition is doing all one can in faith and diligence to fulfil God-given potential and God-ordained purpose.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Ultimate Consultant

UV 1109/10,000 The Ultimate and Unfailing Consultant

With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

Isaiah 40 v 14

Many persons in the corporate field after a couple of decades of experience in the business field declare themselves consultants. They give advice as if they are domain experts on a variety of fields from brand management, marketing, finance to you name it. They cover up their lack of depth by carefully chosen words and jargon. They charge a handsome fee to give advice that exposes them to no risk and no refund is offered if the advice fails. The best of consultants will not bet on their own best advice. These management consultants need to be reminded that just a short span of time ago they were drinking milk from bottles.

People without a direct connect or relationship with God are at best pretenders to wisdom. They are like astrologers who are not able to tell their own fortune but make a living foretelling the fortune of others. One man who built a huge empire of south Indian restaurants was adviced by his astrologer to marry another man’s wife as it would bring him luck. That advice landed him in jail for a brutal murder. Management that does not factor in the wisdom and experience of God “all-wise always” is blind leadership. He is the only One person in the whole universe who does not need to consult anybody. He does not need instruction, teaching of what is right or wrong or guidance of the steps to take to arrive at an aimed for result. Every other advisor in our lives will one day be redundant but God will never be. But the trouble is most of the time we consult Him only after we made a disastrous decision ignoring the guideposts and pointers He has given us to make a good decision. We do not take Him very seriously as He does not charge us a fee. We forget Him as we cannot see Him.

The uni-verse series of meditations is one of the consistent and persistent efforts to glean wisdom for leadership, management and daily spiritual wisdom from the pages of the Bible. We need to be known as leaders and managers who keeps our eyes and ears, minds and hearts open to hear a word from the Lord. Our ‘great’ learning, experience or expertise does not insure us against great folly or madness. Only a fear of God will keep us wise, a consciousness that we will be judged for every word, decision and action we take. We do not know where precisely we came from, where we are and where we are going. God knows every aspect and dimension of our lives precisely. Our position is “ I know nothing but I know God who knows everything.” We cannot pester Him or badger Him for counsel but wait on Him to reveal step by step what we need to do. He has given us the indwelling spirit of Counsel and wisdom, the Holy Spirit. We surrender our natural autonomy to acquire supernatural wisdom and accountability. It keeps us humble and keeps us walking in the favour of the One who does not need a consultant, advisor, instructor, teacher or guide. He is our eternal consultant, advisor, instructor, teacher, guide and friend.

Prateep V Philip