Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Bunch of Keys to Lock and Unlock

UV 1425/10,000 A Bunch of Keys To Lock and Unlock
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus
2 Timothy 3 v 15
The writings, wit and wisdom of man can amuse, entertain, enrich, engage but it cannot make one “ wise unto salvation” which means to be imbued with such wisdom that will enable us to live forever as a winner. Scriptures alone can make a person wise unto salvation. A child once trained in the scriptures will not depart from the ways of God. The absence of such training has led to the loss of many generations. So much so, we live at a time when people even the worldly-wise, even those who are learned and educated often do not distinguish between what is right and wrong. We need to get Word-wise not worldly-wise. Jesus said, “ search the scriptures for in it you will find life.” The keys or codes to life in all its dimensions are hidden in scriptures. It is a bunch of keys to unlock the doors of eternal and abundant life. It is also a bunch of keys to lock the doors that need to be barred to our entry- the areas that would lead to our moral and spiritual destruction. We need to lock the doors of anger, bitterness, worry, fear, hatred, jealousy, flattery, deceit, partiality, injustice, violence, cruelty, rudeness, corruption, compromise, pride, lust, adultery, laziness and so on. We need to open the doors of joy, love, peace, kindness, goodness, graciousness, humility, gratitude, faithfulness, integrity, forgiveness, courtesy, gentleness and so on. Scriptures so applied are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus. Effective faith is being a Jesus practitioner or imitator and not just a Jesus preacher. In order to lay a solid concrete foundation, one needs to mix a portion of sand, cement with stones of the right size. Similarly, we need to mix a portion of learning scripture with one portion of preaching or teaching and five portions of practice. Five days of practice or application of scriptural principles, one day of training by the Holy Spirit through meditation and one day of communication of hope is the perfect week.

Wisdom lies in laying a rock solid foundation early in our lives and early every day. The rock solid foundation for my day is laid when I undertake this uni-verse meditation at the start of every day after half an hour of walking, talking and laughing with God. Once the foundation is laid, the rest of the structure or superb structure will withstand any pressures, overcome any challenge with faith and hope. The superstructure must be designed to be a superb structure worthy of the strength of the foundation. Nobody goes and builds a hut of straw and thatch on solid rock foundation. We need to be strong as rock but soft or sensitive as sponge in order to absorb the precepts the Lord is teaching us to be further strengthened. The rock should not be lonely, monolithic and shining smooth but huddle with other rocks and have cracks and crevices where others can find shelter or comfort in their hour of need.
We should always be hearing, learning, applying, doing and teaching others to do likewise. Though it might have begun in our childhood, it is a continuous and lifelong process. If any of these steps in the process- hearing, learning, applying, doing and communicating to others is missing, then we will be like the faithless servant who went and buried the talent the Lord had given him. We will understand that salvation and eternal life starts here and now. Salvation is not an event that happens after we die. Salvation is a process of learning and living the scriptures. It is incarnating the Word. Scripture is a whetstone on which our minds and hearts are honed and made to shine forth with an inner light of the truths of God. Salvation is a 360 degree experience of God’s grace obtained by the wisdom and knowledge that the scripture imparts.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Walking in Agreement

UV 1424/10,000 Walking in Agreement
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Amos 3 v 3
Man was created as the crown or the most complex of all creation and all creatures by God. Yet, ironically, what works best and consistently for us is what is simple, uncomplicated, spiritual, holistic and practical. This simple uni-verse is one such fundamental rule of life. The word “ walk” is a metaphor for living in fellowship for when we walk with another person, we spend time talking, sharing, laughing, communicating and enjoying each other’s company. Unless, God and man agree to walk together, can our lives be either joyful, blessed or fruitful? We need to spend time talking, sharing, laughing, communicating, consulting and enjoying the unseen but real company of the Lord. Walking together is not so much syncing our steps as in a military march past but walking in the same direction. We need to walk in the direction of our eternal destiny that God has already indicated in the words of Jesus, “ I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” There will be moments of doubt, anguish, disappointment, pain but through it all when we walk with the Lord faithfully without turning to the left or to the right, we will not loose the way, obscure the truth and we will be able to live the life- abundant and eternal. The Lord who walks with us or who accompanies us as Immanuel and Ebenezer will bless us in both the qualitative and the quantitative aspects of life.

The uni-verse is also a guideline for our human partnerships. Our lives with our life partners are also based on this simple principle. Our marriages are blessed when we submit our egos to each other and learn to walk in harmony. It is the Lord who enables two individuals from disparate backgrounds to blend together. It does not mean that either partner needs to suppress his or her own personality and individual goals. They need to commit to develop each other to the fullest. It does not mean that there will be no disagreement on some issues or ideas between the husband and wife but that even when they disagree, they do it with such respect, politeness, sensitivity and love that it does not even seem to be a disagreement. There should be harmony on the priority areas. The two should agree to live their lives together on the basis of the injunctions and principles of scripture.

It is written of Enoch that he walked so close with God that he was translated into heaven without tasting death. Noah also walked with God for he was perfect and just in his generation. The metaphor used is “walking” and not running to indicate that our spiritual lives have a slower pace, a rhythm and cadence of its own. There are times of course where the pace increases and we run for a while. Each of us has an unique gait, pace and style of walking. While on police training, the instructor said, “Walk on heels, run on toes.” Every time we walk, each step would crush under the heel of Jesus some vile plan of the enemy. We need to be patient and hopeful and not be “adrenalin junkies” expecting excitement and wonders all the time. We should know that as we walk with the Lord if the cloud of His presence is upon us and ahead of us, the rain of His blessings and anointing cannot be far behind. Our desires, thoughts and words are ways of agreeing either with satan or with the Lord. When we hear a promise, a blessing or a prayer, when we say “ Amen” we are agreeing with the Lord. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is called “Lord Amen” implying that He agrees with us when we pray and causes that which we pray for to happen and the will of God to prevail.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 25, 2015

Prefer Wisdom Products not Knowledge Products

UV 1423/10,000 Wisdom Products
Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city
Ecclesiastes 7 v 19
I looked at the iphone in the palm of my hand and said to myself, “ What an amazing product!” At the time, the Spirit of the Lord told me that it is a knowledge product that only enhances connectivity and communication. Google and all the babble on the internet is only a new Tower of Babel built with human ingenuity and enterprise. It is neither the source of our salvation nor of wisdom. What we need to look for and treasure are genuine wisdom products that improve the content of our communication, the very quality of our relationships and of life. First of all, it takes divine wisdom and insight to identify what is a genuine wisdom product and what is only fake or counterfeit. Wisdom is increasing in the knowledge of God and His will. Wisdom through all of scripture is equated with strength for it places at our assistance the omnipotence and omnicompetence of God Almighty. The word “ strengtheneth” in the uni-verse shows that wisdom is a process and not a given attribute. We can opt in and out of the process. Our ‘unwise’ or ‘non wise’ streaks emerge when we opt out.

Wisdom is God’s knowledge and know how made available to those who truly know Him. Our “know-Who” is more vital than our know how. When we have “Know Who” made us, we will also have “know why”. We will live, think, speak and do in alignment with our larger or more long term or eternal purpose. Sight is so important but insight is even more vital for effective living. Wisdom will help us chose correctly, judge justly and act discreetly. It will increase our inner strength to face life’s challenges. It will give us the attitudes to face vicissitudes as also to accept success with humility and equanimity. Wisdom is a force multiplier and a grace multiplier. It wins us the favour of the Lord. It will reduce the kind of hostility we face such that even our enemies, foes and rivals will have a grudging admiration and envy of our inner qualities. They will not be able to speak or think much ill against us. Wisdom strengthens our inner defences and increases our endurance. It deepens our understanding of the things we need to change and those we need to bear. It erases the creases of sorrow, pain and worry on our foreheads and replaces it with a quiet joy, assurance, peace and hope. Wisdom teaches us meekness and forgiveness is better than violence, aggression, grudges and revenge. Wisdom makes us a permanent learner and a universal learner in that one can always learn from anything and everything spoken to us or any experience we have undergone or from the errors and mistakes we as well as others have committed. Learning from the experience of others is low cost and high yield learning.

Wisdom is a 10 x multiplier. No wonder Daniel was found to be ten times better than all the other rulers in the empire of Nebuchadnezzar. Any quality, resource, talent, ability that we possess will be multiplied ten times. It is induced or initiated by the fear or respect and reverence for God and His Word. It keeps us from faulty decision-making and in a constant quest for improvement or excellence. It reduces our load and increases our power. Wisdom believes that character is more significant than competence. Wisdom will enable a person to take a whole city, to scale its walls. Wisdom offsets the strength and resources of the mighty. God –given wisdom enabled David to develop certain skills that were literally handy when he faced the challenge of Goliath. It enabled him to reject the weapons King Saul proffered and chose his own preferred weapons. Wisdom is better than weapons of warfare. It is more powerful than a nuclear arsenal. Yet scripture warns us not to be even “ over wise”. It warns against taking pride in wisdom or outwardly wise. Wisdom is always accompanied by gentleness and humility. This is the reason Jesus said, “ Learn from Me for I am humble and gentle.”

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Legacy of Leadership

UV 1422/10,000 Leadership and Legacy
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Genesis 18 v 19

God knew Abraham personally. It is the first example of a personal relationship based on commitment and mutual trust. God tested Abraham’s faith in a variety of ways. Abraham passed every test. He was greatly blessed and was a channel of blessings to others. Can God speak of each of us with such confidence as He spoke of Abraham? Are we esteemed of God like Abraham and Daniel? Do we trust God with the same magnitude and manner of faith? We too are not to dam up our blessings but circulate it to others that they too increase in faith and be blessed. God gave Abraham incredible promises. He fulfilled them in impossible conditions. Faith makes it possible to imagine it is possible. Nothing is impossible or too difficult for God. Likewise as we are made in the image of God and restored after the fall of man again by Jesus with a double portion of blessings, by our faith in Him nothing is impossible or difficult for us. The image of God is not imaginary but real. It is the character or the essence of who God is. An essence contains the quality, taste and smell of that from which it is extracted, for example the universally loved vanilla essence for ice creams is extracted from the vanilla plant. Our lives and our character should be tinged with the essence or the quality and character of God.

God was disappointed with Israel when they asked for a king like other nations. He knew the leadership of men would be fallible and prone to error as proved by the leadership of Saul and even the one commended as being after God’s own heart- David. He wanted Israel to be led by His law. Today, He wants us to follow the leadership of His Word. His Word and not another human being or human teaching is to lead us all our days on earth. His Word is interpreted and recalled by the power of the Holy Spirit. We should keep the way of the Lord as revealed in His Word. His ways are just and good. His judgement is wise. Justice, goodness and wisdom should be the hallmark of our lives. We should turn the great teachings of the Lord into principles, the principles into habits and the habits into legacy and then we experience the glory of God and manifest the greatness of God.

Like Joshua, we and our children after us are called and committed to serve the Lord. We are to share, exemplify and teach our children to diligently study the Word, to obey the precepts, to allow their inner being to be taught and shaped by the Lord through His Word. We are to talk about it when we rise, when we lie down, when we walk with them, when we dine with them, when things are going good and when it is not so good. By doing so we pass on the baton of faith to the next generation and inspire them to do it with their next. The uni-verse ends with a promise. Everything in life is a promise to live by. Every currency note is just a promise of the state or government to pay the bearer a certain sum of money. It has value because of who is making the promise for the state has the wherewithal it is assumed to make good its promise. Likewise, knowing personally and not just formally or impersonally who God is, we are assured that He always makes good His promise, however impossible or difficult it might seem. The Lord will cause to bring upon us as He did with Abraham that which He promised or spoke into and upon our lives and that of our children.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Creative Word

UV 1421/10,000 The Creative Word
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Psalm 107 v 20

The Psalms were written, compiled and published that our lives would be like a song, a song of praise- enjoyable for both God and mankind. God is not a joy-killer but a joy-giver. He wants us to be filled with joy to the point where we overflow hope of joy to others. In this uni-verse, the Psalmist testifies that God sent His word and healed them. Jesus is referred to metaphorically by John in his gospel as the Word. God sent Jesus and healed a variety of people of a variety of afflictions, diseases and problems. He is a great problem-solver as He proved to be at the marriage of Cana saving the hosts a great deal of permanent embarrassment. When we have a problem, a predicament that puzzles us, an illness that weakens us, we need to invite Jesus into that situation. He is both Adonai and Deliverer. The Word says, “ I am the God who healeth thee” in present continuous tense. We should not look for Him only when we fall sick or face a particular problem for we are not time-servers but consistent God-servers. The apt or “rhema” word for our deliverance or healing is available but there is a “server-error” that needs to be confessed and repaired. Our afflictions will then be mended and ended.

The word “ destructions” used uniquely in plural in scripture refers to the whole gamut of challenges, difficulties, troubles, problems and afflictions we face in life. Some of these come into our life as we invite them by our thoughts, words or actions and reactions or even inaction. We press our own self destruction buttons unwittingly when we give the enemy of our souls- satan, permission to meddle in our affairs. Faith is the opposite of fate. When we say we are governed by fate, we succumb to that belief. We lose control over the direction and events of our lives. When we affirm our faith in Jesus, we are saying that He is in control . He may appear to be sleeping but as long as He is in the boat in which we are travelling, we can look the storm in the eye and speak with words of authority that Jesus has clothed us with, “ Be calm”.

The Lord enlightens us with the light of the living. The light of life is in His Word. His Word runs swiftly, faster than the speed of light. It is all powerful. It is effective. It traverses great distances. It is the panacea for all our ills if we yield our wills to it. It is medicine for our wounds. It is the balm for the pain of our bodies, minds and souls. Some issues, problems, challenges, afflictions are allowed to happen in our lives for a work of character formation or re-shaping by the Lord. Moses used a brass staff to symbolise the effectiveness of the Word against all the attacks of the serpent that symbolises the common enemy of our souls as the Word uses a “back to the brass tacks” or practical approach to the issues of heart, health, life on earth and beyond. The Word delivers our souls from the power of the grave. The power of the grave is to keep our souls from living forever in the presence of the Creator-Redeemer-God. Our faith in Jesus and His Word redeems us from this power and enables us to live in the land of the living forever and experience His goodness in all aspects of our lives. Yet why are so many subject to such great oppression all their lives? The reason is too few are seeking His wonderful counsel on a daily and continuous basis. They seek their own lights and suffer the torment, the anguish, the pain when all the time Jesus the Wonderful Counsellor is free and ready with His words of wisdom, counsel and healing that will set us free from destructions.

Prateep V Philip

The Lazarus Experience

UV 1420 /10,000 The Lazarus Experience
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
John 11 v 43
Jesus has authority over life and death as demonstrated in his commanding the dead Lazarus to be resurrected. Lazarus had died four days before. His body should have started decaying and getting decomposed. But Jesus proved His divinity by reversing the process of death and decay. Lazarus came forth out of the cave in which his dead body was laid, fully alive albeit the grave clothes still on him. Many of us like Lazarus are alive but we wear the clothes of mourning and not of salvation and rejoicing. Our faith limits God’s power. Nothing is impossible or difficult for God even recalling people from the dead. It is a rare occurrence but the Lord can do it if He wills. We need to first imagine it is possible. Then we need to realize that it is not just imagination but reality. “Imagine it is possible” is a phrase found in the dictionary of the believing and wise.

Faith in Jesus is a good root. Hope in all areas of our lives for blessing, enrichment and enhancement is the shoot. Love is the fruit. The three faith, hope and love in due proportion should be present in every moment of our lives and it will in turn produce joy in us. Jesus did this most outstanding miracle of resurrecting the dead Lazarus to show that He had been given the power of resurrection. In Him we have the hope of resurrecting the dead parts of our lives, our relationships, our dreams. The sisters of Lazarus Mary and Martha who were dear to Jesus hoped that He would come as soon as possible so that while he was alive Jesus would heal him. Martha said however that even then when he was dead God would give Him whatever He asked. But Mary the other stakeholder also needed to believe. Jesus declared to Martha, " I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

Jesus went through a process before resurrecting Lazarus. He asked the immediate family members of the family of Lazarus – Martha to believe in order to see the glory of God. He first asked for the stone to be removed from the mouth of the grave. This was a logical step for the resurrected Lazarus to be able to step out. He thanked God for hearing His prayers. He explained the reason that He thanked God for hearing His prayers as He was testifying to the bystanders. Then He said with a loud voice, “ Lazarus come out.” We need to believe first in order to be able to experience the glory of God. A “ Lazarus experience “ is the greatest evidence of the love, mercy, grace and power of God. A Lazarus experience is coming back to life from death. In the month of April, a certain man of God gave testimony in the General Assembly of the United Nations of how Jesus resurrected him from death. He had been dead forty five minutes and his dead body placed in an ambulance. At the time he went through the Lazarus experience. Later, a medical check up revealed that all the genetic markers in his body that made him prone to heart attacks were also miraculously removed from his body. He gave his solemn oral evidence of His Lazarus experience before several eminent people like the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon. I too have had the Lazarus experience when I was revived from death by drowning in the sea some twenty six years ago. The Lazarus experience keeps one from forgetting the presence and power of God even for a few minutes. The Lazarus experience is not just applicable to people who are dead but to various situations in life which seem hopeless or lifeless.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Little Foxes That Destroy Fruitfulness

UV 1419/10,000 The Little Foxes That Destroy Fruitfulness
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Song of Solomon 2 v 15
Samson could triumphantly catch 300 large foxes, tie them tail to tail, set them on fire and send them into the fields of his enemies, the Philistines. But he could not see the little fox of adultery in the shape of the woman Delilah. He could not see the little fox of deception that Delilah set upon him to discover the secret of his great strength. These little foxes nibbled on Samson’s vulnerabilities and rendered him powerless, blinded, shackled and humiliated. The little foxes are too tiny to be noticed unless one is very sensitive and alert. The little foxes come in pairs –for example, adultery and deception, pride and folly, greed and selfishness, laziness and carelessness and so on. The pair of little foxes take turns at nibbling on us and the vineyard of our fruitfulness, usefulness, productivity and blessings. The little foxes bleed and weaken us internally. They know our areas of weakness through which they can enter the vineyard of our lives. The little foxes are so cunning that they can delude and deceive even the learned and the wise. It could start off as just a little entertainment, some fun and frolic but end up as a life trap. In the very first generation of mankind, Adam and Eve fell to the little fox of deception and believed a lie. They then hid themselves from God in the garden of Eden. In the next generation, that little fox of deception metamorphosed into the little fox of envy in Cain for his sibling Abel’s blessedness. Human rebellion matured into murder within one generation. Solomon himself known as the wisest of men and the one who is believed to have authored the Song, fell a prey to the little foxes. He was influenced by the beliefs of his many wives and concubines.

The little foxes are cunning, charming and seductive as symbolised by their lovely hues and bushy tails. They penetrate our defences very easily and run in and out. The little foxes of doubt and scepticism have run amuck in human history and brought a plague of disbelief and “misbelief” upon our race. Darwinian philosophy of survival of the fittest seems very attractive to those who pride themselves on their independence and take faith as a sign of weakness, a crutch on which weak people lean as Marxists began to propagate. The doctrine of evolution began to be taught in schools and colleges as ultimate truth when it has neither proof nor scientific basis as it goes against the very grain of science-cause and effect, that every effect has been caused by some action, that ultimately there is a first cause that set all things in motion. Evolution taken to its logical conclusion justifies an amoral if not an immoral lifestyle. The little fox of religiosity, having the outer form without the inner power is equally if not more dangerous. Dogmatism and rigidity replace compassion and love when this little fox is allowed freeplay.

Among the faithful, the tendency to take God for granted and the consequent prayerlessness are little foxes that damage the vines with tender grapes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control. Those who have tried to even catch a pair of rabbits in their garden know how difficult it is to catch or capture the little foxes that are on the rampage. The wiser thing to do is to build our fences of prayer and the Word and not let the little foxes in. If we are tuned in to the Holy Spirit we will be able to identify the little foxes in our nature and be able to trap them before they trap us. The faithless or negative words we speak create gaps in our spiritual fencing through which the little foxes enter. The thoughts and feelings we entertain in our hearts and minds also create breaches in the moral and spiritual fencing of our lives. The significance of this uni-verse in the Song of Solomon is that each human being and all of us collectively are the beloved of the Lord. God’s purpose is to see that man who has been created in his image become fruitful gardens. Satan’s purpose is to send in little foxes. The little foxes do not remain little. They grow and mature into adult ones who can be easily identified from even a mile. As Jesus said, “ A tree is known by the fruit it bears.” When the little foxes that are subtle and tiny to begin with grow, when small compromises, the draw of temptations and the drag of flaws mature, the evil will even fill our own nostrils with the stench.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Full Dress Rehearsal

And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.
I Samuel 17 v 31
Life here on earth is a full dress rehearsal for the life hereafter. We should not rehearse with our own words but the word of God. The words that the young David spoke as he came to the battlefield where the giant Goliath was mouthing threats, abuse and insults on Israel gave some hope to the failing courage of the Israelite people. His own brothers who were soldiers in Saul’s army did not take David seriously and rebuked him for coming there under the guise of bringing them some food but with a hidden intent to see the battle. The battle was being lost in the minds of the Israelite people and their king Saul due to their caving in to fear. But David came there with a fresh and new perspective. He spoke in the name of the Lord. David said that “the Lord who had delivered him out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear would deliver him from the hand of this Philistine.” The listeners carried this news of bleak hope on an unlikely hero to the worried king Saul.

David did not exult in his own heroism or in his own strength, bravery or skill but He exalted God Almighty- The El Shaddai of Israel who had delivered them so often in the past from mightier threats than even Goliath- the bondage of Egypt, the angel of death at Passover, the army and chariots of Pharaoh, the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan, the 31 kings of Canaan whom they defeated to carve out Israel. While he was out in the wilderness grazing his sheep, he rehearsed every battle in his mind and every victory the Lord gave Israel. He ran it through his mind and heart and offered thankful praise to the Lord in many Psalms that he composed and sang accompanied by music from his harp. To rehearse or repeat with affirmation of faith is the basis for victory in life’s great struggles against the Goliaths we face in the battlefields of our lives. When people who have lost hope and courage hear our words, they will send for us. We will be a messenger of hope for the lost, the hapless, the defeated, the worn out.

With Jesus we are heroes but without Him we are zeroes. The Word of God fills us with infinite and divine power. It will help us overcome the most overwhelming odds against us. We need to rehearse the lines the Lord has spoken into our lives. The battle is won not when we unsheathe a sword but when we read and heed the words that Jesus spoke. It is vital to keep reading the Word and repeating it in our minds, hearts and on our lips. When we repeat His words, His promises, our inner wounds would be healed, our spirit revived. We will soar on wings like eagles high above the circumstances of our earthly or ground level circumstances. The Word gave David not just the confidence and courage to take the risk but it gave him wisdom to choose his weapons of warfare wisely. It sharpened his skill, alacrity and accuracy. The five stones that were smoothened in the stream that David picked up are Holy Spirit- washed prayer, sanctified worship, deep meditation, diligence and constant application of the lessons the Lord teaches us.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Primacy of the Unseen

UV 1416/10,000 Primacy of the Unseen
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10 v 9

Belief is fundamental. Expression is confirmatory. It is not just a mental or superficial belief but a belief that takes root in our hearts about the truth about God. Out thinking and feeling intertwines in the heart to replace the superficial with the superlative. Death is the ultimate reality every human being and indeed every creature of God faces on earth. But God raised up Jesus from the dead. This gives us the hope of eternal life. His teachings about the “after life” gives us a peep into eternity. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, it implies that He has saved us from sin and death, that He is Lord or Master of our lives. He is in command and control of every situation in our lives. Nothing is impossible for Him as He walked on water, commanded the waves and winds to be calm and rose from death on the third day. Nothing we imagine or ask or need is too difficult for Jesus but it should be in alignment with His will. When we confess that Jesus is Lord, God is glorified. God is pleased and satisfied. Jesus could have been raised on the same day or the instant He died on the cross but He had to go through the process of dying and bearing the sins of humanity and for that reason God waited three days before restoring Him. For fundamental changes in our lives too there is a process and processing time.

Our belief is not in a doctrine or a concept but in the person of Jesus. Jesus told the doubting apostle Thomas that “ he who believes without seeing me is greatly blessed.” He said so as He knew that it is difficult for humans to believe anything without a direct encounter, without experiencing first hand or seeing with one’s own eyes. Philip asked the high placed Ethiopian eunuch if he believed “wholeheartedly.” This brings in the angle of the quality of our belief- whether we believe with all our hearts that Jesus is Lord. The spiritual world is an invisible or unseen world. If we are to prove ourselves suitable for that world, we need to give primacy to the unseen over the seen.

The confession of faith is called the good confession. It is agreeing with God that His plan of redemption for our lives is the best. It is agreeing that we cannot do it on our own. It is agreeing that for salvation we need His grace manifested in and through Jesus. Salvation comes with the pre-condition of the acceptance of the Lordship of Jesus. We are no longer slaves of sin but slaves of righteousness in Jesus. Our freedom is not restricted but it is expanded. We cannot keep our faith a secret and private affair as we need to acknowledge or declare it with our mouths. When we believe without seeing Jesus we are blessed. When we confess our faith in Him others are blessed as it ignites faith in them as one lamp lights another.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 18, 2015

Being Overcomers

UV 1415/10,000 Being Overcomers
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16 v 33

When we read, remember, meditate and apply the things Jesus has spoken to us, we will have peace. Peace does not mean the absence of trouble, trials, tribulations but the confidence that God Immanuel is with us through all of it. He is with us as an Ebenezer, a very present help. We need to see with the eye of faith that the outcome will be finally good and victorious. Jesus asked us to be cheerful or full of joy knowing that as we hold on to the promises of the Lord with faith and confidence we will overcome even as He has overcome. We will overcome sin, death, disease and the evil of this world even as He has overcome. An overcomer is a fighter who never gives up. He will run up to the finishing line. He will fight the good fight till the last punch.
We are not called to run away from the battle, or from struggles in life but to be overcomers or ultimate winners. Our hearts should not be troubled nor our minds afraid. Jesus is the Prince of Peace as He rules our hearts not with the sceptre of fear unlike other rulers but with peace and gentleness. Jesus revels in mercy, truth, peace and righteousness. We need to rejoice in the hope of receiving eternal glory in Christ, the reward of a life of faith. We represent Jehovah Nissi, the God who is victorious and we will not accept defeat. Victory is our birth right, our inheritance.
We will overcome the world for greater is He that is in us- Jesus and the Holy Spirit who seals us with God’s stamp of approval and ownership. He is greater than satan who rules the world. The Lord is called the Lord of Hosts or the Lord of the armies of heaven who are commanded to defend us till the end. We will overcome the world on account of the exceedingly great promises the Lord has given us in His Word. It is not on account of our strength or ability that we will overcome but only by the grace of the Lord. We need to constantly imbibe the promises and teachings of the Lord for it will feed our faith and give us strength to overcome the challenges we face daily. In order to overcome like Jesus, we need to have determination, dedication, wisdom, endurance, discipline, faith and focus. We need to have a positive attitude and a positive expression of our faith at all times. We need to believe in our heart and confirm our belief by expressing with our mouth and then we will be saved or we will overcome.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Tower of Deliverance

UV 1414/10,000 The Tower of Deliverance

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Proverbs 18 v 10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower in different situations. The foundation of this tower is faith. Above the foundation of faith is love and hope. Our faith is expressed in terms of love and hope. The name Jehovah Rapha is the tower of our refuge when we face the threat of sickness and disease. When we fear sickness or even suffer its initial symptoms, we should recall that the Lord is our healer. The blood of Jesus is the Balm of Gilead. It gives us victory over sickness. Jesus is able to quicken even a dead body. He is the specialist of specialists. Every manner of disease can be healed by Him. He is a Saviour not only from sin and death but a Saviour from sickness. Our security is in the Lord. Our hope is in the Lord. In a recent earthquake a majestic heritage tower of many floors that had stood for decades crumbled to its foundation. Our tower of faith Jesus cannot be shaken. It is like a mighty rock. He is a rock of refuge and shelter. He is the rock of escape and deliverance. The Lord is our strength. He is our everlasting strength. Nothing can overcome us. Nothing can make us afraid or insecure. We trust in His ability to save us. Whatever be the size of the enemy or challenge or threat we face, when we stand on the tower of the Lord, it offsets the disadvantages and odds we face in terms of strength, resources, power and makes us more than just equal to it.

Our running towards the tower and running away from our threats happens at the same time. We should cling to the Lord as Jacob held on to the angel of the Lord till he blessed him. We should run away from sin, threats, doubts and fears as Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s adulterous wife. We should hide in the Lord, take cover in His promises. We should hide His Word in our heart. We hide in the covert of His wings- prayer and the Word. We should not misplace our sense of security or faith in the things of this world but in the Lord, His name and His promises to us. In our battles in our lives, we have an invisible enemy. It is difficult to fight against an invisible enemy. But the Lord, the Great I Am who manifest Himself as the very kind of deliverer we need at the moment of battle knows the odds, threats and powers against us. He fights the battle for us on our behalf as a mighty terrible and invincible warrior.
The name of the Lord is a tower of victory not only in illness but in all kinds of challenges that we confront in our lives. He is Jehovah Nissi. He guarantees victory and peace for us. We should not focus on the problems but on the Problem-solver. Just as David did not focus on the size of his enemy-Goliath but on the name of the Lord Jehovah whom He knew had delivered him in the past from the bear and the lion. Our faith is not blind but our past experiences of God’s grace and mercy are the foundation for today’s victories. We need to exalt His name in our thoughts, hearts and words. We need to give praise and honour where and to whom it is due- the Lord who is our tower. As a tower, He watches over us day and night. He is a cloud by day and a fire by night. He provides us shelter, a tabernacle of peace. He leads us through the darkness and keeps us warm.

Prateep V Philip

Re-building the Ruins

UV 1413/10,000 Re-building the Ruins
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

Amos 9 v 11

Some parts of the temple that our lives and our bodies represent are fallen down or breached. Some parts are damaged and ruined. In this uni-verse, the Lord promises to restore these parts to re-build it as in the days of its glory. The tabernacle of David is emblematic of our spiritual lives as well as the totality of our existence. There is nothing or no part of our lives that we can hold back. He sees us in our totality and He knows the areas of weakness in our faith and in the expression of our faith.

There are gaps in our faith, gaps in our character, gaps in our understanding. The Lord will repair these breaches in our lives so that we are perfected by grace. We must let the Holy Spirit examine us every day and discover the areas that need to be mended and re-built. The Word is the plumbline in the hands of Zerubbabel, the descendant of David and the restorer of the ruins of Jerusalem who laid the foundation of the temple at the time of the Jewish exile in Babylonia. David, the greatest of kings of Israel was painfully aware of his own failings and weaknesses. He became so dear to God as he was sensitive to the move of the Holy Spirit to convict him and cause him to repent. He never hardened his heart like Saul in the times of failure and vicissitudes of fortune. Like Nehemiah wept, we need to repent for our wilful and not so wilful shortcomings.

Like David we need to repent and seek the Lord’s help to rebuild the ruins and broken down areas of our fencing of faith. Like everything else in life, it is not enough to just build faith but it is necessary to maintain it on a regular basis. Our bodies, our habits, our walk with God need regular cleansing and maintenance to restore it to His pristine glory. The maintenance of our heart- attitudes towards the Lord is most vital in our lives. It is also difficult to detect the changes or fluctuations in our heart-attitudes. Only the Holy Spirit can discern it and flag it for our attention. Only the Lord can re-build these attitudes. This is the house that the Lord builds, it is the tabernacle where He is continually worshipped. It is the basis and place of peace, joy and victory in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

The Authority to Root Out and To Plant

UV 1412/10,000 The Authority to Root Out and to Plant
See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Jeremiah 1 v 10

We need to open our eyes of faith to be aware of the power, privileges and responsibilities the Lord has bestowed on us. The Lord has set us over the nations and kingdoms of darkness, to root out or eradicate certain issues and practices. We are expected to root out or pull out the weeds, the weeds within us and amongst us. We need to identify the strongholds, problems and challenges that need to be rooted out and decree that these be rooted out. Jeremiah the young man who was called to be a prophet felt inadequate for the challenges ahead. But the Lord taught him step by step how to exercise his powers to envision and to proclaim. We are called to be change-makers among the nations and the world’s powers. The authority to root out, to pull down, to cast out, to cast down, to build, to plant, to establish are all distinctive responsibilities and powers. We have the anointing or power to pull down and to destroy what is evil. The Lord says, “ I have this day set thee…” It implies that our authority and influence is derived from the commissioning of the Lord Himself. It begins here and now and proceeds apace right through our lives. Many people only exercise the negative power to bring down, to break down. Some only exercise the positive power and authority to build and establish. We are to think globally, pray globally and act faithfully at all times as we face the various ups and downs and challenges of life.

We also have the power to build and to plant. We are called to build the faith of people in God and His ways. We are called to plant the good seed of faith and to nourish it. The two processes of eradication and edification proceeds hand in hand right through biblical and indeed, human history. It is like the anabolic or “building” process and the katabolic or “breaking down” process that works simultaneously in our bodies.

Faith is like the structure of an umbrella. The central shaft that we grip tightly by the handle is God. All the others are the more delicate, less significant spokes holding up the canopy of life like job, money, health, family, friends, health, talents, influence… These spokes will break sooner or later but the central shaft will remain. Their usefulness and endurance would depend on how connected they are to the central shaft. To extend the metaphor further, we should not hold up an umbrella when God sends a shower of blessings our way. It is part of the process of building up our faith. We should try and get drenched in such rain. Sometimes God also sends a shower of troubles and trials to test our faith. It is at this time that we should hold up a strong umbrella of faith. Parts of our faith that are too weak will break down and give way under such pressure. We need to throw down or cast our worries and fears at the feet of Jesus. This is part of His lordship and an important aspect of our faithful response.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Source of Wisdom and Power

UV 1411/10,000 The Source of Wisdom and Power
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
Acts 7 v 22
It is written of both Moses and Jesus that they were mighty in words and deeds. But both presented a similar as well as contrasting models of leadership. Moses was a saviour of the Jews from earthly bondage. He was the forerunner of Jesus who is the Saviour of the world from spiritual bondage. Moses was a reluctant leader but Jesus set His face like flint towards the cross. The focus of Jesus was amazing: He did not try to solve the world’s problems of violence, immorality, poverty, exploitation and so on. He only addressed the spiritual bondage of mankind for He knew that the rest were just the symptoms of this. To be mighty in words requires spiritual wisdom, to be able to see everything from an eternal perspective. Moses was learned in the existing knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. This can be compared to the professional and worldly knowledge and wisdom that we possess. This cannot save us in the day of trouble. It cannot shield us in the storms of life. Jesus was learned even as a young child of twelve in the scriptures. The Lord expects us also to be learned, wise and mighty that His name be glorified. Respect for the Lord’s name, reverence for His presence produces wisdom in our lives. Faith in His name and His promises produces power or might.

The words and deeds of both Moses and Jesus synced or were in alignment with each other for their spirits were in alignment with the will of God. We too need to take every thought and word captive to Christ. Then our words and deeds will be anointed with power. The power to bless is an amazing power that is shared by God with mankind. It is amazing that we can bless God for His grace and peace that He has given us. It implies that our souls are satisfied with His provision for our lives. We are showing our appreciation and gratitude to the Lord. We have the power to cause healing and deliverance. We can speak to the rock like Moses was asked to. Unlike Moses, we should not lose patience or our cool. The Rock is a metaphor for Jesus. When we speak to Jesus, He will send blessing, healing and deliverance to the ones we bless. Wisdom teaches us that we can have the power of an elephant but we must use it with restraint, grace and discernment

Our might or our wisdom is not our original power but it is bestowed on us as we lean on the Lord. He is the Rock of our refuge and our strength. The lobster during a particular time of the year sheds its hard shell and becomes vulnerable and weak. It cannot at that time even withstand a bite of an ant. At this time, it hides in a rock and waits for its shell or strength to return, to be restored. Similarly, every day we must set aside time to hide in Jesus to renew us, to restore us and to deliver us. In our weakness is His strength revealed. We should bask, revel and rejoice in His strength even in the face of every type or wave of fear, threat or challenge. Wisdom and power should always go hand in hand. With wisdom, we will know how to handle power with responsibility.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

One Vertical and Many Horizontals

UV 1411/10,000 One Vertical and Many Horizontals
And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 36 v 11

A man is by definition someone who believes he is created and differentiated from all other species. In fact, as we study different species, we find the distance in terms of faculties and development from the simplest to the most complex species is so huge that these cannot be bridged even over several million years. The man who disbelieves the Creator is as good as a beast as scripture says, “ he will die like a beast.” He has no hope beyond life. The letter “a” differentiates beast from best. That “a” stands for attitude towards God. The faithful are distinguished by their fear of God and His law, love of God and their diligence and obedience, zest for God and the good things of life. The Lord will increase the number of people who believe Him as well as those who do not believe in Him. The latter will fill the natural vacuum and hunger in his soul with man-made ideologies and beliefs. They will reap the shortcomings of their beliefs unless they repent and relent. The fruit of the worldly- ignorance, deeds of darkness, wickedness will multiply or increase. The earth will groan with their violence, malice and deceit. The former will increase in their hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness, for eternal life and the blessings of the Lord. They too will bring forth fruit after their kind- fruit of the spirit.

The Lord will reward the faithful and bless them in their beginnings and in their later days with “latter rain” or blessings of maturity or fulfilment of His will for their lives. This uni-verse contains the beautiful promise that the Lord will do better unto us than at our beginnings. The Lord will send us signs and confirmation that we may know that His presence with us is real, that His favour or grace is with us. We should constantly recount and thank the Lord for our beginnings. We should remember the things the Lord did for us in those distant days and praise Him for it. That will give birth to an eager expectation or faith of new signs, wonders, miracles and blessings that our eyes have not seen so far or our minds have not even thought of so far.

The Lord will settle us in our old places. He will be our bulwark of security. He will fence us and give us a perimeter of protection. His presence will be like a shadow that falls us everywhere we go. He watches over us day and night and in all seasons of our lives. Whatever the Lord has done or given us or blessed us with in the past, He will do even better in the days to come. The best has yet to come. We need to trust the Lord to believe that He has the best in store for us. Our response to His hand of multiplication in our lives is to multiply our prayer time, our praise time, our worship time, our study time, our meditation time and our fellowship and service time. Businessmen and corporates frequently talk of mysterious verticals and horizontals in their business empires. But if we just take care of our single vertical or our relationship with the Lord, He will bless our horizontals-our relationship with our family members, their needs and protection, provision, promotion, longevity, health, peace and inner joy. What we enjoy in our second innings of our lives is like the better wine that was served at the marriage at Cana after the intervention of Jesus. It is not as if nothing bad will happen to the faithful- we might suffer sickness, loss, bereavement, mishaps but through it all we will see the hand of the Lord doing better unto us. The negatives that happen will leave us better though broken and not bitter. Someone recently said, “Broken vessels are most beautiful and useful in God’s hand.”

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Best Medicine

UV 1410/10,000 The Best Medicine
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Proverbs 4 v 22
The wisdom of God is hidden in the Word. When we search diligently and find it, it will be health to our whole bodies, spirits and minds. It will bring health and strength to all our internal organs and even our bones. Our spiritual blindness and callousness will be replaced by a greater sensitivity to the things of eternal value. The Word will bring both health and cure to us. The anointing released on us as we meditate and apply the Word is the Balm of Gilead that calms our fears, binds our wounds and heals our diseases. This is the reason the same verb “apply” is used for both ointment and the Word of God. We just got to rub it like divine ointment on our bodies, minds and spirits and it will have a deep effect on our lives. Our Word view will affect and transform our world view.

Every believer is expected to be an Ezra, the priest of Israel who gave priority to the Word. About Ezra it is written that he prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, to do it and to teach it to Israel. Unlike while reading other books, we need to prepare our hearts to seek the Word by invoking the help of the Holy Spirit so that it is interpreted to us accurately and according to our need. We need to commit in our hearts to take what we learn at the feet of Jesus and apply it in our real life situations and to teach it to others so that they too are similarly blessed. Ezra drew statutes and judgements from the Word. It implies that we need to study the Word and crystallise principles and concepts from it. We should then go out into the world and live by these principles and apply the concepts to make sense of the reality of life. For the past 1410 days or more I have committed to studying the Word, analysing it , applying it and communicating the principles of life, management and leadership. It is my testimony that it has been a source of great strength, blessing and power. So much so, I have not been affected by even a minor infection during this period, testifying to the truth of the Word that it is health for our bodies, spirits and minds. The Word is holistic, healthy and wholesome. It is health-preserving, health -enhancing and health- producing. It is a powerful spiritual anti-virus. It kills everything in us that is anti-life and augments everything pro-life.

The Word will keep our feet from evil. We should be like horses that have covers placed over their eyes so that they cannot look to the right or left but only straight ahead. We will be established in all our ways and nothing can shake us. It will help us keep our heart with all diligence by shaping and correcting our attitudes. The Word says that out of the heart or out of the attitudes and emotions are the critical issues of life. It will keep us focussed on the priorities of life. John Maxwell writes that the Word is “a guide, a guard and a gauge.” It is a gauge as it helps us examine and evaluate our lives and take steps for self –correction. It is also a goad to prompt us to seek to excel for the glory of God. For the Word to work in our lives, we need to implement three connected processes: Study, apply, communicate. As Maxwell writes of Ezra, we should “learn it, live it and loan it.”
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Faith -the Mustered Seed

UV 1409/10,000 Faith- The Mustered Seed
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Luke 13 v 19

Faith is considered the least important aspect of life for those who are in power and position, by those who are considered knowledgeable, influential and wise. It is decried as being baseless, unreal and unscientific. The movers and shakers of the world do not give much credence to the claims of faith. It is not factored into the decisions and plans of the high and mighty of every land. Yet it is the most important seed. It is planted by the Lord Himself, the divine gardener in His chosen ones. It is planted in our fields. Where we are currently is our garden, our field. The gospel is the good seed of faith. It cancels the dictates of fate and takes us on a journey of faith. Faith is not only a mustard seed, it is also a mustered seed, a seed of the essence of truth, knowledge and wisdom that is gleaned or gathered from the sum total of our life lessons and experiences. Faith not only moves mountains but it opens hitherto sealed fountains of love, joy, peace, grace and every type of heavenly and earthly blessing. Faith does not make us a stand alone tree or a lone tusker. But it makes us a great tree in a well-watered garden. The words “ well-watered” has two meanings: one, we are adequately watered by grace. Two, we are watered from a well that never dries up- the eternal spring of the Word. We connect, communicate and fellowship with other trees in the garden of faith. We are also an enclosed garden with the walls of the Lord’s presence and protection guarding us as we grow and bear fruit for His satisfaction.

Jim Rohn wrote that “ Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.” Growth is not just intentional but it is God-intended and ordained. We need to grow in faith, hope and love –the three great excellencies of our lives. We need to grow like Jesus in stature, in knowledge of His Word and in favour with God and man. We need to grow in grace and by grace. Our fruit and our gifts need to increase and multiply. We need to grow to the very maturity of Christ. We cannot remain a sapling. Which of us as parents would not want our children to be promoted from class to class, year to year? Similarly, the Lord expects us to grow from year to year, experience to experience. Which of us as parents expect our children to remain little, however cute that might be? God expects us not to remain a tender sapling but to grow into a strong and mighty tree in the land- either a cedar, a cypress or a myrtle tree. He desires us to draw water for our refreshing, nourishing, flourishing and strengthening all the time from the river of the Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. Even as we grow, our branches are pruned by the Gardener so that we are more fruitful and our growth regulated and balanced. Our faith, hope and love are the three subjects in which God tests us with trials and troubles. When we pass in these three subjects, we graduate to the next level in our walk of faith. All mankind is described in the Word as grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. The roots of grass are shallow and weak. Faith sends down deep and strong roots. Almost as much as is visible above the ground as branches, so also grows the invisible roots that need to hold us up in every storm of life.

The “fowls” of heaven mentioned in the uni-verse are kindred spirits whose eyes are set on the delights of the heavenly and eternal kingdom of the Father. The branches of our tree of faith or our various activities and expressions should encourage, mentor, bless, shape and groom young ones in faith to learn to fly with the wings of prayer and the Word. We should become springboards for the faithful to learn to fly. We should be a shade for the discouraged and fearful. We should also provide shade for the worldly to find hope for their lives. The beasts should find shelter under our boughs. Like Joseph our lives should be a fruitful bough that overflows the walls of the well by which we grow.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Law of Pain and Pleasure

UV 1408/10,000 The Law of Pain and Pleasure
They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
Jeremiah 12 v 13

The law of nature as of the law of the supernatural is that as one sows so one reaps. If one sows wheat, he should reap wheat and wheat in plenty. If one takes pain-staking effort, it should end in gain. If one has plenty of income, it should be a source of comfort, security and confidence. Yet, if one breaks the law of God, when one sows wheat he reaps thorns or troubles that prick and pain him rather than a crop that satisfies his need and the need of his family. The very fact that adultery and bribe-taking happens in secret shows that the doer knows he or she is doing the wrong thing by God’s law as well as man’s law. He cannot reap joy or peace but will reap a harvest of strife and misery that will induce greatest pain. Illegitimate pleasure leads to legitimate pain and legitimate pain leads to legitimate pleasure.

The moral and spiritual laws apart from being explicit in scripture is present in human consciousness. A carnivore like a tiger or a lion never agonizes having killed a fellow creature. When a human being also does so, he becomes no better than a beast. Though there is a certain genetic propulsion towards either good or bad, each of us need to take a decision to be righteous before God and our own conscience. Ill-gotten wealth affects and afflicts the health and peace of mind of the possessor. It even affects succeeding generations of the heirs. The abundant revenues will make them feel ashamed. But those who have enough to meet their needs will eat and enjoy to their satisfaction. This is the reason the wise man prays as it is written in the book of Proverbs, “ Lord do not make me so rich that I forget You or so poor that I curse my life and wish to die.”

We should take care not to be caught in the eye of the whirlwind of God’s anger that is unleashed against mindless wickedness, immorality, greed and lust. Then when we sow wheat, we shall reap wheat. Our efforts will be blessed, our harvest multiplied, our lives blessed. Each uni-verse is a seed of God’s grace and greatness. When we sow it in our hearts and minds, it will bring forth the glory of God in due season. We shall not have cause to be ashamed in the day of harvest. Our business will not be in vain but it will bring more than due profit. In fact, many of the secrets of flourishing business and the good life are hidden in the Word. If only people knew that following the Kingdom principles rather than the principles of the world would lead to increased productivity and profitability, to better health and less disease, to greater peace and less conflict and disorder, then even the worldly-minded would make Scripture study and application a major obsession. By labelling and stereotyping Scripture as other-worldly, unreal and religious a large part of humanity and human enterprise are subjecting themselves to the cycle of apparent prosperity and recurring misery.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Transformation of Patterns

UV 1407/10,000 The Transformation of Patterns

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21 v 3

We need to train and not strain our ears to hear the voice of the Lord. It often comes as a gentle whisper in our minds. How can we listen to a person who is not visible? We cannot watch the movement of His lips or discern the sounds of His voice. By reading, memorising, meditating and applying the Word of God in our real life circumstances, we hear Him. When we listen to His voice constantly, we will realize that He never leaves us. He is tabernacled with us and in us. The concept of God being tabernacled or residing with us is a revolutionary concept for all people hold the Almighty as awesome and unapproachable on account of His holiness and great power. It is the finished work of Jesus on the cross that makes it possible for us to continually dwell with the Lord. He is constantly in our thoughts. We are never alone for God is with us. His presence is referred to as “shadow of the Almighty” by the Psalmist as His shadow is as real as His person. We need to dwell within His shadow as His people. Our lives, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions are framed by His Word. He is our leader and we are His people. As God is with us, we need not fear. We will not lack in anything that we need. Everything we do is in the name of the Lord and it is for His sake.

The tabernacle in Old Testament times was a moving temple of God. It had a particular structure laid down by the Lord. Similarly, each of us is a moving tabernacle. The tabernacle and the presence of the Lord moved when the Israelites moved from place to place in their sojourn through the wilderness to the promised land. Similarly, wherever we go the presence of the Lord moves with us. This is how we are blessed when we are going out and when we are coming in. The tabernacle had an altar of sacrifice and worship. There is an altar erected in our hearts and our lives are the sacrifice we offer upon it. Our bodies and limbs are the approaches, courtyard and outer areas of the tabernacle. The symbols of manna or daily bread provided supernaturally to meet our natural needs and the Tablet of commandments are representative of the Word of God that we need to partake of in daily. The golden candlestick with ten upward members burning are a symbol that all our faculties and talents should be used to display the light of God’s glory. Our inner organs are the various elements kept in the tabernacle. Our hearts and minds are the areas where we cleanse ourselves to access the holiest of holies. Our spirits are the holiest of holies or the sanctum sanctorum where the priest communes with the Lord. The veil that kept us from seeing the Lord has been torn from top to bottom and our understanding of the glory of God’s power and grace is unveiled. As the revelation is given and our understanding increases, we will be transformed degree by degree or little by little into the likeness of Jesus. God’s ultimate goal is that all His adopted children become like His true and natural heir Jesus.

The words in the uni-verse, “ God himself shall be with them and be their God” implies that whatever we confront in life, we have God Immanuel alongside us, helping us overcome any challenge, solve any problem, face any crisis. God Himself and not any substitute or representative is with us. What we are is on account of the identity that God gives us. What we do is blessed by His presence. What we own belongs to Him. It is no longer “c’est sera sera, whatever will be will be” but “whatever God wills will be.” There is no longer a “Jacob-angel of the Lord” kind of struggle. We will realize that He is not against us. Rather He is with us and for us and forever. There is no distrust or doubt or fear. There is complete mutual trust and perfect submission. There is constant communication and exchange of thoughts. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and when an exchange takes place, we experience a paradigm change, a transformation of patterns of thoughts, emotions, actions, reactions, desires and the communication and logical fulfilment of these elements of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Deadly Power of Life-giving Communication

UV 1406/10,000 The Power of Communication
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 18 v 21

Scripture holds in it the hidden moral and spiritual laws of the universe. Of these law, the law of communication is one of the most vital for human well being. Communication is double-edged. Every word we speak can cut us and others or build us. It can also be used in a dubious way –one edge to cut, kill and destroy and the other edge to bless, build and enhance. Indeed, speech is the most valuable and distinctive faculty of the human species of all of God’s creation. The words “ death” and “ life” are significantly and strategically placed in that order as mostly in this world, the tongue is used as an instrument of death. It is used negatively. Those who enjoy using it negatively will reap the negative and harmful impact of their words. But our tongues can be sanctified to become instruments of life. The uni-verse states that our tongues have the power of life and death. Words are the fruit of our lips. The fruit can be sweet and healthy or unpleasant, harmful and poisonous. By what we utter, we affect the course of our life. If we utter unwittingly a curse, it affects our lives or the lives of those we have spoken with the power of death. When we recognize the harmful effects of any of our words, we also have the power to cancel those effects and restore life in all its abundance.

We can tame the deadliest of animals but we cannot control our own tongues. A fool’s words invite destruction but a wise man’s words are deep waters. We cannot understand the full depth of meaning of a wise man’s words. The more we think of it, we will be able to plumb the depths. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit can our tongues be not only controlled but turned into rivers of life-giving words. When we treasure the Word of God in our hearts above all the treasures of the earth, it will flow out as streams of blessings for us and the hearers. The tongue plays a crucial role in faith. What we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths saves our souls. Positive confessions of faith pleases God and brings streams of blessings into our lives and lives of others. We are so careful about the water we drink as we know it is valuable to sustain our health and life. We filter, purify, boil and cool water. We should be just as careful if not more about our words. Just as there are different kinds of water depending on the source from which it is collected, there are different types of water: the pure water from mountain streams is the Word of God. The words of wisdom and knowledge that the Holy Spirit gives us are the springs of fresh water. The words we ordinarily speak are like the water that runs from the tap. There is bitter water due to the connected negative emotions and motives. There is murky water where our words are mixed up and confused. We need to run our words in our minds over and over again before we utter them. When we pass the words we are about to speak through some filters, it will come out as pure silver and gold or words that can be treasured, words that bless, enhance and give life and strength to people. The filters are questions we should automatically ask in our inner being: Is what I am about to speak wholesome, healthy, useful for building relationships, for building up the faith of the listener, to inspire him, to give him hope and encouragement? It is true? Do I know it first hand to be true or is it some hearsay or gossip I have heard? Is it necessary ? Is it the right time to speak these words? Is my attitude, emotion and motive right in speaking these words? Is it profitable for me or for the listener?
The tongue under the control of the Holy Spirit brings out the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. All these fruit together constitute what we call wisdom. Our words are the fruit and leaves that can bring healing to nations. Those who enjoy using their tongues positively will enjoy the impact of their words. It is important to be consistent in what we speak and that we do not mix the sweet water with the bitter water or words of blessing with words of cursing, words of love with words of anger, words of hatred with words of forgiveness, words of justice with words of injustice, words of truth with words of untruth. Our communication with the Lord is acceptable and pleasing to Him when it is beneficial and useful to mankind. The lips of the righteous by faith feed many with the hope of salvation. The gifts of the Spirit are also manifest largely through the use of the tongue. However much our giftedness grows in terms of healing, prophecy, interpretation and so on, the fruit of character should be more evident in our lives and our communication than our gifts and talents.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Doing Valiantly

UV 1405-10,000 Doing Valiantly

Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

Psalm 60 v 12
The help of man is vain and futile. It is limited and motivated. At best it is bravado or foolhardiness. But the Lord shall help us to do valiantly, implying to live victoriously, bravely, successfully, confidently. The Lord is a master strategist. He counselled David not to be weighed down by the heavy armour and weapons offered by Saul in his fight with Goliath. Even before the first blow was struck the Lord had ordained victory for David. The odds were heavily against the diminutive David by comparison but God was in his favour. David had made the right choices to ensure he was on the winning side- the side on which God is. He did not look to his brothers for help who were overcome with fear and taunted and teased him for even thinking of taking up the gauntlet against Goliath. It was not as if the young David did not have any sense of fear but his faith in God enabled him to overcome that fear and to affirm his belief in the power of God. The power of God is unlimited. This is the reason the Psalmist says that he does not look to the high persons or places or resources of this world for help but he looks to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. God will help us in spiritual ways(Heaven) and practical ways (earth). He will pull out all the plugs to help us. All the persons and resources of heaven and earth are at our disposal or our help.

With the help of our Ebenezer, we will face the big challenges and threats of life bravely. Through Jehovah Nissi, we have victory in all our battles. Through Jehovah El Shaddai, we will have might, strength and power in our inner being. David turned a deaf ear to the threats and abuses hurled at him by Goliath. Goliath called him a dog for coming against him with stones and sticks. But David went forth valiantly in the name of the Lord and called on God to help him. David could do more than the entire Israelite army could do. God had turned him into a one man army.

Each of us is a one man army. One can send a thousand fleeing. Two can defeat ten thousand Prayer is our catapult that sends our requests right into heaven. The Word is our weapon of offence and strength. Faith in the Commander-in-Chief Jesus is our shield. The promises of God that we have memorised, meditated and applied are our arsenal. Our praise and worship are our victory towers. Our enemies are not against natural forces but against the power of God. The chariots of Egypt pulled by trained war horses were of no avail against the hapless, harmless, unarmed Israelites. They were drowned by the crashing walls of water on either side. The Lord will enable and ensure safe passage for us through our lives even as we are pursued by our enemies just as He provided safe passage for the Israelites on the dry bed of the Red Sea. Every believer is every day confronting a new Red Sea, a Jordan river or a new Goliath wondering how he or she would cross the mighty hurdle of personal affliction or personal challenge. Like David, we must bolster our faith by remembering past testimonies of God’s faithfulness to us and muster our courage and face the odds with God on our side.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Born Free

UV 1404/10,000 Born Free
So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Galatians 4 v 31

Paul compares Hagar, the slave and Sarah. Sarah is the free woman and those born of the promise of God to her, Isaac and descendants as well as all of us who believe in the promises of God are born free. We are born free by faith in the promises of God, free from the penalty and power of sin, death and curse. Hagar is the metaphor for the ones who are born in flesh and are under the shadow of law and not free from the bondage of sin, guilt and death. It is the fear of death that holds people in bondage. But when we are born again by faith in the only Son of God- Jesus we, too become sons and daughters of God. When Jesus appears again, we will be like Him. Our spirits are liberated from the penalties that the law prescribes and we come under grace. We are children not born out of wedlock or out of a momentary lust. We are children born of the will of God. Faith is agreeing with the revealed will and purpose of God for our lives. We need not cry in despair like Hagar in the desert but laugh like Isaac as we are children of promise. Every promise of the Lord to us is waiting to be triggered by faith to release power, fulfilment and joy into our lives.

As children of God, we inherit His DNA. We become like Him in truth, grace and power. We share in His kingdom power, privileges and inheritance in this life and the life to come. We do not become children of God by virtue of anything we have done or by virtue of our qualities. We become children of God by grace. We are freed from the struggle to realize our better selves. We are freed from every limitation and constraint. We are freed from the fear of failure and the lust for success. We are secure and contented as we know that our Saviour will never leave us nor forsake us. The bondwoman and her offspring is in constant mortal fear that luck, success and favour would desert her at any time.
The bondwoman and her children work for an earthly master- the world and its systems. They work to please that master. The bondwoman and her children work to satisfy their earthly needs. The free work for a Heavenly master and the expansion of His Kingdom and the magnification of His righteousness. The bondwoman is a symbol of people who live in the flesh and merely satisfy its cravings and do not seek or find a relationship with their Creator and Redeemer. They are satisfied with the outer façade of man-made religion and rules. The free seek a more and more intimate relationship with the Father and Creator-Redeemer. The bondwoman lives not just in fear but in shame. The free live in honour and esteem of the Lord. The free always have a distinctive perspective and attitude compared with the bonded. This distinctive perspective leads up to a distinctive behaviour pattern, lifestyle, actions and results.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Power to Command

UV 1403/10,000 The Power to Command
Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
Joshua 10 v 12
The horn of Joshua was strong. Whatever he asked for, the Lord commanded. When he asked that the sun and moon stand still, these stood still. It is not fable but recently NASA scientists, in order to calculate the position of the sun and moon and other planets a few hundred years hence so as to ensure safe orbits for spacecraft with long time spans, found a missing day. It was then pointed out that the Bible records that the sun and moon stood still for about a day. The ten degrees that Hezekiah asked that the sun’s shadow move back as a sign accounts for the remaining forty minutes. We should understand that nothing, absolutely nothing limits the power of God. Our faith enables us to command nature, disease, nations, leaders, people, supernatural forces and so on.

The power of God invested in men like Joshua is marvellous, miraculous and supernatural. We only need to expand and exercise our faith to experience it in different aspects of life. Joshua was victorious against 31 kings of the Canaan valley as the Lord had promised him that He would be with him as He was with Moses and that no man can stand against him. Whatever happens in our lives, God’s will will succeed. Joshua was an instrument of God’s will. When we align ourselves with God’s will we are setting ourselves up for success and not failure, tragedy or disaster.

Faith enables us to sort out the randomness of life and find meaningful patterns of God acting wilfully in our lives. Joshua had made a commitment that “ I and my family would serve the Lord.” That commitment was the source of his victory, his leadership as well as his power and authority. God manifested Himself as Jehovah Nissi in the life of Joshua. Like Joshua, we need to speak to the Lord first and He will deliver us and grant us victory in our battles. Our battles may not be physical or military like Joshua’s. We may not need to command the sun and the moon. But we can command the forces and the spirit of leaders to walk in alignment with the will of God or to stop in their tracks like the sun and the moon in whatever they are doing that is adverse or negative. We should neither be overawed nor embittered by our enemies or challenges or problems. They are our footstool if we have few. They are our foot ladder if we have many. Whether few or many they help us climb to the position and potential of our human and eternal destiny.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Waiting for Counsel

UV 1402/10,000 Waiting for Counsel
They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel
Psalm 106 v 13

God, the Father created us, God, the Son Jesus redeems us and the Holy Spirit guides, teaches, comforts, counsels and sanctifies us. We tend to forget like the Israelites all His benefits and blessings, miracles of redemption, provision and protection, all the great things the Lord has done for us. We do not wait for the counsel of the Lord in everything we plan and do. The Israelites forgot how the Lord had wrought great miracles to deliver them from slavery in Pharaoh’s Egypt, of how He had parted the Red Sea to prevent their re-capture, the ten plagues He sent on Egypt, of how the Lord gave the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone, the basis of all modern law and justice. We, too, forget where we were and where the Lord in His mercy and grace has brought us.

We make blunders as we forget His wonders. We forget to seek His counsel and guidance. The Word promises that if we do not lean on our own understanding but trust in the Lord with all our hearts, He will direct us step by step. But we are in a haste and do not wait to consult the Lord. We do not seek His peace in our decisions and choices. All the terrible things that had happened to the Israelites and the deliverances the Lord gave them did not knock the fluff out of them. They still sought after their own passion in the desert. They complained when they had no water or meat even though they had experience of God’s miraculous and generous provision in the past.

If we listen to the commands and counsel of the Lord, follow His direction step by step, our peace or Shalom that includes every great blessing promised for the obedient in Deuteronomy chapter 28 shall flow like a river. It will not dry up or meander through a desert. Our grace, righteousness or strength will be unceasing and vast like the waves of the sea. I have gone through experiences that would have made even a donkey a prophet but often I forget the mercy, grace and power of God. Folly is wrapped up in the heart of man. Even the greatest experiences do not kick the fluff out of us. The way to overcome our forgetfulness of the Lord’s goodness is to daily recount all the great wonders, benefits and blessings He has given us or shown us or taught us collectively and individually. Before jumping into action or a new venture, we should pause, pray and seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Before undertaking a journey or making a move, we should take a moment to check if we have the peace of God that it is the right thing to do. Apart from forgetfulness and folly, our pride that we know what is good for us as well as our unchecked desires prompt us not to seek or wait for the counsel of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Core Beliefs and Their Rationale

UV 1401/10,000 Core Beliefs and Their Rationale
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Hebrews 11 v 6

It is impossible to please God with our goodness as He can see through every façade and see our inner motive of selfishness behind every good deed. It is impossible to please God with a sacrifice as we cannot offer a perfect and blemishless sacrifice. It is impossible to please God with our accomplishments or attainments or lifestyle as He knows these are vain and futile. It is possible to please Him with faith in His Son Jesus. We can reach the Lord only through a narrow path though we would like to believe that all roads lead to Rome. The only thing that surprised and pleased Jesus was the faith He found in several people He came across : the woman who touched Him in the crowd, the four friends who brought a paralytic, the centurion who asked Him to just speak the word of healing for his paralysed servant.

Only the truth is worthy of belief. It displeases God when we disbelieve Him as we are in effect saying that He is a liar, a falsehood, a myth, a figment of someone’s imagination. It pleases God as we are agreeing that He is the truth, the way and the life. The basis of belief needs to be rational, historical, real and true to experience. We need to believe only two beliefs : one, that God exists, that He is the Self-existent being who spoke to Moses and said, “ I am who I am’, that He is Trinity- Father, Son and Spirit or three-in-One. Two, that He rewards, gives answers, reveals Himself or blesses those who earnestly, whole-heartedly and persistently seek Him and in so seeking, study diligently His Word, spoken and recorded by His prophets and servants through the ages. It displeases God when we disbelieve their witness for we are saying they are liars, frauds and imposters. It pleases God when we believe what they have written or recorded for we are affirming that they are truthful witnesses. When we believe, the Spirit of God in us will confirm to our spirits that what we believe and who we believe is true. We can have doubts and questions in all other areas of belief but as far as these two beliefs, we need to be certain and without a shadow of doubt. Then, this constitutes the mustard seed of faith. It is the seed of righteousness. When we sow the seed of righteousness in our hearts, we will reap the harvest of blessings in our lives. The word “belief” literally and etymologically means “be a part of the kingdom of God” as lief is an old English word for kingdom and if rearranged it produces the word, “life.” When we believe, we are opting out of the world and its systems and opting into the eternal Kingdom of God. Life and its temporal rewards do not enamour us any more.

Recently, I met a retired Colonel from the army medical corps who started seeking God at the age of thirty five. She sought the Lord with all her heart. She believed that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him diligently. Consequently, the Lord revealed Himself to her as He has promised, “ If you seek me with all your heart, you shall find me.” Searching the unsearchable God and finding Him is the first quest. The entire character and plans of God for mankind are revealed in His Word. But it requires diligence or earnest study to understand it with the help of the Holy Spirit. The greatest blessing is finding and knowing the Lord. The other blessings or rewards will follow and flow. How do we know if the Lord is pleased with our faith? We will sense His presence with us and His peace and grace in our hearts. We will receive signs and confirmations. God is not fastidious or difficult to please. We can please Him with the authenticity, sincerity and depth of our faith. We please Him when we live by faith and not by sight, when our faith impacts and influences every aspect of our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Gold that Turns People into Diamonds

UV 1400/10,000 The Gold that Turns People into Diamonds
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Matthew 21 v 21

Faith is the ability to overrule fate. It is the ability to see what others cannot see. It is the ability to see into the supernatural, the spiritual and the eternal realms. Our stance of faith determines our circumstances. Faith is an either –or situation, implying either we believe the Lord completely or we disbelieve Him. There is no mid-way position. If our stance or the mental position we take is firm, if we do not entertain doubts, if we are not swayed by fears and emotions, nothing can shake us. Faith without an iota of doubt is certainty of hope and belief, trust in the Lord and His Word, in the guarantees and assurance His promises give us. It starts as small as a mustard seed but grows to be the greatest of trees. Can faith and doubt co-exist ? Thomas the apostle doubted the resurrection of Jesus. He believed Jesus enough to follow Him for three plus years but not enough to follow Him to the cross and beyond. He did not have enough faith to believe that Jesus would rise again as He said He would on the third day. Yet once his mountain of doubt was removed, his faith in Jesus was completed, consummated or perfected. Sometimes, the Lord takes us through a process of doubting or questioning before we discover faith. It is natural to doubt. It is supernatural to believe. The Word compares faith with gold. The purer it is, the more authentic, the more valuable it is. True faith is the gold that changes people into diamonds or multi-faceted people- people with the weight of character or cut, the nobility of calling or the carat, the authority of power or the colour and the clarity of vision.

Faith releases power and authority in the natural world, in the supernatural world and in the spiritual world. Faith releases power to dislodge the deep rooted in our nature, in the supernatural and spiritual realms. Faith comes with an expectation of fruitfulness, usefulness and all round excellence and integrity. This is the reason that Jesus cursed the fig tree that was fruitless and it withered instantly. Faith gives us the authority to command illness to be removed from our bodies, to cause conflicts to be resolved. Faith gives us power to command persons, institutions and forces of much greater weight than ourselves to do the bidding of the Lord.

Faith establishes the unseen but eternal kingdom of God among mankind. By faith we are surrounded by the mountains of the Lord. By faith, we can command the mountains of the world- the hostility, the threats, the big issues that affect our peace to be removed. Every believer is a mover and shaker of the world. His power is derived from the Word. The Word is the fuel that feeds the fire of faith. Our prayers have powerful effects on the world though we may not see it with our natural eyes or even in our lifetime. Faith is clinging to hope against hope. It is clinging to the promise of the Lord, knowing that He is a covenant-making and promise-keeping God. It depends on who God is and not who we are. Our background, qualifications, abilities and deeds do not determine the impact of our faith.

Prateep V Philip