Friday, July 31, 2015

The Sap of the Green Tree

UV 1487/10000 The Sap of the Green Tree

And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.

Ezekiel 17 v 24

The Lord God is sovereign over all His creation. He determines which of us will grow, to what height. He determines which of us is to be lifted up and which one to be brought down, which one to flourish and which one to be allowed to dry up. Whatever the Lord speaks is done. Each of us should resolve in our heart that we will live in such a way that we honour God in our thoughts, words and actions. The Lord is sovereign. He brings down rulers and lifts up beggars from the dunghill to sit with princes of His people. As Mary praised the Lord, “ He causes the barren woman to bear child.” God is not overcome by our circumstances. Our faith in Him enables us to overcome circumstances.

Arrogance angers the Lord. Humility pleases Him. The impossible excites Him. Sometimes, we with our finite understanding wonder why nothing is happening for a long while. The Lord is patient. He is also just. He cannot violate His own character or His principles. He acts just on time, never too late or too early. He feeds the hungry but sends the rich away empty. He allows the sap of spirituality or the Word to rise in those who cling to Him and makes those who are indifferent to Him dry, empty, dissatisfied with whoever they are and whatever they own or do. The “ trees of the field” are the people of God who see and experience the grace of God and witness the testimonies of people and the tragedies of people who do not acknowledge the mercy and love of God. Whatever the Lord has spoken had been done, is being done and will be done as He is the One who is, was and is to come. The Lord unifies and reconciles our past, present and future with the mandate of the eternal. There is a possibility of a dry tree becoming green and a green tree becoming dry. A person may appear green and prosperous today but may not remain so. A person may appear dry and fruitless but he may become green and fruitful. The quality of the tree does not determine its longevity or productivity. It is the grace of God that determines which tree shall grow and which shall be cut down. Our rootedness in the Word has the power to change what is dry and lifeless into green and fruitful. Our being grafted to Jesus makes us productive and creative leaders.

Each of us is expected to be a fir tree or a myrtle tree and not a thorn tree or a brier. Our leaves or words should bring healing to people and nations. Our roots should run deep into the Word. We should grow tall like a cedar of Lebanon. We should bear fruit right through the year, a different fruit for every month. Streams of living water or the Word and the Holy Spirit should flow from our hearts. The Lord prunes us or sends trials and tests our way so that we will be even more fruitful. He will turn the sapling into a tree of righteousness whose branches or all that we do would point to the greatness and glory of God. He will cause us to rejoice as one who has heard great news. He will truly satisfy us with His goodness as revealed in His Word. The tree will become a garden with fountains, well watered and fenced and the garden will turn into a forest.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Leadership from Strength to Strength

UV 1486/10,000 Leadership from Strength to Strength
Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker
2 Samuel 3 v 1
David had an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord while Saul had distanced himself. Saul departed from the Lord who had chosen and anointed him. Saul was afflicted with the spirit of jealousy against David. Ever since the people hailed David as greater than Saul, he sought to take the life of David. But since the Lord was with David, He preserved his life against all the attempts of Saul to have him killed. David had a humble beginning but his end was great. God had chosen and anointed him. He remained faithful to the Lord. The Lord made David stronger and stronger while Saul became weaker and weaker. The weapons and strategies forged by Saul against David just did not seem to prosper.

True leadership’s trajectory is not like that of a meteor, burning brightly only to burn out. It increases from strength to strength. A leader who relies on the Lord for grace will go from strength to strength. Each trouble, trial or challenge will not exhaust him but becomes instrumental to move him to the next level of intimacy with the Lord, of faith, of strength, power and influence, of righteousness and integrity. He will not see decline in his powers. Setbacks if any will be momentary or temporary. He will bounce back with increased vigour and confidence. He will experience struggles but will have triumph in the end. Even as he struggles or fights, the Lord will fill him with his joy and power. Doing God’s will or what delights the Lord gives him both joy and strength. It is written in the Word that the path of the righteous gets brighter as they go. In contrast, the path of the wicked is filled with darkness and they do not know over what they will stumble. The path that David travelled on was lit with the precepts and the presence of the Lord. He desired to be just in the eyes of the Lord. Even when he fell, he repented and avoided that error again in his life. God delivered Saul into his hands but David did not chose to lay his hand upon a king who had been once anointed by the Lord. He thereby showed his fear of God.

David is not a solitary example of the anointed of the Lord leader becoming stronger and stronger. We see it in numerous other examples like that of Mordecai in the time of Esther, the queen. Even Zeresh, the wife of Haman had the insight to recognize that Mordecai being of the seed of Israel would prevail over her once powerful husband Haman. She saw the beginning of the fall of Haman and the rise of Mordecai. Mordecai became stronger and stronger even as Haman grew weaker. Even as our bodies and minds become naturally weaker as we age, our spirits should wax stronger as we lean or depend on the Lord even more than before. Our enemies or foes fight in vain against us for the Almighty Jehovah Nissi fights the war on our behalf. Victory is certain and defeat is not an option.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


UV 1484/10,000 Revival
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
Ezekiel 37 v 4
At times in our life, we become lifeless and hopeless. During these valley times or low points in our lives, we should speak or declare the Word of the Lord to our bodies, minds and spirits and the Lord will bring to life our organs, our bones, our flesh and blood, our intellect, our emotions, our will and our spirits. He will breathe on us. The Word is oxygen to our inner being. It revives us. The resurrection power of Christ is released in us. The disconnected and disjointed parts of our lives will come together and get connected. We will find meaning, purpose and power once more. Our bones, spirits and lives will no longer be dry.

The Word has prophetic power. When it is affirmed by faith and declared in our souls, it begins to quicken or make alive our inner being. This is the reason the Word is said to be alive and active, sharper than a double-edged sword and penetrates to the point where bone and marrow meet. In other words, it penetrates to the deepest parts of our being and brings healing and greatly strengthens us. Bones are strong and useful only if they are connected together with joints, cartilage and muscles. We lead only a skeletal existence without the Lord’s breath upon and in us. Though we have fallen and are broken, He will cause us to walk again with Him. When we proclaim the Word, it overwrites on that which was written against us. Our weary spirits, our discouraged minds and weakened bodies will be re-charged and renewed. Speaking to our dry bones is not a one time exercise but ought to be a daily exercise. We need to command the dry parts of our lives to be alive and well, to be supplied with the blood of the Lamb of God, to be filled to overflowing with joy, love and hope.

There is no situation in life from which the Lord cannot redeem us. We should ask the Lord not just to breathe on us but to breathe in us and through us. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, the same breath He breathed in man at the first point in time that caused the mud to become flesh and blood and His spirit to dwell in him. The breath of God is the image of God. He will re-create us in His image regardless of the mess we are currently in. When we hear the voice of Jesus, our dead parts will come alive. He will cause us once more to rejoice and to be glad. He is the One who was and is and is to come. Hence, He will forgive our past, heal and strengthen us in the present and prepare us for the future and for eternity. The Word has a historic function, a contemporary function, a future function and an eternal function. It also has a historic unction or anointing, a contemporary or present unction, a future unction and an eternal unction. It releases us from the guilt of the past, the memories that drag us down. It releases us from the worries of the present. It releases us from the fears and anxieties of the future. It releases us from fear of death and judgement of eternity. There happens a four-dimensional strengthening of our spirits, minds and bodies as we hear and prophesy with the Word.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Covenant of Peace and Glory

UV 1483/10,000 The Covenant of Peace and Glory
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
Ezekiel 37 v 26

The Lord has made a covenant with us. If we obey the conditions of this covenant, we will be blessed with Shalom or peace. The splendid promises of God that cover and fulfil our every specific and general need and desire emanates from commitment, obedience and keeping of this covenant of peace. The Lord will act towards us consistent with the terms of the covenant. It is the way to do business with the Lord. A covenant involves an exchange of sacred vows. These vows release the “ wow” power or amazing grace and peace of God in the lives of human beings. It is an everlasting covenant that outlasts our lives on earth.

The nearest thing to covenant on earth are the vows of marriage between a bridegroom and a bride. The Lord is the Bridegroom and we are the bride. The Lord will by the terms of the everlasting covenant cause the evil against us to cease. The first blessing of the eternal covenant is safety or security. The first duty of the bridegroom is to protect the bride in her vulnerabilities. The second duty of the bridegroom is provision. The Lord acts as a husband to His people. The third duty of the bridegroom is to give the bride a place of honour in his home and a place of endearment in his heart. The Lord affirms His love for His people and honours us. He causes us to multiply in numbers, in blessings and in impact in the course of our lifetime. The fourth duty of the bridegroom is to be a blessing to his descendants through the bride. The Lord will be our God and our generations forever as long as our descendants remain faithful to Him. He establishes His covenant and makes it ordered in all things or perfected in all details. The promises of God are certain to be fulfilled. Hence, we should not entertain doubt. We enter into this covenant by faith and continue in love. The covenant that God offers is the basis for our relationship with Him –how else can sinful, frail and mortal man enter into a partnership with the holy, perfect, all powerful and eternal God? The mercies He extends to us are sure, precise and definite.

Frail and faithless as we are, the fear of the Lord keeps us faithful to the covenant with the Lord and prevents us from departing from it. The Lord is betrothed or engaged to us forever. He is betrothed to us in righteousness, in justice, in love and in compassion. The peace that we obtain from a covenant relationship with God cannot be obtained from any other source in the world. The Lord will perfect us even as a bridegroom should contribute to developing or enabling the bride to be her best so that she is flawless and perfected. He will cause us to take root, to blossom, bud and bear fruit in our character and our deeds. The covenant with the Lord is also a covenant unto glory: our lives will no longer be humdrum, mundane or vain. He will cause miraculous increase and reveal His splendour in and through our lives. We will neither be small, weak or insignificant. He promises to set His sanctuary or dwelling place in us and in our midst. He inclines His ear to the voice of rejoicing and gladness, the interceding voice of Jesus, the eternal Bridegroom who purchased us by His blood, the voice of the bride. He will walk among us. He will be a wall of fire around us and His glory will be in our midst.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 27, 2015

Faith and Safe Sailing

UV 1482/10,000 Faith and Safe Sailing
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
I Timothy 1 v 19
Faith is like a sail of a ship. It catches the winds of God’s mercy, grace and peace. The conscience is like a GPS or direction finder that keeps the ship going in the right direction. Even an error of a single degree would take the ship to a completely different destination. There is a need for mapping our route and studying it diligently such that it is adhered to. Even if at times one goes off course, the conscience prompted by the Holy Spirit will make mid-stream corrections. Those who deliberately set aside their faith, yield to their lusts and depart from a righteous path are like ships that get wrecked on the rocks. Instead, if they look to the lighthouse of the Word and follow the commandments of God and believe in His promises, the ship that represents life will be on a safe course.

The Lord has charted the course of our lives in His Word. If we stick to the paths He has indicated, we will be safe even in choppy waters and in the storms of life. We will not be diverted or wander away from Him. The rudder of wisdom will enable us to judge if our vessel is off course or if it has developed a leak. The desire or zeal to serve the Lord will be the fuel or motivation that keeps us up and running.

Noah began building a huge ark even as the weather was good and the land was dry. It was his faith in God’s Word and His willingness to implicitly obey that enabled him to do so. His contemporaries laughed at him for his madness. Sometimes, even today people laugh at our faith and call us crazy. Noah sealed all the gaps in the ark with tar. Similarly, we should seal the gaps and holes in our faith. Our conscience should always be kept clean like a compass. The ark of our faith will withstand all the tests we face in life. Just as Noah’s Ark landed safely on Mount Ararat, the Lord will prepare a safe landing for us. Jonah did not obey God to be His messenger to Nineveh and as a result, the ship he was travelling in ran the risk of shipwreck. St Paul while on a ship that ran aground was able to save himself and others from drowning as his faith was strong and he knew the Lord was in control of the situation. The disciples panicked even as Jesus slept peacefully as their boat was rocked uncontrollably by the winds and waves of the storm in the Sea of Galilee. But Jesus on being awakened by them commanded the storm to be still. We too can use our authority in Christ by faith to command the storms that we face in life to be still. We must stop being deluded that we are the captain of the ship. Jesus is the only competent captain of the ship of our lives. Leadership is best left in His able hands. He will not let us shipwreck.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Turning Battles into Blessings

UV 1481/10,000 Turning Battles into Blessings
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Chronicles 20 v 21
The laws that govern our moral and spiritual universe are hidden in the Word of God. In this uni-verse, the power of praise is revealed. Praising the Lord is a powerful weapon that can tear down strongholds. We praise God for the beauty of His character and He will show Himself strong on our behalf. Jehoshaphat, the ruler of Judah acknowledged Jehovah as the ruler of the universe. He faced overwhelming odds on all sides from enemies of his kingdom. Jehoshaphat recognized the power of praise as a weapon of spiritual warfare. He appointed singers or worshippers who went out before the army praising the Lord for the enduring quality of His mercy. When defeat and ignominy was staring Jehoshaphat in the face, praise and worship turned his battlefield into the Valley of Berachah. We too receive our greatest blessings not on the mountain top of victory but in the valley of Berachah. The Lord turns all our battlefields into the Valley of Berachah. The army of Judah did not have to fight as the enemies of Judah turned upon each other as the Lord set ambushments against them. Mount Seir, Moab and Ammon destroyed each other’s armies. The army of Jehoshaphat only had to strip their bodies and remove the spoils of war.

We too should be entranced with the beauty of holiness: the eternal quality of God’s Shekinah glory, His radiant face, His amazing love, power and grace, His eternal wisdom and understanding, His awesome ways. When we praise and worship we are taking battle position but we do not have to fight. The Lord will fight for us. He will deliver amazing victory into our hands. At the end of it, we will have the spoils of spiritual warfare: an awesome testimony, another reason to praise the Lord lifelong, a stronger faith in the Lord, a more intimate relationship with the Lord. We will praise and worship Him even more and taste more and more of victory.

Praise and worship constitutes a stairway to heaven by which the Lord descends to be involved in our situation. He will decide the strategy of battle and by what means He will deliver us. Praise and worship shackles the enemies and releases us of our own shackles. It sets us free from fears and enables us to be victorious and joyful. The Lord ‘s title being the Lord of the armies of heaven engages in spiritual warfare on our behalf and delivers us in life’s great battles. He is greater than all the combined array of forces and factors against us in each and every situation.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Leader as Watchman

UV 1480/10,000 A Leader as Watchman
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
Habakuk 2 v 1
Leadership is a lot like the duties and position of a watchman. A watchman is not the owner of the house but a servant employed and rewarded with wages to do his duties. The Lord is the owner of the house. We are like watchman anointed not appointed by the Lord. We wait not to warn people of dangers but to hear the Word of the Lord and pass it on to the people. A watchman lives not in terms of hours but in terms of the hours of watch- two to three hours. A spiritual watchman watches not at night but during every hour of the day. A watchman seeks a strategic point to watch. The strategic points or vantage points are the early hours of the day and the small hours of the night when we wait on the Lord in prayer.

A watchman uses his eyes to look out for approaching strangers and dangers. But we use our inner ear and vision to look out for signs and directions from the Lord. When we are questioned, the Lord will give us the word to speak. The answer of our mouths lie with the Lord. What do we look out for ? We need to carry what we see, hear and feel to the Lord in prayer and He will send His message as well as His messengers to the world. A watchman is also like a shepherd who watches his flock. We need to observe the flock or people we are responsible for and do what is required for their well being.

We need to be alert, sensitive and vigilant like watchmen. The Psalmist says that we should be eager to look out for the Lord and His word more than watchmen wait for the dawn that is a sign that they can rest. The Holy Spirit will lay on our hearts the burdens of the Lord- the things He is concerned about. Our own burdens and concerns He will lift. The things we stand for in our professions and lives mark out the issues of concern that we should look out for. The Lord in turn will watch our backs as we take a stand for Him in this world. When we stake our faith in a promise in God’s Word, we are setting ourselves up on a tower- a tower being a metaphor for a vantage point, a place of security, defence and sufficient provision, a position of prominence and pre-eminence.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rest and Peace

UV 1479/10,000 Rest and Peace
But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent
I Kings 5 v 4
Since the Lord our God is the One who is, was and is to come, He rules over the past, the present and the future extending into eternity. This is the reason He is able to turn a historical event or saying into a promise that is valid in our times and lives. The uni-verse is an extract from a letter from one King to another- the young Solomon to King Hiram, king of Tyre, now in modern Lebanon. Yet it is a promise to our generation that the Lord will enable us to enter into His rest. He will give us rest all round. Neither adversary nor evil shall overtake us. This was the anointing upon Solomon, the son of David that we can claim for ourselves as our inheritance. The name Solomon is derived from “peace” or Shalom. Jesus was at peace even when the disciples were terrified by the storm that rocked the boat in which the Master alone was sleeping. We need to be peaceful like Jesus and do the works that peace enables. The Lord gives us peace and rest here and now. We may go through rough weather, high waves and tough winds but we need to hold on to that inner peace.

The Hebrew word “Shalom” implies peace as not just an absence of conflict but the presence of God that engenders blessedness in every sense. It is a combination of joy, peace, prosperity, health, wisdom, grace. The Lord gave Solomon favour or grace in the eyes of all of Israel’s neighbours. He sought and got their help in procuring material to build the temple of the Lord. Similarly, the Lord will enable help for us from unlikely quarters. He will give us grace or favour all round. To rest also means to quell our fears and to wean ourselves from desires that are too ambitious and to lie in the Lord’s arms and presence like a weaned child lies satisfied in her mother’s arms. It comes from a confidence that the Lord who had provided and protected us this far will never leave us nor forsake us. He would lift us up in due time.

It does not mean that we are complacent or lethargic. But that we seek to improve in 360 degrees or all round excellence. We are called to be not just faithful but to be diligent. Not just due diligence but we need to go the extra mile. Rest does not mean being indifferent, inert or to rest on our past achievements but to know that the Lord has given us peace to strive to fulfil His will in our lives, undisturbed and focussed on the purpose He has lain on our hearts. We should not wait till we die to rest in peace but to always enter the Lord’s rest.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Daily Mountain Top Experience

UV 1478/10,000 A Daily Mountain Top Experience
And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.

Exodus 34 v 2

We got to be ready every morning as early as we can to have a mountain top experience with the Lord. We should be alone and not be weighed down by our responsibilities and problems. Like Moses we should present ourselves to the Triune God. We are presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice before the Lord and Giver of Life. It pleases the Lord. We should prepare the two tablets, the tablet of our heart and the tablet of our mind so that the Lord can write His will and directions for us. The Lord God will reveal Himself to us as He revealed Himself to Moses as the God who is merciful and gracious, patient and abounding in goodness and truth, holding out His mercy for thousands who repent and turn to Him, yet by no means clearing the unrepentant but visiting them with the sins of the father to the third and fourth generation. We will also bask in the light of the Morning Sun- Jesus and hear the flutter of the wings of the Holy Spirit while praying and studying the Word. Each of us can have our own Mount Sinai- the place reserved for our private undisturbed meeting with the Lord. It could be a room, a garden or a rooftop. Moses entered the presence of Jehovah El Shaddai as a broken man, a man who had reared sheep in the wilderness but he left it with his face shining with the glory of the Shekinah presence of God. He could now lead His disgruntled people who presented a million problems and disputes. He could shake the very throne of the Super power Egypt and its mighty ruler Pharaoh. We enter His presence weak as weeds that can be broken in two but we will leave as strong as mountains. While we enter with the feeling , “ I am nothing”, we leave with the conviction, “ Nothing is impossible for God and therefore, I can do all things that He sets me to do.”

Moses had a special covenant relationship with the Lord. At times he got impatient, at times his old mercurial temper showed up. The Lord also got angry with Moses at time but He always had a soft corner for the child He redeemed from the Nile whom He anointed as forerunner of Jesus to deliver the people of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. The Lord can use a papyrus reed basket as He did with Moses or a great ark as He did with Noah and the entire gene pool of all species on the earth. To save Israel from Egypt He manifested His power to the mighty Pharaoh with signs and wonders. But to save thousands upon thousands from all generations of mankind, He used a counter intuitive method of using the very body of His only Son Jesus. He chose not to manifest His great power but rather He chose to manifest His grace and truth. Today, each morning as we commune with the Lord with spiritual songs, prayer and the Word, He manifests not His power but His mercy, grace and truth- mercy to accept us, grace to equip and empower us and truth to teach and build us.

Our daily mountain top experiences of the Lord will prepare us for the challenges, tasks and events for the day. From the mountain top, the Lord will give us vision. We will be able to see the Promised Land beyond the river of death. It will enable us to be able to surmount our immediate circumstances and be joyful through it all. The Lord will give us His word to eat and nourish our inner being. Normally food takes a couple of hours to digest and absorb. But the spiritual manna needs a good twenty four hours to digest and absorb. We need to keep remembering and meditating all through the day and on some nights in a watch of three hours on the inner and hidden meaning of the Word we receive every morning. Then we will be satisfied as with marrow and fatness as scripture puts it. We will be greatly strengthened. We will not be weary or weak. We will be motivated. We will rise on the wings of prayer and the Word. We will run with our vision and not grow tired. The Lord will give us victory in the valley of our daily lives. As the Lord prepared Moses for leadership, He will prepare us for leadership and impact on the world. Though even the mightiest of us are as fragile as weeds, He makes us as mountains.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Blessings of Posterity

UV 1477/10,000 The Blessings of Posterity
They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

Isaiah 65 v 23

Our labour for the Lord is not in vain. We will enjoy our work and the fruit of our labour. We will reap what we have sown. We need not hide like Gideon in the winepress with the barley we have laboured to grow and reap. He will give us increase in the land. Solomon bemoaned the fact that a man labours all his life to build up his wealth in order to give to an unworthy heir. But as heirs with Christ of the Kingdom power and blessings, we will prove to be worthy heirs. Our blessings will never run out on us as long as we are in a covenant relationship with the Lord, Our Divine Bridegroom. When we are yoked to Christ we are primed to be blessed. The blessing of the Lord makes a man spiritually rich and he is saved from much trouble. We are rich in the eyes of the Lord in terms of the faith we possess, the ability to see the unseen hand of the Lord upon us in all we do.

The Lord will bless our inheritance and our posterity. Our children will be blessed after us. The righteous do not bring forth children for increasing their troubles but they will prove to be a blessing even as they are blessed. All who see them will know how blessed they are.
We need not be anxious about their future or worried about their safety. We need to pronounce a blessing on them every day of our lives: “ May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you and be with you all the days of your life.” This is the spiritual seed we are sowing into their spirits and lives that will grow and multiply. Once the Lord revealed that we are only the temporary guardians of our children and that He alone is their permanent parent.

By our claiming the promises of the Lord regarding our children, we are putting a strong fencing around them like a gardener would put an iron ring fence around the tender saplings. The Lord promises to teach them and instruct them in the way they should go, in the choices they should make such that their peace shall be truly great. Instead of being in trouble or bringing trouble upon themselves and their families, they will abound in grace and peace. The Lord will provide His blood armour to them to protect them from the fiery arrows the enemy casts upon them. He will keep their eyes from tears and their feet from stumbling or in other words keep them from deliberate or accidental errors and blunders. Even if they experience temporary setbacks, the Lord will enable them to stage a come back, to recover and go forth from strength to strength.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 20, 2015

Parallel Tracks of Wholesome Communication

UV 1476/10,000 Parallel Tracks of Wholesome Communication
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Matthew 5 v 37
In this uni-verse, Jesus lays bare the basis of truthful communication. Our communication in order to be wholesome, healthy, sanctified, purposeful and useful should always be an affirmation of the positive and the negation of the negative. There is no middle path or compromise between the two. The things that we should affirm are positive. It might bring short term pain but long term gain. The things that we should negate or say “No” to may bring us short term pleasure or gain but long term and eternal pain for instance, promiscuity, corruption, bribery, violence, pornography, devious sexual behaviour, cheating, crime, dishonesty, laziness and lies. Each human being has a tendency to be like God as we are created in His image. At the same time, we have an inherent inclination to be deceived and tempted by what is seemingly good. Hence, every thought and indeed every word of communication of ours should have two parallel strands or tracks- an affirmation of the truth and a denial of the lie.

It need not even be a communication with someone else but an internal communication to our own selves. We need to keep affirming the Word of God in our lives and keep negating the promptings of the world. We need to keep affirming the counsel and urging of the Holy Spirit. Some might ask, “how then does one deal with the grey areas in life?” My mentor once told me, “ When in doubt, no doubt” meaning that when we have a doubt whether what we are contemplating or about to decide is good or bad, then we can be certain that it is not the right path for us.

Any communication beyond affirming the positive and faithful and negating the untruthful, unwise, unfaithful brings judgement and condemnation on us for it emanates from the father of lies- satan. Jesus in contrast is the father of truth for He declared and was shown to be truth personified. He said, “ I am the way, the truth and life.” He is the way to success, blessing, joy, fulfilment, righteousness, salvation and eternal life. We need to constantly affirm our faith in Him and deny the influence of the world and of the enemy of our soul. Jesus is also the “yes and Amen to all God’s promises.” In the book of Revelation, He is revealed to be Lord Amen or the one who causes prayers to be answered, blessings to be granted. We need to affirm our faith in all of God’s promises and at the same time the doubt that keeps trying to creep into our minds. When we are communicating with others, we have a tendency to push ourselves up and pull others down. We should say “no” to this. Instead, the Word asks us to speak in such a way that we build and encourage others. We are called to be gracious in our speech, seasoned with salt. Salt is a compound of two poisonous chemicals- sodium and chlorine. We need to kill the poison in our communication or our tongues. This is negating the negatives. Salt is also a preservative. We need to use speech to preserve peace and enhance the grace and glory of God in every word we speak.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Purpose for Our Formation

UV `1475/10,000 The Purpose of Our Formation
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

Isaiah 43 v 21

This uni-verse declares the very purpose we were created, formed and redeemed by the Lord. The purpose is to show forth or manifest the glory of God, to direct all praise to the Lord. The word “formed” implies that He shaped us in our mothers’ wombs. He also formed us through all the experiences of our lives right from our existence in the womb till the tomb. He is actively involved in shaping our lives. The Lord helps us. He does not allow us to be confused or ashamed about our past, present or future. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. He uses even our mistakes and painful experiences to shape us. In fact, pain is the chisel the Lord uses to chip away our rough edges and to shape our inner mind and character. Pleasure and blessings are the padding He uses to soften each blow. He is like a master sculptor and waits patiently as we fulfil His purpose – to praise Him. Our primary and pre-eminent purpose in life is to declare His praise verbally and non verbally.

We have been delivered by the Lord’s intervention from the hands of our enemies that we might serve Him without fear. We praise Him not out of a sense of obligation or fear but of love. Praise and thanksgiving opens a two way channel of communication with the Lord. Praise and thanksgiving opens a path to the stairway to heaven that Jacob saw in a vision: as we praise and glorify Him here on earth, the angels bring down blessings and answers to us. We are to praise and glorify God in whatever we do. We have been redeemed at a heavy price paid by Christ Jesus. Hence, we need to glorify the Lord in spirit, mind and body. We are chosen to declare or proclaim the praise of the Lord. Every situation and event in our lives is permitted by the Lord to elicit praise. Hence, we should set our faces like flint stone as we trudge towards heaven. We should be nonplussed as we face temporary setbacks for these too will give us an occasion and reason to glorify His name. We praise God not only with words and songs but by being zealous to do good deeds for His name’s sake. We praise Him as He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. As we praise Him, His presence dawns on us like the clouds part for the rising sun. We should offer a sacrifice of praise continually from our hearts. It is a sacrifice as we are naturally inclined to hog the limelight ourselves, to say we did it ourselves but now we point all our fingers upward to the Lord like the limbs or branches of the Menorah, the Lamp of Israel. The Lamb of Israel is the Lamp of the world. All seven days of the week we should burn in His praise in all we do. In all aspects of our life and work, we should bring forth His light. It implies that we should be practical and spiritual at one and the same time. We should bring about improvements, changes for the better and strive to do our best and excel in all we do so that we add credit and not detract from His glory.

In the last few days after comprehending the Lord’s purpose, I opened a Praisebook account in which I write down praise and thanks regarding ten aspects of the Lord or His actions towards us which have blessed me. Why did I choose ten? It’s as He has formed us with ten fingers that are always available for us to use. The Psalmist also mentions that we should praise Him with a ten-stringed lyre, each string is a metaphor for some dimension of our life and the Lord’s hand of formation upon us. Over a thousand days, I would have listed ten thousand reasons to praise and thank the Lord. As one reader commented, “ it will increase our spiritual bank balance.” Our natural spirit is the spirit of heaviness, of worry, anxiety and negativity. But when we replace that spirit of heaviness and moodiness with the garment of praise, we truly become a planting of the Lord, trees of righteousness to bear fruit on every branch or aspect of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 18, 2015

God's Leadership and Godly Leadership

UV 1474/10,000 God’s Leadership and Godly Leadership
So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
Psalm 78 v 72

The only person capable of providing perfect leadership is God. This is the reason it is said that without God our life is like a pencil that is pointless. Any life and leadership without God is a spiritually blind life and leadership. He enables us to be sharpened and useful. Only the Lord is truthful, completely honest and faithful. The integrity of His heart is absolute. Hence, we can rely upon Him. He is the good shepherd who feeds His sheep. He knows the terrain and the territory through which He leads and guides us. He leads us by still waters where we will find refreshing. He leads us to green pastures where we can feed. He defends us against the wild beast and predators. He leads, guides and protects us with skilfulness. Leadership without factoring in God and His Word is like surgery without a surgeon. It can be disastrous, dangerous, risky, costly, foolish and has a remote chance of success or efficacy.

This uni-verse shows that leadership consists of beliefs, attitudes, skills and knowledge. Beliefs cannot be proved but can be experienced. Once we have tasted the goodness of the Lord and His instructions, we will not depart from these. Our attitudes that are evidenced in our conduct, words and actions flow from our core beliefs. Our skills develop as we use our abilities, gifts and talents and practice these over a long period. The natural skills the Lord implants in us at birth, the skills we learn and develop during our lives, the gifts of anointing that we receive as supernatural gifts at the time of our being born again are to be honed and used to the fullest potential and for His glory. Our knowledge involves an element of paying attention to certain facts, remembering these facts, understanding its implications and applying it to our lives. God’s knowledge of us is complete and total. Hence, even to know ourselves the best way is to know God better. He focuses His light on the dark areas of our lives, our hearts and our leadership. Leaders who do not have faith in God and hence, do not have a personal relationship with Him are not able to be victorious in their dark areas. Their greatest defeat and humiliation arise in these dark areas. This aspect underlines the importance of godly leadership in this world. Thinking and writing about life and leadership necessarily centres around godly leadership.

To maintain the integrity of our hearts, we should make ourselves fully accountable to the Lord. We need to invite the Lord to examine our hearts constantly and show us where we have gone wrong or are going wrong. We should measure ourselves against the yardstick of God’s Word and not use man’s relative standards of comparison. When we voluntarily submit our hearts to the Lord, He will set right our attitudes and help us align it with our beliefs, values and principles. David the shepherd tuned his heart like a harp to resonate with the heart of the Lord as evidenced in the Psalms he wrote and sang. But David the successful king began to rest on his oars and reduced his dependence on the Lord. He was distracted and strayed into adultery and wanton killing of one of his soldiers, Uriah in order to marry his wife. But the Lord guided him back to righteousness by sending Samuel with a word of reproach and correction. David repented and humbled himself. He was restored to integrity of heart, fellowship with the Lord and salvation though he had to pay a heavy price even during his lifetime on earth. The Lord recognizes that we change with each stage in our lives and He sends different types of guidance and correction our way. Each command of God is a pointer or pathway that leads up to a pasture or promise or blessing, temporal, spiritual and eternal. Under the old covenant leadership, the kingly, priestly and prophetic office were kept separate but now under the new covenant leadership, the kingly, priestly and prophetic offices are combined. The new life and leadership is holistic, comprehensive, powerful and effective. It is a combination or blend of power and grace, privilege and purpose, humility and firmness, gentleness and effectiveness.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 17, 2015

Our Hiding Place

UV 1473/10,000 Our Hiding Place
Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 39 v 29
Mankind has always playing a hide and seek game with God. Adam and Eve hid from their Creator God once they disbelieved Him and then disobeyed His command, His law and His Word. Disbelief precedes disobedience and rebellion. God then hid Himself from humanity and revealed Himself from time to time through certain men of God and prophets. The corollary is also true: belief or trust precedes obedience and fellowship with God. God is not our equal- at best we can only follow Him but He humbles Himself to be our fellow or friend or companion. He promises that as we believe or trust Him and love and obey His command, holding onto it as to dear life, He will never hide His face from us any more. His fullest revelation came in Jesus His Son and the covenant of good news that He executed and signed in and with His own blood of sacrifice. Instead of hiding from God we should hide in Him. He is to be our refuge not only in times of trouble but our stronghold even in our good times. When we hide in Him and are inhabited by His spirit, His fruit of character and gift of spiritual abilities will grow in us.

Jesus said that no man apart from Him has ever seen the face of God. When we see the face of Jesus, we see the face of God. When the face of Jesus smiles and shines upon us like the morning star or the Sun of righteousness, we are kept safe in the hands of God. He watches over us all the time. He pours His spirit upon our house. Our bodies begin to house His spirit. We are blessed in spirit and mind and body. Whenever the nation of Israel disbelieved His Word and disobeyed Him, the Lord hid His face from Israel. They were taken into captivity. When they repented and returned to the Lord with tears and sorrow, the Lord restored them to fellowship and delivered them from their captivities. He made a covenant of peace with Israel. He made His will plain and known to them on tablets of stone. As long as we keep His Word, He will not hide His face from us. He will not allow us to be ashamed or confused anymore. The Spirit that God pours on us who believe is the spirit of grace and supplications. Each promise of God is a special hiding place where we obtain His grace and power for that particular or specific need.

When the Lord places or pours His Holy Spirit on us, every brick of our house or every part of our lives will be blessed. It will grow and glow. When His spirit resides in us, He will cause us to walk in His statutes, ways and instructions. We will not turn to the right or to the left. We will keep or remember His righteous judgements in our lives and we will do or apply them constantly in our lives. The world and its sinful culture is like a leech that sticks to our skin but the Word is the salt that makes the leech of the world to release its clutches on us.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our Praisebook Account

UV 1472/10,000 Our Praisebook Account

And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Revelation 4 v 2
Jesus is the High Priest who sits on the right hand of the throne of God. His throne is like flaming fire. His eyes penetrate our thoughts and hearts. His face is radiant like precious stone. His hair like white wool. There is a rainbow around the throne of God. It symbolises the promises of the old covenant and new covenant that the Lord has made with man. We can travel in the spirit to the presence of the Lord, to His throne room and experience His power and grace. Whenever we bend our knees in prayer, we are immediately transported to His throne. He has overcome and sits on the right side of the Father. He urges us also to overcome and He has prepared a throne beside Him.

The throne is a metaphor of the sovereign power and sovereignty of the Lord. He rules in every situation. He is not far from us as long as we are living in spiritual unity and fellowship with Him. What He decrees as King of Kings happens. Nothing is impossible or too difficult with Him. We need to be in the spirit and perceive the throne of the Lord instead of focussing on the thorns of life. His holy presence will burn the thorns, dissolve the problems, resolve the challenges we face in our everyday lives.

It depends on us to allow the throne of the Lord to be established in our midst. He is not a God who is distant or remote or unconcerned about us. He is intimately involved in the details of our lives to the extent we invite Him and allow Him. Nothing is too small or insignificant for Him to commit and be involved in. When one enters the presence of a king, we should enter with praise and thanksgiving for giving us the audience. We should thank Him and be grateful for favours received so far. Praise and thanksgiving are the gates that lead us into the throne room presence of God. It is in the throne room that the petitions of the subjects of a king are heard. Praise is essential as it is not a one way route but it opens the two way communication, Jacob’s stairway to heaven. Worship is not something that we do for the benefit of God but for our own benefit. As we turn our blessings into praise, He turns our praise into even more blessings even as water that evaporates from the seas, lakes and rivers turns back into rain to water the plants, trees and to satisfy the thirst of animals. Praise and worship brings the presence of the Lord in our midst. Each of us should open a Praisebook account. Every day I have started writing ten new things to praise and thank the Lord. Over a thousand days, it would turn into ten thousand blessings.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Level Five Life and Level Five Leadership

UV 1471/10,000 Level Five Life and Level Five Leadership
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15 v 13
This uni-verse is a beautiful benediction that Paul pronounces on the believers in Rome. It is also a promise for our lives for us to hold onto. Our hope has its basis. Hope without a solid basis is an illusion, a make believe. But our hope overflows not on account of who we are or on account of our own abilities but because of the character of God. We trust in the character of God that He cannot lie, that He is capable of doing all He has promised. We therefore trust in His Word and His promises. He fills us with joy and peace as we continue to hold on to our faith in Him.

The role of the Holy Spirit is to inspire faith in us. He convicts us that Jesus is our Saviour in our time of trouble. He who gave Himself wholly to redeem our souls for eternity- will He not redeem us in our temporary troubles in this world? He who walked on water and multiplied bread and fish to satisfy the hungry- will He not come to our help and satisfy our need? The Holy Spirit brings these things to our minds and thereby, it is His power that causes us to overflow with hope. Our cups, meaning our lives, are neither half full nor half empty but overflow with hope, love and joy. Jesus drank the full cup of suffering to give us this cup of hope, love and joy everlasting. The cup that He held in His hands was the cup of our sin and suffering. The cup we now hold in our hands is the cup of love, joy and hope symbolised in the bread and wine of the Communion we partake in faith.

God does not want us to despair but to be filled with hope and to give us a future and eternity filled with love and joy. While we wait for our hope to be fulfilled, He gives us by the grace of the Holy Spirit the patience and the comfort to hold on and not to give up. He fans our faith to the flame of full assurance. Like the battery and signal strength on mobile phones, our faith, love and hope should be maintained at a band level strength of five. This will enable us to live a level five life and provide level five leadership. When we believe, we receive. When we receive, we give. When we give, we rejoice. When we serve, we lead. When we lead, we live fully.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Wood of Restoration

UV 1470/10,000 The Wood of Restoration
And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
2Kings 6 v 6
Where we lost anything, there the Lord will restore us there. Elisha’s disciples had lost the axe that they had borrowed in the river. They cried out to Elisha, “ Please come with us. We will show you where we lost it.” We too when we lose something, we should cry out to the Lord, “ Lord come with me.” Show Him where we lost it. If it is peace, He will restore it. The piece of wood that Elisha cut and threw in the place where the axehead fell and drowned is a symbol of the cross of restoration of Jesus. The wood floated but the iron axehead that sank to the depths of the river rose to the surface and joined with the wooden staff. The cross of restoration similarly causes the impossible, the improbable and the miraculous to happen in our lives. He will use it to restore all that we have lost. Every moment, every breath, every opportunity, every resource of ours is borrowed from the Lord. When we show Him where we lost it, He will restore us. The wood that was cut is also a metaphor for the specific word that we receive from scripture to restore us to fullness of joy in different circumstances.

When we lose something we need not grieve and become anxious. Instead, we should enter the presence and rest of the Lord and expect Him to do the impossible. The Lord’s word defies the law of gravity. Everything that drags us down into the depth of depression, anxiety and sorrow is overcome by the cross of restoration. Instead of casting away our faith, we should cast down all our anxieties, insecurities and fears at the feet of the Lord. The opposite of faith is not doubt but fear. The followers of Elisha were fearful of the loss they suffered. They were afraid of the anger and reaction of the persons from whom they had borrowed the axe. They felt ashamed. Fears and doubts dig deep tunnels through the mountain of our faith. We begin to enjoy the relative cool, dampness and darkness of these tunnels instead of living on the mountain top and climbing the sides of the mountain.

If we hold onto our faith and trust in the Word, the Lord will cause unfavourable circumstances to turn tide and swim towards us.I have several experiences where we lost many things and there seemed no hope of restoration. But as we held onto the promises of the Lord, He restored that which was lost in the very place we lost it. There are times in our lives when we seem to lose our blessings, when the presence of the Lord seems to have left us. The Lord will restore us splendidly.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Interconnected D's in Love

UV 1469/10,000 The Interconnected D’s in Love

In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30 v 16

Our view of God is not that He being all powerful and infinite is authoritarian and dictatorial. We are commanded to love the Lord our God as the love of God is as necessary as air and water for our spiritual sustenance and well being. The love of God needs to fill our hearts even as our nostrils and lungs fill with air. This is devotion. We study His word and directions as we trust in His words. This is diligence. We subject ourselves to the discipline of His Word and His correction out of love and not out of fear. This is discipline. If we love Him, we will walk in His ways. This is dedication. In order to walk in His ways and make the right choices in life, we need to read, learn, study, remember and retain the Word or His commandments, precepts and promises in our heart. This is discernment. When we keep His Word in our hearts, our lives are blessed. The Lord will bless us and our children in the land where we live. He will multiply us, our blessings and our impact. We need to show our love for the Lord every living day and not save it for our dying day. IF we are devoted to the Lord, we will be diligent with His Word. If we are diligent with His Word, we will be disciplined in our ways. If we are disciplined, we will be discerning and determined to be all the Lord wants us to be and to do.

It is more important to be blessed than to be successful. Loving God is a mandate for man. It is not a luxury or an unnecessary appendage. It is not an imposition. It is the very purpose of life- to experience the love of God and to love Him. The Bible is not a set of elaborate rules and instructions but it is a love letter to mankind. It is Immanuel’s manual for man. It urges us to choose life and not death. Bereft of the love of God and love for God, our hearts are inclined to evil or to self-destruction. The love of God is to constrain us from making the wrong choices in life. He hates to see us hurt and defeated. He wants us to overcome the world even as Jesus overcame the world.

Our personal relationship with God is the closest we can get to any being on earth or in heaven. It is a love affair like no other. The Song of Solomon expresses the devotion of the lover of God. The reference to the beloved as a virgin shows the emphasis the Lord lays on purity of heart. The love relationship is expressed in these words, “ My beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” The Lord covers our lives with a banner of love, of protection, of celebration, of blessing, of provision, of eternal joy. Every day the Lord writes something different on our banner to demonstrate His love. There are mutual and reciprocal claims and proclamations. We first need to commit our lives to the Lord, affirm His existence, our belongingness to Him and His belonging to us, our complete assurance and sense of celebration of this one aspect of life over all others. We define ourselves not by who we are or what we have done but by whose we are.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Word Precedes Works

UV 1468/10,000 Word Precedes Works
LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us
Isaiah 26 v 12

The Lord has ordained or ordered, organized and arranged peace for us. Many of us are not joyful and peaceful most of the time as we are “blessing-blind”. The true story of Fanny Crosby known as the Hymn Queen of America who wrote 10,000 touching and beautiful hymns not despite the fact that she was blind but because she was blind since childhood. Her physical blindness enabled her to always spiritually perceive the many blessings of peace, grace and mercy she received from the Lord. She thanked God for her blindness and said that she would not exchange it for sight. Her words echo into eternity.

Normally, words follow works but in the case of the Word, it precedes and supercedes works. The works of the Lord fulfil the Word. The Lord reveals that health is our precious blessing that should cause us to rejoice. Without health we cannot enjoy other blessings. On the foundation of health, He builds us up. He gives us a multi-coloured coat like Jacob gave his favoured son Joseph, a metaphor for the varied experiences, abilities, challenges we face in our lives that shape and prepare us for eternity. The Lord has a purpose and a plan for everyone and everything in our lives. People who do not have the gift or grace of faith cannot find rhyme nor reason in neither their personal history or world history. They are like driftwood that is driven now in this direction by their whims and desires and later in that direction by their moods and reactions. They do not enjoy mental, emotional or spiritual stability or peace.

The Lord has done great things in our lives and He has prepared to do great things in our lives, such things that eye has not seen nor ear heard nor entered our imagination. I never imagined I would survive in a devastating human bomb assassination, that I would stand before a Queen to be honoured, that I would see and experience many of the things I have seen and experienced hitherto. Like Fanny Crosby, I thank the Lord for the “wonderful terrible” experiences that drove home the reality of God’s peace and grace to me. Like Mary praised the Lord God, I can say, “He has done mighty things in my life.” He has filled my mouth with good things- extraordinary testimonies of His ways. I can testify that He is faithful and trustworthy. It is better to rely on Him and His promises than the support or patronage of the earth’s rulers.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Summits of Success and the Valleys of Victory

UV 1467/10,000 The Summits and the Valleys of Victory
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
Jeremiah 31 v 13
When we face problems we ought to rejoice for we are at the brink of witnessing and experiencing miracles. Without challenges how would the Lord’s grace, mercy and power be revealed? Problems and challenges are opportunities for the Lord to turn our mourning into joy, to comfort us with His presence and His Word. We can therefore rejoice in the midst of our sorrow. With our finite understanding and narrow perspectives, we only celebrate the summits of success but the Lord is closer to us when we are walking in the valleys. The Lord builds our character while we are trudging up and struggling in the valleys. These are the valleys of our victories which are more significant than even the summits of our success.

It is during the valley days that we listen more intently to the Lord and lean more heavily on Him. He is able to write His law in our inner parts and sanctify us. He teaches us and builds our strength and stamina. He whispers in our inner ears of our spirits, “ Fear not. I am with you. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you. I will help you. I will hold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” It is in the valleys of victory that the Lord refines us as silver and purifies us as gold. On the summits of success, our flesh and minds rejoices in the blessings of the Lord but in the valleys of victory, our spirit rejoices in the Lord Himself. He will give us the anointing of joy instead of mourning. He will replace the spirit of heaviness with the garment of praise. He will gird us with gladness or surround us with His wonderful promises and certain hope in all directions.

When our heart rejoices in the Lord, no man can take it away. The summits of success are pedestals on which we should look back at the paths the Lord has brought us and thank Him with gladness. Every moment and effort of our struggles are as worthy of celebration and joy as the moments of success. The greatest valley of victory lies between the two highest mountain peaks of success. In short, the greatest struggles and challenges we faced in our lives are the source of highest joy of victory. My greatest victory was how the Lord helped me overcome the trauma I literally faced in the valley of the shadow of death as I lay injured next to the mangled remains of the former Prime Minister in the world’s first human bomb assassination. The summits of success was when the Lord enabled me to be selected into the Indian Police Service and when I won the Queen’s Award for Innovation. As I lay badly injured with sorrow and mourning all around, the Lord prepared me for the valley of victory over the next couple of years.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ordering Our Steps in Love

UV 1466/10,000 Ordering Our Steps in Love
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Ephesians 5 v 2
The metaphor of walking is used as our growing in all the attributes of love is a slow, gradual, step by step process. Walking in love implies that we need to take every step in life with love. This implies that at every step and moment of our lives we should learn to endure hardship and suffering for the sake of Christ who suffered for us. At every step, every action, gesture and word, we need to exhibit kindness to people around us. At every step, we should avoid envy, pride, egoism, boastfulness and vanity. We should behave pleasantly, not be easily provoked to anger, not be self seeking but seek the good of others. We should avoid evil in every step, thought, word and deed. We should think and be like Jesus who gave Himself as an offering and a sacrifice unto God for each of our salvation. We should do everything with all our power, motivation and make full use of our opportunities, talents and abilities for the service of Christ, His people and indeed all people. The more people we serve, the more people we influence for Christ the greater is our impact as well as reward in eternity.

Walking in love implies that at every step we should exult in the truth and never indulge in lies. We should bear all things, hope in all situations and circumstances that the Lord will help us in His love for us. We should believe the Lord and His promises in all things. This will fill us with hope and joy. The Lord is not a joy-killer but a joy-filler. Walking in love means that we should not harbour any trace of suppressed anger or bitterness that will poison our spirits. Love requires us to forgive people easily and not remember wrongs done to us , real or imagined.

When we are living a life of love, our prayers and praise goes up to heaven and reach the nostrils of the Lord like the aroma of Christ. The opposite is also true that when we are not walking in love, our prayers become distasteful and offensive to Him. Love is what makes our worship acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. Through all our life’s experiences, the Lord teaches us how to make our living sacrifice, acceptable, good and perfect. In St Paul’s description of love, he tells us what love is and what it is not, what it does and what it does not. What it is and does constitutes the steps taken by the movement of the right leg. What it is not and does not do constitutes the movement of the left leg. Just as the right leg and left leg alternate in walking, we should be and do what love is and we should avoid and not do what love is not and will not do. When we taste the savour of the Saviour, it is good. Similarly, when people taste the savour of our lives’ words and deeds, it should likewise be good.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Be Like Jesus

UV 1465-10,000 Be Like Jesus

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Ephesians 5 v 1

The simple short word “be” from which our species derives our name “human being” means to think, imagine, visualise, feel, act and react. As followers of God and of Jesus, His Son and as children of God, we are to be like Jesus, our elder sibling. We have to think like Him. He taught us and showed us to be simple, to be gentle, to be humble, to be forgiving, to be kind, to be compassionate, to be loving, to be wise, to be faithful, to be truthful, to be great, to be disciplined, to be effective, to be shrewd, to be problem-solvers, to be trustworthy, to be obedient, to be submissive, to be talent multipliers, to be resourceful, to be servants of the greatest number, to be contented, to be diligent, to be persevering, to be unselfish, to be sincere, to be pure. In short, to be perfect. Each of these attributes have to be thought upon, adopted, imagined, visualised, felt, acted upon and reacted with.

We have been adopted by God and now it is our turn to adopt the nature of God. This is the way we can offer true and acceptable worship and show our gratitude towards the grace of God. Jesus lead a highly reflective life. We too should constantly reflect and introspect. We should allow the Holy Spirit to point out the areas of our character, our attitudes and our habits that we need to change. We should pray for grace and power to be like Jesus in our thoughts, words, desires and actions.

Jesus’s life on earth was like an arrow head made of flint stone. He travelled quickly to fulfil the purpose and mission of His life: the salvation of humanity. He did not allow adversity to upset His mind or His plan. He walked with supreme confidence and assurance towards the cross. We too should imitate Jesus in His single-mindedness and devotion. The disciples became like Jesus as they spent time with Him both before and after His crucifixion. We too should spend time with Him, learning at His feet and putting into practice the things we learn from Him. Our lives may not be long enough to do all the things we want to do but it is long enough for us to be like Jesus. We should learn to listen like Jesus, understand like Him and communicate like Him. One principle we can follow is to listen one third of the time, try to understand one third of the time and communicate another third. This will make us powerful and effective communicators like Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Priest-King Type of Leadership

UV 1464/10,000 Triune Leadership
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Nehemiah 8 v 2

Ezra was the priest who taught what God wants and Nehemiah was the executive leader, a representative of the king who could get things done. While Ezra’s focus was building the faith and knowledge of God in people, the focus of Nehemiah was the physical re-building of the walls and ruins of Jerusalem. Today, the offices of priest and executive or king are combined in each believer. Each of us is meant to be a blend of priestly grace and humility as well as executive firmness and power. Ezra taught the law to the people. They heard him with understanding, implying they heard to obey, to comply with God’s commands and to apply. Like Ezra, we have an internal work and like Nehemiah, an external work. Ezra had an inward vision while Nehemiah had an outward vision. We are called and challenged to be mighty and gracious in word and deed.

Ezra was the symbol of fear of God, holiness, reverence and wisdom. Each of us is expected to hear the Word with understanding the first thing every day of our lives and to apply it in all areas of our lives. Only when we become doers of the Word do we show that we have truly understood and respected the Word. Or else we would be like the son in one of Jesus’s parables who heard his father’s instructions and went ahead and did none of it. The people heard the Word read by Ezra with attentiveness. It moved them to tears as they were convicted of their falling short of the standards of God.

People of this world believe in good times and bad times, good signs and bad omens. But for the believer, every day is precious, every month is significant, every moment is valuable. We need to pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit every moment of our lives. We need to be reminded of the Word, of both the commands and the promises of God. As priest-kings of Jesus on earth, we are to read the Word and make it understood by the people we are influencing for the kingdom of God. The purpose of the uni-verse concept is an Ezra-like ministry that touches all parts of the globe. We are given a double anointing : first, as priests and second, as kings. As priests, we are expected to be gentle, compassionate and humble like Jesus. This is the velvet glove that should appear to all. As kings, we are expected to have an iron hand of firmness, determination and authority. It is our divine calling to be a priest-king. This identity colours and is overlaid over our earthly vocation or professions. If one is a doctor, his or her Triune calling is priest-king-doctor. If one is a police officer, he is a priest-king-police officer. If one is a HR manager, his Triune calling is priest-king-HR manager. If one is a house wife, she is a priest-king-housewife. This is the manner in which the promise of God of leadership or headship for the faithful and obedient is fulfilled: “ I will make you the head and not the tail. I will make you above and not below.” We are not the tail, nobody can wag us or shake us or cause us to act to their whims and fancies like a puppet. We are the head and we should use it to think clearly, think ahead and think like Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Heart-Mind-Tongue Axis

UV 1463/10000 The Heart-Mind-Tongue Axis

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Matthew 15 v 19

In the words of this uni-verse, Jesus gives both the diagnosis and solution to the prevalence of evil in this world. The root of evil lies in the human heart. From the heart proceeds evil intentions, desires, motives, thoughts, plans. These lead up to violence, murders, sexual offences, property offences, civil offences and spiritual offences. The solution is provided by the Balm of Gilead and Wonderful Counsellor - Jesus. When we experience the love of Jesus and imitate His gentleness and humility, when we receive the spirit of love, power and self control –the Holy Spirit into our lives, when we are instructed by the Spirit and His Word, when our sins are absolved by our contrition and acceptance that His blood shed on the cross at Calvary is our perfect and complete atonement, then our heart is cleansed of all evil.

One police officer in the UK after his conversations with me told me that I am the first police officer he has met across the world who is trying to fight crime, violence and disorder at the mind level. He said that most officers try to fight it at the street level. Some try to fight it with the help of technology. Scripture says, “ Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” It implies that we need to study our hearts, our inner thought patterns, our desire patterns, our habit patterns, our emotional patterns and make the necessary changes to align it with what is revealed to be true, wholesome, healthy, effective, wise and profitable in scripture. Violence, sexual immorality, crimes and such acts of negativity are called works of the flesh. If one indulges his flesh and does not take care of his inner being or ‘heart’, it results in these things. But, fear of God or a fear of being accountable for every word, thought and action makes us desist from such a lifestyle. It is not just a fear of punishment or divine retribution but a recognition that we are made in the image of God and we should not dishonour God, that we are vessels made for a noble purpose. The focus of the Lord is also not on our abilities or our activities or achievements but on our hearts. The natural inclination of our hearts and the imagination of our minds are towards evil or the negative. But by supernatural grace, it is corrected to tilt towards God, the absolutely good, truthful and perfect being. He gives us the freedom and the grace to overcome our own inner weaknesses, the chains of the past.

Merely emptying oneself of evil does not suffice for nature abhors a vacuum. We need to fill our hearts with treasures of God’s Word. A one time filling is not sufficient but a constant and daily re-filling or renewal of our spirits. The heart is the fountainhead of both life and death. We can store in it the issues of death or the issues of life. Allowing the Holy Spirit to do a CAT scan of our hearts will enable us to discover if there is anything that is negative or displeasing to God that is stored therein. It will also help us discover what we treasure most in our lives, the cause and source of our lives’ delight, the most precious aspects of our lives. There is a constant battle in the spiritual realms for our hearts between the forces of God and the forces of the evil one. Evil can also come camouflaged or disguised as good. False beliefs and wrong doctrines that give rise to cults are an example. Our hearts can be ensnared by our own thoughts, desires and words. Hence, we need to be wary of what we feed our minds, watchful of our desires and words. Next to the heart, the most powerful source of evil or good is the human tongue. Scripture says, “Watch your tongue for in it lies the power of death and life.” The natural inclination of the human tongue is towards the negative or death but the supernatural inclination is towards eternal life and the positive. The heart-mind-tongue axis is the axis around which our whole lives revolve. It can either be an axis of negativity or an axis of positivity and good. The choice lies with each of us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Word is Pro-Life

UV 1462/10,000 The Word is Pro-life
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Matthew 15 v 11

The reason why we should give far greater credence, attention and importance to studying the Word that comes from God rather than the words that come from mortal man’s mind and mouth is that the latter is from a limited knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It is like a manufactured product trying to describe itself and how it works. The Word that comes from the mind and mouth of the Lord is complete, infinite, perfect, practical, wise and effective in all possible and impossible situations. The words of man are superficial while the Word penetrates deep into the soul and even into the core of our bones. It is knowledge, food and medicine at the same time. It nourishes our souls and spirits and heals us of our deep insecurities and fears. This is also the reason that I spend the first few hours of every day imbibing the Word. When we imbibe the Word we are feeding on righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who dwells in us who believe rejoices that we have identified the Word as our eternal food and that we delight in it. The Word has a cleansing effect on our inner being. While the words of man show a person is clean and undefiled on the outside, his cup is full of greed, lust and folly. In normal circumstances, we might find ourselves polite and cultured but when we are provoked the negatives bred by greed, lust and folly come streaming or gushing out.

The word “defile” when re-arranged reads as “de-life”. There are infected files in our mindspace that affect our thoughts, our lives and our actions. Whatever we have fed our minds in the past creates these files of instructions from which we operate. But the files created by the Word of God are “pro-life”, pro-change for the better and not worse, pro-hope and progress. The Word affects positively our thought patterns, our speech patterns, our decision patterns, our relationship patterns and all our life patterns. A pattern has a mix of more than one element. Normally, our patterns are a mix of negative and positive with the former predominating on account of our fallen nature. When we believe Jesus and His eternal Word, the pattern is reversed and transformed as positive-negative negative. Our negatives are crossed out with a stroke from above. The cleansing happens from deep within us.

Our hearts and souls are purified and established by grace – a gift of God since the Word is a gift. Our hearts are sanctified by the Word and Word-immersed prayer. We need to now store or treasure more and more of His Word in the storehouse of our hearts. We need to check off and on if our lives, thoughts, words and actions are in alignment with the Word. We apply the Word to correct our world-view, to check if our enthusiasm to obey the Word matches our delight in appropriating the promised blessings. The Word removes the poison or venom from under our tongues and makes our speech gracious, truthful and gracious. Our mouths become a spring of sweet and not bitter water. Our words become a source of encouragement, joy, inspiration and love for our listeners and all who relate with us. The best index of the state of our souls, hearts and spirits is the kind of words that pour out of our mouths. We need to be guarded and keep a careful account of the words we speak.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blind Versus VIsionary Leadership

UV 1461/10,000 Blind Versus Visionary Leadership
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Matthew 15 v 14
We may not be visually impaired but suffer from blindness of the spirit. Spiritually blind people cannot lead people as they will not have a sense of direction or a sense of right and wrong. They will not be able to know what paths to take, what hurdles to avoid or overcome and what lies ahead of them. The spiritually blind people will blindly follow such leaders to their own fall and destruction. We have many instances of such leadership across the globe and across history. One glaring example is that of Hitler who being blinded by hatred and a mistaken sense of his own destiny and that of his race lead Germany and a whole lot of people in several nations into destruction. Thankfully, ever since Germany was defeated and the people saw the sheer folly of their ways, she has had sober leadership. Currently, the extremist religious forces of the Middle East are following such a policy of extermination and eventual self-destruction. Only Jesus as Commander- in- Chief of the armies of heaven and saints or saved sinners of the earth led by example and from the frontline. He went ahead of us and embraced death, a cruel painful death. All other commanders or leaders embraced safety by either remaining behind their troops like Napoleon or Hitler in his bunker. They would give the excuse that they need to remain safe to provide leadership. Blind leaders might also espouse high ideals of sacrifice, love and service but it would be as a camouflage, disguise or figleaf to delude their blind followers and to cover the nakedness of their pursuit of power for power’s sake. We see in the current and former races for presidency in the USA and elsewhere when candidates suddenly claim to be Bible believers for long. Blind leaders have an excuse for every misleading action while visionary leaders have a conviction driving them to take risks, to place themselves in the line of fire. Jesus in the first words in this uni-verse -
“let them alone”- asks us to ignore or reject blind leadership. Visionary leaders convert the teachings of Jesus into values, the values into principles, the principles into actions and habits and the habits into influence and legacy. The values are the guideposts that light up their paths on this earth. The principles are the paths they take. They have set their eyes like flint on their destination- divine and eternal. Yet they do all they can to leave the people they lead better in every way and this is their legacy of blessedness.

Each of us has blind spots that make us “strain a gnat and swallow a camel” as Jesus put it. We ignore the huge beams that blind our vision of life and take pride in pointing out the specks in our neighbour’s or colleagues’ eyes. The Word of God holds an accurate mirror to us that enable us to see our hidden blind spots. The followers of a person pay a great price for the faults and failures of their leader. It is therefore very important that the light of God’s Word is focussed on the dark areas of leadership- our weaknesses of pride, desire and ambition. When the light of the Word is focussed long enough and we heed it, giving priority to His leading over our own feelings and thoughts, the dark areas of leadership will be lit up.

Only the Lord is qualified to lead us by example and precept. He knows where we are, what our strengths and weaknesses are and where we should go. He knows the exact direction in which we should move and the pace at which we should move. Instead of leaning on our own or others’ blighted intellect and limited vision, we should daily seek the direction the Lord wants us to take in our lives. We should seek His guidance at every step and turn. We need His help and enablement as many of the things affecting our lives are not visible to the naked eye but have deep and invisible spiritual dimensions. We need His help to prevent and pre-empt us from pressing our own self destruction buttons. We need His help to prevent us from being deluded or deceived into following others who knowingly or otherwise are leading us up a slippery garden path to a pit of folly, destruction or loss. The implication is that only godly leadership that is dependent on God’s grace and wisdom is dependable. Such leadership seeks His kingdom and His righteousness or give topmost priority to doing God’s will on earth. Such leadership will not take people on the path of red herrings but on the straight and narrow path that leads upward into eternity. Such leadership is visionary leadership. Such leaders display a singleness of mind and are not easily side-tracked or distracted. Their heads are on their shoulders and their hearts are in the right place. They are conscious and mindful of their great responsibility to lead and not to mislead or misguide those who follow them sincerely and faithfully.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Dimensions of Tenacity

UV 1460/10,000 The Dimensions of Tenacity

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good
I Thessalonians 5 v 21
The Word of God asks us to test all things. No one drinks a glass of some liquid without knowing if it is good. He tests it by placing a drop on his tongue. If it is bitter, he avoids drinking it. If it tastes good and seems healthy, he drinks the whole glass. Similarly in life, we are to check if a particular course of action is good for us in the short or long term. Our standards should be that an action or series of actions must be at the least acceptable or better still, good and the best for which we should aim for in all of our conduct is perfection. We need to move from what is acceptable to the Lord to what is good and pleasing in His sight and finally, what is perfect.

We should display the tenacity to hold onto the good. There will be costs to pay, sacrifices to make, hardships and hurdles that will attempt to throw us off course and tempt us to stop holding onto the good. But we should always hold on to it or be at it. We should be willing to endure suffering and pain and to keep persevering. The same exhortation that scripture uses for marriage is used for holding onto the positive or good: cleave to what is good or cling to what is good- never let go. The second part of our spiritual software that scripture reveals is : leave what is evil or negative or let go or flee from evil. Tenacity then has two dimensions: cling to what is good and let go or overcome the clutches of evil. The evil or negativity is there in our DNA, our thoughts, in our circumstances, in our society, in our culture and in our environment. We should not get conditioned to accepting this as normal but persist in reducing, weakening, overcoming, negating and letting go of it. The other dimension is persisting in welcoming, celebrating, holding on to what is positive, wholesome, good, healthy regardless of the circumstances and challenges we face.

Tenacity implies a kind of faith that whatever be the limitations and twists we go through in life, the final outcome would be good. Tenacity requires the forethought of the maiden who made sure she had enough oil in her lamp till the Master arrived. It requires the filling and anointing of the Holy Spirit. It needs a cheerful and optimistic attitude as we wait for things to happen. It calls for faith and fortitude to face the vicissitudes of life. Tenacity is based on an unshakable belief that in the end one would triumph. To illustrate with a beautiful story: a young girl overheard her father telling her mother that they would need a miracle to get her brother undergo an expensive surgery. She went to the piggy bank and emptied it of a few coins, collected it and went to the nearby store. She asked the storekeeper, “ I need a miracle. How much would a miracle cost?” The storekeeper replied with amused silence. Just then, a well dressed gentleman bent down to her and asked her what is the miracle she needed. She replied that she needed a miracle just so her sibling undergoes a life saving surgery. The gentleman was a specialist in micro-surgery, just the kind her brother needed. He asked her, “ how much do you have to pay for the miracle?” She replied, “ One dollar and twenty cents” but added that if it was not enough she had some more money in her piggy bank. The doctor told her that money was just right and holding her hand asked her to show him the way to her house so that he could see her brother. The doctor later did the life saving surgery charging the family no more money than the precious coins the little girl had.

Prateep V Philip

The Power to Command

UV 1459/10,000 The Power to Command
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Mark 4 v 39

Jesus demonstrated His love by His death on the cross for all sinners, past, present and future. But He demonstrated His power by commanding nature in this uni-verse. Jesus has the power to calm any storm in our lives: be it natural, supernatural, emotional, relational or psychological. He goes to the root cause of any kind of storm in our lives and commands the forces and factors causing it to be peaceful and still. The power to rebuke any unruly or disorderly element is authority. Leadership is the exercise of authority over such unruly and disorderly elements even as it is loving and serving the led. Leadership is probably called ….”ship” as it is by nature is a lot like sea voyaging- the course is through uncharted waters, the unpredictable can spring up at any time, anywhere and from any direction. It needs a helmsman to plot the direction who knows the way without any landmark. There is no better navigator and skipper for our lives than Jesus. He might appear to be sleeping but He is ever wakeful and watchful. No force on earth can withstand His power and authority.

Jesus has the original power to command the elements but He has also delegated the power to rebuke to believers in His name. We too have been given authority to command the natural and the supernatural. Our struggle after all is not with flesh and blood but with the powers and principalities of darkness. We will face storms in our lives but at that time we should not feel overwhelmed or fearful. The last storm that we have faced prepares us for the next big one. This is the reason scripture states that endurance produces patience and patience, hope. Endurance of the storms of life enable us to be calm and patient the next time a storm hits us since we know the Lord brought us safely out of the last one. Once we pass through a storm, it increases our faith in the power and grace of God. This produces hope.

The disciples feared for their lives when the storm overtook their boat. Their Master was sleeping and they thought they were sure to die in the storm. But when Jesus was awakened, He first rebuked the winds and waves and then rebuked His disciples. The storms happen in our lives to test our faith. With every test our faith further expands. Who do we look up to when we are caught in a storm? Who do we cry out to for help? Jesus in contrast to His disciples did not panic. He knew He had the authority to calm the storm. When we declare the Word of God, the storms in our lives will cease. When Jesus is in our boat, we need not be afraid in any situation.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Value of Wholeheartedness

UV 1459/10,000 The Value of Wholeheartedness
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Psalm 119 v 10

If our search for God and His truths is to be successful, we need to seek Him wholeheartedly. We cannot have one foot in one boat and the other in another boat. We will be unstable and wavering according to the pressures and pleasures that assail us. We will be tossed here and there. Instead, we should have an unwavering commitment to the Lord and diligently study His commandments and His ways. These are the very paths of life that take us from mortality to eternity, from sin to salvation, from curses to blessings, from failure to success, from sickness to health, from pain to joy. A leader or a life without God is like a ship without a captain. A leader without God’s word is like a ship without a rudder. A leader without the leading of the Holy Spirit is like a ship without a helmsman. The human heart is small yet it is big enough for God to fill it. We can fill our minds with a million things but our hearts we should keep for God alone. It is the sanctum sanctorum- the holiest place in our bodies-the temple of God. When God is in it, everything else will be in place and will work perfectly.

We need to order or command each step we take to be aligned with the paths and truths of the Lord. No sinful or wasteful habit should gain mastery over us. We should not wander or get distracted from our focus on the Lord, His work and His word. We need to give undivided attention to the Lord when we spend time at His feet in prayer or in understanding or studying the Word.

All our fountains are in the Lord. All our desires, all our thoughts are focussed on pleasing the Lord. All our efforts, all our actions, all are plans are blessed by the Lord. Like a fountain, we rise in joy. Even when we fall, we will rise again and again like a fountain. Success and failure, joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, health and sickness, loss and gain like fountains are recurring patterns in our lives but in all these changes and challenges, we remain anchored in the Lord. God uses these like a pair of sewing needles to weave His character into the very fabric and tapestry of our lives. We need to welcome both as necessary for equipping us for our eternal destiny.

Prateep V Philip