Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Transforming Power of Faith

UV 1370/10,000 The Tranforming Power of Faith
That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Genesis 14 v 23
Abram depended on the Lord to whom he had raised his hands in supplication. He refused to be in obligation to any man like the king of Sodom who offered to share some spoils of raids they had jointly conducted against some common enemies. He did not want the king of Sodom to claim that he had made Abram rich. It was God who had blessed Abram which means “father” and transformed him into being the “Father of faith” and the father of many nations.

Abram limited his association with the king of Sodom. He did not want to be unequally yoked with the latter. He did not want him to gloat over the idea that he was the one who blessed Abram. The Lord does not want us to be obligated to even our kith and kin. He might allow partnerships or strategic alliances for a purpose and up to a point. Abram clearly recognized that it was God who had given him victory over his foes. He was not covetous and did not want that which belonged to another. He could have seen the offer by the king of Sodom as an opportunity to get just a little richer than he was. But Abram was wary of the king of Sodom knowing the values the latter possessed and the kind of lifestyle that the people of Sodom practiced. He wanted little or nothing to do with the king of Sodom. He valued the people who followed him more than the valuables that they brought as plunder or spoils of victory. He asked the king of Sodom to release the people to him and to keep the things. He also was practical that he would accept any payment only to the extent that it met the needs of these persons in terms of what they had eaten during the military campaign.

Abraham’s faith was outstanding. He did not allow anything to defile the purity of his faith and his relationship with the Most High God. He did not place his faith on his earthly allies. He gave what was due to others and never kept it for himself proving his honesty and integrity. He knew God. He believed Him and understood Him. His faith was the source of his strength and his success. God blesses us measure by measure as we trust and depend on Him entirely. He never betrays our trust. He is pleased when we do not compromise with the world and maintain high standards worthy of Him. He will reward us abundantly in the course of our lives if we prove by our actions and reactions the extent of our faith in Him. A business offer might look very tempting but we need to check the background of the one who is offering it and ensure it is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spiritual Fruit and Gifts Without Measure

UV 1369/10,000 Spiritual Fruit and Gifts without Measure
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
John 3 v 34
God had sent Jesus, His Son to speak His word. Jesus is filled with the fullness of God even during His earthly sojourn as He is now in heaven. It is written about Him that He was full of grace and truth. Jesus manifested the fullness or completeness of God’s plan of salvation for mankind. He was given the Holy Spirit without measure. While all other men and women of God from Abraham downward to this day are given the Spirit by measure.

Yet Jesus said that He did not speak His own doctrine but only what He heard from God the Father. He did not do anything in His own authority but only by the power and authority given by God. Jesus according to the parable of tenants was the son of the landlord of the vineyard of Earth, God the Creator. He had been sent by the landlord to collect the fruit. The fruit is the work of character in our lives. This is the legitimate and due rent that we pay to the Lord in terms of character, gratitude and worship. Jesus whose love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control and wisdom is absolute and infinite or immeasurable wants to see a measure of these spiritual qualities that are called the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The similitude of our character to that of Jesus honours God. But not finding much fruit in mankind, Jesus plants the seed of love in our hearts by willingly and knowingly ascending the steps to the cruel cross and pay for our deficiencies.

Today as believers, we need to increase in the measure of our fruitfulness for the Lord. We need to grow in wisdom, in influence, in the spiritual qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. We need to increase in grace and our knowledge of the truth. Jesus as He ascended gave gifts to mankind. We need to increase in the use or application of these gifts of preaching, healing and deliverance side by side or in proportion to the growth of the spiritual fruit of character. We have been given fruit and gifts in proportion to our faith and our knowledge and application of the Word. Our fountainhead continues to be Jesus whose resources, fruit and gifts are limitless and He will give us grace for grace to fill up the gaps in our faith, character and work.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Change Management -the God Way

UV 1368/10,000 Change Management – the God Way.

He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3 v 30

The uni-verse talks about change management the God way. As the sun rises in the east, the moon declines and sets on the west. Similarly, as Jesus the Morning Star, the Sun of Righteousness rises in our lives, our own egos or sense of self should decline. Like the moon we have no light of our own. Whatever truths we know and experience in our lives are what has been revealed by Jesus. The principles we follow are what are taught to us by Him. The blessings we have and enjoy are all given by Him. We are His reflectors. We are held in place by His grace like the moon is held in its orbit by the gravitational force of the sun. John the Baptist who spoke these words said that he was unfit or unworthy to even untie the lace of his shoes. Yet Jesus spoke of him as the greatest among those sent by God and yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than him.

As we mature in faith, we will confess as Paul did, “ It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Our own strength will decline but His strength and power working in us will increase. Our wisdom and understanding will decline but His wisdom and understanding will increase in us. He deserves all the honour for making us who we are. He deserves all the praise and glory for redeeming us who were vessels of clay in order to become vessels of honour. As we lower our heads, He will raise us up. He teaches us to go for the more significant and important. He teaches us to invest in the eternal. By attribution of all the good in our lives to Him and the consequent thankfulness, gratitude and worship that goes up to the Lord, we decrease and He increases. The iceberg of the hidden and sinful or wilful self will melt in the presence of the Lord.

Our self consciousness or our awareness of our limitations will also decrease as we increase in our awareness of the presence of the Lord in our lives. When our knowledge of who He is and the extent of His power and resources increases, the limitations, the constraints, inhibitions that keep us from realizing our potential in Christ also cease. Our fears will decline even as our faith increases. When we decrease, we acknowledge that we are nothing without Him and with Him, we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The uni-verse talks about a fundamental shift or change in perspective, perceptions and priorities of life once we begin to follow Jesus. It is a commitment to change for the better all the time. We need to consciously humble ourselves more and more, empty ourselves of our own vain thoughts and desires in order to be filled more and more with the grace of Jesus. When the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and character, namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control increase, then we decline and He increases in us. Our speaking for ourselves and our goals and achievements will decline even as our witness in word and deed for Jesus will increase. The end result is that the world around will see more of God and Jesus in us and less of our old selves in us.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ensign of Victory

UV 1366/10,000 Ensign of Victory
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
Isaiah 59 v 19

The name of the Lord is to be honoured from the rising of the sun to its setting, in terms of diurnal time as well as geographical location. He lifted us up from the valley of tears, sorrows and curses and placed us on the mountain of laughter, joy, victory and blessedness. He is the guarantor of our peace. His name is to be acknowledged as the greatest in all nations and people. Our faith in the greatness of His name, word, grace and power is our shield and source of strength. Jesus is “the root of Jesse” that is our ensign that is mentioned in scripture. An ensign is a mark, sign, court of arms, symbol or standard of a ruler. The words “the root of Jesse” is a prophetic word as from the genealogy of Jesse, the once and future King of Kings Jesus would arise. From the root of Jesse, came King David, the shepherd turned king. But Jesus is the Shepherd-King not a shepherd turned king. When we are grafted to the root of Jesse, it is a sign of certain victory. It is a sign of kingship emerging from our roots. The rest of our lives will be glorious. Our “ rest” or eternity will be glorious. When we see a flood coming, it is a sign of our greatest victory and blessing.

At what point in time or in our lives does the Lord chose to directly intervene to ensure our victory. He patiently watches over us like a good shepherd. He waits and watches till the enemy gathers momentum in his attack and plans to overwhelm us with the sheer fierceness of his assault like a flood. At this point, the Lord will raise a standard, a sign of authority, sovereignty and victory. It will cause the flood to recede, the enemy to be dissipated and dispersed. The standard that Moses lifted up was the bronze serpent twirled around a pole. When people who were bitten by poisonous snakes in the desert looked at the bronze serpent, they were healed. This symbol or ensign stood for the sinless Jesus who was lifted up on a cross to die a sinner’s death. When we look at Jesus with faith as the Israelites looked at the bronze serpent with an expectation of being saved from death, we are saved from eternal death. The Lord’s heel will crush even a brood of vipers. His resurrection proved that the enemy could only hurt His heel.

When the enemy, who wants to steal our peace, rob our joy and kill our hope, sends a flood of troubles our way, the Lord will create the high ground for us to take shelter. He will restore our peace, joy and hope. He will manifest His nature as Jehovah Nissi, the God of victory. When we lift up His name from morning to night, He assures us of victory. He will instead flood us with His blessings. He accomplishes His will for our lives not with an external manifestation of power or might but by the gentle working of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit orchestrates things so that the flood is reversed and turned into a downpour of blessings. We must be so filled with the knowledge of His word as the waters fill the sea. Just as the seas are never still but have waves always being formed on the surface, our minds and hearts should always be filled with waves of His grace, mercy and peace. So much so, each of us become an ensign or symbol or mark of the Commander- in –Chief. Without Jesus, the enemy fills our minds and hearts with a feeling of guilt as if we are thieves but with our eyes of faith fixed on Jesus lifted up as King-Commander, we become chiefs or rulers in His eyes.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jesus at the Barbecue

UV 1365/10,000 Jesus at the Barbecue
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
John 21 v 9

Jesus, the same Jesus who a few scenes earlier was betrayed, arrested, tried on false charges, tortured, flogged, beaten, spat on, mocked, nailed, crucified, mocked again, pierced , was waiting on the shore preparing a barbecue of heaven- provided fish and bread for the hungry and tired disciples who were dragging in their net, once empty but now miraculously filled with fish. The same Jesus who cried out “ Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” or “ My God, My God why do You forsake Me?” He had apparently forgotten or set aside the greatest trauma in the history of heaven as of earth that He had been subjected to. He was now attending to the compulsions of hunger of his worn out disciples. This is the remarkable thing about Jesus that He was not other-worldly. He was sensitive to and attended to the present needs of His followers, of every believer in the present generation too. He is Eternal, spiritual and resurrected but very earthy and practical. He is here for our present help.

Jesus had appeared to the disciples not to feed them or to make them successful fishermen but to minister to them and complete their equipping and teaching to be apostles. Yet He did not delay even a second to prepare a meal to satisfy their hunger and thirst. Everything in the here and now is urgent. Everything in the hereafter and eternal is important. Like Jesus, we need to constantly and daily balance the compulsions of the urgent with the priorities of the eternal, spiritual and heavenly calling. Jesus while feeding spiritual truths to the multitude was concerned about their physical hunger and did not want to sent them away hungry since they had come from many places that were faraway. He multiplied the available. We too need to multiply the available or pray for the same.

We need to be practical and spiritual at one and the same time. Our spirituality should be practical. Our practicality should be spiritual. We need to be effective and excel in our professions even as we witness for the Lord. We need to balance the practical need of the people we mentor even as we build them up spiritually. We need to balance the compulsions of the immediate and urgent with the priorities of the eternal and important.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Words, Works and Wonders

UV 1364/10,000 Words, Works and Wonders
Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Psalm 40 v 5

The blessings of the Lord are so numerous that they cannot be counted. They are so varied and great that they cannot be described. His creativity is so great that we cannot fully comprehend how it all works together. His thoughts about each of us is also so numerous, great and wonderful that we cannot fully comprehend how one mind can keep track of billions of lives at the same time and simultaneously be intimate with each and every one. He is so great and infinite that we need to wonder as David did as to why He bothers about us at all. Why is He mindful of us? In other words, His mind is full of thoughts concerning His children. He is always thinking of sending some fresh blessing our way, some word of teaching to build us up, some promise to claim in our hour of need, some warning to heed. He is always feeling one with us in our suffering and in our joy. He is always acting to redeem us from some attack of the enemy, some crisis or some situation where we need help.

For the past four years, every day I have attempted to number the thoughts of God but this uni-verse says that His works and His words are beyond numbering. But we can experience His thoughts, His works and His words in our lives. Each uni-verse sets up an expectation in our hearts. It relates wonderfully to us as we face the reality of life. One way of experiencing God’s grace in all our ways is to declare and speak of it. When we declare and speak of it, it is in God’s eyes as good as acting on faith. We are confessing our faith positively and the Lord will hasten to answer us wonderfully. My younger daughter recently asked me why I am so excessively positive in my writing, I thought about it. The Lord revealed that since the world and human beings are excessively negative, an excessive degree of positivity based on scripture rather than imagination or illusion can only offset the levels of negativity we confront in this world.
Our conversations with our near and dear should be mingled with the Word. Just as God is mindful of us, we too need to be mindful of Him. The world teaches the technique of mindfulness for stress release. The mind cannot be filled with a vacuum or be filled with itself. How much more meaningful and useful it is to be mindful of God and of His Word! Our minds and hearts should always be thankful and mindful of God’ s presence and His wonderful works in our lives, His thoughts towards us. His Word is key to our understanding and experience of His wonderful works of grace. When we speak or declare His Word, miracles are set in motion. When we are believers in Christ, do not expect the ordinary but the extraordinary, not the average but the exceptional, not the mediocre but the excellent to happen to us and for us to cause to happen. We become part of the cycle of cause and effect that the Lord has authored. We are not just spectator or audience but also participant.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Hiddenness of God

UV 1363/10,000 The Hiddenness of God
Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.
Isaiah 45 v 15

When the first human prototype Adam and his newly derived better half disobeyed God, their guilt caused them to hide from God. Now came the turn of God to hide Himself from mankind for the rest of human history. He has succeeded largely and emerged only to reveal Himself from time to time in different generations through certain men and women of God in the nation of Israel, prophets and in the fullest revelation of His hidden image in His Son Jesus. Apart from these revelations, He has hidden His existence, His nature, His wisdom, His power, His will, His truths, His grace and His mercy. Why was it necessary for God to hide Himself? If He had just once shown Himself to all mankind would not every human being believe ? God knows that the calloused sinful hearts of men are so hardened that even if He showed Himself to all, they would not leave their sinful, disobedient ways. Hence, He uses His hiddenness to see which of us would wholeheartedly seek Him out. He has left no physical evidence of His existence except the evidence we see in all of creation. Our deductive logic should enable even the most dull headed among us to see that our bodies and minds are fearfully and wonderfully made by design and purpose by a infinitely greater Being, not fearfully and wonderfully evolved by accident and nature. That should cause us to seek Him out as He would show us our salvation, how best to live and for what purpose to live and how to escape sin and death and live forever. He has given the promise that “ if you seek me with all your heart, you will find Me.” But God knows that He is so big and the intellects of the best of us or even collectively is so statistically insignificant that we cannot perceive, believe or fathom out His ways just by our intelligence. The hiddenness of God leads to different human responses: many people continue to hide from Him like Adam and Eve to avoid His searching glance, some speculate, some imagine, some philosophise and some seek Him diligently as a prospector searches for gold in every possible place.

It is not as if God likes to play a game of ‘ hide and seek’ with us but that He needs to know which of us desires to relate to Him not just as a impersonal infinitely intelligent Creator but to relate to Him as a loving personal friend, parent, guide, provider, deliverer, protector and Saviour. His hiddenness is necessary to prove our faith. He revealed Himself, the various names that speak volumes of His loving, caring and intimate nature through His interventions in the history of Israel, a nation, the only one that can be traced to the loins of one man, Abraham. Abraham believed God even though He had hidden Himself. He knew His unseen hand was guiding, shaping and preparing him for an eternal destiny. He trusted God to the extent of offering as a sacrifice an only son that was conceived and born out of a miracle. Later, God did not hide His love for mankind but made it known by offering His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice to complete the plan of salvation for every human being. God also does selective hiding. He hides His power, reveals His love. He hides His anger, reveals His mercy. He hides His judgements and reveals His promises and grace. He also operates on the principle that treasures are not kept in the open and public spaces but hidden away from view, to be brought out when needed. Jesus told His disciples, “ You believe Me because you see Me. But more blessed are those who believe without seeing.” To believe without seeing is the way to greater blessedness. God’s hiddenness is necessary for our blessedness.
To illustrate with a modern pre-natal parable, twins in a womb were having a conversation. One of them said, “ The world is dark. There is no life outside this womb.” The other twin said, “ No, there is a person called mother out there.” The first one retorted, “ if there is one, we would see her.” “ We cannot see her as she surrounds us and she is much bigger. But we can feel her loving presence. All of our nourishment and protection comes to us from her through this pipe”, he said, pointing to the umbilical cord. God provides for us through the umbilical cord of faith. There is no other connecting link to His presence. A baby is formed in the womb hidden from even the parents’ eyes. It will be revealed at the right time. Similarly, many secrets and mysteries are hidden from us till it is ripe for us to see, experience, know and understand it. Even when we are in a love relationship with the hidden God, He hides His face from us when He is annoyed with us as we wilfully disobey Him even after knowing Him. He also hides His face to test our faith. He hides His truth in the Word and we need to be like miners of ore to extract the valuable truths from His Word. But in all His hiding ways, we discover that we can hide ourselves in Him in the course of our lives, in His name and in His Word and in the blood of the Lamb in different times, seasons and for different reasons. We can also hide His Word in our hearts to give us shelter in our storms, to strengthen us to face life’s great challenges. When we hide His Word in our hearts, He will reveal Himself and His presence will become palpable, practical and real.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Problem of Plenty , the Prospect of Too Little and Blessed Sufficiency

UV 1362/10,000 The Problem of Plenty versus the Prospect of Too Little
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
2 Corinthians 8 v 15

The principle of this world is to stock up for a rainy day, to accumulate and feel secure. But the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness during their sojourn to Canaan was that the one who had accumulated a lot did not have anything left over and the one who gathered a little had no lack. For when the Lord sent manna, there were some who collected manna or heaven-provided honey flakes so that they would have enough for the next day. In like manner, people of our times accumulate enough so that it would be sufficient for the next generation if not more. But just as the manna spoilt as it was kept overnight, such riches do not outlast the one who spent so much time in aggrandisement. But the one who was contented with what God had provided, he had no lack or deficiency. His need was fully satisfied. The Lord increases the mileage of our limited resources. He multiplies our resources when we commit it to Him as the little boy who faithfully handed over without protest or remonstration the few little lumps of bread and fish to Jesus. Nothing is too little, no challenge too great for Him for He is the great multiplier. Nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him. The blessing of His hand and the pronouncing of His lips of thanksgiving for the provision was sufficient to make the baskets overflow with leftovers after 5000 were fed.

It is written in scripture that He withholds no good thing from him who loves Him. God sees what is the focus of our hearts and what are our priorities in life. He desires like a good parent that we are found lacking in nothing in the following ten critical areas: physical health, emotional and mental health, finances, spiritual well being, familial and filial well being, social esteem, character and accomplishment. Jesus said, “ I have come that you may have life and life in all its abundance.” He wants us to realize our hundred per cent potential in each of the above ten areas. He delights in satisfying our need and receiving our praise and thanks for it. He delights in seeing that we are joyful. He finds no pleasure in our sorrow, our pain, our distress or frustration. If we are anchored in Him, we will be secure. Every day we need to gather enough “manna” or spiritual truth from His Word to last us the whole day. Manna is man’s necessities provided by God in all areas. By definition man needs manna. We need not try to collect more manna than we can apply in our daily lives.

Our source of security should not be our money or possessions but the Lord Himself. We need to trust God that He will provide enough and more for our need. He will not only meet our need but give us in such measure that we will be able to share it and help the needy. When we give of what God has given us, it breaks the hold that money and possessions naturally have on our attention. Just as birds of the air do not worry about shelter, clothes, food or drink, we do not need to worry about how our need will be met. We need to recognize the spiritual truth – better a little with abundance of peace of mind than a lot with strife. Very often when we collect abundant material and monetary resources, we find that our peace and joy shrink proportionately. There seems to be some trade off between peace and prosperity. Excessive prosperity reduces our dependence on the Lord. It begins to take the place of God in our hearts for where our treasure is stored, there our hearts will be. Those who possess a lot should think they have little and those who possess a little should think they have a lot. Our sense of self worth should not increase or decline with the fluctuations of our income or wealth. Some people go into severe mental depression when they go through a phase of financial loss. Some are able to bounce back due to their faith and attitude. The latter think like Job, “What God has given, He has taken.” Such faith enables people to be resilient and to be able to survive famine even as they enjoy times of plentiful harvest. They realize that these are but different seasons in our lives in order to prune us, shape us and groom us for our eternal destiny. They only need the blessing of the hand of Jesus and the pronouncing of thanksgiving for the abundant provision even before they see it with their eyes or experience it.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Concept of Ownership, Stewardship and Resource Dedication

UV 1361-10,000 The Concept of Ownership, Stewardship and Resource Dedication
And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them
Matthew 21 v 3
The concept of ownership and entitlement is so deeply ingrained in our nature that we dig in our heels with donkey-like stubbornness when we are asked to give something that belongs to us to be put to use by others. Many of us instead of lending our donkey to the Lord, act like stubborn donkeys in gripping what the Lord needs between our grated teeth and refuse to let go. The Lord Jesus in his foreknowledge knew that an ass and a foal were tied to a tree in the village near Bethany and Bethphage. He knew He needed an ass and a foal that morning to fulfil the prophecy that He, the Messiah, would come humbly riding on an ass but He did not believe in asking his disciples to save up enough to buy it in advance. He had plumbed the heart of the owner of the donkey and foal and knew what lay in his heart. He knew that he would release it without demur or resistance as long as he heard the word that it was meant for the Lord. As the Lord of the universe, the creator of all creatures here on earth, it was His prerogative to ask what He needs and when He needs it. It is our pleasant responsibility to straightaway give it to Him to put our time, our money, our talents, our gifts, our intelligence, our ideas, our resources, our position, our powers, our network, our lives to use. The donkey saw the man who fed and tended it to be its owner and master. How much more we need to see the Lord as our owner and Master. We need to dedicate all of our lives, our relationships and resources to the Lord. We would anyway have had none of these things except the Lord gave it to us to possess and enjoy. We can possess without possessiveness. We should not ask any questions or show reluctance but instead deem it our privilege and honour to give of it to the Lord. It is a sign of His lordship over us.
The Lord is the Master of our lives. He is the real owner of all that we are blessed with. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Till such time He needs it or asks for it, we need to maintain, care and develop it. The donkey and the foal were tied to a tree so that they do not wander away. We need to be good stewards of what the Lord has given into our care. The Lord did not ask every thing that the man and his family owned. He graciously asked only the donkey and the foal. The garments and clothes to lay upon the donkey and foal were provided by the disciples and the people. The Lord knows the specific gifts that we have or that we own which He can put to use. The donkey and the foal are a metaphor for what we can give from our lives that will carry the Lord and His work a little further to where He wants to be. The Lord Jehovah asked Abraham for the life of his precious only son Isaac as a test of his faith and obedience. He may ask of us our lives, the lives of our near and dear, our possessions, our talents, our time, our attention, our children. We need to trust Him as the owner of the donkey did. These are safer and better used in His hands than ours. The donkey and foal were sent along with the very ropes that tied them. We too should be willing, able and wise to give it up lock, stock and barrel.

It might not be the Lord directly asking for our resource. It could be His representative, a disciple or a man of God. What we are willing to give up will determine what we get. When the Lord gives us a vision, He will also make the provision to fulfil it. The vision is the plan or outline. His grace will fill in all the details. Like the unnamed owner of the donkey and foal, the Lord has prepared people right through space and time to pitch in with whatever is needed at just the right time. We might never know the names but surely the Lord knows them and blesses them for He is no man’s debtor. Every day we must ask the Lord what He needs of us that day and hasten to provide it. There is no mention of the donkey and foal being returned to its earthly owner as once a creature is used of the Lord, there is no greater fulfilment of purpose, no greater blessing. There is no loss in any investment made in the kingdom of God. Lending to the Lord is the highest and noblest use of our resources and lives. The call of this uni-verse is not to give up the ownership of the donkey of our lives but to give up the “donkey of ownership” to the Lord, implying that we tend to give up only what we do not need in terms of money and other resources to the Lord. We assess and give up the asses to the Lord and try to keep the assets for ourselves.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Better Part of Communication

UV 1360/10,000 The Better Part of Communication
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
James 1 v 19
This uni-verse gives us an insight into the secret of effective communication. Communication which is about building bridges of understanding with people is not only about speaking but about listening. The better and greater part of communication is listening. Listening should precede and follow our speech. We need to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slower still in getting angry. A major part of our lives should be spent listening and a lesser part in speaking. A good communicator needs to be first of all, a good listener. The ears are the only organs made in such a way that they are always open. They are the mouths that feed the mind and heart. We need to hear God and apply His word. We need to listen to people and assimilate the wisdom in their words. We should spend time analysing God’s word as well as the things people say. Pause and poise is more important than pace. The primary way the Lord increases us in wisdom, knowledge and understanding is through hearing His word.

Words are powerful. God used words to create the universe. But words used in excess or in an untimely way can be destructive. We need to listen to understand the words of others, to understand their feelings, motives and thoughts behind the words they speak. We should listen not only with our ears but with our eyes and with our spirits and minds. Jesus listened with sensitivity, empathy and compassion. He could hear the afflicted woman’s need and touch even in a pressing crowd. He listened to and did not ignore children. We have a natural tendency to give more importance to speaking than to listening. We have a natural tendency to speak swiftly. But once a word is spoken it cannot be unspoken. The damage is done. When we speak less and listen more, our words tend to be wise and valuable. We need to take time to formulate our thoughts and chose our words wisely such that they do not hurt or harm others or harm our own prospects. It is often our egos that cause us to speak swiftly and angrily without listening.

We need to be slow to display our emotions in our speech. We need to contain our anger and not spill or spew it out. Like reins control the power of the horse to make it go where the rider wants it, we need to have an invisible rein on our tongues and our temper. We need to develop some filters so that our speech whenever it emerges comes out as pure and distilled wisdom, so that our words are apt, effective and beneficial to the listeners. The time others spend speaking in vain we should use to gather and store wisdom that will come in handy during our conversations. We need to pray for wisdom and grace to be able to control our tongues and our temper. Scripture says that we will be judged for every deliberate and careless word we speak. We should not allow anger, bitterness and pride to cloud our understanding. Instead of anger, our words should display the love, grace and goodness of the Lord. The mouth cannot speak what the heart is not full of. The mouth speaks due to an overflow of emotions from the heart. If we store positive thoughts and emotions and deal with the negative ones, our communication which should consist of two thirds of listening and one third with speech will be effective, useful and beneficial to all.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 20, 2015

Focus Forfeits Failure

UV 1359/10,000 Focus Forfeits Failure
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Philippians 1 v 20

A magnifying lens collects and focuses the rays of light of the sun on a focal point- particular limited area so that it gets the warmth, the heat and catches fire in due course. When we focus, we forfeit failure and misery. Similarly, each of us is expected to be a magnifying lens for the light of Jesus to be collected and focussed in an intensified degree on the dry faith and hope of the hearts and souls of people so that they feel the warmth of Jesus, the heat of the Holy Spirit and in due course, their lives too catch the fire. It is a creative fire- a limited and controlled experience of divine energy. It is an irony that the sun which is such a mighty ball of fire can make use of a tiny magnifying lens to focus and magnify its heat. Similarly, the mighty Son of God uses you and me as a magnifying lens. We magnify Him in all the positive and good that we think, speak and do. We also diminish Him in the negative things we think, speak and do. When we are unduly proud, we are put to shame. When we fail, we are ashamed. When we boast without justification we will be embarrassed when our claims are found to be empty and vain. When we are disappointed in our hope, we are ashamed. When we are confused or understood something wrongly and we are proven wrong, we are ashamed. When we are deceived or deluded, we are ashamed. Focus forfeits failure and defeats fear. We should so live that we ought not to be ashamed in anything that we have spoken or done. We will not be ever ashamed if we are sound in our knowledge and practice of the Word. A testimonial life magnifies the name of the Lord. The word is magnified by the focus of faith into actions, the actions are magnified into experience of blessings and the experience is magnified into exaltation of the Lord, the Sun of Righteousness.

It is our earnest faith and sincere hope in Christ that needs to be fanned into full flame in our hearts and souls. We must not let go of the handle of the magnifying lens- rationality and good sense. We need to be confident and bold in our witness of our faith. We need to spend time in waiting with expectation for the Lord’s grace and glory to manifest in and through our lives. We should set our faces like flint or be determined to do the will and word of God. The Word is much bigger than us. We can hide in Him. Yet He humbles Himself such that we can hide His Word in our hearts and souls much like solar panel batteries store up the energy as the sun shines and releases it whenever required. We need to store energy when the sun shines and not make hay while the sun shines. Making hay while the sun shines implies to live and work only for our own selfish gain and self gratification without a larger purpose in life. It is such hay that catches destructive fire when the sun’s scorching heat hits it.

Nothing we say about the Lord as we try to magnify Him in our lives is empty boast. For He is always able to do much more than what any man can boast. We are able to magnify Him better and more when we are clear and not confused about our beliefs and the teachings of the Lord. We can magnify the Lord by growing and increasingly using the gifts, talents and abilities the Lord has given us freely. We can also magnify the Lord by amplifying the whisper of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. In order to magnify, the lens should be kept clean and unbroken. We need to keep our lives clean and whole in order to magnify the name of the Lord. When we magnify the Lord with continual praise, worship and thanksgiving, He enlarges our vision, our lives, our blessings and our impact. We can magnify the Lord in our lives as in our death as nothing that happens to us, nothing we do or experience will be in vain or purposeless.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Whose We Are?

UV 1358/10,000 Whose We are?
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1 v 21
Each of us is so small a part of a much, much larger canvas or universe that to determine whose we are is more important than who we are. Knowing whose we are will in fact establish who we are or our identity will be revealed and defined therein, our purpose discovered, the mystery of our destiny unveiled. Paul knew that he belonged to Christ who revealed Himself in a blinding vision to him while he was on the road to Damascus to arrest and persecute the early followers of Christ. He now realized that his life was meant to serve the Lord and to make Him known. It was the defining moment of his life. Each of us need to have such a defining moment in our lives when we will clearly know whose we are. It brought about a change of direction for Saul who later became St Paul. He continued on his journey to Damascus but his purpose changed. He went to receive healing of his spiritual blindness. His great zeal without knowledge had blinded him with hatred. Hereafter, zeal combined with knowledge would take him on many eventful journeys to make Christ known through the then known world. Christ, the very Christ he hated had become the “be all and end all” of his life.

Paul knew his destiny or the end of his earthly sojourn would take him to an infinitely better place. Therefore, he considered to die would be like a promotion where he would receive the reward of eternal life. He viewed bodily death as an opportunity to experience eternal life. He would meet with his Lord and Saviour. Yet he preferred to make the sacrifice to continue to live so that his life’s purpose would be fulfilled in making Christ known. A change in perspective had transformed the ace persecutor into the leading messenger of Jesus. His former perspective was that he needed to kill, torture, chase and persecute the followers of the new fangled faith in order to prove his zeal for God. It brought him the approval of the Jewish hierarchy and his then master, the high priest. The new perspective and his new vision, passion and mission brought him the approval of God.

Every believer needs to do a cost-benefit analysis of his or her life as a whole and invest it where it matters most. The change in perspective will give us courage, confidence and calmness as we face the big hurdles and challenges that come our way in pursuit of our vision, passion and mission in this life. We will be able and equipped to run with our eyes fixed on the author and finisher of our faith. Whose we are will determine who we are and what we gain or lose.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Leadership - A Two Way Process

UV 1357/10,000 Leadership – The Two Way Process

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

I Timothy 6 v 11

Leadership is a two way process. It is the result of the tension between opposites, between fleeing from the negative and destructive and running after or obsessing and pursuing a principle-based life. A leader needs to flee from temptations, moral traps, foolish and hurtful lusts. He needs to put some distance between these negatives and self and keep increasing the distance so that they never catch up or overtake him. At the same time, he needs to pursue or follow actively after righteousness godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness. He needs to put away the former and put on the latter. He needs to be at the latter and beat or overcome the former. He needs to reinforce the positive qualities or attributes and values and negate, weaken or defeat the negative qualities and attributes. When he does so, he is trying to be perfect and trying to imitate God and Christ. Fleeing from the enemy of our souls is one part or one half of our responsibility. Following the example of Jesus is the better half. When we are doing both, we are truly living fully and following fully. We are living the abundant life, a life overflowing with grace and glory. When we are doing both, we are transformed from being mere followers into leaders. God wants His greatness and goodness to be reflected daily in our lives. It is interesting to see how Paul’s epistle to his mentoree Timothy in the first letter in I Timothy chapter 3 verses 1 to 13 talks about godly or servant leaders while in the second letter in II Timothy chapter 3 verses 1 to 13 talks about worldly or serpent leaders. He was exhorting Timothy as in this uni-verse to avoid, defeat, overcome the one and to follow, practice and be the other.

Evil weakens the human will. Our spirits should not be adulterated with that which is impure or evil. We need to die to the negatives and live for the positives. This is the thought process that underlies scripture. It is the process for renewing our minds, or renewing our thoughts and emotions and to reinvigorate our wills or the capacity to make decisions and follow through on decisions. Joseph renewed his vision for his life by constantly reviewing the God-given dreams he saw as a youth. This enabled him to flee from the temptation of succumbing to the seduction and adultery of Potiphar’s wife. He pursued righteousness while in prison. He pursued godliness, love, patience and meekness. It brought him divine favour and kingly favour in due time. Joseph showed love and patience when he wept and embraced his brothers- the very ones who conspired to sell him into slavery.

Faith is just a just foundation to justify us or align us with the plan and vision of God for our lives. We need to edify, sanctify and glorify it further. To edify means to build, strengthen and cause it to grow, to mature. To sanctify means to purify or cause our lives and character to conform to the image of God. To glorify means to allow God’s grace and power to flow freely in our lives so that it pleases God, it glorifies Him. For a beautiful edifice or building to come up in a plot where an old house stands, the old house has to be demolished, the foundations dug up, the debris carried away till the last stone and brick is removed and then, the new structure comes up. First, the foundation is dug deep and laid, the pillars come up, the walls are bricked in, the floors tiled, the building is then painted, furnished and finished. Leadership, similarly is a demolition and building process in which humility is the leit motif or continual thread, patience is the cement, righteousness and godliness are the walls and love is the summit.

Prateep V Philip

The Jethro Paradigm of Leadership

UV 1356/10,000 The Jethro Paradigm of Leadership
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens
Exodus 18 v 21
Leadership, it is said, is a combination of strategy and character. If one has to do without one, it is strategy and not character. Jethro, could be called the real father of management and the concept of godly leadership. Jethro was not a Jew but a Midianite. Yet he feared God. Leadership and wisdom is not the preserve of any one individual or nation. It can come from strange or unexpected quarters. Jethro observed that his son-in-law Moses was wearing himself and the people down by bearing the entire responsibility of hearing their grievances and trying to resolve it. He advised Moses to select men whom Moses should train and teach in applying the law and God’s word. He asked him to choose able men who fear God as fearing God would keep them humble, wise and not become arrogant. Fearing God implied that they would accept the counsel of God received through Moses. Fearing God implied that they acknowledged God Himself as their ultimate leader. They should also be men of integrity, just men who loved the truth and lived the truth, men who hated covetousness and therefore, would be contented and not take bribes or falsely favour one against the other. Ability is subordinated to character. Character comes before competence in the leadership paradigm. Jethro does not major on ability. He takes it as a given, a starting point or assumption. He did not give any place to strategy. Leadership to him was a combination of relationship between God and leader, between leader and followers and of ability and character. In short, Jethro’s leadership paradigm was a combination of relationship, ability and character.

Only persons with such leadership qualities ought to be given responsibility and authority over others. Moses was taught the principle of delegation by Jethro. Moses was to be left free to commune with God, hear from Him and convey it to the leaders appointed over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Only the very difficult or great matters were to be brought to Moses while the layers of leaders below would deal with all other matters according to the gravity or importance of the issue. The Hebrew race was used in Egypt to build pyramids but the pyramid became the metaphor for the spiritual bureaucracy to be set up by Moses and his consultant Jethro. Moses should be given credit for listening to his father in law’s wise advice. Jesus reversed the hierarchical pyramid and went right to the bottom of the pyramid to become the servant of all. He discipled just twelve apostles and ministered to hundreds and thousands. His teachings and example transformed the lives of the apostles and touched the lives of thousands. The latter then taught thousands and that multiplied into millions and even billions through history.

Instead of a pyramid structure today, we should have an core inner circle of leader’s protégées. They in turn would have an outer circle whom they influence and that circle of people would influence a larger circle. We can think and pray globally and influence globally. Each person’s span of direct impact cannot extend beyond ten to twelve persons whom one can invest his or her life into. But the core principles of leadership remains the same from the time of Jethro: ability or competence to assume responsibility and to lead, loving and living the Word, fear of God, avoiding covetousness or greed and lust, humility and integrity, receiving wisdom and counsel from the Lord. A period of training, mentoring or discipleship should precede a life of ministry. The person mentoring should be someone who has a direct connect with God, a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, who is consistent in his or her walk with God. A person should not be pitchforked into leading thousands but go through phases of leading tens, fifties, hundreds and finally, thousands.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 16, 2015

Turning Sinners into Winners

UV 1355/10,000 Turning Sinners into Winners
Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
Deuteronomy 33 v 3

God so loved the children of Jacob, the nation of Israel that He sent Moses, redeeming him first from a watery grave among the papyrus reeds in the Nile, to redeem them from slavery to Pharaoh. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son begotten of a woman, Jesus to redeem us from our slavery to sin and death. We are no longer sinners or losers but winners over death and sin. Christ the perfect son of God and perfect man dying on the cross, with forgiveness on his lips and in His heart, is the ultimate and absolute demonstration and proof of the love of God. Now neither troubles nor hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness or danger or sword or guns or bombs or diseases can separate us from the love of Christ. Neither can death or life, angels or demons, height or depth of misery or glory, nor anything else in heaven or on earth can separate us from the love of God that is demonstrated in Jesus. The evidence of this inseparable love is the hundreds of believers who have been slaughtered and tortured like sheep by cruel ISIS executioners in the troubled lands of the Middle East. They died without denying their faith in such absolute love. They died without murmur as they were anaesthetised by a vision of the love and glory of God. Now these martyrs are translated as saints in His hand and are at His hand. They are winners over fear and hatred. They are more than conquerors as the latter feared death even as they fought bravely but they submitted to death with only the name of Jesus on their lips and love in their hearts even for those who so cruelly slayed them.

The greatest honour is to be declared a saint by faith and grace. The greatest teacher is Jesus. Paul learnt at the feet of the greatest teacher of the time Gamaliel but it only taught him pride, stubbornness and hatred. But his life began to be transformed the moment he heard the voice of Jesus. There was a dramatic change in vision, in his priorities and in his actions. Where earlier he hated people with different beliefs than his, he now loved them. Where earlier he sought to harm and kill them, he now sought to bless and equip them to be winners like him.
The Lord loves the Jews as He made a covenant with their ancestor Abraham. The closest thing to a covenant in earthly terms is marriage. It is the deepest, unbreakable and most personal relationship of love. He loves us when we make a covenant with Him believing in His Word that we hear and receive. Our bonds with God in Christ are now indissoluble and eternal, outlasting death, troubles, vicissitudes of life. We learn at His feet. We learn from the best teacher to be the best. His words have a sufficient answer for every question of man. His words are beyond human knowledge and wisdom. His words are nourishment and sanctification. We are now declared winners in our lives. We are also winners of souls for the Lord. We and the Lord are inseparable. We have no destiny apart from Him, no power, no purpose, no meaning apart from Him. In Him, with Him is our destiny fulfilled, our power manifest, our purpose attained, meaning imparted to all that happens in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weapons of Offence and Defence

UV 1354/10,000 Weapons of Defence and Offence
Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Deuteronomy 33 v 29

The word “happy” in scripture is used synonymous with “blessed.” There is no way a man can be truly happy except he be blessed by the Lord. Even though Abraham showed how blessed he was to be a Friend of God, his grandson Jacob just two generations from him tried to steal blessings. Jacob ran away from home and God. He then struggled with the angel of God and did not let go till he was blessed. As human beings we have certain common unique gifts like the ability to understand, the ability to communicate, the gift of faith or to be able to believe that which we cannot perceive, the ability to imagine. Besides these common gifts of humanity, we have some spiritual gifts that are unique: the gift to teach, the gift of healing, the gift of hospitality, the gift of administration. Then some of us have further unique gifts of seeing visions and dreams and to be able to interpret these, the gift of prophecy. But the uni-verse above states that our uniqueness like our happiness does not rest on our unique gifts and abilities but the saving hand of the Lord. We are not saved by our own hands or our own efforts but salvation is provided by the Lord. As we yield our hearts and souls to Him, He becomes our shield of help. He shields us as our Ebenezer. He helps us overcome our inner weaknesses as well as external threats, visible and invisible, known and unknown. Like a shield He surrounds us in 360 degrees and 24 hours x 365 days of all the years we live. But just as a shield is useless unless we maintain a tight grip on its handle, we need to hold on for dear life to the Lord and not let go anytime. The Lord has a responsibility to guard us even as we have a response to show. His help comes to us through the Holy Spirit, through His word and the fulfilment of His promises, through natural means like other people and circumstances, through supernatural means like angels and miracles.

In one hand we need to take hold of the shield of faith while in the other we need a firm grip on the sword of the Word, the sword of execution, the obedience to His commands. This will power us on the path of excellence, the pursuit of moral and all round perfection. The promises of God to defend and help us then are our shield of salvation while the commands to be strong, to be faithful, to be loving, to forgive, to be diligent, to be wise are our sword, the weapon of offence. There are times in all our lives when we like Jacob tried to steal blessings, tried to run away from God and struggle with Him. But now we know that we have salvation and blessing as we yield our hearts completely to Him. When we are availing the help of the Lord and also taking a stand of faith with the sword to resist the advances of the world, we will be credible witnesses, blessed of the Lord.

When we correctly and skilfully handle the shield and sword, the Lord will enable us to be victorious. The enemy of our souls and his agents on earth will be put to shame as liars. The Lord will fight the battle for us and put them to rout. Their accusations will found to be false. The Word combines in it defensive power for protection or defence as well as offensive power for victory. We need to discern which are the “shield” verses and which are the “sword” verses in scripture. When we avail the strength and power of God in this manner, we will prevail. Our struggle is not with God or with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers of darkness that want to rob, steal, kill, harm and destroy.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Overflowing Power, Glory and Grace

UV 1353/10,000 Overflowing Power, Glory and Grace
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy
Jude 1 v 24

There is no scope for regret or procrastination in our lives. The Lord wants our lives to be full of “exceeding joy”. It is called exceeding joy as it exceeds our abilities, our hopes, our dreams, our expectations, our imagination, our understanding, our circumstances. There is no excuse for sloppy work or wilful sinning. The Lord’s will is that we be perfect like the Father in heaven. He does not want us to fall short of God’s glory. Collectively, we are called to be the perfect bride and individually, each of us is called to be a perfect part of a perfect body. The Lord is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless by His grace. The words, “ unto Him” implies that all perfection, power and glory is sourced from the Lord and belongs to Him and Him alone. Our prayers are directed to Him and our attribution should also go to Him for grace and glory. God’s grace is needed to keep us from falling into sin and temptation. God’s grace is needed to keep our eyes from tears.

We are introduced to each other as common people but we are presented to royalty. When I was introduced to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II , the diplomat reported that I was “ presented” to the Queen. It is deemed to be a privilege and honour. Similarly, an ambassador on assuming charge at a new post presents his credentials to the Head of government in that country. Similarly, at the end of our earthly sojourn we are presented by Jesus to the Father as someone who has fought the good fight and won the race. He would say, “He/she was our ambassador on earth and he/she did a good job."
When we so much as enter and abide in the glorious presence of Jesus, we are filled with exceeding joy. When vessels however big are kept under a gushing torrent or a waterfall, it fills in no time and keeps overflowing. Similarly, when we are in the presence of the Lord, our cups are no longer half full or half empty but overflowing with grace. Our strength to endure should be in excess or abundance beyond rational explanation. Our capacity to forgive should be generous, beyond natural limits. Our patience or ability to wait should be exceptional. Our love for God and for man should be overpowering. Our faith and hope should be beyond all rational standards. Our vision should also be far beyond our own lifetime. Our creativity, influence and impact should also be amazingly excessive.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Graph of Faith and Life

UV 1352/10,000 The Graph of Faith and Life

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2 Corinthians 4 v 17

Our troubles in this present time and lifetime, however big and heavy, are light, momentary and small in comparison with the eternal reward that awaits us in the hereafter, the crown of glory. We will exchange our mourning clothes for the raiment of salvation. Our lives itself will seem like only a night of wailing while laughter and joy comes in the morning. However big our troubles and tribulations are, God is much greater. The earth is a tiny speck in comparison with the biggest star. Similarly, our troubles though they are so painful and so close to our faces and so present in our thoughts are just a speck in comparison with God’s grace and glory.

The Lord allows troubles and afflictions not as it gives Him pleasure to see His children suffering but to bring about a change in perspective from the temporary and fading “temporal” to the unfading and permanent eternal. Only a change in perspective can bring about a change in priorities. Only a change in priorities can create a change in our attitudes and actions. He wants to change our perspective so that we cease to be managers working for an earthly reward but leaders with a vision working for an eternal reward.
The Lord turns our sorrows into joys, our sackcloth of grief into the joy of celebration in His presence. Satan throws many fiery darts to extinguish the flame of our faith but the Lord catches these darts and turns it into a cross of blessing in our lives. Without the experience of pain, no character is forged, faith is neither tested nor purified and strengthened. Sorrow deepens the etches of character and wisdom in our lives. The cross presents the perspective “graphically”. We are to live our lives on two planes- the horizontal beam of the cross represents X axis, the course of our lives, our experiences in flesh and blood, our human relationships and pursuits. All the negative experiences are to the left of the point of origin and all the positive experiences to the right of X, the point of origin. The X axis shows how we relate to people and problems. The Y axis shows our eternal journey. The X and Y points meet and intersect for us to be able to mark, map and plot our values. All the points below the point of origin are our attempts to draw back from the Lord, our spiritual failings and weaknesses, our doubts and fears, our withholding and backsliding from the Lord. All the points above X, the point of origin are our love for the Lord, our faith, our daily discipline of intake of the Word and relating to the Lord in prayer and in all our conversation and thoughts. All of our positive and negative experiences point to and both begin and end in X, a symbol for Christ. Our reward is guaranteed but the extent of reward is determined by the values we demonstrate in the X+Y+ sector of the graph. The Lord knows that we are not in control of what happens to us but He is watching how we react or respond to what happens to us. The X factor that drives us through and keeps us going whatever happens is faith, hope and grace.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Shortest, Toughest but Most Delightful Journey

UV 1351/10,000 The Shortest , Toughest But Most Delightful Journey
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119 v 97
The law is a double edged weapon for it can make the one who heeds and obeys it to climb up while it causes the one who disregards it to stumble and fall. The Word of God contains the DNA of the Lord. It shows us the image to which each of us should conform to. When we love the Word, we will treasure it in our hearts and minds. The most difficult distance to cross for every human being is the 12 inches between his mind and his heart. The Word needs to stay sufficiently long in our minds to intermingle with our innermost thoughts, deepest emotions and most important decisions. We need to meditate on it all day and all night it will be like health-producing medicine working in the innards of our being even as we sleep. We need to pray and meditate on it 24x7. Just as a cow ruminates and chews on its cud 18 times, we need to bring the Word from our minds into our mouths, share it, speak it, chew it 24 times- once every hour. From our mouths, send it back to our minds for further processing, relishing, nourishing and then back to our mouths till it is ready to be assimilated forever into our hearts and spirits. Once it travels to our hearts, it is ready to bless us and make us a blessing.
The whole trouble is that our minds are like a reverse sieve. It retains what is negative and releases what is good and positive. Hence, we need to have a thought process that is constantly renewing our minds, purifying our thoughts and emotions and strengthening our will. We need to so remember the specific portion of scripture the Lord speaks to us each day in such a way that it affects or sanctifies all the members of our bodies- the intellect, the tongue, the appetite, our limbs, our eyes and ears. If we are just superficially skimming the Word, it does not penetrate to all these members and as a result as St Paul writes- a different law-the law of sin will operate in the members of our bodies and it will be in conflict with the higher law of God that operates in our minds.

The love for as well as of God manifests itself in the Word. David wrote in the Psalms that had he not loved the Word, he would have perished in his afflictions. Our afflictions or troubles take on meaning in fact when we love the Word and meditate on it all day and night as we will learn the purpose of it and its alignment with the will of God. The Word becomes a map and a compass, an anchor and a rock for us in the ups and downs and rough and tumble of life. It introduces certainty, assurance, security, dynamism and stability in the midst of change and turmoil. Loving the Word means not just being contented with reading a portion here and there and now and then but it means delighting in recalling it, searching for the inner meaning of each word and its practical application in our lives. We need to find the hidden meaning and delight in hiding in it. Each new discovery should cause us to rejoice just as a gold miner exults on finding fine gold in the deeper shafts of the mine. The Word will quicken or bring to life our dormant understanding and gifts of wisdom, knowledge and insight.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Law of Liberty

UV 1350/10,000 The Law of Liberty

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
James 2 v 12
We should think, speak and act as people who are under the law of liberty or the Word of God. Knowledge is power while wisdom is liberty. It is said that the management of the invisibles and intangibles in our lives is the most challenging aspect of life. The Word imparts skills in managing our invisibles. The application of the knowledge of the Word to every thought, word and deed gives us wisdom and liberty from the law of sin, death and punishment. We are not judged according to human law that punishes the negative words and acts of human beings but has little to do with rewards for the positive words and actions. Human laws are about what we should not do. It tells us what we are not to do and not about what we ought to do. It is framed and worded negatively. It only prescribes the minimum standards to obtain order and a modus vivendi. It induces fear and a reluctant obedience out of the fear of penalties we might suffer. But God’s law liberates us from sin, death and punishment. We are now under the jurisdiction of the grace of God. It is a higher law. We are set free from the fear of the future, the fear of the unknown. We are set free thereby from the chains of guilt, worry or anxiety. We are set free from the prisons of the self.

Our yardstick for measuring or judging ourselves and others is not the relative standards of man but the absolute standards of God. We are freed from the fear of punishment and instead given the hope of eternal life and eternal rewards. God’s law sentences us to a life of blessing, peace and love. God’s law is a deep work. It does not just deal with conformity to law at a superficial level. We attempt to take every thought and emotion captive to the Word or in other words every thought, word and action is ruled by the Word. Such captivity to the perfect law is freedom or liberty. There is an expression, “to err on the side of caution.” Likewise, we err on the side of goodness, generousity, faithfulness, courage and truthfulness. We cannot be judged by anything on earth but we can judge everything in the sense whether it is in conformity with God’s Word and will. In spiritual terms we can rule over the nations but no one will be able to rule over us or judge us.

Our faith justifies us or sets us right with God , the Word sanctifies us and our works glorify God. Instead of thinking in what way are we benefitted monetarily or materially in everything we do, we begin to think about what is true, what is noble, what is just, what is honest, pure, lovely, praiseworthy, honourable and virtuous. We are set free from what is small, lowly and mean. Instead of thinking, speaking and acting to try to bring credit , praise and glory to ourselves, we focus on bringing glory to God in all that we speak and do. We are set free from the tendency to fatten our own egos or to work for our own self gratification and aggrandisement. Instead of judging our success or failure in worldly terms, we begin to see the ups and downs in our lives from a godly perspective.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Life Enhancing, Enriching, Ennobling, Enabling and Enduring Combination

UV 1349/10,000 A Life Enhancing, Enriching, Ennobling, Enabling and Enduring Combination
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Proverbs 22 v 4
Riches are not in itself bad. The doctrine of renunciation of wealth in order to be godly is a man-made doctrine. It is in fact stated in scripture that it is the Lord who gives a person the ability to make riches. True riches begin,accrue and accumulate deep within a human being. An animal cannot be part of such an enriching or ennobling process. A man cannot be any richer than who he is. True riches are holistic- it is not spiritual alone or material alone. It is a combination of emotional, intellectual, practical, familial, social and spiritual riches. Honour is also considered a desirable thing. A successful , abundant and eternal life is also a blessing from the Lord. The best things in life are not achieved but bestowed by the grace of the Lord. His favour rests on those who humble themselves to believe in the Lord. The day or moment we realize we are collectively and individually next to nothing, that God is everything, we can become something in partnership with Him. Humility is not modesty among men but a submission to God, an acknowledgement and dependence on God’s grace in every aspect of our lives.
Humility and the fear of the Lord are a life-giving, life enhancing, enriching, enabling and enduring combination. The fear of the Lord implies that we will love His name and His Word for these are the two things from the eternal world that is given to us for sure, everything else came from human tradition, custom or man-made doctrine, religion or rules. When we love His name, He manifests Himself as saviour, guide, protector, provider, teacher, healer, advocate, friend, king, master, fortress and rock of salvation. He will animate the inanimate for us. He will breathe life into the dead or decaying parts of our lives. When we set our love upon His name, He will give us abundant life here and now and after that eternal life as promised in the Psalms. When we love His Word, we will grow in wisdom, stature or the esteem of God and the favour of God and man.
When we trust God, love His promises and fear to disobey His commands, we become heirs to all the blessings in the first fourteen verses in Deuteronomy Chapter 28 and we are protected from all the curses in the remaining 54 verses of the same chapter. Normally, riches, honour and a good life unaccompanied by humility and the fear of the Lord are sufficient to make human beings feel superior, proud, arrogant, selfish, covetous, lustful, boastful, merciless, deceitful and unfaithful. The Giver is replaced with the given. But the Lord wants to equip us with character so that we can handle these blessings with the proper and consistent attitudes. Humility will enable us to realize that none of these blessings came to us on account of our merits or abilities. The fear of the Lord will enable us to realize that any or all of these blessings can be taken away in a moment at the time of the Lord’s choosing.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Gain of Contentment

UV 1348/10,000 The Gain of Contentment
But godliness with contentment is great gain
I Timothy 6 v 6
Godliness with contentment brings us much spiritual, emotional, relational, intellectual, generational, psychological gain. Discontentment that afflicts so many in today’s world produces much strife and misery. Many are pierced with sorrows due to the love of money or lack of contentment. The more they earn monetarily, the more they want and the greater is their lack of peace and inner joy. They also end up doing many foolish or wicked things that they will regret all their lives. They also worry about how to safeguard what they have earned. They worry about their successors and heirs. Contentment brings in its wake physical health and well being. It makes one wise and pleasing to God. It enables people to strive for righteousness or perfection and thereby they catch up with excellence.

The opposite is also true: ungodliness and discontentment is great pain. It affects families and marriages. People work hard all their lives to build large houses and fortunes only to find their homes and lives are empty and broken. The stress brings with it a variety of diseases or illness. The certainty that we cannot take anything with us when we die should have a sobering or balancing effect on our earthly appetite. We need to decide how much is enough and rejoice that God has enabled us to enjoy the fruit of our labour. Contentment will give us a thankful and cheerful heart. A cheerful heart and face is good medicine for our souls and our entire being. Happiness is wanting what we get. We will rejoice in the many blessings the Lord has given us.

Many people try to become heroes in others eyes by adding many zeroes behind their ones. Scripture says that those who are covetous will be lead into many temptations, snares and lusts of the eye and of the flesh. These foolish and hurtful lusts will lead to their downfall and destruction of their souls. Those who are contented find their security in the Lord. They are contented as long as God has given them food and clothes and met their basic needs. They do not want to keep up with the Joneses. They do not compete with others in amassing wealth and wait on the Lord to prosper them gradually and measure by measure. While they sleep, God will prosper them. But their hearts will not be on the earthly blessings but focussed and anchored in the Lord. They will look upon their earthly possessions as a trust for which they ought to be good stewards and managers. The assurance that God will never leave them nor forsake them is sufficient to keep them going. Since the bondage of money has no power on them, they are able to give liberally to support causes and meet needs of others. They will flee or run in the opposite direction of the world- away from such foolish and wicked lusts and instead pursue or run after the character traits God wants us to possess, the very character or nature of God, faith, love, patience and meekness. They exult with the thought that a heavenly reward or recompense awaits them at the end of a life of faith, contentment and godliness. So we find that as we run, there is a reward and there is a reward at the end of life in the hereafter and eternal. The things we have here is like the glucose runners are given to sustain them and the real reward is at the end of the race which is meant for keeps or forever.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Focus, Dimensions and Benefits of Trust

UV 1347/10,000 Focus, Dimensions and Benefits of Trust

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion
Psalm 71 v 1
The focus of trust is not other people or believers or godly people or persons in power and position. The focus of trust is God in Christ. When we commit our hearts and lives to Jesus, we are putting our trust in the Lord. There is a direct cause-effect relationship between trust and victory. The chief benefit we have is that our souls are redeemed and we will perceive an inner peace and healing of our hitherto broken relationship with God. Further, He will never let us be confused or ashamed. He will give us a clarity of vision of life and eternity and understanding of the Word so that we will have a different perspective from those who are worldly or merely religious. It is rightly said that it is perspective that differentiates a leader from a follower. Our perspective is like a funnel that will cover all the big questions of life- what is my identity? What is my destiny? What is the role of pain and pleasure and the limits of both ? What is legitimate and what is not? How do we find a balance between life and work? What is the role of money and how much is enough? What is the basis of my security? Our vision will fuse all these answers as practical concepts in our lives to give us a grip and inner strength. Concepts are the seed that produce the plants that produce the branches and the fruit that produce the seed.

Another benefit of trusting the Lord is that He will never let us be ashamed. He will not let our enemies triumph over us. He will not let us be defeated and depressed. He will revive our spirit. He will let us escape disgrace even when we do some blunders or decide on the basis of misplaced trust or errors of judgement. He will deliver us out of the hand of the wicked and malicious. Instead, He will cause shame and disgrace to overcome our enemies. He will guide us and give us wisdom. He will save us in the day of disaster. Even in the toughest situation, He will leave a silver lining in the darkest cloud, that glimmer of hope to sustain us through our days on this planet.

God says, “Trust in me with all your heart”. The phrase “ all your heart” is key. Faith can be as small as a mustard seed and still be effective. Trust has a percentage dimension. But our trust needs to be hundred per cent. Trust has a domain-specific dimension. We need to trust God wholeheartedly without reserving any area for ourselves where we depend on our own wisdom and strength or ability. We should not lean or depend on our own understanding. We need to trust God for every domain or aspect of our lives- spiritual, social, familial, physical, financial, emotional and intellectual. Trust has a time dimension. We need to trust God all through our lives and all through every day of our lives. Trust has a need dimension. We need to trust God for our need- our health and our finances. This is our daily bread. Trust has a deficiency or gap dimension. We need to trust God that His grace is sufficient for us to fill the gaps in all situations of life. Finally, trust has a witness or evidence dimension. If we trust God wholeheartedly, it will be witnessed in our attitudes, our speech, our habits, our actions, our reactions, our relationships and our crises.

Prateep V Philip


UV 1346/10,000 Restoration

Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Psalm 80 v 7

This uni-verse is repeated thrice in this one Psalm. It is a prayer to restore our spirit, our minds and our bodies. We are renewing our minds and our energy with the Word of God. We need to beseech the Lord to cause His face to shine on us so that we are saved. His face shining on us implies that we need to pray that we find favour in His eyes, that His grace be upon our entire being. His face shining on us implies that He is pleased with our faith which is the root of our relationship with Him as well as the results we produce which is the fruit of our relationship with Him. When Moses went to speak with the Lord face to face, his face shone with the glory of God. When we pray for His face to shine on us we are praying that the glory of God be seen on our own faces. He will restore to us the joy of salvation, the satisfaction of victory, the pleasure of living in union with God.

It is a prayer for restoration and renewal. We are acknowledging herein that we depend on His grace to sustain us here and now and for the salvation of our souls and eternal life. In this prayer, God is addressed as El Shaddai, the Almighty, the Lord and commander of the hosts or army of heaven. When the face of God shines on us, our lives will be blessed in a variety of ways. It is an acknowledgement that God is watching us and if it is something pleasing, good or acceptable, we would see God smiling back at us.

This uni-verse is an acknowledgement that our lives are a reflector of God ‘s image. Whatever we say and do should reflect God’s face in our lives. We should keep our lives squeaking clean and polished like a mirror or a sheet of steel. We should be like the Word of God and be an accurate mirror of the truth about God, His kingdom and His righteousness. We should not distort the impression people gather about God from our lives. It is also a prayer for restoration of our relationship with God and people. It is a prayer for restoration of our blessings and our well being. God is the first cause and the ultimate cause. He will not hesitate to move an array of forces at His command to aid or help us, to lead us, to protect and guide us. When we suffer a loss or an illness or a setback, the Lord’s face shining on us will restore our health, our finances or our strength. Whatever we have lost in the past, the Lord is willing to restore a double portion if we ask with faith. The words “ we shall be saved” reveals that we will be restored to the assurance or certainty of salvation beyond an iota of doubt.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Yield to Increase Your Yield

UV 1346/10,000 Yield and Increase Your Yield
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Isaiah 45 v 9

We human beings whatever be our status, qualification or accomplishment in life this far are but clay in the hands of our Maker. He knows we are made from the elements, the dust of the earth. Without His sustaining breath and power in us we would once again kiss the dust. We are not even pots or forms fully shaped or baked out of that clay. We are but potsherds or parts of a meaningful pattern of life. We have significance, meaning and importance, we have hope and a future only in connection with God, our Maker. We are too small and weak to be able to struggle with Him as did the ancestor of Israel, Jacob for the word “Israel” itself commemorates his struggle or wrestling with an angel of the Lord. We are blessed when we yield to Him and cursed, limited and defeated when we strive or compete with Him. We compete with Him when we do not acknowledge Him in all our ways. We compete with Him when we ignore Him and stick to our sinful ways. We strive with Him when we knowingly or unknowingly disbelieve or disobey His promises.

We cannot question His existence. We cannot question His sovereignty and His purpose in our lives. We cannot question His will for our lives. We cannot doubt His intention or His promises. The fear of the Lord inspires in us love for His Word and thereby, He increases our wisdom. The empty vessel gets cleansed from within. The vessel is prepared to carry His message of love to the rest of humanity. It now acquires a shape, strength and purpose. It is no longer a mere potsherd. We no longer compete with others but strive to improve ourselves in the light of God’s word. God’s word in man’s world is the hand of the potter gently shaping, cleansing, forming and transforming us. Everything will take a new meaning and be imbued with new passion and power from above. God has intended us to be a creative work not a destructive work. We will see and sense His unseen hands guiding, comforting, assuring and leading us. the clay , day by day.

We become the veritable extension of God’s hands in this world, the extension of His eyes and vision. We are the instruments of execution of His sovereign will. We are connected now to the mind and heart of the Lord. There is nothing that is too difficult or impossible for Him to accomplish in and through us. The gap between human reality and God’s glory or hamartia is closed. We no longer fall short of His perfect glory or fall short in terms of His standards of holiness, righteousness and greatness by the grace of the Potter Jesus. Jesus is no longer content in making us earthen pots but He desires to make us vessels of glory and greatness. He designs and re-shapes us into His very image. We now strive not with God or with other men but with our own flesh and the desires or illegitimate cravings of the flesh described in the Word as lust- lust of the flesh, pride of life and lust of the eye. But Jesus the Immaculate Potter has now changed our relationship with God from Potter-potsherd or Maker-Made to Father-Child. There is a paradigm shift in perspective from being a mere creation or creature of God to being a son or daughter of God. We are also heirs with Jesus to the promises of God. We are co-heirs of the titles, identities and inheritance of God in heaven as on earth. He will give us both victory in our struggles and rest from our struggles. Truly, when we yield to Him and to the Holy Spirit, He increases our yield. We only need to yield our egos, our wills, our hearts, our minds and different parts of our bodies, different aspects of our relationships, goals, priorities and lives to the Lord

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dreams, Visions and Their Interpretation

UV 1345/10,000 Dreams, Visions and Their Interpretation

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

Job 33 v 14

God speaks in many ways to mankind. The primary way is through His revealed Word. Those who believe, read the Word and accept what is written therein as true. He also speaks to others who do not believe through dreams. I once prayed for an astrologer upon reading his predictions of disasters in the year to come. That astrologer saw Jesus in a dream. His wife saw Jesus in a vision. Yet he did not believe in Jesus. God had spoken once in a dream, twice in a vision and yet he did not perceive it, believe it or receive it. When I asked him, he replied that he would do so on the next occasion it happened. Scripture records many instances of God’s communication of His will and purpose through dreams dreamt by prophets, rulers as well as ordinary people. Joseph saw dreams of his destiny as a youth. God took him through a series of ups and downs in his life to fulfil that destiny. Pharaoh saw dreams and Joseph interpreted it to be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Some are given the gift of interpretation of dreams and visions. There are different symbols that can be interpreted: a person wearing white clothes is a symbol of salvation. A bag with holes in it is a symbol of financial or material loss. Some dreams and visions are sent as a warning to heed or a portent of impending judgement like the hand that wrote on the wall of the palace of the Babylonian king Belteshazzar. Some dreams are a revelation of the will of God and the events to unfold in the immediate, near or distant future.

Daniel similarly interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. God spoke to Daniel through visions about the future of Israel and about the destiny of humankind. God spoke to Joseph and Mary concerning the Messiah. He spoke to the wise men who came from the East through a dream to avoid meeting Herod on the way back. Even today, God speaks through dreams and visions to us. We should be sensitive enough to perceive the dream, to recollect it and understand what it means. We should not be found to be insensitive or slow of understanding and faith not to grasp the hidden meaning of a vision or dream. We need to tune our spiritual and mental receivers so that we are on the same frequency as God. When the Lord has spoken but once, we should see and understand, hear and understand. We need not wait for a second time or a confirmation of the message of God. We should take the vision and run with it. The vision should energise us, enthuse us and convince us that God has indeed spoken and it will happen accordingly. If there are some things we need to set in order or things we need to do, we should do so without delay.

When a certain man of God prayed for the leaders of a particular town, a young man who belonged to the priestly clan of that temple town saw a dream of a woman. He understood that to be a sign from God that he should marry her should he chance upon her. The next day he saw the very same lady crossing his path and he went immediately and proposed to her. The young woman being a pastor’s daughter declined this stranger but when he persisted and the family understood that it was God’s will, she married him and that led to his eventually being a believer in Christ. The human brain never sleeps and often our conscious as well as subconscious fears surface in dreams. Sometimes, the enemy of our souls also sends bad dreams or nightmares to us while we slumber. At these times, we should pray for protection for us and our loved ones so that no bad news overtakes us in the days to come. While we sleep the Lord watches over us but we need to pray every night and ask Him to “fence” our sleep and keep us from such bad dreams and signs. Instead, we can ask Him to send us dreams and visions of divine origin and purpose that will bless us.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Open a Praisebook Account

UV 1343/10,000 Open A Praisebook Account
And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
2 Chronicles 20 v 22

Just as many people in today’s world open their Facebook account and make posts of brags in terms of snaps and comments, each of us need to open our own Praisebook account. Many people think in the natural that the only times we should praise and thank God is when things are going well for us. But scripture opens our minds to the counter intuitive method of the Israelites. The kingdom of Judah under Jehoshaphat faced a multitude of mortal and powerful enemies on many sides but when the king led the people in praise and worship of Jehovah el Shaddai, the Lord set ambushments against their powerful foes and they were defeated.

Each of us has unique experiences of God’s saving grace in our lives and we should record these posts in our Praisebook. The posts will then be our bulwark of defence, our weapon that ensures victory in life’s great battles. The uni-verse states that “as they began to sing and praise..”. It implies that the Lord does not wait for us to finish but He marshalls His supernatural forces as soon as we open our hearts and mouths to praise and worship Him. Scripture says, that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. When we praise God in any situation, adverse or favourable, we are inviting His presence into our midst and He undertakes to do on behalf of the faithful beyond their asking or imagination.

Each of us has challenges and inhibiting factors or limitations of ability, resources, knowledge, understanding and our weaknesses of character. When we praise the Lord the Lord removes our inhibitions and limitations. When St Paul was confined in a Roman prison, he and the others imprisoned with him began to sing and praise. At the time, the Lord set an “ambushment” of a different kind- an earthquake that threw open the prison doors and freed them from their shackles. We would have thought the “ambushment” happened so that Paul and others could escape from the prison. The prison commander drew his sword to kill himself but Paul called out to him that they were still around and that there was no need to despair and kill himself. The prison commander then surrendered his life to Jesus. When we open our Praisebook, the Lord sets in motion a series of miracles and miraculous breakthroughs in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 2, 2015

Anger Management

UV 1342/10,000 Anger Management

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Ephesians 4 v 26

Oftentimes in our daily lives we are provoked to anger. But the Lord understands that circumstances cause us to be angry but He warns us not to carry the anger forward into another day. It should set before the sun sets or it should be dealt with before the day ends. If not it could lead us into sin, evil, malice and the root of bitterness. This is an excellent principle of anger management.
Anger led even Moses to disobey God. He struck the rock twice with his staff in anger when He was asked by the Lord to speak to the rock to yield water. Anger will affect our productivity and our effectiveness adversely. Jesus said, “ If we call our brother “ Racca” or fool, we are in danger of judgement” for the words used and consequently, are in danger of facing the fire of hell. Anger affects our speech and causes us to use words that are harsh and damaging. It affects our relationships permanently. Jesus Himself displayed anger ,righteous anger only once when He found His Father’s house, the temple turned into a “den of thieves.” Zeal for His Father’s house filled Him with righteous anger. Righteous anger leads to inner cleansing. We should turn our righteous anger towards ourselves so that we are cleansed of deception and sin.
God is quick to forgive and slow to anger. We should aim to emulate Him for scripture says that he who is slow to anger is of great understanding. We should commune with our own hearts each day as we lie in bed and dissolve the hard feelings that caused us to be angry during the day. If we do not, anger will make us to meditate on evil and to repay evil with evil. We should surrender the cause of our anger to the Lord and He will deal with it and help us with grace and wisdom to deal with it. We must create a clearing house of emotions within us so that we start each day with a fresh slate and do not carry forward a backlog of negative thoughts and feelings that will affect our relationships, inner joy and peace, our work and our health.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Three Storeyed Home

UV 1341/10,000 The Three Storeyed Home

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I Corinthians 13 v 13

Our lives are the three-storeyed tabernacle or home of the Triune God in which we live or abide all our lives. God inspires us with faith, Jesus inspires us with love and the Holy Spirit inspires us with hope. Jesus is the rock foundation of our lives. Faith is the ground floor of our house built on the rock. Faith takes care of our need for provision. Love is the first floor with all the living rooms and hope is the top floor. Love characterises our relationships with God and others. Hope characterises our efforts. The home is being built here and now. We dwell or abide in it 24 x 7.

The three parts of our divine homes are inter-connected. If we have faith, we will demonstrate it in works of love and exhibit it in the hope of eternal life. Each thought, word or action of ours provides a building block of different materials for the construction of our tabernacles. We can choose to build with straw or with diamonds, sapphires and precious stones. Building with faith and hope is construed as building with rubies and sapphires but but building with love is building with diamonds that are multi-faceted. Love is the greatest attribute and is expressed in a variety of ways. Love is reflected in forgiveness, compassion, understanding, patience, tolerance, mercy, grace.

When faith, love and hope are combined in due proportion, it gives rise to the fullness of joy. Joy is not a mere emotion that we feel. It is a spiritual feeling of security, usefulness and meaning of life. It is not dependent on circumstances or events. Just as sand, cement, water and steel are mixed to form concrete, when faith, love and hope are combined, it forms the strongest basis for life to proceed. It produces the most powerful bonding that nothing can break.

Prateep V Philip