Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where Praise is Due..

UV 1156/10,000 Where Praise is Due and Given..
And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
2 Chronicles 15 v 15

Where praise is due and given, peace prevails. Every believer is to keep praising the Lord and to rejoice in all that the Lord has done this far. We are to commit everything that we do every day with all our heart into the hands of the Lord. We are to seek Him with our whole desire and the promise that accompanies this prerequisite is that He will be found of us. Our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our ambitions, our thoughts and feelings should anchor in the Lord. We praise God out of joy and we derive joy from praising Him. Praising or worshipping God is not an obligation, a moral duty but what flows naturally from grateful creatures to a wonderful Creator, from children to their Eternal Father, from the saved to the Saviour, from grateful servants to a kind and gentle Master.

We are spiritual descendants of King David and the King of Kings Jesus. We must remember the Lord at all times and keep praising the Lord. Whatever we have promised or sworn to the Lord that we should do. When we do so, the Lord will give us rest all round about. He will make us secure on all sides. We will find total security in the circle of His love.

Those who rejoice in praising the Lord find themselves at peace with God, peace with themselves, peace with significant others , peace in all aspects of life- spiritual, intellectual, financial, physical, social and personal. The emphasis is on seeking the Lord with all our hearts and with all our desire, an attitude of rejoicing and thankfulness to the Lord for blessings received this far and hope and trust for the future.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Worthy of Our Belief

UV 1155/10,000 Worthy of Our Belief

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

Psalm 146 v 3

We should not place our trust in people in positions of power or influence nor should we trust in the children of men. They cannot help us in the day of affliction. Instead, we should trust the Son of God, Jesus who alone can help us. He alone is worthy of our belief for in His life, death and resurrection He fulfilled in full the requirements of the law, the requirements of grace, the requirements of holiness, love and mercy. This uni-verse warns us of the vanity of trusting human beings who like us are finite, fallible and mortal. The word “belief” also includes in it the word “ belie” indicating that if we place our faith, trust and belief in what or who is untrue, we will be betrayed or our hope will be belied.

Even the best or most talented or wise or most influential and powerful could fail us in the hour of our need. Instead, our dependence should be on the Lord Himself. He is absolutely reliable, capable and trustworthy. We cannot rely on armies for our defence or the wealth of the rich or the wisdom and educational qualifications of people. Our own kith and kin can fail us in our expectations but the Lord alone is faithful and worthy of our trust and belief. Neither should we advice anyone else to fully trust or believe us for we know that we are mere flesh and blood.

Our belief enables us to be more, do more and have more. Belief is the highest of human faculties, higher than reason and imagination, higher than every talent, higher than every ability and competence. The person whom we believe in should be worthy of our belief, faith, trust and confidence. Only one such person exists and that is the Lord. He deserves a monopoly of our belief. Nothing in life and no one else can compete with our trust and confidence in the Lord. Our hope is derived from our belief in Jesus. Our happiness is derived from that hope. Our help is from the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Spiritual versus the Carnal Minded..

UV 1154/10,000 The Carnal versus the Spiritual

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8 v 6

A carnal mind does not subject itself to the Word of God while the mark of a spiritual mind is the voluntary submission to the Word. A carnal minds sows in the flesh and reaps in the flesh, sows in the flesh and reaps in death which is the wages of sin A spiritual mind sows in the spirit and reaps in the spirit. A carnal mind seeks to feed its own evil desires and leads to moral and spiritual decay.

A spiritual mind is not conditioned by the world. A spiritual mind does not give room to the lusts of the flesh. A person with a spiritual mind subjects himself voluntarily to the Word of God. A spiritual mind is groomed by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual mind is sanctified by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual mind reaps in eternal life and peace.

A spiritual mind is the good soil in which the seed of God’s Word will bear much fruit. When our minds are spiritual, our thoughts, desires, decisions, habits and emotions will be acceptable and pleasing to God. A spiritually minded person will be full of hope, joy of salvation and peace.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Effect of Effective Prayer

UV 1153/10,000 Effective Prayer

Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

Isaiah 58 v 9

When we call to the Lord every day, every morning He hears us. When we cry out to Him, He rushes to our side and says, “Here I am” just like Samuel heard his name calling and he came to Eli thinking that he had called him and said, “ Here I am”.
The Great I AM is with us and that is sufficient to guarantee our sufficiency in all matters and situations. He will answer graciously and meet our need. In this uni-verse, he promises His awesome presence will be with us when we call to Him.

The only pre-conditions to the Lord hearing our prayer and our cry in our hour of need is that we take away the yoke of sin and satan from our shoulders, that we break the cords of wickedness, that we do not accuse others or speak vain words. The Lord has lifted all heavy burdens from our shoulders. He has freed us from all shackles and everything that could weigh us down and hamper us, preventing us from having a joyous fellowship with the Lord. The “yoke in our midst” refers to the thoughts, worries and anxieties caused by our situations, the pointing of the finger refers to our actions and “ speaking vanity” refers to our words. We need to offer our thoughts, words and actions as a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord. This is our just and legitimate worship since we call Him “ Lord” of our lives.

The Lord has TASKED us: Tasked is an acroustic that means “Taught us to manage our thoughts, tongue, talent, time and temperament, shaped our attitudes, skills and knowledge, given us the spirit of excellence and the experiences and the determination to do all that is right in the eyes of the Lord.” We need to pray that the Lord give us grace every day in all these ten important aspects of our personal life, so that our daily offering of our lives is pleasing, wholesome, blemishless and complete. We can pray and cry out to the Lord in our thoughts, words and actions. His presence is sufficient to give us peace in every situation. His power will anoint our words and actions.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Light of Our Being

UV 1152/10,000 The Light of our Being

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

Luke 11 v 34

Have you ever wondered why the symbol of justice, a woman with a balance in her hand is blindfolded? It is because what our eyes see prejudices us and causes us to judge too quickly, without adequate facts. We pre-judge on the basis of our biases even before we hear the other person or hear the full story. If all people were blind, there would be no racial or colour prejudice and we would treat all people equally. What Eve saw tempted her. Satan’s words only prompted her further. The eye instead of filling us with light is filling us with the darkness of prejudice, lust, fear, hostility, pride and envy. This is the kind of darkness that no light of this world can dispel. Our natural eye or our natural way of looking at things is evil. Our natural eye of darkness needs to be replaced by the spiritual eye of the light of love.

The mind knows and understands only what our eye sees. Our perceptions mould our world view. If the Word does not instruct and shape our inner eye, our faulty perceptions will shape our lives. What the eye sees, it desires. The Word will instruct our eye to see as it should see. It will instruct us not to covet and not to desire that which belongs to another. When our eyes are instructed by the Word, our whole being and whole lives will be flooded with spiritual light. We will be able to view all things in the light of a spiritual perspective, an eternal perspective or the perspective of God.

In the land of the blind and in the land of darkness it is not the one-eyed who is king but the Lord God, the God who is the Eternal Light of the universe. When He rules in us, our whole body is full of light and the darkness, regardless of what its manifestations is, whether lust or strife or prejudice or ignorance or evil, shall flee. We need to pray for insight, to open our inner eye, the eye of faith, the eye of our hearts, to behold His glory, to understand the wonderful truths hidden in His Word and His ways. Our perceptions should be transformed before we can become a light to the world. When our inner eye is opened by Jesus, our real “I”, the authentic self will be revealed to the world. We will no longer judge and decide by what we see and hear with our natural eyes but we will discern by the Spirit of God. Our minds and our spirits will no longer be divided or distracted but focussed and full of peace, assurance and confidence. We will be single-minded and whole-hearted in our devotion to the Lord. It will make our whole lives wholesome, healthy, productive, effective and fruitful.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Covenant Relationship

UV 1151/10,000 A Covenant relationship

And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;
2 Chronicles 15 v 12

The Old Testament is about a covenant that the descendants of Abraham made with God to seek Him with all their hearts and with all their minds. The heart is the emotional core of our lives, the seat of our passion and motives in life. We should desire to know God with all of our being. But it should not just be an emotional seeking but an intellectual seeking as well as a rational seeking. It should be a seeking of God in all our decisions, actions and plans.

The New Testament is about the covenant of people of faith belonging to all races of mankind to be committed to loving God having found Him and tasted of His love in Christ. A covenant is a sacred agreement that is inviolable. An agreement is for a specific period of time and applies in a particular situation and place. A covenant is for all time and is universally applicable. A covenant relationship is between two like beings. It is because we are made in the image of God that we are able to enter into a covenant relationship with God. Just as a covenant relationship is expected to fulfil a purpose and to be fruitful or beneficial for both parties, our relationship with God is to fulfil His purpose and to be productive or fruitful.

The words “ entered into” means that each of us accepts the covenant relationship with God on our own volition and willing decision. It implies a whole hearted commitment and devotion that is mutual to both parties entering into the covenant – God and us. A covenant also implies faithfulness and steadfastness in the details of our lives, our thoughts, words, actions and relationships. Jesus said that He never came to cancel the obligations of the first covenant but to fulfil it . The nearest thing to a covenant relationship is the relationship that a marriage brings into existence between a man and a woman brings into existence. A covenant relationship need not be between equals for instance, a man may be physically stronger than the partner. The woman might be emotionally stronger than the husband. Yet, both are co-equal in the sense that they are to treat each other with respect and affection. Similarly, God is obviously infinitely and incomparably stronger than a man. A covenant relationship is based on a heart belief and an open confession before witnesses. It includes promises that both partners make to each other. Similarly, we make just one promise to the Lord to be faithful and obedient while He makes a thousand different promises to us.
Just as a couple spend time and enjoy intimacy with each other, we enjoy fellowship with the Lord. Just as a couple confide in each other, we need to confide in the Lord. Just as we serve each other and submit to one another, we need to serve and submit to the Lord. Just as we face hardships and endure difficulties together, we need to face hardships and difficulties with the Lord. Just as a relationship faces challenges and certain ups and downs, our covenant relationship with the Lord also has its downturns.

Prateep V Philip

A Promise of Signs and Wonders

UV 1150/10,000 A Promise of Signs and Wonders
Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.
Isaiah 8 v 18

Children are given to us by the Lord as a testimony of His faithfulness. We need not be worried or overly concerned about the future of our children as we are only the temporary guardians into whose custody the Lord has placed them. The Lord is their permanent or eternal parent. He will do signs and wonders in our lives and in theirs. He is the Lord of the armies of angels of heaven. He will command His angels to safeguard us. The seraphs that guard us have six wings: two to cover our faces with His Shekinah glory or radiance, two to guard our chests from any attack or assault and two to cover our feet to give us safety as we travel.

The Lord will wonderfully protect our children, wonderfully guide them with signs and directions. He will wonderfully or miraculously provide for them and promote them in due time. We only need to encourage them to walk in faith and the fear of the Lord.

The Lord who dwells in Zion watches over us day and night without slumber or rest. We too are expected to watch and pray. When we show these signs of our faithfulness, the Lord will reciprocate by releasing signs, wonders, miracles in our lives and the lives of our children. We are expected to be the lamp of pure gold, a metaphor of a practicing faith, filled with oil, a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, in which the wicks, a metaphor for our children, burn or shine brightly. Without the vessel to hold and without the fuel to burn, the wicks would burn out and be blackened but within the safety of the golden lamp and with the continuous supply of spiritual nourishment, they would flourish for the glory of God.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Life of Faith - A Celebration of Love

UV 1149/10,000 Life- a Celebration of Love

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

Song of Solomon 2 v 4

The Lord brought us to His banqueting house. A banqueting house is a house of joy. Each of us is expected to be a house of joy. It is the Lord who gives us or brings us the sense of joy. Like a house our joy has a foundation in Christ, pillars and columns of the Word and the promises of God, the roof of the love of God and the bricks consisting of the words and deeds done by us in faith and love right through our lives.

We are called to celebrate and rejoice and not to murmur and complain. We are to have a perspective of a bride who is going to be betrothed to the best groom in the whole universe. We are to be thankful for all the past moments of blessing by the Bridegroom Jesus. We are to be jubilant in the present and ever hopeful for the future. One way of celebrating the life of faith is to welcome and cherish the positive and to ban the negative in our thoughts, words and deeds.

The banner over us is His love. His love is all encompassing. His love protects us. His love cherishes us. His love celebrates us and our little acts of faith. His love covers us and hides us from every bird of prey.Life is a celebration of the love of God for mankind. When we celebrate love, joy will incidentally follow. Now many people miss out on joy as they are chasing joy or happiness instead of pursuing a life of love. People are invited to a banquet for a special reason. Only the people who have a relationship with the one inviting gets invited. His love and our personal relationship with the Lord is the chief cause and source of our celebration and joy. A banner is a sign of victory. His love guarantees our victory. It is an indication to others of what they are missing and what could be theirs if only they too believe like us. Even as a spiritual banner flutters over us in all the vicissitudes or ups and downs of life, we need to unfurl an inner banner with all the attributes of love described in I Corinthians chapter 13:” love is not jealous, not rude, not keep a record of wrongs, is not puffed up or vain. Its faith, hope and patience never fail.”

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Heart-Home-Earth-Heaven Connectivity

UV 1148/10,000 Heart-Home-Earth-Heaven Connectivity

Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

Isaiah 66 v 1

The Lord dwells in heaven as on earth. The earth is the home He has made with His own hands. The earth is described as His footstool. The word “Earth” has two parts – ear and “ th” : it is a clue that we need to hear the Word and think about it for faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. When we hear and believe, our bodies become the temple of God. The Word gives templates for building every part of the temple. The temple that God dwells in cannot be a place which is made with human hands. This is the reason He delights to dwell on the earth and in our hearts and homes. Our houses are built with human hands but our homes are built by the Spirit of the Lord. My definition of a “ home” is that it is the sum total of all the values the members of a family are committed to live by. Our values should honour the Lord and become an invitation to Him to always dwell with us.

Whatever we do whether we eat or sleep or travel or work or talk with people, we should pray to the Lord saying, “ let thy Kingdom come here.” When we pray, He will come and say “ Here I am”. When He comes, our doubts, fears, conflicts and confusion will depart. The place where we are becomes heaven for where the Lord is, that is called heaven. When we acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, His presence always goes ahead of us and with us and in us. Our lives become the house we build for Him. We normally rest in a place where we fear nothing and there is trust, belief and love. The Spirit of the Lord will rest in us when we believe, trust and love the Lord. In everything we do, say and attempt, we should say in our hearts, “ Let thy will be done in this.” This will show that we trust in the Lord completely and not only partially or in some compartments of our lives. Our hearts are the primary place of rest and worship of the Lord.

Our homes are the other place of rest and worship of the Lord. Though the Lord cannot be contained in the heaven of heavens, He will condescend to live in our homes. Our homes are the footstool of the Lord as we worship Him in our homes. Our homes become heaven for where the Lord lives is heaven. Our homes as well as our workplaces can be heaven if we endeavour to make it Philadephia, a city of brotherly love mentioned in the book of Revelation.

Prateep V Philip

Multiple Ways of Sowing the Seed

UV 1147/10,000 Sowing the Seed

In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Ecclesiastes 11 v 6

Sowing a seed is an act of faith. There is no way of knowing at the time of planting whether the seed will grow and yield a harvest. We need to sow the seed from the morning till the evening. Sowing the seed has many meanings. It means we need to work from the morning till the evening. Even as we work and move around, we need to worship the Lord from the morning till the evening. The human brain is structured and shaped like a tree and if we continually sow the seed of the Word of God in it, it as well as our lives will flourish like a green palm tree. Life itself begins like the planting of a seed. It also implies that we need to sow the good news of the gospel from the morning of our lives till the evening of our lives. Doing good deeds and righteousness is also another way of sowing the seed. Giving generously is an instance of sowing. Providing for capital or savings for investment is another form of planting the seed.

Our responsibility is to sow the seed. The Lord will respond by causing it to flourish. It is His sovereign decision to allow one seed to grow and bear fruit and to allow another to be sterile. When we sow we need not worry about the wind or whether it will rain and whether it will yield a harvest. The Lord will multiply the seed as He multiplies the harvest to meet our every need, spiritual, social,intellectual, financial and emotional. The principle of seeding is there in all of nature as well as in human nature. Even the clouds are seeded to provide rain. We plant seed by our thoughts, words and deeds.

Though there are multiple ways of sowing the seed and multiple forms of seed, it is the Lord who causes it to grow. Increase is from the Lord. Growth is from the Lord. Blessing is from the Lord. Prosperity is from the Lord. Success and joy is from the Lord. Health and productivity is from the Lord. Empowerment and fulfilment is from the Lord. Promotion is from the Lord. The smallest of efforts can result in the greatest of blessings. Jesus compared the kingdom of God to the smallest of seed- the mustard seed. Every morning we should pray the Lord’s prayer, “ let your kingdom come. Thy will be done in my life.” When we pray these words faithfully, we are sowing the kingdom of God. It will spring up quietly all day and all night till the shoots, the leaves, the fruits of righteousness are seen. We are ourselves a seed planted by the Lord on the earth.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Focus on the Locus

UV 1146/10,000 Focus on the Locus

And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

Joshua 14 v 10

The Lord preserves the lives of the faithful the way He kept Caleb alive. He retained at the age of eighty five the same strength that he first had in his forties when Moses received the word from the Lord. He remained loyal to the Lord His God. Remaining loyal to the Lord implies that we do not disbelieve His words, disbelieve His ability to do that which He has promised and to believe that nothing is too difficult or impossible for Him, to know that He cares and loves us deeply. He was one of the spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. He along with Joshua alone brought back a faithful and honest report that was at variance with the opinion of some of his compatriots who had accompanied him. As he trusted the Word of the Lord, he confidently said, “ We are well able to conquer it.”

Caleb leaned on the Lord and clung to Him as the source of His strength, power and energy. He was clothed with the presence of the Lord. His Shekinah glory covered his face. His grip on the sword was firm and steadfast. Caleb’s secret was his single-minded and wholehearted focus and devotion. His mind was not a battlefield for he knew that the Lord is in control of his life and his destiny. When our minds become a battlefield on account of the thoughts the enemy brings to distract us or to attract or seduce us and we become consequently weakened. Instead, the Shalom peace of the Lord should fill our minds and hearts all the time. The focus should be on the source and purpose of our lives- the locus of our lives, the central point- the Lord God Himself. In the Lord, both the end and the means coincide as in nothing else in life.

Caleb had the same power to do battle at a ripe old age as he could in his prime. The Lord kept him alive even though he fought with Joshua’s troops against several kings and their armies before they could take possession of Canaan. The Lord preserved his family in the wilderness. The Lord protected him from the deadly bite of serpents in the desert. He provided for him nourishment and drink. He kept him from pestilence and disease over forty five years. Calem on his part remained faithful and obedient to the call of the Lord and of Moses even when the Israelites rebelled and murmured during the sojourn in the wild desert en route to the promised land. The Word testifies that Caleb followed the Lord wholeheartedly. He showed courage and fidelity in following first Moses and later on, Joshua, the successor. He could therefore claim his share of the promised land- Hebron –as his inheritance.

The next couple of weeks I will be travelling as I will be on training in India and overseas. But even as I am travelling the Lord expects me to be faithful in my prayer, meditation and in writing and sharing the Uni-verse every day. I need to demonstrate a Caleb-like persistence and perseverance. I need to depend heavily on the grace of the Lord to be able to do so. I will need to nourish myself with the divine manna or hot bread and the drink the Lord provides for our need every day. The Lord has preserved my life these past five decades and made me as strong, if not stronger than in the days of my youth. When we depend on the Lord for strength, He renews our energy and power so that our faith as well as our inner resources are redoubled.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A City of Light

UV 1145/10,000 A City of Light

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Matthew 5 v 14

It is the light and wisdom from the Word that makes us the light of the world. The world has no light of its own like the moon. Without the light of the Word, life would be short, nasty and brutish as Hobbes described it. But when the light of the Word shines from deep within us, we become a city set on an hill.

The Lord revealed in a time of prayer that we are a city of light or “ Philadelphia.” The Shekinah glory of the Lord is our light, that makes our faces radiate like the face of Moses when he communed with the Lord. We are like the eternal city that needs no sun or moon to provide light by night or day for the Lord God and the Lamb Himself, Jesus will be our lamp. There is no temple in this city for we ourselves, our bodies, minds and spirits are the temple. Our words and acts constitute the worship of the Lord. No one can hide our light. No one can stop anything creative, innovative or useful that we have started. We are a guide to those who are spiritually blind who do not know where they are coming from, where they are going, about what is right and wrong and about what they should do. We are a signboard to point them in the path of righteousness and a direction-finder to help them find the Lord. If we are the light, we should have no part in darkness. We should rejoice in the light, implying that we should rejoice in worshipping and fellowshipping with the Lord.

God described my spouse as the lamp, self as the oil and that the children are the wick. Indeed, we are called to be the wick which burns in the oil and not the wicked who try to put it out. As long as we are yielding to the Lord, we will yield the fruit of righteousness: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control and wisdom. The fruit of the spirit are the fuel of the lamp. We should always visualise these fruit of the spirit in the form of our favourite and most delicious fruits: love as the most beautiful apples that we eat all the time, joy as the tastiest strawberries, peace as a luscious musk melon, patience as a passion fruit, kindness as a large papaya, goodness as grapes, faithfulness as oranges, humility as litchis, self control as butterfruit and wisdom as mangos. We can daily imagine eating these multi-colour, multi-taste and multi-purpose spiritual fruit, enjoying the experience. We will be supplied with the spiritual minerals and vitamins and nourishment we need to reflect the light of these qualities in our daily lives.

Prateep V Philip
Multi-coloured Grapes

Friday, July 11, 2014

Spiritual Excellence Neccessary for Growth and Development

UV 1144-10,000 Spiritual and Holistic Excellence is Necessary for Growth

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

I Corinthians 14 v 12

Believers need to be zealous for spiritual gifts not for their own glorification but for the edification of the whole body of the faithful. Spiritual gifts like the gift of prophecy, tongues, interpretation, the ability to teach doctrine, healing, visions, discernment, word of knowledge and word of wisdom are necessary for the growth of the people of God. These gifts enable us to be useful for God and man, to meet the need of individuals, to increase faith, to give comfort, guidance and encouragement. It is imparted not just to a few people but to everyone who is anointed by the Spirit of God.

This uni-verse establishes the principle that excellence of all kinds is useful and necessary for edification or spiritual and holistic growth and development of individuals as well as for the church and for whole communities and nations. We need to excel in our spiritual gifting and the use of our gifts for the growth of the church. It is often needed even for the birth of faith. For instance, when a person with a prophetic gift speaks words that reveal the secrets of our human hearts that no man can know except God, even things that have happened in our lives long ago, then the person being prophesied to will realize that this is supernatural and can be from God only. The exercise of tangible gifts like healing is useful to show people the reality of the existence and the love of God for people. The exercise of gifts of wisdom like discretion and sound judgement is necessary and useful in order to be effective leaders.

The spiritual gifts are not static but they grow and decline according to the use we put it to. We need to discern our gifts and use it wisely to meet needs, to build faith and to please the Lord. We can seek to receive gifts from the Lord, implying that we can ask the Lord in prayer and faith and receive new gifts. There is nothing wrong in being enthusiastic and persistent in seeking such gifts since we seek it not from a selfish motive but for the good of all. In recent years, the Lord has revealed that He is concerned that church leaders have not encouraged the exercise of spiritual gifts leading to dwarfing of believers and not their edification.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Effective Communication of Faith

The Secret of Effective Communication of Faith

That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Phileomon 1 v 6

When we understand our spiritual inheritance in Christ, we will realize how rich, how blessed, how fortunate we are. We will be like the four lepers at the gates of Samaria who went into the camp of the Syrians who had laid siege to Samaria. Having satisfied our hunger, we like the four lepers would like to go back to our people, the people whom we know and care for and share the good news to them that there was spiritual food in plenty and spiritual riches that will last for ever and available for everyone who would believe our testimony and God’s Word. It is the Holy Spirit who will use our words and our lives to impact others in our lives.

The communication of faith and the articles of faith is the most challenging type of communication for we cannot prove anything with hard evidence. Besides there are many dichotomies and contradictions between what we believe,what we do and what we communicate. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “ What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” In order that it be effective, convincing and persuasive, we need to understand every truth or precept or good teaching in the Word and appropriate every promise and blessing. People need to see the evidence of God in our words and our actions.

We share our faith all the time in the way we act and react. The communication of our faith is largely non verbal and sometimes verbal. The proportion is like the Pareto ratio: 80 per cent practice and 20 per cent teaching or preaching. Pareto ratio actually states that 80 per cent of our lives is taken up by the routine and only 20 per cent is taken up by effective and productive activities. But in the spiritual dimension, it is replaced by 100 per cent productivity or effectiveness in all aspects: 80 per cent practice and 20 per cent learning, sharing, communicating and teaching the precepts and truths of God. 80 per cent of the time we need to use to pray, meditate, understand, claim, obey, apply the Word and work out in the world and 20 per cent of the time we need to spend in sharing the benefits or good effects of what we have done.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Get your pre-release Second book in the UV series

Announcing my second book in the Uni-verse series. Those interested in getting a pre-release copy can place your order with Anish @91-44-45098677 and 09840085729

He Delights in Surprises

UV 1142/10,000 The Lord Delights in Surprises

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

The Lord often does not tell us ahead of what He is going to do in our lives and with our lives for the simple reason that we would not believe it could happen. When we look back, we see the miracles the Lord has done in each of our lives. But it is doubtful we would have even believed that it could happen if we were told in advance. Now we can look back with wonder and thank the Lord for the miracles-the things we never expected, imagined or asked for.

Some cousins of mine are planning to visit their parents by surprise to wish and celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Like all of us like to give our loved ones, the Lord likes to give us surprises. The Lord God who brought the stars and heavenly bodies into being in the twinkle of an eye can easily cause many amazing things to happen in our lives in just a flash. But He prefers to work it through a process, sometimes long drawn and stretching over many days if not years in order to build our faith and character of patience and perseverance. He delights in giving us surprises that we will remember forever.

The Lord does wonderful and marvellous things in our lives not secretly or in hiding but openly and in the midst of the unbelievers. He prepares a feast for us in the presence of people who do not share our enthusiasm for the Lord as a testimony to them. If you have not received the fulfilment of such a promise, you can go and ask the Lord, “ Where is my miracle?” that You promised in this uni-verse. Once we receive the miracle, we must no longer disbelieve in the endless possibilities in the realm of the spiritual and the supernatural that the Lord sets in motion but we need to be thankful and worship the Lord with a sense of awe.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Epiphany of Indwelling

UV 1141/10,000 The Epiphany of Indwelling
And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

Leviticus 26 v 11

God promises to set His dwelling place in our midst. He promised to pitch His tent in our colony. Under the Old Covenant He was tabernacled or housed in our midst but under the new Covenant, He is tabernacled not just with us but in us. When we travel, we carry God with us. When we go to work, He accompanies us. When we encounter difficulties, His comforting and strengthening presence is closest to us. No wonder the frequency of difficulties in a believer’s life is apparently much higher. When we are aware of God’s presence, His Spirit residing in our physical bodies and minds, our emotions will at such an intensity that nothing else can evoke such a feeling of exuberance, joy and gladness of heart and mind. When God inhabits us, nothing and no one can inhibit us. Nothing can limit us or hinder us.

When He dwells with us, all is well and swell with us. If He loves us, we are truly loved. If He hates or abhors us, we are truly damned and forsaken. How passionate, sensitive, responsive and obedient are we in our relationship with our Creator-Father-Redeemer-Friend- Master- Helper indwelling God? The response to this question will determine how much God loves or abhors us. God will be our end all and be all. He will lead us from moment to moment, experience to experience, blessing to blessing like the flow of water in a canal. When God resides in us, His sovereign will and Word will prevail in our lives and produce its effect on our bodies, minds, spirits, relationships, our communication and our legacy.

When He dwells with us, our planting and our harvest in all domains will be blessed. When He dwells with us, our yoke of bondage in this world is broken forever. We will lie down in peace in our land and not be afraid. Neither violence of man or beast or nature can overtake us. We will be like a dove that has taken refuge in a storm in the crevice of a great Rock. Our souls will be inter-twined with the soul of the Lord, producing an epiphany that touches all who come in contact with us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 7, 2014

From Mystery to Mastery

UV 1140/10,000
From Mystery to Mastery

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Colossians 2 v 2

When we understand the mystery of God, we begin to understand the mystery of life and develop a mastery over it. The understanding of who God really is, of the Father’s love for His creation, of the mission of Christ, the wisdom of Christ will enrich our life and fill it with assurance or hope, satisfaction, security and joy.
The gospel presents God in a nutshell so that every human being regardless of his or her intellectual attainments or qualities can comprehend. We need to comprehend the mystery of God and apprehend His blessings. The gospel shows us the love of God, the Father, in giving up His Son to be Messiah for all humanity. It reveals the power of God in His life, death and resurrection. It manifests the goodness and holiness of the Father and the Son. It proves the grace and comfort that we receive from the Holy Spirit.
Understanding the love, character, power and grace of Godhead, the Trinity comforts and strengthens our hearts and knits us together in love in one body of faith. The reality and truth of God will now manifest in our lives in terms of love, holiness, power and grace. Our understanding grows with our experience of the manifestations of God’s love, power and grace in our personal lives. I once wrote these lines, “Gospel-go spell it out, in the way we live, Don’t talk of hell, No need to yell.” Our faith will fill us with a quiet assurance and hope.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 6, 2014

From Deceivers to Believers

UV 1139/10,000 From Deceivers to Believers

Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.

Jeremiah 46 v 28

The Lord asks each of us not to be afraid of the future. We like Jacob are heel-catchers: we want to advance in our own lives, if need be by deception. Jacob started life as a deceiver but became in due course a believer in God. But the Lord is a heel-crusher- He crushes the mighty under His heel. But He will not crush us or punish us beyond measure. He will punish even the nations that have dealt unjustly with His servants. The Lord sustains us. Jacob’s dream of a two-way staircase leading up to heaven guarded by angels is a metaphor for our prayers and thoughts reaching the Lord and His replying by way of answers, blessings, counsel and help.

Though like Jacob we start our lives as heel-catchers serving our own self interest, the Lord has called us to be His faithful servants. He fulfils His purpose and plan for humanity through us. He assures us that we need not feel any guilt about the past, anxiety about the future or be stressed about the present as He is with us. All who He is –His might, love, power, majesty, grace, justice, generousity, kindness, mercy, favour are with us. He is waiting to manifest His presence and His blessings in our lives.

The Lord is our shield, our refuge, our comfort, our fortress, our defence. He strengthens us. He fights on our behalf. He will not fail, forsake or leave us till the end of the world and even beyond. Every other person and source of strength will fail us at some point in our lives. But the Lord is not setting us up for disappointment or regret. He will not spoil or pamper us to our detriment. Even when He chastises us, it is for our own good so that we are not condemned. He does it to purge, refine, perfect and polish us. Hidden in our nature are elements of deception of our old lives that need to be surgically removed. The troubles in our lives are meant not as full stops but as punctuation marks like commas, exclamation marks and so on. In the end we will experience closure and victory and thank God for the troubles we went through that opened our eyes and taught us to be patient, wise, humble and faithful. We have an absolute sense of peace and security and no one can make us afraid for the “ Great I Am is with us.”

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Light in the Darkness

UV 1038/10,000 Light in the Darkness

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8 v 12

Scripture records that in the beginning, the earth was formless, empty and dark. God’s words “ let there be light,” produced light. Similarly, our lives before we believed and received Jesus were formless, shapeless, empty, dark, void of meaning and purpose, devoid of power. It is the light of the Word that makes us the light of the world.

It takes only one bulb to light up a whole dark room. It took one person- Jesus to light up the whole world that lived in darkness, not knowing the clear answers to the questions: where did we come from, what are we to do, what is right and wrong and where are we going? Jesus revealed that we belong to the Father in Heaven. He has breathed His spirit into us, bringing us to life. We are to live the abundant, eternal life in intimacy with God. His Word reveals what is right and what is wrong. He promises to take us back to God to live for eternity. Jesus has thrown light on the question of our origin, identity, calling, basis of our morality and our destiny. We can no longer live ignorant of these truths but walk in the light, energised by these truths.

Knowledge of our origin and identity gives us a sense of power. Knowledge of the calling God has set before us gives us a sense of power. Knowledge of what is right and wrong gives us character. Knowledge of the finished work of Christ gives us absolution and forgiveness for our shortcomings in meeting the standards of God. Knowledge of our destiny gives us a sense of hope. Our strength is derived from the fact that we are thankful for our past, joyful in the present and hopeful for the future.

We have no excuse to walk in the dark. We cannot say- we do not know about our past, present or future. We need to dwell on the words of life that Jesus spoke. To dwell means to live within the boundaries of the Word. To dwell on also means that the Word of Jesus should stay in our minds continually. To dwell on implies that we should consume or meditate on the Word till it becomes part and parcel of our flesh and blood. It means we should trust and depend on the promises of God. The filament of a bulb heats up and burns to produce light. Similarly, we heat up as we dwell on the Word and we produce light to drive away and dispel the darkness.
Darkness-Light relationship is similar to the relationship between Ignorance-Knowledge, Problems-Solutions, Questions-Answers, Evil-Good. When we believe and receive Jesus, we move from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, from problems to solutions, from questions to answers and from evil to good. Jesus found solutions to the world’s problems of sin, suffering, disease, scarcity, hatred, conflict and violence. We too need to follow Him to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Discerning Sheep

UV 1137/10,000 The Discerning Sheep

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

John 10 v 27

The sheep recognize the good Shepherd by His voice. The sheep are defined by their belief that what Jesus says is true. Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the Word of God. He taught us that we belong to God, the Father and desires to lead us back to Him. His voice reflects His great love for the sheep, His gentleness and humility. The goats will go after anyone who offers them something to eat. Jesus said that all those who came before Him were thieves and robbers as they stole the souls of the people who followed them. They were wolves in sheep skin. They stole the glory that was due to God. This uni-verse teaches us not to be naive and gullible like sheep that cannot discern the Master’s voice. We need to discern the voice of the Lord in our lives. We need to discern what He is speaking to us, what He wants us to do, where does He want us to go or follow. We are called to follow one Shepherd and to belong to one flock.

The good Shepherd calls His sheep by their individual names. He knows us personally, our desires, our thoughts, our hopes, our fears, our strengths and weaknesses, our successes and failures, our problems and challenges, our past, present, future and eternity. He leads us to green pastures of His Word and His promises that nourish our souls and spirits. He leads us to still waters of deep reflection, refreshing, renewal and deep understanding of the purpose of life and the power of God, of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are on the mountain top of joy and happiness or in the deep valley of depression and sadness, the Lord upholds us, strengthens and comforts us. What more can we ask or expect? What more can we want? He makes us gentle and submissive as sheep but as strong as wolves.

Without His leadership and guidance, we will fall in the ditch of temptations. But as we follow Him, He will keep us out of the pitfalls of life. He will make a level path before us. He protects us from all forms of predators. We hear His voice and His word and chew on it as sheep chew grass. The growl of the wolf or the lion no longer scares us or threatens us for we know our leader is stronger and capable of defending us. He has taught us not the way of struggle but the way of quiet submission to the sweet and pleasing will of God. Once we were “fellows” for we fell where our whims and fancies took us but now we are followers of Christ, the perfect leader, the blemishless hero, the capable Saviour, the great Shepherd who leads us back home to our fold in Heaven. Sheep that were blemishless could only be offered in sacrifice in the temple. Hence, we must keep our lives blemishless and be ready to offer our lives as an offering and a sacrifice to the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Strength-Weakness Patterns and God's Ways of Grace

UV 1136/10,000 Strengths- Weakness Patterns and God’s Ways of Grace
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12 v 9

The Biblical views on strength and weakness is quite contrary to what modern management and leadership teaches. Modern management teaches us to rely on utilising “ six signature strengths every day” and to ignore the deficiencies or weaknesses. But this uni-verse teaches us to glory in our weaknesses and to be suspicious of our strengths. St Paul had many natural strengths-he was skilled in Greek dialectic, Jewish theology. Though Jew he was a Roman citizen. He was trained by one of the top Jewish teachers of the time – Gamaliel. He was zealous for the Jewish faith. He was a strong leader and a powerful writer. He had a supernatural vision and dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, probably a painful ailment to remind him of his dependence on the grace of God. Our weaknesses are God’s memorandum to us, to make us conscious that of ourselves we are weak but in His grace we can do all things. Grace is meant for God’s glory, not ours. Today,we find many men of God have doctorates and other titles of honour while Jesus alone has no doctorate or title like them. Paul could have taken an exalted title like chief among the apostles to the Gentiles but he focussed on daily appropriating the strength of the Lord while being continually conscious of his severe intellectual, physical and spiritual limitations. God’s grace can take us the whole distance. We will never run out of steam as long as we depend on the Lord to enable us to do that which He has assigned to us. It does not mean that we keep our strengths idle or dormant or unutilised but that when we seek, depend and utilise God’s grace in every situation, whether favourable or adverse, the optimum of our strengths and weaknesses is put into play. We need not hate ourselves for our weaknesses. We need not hate or be shy of acknowledging our weaknesses but own them as part of us, the very gates through which God’s grace and power will be poured into our lives.

It is in our weakness and inadequacy that the power, strength and mercy of the Lord is manifested and exhibited. When we are self confident and rely on our inherent gifts and talents, the Lord will maintain a stand-off position. When we are strong, we are weak. We will wittingly or unwittingly be full of ourselves, our plans, our dreams, our talents, our ideas, our achievements. There would not be enough elbow room for God in our lives. But when we look to Him for help, for supernatural enablement, He will rush to our side. When we are weak and dependent on His grace, we are strong. Only when our ego goes, God can come. Paul therefore delighted in his weaknesses, reproaches, insults, persecutions, oppression, setbacks, reverses, distresses. We too need to recognize the huge opportunity we have in these otherwise adverse circumstances, for in such times God walks closest to us. When the going gets tough, the godly get to God.

When the favour of God rests on us, the power of Christ will be manifested. When the favour of God rested on Jesus after his baptism in the Jordan at the hands of John the Baptist, the power of the Holy Spirit descended and rested on Jesus. God declared, “ This is my own beloved Son, listen to Him.” Similarly, when we are weak, we tend to be more obedient and God will endorse us saying, “ This is my own beloved son or daughter- listen to him or her. What is meant by the power of Christ? It is the power to be victorious in all circumstances, even over death as He demonstrated in His resurrection.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Throne of Grace

UV 1135/10,000 The Throne of Grace

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4 v 16

The throne is a metaphor for the highest position in life. God occupies the throne in the life of a believer. The throne is also a symbol of power and authority. We need to believe that God has the power and authority to decree anything He desires. The throne is a symbol of provision. The Lord as Jehovah Jireh is able and willing to provide genersously for our needs. The throne is a symbol of judgement. We are to present our case and obtain judgement. We are also to obtain mercy and cleansing for our own misdeeds and faults. Unlike people in authority and power in this world whom we cannot approach freely or frequently, it is such a joy and privilege that we can approach the Lord freely, confidently, boldly, joyfully and as and when we feel like or whenever we are in need. Only children of a person in authority can possibly have such freedom and even they would have barriers and restrictions placed in their way.

We approach the throne of the Lord when we bow our heads or kneel in prayer. Our spirits are immediately transported before the throne of grace of God Almighty. Jesus who had been tempted in all the ways a man can possibly be tempted and who had suffered beyond any man is our High Priest before God, an advocate who pleads our case before the righteous and sovereign God. Where our words and deeds fall short of God’s standard of righteousness, Jesus fills the gap with His grace.

We are to approach the throne of God with boldness, confidence and full assurance that God who gave us His Son will not withhold that which we need. We approach the throne of God with the confidence that Jesus bestows on us. He withholds no good thing from him who trusts in Him. We will obtain mercy for our shortcomings. He will give us all the help we need. We can freely partake in His divine enablement or grace. It must be a daily and continual act on our part to approach the throne of God to obtain fresh mercy and grace. Every day we can seek a fresh cleansing, a fresh anointing and a fresh enablement. This uni-verse throws light on the accessibility and sufficiency of the Lord to meet with our every need.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sticking Like a Leech

UV 1134-10,000 Cleaving Like a Leech

Act 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

Barnabas who was sent to Antioch to visit the early believers is described as a good man full of the Holy Spirit and faith. He was known as an encourager as he encouraged people in their faith and asked them to remain true to their faith. He was glad as he saw the grace of God being poured upon both Jew and Gentile in equal measure. He exhorted them to be faithful. They had purposed in their heart to trust and believe the Word of the Lord.

The expression in old English “ cleave to the Lord” has a deep meaning. It implies that we should stick or cling like leeches to the Lord drawing of His grace, love and strength. Only salt can separate a leech from that on which it is cleaving to. The salt that separates us from the Lord is sin or disobedience. We should also be rooted in the Lord as the teeth are rooted in the gums. Another image is that of a house whose foundations are fixed and grouted in the bedrock. Recently, an eleven storey building under construction in Chennai came crashing down after some heavy rain killing a large number of people. The foundation columns had not gone deep enough nor was it built to the requirements to support such a tall structure. They had compromised on the standards in the construction. Ironically, the twin buildings were named Faith and Belief. Our faith and belief should not be shallow but deep rooted and strong. We should aim to be like Barnabas righteous or focussed not on man-made rules and principles but on the principles and precepts of the Word. Like Barnabas we should be full of faith and the Holy Spirit. The reason why we need to be so rooted is that our inner strength will be put to test in many storms and we should be able to withstand the pressure and turmoil.

Barnabas could see the evidence of God’s grace in the believers at Antioch. Similarly, people should be able to see the evidence of God’s grace in our lives. This evidence is primarily the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. These qualities should abound in us to show that our faith is not shallow or hollow or fruitless.

Prateep V Philip