Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Secret to Glowing Health and Well Being

UV 1258/10,000 The Secret to Glowing Health and Well Being
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
Isaiah 58 v 8
Jesus said, “ I am the light of the world.” His other title is “the bright and morning star” or in other words the star that can be seen in the morning. Long before science discovered that the sun is just another star that is more proximate to the earth than other stars, scripture recognized the sun as a bright morning star and a symbol in the universe of the Son of God. A believer is like a prism through which His ‘sonlight’ breaks into its constituent seven colours of the spectrum. Each colour symbolizes a different type of blessing. He blesses the entire spectrum of our lives, our work and our relationships. The Lord revealed that one of the greatest blessings is health. Health is not just the absence of disease. It is well being of the spirit, mind and body and the health of relationships. The blessings in each of these areas will burst forth like a spring that never dries up. It will be like the sunrise that can be first seen as an orb of light in the distant horizon and then it grows brighter and brighter as the dawn of life advances and suddenly it is the full blaze of sunlight. The Lord will glorify His name in our lives in each area of our lives: spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, physical, material, financial..
The righteousness of God goes before us like a standard bearer in a battle. It clears the path before us. It removes the obstacles, the hurdles, the barriers. But we are not to dam up or store up the light of grace, mercy and truth that He radiates into our hearts and minds. The Lord promises to satisfy us in a time of famine or drought if we open our souls and our resources to those who are needy, who are hungry physically, emotionally or spiritually. The Lord promises to so bless us if we make efforts to comfort the afflicted, the emotionally distressed and broken in heart. We will be glad when we are upright in heart. Our bones will be literally strengthened as we meditate on His Word and as His light penetrates our whole frame. We will not dry up in the heat of His presence but we will be like a well –watered garden. We will soak in His glory as we worship Him as a sponge absorbs water. The truth of the Word will be sown in us and we will bear fruit for the glory of God and the blessing of many.

Scripture promises that the Sun of righteousness will rise on us with healing in its wings. The wings are a reference to prayer and the Word. Even though we will go through times of pain and sickness, suffering and affliction, the Lord will send us relief from pain, healing in sickness and alleviation of our suffering. Our belief gives us relief. The Lord breathes on us and resuscitates us and gives us health in all aspects and areas of our lives. The Lord covers us just as a basket is used to cover and protect the chicken even as the mother hen cackles menacingly to ward off any predators. The glorious and gracious power of God surrounds us in all directions. The glory of God pilots us and escorts us.

Prateep V Philip

Internalisation and Application

UV 1257/10,000 Internalisation and Application
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jeremiah 31 v 33

Any head knowledge or learning unless it is internalised and applied has little value in changing or impacting human lives. There has to be a two way transfer from a head that thinks to a heart that cares and vice versa, from a heart that cares to a head that thinks and carries out or implements the inclinations of the heart. Under the old covenant between Israel and Jehovah, the law was written on a stone tablet but under the new covenant, the relationship between God and people changed from that of a King and His subjects to that of a Father and His children. The hearts of people are now circumcised or focussed to love God with all their hearts, minds and strength. The stony hearts of people that were naturally inclined towards disobedience and rebellion were replaced with sensitive hearts that are naturally inclined towards obedience and submission to the word and will of God. There are different principles and precepts that apply to different parts of our bodies, minds and hearts. The Lord will help us to internalise these such that just as the blood reaches food and oxygen to different parts of the body, these will be applied aptly to the appropriate parts: when the principles and precepts relating to our tongues are applied, we become gentle men and women, when it is applied to our hearts and minds, we become wise men and women, when it is applied to our sexual organs, we become self controlled people, when it is applied to our moods and emotions, we become stable people. We do not need an external reminder for the Holy Spirit will remind us at the apt time.

Under the old covenant relationship, people did not feel they belonged to God. Now we feel we belong to God and God belongs to us. We delight in learning His law. He writes the law in our hearts and minds such that none of our steps will slide. We fear God’s righteous judgement but we do not fear the reproach or reviling of men. We are spiritually minded and not carnal. Just as He has written the laws of our growth and functioning into the genetic code of every cell of our being, He has wired our minds and hearts to delight in understanding and applying the Word of God. The Word will show us what is negative in the eyes of the Lord that we need to avoid, what is positive and pleasing to Him and what we need to practice in our lives. The negatives often stick to us naturally like a leech. Only salt if applied around a leech compels it to let go. Similarly, the Word acts as salt to let the negatives let go of us. The positives need to always be strapped to us like a life jacket. It needs to be internalised.

When the Word is inscribed in our hearts and minds, the voice of our consciences will be amplified. We will learn to walk in the paths and ways that please the Lord and to avoid those that do not please Him. The Lord will tabernacle with us or in other words our house will become His dwelling place. His presence will move ahead of us as a cloud by day giving us shelter from intense heat and a fire by night to protect us from the powers of darkness. The name “ Israel” means “struggle with God.” Instead of struggling with God we will have peace with God. When we have peace with God, will have peace with ourselves and when we have peace with ourselves, we will have peace with others.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Distinctive Spirit Gifted to Us

UV 1256/10,000 A Distinctive Spirit Gifted and Transplanted
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1 v 7

The perfect love of God made manifest in Christ Jesus casts out the spirit of fear in every human being. Adam and Eve were created free but once they sinned the spirit of fear, doubt, guilt, deception and shame entered their hearts. They hid themselves from God or at least they thought they could. We are by nature from birth afraid of the unknown, fearful of misfortune, calamities, evil, curses and ultimately afraid of facing life as well as death. We are fearful of success as well as failure. Our fears and phobias manifest in a variety of ways. Most of the fears and worries are real and imaginary, unlikely to happen. Some are real threats and dangers. The spirit of fear is one of weakness, hatred of oneself and others and of mental and emotional imbalances. But once we believe in Jesus and receive Him into our hearts the spirit of having been disowned by the Creator God, the spirit of being unworthy is replaced by the spirit of adoption. We have all heard of heart or liver transplant but this is a transplant of our spirit with the spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is given or gifted to us as a deposit or an advance on the promises of God. The Holy Spirit enables us to discern that God is our Creator, Redeemer and Father by faith. God has adopted us as His children on account of our faith in His first and only born Son Jesus. We need not approach Him with fear any longer as wrongdoers and transgressors but we can approach His throne of grace with freedom and confidence. We can be honest with God about our failings and our shortcomings. We are no longer weak and vulnerable as we once were but we are clothed with the power of God El Shaddai.

We now have the spirit of courage and confidence, courage that we can like David face not only our imaginary fears but even real threats, dangers and challenges like the mighty Goliath with just stones and sticks since God is always mightier than our opposition, whoever or whatever it is. We have the confidence that our Father God hears us when we call out to Him , “Abba”, that He will not turn away from our cry just as even the most heartless of us would not turn away from our child who cries out to us for help or need. We are more powerful than the mightiest on earth. It is this spirit of courage and confidence that enabled Moses to confront the mighty Pharaoh, at the time the mightiest man on earth, to call plagues on him to soften his heart to “ let the people go.”

But we are not to be defined by our trust in the might of God alone but by the spirit of power, love and self control. Power, compassion and self control are to be held in balance. The word used “ a sound mind” implies the full use of human reasoning, our faculties,abilities and good sense. We are to use our intellect fully and effectively. We should not take leave of our senses at any time but to be always prudent and wise. Our thoughts, emotions and decisions should always reflect the power and love of God. The Holy Spirit will help us take captive every negative thought, every imaginary fear and imbue us with faith, courage and confidence to face the real threats. We can command every fear to depart from our lives. The qualities of agape or God-like love will be more and more manifest in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Life- A Process of Ploughing

UV 1255/10,000 Life- a Process of Ploughing
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9 v 62
The work of God in our lives is a lot like ploughing. It is hard work. It is time consuming. It is a slow and gradual process. The farmer bears intense heat while ploughing the dry field in summer. It proceeds blow by blow. The lives and hearts of people are not touched or changed in one go but it is a kind of ploughing. Just as ploughing tears up the top soil and exposes the layer under it, the ploughing that happens in our lives tears up the superficial, the cosmetic and goes to the root of life’s issues. The spiritual version of ploughing opens up our top soul and exposes the “under-soul”: the hurts, the pain, the anguish, the longing, the need for healing, the need for reconciliation, the loneliness, the fear, the guilt, the burdens. Ploughing breaks up the rough clods of soil and makes it possible for the tender crops to cast down roots into the soil, for water to drain into and collect in the tiny pits created by the sharp end of the plough. Similarly, ploughing creates pathways for the seed of the Word of God to grow in our hearts and lives.

Once a farmer sets his hand to the plough, he does not leave it or the field till he has completed his work. His focus is on completing the ploughing of the entire field. He does not sit down and wonder whether his work is worth his while and whether he should be actually doing something more enjoyable and less demanding. He does not return to the comfort zone of his house to sleep a little or to take rest. Similarly, once we have committed our hearts and our lives to God, there is no turning back. There is only one way- keep going forward with increasing enthusiasm. A plough is a stable and heavy instrument like no other. It has a heavy top that weighs down on fork like endings that dig into the soil and breaks it up. Our character and lifestyle is the heavy top that lends us stability and the edges are our communications of the Word of God.

God can use people without much talent or resources or education but He cannot use people who are vacillating, flinching in their faith and focus. Jesus set His face like flint towards the cross to complete the mission the Heavenly Father had given Him. He expects His followers not to be able but to be stable. He will supply the plough or the right equipment and the skill set required for the tasks He assigns us in His many fields. Like Elisha burned his ploughs before following Elijah the prophet, we will need to get rid of the kind of ploughs we were used to. He will tell us what crop to sow and in what season. He is the master of the harvest. He knows which way the wind blows and where it comes from. He does not want us to be like the wave in the sea that is tossed about by the wind, now heading in one direction and now in another. Determination, discipline, focus and faith till the finish are the marks of a true disciple. He will not be deterred by temporary hurdles but will plough on through it all. He will not be distracted by the seductions of pleasure or leisure. He will think and pray globally and plough locally. When we share our thoughts, our words and our lives, we might not sometimes see the results but we should know that it is part of the process of ploughing.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Process of Divine Inheritance

UV 1254/10,000 The Process of Divine Inheritance
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6 v 12

This uni-verse underlines three aspects of our testimonial lives: one, we should be diligent and persevering, two, we should exercise faith in who God is and what He has promised us in His Word, three, we should be patient to wait with unflagging hope for the fulfillment of the promises we have claimed. While we have the assurance of faith, we cannot make that an excuse not to do the best with what lies with us and what lies in us. We have to strain every nerve, stretch every muscle, use every talent, hone every ability, utilize every moment and every opportunity to fulfill our part of the covenant responsibilities.
Next, we need to exercise our faith fully, knowing that God can do all that He has promised. Just as we are breathing all the time, we need to be praying unceasingly. We need to PUSH or Pray Until the Specific Happens, Praise Until the Specific Happens, Proclaim Until the Specific Happens. The “specific” refers to our specific need or the specific hope we are holding on to. Persistence shows that we are indeed faithful. We are wrestling with God in a friendly match of course, not struggling like Jacob did. The Lord allows us to wrestle for some time as He wants our faith muscles to develop. The areas in which we are to exercise our faith are: spiritual – the salvation of many as possible, the growth to maturity of ourselves and others; character- the abundance and growth of the fruit of the spirit in our nature; the physical- healing, immunity, longevity, well being; the financial- having enough to meet our need and to bless others; the social- having good friends and increasing influence; the emotional- to be vibrant and joyful so people know that God rules in us; the intellectual- to be wise, insightful, understanding and knowledgeable. To our faith, we should add excellence, all round excellence. Faith transforms our perspectives, our perceptions, our priorities. It leads us to obey the expressed and revealed will of God in all our practical everyday situations.
Having triggered the hopes we have in prayer and sustaining it through persistent prayer holding on to the specific promises of God, we should have the patience to wait with buoyant hope. We cannot rush God with His plans or His time table for our lives. Patience is said to be the prince of virtues and God wants to see His princes and princesses showing plenty of patience. It shows maturity and the willingness to submit to God’s will and timing. Patience also implies that we endure the troubles we face in our lives. Diligence, faith and patience then characterize the process by which we inherit the riches of the promises of God that we obtain by our belief in Christ, the first born. Jacob had to wrest the rights, privileges and blessings of the first born Esau using deception and subterfuge. But Jesus shares the rights, privileges and blessings of the first born of God with all humanity who are ready to exercise diligence, faith and patience.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The X Factor

UV 1253/10,000 The X Factor

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

Deuteronomy 1 v 11

When we are faithful to God through many generations, the Lord will multiply us. He is the X Factor of History, Biology, Economics, Chemistry, Physics, you name it. The use of the term X Factor implies that He is invisible, mystical and mysterious. Yet He is clearly present in our lives and makes His presence evident in many ways. He multiplies us even as He blesses us. Increase comes from the Lord. Addition and multiplication is God’s math while division and subtraction is satan’s math. As long as we acknowledge with gratitude the hand of the Lord upon us and our families, the Lord remains faithful to His 10,000 plus promises. He fulfills these promises in our lifetime as well as in our succeeding physical and spiritual generations. Each of us has a physical generation, the biological offspring as well as a spiritual generation, the spiritual heirs of our faith.

We can legitimately expect and ask for a thousand fold blessing upon us in terms of our health, our longevity, our spiritual growth, the fruit of the spirit, our finances, our influence and impact in this generation. Abraham was a lone man with no physical heir. But today, he is hailed as the father of faith who pioneered the path of believing even before receiving. He has thousands upon thousands of successors or heirs, both physical and spiritual in all nations on the planet. He had been given the promise, “ Out of your seed, shall all nations be blessed.” This was fulfilled as Jesus, the promised Messiah of the Jews as well as of all nations was born in his lineage.

It is rightly said that we can count the seed in an apple but only God knows the number of the apples that come from each seed. Faith not only blesses us in our generation but it blesses thousands in succeeding generations. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one who is consistently faithful to a thousand generations of those who fear, love and obey Him. Yet the way in which God blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was different and unique. Their life stories took many turns, many detours, ups and downs. He not only blesses and multiplies us a thousand times but He also blesses and multiplies us in a thousand different ways. We have ten thousand reasons to be glad, ten thousand reasons to be thankful to the Lord and ten thousand praises to sing. Our lives short as it is is long enough for us to express these ten thousand expressions of thanks and praise in ten thousand different ways.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 24, 2014

Present-Minded and Eternity-Focussed

UV 1252-10,000 Present-Minded and Eternity-Focussed
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

Wherever we stand today in terms of our faith, our relationship with God and our station in life, we cannot think that we have arrived or achieved. We cannot rest on our oars of past attainments or endeavours. We cannot wallow or languish due to our past failures and failings. Winning is not all in the race of grace but finishing well is vital. All creatures including man have the eyes fitted in their sockets facing the front. Nobody has any eyes on the back of their heads. There is a lesson in this feature of our anatomy that God wants us to be always present-minded, future –ready and eternity-focussed. He will cover our backs where we cannot perceive. He has obliterated or blotted out the shortcomings of our past by applying the blood of the sacred Lamb, Jesus to our past. We need to now apply His word to our present and future. His Word becomes our veritable spiritual eyes to see what lies before us and far ahead of us. His Word transforms our perspectives and our perceptions. We are no longer hindered by the bad memories that haunt us from the past, the guilt of our past sins, the burden of a bad conscience. We can cast these burdens away and run free and uninhibited towards our goal. Our vision, our imagination and our energies are liberated to perform fully when we are freed from the burden of a bad conscience, the memories of our past limitations. The course might not be even or smooth but whatever hurdles or barriers we face, we know we are not running alone as thousands upon thousands who have gone before us and many multitudes are running alongside us-brothers and sisters by faith.

We are like the runner who no longer has his foot touched the ground, it is again in the air with increasing stride towards the goal. Now we can arch our bodies and both train and strain towards our present and future goals. In God’s race, it is not the speed with which we run but the direction in which we run that is important. Our feet take the wings of prayer and the Word. Our thoughts and dreams take wings. We are imbued with power from above and within. We are like arrows released by God flying towards its targets. Those whose souls are not yet saved are like the double-headed Greek god of legend- Janus who had one head facing towards the future and another in the opposite direction- the past. They would be pulled in opposite directions, now yielding to their spirits and now pandering to the passions of the body. Jesus restores integrity to the human soul. There is no more a tugging in opposite directions. There is neither a civil war between our various organs, a disconnect between our hearts and minds, a contradiction and conflict within our souls, a tug of war between our more sublime desires and our baser instincts. We have known the truth and the truth has set us free.

We are no longer “ orthodox” meaning stiff in form and spirit like our skeletons or bones (ortho) but “ paradox” , above forms or implying above the limitations imposed by our natural forms. We can now give our best for the highest and do our utmost in spirit, mind and body to attain the high calling the Lord has given us. We can now focus and persist on the things which are just before us as well as far ahead of us. We will not be side-tracked to take a detour by the red herrings the enemy of our souls places on our way. We do not need to look back to see if any other runner is close on our heels as our competition is not with others but with ourselves. We do not need to look back like Lot’s wife to see if all that we own in this world survives or is destroyed for we know a much brighter future and greater reward beyond comparison awaits us at the finishing line.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Ark of the New Covenant

UV 1251/10,000 The Ark of the New Covenant
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Philippians 2 v 15

The ineffable glory of God rises on us each day like the rising sun but it never sets. We are called to pursue the perfection of God that was physically manifested in the words, actions and life of Jesus, His only begotten Son. When we do so, we are affirming that we are brothers of Jesus, co-heirs with Him, the sons and daughters of God. Under the old covenant Abraham was only called a Friend of God while under the new covenant we have a more intimate relationship as sons and daughters of God. A son or daughter of a king will suffer no want. How much more will we suffer no lack or want as children of God!

We are called to be blameless in our conduct, blemishless in our character and flawless in our words. When we relentlessly and persistently pursue such perfection, we catch up with excellence. We should not only be above reproach, we should make the light of Jesus shine through our lives. Just as the moon is ugly in itself with huge craters and a rocky surface but it looks beautiful and glorious in the light of the sun, each of us should reflect the grace of Jesus in our thoughts, words, emotions and actions. Each of us is an ace by His grace.

Our words are a witness to those who are willing or eager to listen. Our lives are a witness to those who are not. It will make them want to covet our blessings as Jacob coveted the blessings of the first born Esau. But today unlike Jacob we need not resort to deception to steal the blessings but we only need to believe in Jesus. It is most challenging as we are living in the midst of a world and a generation that delights in being crooked and perverse. Each of us is called to be a Noah in our generation. Our actions do not justify us or qualify us to be called just. But our faith justifies or corrects us. We should be careful not to be influenced by the standards, passions and values of the world as Noah refused to be influenced by the lifestyle of the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. Over our lifetime, we should build our own spiritual version of the ark to save as many as possible from perishing. Every day we are nailing a plank of that ark.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 21, 2014

Leadership Excellence

UV 1250/10,000 Leadership Excellence
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
I Timothy 3 v 2

Scripture exhorts believers to aim and strive for leadership excellence. A bishop is a shepherd of shepherds, a leader of leaders. He is one who not only feeds the sheep but feeds the shepherds. Such a person will have his or her name written in the Book of the Shepherd in addition to the Book of the Living. He is like Peter, one who shows his love for God and Christ by feeding the sheep. He is to be blameless in his conduct, in his habits and in his private life. He should demonstrate his leadership both at home and in public life by being impeccable and flawless. At the same time, he should not become over confident, self righteous or proud. He needs to be watchful not just of the flock he leads but also of himself lest he fall into temptation when his guard is down. He needs to be sober and ever watchful in prayer, believing and exercising the power of prophylactic prayer to pre-empt the enemy of our souls.

A leader must be charitable, generous and hospitable, willing to share what God has blessed him with. Abraham was a great example of generousity and hospitality. He gave of his best for the enjoyment of guests who were strangers to him. He was concerned for not just his kith and kin like Lot but all the inhabitants of the land he dwelt in. He should not withhold any good that he can do for anyone. He should not enjoy or encourage either gossip, malice or flattery. With sincerity of conscience, he should hold on to the mystery of godliness. He should not be inconsistent, double-tongued or given to anger, bitterness or strife. He should not be greedy or eager to feather his own nest by exploiting those he leads. Abraham refused to share the spoils of the king of Sodom. He should be careful to keep his marital vows and stay guarded in his relationship with other women. One of the safeguards that could be useful to prevent one falling into adultery is to never stay alone in a room with a woman other than one’s wife.

A leader should be as willing to learn as well as to teach. He should realize that he is not the repository of all knowledge and wisdom about God or about the world and humble himself to learn from others. He should realize that he being human and fallible is prone to errors of judgement, unwitting mistakes as well as wanton blunders. He should be willing and hold himself accountable to God and an inner team of counselors or advisors to be corrected when he goes wrong. He should be diligent in his leadership, not trying to hog the limelight but try hard to discover and develop the gifts of others so that the whole body grows in Christ and it does not become imbalanced or lop-sided. For a credible life is needed to back the incredible claims of Jesus in order to convict people.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Purposeful Living

UV 1249/10,000 Purposeful Living
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes
Psalm 119 v 83

Without the Word in us to lead us, to guide us and to bless us, each of us is but a bottle in the smoke. The image that comes to my mind is that we are similar in all our ambitions to the paper rocket we place in a bottle and set fire to the fuse. The rocket shoots to a certain height leaving a trail of smoke and some smoke and soot in the bottle. The bottle can no longer be used for any other purpose. The bottle is not put to use for the purpose for which it was made. We may get different labels or designations and titles or qualifications but our lives would remain a bottle in the smoke. All the things we take pride in as having given us pleasure or happiness are in the absence of the Lord like that launching pad of an empty bottle. We will see all our efforts, all our achievements, all our hopes going up in smoke. We would grow weary and spiritually dry in the heat and dust of everyday life. But the judgements of the Lord written in His precious Word will revive us, rejuvenate us, invigorate us. The way we think can make us older or younger by fifteen years. When we constantly mingle our thought and our words with the words of eternal life that Jesus gave us, we become a special purpose vehicle and a special purpose vessel of the Lord and not just an empty bottle that gathers smoke. Sometimes a bottle has one label and its contents are quite something else. This has led to many people unwittingly drinking poison thinking it is medicine. When we live according to the Word, we will have integrity-our outer labels and our inner content will match.

Like David we must remember the righteous judgements of the Lord in our lives and praise Him seven times a day for it. The testimonies of the Lord or the memories of the victories the Lord has given us in accordance with His laws should be the source of rejoicing of our hearts. We need to take pains to memorise scripture and then recall it in our minds from time to time. Just as a cow chews cud eighteen times before absorbing the nutrients, we need to meditate on each word eighteen times. Yet the distractions and disturbances of life will take us off track unless we renew our commitment daily to store, treasure and constantly and continually apply the Word in our lives.

Our earthly lives are brittle like a bottle and we ought not to set much store by it. Our troubles and our pleasures will vanish like smoke into thin air and we should not take either too seriously. What is important and vital is our communication and our relationship with the Lord. The precepts of the Lord should egg us on. It should spur us to action. It should bar us from evil and folly. When we reverse the word “evil” it becomes “ live”. When we give priority to the Word in our lives, the evil gets reversed and we get to live fully. When we retain and contain the Word, we become the tabernacle or temple of God in this world. Our otherwise empty and vain lives get fulfilled. We are no longer brittle but strong and effective. Unlike the bottle in the smoke, we will be people living purposeful lives.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Patience, Comfort and Hope

UV 1248/10,000 Patience, Comfort and Hope
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Roman 15 v 4

Scriptures were written long before our time or long before even our most ancient direct ancestor on the direct instruction of God as Author both of life and life’s manual to godly men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Edifier. They were written for the benefit and use of those who heard it and wrote it down as to that generation and nation as well as believing persons all through time and space. These persons who were inspired to write became a pen in the hands of the Lord and a scribe to mankind like Ezra. At a time when there were no recording devices like today, the Holy Spirit who is also uniquely known as the Rememberancer enabled them to remember the words of Moses, of Jesus , of the various prophets and to reduce it verbatim to writing. The amazing thing is that they are as relevant and meaningful as when these were first written. They retain their original power, freshness, fragrance and flavour. They do not get obsolescent or outdated. They were written for us to learn how to live well and how to live forever. What cannot be learnt from any one book or even all the books written by the inspiration of man can be learnt in and from this one book. It teaches us to be wise, to be balanced, to be holistic, to be holy, to be perfect, to be prudent. As Henry James wrote, “Those who are most learned are those who are mighty in the scriptures.”

Three words stand out in this uni-verse: patience, comfort and hope. The instructions, admonitions and corrections of scriptures build our faith and character. It is like a sculptor’s chisel and carpenter’s awl that etches and carves out the features or aspects of our character and testimony. We learn to endure our troubles and afflictions knowing that they are temporary and that Christ has endured much greater affliction for our sake. What we are facing is only a token or a small part of what Christ endured on the cross. It builds our spiritual and emotional strength and stamina. It fills us with comfort, encouragement and hope. Where other writings of man are silent or inadequate, scriptures applies a healing balm to both our inner pain and our external wounds. On account of the engrafted and eternal Word, we will excel the physician in his profession, the businessman in his trade, the statesman in his influence, the scholar in his discipline, the thinker in his concepts. The hope the Word instills in us further gives rise to a constant and increasing spring of joy from within us. It teaches us also to be patient in affliction knowing that our present troubles will sooner or later come to an end. It also teaches us to be patient to wait to receive as God has promised in His Word.

If one does not want to learn things the hard way: the lessons of life, the secrets of success, the purpose of suffering, the wisdom that comes from our failures, failings and follies; then just turn the pages of the good book and reflect on it word by word. Much of the learning from books is effete or sterile. It expands our head knowledge but does not impact our hearts or lives or habits or relationships. But the learning from scriptures impacts us in spirit, mind and body or the totality of our existence and circumstances. It adds its flavour or salt to all the aspects of our lives. It enriches our understanding and gives us insight. The patience acts internally, the comfort acts externally, the hope draws us upward and forward.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Purpose of Untimely Death

UV 1247/10,000 The Purpose of Untimely Death
The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

Israel 57 v 1

Recently, an influential man of God perished in an air crash along with some members of his family and entourage off the Great Bahamas Island. People may question, “ Why did God allow it if he was truly a man of God?” The answer to this oft-asked question lies in this uni-verse. Even that teacher spoke prophetically about death just a week before that he had fulfilled all that God had set him to do and he would die a happy man anytime. He said that none of us should be surprised by death as it is written that our life is like grass and fading flower that is here today and gone tomorrow. Instead, we should only be concerned if our influence and legacy in different domains continue after our sojourn on earth.

We should only be sure that we are going back to God and not any place else. Only Jesus gives mankind that kind of assurance. For when we die with an active ongoing intimate relationship with God by faith in the words of Christ, though we perish we live forever. The other day the Lord gave us a remarkable insight into death. He said that when we leave our bodies at the time of death it is just like a snake casts off its old skin. Once it casts off its old skin, it does not remain at the same place but moves on to a new place. Death loses its ability to hurt us or it has lost its sting. Death is only a comma, not a full stop. Even the devout, the God-fearing and merciful may be recalled early to enjoy the rewards of a just life. When God decides that all the purpose that He wanted fulfilled in a person’s life, He might choose to call him or her. God is so compassionate that He cares for every sparrow. How much more would He care for His own children obtained by faith? We need to lay these things to our hearts or consider seriously and be constantly thankful and conscious of the grace of God that is with us as much in life as in death and beyond.

During the course of my life so far, I have been surprised by the untimely death of some faithful followers of Jesus. But when I considered it in my heart, the Lord revealed that He was taking them away to their home in “glory land” to preserve them from further troubles or evils to come. They enter into the peace of God and find their rest as they lie in death. As Jesus said, “ Do not weep for me. Rather, weep for yourselves” for the suffering that we need to continue to endure. When I did not perish in Sriperumbudur during the human bomb assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, I thought to myself that the Lord is adding each day as a bonus, an opportunity to know Him more and better and to make Him known.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 17, 2014


UV 1246/10,000 B-Read
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4 v 4

Jesus spoke this uni-verse, quoting from the book of Deuteronomy to fend off the temptation of satan even as He had fasted for forty days and nights and was extremely hungry. He was saying that what sustained Him was every word of what God spoke and His submission and obedience to every word of God. It is not the material things of life that can satisfy our need but it is the Word of God. Man was taught to make bread out of grain but the ingrained nature of man needs the Word in order to live spiritually, eternally, abundantly, fully, effectively, meaningfully, powerfully and joyfully. We see the progression in terms of the food we need in the Bible. First, we hear of the bread made from wheat, then we learn of the manna that God provided as food for the Israelites in the wilderness. Those flakes that tasted like honey provided every nutrient men, women and children needed. Then, we hear from Jesus that He is the Bread of Life that will enable us to live forever. Finally, it is the Word of God that is our daily spiritual bread. Every instruction and guidance that man needs in every conceivable situation of life is contained in the Word. God made our hardware, our bodies. He also prepared the software that is contained in His Word. We can survive by bread alone. We can exist by bread alone but we cannot thrive or find our purpose in life and fulfill it without the Word.

The Israelites collected the heaven- provided “manna” every day to meet their daily need of food. The word “manna” can be expanded as “ Man nutritionally analysed.” It had what man needed in terms of protein for growth and repair, carbohydrates for energy, minerals for strength and vitamins for stimulating metabolism. Similarly, we need to learn at the feet of Jesus and from the mouth of God every day. The Word is our spiritual “manna” all our nutritional requirements analysed and provided in one place. It satisfies our hunger and thirst for truth, inspiration, encouragement, instruction, correction, rebuke and edification. It provides us protein for growth and repair, carbs for energy, minerals for strength and vitamins for stimulating us. We cannot think that we have learnt enough scripture so far in our lives that if we miss a day or a few days, it is alright. Like the young of birds, their feathers not yet grown, their eyes not yet open, their wings not yet strong, instinctively open their beaks to receive whatever the mother bird has brought to feed them, we need to keep our mouths open to receive it from the mouth of God. We need to wait and hang on every word God speaks to us from His Word. This is the bread that we have neither sown nor reaped but God has prepared for us in advance for blessing our spirits, minds and bodies.
The emphasis is on the words “ on every word..”. We need to focus every day on the specific word the Lord speaks into our lives to sustain us. He customizes it to our daily need. This is the prayer Jesus taught us “ Give us this day our daily bread..” It is not an accident that the word “ bread” has the word “ read” in it. What we read blesses our minds, our hearts, our spirits, our lives just as bread satisfies our bodies. It is not half-baked like the concepts and the thoughts and writings of man for man works not with complete knowledge and wisdom but with partial knowledge and wisdom. It is fully baked bread that is wholesome, healthy and useful for every man every day. Every part or every word has the quality of the whole. We need to meditate and apply what we learn from every word and every part every day of our lives. This is the reason I began this life-long top priority activity every day of analyzing every word and phrase of scripture, verse by uni-verse.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dealing with the 300 Little Foxes

UV 1245/10,000 Dealing with The 300 Little Foxes
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.

Judges 15 v 4

Every sin starts from three broad inner sources that is embedded in every human being: lust of the eye, pride of life and lust of the flesh. Now, each of these play out in some hundred variations in human life and experience. These also combine and reinforce each other. They are as subtle as foxes and as cunning in terms of the stealth and killer instinct with which they creep into the vineyard of our lives. Their free running around would destroy the fruit of our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Every human moral failure is a tale of the work of these subtle but ruthless foxes. These are the kind of foxes that eventually destroyed the potential of Samson who though physically was extremely strong and powerful proved weak and vulnerable in handling these foxes. Ironically, Samson showed us the way to deal with these 300 foxes, many of which are paired in terms of similarity- pride and arrogance, lust and adultery, covetousness and cunning, boredom and laziness, jealousy and envy, fear and distrust and so on. We need to catch them and tie them up by their tails and set them on fire with prayer, the Word and the fire of the Holy Spirit.

These 300 foxes are the personal demons or weaknesses that have haunted humanity from the time of Adam and Eve. They are the agents of the enemy of our souls. We need to not just pair them up and tie them up end to end by their tails and send them for utter and complete destruction into the enemy’ territory or fields. There is an inner impulse or desire or urge within us and there is an external opportunity, force or manifestation drawing us to do that which our true spirit does not want to be involved in any way. Hence, the inner fox driving us to do what is forbidden by the Spirit of God, our own conscience and the Word as well as the external fox of the opportunity, force or manifestation needs to be tied tail to tail and set on fire with our spiritual firebrands and driven away into the fields or flames of hell never to return. Samson’s strategy was that the paired foxes tied tail to tail would try to run in opposite directions instead of towards each other and thereby virtually tear each other up. Similarly, our inner impulses should repulse the external forces and manifestations. We need to do everything possible to make ourselves sin-proof.

The difficulty is that the foxes are so little and so subtle initially that it is difficult to spot them or to even know that they are around in our nature and in our circumstances. But they tend to grow fat and bigger as we feed them little by little with tiny compromises and that is when they bring our lives and our testimony to ruin in due course. We should not be deceived by their size or looks for they would if allowed to remain and grow chew off sizeable chunks from our peace, our reputation, our lives and legacy. We need to set up alarms and traps for the little foxes and be sensitive to the signals we receive from others and the Holy Spirit.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Running God's Race

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2 v 8
Grace is God’s race. We are running towards God, running for God, running after God, running with God in order to obtain His favour. We have opted out of our earthly rat race. We are saved not by our own merits or anything we can claim to have done or not done. God pours His grace upon us a gift. It cannot be purchased or won by our own efforts. The path we now run having been saved is the path of doing good works. Our good works do not bring us salvation but rather as we have been saved by faith in Jesus and have so obtained access to the riches of His grace. We do good works as we have tasted of the riches of His grace: His forgiveness, His kindness, His love, His trust, His power, His blessings, His protection, His provision, His guidance and enablement.

We give a gift to someone as a sign of our love and affection for that person. It costs us something and it is valuable. Similarly, God gives us the grace of salvation as a free gift. It cost Him His only Son Jesus. It is precious and extremely valuable. It is the precious stone that the merchant, in one of Jesus’s parables, would have sold all his wealth to purchase. He gave it to us to demonstrate His love for us. The temporal link between efforts and rewards , between deeds and consequences, between sins and wages, between actions and curses is broken forever. Salvation is not only an eternal experience but a daily experience. We need to experience the grace of salvation in our homes, at our workplaces and in all our relationships.

Grace is not given to us in fits and starts but is a continual experience. It is the continual fellowship meal or feast to which Jesus, the Lord of the Banquet has invited us to. To avail it we only need to hear His voice and believe His word. There are many dishes to taste of in this spiritual banquet. It will nourish us. It will strengthen us. We will enjoy the many delicacies on the Lord’s table. Our response should be to be thankful and not to treat the invitation of God to His feast in a casual or cavalier fashion. We need to run God's race using His grace.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 14, 2014


UV 1243/10,000 “CID”
Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
Isaiah 41 v 4
He is the first as He is before the idea of time came into existence. He is the first person in all of space and time and beyond. He is therefore first in all things in our lives. He is the first to be acknowledged and worshipped every morning. He is the first to know all things about our lives. He is the first to declare and teach us all things. He is the first to comfort, inspire, encourage, strengthen and enable us to do all things. He is the audience of one whom we address all the time from our hearts and minds. He is the first to accomplish, plan all things and provide all of our need. He is the first to appreciate us. He is also the first to rebuke us, correct us and chastise us. We human beings on account of our finite existence are subject to the tyranny of time and call periods of time “ tense”- the past tense, present tense and future tense as we are tense about the past, present and future. But all our tension evaporates as we trust the Lord for our past guilt, present challenges and future worries. The past, present and future melts into eternity in the presence of the Lord.

Everything good that can be spelt with the alphabets of any human language has its beginning and its end in Him. We can do this exhaustive alphabet exercise- take any letter in the alphabet, say ‘a’ , then list out all the good things in life that begin with ‘a’ e.g. abilities, accuracy, alacrity, attitudes, ambition, aspiration, articulation, we can realize all these with the help of the Lorrd. Just as all rivers end in the sea, all our efforts also end in Him. Everything that ends in Him is complete, finished and perfected. He outlasts everything and everyone. When the last king or monarch or ruler on earth ends his reign on earth, He still remains sovereign and on the throne. When each day ends and when all our days end, He is with us. He is the last to sleep. He watches over us as a doting parent not as a paid watchman.

He is calling out to individuals in all generations of mankind without regard to age, background, class, status, income, past, present or future. He has wrought or completed the plan of salvation for man. There is nothing left to do except to trust and obey. We will be blessed from first to last, from our beginning to beyond our end. The things in which we are first and last in this lifetime do not matter much except to the extent that it brings glory or praise to His name. He does all things well or excellently. Hence, we can trust Him from beginning to end. When someone asks me for some help that I can do, I send them a message “ CID” meaning “ consider it done.” Similarly, when we entrust some aspect of our life or our challenges to the Lord, we can “ cid.” He declares to us that “ I am He, the “I AM”, the one who can “ do it”, the one who can “ be it”. You can ask “ do what” and “ be what”. That is answered by what we want Him to do in our lives and with our lives, who we want Him to be. If we were unloved, fatherless children, He will be a loving, compassionate Father, if we are lonely and friendless, He will be a Friend forever…

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Call to Spiritual Maturity

UV 1242/10,000 The Call to Spiritual Maturity

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Ephesians 4 v 14

We are called to spiritual maturity and not to remain children in terms of our understanding and knowledge. When we were children, our thoughts, emotions and perceptions were those of a child. We were gullible as children and believed every fairy tale we heard to be true. But now that we have learnt the truth, we should not be easily swayed by the views, opinions and doctrines that are spewed out by resourceful people in order to deceive others. We should exercise spiritual discernment to determine what is from God and what is from the world and due to speculation and deception of the deceiver. While we are to be children innocent of all malice, we ought to be like mature men in terms of understanding of the spiritual truths expounded in the Word.

We should be like the teeth that are rooted in its gums in terms of our being grounded in the Word. We are not babes in Christ in need of milk but we have graduated to eating solid food and to be able to tear the flesh from the bone or to be able to determine the essentials or first principles of faith, to digest it and to apply it in our lives. We are not to be overcome by the sophistry of new fangled teachings and arguments and human persuasion but be skilled in our understanding of the scriptures. Then we will not be like a wave that is blown about the mind. We will neither be naïve nor gullible. We will not be having ears itching to hear the things we like.

Today, many teachers particularly in the West have become extremely popular by teaching what is known as ‘syrup gospel’, mixing new age doctrines along with the scripture. Instead of interpreting the world according to the Word, they are interpreting the Word to fit into the patterns and moulds of the world, even going to the extent of saying that many perversions are permissible and even honourable options. They do so in order to cause divisions and to gather followers. Their teachings are attractive and have a seductive appeal for a large number of people.

Prateep V Philip

Effective Faith Communication

UV 1241/10,000 Effective Faith Communication
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

Philemon 1 v 6

It is the back up of action that makes our words effective or else it will be dismissed as “mere words”. A life acknowledging God and His blessings makes our communication effectual or continually effective or impactful and positively influential. To acknowledge implies “to be conscious of, to remember, to affirm, to hold on to,to privately claim and to publicly state or proclaim, to be thankful for, to be unashamed or proud of, to esteem and cherish.” When we acknowledge in these senses every blessing we have on account of our faith in Jesus, our lives become shining lights for others. In acknowledging every blessing we communicate our faith in His saving grace, power and mercy in an effective way such that people ask, “ Why is it that his or her life is so blessed? What is the difference between our lives?” They begin to covet our blessings and not our possessions. They realize that we have the X factor in us that causes us to excel. In Christ we have a capable Savior, a competent captain, compassionate leader, a constant companion and a continual helper.

God has ordained only good things and not bad things for each of us for He has plans not to harm us, not to sadden us, not to make us fail but “plans to prosper us and to give us hope and a future.” In Christ Jesus we have every good thing in heaven and on earth. We are forgiven people who have got rid of our guilt and shame. We live for eternity being spared both judgement for sin and eternal penalty. We are now vessels fit for honour and to be used for noble purposes. We wear the spiritual clothes of salvation- the robe of righteousness. We wear the signet ring of authority given by the Father. We can command the forces of nature and the spirits of darkness. We have our minds focused on the purpose of life and our hearts filled with joy. We have access to all the riches assured to all who believe in all the wonderful promises of God. We are satisfied with every good thing. Our need is met. We are taught how to live on earth with the right set of beautiful attitudes so that each thought and word of ours is a blessing. We are given spiritual gifts to understand, discern, to impart, to encourage and build others up. Each teaching is a seed of the spiritual fruit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility. We are protected from evil within and without. We are given wisdom according to the measure we ask for and as we need it. We have true freedom in Christ Jesus since He set us free in every sense and every way. We are freed from duplicity since we do not indulge in “ double-think” and “double-speak.”

In Christ Jesus, we have the anointing or enablement to be priest, prophet and king. We can claim every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. We understand the mysteries of life and death and eternity. In Christ we have peace with God and peace with ourselves and others. He sets us free from fears, real and imaginary. In Christ we have the presence of God with us all the time. In Christ we have the angelic host surrounding us like a spiritual phalanx. In Christ we can make sense of every happening in our otherwise meaningless lives. In Christ we have a spiritual center of gravity that gives us both balance and focus. When we live in such a way conscious and thankful and joyful for this package of blessings of salvation we have in Christ Jesus, we communicate our faith both verbally and non verbally, with our words and in our silences to the spiritual have-nots or “not yet haves.” It is only such communication that is wholesome, holistic, life-saving, life-enhancing and useful to both listener and communicator.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Master of the Exceptional Breakthrough

UV 1240/10,000 Master of the Breakthrough
And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim.
2 Samuel 5 v 20

The Philistines had entrenched themselves in their stronghold “ The Valley of Rephaim” which means the “ valley of the giant.” David consulted and enquired of the Lord whether He would deliver the Philistines into his hand in the very place they felt strongest and safest or most likely to win in battle against David.” The Lord gave David instructions on what battle position to take, what strategy to adopt and when to strike or attack. David was told that to encircle the enemy and not to pursue them up the mountain. When he heard the sound of battle over the mulberry trees, he was asked to attack the Philistines in front of the mulberry trees. The Philistines were thoroughly defeated. David decided to dedicate the victory to the Lord by re-naming the valley of Rephaim as “ Baalperazim” or the Master or Lord of the Exceptional Breakthrough.

When the Lord removes the hurdles and opposition before us, it is like the breakdown of a huge wall, the breach of a mighty dam. The dam is a massive symbol of strength and power. Behind the solid masonry walls lies the immense power of water. But God can turn the power of the enemy into the very source of his weakness. The swirling waters of His power cannot be contained or held back but it will sweep away all that lies before it. We only need to believe in His wisdom, grace and power and approach Him in prayer to consult Him about every battle we face, every struggle, every obstacle or opposition. David did not rest on the oars of his past victories and rely on his own wisdom, prowess and strategy. He knew that he could make the preparations but it was the Lord who gives the victory or breakthrough in every battle for every battle is unique and the conqueror or soldier who goes into battle with his last successful strategy is sadly defeated. David waited till God gave him an answer. He heeded the battle advice. God gave him an unique strategy for success. David acted according to the revealed wisdom of God. The result was he had a massive victory or breakthrough.

Singular faith followed by God-guided strategy, choice of God-given timing and obedient diligent and bold steps of action results in amazing victory. God’s awesome power will be revealed. The enemy will be put to rout. The victory or breakthrough will be like the breach of many waters. It will be stunning or astounding. It will lead to us giving glory to God forever. He is not the God of the half-hearted, the mediocre, the faint of spirit, the cowardly but He is Baal-Perazim, the God of astounding and outstanding victory. He is not content with giving us just one victory or a single big breakthrough but He makes our life thrilling by giving us a series of breakthroughs all through our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Lord, My Habitation

UV 1239-10,000 The Lord , My Habitation
With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Isaiah 26 v 9

The soul desires, the spirit seeks. When we seek the Lord the first thing in the morning, He sends His Spirit to satisfy or quench our spiritual thirst. The earlier we seek the Lord in our lives and seek to do His will on earth, the better. He will reveal Himself when we seek Him with all our heart. He will no longer hide Himself as He does with the rest of the world but He will show Himself strong on our behalf. He will speak with us and we will speak with Him. He will commune and communicate with us in diverse ways beyond tongue and language. Even in any task or project that we undertake we need to seek the blessings, the guidance, the wisdom, the grace and help of the Lord early enough so that we benefit from these spiritual gifts right from the start and we see the hand of the Lord at work in our lives.

The word “ soul” in this uni-verse is used in a sense synonymous with our mind. At night or at the end of our day and days, we need to recollect the various ways in which the Lord has blessed us. “ At night” also refers to our dark or difficult days and times or seasons. During these periods of relative famine, we need to lean more strongly on the Lord. We need to remember and thank Him for all the times He has rushed to our help when we cried out from our souls to Him. He gave us victory. He strengthened us from above and within. He delivered us. He helped us overcome our threat or challenge. He guided our minds away from gloomy and depressing thoughts. He lifted us up in our emotions. He enabled us to imagine and hope for the end of our troubles. He fulfilled our longing for a better time. We desired His presence and His fellowship with all our minds. He blessed our every thought, emotion and decision. He blessed our plans and helped to bring it to fruition beyond our expectation or request. He helped us strive for what is good, acceptable and perfect. We have seen the working of His Word in our lives, the fulfillment of His promises. We realize that His promises are meant to help us in our “ pilgrim’s progress.” It is the food, drink and nourishment that He supplies to us abundantly to provide for us during our earthly sojourn.

When we err and go wrong, the Lord judges, chastises and rebukes us in love with an intent to correct and perfect us. His Word at work in our daily lives are His judgements. These are the underlying principles or laws of our universe. By heeding these judgements, we learn of the righteousness of God. For He is Jehovah Maccadesh or the One who sanctifies us, who prepares us as sacred vessels set apart to be used for holy purpose. We consume but the purpose of life is not consumption. We earn but the purpose of life is not earning. We know but the purpose of life is not knowledge. We enjoy but the purpose of life is not happiness. We suffer but the purpose of life is not suffering. The overarching purpose of human life is to be set apart by God and to be used for His righteous purpose. Though we are inhabitants of earth, we are called to inhabit Heaven. As Scripture says, “ By His strength, He will guide me to His holy habitation. “ When God inhabits us here on earth, nothing can inhibit or limit us. It is another spiritual paradox that He clothes us in His presence. We are hemmed in all sides by His holy presence. We inhabit Him and He inhabits us. We have arrived at our destination and yet we are travelling towards Him. He is both habitat, the place where we live and move and which provides us opportunities for our food and sustenance. He is also our habitation, our homes where we can rest and feel safe and rejoice.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Versatality of Leadership Qualities and Roles

UV 1238/10,000 The Versatality of Leadership Qualities
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Matthew 10 v 16
A believer is as vulnerable as sheep that are meek and harmless but have to face up to the dangers of the predatory world: people who are cunning, violent, wicked, aggressive, deceivers, jealous, proud and lustful. The Lord warns us that we are called to be perfect in a grossly imperfect world. He therefore exhorts us to develop some versatile but paradoxical personal qualities and gifts that range from the innocence of the dove to the shrewdness of the serpents. Like doves we need to use the wings of prayer and the Word to power ourselves to fly away from the traps and machinations of the world. Like doves continually make a chortling noise from their throats, we need to constantly praise, thank and communicate with the Lord. Like the dove that was released by Noah brought back a freshly plucked olive leaf, we need to take to the Lord the things that burden us, the troubles that face us in the world and bring back to the world a message of peace from the Lord.

The Lord Jesus also exhorts us to be wise or shrewd as serpents. Serpents hug the ground and keep listening to warning signs, even the vibrations of the earth and the rustle of leaves to know which direction a danger looms ahead and to avoid that path. They listen with and along the whole length of their bodies. We too should learn to listen not just with our ears but with our whole bodies, minds and spirits and take preventive or pre-emptive actions. The serpent sheds its skin and keeps moving away from the place where it has shed its skin. Similarly, we too should learn and form new and healthy habits and disciplines that help us grow into the new creature the Lord wants us to be. The serpent is subtle in its ways. We should be wise and discerning like the serpent and not be taken in by mere appearances or beguiling words, assurances and actions of people. We need to be proactive and cautious or circumspect like the serpent.

The serpent hisses even when it does not strike to warn other creatures to stay away as it means business. Similarly, even if we do not use our full powers we need to give people an indication that we are willing and ready to use it if it comes to it. The serpent either winds its way around or slithers over obstacles in its path. Similarly, we should not be deterred by obstacles and barriers in our way but try to find a way either around it, over it or under it. We should also combine the qualities, gifts and skill sets of the dove with the qualities, gifts and skill sets of the serpent. We should be practical and grounded like the serpent and at the same time soar like a dove in the skies. The fruit of the spirit are all qualities of the dove: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Through this uni-verse, Jesus is telling us to exercise these soft qualities along with the hard qualities and balance of the wisdom of the serpent. We should be aware and beware of all the viles of the enemy without being either susceptible or influenced by it or by becoming a prey or victim to it. While we ourselves are harmless, we should live and act in such a way that we avoid being harmed or ensnared. While we should be innocent of evil, we are not called to be naïve or gullible. While we should not take advantage of others, we should not let others take advantage of our own goodness or kindness.

Prateep V Philip

Hope Does Not Belie

UV 1237/10,000 Hope does not Belie
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans 5 v 5

The love of God that is a deposit in our hearts by the Holy Spirit gives rise to hope. The Lord will not let us down but He will fulfill our hope and thereby strengthen our faith. We will have no reason to be ashamed on account of the hope we have of the glory and grace of God being revealed in different trying situations in our lives. We will not be deceived. We will not be disappointed by the hope we have placed in the promises He has spoken into our lives. The Holy Spirit will remind us of the promise when our faith begins to flag or our hope begins to weaken. If we remove the letter ‘f’ from belief, it will become “belie”. Our faith should be strong and unshakeable if our hope is not to be belied. Our faith should be true, specific and accurate if our hope is to be fulfilled. It should be rooted in the love of God and not in personal whim or a hope that is nursed with wrong motives.
Scripture is a record of how in seemingly hopeless situations in the lives of many faithful people, God turned it round and fulfilled their hope. Salvation is not an end result we experience after our lives on earth but it is a continuous experience right from here and now of the working of God’s power in our lives. Grace is a supernatural power to act in the natural beyond the limits imposed by one’s resources, strengths and weaknesses.
Those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed but instead they who trust in Him will be blessed. Abraham and Sarah were given the promise of a son when they were well past the age of child-bearing. When they did not see it happening even ten years after they received the promise, they decided to take their hope into their own hands and tried to fulfill it through a surrogate in Hagar the maid. But God was testing their faith and their patience. In God’s time, the promised son Isaac was born to them. Learning a lesson from their example, we should not be in a hurry to overtake God’s will but wait with patience, hope and thanksgiving for the hoped for answer to prayer, the promised blessing. Instead of expecting God to synchronise His calendar and time table with ours, we ought to synchronise our calendar and time table with His.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Messenger

UV 1236/10,000 The Messenger
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 2 v 7

The covenant of Levi is the covenant of the one who is called to be a priest. Every believer has a priestly calling and a kingly calling. As a priest of the Most High God, he should covenant with his lips to make the fruits of his lips or his words pleasing to God. He should use words in such a way as to preserve and enhance knowledge. There are different kinds of knowledge-the knowledge of self that Socrates highlighted and focused on, the knowledge of the world that is highlighted and focused on in the institutions of the modern world, the knowledge of profession is focused on by various professionals, the knowledge of the Word that is highlighted and emphasized by St Paul and the apostles. The priest focuses on preserving the knowledge of God and of His Word. He makes known the ways of God by teaching the Word. He does not shy away from the knowledge of self and knowledge of the world but he relates it to the knowledge of the Word and knowledge of God. For instance, Socrates said that knowing self is the essence of knowledge while the Psalmist David wrote that God ‘s knowledge of us is so deep and great that He knows our every thought and every word and even if we go to the depth of the sea we cannot escape from His gaze. This implies that even to know our selves, our professions or our world, the knowledge of God is helpful and vital.

The laws of God contained in His Word are the filters through which we send our thoughts and words. Since the Word says that lying is unacceptable to God, we cannot allow lies or false promises to come forth from our lips. Only truth should depart or issue from our mouths. Since profanities and swear words defile our mouths, such things should not emanate from our lips. About Ezra the priest it is written that he sought the law of the Lord, he did it or obeyed it and he taught it. The man of God should consistently seek the law of the Lord and he should live according to it and he should try to make other people also understand the word of God.

We need to perceive ourselves as messengers of God, the Lord of the armies of heaven, the mighty King, the everlasting Father. We should realize that as witnesses and messengers of God we are being watched all the time by the world. We need to speak and teach the Word with boldness, authenticity, authority and accuracy. The content has to be delivered in context. Our individual stlyes and gifts of communication come into play only with regard to how we present the message from the Lord. We need to realize that we are not speaking or teaching on our own behalf but that our authority is derived from the Lord. The words we speak influence people and increase their knowledge of who God is and brings them into right relationship with Him. We need to teach many people the truths, principles and precepts that are derivatives from the Word. We bring a message of hope and salvation and not of condemnation to the people. It should inspire in them faith and love for God and His Word.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Little Green Light in Our Souls

UV 1235/10,000 The Little Green Light in Our Souls

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Isaiah 30 v 21

When we make decisions, big or small, critical as well as less consequential, it would be good to consult the Lord. When we spend a few moments in prayer, humbling ourselves before God, seeking His wisdom, counsel, guidance, He will speak in a whisper. We will hear a word as if spoken behind our ears along with the flutter or rush of breeze as if of a dove’s wings, saying, “ This is the way, walk in it. Do not turn to the right or to the left.” As we seek His guidance in prayer, we should wait till we sense an awesome, inexplicable peace, assurance, strength and hope. That is God’ s little green light by which He guides us into the right decisions and steps of execution. We should also be sensitive to notice the yellow light or the warning sign and the red light or the stop sign that should stop us in our tracks and keep us from making a move in that direction. We should not wait till God opens a donkey’s mouth to speak to us and warn us. Both our eyes and our ears and our minds and hearts need to be sensitive to the signals and signs from God. The Holy Spirit is a practical counselor for us here on earth. He gives us unction or anointing and leading or guidance in all our leadership and management functions in all domains.

The word “ POSDCORB” sums up all management or leadership functions: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting. The Lord will guide, bless and lead us with a word of wisdom in all these responsibilities that we are called as leaders and managers to perform on a daily basis. He will help us set our goals in a realistic as well as challenging way so that it is feasible as well as beyond our normal reach. When we achieve it, we will realize that without the help and enablement of God, it would have been impossible to accomplish it. The Lord will continually water us right through the day and right through our lives with wisdom and guidance. He will lead us to the right people to recruit or to team up with.

We will not see the little green light in our souls if there is a lot of chatter in our minds. We need to still our hearts and minds to hear the small and feeble whisper in which the Lord speaks to us. If we are in a great and tearing or unholy haste, we might miss out on seeing the sign or hearing the voice. We need to learn to wait on the Lord before making the move or taking the plunge. Once the decision is made, we should not swerve to the right or the left in terms of the overall direction though we can be flexible with regard to the strategies we adopt and allow for mid-course learning and corrections. Things may sometimes go wrong or we may run into some unexpected roadblocks even on the highway God leads us on but He promises that we will never be overpowered by the roaring lion or the beast on this highway. A road other than the one indicated by God’s signposts can lead us right into the lion’s den. We need to connect every little dot of the actions we take with the big picture of the vision God gives us. What leaders envision, managers implement. When I got the vision of starting Friends of Police, the Lord gave me a green signal on the way I should take step by step. He told me once through prophetic guidance that “ you need to form teams of like-minded people to implement your idea.”

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Marks and the Promise

UV 1234/10,000 The Marks and the Promise
He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
Isaiah 33 v 15

This uni-verse sums up the marks or characteristics of a person who is righteous in the eyes of the Lord: every step he or she takes is in alignment with the Word and the will of God. Even if he stumbles and falls or makes a mistake, he will quickly correct himself and repent and walk again in righteousness. He is a soldier who is content with his wages or his lot in life. He shakes his hands to refuse to even touch money that is tainted. God will bless what little he has to satisfy his need and to multiply it. The man who hates bribes despises the riches that come from illegal gratification and from oppression and exploitation.

A man of God will be full of revulsion at violence and even about hearing about bloodshed. He holds life as a sacred gift from God and only God can take it away. Of course, when a believer becomes a soldier or a police officer, he might at times need to resort to the use of force to fulfill their professional duties. He cannot be wimpish or weak. He needs to be tough and effective. Force is violence that is legitimate, that has the sanction of law and of God. Scripture says therefore , “ The violent are taken by force.” But even in such circumstances, force must be resorted to with restraint, in proportion to the stimulus and only when it is warranted or necessitated. Many people ask how I as a believer can be an effective police officer. I tell them that a good police officer must have the goodness of the Good Samaritan, the expedition and adventurous spirit of an Alexander the Great, the courage and integrity of Daniel, the diplomacy of Abraham Lincoln, the wisdom of Socrates… However, I am thankful that in 27 years of experience, I did not have to order firing even once or take life or even thrash people in very challenging law and order situations even with mobs on the rampage.

The righteous person speaks uprightly. There is no deceit or vulgarity or insults in his mouth. He recognizes that a sweet spring will not also yield water that is salty or bitter and not fit to encourage, satisfy the thirst or bless the hearers. All the senses and the faculties of the believer are to be sanctified or made holy, blameless and perfected. Of course, the most challenging is the control of the tongue. We need to order our conversation or discipline our tongues to speak what should be spoken at the time it should be spoken and train it not to speak the words that should not be spoken. Jesus said that the eyes are the windows to our souls, the lamp of our bodies and it should be full of light of truth and not untruth. It should not feast or delight in that which is intrinsically evil or lustful or covetous. Some people make this an excuse to turn a blind eye to the evil that is happening all around them. Instead, we should be watchful and vigilant like an animal tracker finds the pug marks of the wild animal in the paths in which he is walking and is able to tell what animal is in the vicinity. We must train our eyes to see and recognize the good in others and the evil in ourselves. When we live in such a manner disciplining our eyes, ears, tongue and thoughts, the Lord will be in our midst as the mightiest of kings providing for us, promoting and honouring us, the greatest of warriors fighting for us and wresting victory in all our battles, the kindest and most generous of masters. The Lord testified that it is due to this uni-verse that during our recent overseas travel, He fought for us at many places, He provided for us for our every need, He protected us from anything untoward, He pampered us and enabled us to see and hear what our eyes had not seen, our ears had not heard and our minds had not thought or imagined.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Shepherd-Leader

UV 1233/10,000 The Shepherd-Leader
And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 23 v 4
The word “ shepherd” is a metaphor for mentor or teacher or guide. The Lord will anoint leaders who will feed His people with understanding and knowledge unto salvation. Leaders are themselves to be people with both understanding and knowledge. It is not the understanding and knowledge that comes from study of books but it is the understanding and knowledge that the Lord in His role as Teacher imparts to us. It is the understanding and knowledge that will not puff us up with pride but make us bow with humility. It is the understanding and knowledge of the Word of God. It is the understanding and knowledge of the Kingdom of God that gives us eternal life. The Shepherd-leader will know what is the need of the people. He will be sensitive. He or she will know how to satisfy that need. The Shepherd-leader will be committed to the spiritual growth of the people and take every step that lies with him towards that end.

Every shepherd in this world cares and tends his sheep with an intention to exploit the sheep for his own benefit by either shearing the wool or killing the sheep for its meat. But Jesus is the only good shepherd who was prepared ahead of time to give his own life for the sake of the sheep. Today we are also called to shepherd-leaders in the same mould as Jesus who came to serve and not to be served, to give his life as a ransom for many. A shepherd-leader is one who focuses on feeding the people with spiritual truths and trains them to walk in righteous ways and paths. The Shepherd-leader prays and intercedes for the people he is leading or caring for.

When people are fed with understanding and knowledge of the Word of God or spiritual truths, they are liberated from the bondage of sin and shortcoming. They are liberated from the fear of death and of their mortal enemies. They are filled with the personal knowledge of God their Saviour or Redeemer. It is redemptive knowledge and understanding as against the non-redemptive knowledge and understanding the world imparts. They will be blessed or fulfilled by the action or grace of God and not by their own deeds. They will not be frustrated, anxious, depressed or disappointed. Their expectations will be more than fulfilled. They will be joyful and thankful to the Lord. They will be found lacking in nothing that they need and in nothing that is good. Trust in the promises of God fulfills their every need and legitimate desire. Before I started writing this uni-verse series of meditations, the Lord told me that my name was not yet written in the Shepherd’s Book though it was written in the Book of the Living. But once, I started writing and sharing it daily, the Lord confirmed that it is now written in the Shepherd’s Book.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Good Root

UV 1232/10,000 The Good Root

But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.
Isaiah 32 v 8

A noble person plans noble things and by noble actions he stands. St Paul exhorts us to think of what is wise, noble, beautiful, good, praiseworthy, helpful and positive. The alignment of our noble thoughts, intentions, plans, words and actions is what makes our lives powerful and influential. We will be like arrows and signboards pointing to God who alone is absolutely noble and praiseworthy. The wholesome fear of God along with confidence in Him induces nobility as well as freedom in every thought, word and action of the believer. A noble person is both liberal and generous. Boaz for example asked his servants to be liberal and leave enough grain for those who came to glean like Ruth to collect and satisfy their need. He also instructed them not to harm or molest her. Not so are the wicked who devises evil schemes to destroy the poor with the deception of lies and false hope, who are intrinsically greedy, lustful and unjust. Such a person speaks folly and his mind is busy with evil. He practices ungodliness and spreads untruths regarding God. He deprives the hungry and makes no attempt to help the needy.

A noble person extends help to the poor and needy. He will be like a shelter from the harsher elements of nature, a refuge from the storms of life. He will be like streams of refreshing water in the desert and like a rock of shelter in a sun-scorched land. A noble person is the reflection of God on earth like our image is reflected on the surface of the water of a clear stream or lake. Only if our thoughts, words and actions are clear and pure can we reflect that image of God in our lives. We are to take our thoughts beyond the level of mere good intention to make it practical and useful to the needy around us. We need to be focused, determined and disciplined in order to achieve the aims and goals set for us.
He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly or in other words, he will have little to spare for others. But the Word says, “He who sows bountifully will reap bountifully” or plentifully with plenty to spare. God’s grace can cause what we have to abound. We are called to abound in all things, both the internal and the external and to sow beside many waters. By generousity, liberality and nobility a godly man will stand out like a willow by the river, both blessed and a blessing. It is the good, deep and strong root of faith that produces a life of lasting nobility. God’s grace that will make us abound will also establish us.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Casting Bread

UV 1231/10,000 Casting Bread

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Ecclesiastes 11 v 1

The book of Ecclesiastes speaks of all the efforts of man being a chasing of the wind or a vanity. Yet it describes something that seems apparently fruitless like casting our bread upon the waters as useful and rewarding. We need to sow in the water or in an area of need to satisfy someone’s need without any expectation of a return or a harvest. In other words, we need to give of our own harvest or income and the Lord will ensure that in our hour of need, we will find help. We need to give without motives or without any selfish consideration and that it will return to us manifold is a certainty. Our reward or help will not come from the very person whom we gave to but it will come from unlikely quarters, sources and in surprising ways. Casting " bread" implies that what we give is something that we can ourselves use or need and that it is not something excess or superfluous that we can do without. When we give we ought not to give casually or carelessly but after doing due diligence.

Scripture says that when we give to the poor, we are actually lending to the Lord. The Lord is not poor being the sovereign owner of all that exists in the entire earth, universe and heaven. He is also no man’s debtor. He will reward our acts of charity and kindness in a variety of ways. Even if we give a glass of water in the name of the Lord to quench the thirst of a fellow believer, He will reward us. When we give, our left hand should not know what our right hand has given in the sense that we do not make a show of it or publicise it. If we make a show of it then it would be deemed that we have already been rewarded in the eyes of men.

The word “ bread” however does not mean something material like food or money for it could also mean the Word of God which is the bread that satisfies the hunger and thirst for eternal life, peace and joy in all mankind. When we keep sharing the Word in a variety of ways in our daily lives, it might initially seem that it is like water off the duck’s back and that no one cares or is listening or that it is not making a difference in people’s lives the way you would like it to be. But over time we will get feedback of how our sharing had impacted lives and strengthened people in their hour of need. The Lord will remember and send us also His Word and His deliverance in our own hour of need. God does keep an account of what we give.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Cap of Good Hope

UV 1230/10,000 The Cap of Good Hope
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans 5 v 5
There are two kinds of hope: good hope and bad hope or hope that is true and real and hope that is false and unreal and likely to end in shame, confusion and disappointment. Hope keeps people going but a false hope is but an illusion or a delusion. A man who buys a lottery ticket is an example of bad hope. He is more than likely to be disappointed and to only suffer loss and shame for holding such a bad hope. In contrast, the ‘agape’ or selfless love of God fills our hearts with assurance and good hope. Assurance is the near absolute level of confidence that we have in God that He is able to do that which we have committed to Him or that which He has promised us in our specific situations. The Holy Spirit reminds us of the promises of God even in the most hopeless situation such that our hope is kept alive. He will not let us be ashamed or disappointed but will fulfill our faithful expectations. The Holy Spirit is given to us as an advance deposit or guarantee of the hope we have in the salvation of God. There is certainty of fulfillment in good hope.
In the book of Job, it is written – what is the hope of the worldly man when his soul is taken away of what use is his worldly gain and that in vain has he placed his hope in that. People who place their hope in worldly or monetary gain are confounded or confused and eventually put to shame. However, St Paul wrote that “Christ in us is the hope of glory.” It implies that our faith in Christ inspires in us the hope that God’s grace and greatness will be revealed in our lives as well as in the life to come. Our covenant with death and with hell will be annulled. When we trust in God, we will not be confounded or confused or ashamed. Our hopes will not be belied. We will have clarity of purpose and focus in our lives.

The person who waits on the Lord with an attitude of trust will not be dismayed. He will be like a tree planted by a stream, whose roots run deep and wide, whose leaves never dry, who never ceases to yield fruit, who does not worry about the time of summer heat or about the drought for both protection and provision is assured by the Lord. The person who trusts in man or the things of man is cursed or limited unlike the person who hopes and trusts in the Lord who is blessed. Such blessed hope is like a strong anchor of the soul in all of life’s storms and trials. It is the source of great strength, comfort and consolation. The Lord has given us the crown or the cap of good hope. No one can take it away. It is the helmet of assurance of the Saviour. It protects our head or our minds from fears, confusion, doubts and despair.
Prateep V Philip