Monday, August 31, 2015

Let Us Be Like The Lotus

UV 1516/10000 Let Us Be Like the Lotus
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12 v 27

Yes, as the Lord Jesus taught us in this uni-verse, there is much wisdom that we can learn when we study the lily or the lotus. The lotus is known for growth. We need to grow intentionally and not haphazardly or accidentally in grace and truth. Like the lotus, we need to grow upward and outward towards the sun, the symbol of light and enlightenment. We need to grow wherever we are planted. We need to grow in the miry clay, sending deep roots into the soil and sub soil of our souls. We should not allow the murky waters to soil our souls but purify it to take it in through our shoots to water the different parts. We should not get weighed down with a sense of judgement and frustration with the corruption, violence, untruth and wickedness of the world around us. Instead, we should excel by contrast with the murky world. We should bloom and blossom not to draw attention to ourselves and to our great talent or brilliance or beauty but to point upwards to the invisible and ineffable glory of the Creator.

Let us be like the lotus, growing in serene beauty while rooted in the miry clay and surrounded by murky waters. Let us draw sustenance, strength and power from the surrounding negativity by transforming it by our mere presence and our thoughts and feelings into powerful positivity. We need not wear ourselves out with toil or worry or fear but open the petals of our lives every day and every morning towards the Lord, the Sun of Righteousness. Let us be contented with our lot or the portion the Lord has given us this day. The currents of happenings around us may sway us but will not shake us or sweep us away into the cascade and down the rocky cliff. The problems will throw up the solutions. The challenges will cough up the answer.

Our purpose is not in ourselves but in glorifying God. When people but see us or hear us, they should also praise the Lord for His goodness and greatness. The white of the lotus is a symbol of purity and holiness. The seed the lotus contains in its flower pod is a symbol of the spiritual seed we contain that will spread hope and love in this dark and murky world. The golden and many splendoured stripes running down the lotus petals to its base are the talents and good deeds that we do from our childhood to declare to the world that we are a species created and redeemed for a special purpose by the Lord. When ever the river or the pond is in spate or overflows, the lotus always its head above the water no matter how much it rises. Similarly, whatever our cause of distress or anxiety, we should not be overwhelmed but always rise above the flood waters looking out and above with hope and confidence. Our faith is unshakable and unsinkable. When our time comes to go, we can say with assurance, “ I have held my end up. I have withstood the flood and risen above the world. I am in the world but not of it.” Our feet might get a tad dirty in the miry clay and murky waters but our hands, our heads and our souls will never get dirty. The beauty and glory of our lives is not an artificial one that relies on props and accessories but it is a natural as well as supernatural glow, flow and grace. It is everlasting, eternal and will never fade away unlike the glory of wealth, wisdom, power, fame, glamour and pleasure. We are attached or rooted to our godly values but detached from our worldly desires.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Covenant for All Generations

UV 1516/10,000 A Covenant for All Generations

As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Isaiah 59 v 21

When we commit our hearts and thereby, our very lives in its totality to the Lord, He instantly seals or anoints us with His spirit- the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of our covenant or personal relationship with the Lord. The Spirit immediately sows the seed of the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control in our spirits. It is up to us to nourish and grow these seed. We can choke these seed or allow them to grow, bud, blossom and bear fruit. The Spirit also endows us with some gifts or spiritual abilities that need to be used faithfully and grown to their full potential. The fruit and the gifts are together our spiritual DNA or heritage that we pass on to those we lead to the Lord as well as those who belong to our families- our own children. The seed and the fruit will never leave us or our generations. Our faith not only affects us positively but also influences the course of lives of our succeeding generations. As one man of God who died in a plane crash in the Bahamas last year said, success is about influencing succeeding generations. It should outlast our lives. A normal human being cannot know how his day will turn out but it is the privilege of the person who is in love relationship with God to know that all shall be well with his or her succeeding generations.

Along with the anointing of the Spirit, the Lord puts His word in our mouth. This word will also never leave us or our generations. Many people, who are not yet in a faith-relationship with the Lord, are not able to understand the Word as it is not accompanied by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is given to us to interpret the Word and to use it as a man uses a sword – to defend, to protect, to assail, to secure victory. The Word is versatile. It is not only a weapon for it is also spiritual food and sustenance for our spirits. The fruit and the gifts of the Spirit are to be used in consonance with the Word. The Word is the software of our inner being. All of our need and that of our generations are met in the Word. It is a covenant for all generations. It shapes our legacy and impacts people far into the future and stretching beyond time and space into eternity.

It is through the means of the indwelling Spirit, that the Lord writes His law in our inner being. The Spirit will teach us and lead us into all truth. He sets us free from our fears and doubts and confirms us with hope and assurance about the love, grace and power of God. The Spirit establishes us in our relationship with the Lord and removes the sources of our unfaithfulness so that we do not depart or make choices that are not approved by the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Joy and Blessing in Thanksgiving

UV 1515/10000 The Joy And Blessing in Thanksgiving

And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

Jeremiah 30 v 19

We should always rejoice in the tabernacle of the righteous. The tabernacle of the righteous refers not just to a temple but our bodies, hearts and minds that are the very temple of God. Our bodies are the outer periphery of the temple, the mind are the inner paths and the heart and spirit are the sanctum sanctorum where God dwells with us. Jesus is the capstone and the cornerstone of this living temple. Our lives are an opportunity to live out the truth of the Word and to test and experience its reality. Only the Lord is absolutely perfect or righteous. He is the Rock. All His ways are just. We should respond to His Being with continual outpouring of thanksgiving, praise and worship. We should celebrate His generic goodness to all creatures and His specific goodness to us. When we so rejoice and are glad, when we are thankful and reverential, when we earnestly praise and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth and the beauty of holiness, the Lord promises to multiply us so that we are not few and insignificant. He will make us significant or people who count and have an impact and influence.

The Lord also promises to not only increase us in numbers but He also promises to glorify us such that we will not be small and insignificant. He will enlarge us, our vision and our paths. He will make us a source of blessing to many. He will build us up. He will transform our lives. He will re-build the ruins or the broken parts. His glory will be revealed in our lives. He delights in delivering us against heavy odds. He is the One who triumphs always against impossible odds.

Every day we should take some time to celebrate, to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord to us this far, to thank, praise and worship Him. We and ours will be blessed just as it happened when Jesus prayed and blessed the five loaves and two fish of the little boy. The small resources were multiplied and increased to feed a multitude. Jesus did not create the situation where He multiplied the fish and bread. He only saw a real need – the hunger of hundreds of people who followed Him that day and listened to His teaching. Similarly, the Lord will see a real need in our lives and cause what is available to multiply and to be added. God’s math is to add and to multiply while satan’s math is to subtract and to divide. God rejoices when we rejoice while the latter rejoices when we are sad and depressed.

Prateep V Philip

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Climbing Down to Jesus

UV 1514/10000 Leadership Climb Down
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

Luke 19 v 5

Jesus asks us to leave our troubles behind and come down so that we can abide with Him in His house just as He asked Zacchaeus to hasten and come down from the tree on which he had climbed so that He could stay in the latter’s house. It is written in scripture that Zacchaeus came down quickly and received Jesus joyfully. We too need to receive Jesus joyfully in our hearts and lives. When we do so, the Lord will build our house. He will build our lives on rock- the unchanging principles of God’s Word. He will preserve us from great evil. He will bless us with Shalom. Often like Zacchaeus, we climb places in our quest for God where we are out of reach even for Him. The Lord is willing to be at arm’s length from us where we can see Him, touch Him, be touched, listen to every word and watch every gesture. He is always willing to get intimate with us and He is not bothered about our status, stature, past or what others would say. We only need to get level with the Lord- get on level ground with Him, look in His eyes, watch His lips and listen to His words. We need to climb down instead of climbing up and seeking ring side seats or vantage points for God does not want us to be a spectator. Nor does He want to be a spectator in our lives but a participant. He wants us to be a part of Him. He wants to be part of our party and not left out of our celebration of life. We need to climb down from our positions, from our past, to climb out of our comfort zones.

If we like Zacchaeus are contented to see Jesus from a distance, from the high perches of human status and distinction or from the many standpoints of a human being, we will miss the Lord’s grace. We will only have a glimpse of Him when He would like to fellowship with us over a meal. He will feed us with divine victuals or spiritual manna. His words are the words of eternal life and and as we feed on it. we will be able to live forever. Zacchaeus made peace with God by inviting Jesus into his home and by restituting all that he had extorted from others by returning a fourfold. We too need to make peace with our past by repenting in practical ways for our past faults and failings. It was difficult for the short statured Zacchaeus to climb the sycamore tree but he was ready to go the extra mile to seek God. It was that zeal that was rewarded with a divine visitation by the Lord and a re-ordering of priorities in his life.

We need to “make haste” and “ come down”, implying that we cannot procrastinate about our repentance. We need to come down or humble ourselves under God and before Him. We need to make a clean breast of our past. We are hosting the Lord in our hearts and therefore, we need to keep it clean and honourable. We cannot be casual and indifferent towards the Lord. We need to hereafter produce the fruits of repentance. We need to rejoice in our salvation and not get entangled in the travails of our past. Zacchaeus was a man not just of low stature but of low status or esteem. He was hated as a foreign collaborator, an exploiter, a traitor of Israel by serving the interests of Rome as a tax collector. But Jesus was drawn to him by his great desire to see Him. The Lord is similarly not concerned about our stature or esteem. He is only drawn by our zeal for Him. He honoured Zacchaeus by visiting his home and having a meal with him. Similarly, He will bless us as we continue to fellowship with Him in humility, repentance and love.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fail Proof Rock Solid Leadership

UV 1513/10000 Fail-Proof Rock Solid Leadership
And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31 v 8

The Lord goes before those who are faithful. His presence is with us. He moves before us as a consuming fire by night to shield us from the powers of darkness and as a cloud to protect us from the troubles of the day. This uni-verse as well as numerous other verses in scripture reiterate that the Lord will never fail us or forsake us. This one fact is enough to give us an absolute and unshakable sense of security. It will enable us not to fear anything or anyone. It will keep us from disappointment, regret, sadness or discouragement. Moses spoke these words to Joshua as he had experienced the truth of this promise and wanted to pass on the baton of leadership and the anointing to his successor Joshua. Very often in life, we try to overtake the Lord and try to get ahead. But if we slow down and allow Him to go ahead, He will straighten, smoothen and make safe our paths. We will not suffer unnecessary disappointment, discouragement, fear or sorrow. This implies that before we take any decision, we should pray and seek the Lord’s guidance and peace. Even Moses erred in acting impulsively in striking the rock instead of speaking to it to yield water. The Lord is like a rock in terms of His immense and immeasurable strength, His willingness and humility to be the foundation on which we build our lives, His constancy and unchanging nature as against the many changes we undergo. The rock is a metaphor for God our Father, Creator and Redeemer. It amounts to striking Him or hurting Him when we disregard His wise counsel and seek to do as we please. When we speak to the Rock or pray to Him, He will pour out wisdom like water. The talisman of successful life and leadership is the presence or a continual relationship with the Lord.

Our security should not be based on our position, affluence, talents, beauty, glamour or influence but on our relationship with the Rock as Moses went on to describe God the Father who formed us and created us in His image. It is based on the assurance that the Lord will never leave us and that if His presence is with us by day and night, we will never be found wanting in anything. His grace is sufficient to meet with all our need. This is a present reality as well as a future and eternal hope. We will not be overwhelmed by the heavy odds and formidable enemies and foes we face in life. Adversity will test our faith but it will drive us to dig our heels in and come even closer to the Lord who not only provides for our physical, emotional, familial, social and spiritual need but also protects and redeems us from our own wilful faults and errors. Grace is the cement of love, hope and strength that the Lord pours into the many cracks in our faith wall. We may go through ups and downs in our moods, days, fortunes, health, popularity and so on but the Lord looks for a consistency in our relationship and our dependence on His unseen presence. The invisibility or “unseenness” of His presence with us is no doubt challenging but the example as well as the errors of Biblical leaders like Moses encourages and builds our faith.

Everything else and everyone else may forsake or fail us as it happened with Job but the Lord will never fail us. He is Himself our shield and exceeding reward as He will certainly exceed our expectations. Success is certain for those who hope in the Lord and walk close with Him for He is able to do far more than we can ask, think or even imagine. We only need to attribute all credit or glory due to Him and not try to steal it or hide it. Immediately after Moses exhorted Joshua with these words, he broke into a kind of swan song- his last song of praise and glory to God wherein He recounted all the great things the Lord had done in and through the nation of Israel. In this whole song, there is not one line in which he himself takes any credit for leading the nation of Israel out of captivity, for the courage with which he challenged the authority of Pharaoh and asked him,” Let my people go.” If Abraham was the true father of the nation, Moses was virtually the first freedom fighter in history. Yet he sought only to glorify and adore the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Brokenness and Blessedness

UV 1512/10,000 Brokenness and Blessedness

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2 v 13

We suffer deficiencies or shortages when we forsake the Lord who describes Himself in this uni-verse as the fountain or stream of living waters. He is the stream or fountain of inspiration of the good life or eternal life. This stream will never dry up. Hence, none of the receptacles or vessels of our lives will be empty or found wanting. Instead, we make for ourselves broken vessels that cannot hold any water, leaking vessels that will soon run dry. It implies that we do not listen to the voice or the Word of the Lord. We hasten to satisfy our own desires and lusts and hence, will be frustrated. Those who drink the living water will be fully satisfied. The Lord will open up streams of living waters from inside their hearts that will swell up into eternal life. The stream flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb Jesus.

Recently, in a time of prayer, the Lord promised to open six new streams in our lives. We will draw with joy living water or wisdom or whatever we need for the abundant life from the wells of joy. Each uni-verse or promise in the Word is a well of joy. It fills us with assurance that the Lord who is sovereign and all powerful is in control of our lives. It fills us with the confidence to face today and the hope to face tomorrow. People who forsake the Lord have exchanged what is glorious and gracious for what is shameful and unprofitable. People who trust the Lord exchange what is shameful and disgraceful for what is glorious and gracious. People who live without a personal knowledge of the Lord are compared to wells without water, clouds without moisture. The whole world is like a valley of dry bones that Ezekiel prophesied about. It is the hope and love and other fruit of the Spirit of God that is crystallised in the Word of God that causes the dry bones to come together again with sinews, tissues and organs and to live forever. The great books and self help literature as well as books and teachings on life and leadership of the world have not brought any significant change in the people who either wrote or read them as these are like broken vessels.

Though we are broken people or broken vessels, as long as we are immersed in the everlasting fountain of the Lord, we will be filled with His grace and glory. The people who forsake the Lord pretend as if they are whole and complete in themselves but are in fact, broken into shards. But in our brokenness before the Lord, He blesses us and makes us a blessing for from the leaks in our vessels, others will receive blessings by hearing about how the Lord plugged our leaks and made us useful vessels in His hand. When the Divine Potter puts together broken vessels, we become more beautiful, cleaner, stronger and more useful than ever before. As vessels of the Lord, we must hold the promises and commands of the Lord dear and precious to us. Then, the Lord seeing that we are drawing water from His wells with joy will translate the words into amazing reality.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Helping Wings of God

UV 1511/10000 The Helping Wings of God
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

Psalm 63 v 7

The Lord is our help. He is our Ebenezer. He helps us by giving us the spiritual wings of prayer and the Word. With these wings we can fly over every circumstance in life, solve every problem, endure every trial and suffering, overcome every temptation, face every deficiency or shortage, satisfy every need. These two wings of the Lord will instantly and continually bring us into His presence. The shadow of the Lord is His presence. We believe and become aware of His closeness and His availability to us. The presence of the Lord is gracious. It is mighty to save. His presence enables, equips and empowers us even as His presence distinguished Moses and the Israelites from the rest of humanity.

When we pray, read and meditate on the Word, the power of the Word is released in our lives. His Spirit is ushered into our midst and we are ushered into His presence. The Lord inclines His ears to hear our thoughts. The Lord has the unique capacity to hear and decipher our thoughts and feelings all the time. In this uni-verse, the Psalmist declares that as the Lord has been faithful in helping him in the past and he remembers those testimonies, He can rejoice in praying and studying the Word of God. Our past experiences of grace build our faith for the present and future. Someone rightly said that when we run alone in life or on our own strength, it is called race. When we run with God’s help, it is called grace. In this g-race, sometimes we are still, sometimes we crawl, sometimes we bend on knees, sometimes we fall flat on our faces, sometimes we stand and lift both our hands, sometimes we run, sometimes we walk, sometimes we fly, sometimes we rest but at all times we win. Just as wings have many types of feathers with different functions, both prayer and the Word have different types and functions but all work together to lift us up from the present into His presence, from problems to solutions, from shame to honour, from defeat to victory, from weakness to strength, from sadness to joy.

The reason I have set a target of 10,000 uni-verses to meditate on over the coming 25-30 years is that there are 10,000 promises of the Lord in His Word. Each of these uni-verses will teach us how to secure the help of the Lord in our lives in different situations. When we rejoice in His presence and exult in Him through praise and worship, take shelter in the specific, the Lord will be our help at our right hand, implying that His help is always proximate. It is vain to seek the help of man and there are so many situations in our lives in which only the Lord can share our burden and come to our help. Sometimes, He gives us help by a word of counsel on what we ought to do. Sometimes, He causes a groundswell of new thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, He sends us help through people. Sometimes, He sends angels to our help. At all times, we can rely on Him to encourage, assist and aid us. The words in the uni-verse, “ I will rejoice” means that to be joyful is a decision regardless of our situation or circumstance. We decide to be joyful as the Lord is with us and He will help us.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 21, 2015

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Six Pack Powered Life and Leadership

UV 1510/10000 Six Pack Power
See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant
Jeremiah 1 v 10

Many people say that God or Jesus is the cornerstone of their lives but try to hide Him in a corner of their lives. Once we are cornered by troubles, we then bring Him back to the centre of our lives. When He is truly the Centre of the circle of our lives, He becomes the reference point for all aspects of our lives. His Word is the framework and substance of our lives from which we draw strength, sustenance and substance. The day we truly accept Him as the Centre of our lives and universe, from that day He will set us over the nations and kingdoms, principalities and powers of darkness that rule in the spiritual realm. He alone has the authority to do so as He is the Creator, Master, Sovereign and Redeemer. We are not to be pussy footed, weak kneed or pushover leaders or people. We should not pull our punches or do shadow boxing. He will enable us to root out and to pull down strongholds. He will equip us to destroy and to throw down. He will empower us to build and to plant. He will give us spiritual six pack power:- 1. To root out what needs to be rooted out 2. To pull down what needs to be pulled down in every realm and sphere of life 3. To destroy what needs to be so rooted out and pulled down so that they do not grow back with renewed vigour 4. To throw down what is not yet uprooted, pulled down and destroyed 5. To build the kingdom of God within us and among us and 6. To plant what needs to be planted- the good seed that will multiply. The first four roles or functions of holistic or spiritual leadership is related to uproot or to weaken while the second two roles or functions are related to positive building and planting.

By His great power and outstretched arm, He will deliver us from foes and forces too strong and powerful for us to even perceive or handle. The words of God in our mouth will be a sword and fire to destroy evil. The weapons of spiritual warfare are not those of flesh and blood or carnal but spiritual. These are mighty to tear down strongholds, to bring down every imagination or speculation that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and brings into captivity every thought in obedience to Christ. The spiritual functions of leadership and management that are not spoken of in the world’s literature are to uproot or eradicate evil from this world, to overthrow evil powers of the spiritual world, to cast down and to destroy the works of evil.

As we become willing instruments or agencies surrendered to the Lord, He Himself will build us up. He will cast out what is evil or negative in us. He will break the chains of negative thoughts, attitudes and habits as nothing else can. He will remove every limitation on our spiritual growth and development. He will repair the breaches, the places where our spiritual defences or walls have fallen down. He will strengthen us from deep within. By His grace, He will fill the gap between us and good, between us and what is acceptable in His eyes and between us and what is perfect. He will enable us to uproot the tares or weeds in our nature and to plant and grow the good seed to meet every need. The word “See” at the start of the uni-verse emphasizes that six pack power should be visible to both us and others and that it is not the figment of someone’s imagination.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Qualitative Time Management

UV 1509/10000 Qualitative Time Management
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6 v 34

Every day and night is like a full dress rehearsal of life and death. Yet even after ten or twenty thousand such rehearsals we are not prepared for what each new day brings. Jesus said that each day will bring forth enough trouble of its own and therefore, why should we add to it by worrying about tomorrow or what the future holds for us. We should just focus on the priorities of the day and the topmost priority is talking with the Lord. He will bless the day and give us what we need or what Jesus called “ daily bread” in the prayer He taught us to pray. Having talked with the Lord, heard from Him through His Word, worshipped, praised and prayed, we can then throw ourselves fully at the challenges of the day. He gives us wisdom and counsel. He will guide us and help us navigate through the complexities, uncertainties and dilemmas we face every day of our lives.

Rome as well as our home is not built in a day but day by day. We need to be patient and labour with all our strength as well as hope with all our heart. When we worry or are anxious unnecessarily about necessities, we are robbing ourselves of the power-the prevailing power of wholesomeness. Neither our efforts nor our hope will be whole-hearted. We can expect and ask the Lord to be with us every step of the way. Just as evil or trouble is sufficient for the day, His grace is sufficient to overcome it. The qualitative aspect of time management is that we do not fritter any time vainly worrying about what is yet to happen.

The day’s dynamics makes our lives exciting and interesting. The Lord will be with us in different manifestations throughout the day. Sometimes, He will be with us as He was with Moses and Joshua. We will have victories and breakthroughs. Sometimes, He will be with us as He was with Peter- we will walk on a metaphoric sheet of water or He will restore us after our denial and betrayal of Him. He will be with us as He was with Mary Magdalene- teaching us. He will be with us as He was with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, listening to our sorrows and healing it. People can listen to our words but only God can listen to our hearts’ sorrows and desires. He is with us as He was at the marriage at Canna, making up for the shortages in our lives in miraculous, supernatural and natural ways. He will be with us as He was with Simeon- we will get a glimpse of His face at times and in some situations in our day. He will be with us as He was with Lazarus, resurrecting our hope and our lives in hopeless situations. At all times of the day, He holds a banner of victory or Nissi over us. The day’s troubles cannot thwart or overcome us. We will sleep to rise again tomorrow.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Great Replacer

UV 1508/10,000 The Great Replacer
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 25 v 8

Death from the beginning of time was man’s greatest foe. It was the eternal sting that left sorrow and wailing in its wake. It annulled or nullified all the achievements, aspirations and acquisitions of every human being. No leader or great man could guarantee life after death. None knew even the manner or timing of his or her own death. The whole purpose of a great conqueror like Alexander the Great rising in human history is to show mankind the vanity of human power, conquest, wealth, glamour, pleasure and wisdom. Alexander also died at the prime age of around 33 like Jesus. But Jesus conquered death and became a conqueror greater than Alexander. In enabling us to conquer the fear of death and death itself, each of us is greater in God’s eyes than Alexander. Jesus knew the timing, manner and purpose of His death. Jesus swallowed death in His resurrection. He defeated death forever. Sin could not hold him prisoner in Hades as He knew no sin. He has the power to recall death or to restore life. Had Jesus died on the cross and not been resurrected, it would have been yet another tragedy in the long list of tragedies in world history. But in defeating death, He removed the sting of death or the power of death forever. He gave mankind the power to live forever.

The Lord takes away the sorrow of His people. He removes their reproach. He is not partial to anyone but will remove the sorrow and reproach of anyone who approaches Him in faith. The Lord deals not only with death but the lesser foes of mankind like disease, fears and sorrows. He is the great replacer. He replaces the spirit of fear of death, disease, calamity and loss with the spirit of love and power just as He replaced the water in the six stone jars at the wedding in Canna with the finest wine. When we have a spirit of sorrow, we need to look to Jesus and pray, “ Lord replace my sorrow with a spirit of joy.” When we are afraid of death or something else, we can pray, “ Lord , please replace my fear with confidence, trust and courage.”

Some people interpret that the promise to wipe every tear is applicable only to the life hereafter but since He is the Lord who was and is and is to come, He is the Lord and leader of our past, present and future. The Lord Jesus can wipe every tear from every eye, implying that He can erase the sorrows of every human being and every type of anguish and hopelessness. Jesus overpowered the enemy of our souls. He restored us to the reign and kingdom of God. He restored us to the presence of God and gives us access to the power and promises of God to deal with every situation and circumstance in our lives. He sends the comforter, the Holy Spirit to encourage, build, lead and guide us. Jesus does not promise us that we will not have struggles and difficulties in our lives but He promises to be with us. He assures us, “ You shall overcome the world even as I have overcome.” The leaders of the world speak many promises but neither do they have the intention or power or authority to speak or fulfil any of those promises.
The words, “ The Lord has spoken it” at the end of the uni-verse shows that the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ who is the Word of God. It is backed by the authority and supernatural and miraculous power of God.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Syndrome of the Released Captives

UV 1507/10000 The Syndrome of the Released Captives

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35 v 10

Believers in Jesus are called the “ransomed” as we were paid for by His death on the cross and we are freed from the captivity of the enemy of our souls, returned or restored to God. Our captivity to sin and its author is a kind of spiritual abduction. For each of us and all of us to be saved, an absolute price has to be paid for absolution. God paid the highest price or ransom for the potential salvation of all mankind and the specific salvation of all who accepted that He has made the payment of the highest price in His own beloved Son Jesus the sinless One. When victims of kidnapping or abduction are freed, they are filled with a sense of gladness, relief and joy even as earlier while in captivity they felt fear, dread, sorrow and hopelessness. Long after they are freed that sense of joy remains as long as they are alive and remember the trauma of their captivity. It is a different kind of “Stockholm syndrome” that describes the change in the beliefs, behaviour and feelings of the victim once free. When we are freed, we become part of the Kingdom of God or Zion. We sing songs as we are filled with joy at being freed from the limitations or hamartia of sin. We sing the song of Moses for our physical salvation and the song of Jesus the Lamb for our eternal and spiritual salvation. Our joy unlike the joy of the people of this world is not temporal or temporary or fleeting. It remains on our heads as an invisible crown of eternal life and salvation. We have the assurance of eternal life, security and freedom from fears of every kind. When fears flee we are filled with gladness. When sin, disease, loss, defeat or death attempt to attack us, we should hold this note that is stamped on us, “ PAID FOR BY JESUS. No more payment is required of me.” The only response required of us is to continue to walk in faith.

As we walk in faith and joy of knowing Jesus as Saviour in this world and forever, we will be overtaken by pleasant surprises ranging from good news to great news that the Lord loves to send our way. We will not be overtaken by sorrow or regret. Though we might suffer sadness and defeat from time to time like the rest of the world, we will not be overcome for our hope holds us up. Our soul will be a well watered and fenced garden. All our fountains or sources of joy will be in the Lord. We will go, grow and glow from strength to strength. Our cup will no longer be half full or empty but will be overflowing. No more “hamartia” or shortage of joy but “hyperbole” or more than we expected, more than we asked or dreamt of. For the Lord nothing is an impossibility, an exaggeration or a challenge for all things are possible with Him and faith opens the way for those who believe. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of the Lord. He will turn our mourning into joy.

The Lord will open new streams in our lives. There is never a dull moment in the life of a believer. The Lord does exciting and new things in our lives. The natural, the supernatural and the spiritual will mingle in our lives. Old wells of blessing that have been choked or blocked by the enemy will be opened again. New wells of joy will spring up from within us. No man or force or circumstance can take away our joy or Shalom from us. The Lord will bring us into a spiritual oasis in the desert of our lives: an Elim with twelve wells and seventy palms. He will satisfy our physical as well as our emotional and spiritual hunger and thirst.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Fruit of the Lips

UV 1506/10000 The Fruit of the Lips
I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.

Isaiah 57 v 19

The uni-verse states that He creates the fruit of our lips. He has given us the power of speech. We should use it implying our minds, tongues and vocal chords creatively to glorify the Creator who has created it fearfully and wonderfully. Every word we speak should be full of the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control and wisdom. Our words will bring peace to those who are near us as well as peace and healing to those who are distant from us emotionally as well as physically. The litmus test whether our words are from God or not are whether we are using it all the time to offer continual sacrifices of praise. We need to ask ourselves if every word we utter comes from love. Whether we are speaking out of joy? Whether our words are spreading peace? Whether it reflects our patience? Whether our words are kind? Whether our words are marked by goodness and faithfulness? Whether our words come out of a deep sense of true humility? Whether our tone and words reflect the spirit of love, power and self control? Whether our words are imbued with godly wisdom and not the wisdom of man?

Our words should not be mere words but fruitful and purposive. Our words should be used to heal broken relationships and to mend broken hearts. It should be used to build faith and hope in our listeners. It should deliver people of the fear of death and assure them of eternal life. We are to be messengers of good news of hope to others around us. We are ambassadors of Christ and of peace. The words we speak will break the chains that tie people. It will break curses and bondages.
Our words should be full of grace and truth. It should not come from a sense of bitterness or anger or hatred. We should not withhold a word when we need to speak it and speak a word when we should withhold it. Our words should be timely and apt. The Holy Spirit anoints our tongues with power from on high. He will cause our words to be useful, productive and effective. Perfection in speech delights the Lord. He literally hangs on every word we speak when we order our conversation to conform to His Word, His character and His direction. Our speech is the chief instrument of peace and healing to the nations. Just as the hands of the midwife brings a new born into the world, our speech brings new life into the hearts of our listeners.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fencing for Health

UV 1505/10000 Fencing for Health
And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Isaiah 33 v 24

We are inhabitants of Zion or the kingdom of God. God’s rule and His rules prevail in our lives. God hears our prayers and inhabits our praises. He removes our inhibitions or limitations. Health is a most precious gift or blessing of the Lord. We need to lay a fence around our health. The way to build a spiritual fencing around our lives is to dig deep and to plant such uni-verses in the ground of our faith. This will keep the predators and those that prey on people at bay and defeat their plans to kill, steal and destroy. When we believe that the Lord is our healer and our deliverer in our hearts and confess with our mouths our faith in His specific promises, He will heal and deliver. Round the clock we need to affirm in our hearts our faith in the promise of God to heal us and to deliver us. When we do this the fencing of His healing and protection is fixed in all directions around us.

Another translation of this uni-verse state: “No inhabitant of Zion will say, “ I am ill.” It implies that no believer in God and His word should confess negatively that he or she is sick. Instead, one should claim and proclaim health and healing, deliverance and victory all the time. The people that dwell within the frame of God’s word are forgiven their sins. The Word of God and the presence of God are our spiritual dwelling or residence. We live and move and exist inside the four corners of His spiritual tabernacle. Sighing and moaning or signs of defeat and depression will flee away from us.

When we say negative things, we are making the enemy of our souls rejoice and we are grieving the Holy Spirit. When we say negative things, it increases our doubt and weakens our faith and the faith of others. When we confess negatively, we are declaring our lack of faith in the character, power and presence of God in our lives. We are exposing ourselves to the fiery arrows of the enemy. Instead, we should stitch ourselves the spiritual equivalent of a bullet proof vest by constantly thinking, speaking and affirming the specific promises of the Lord assuring us of health, healing and victory. We should also constantly seek a cleansing or purification of our inner being by confessing our sins and seeking the Lord’s forgiveness. Unconfessed sins and hidden faults weaken the spiritual armour and makes us more vulnerable. When we confess our faith, we appropriate the four fold power of the Lord- the power in the Word, the power of the Spirit of God, the power of the blood of Jesus and the power of the name of Christ. Jesus is the specialist of specialists. He heals all our diseases and forgives all our sins. His word is the Balm of Gilead that cures us of all our illnesses.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Process of Waiting

UV 1504/10,000 The Process of Waiting

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Micah 7 v 7

The verses preceding this uni-verse talks of a man’s enemies being the members of his own household and that one should not trust a neighbour or put confidence in a friend, to be careful with one’s words to one’s own spouse. Then this uni-verse states that one should put one ‘s trust in the Lord God and Him alone. The word “ therefore” means that there is no point in trusting flesh and blood or even one’s own near and dear or kith and kin or the mighty in position and power. One should look to the Lord as a watchman looks for the rising sun on the horizon as it would signify that he can now return home and take rest. Just as the sun would certainly rise, the God of our salvation will appear. We should only be ready to wait and not be anxious or hasty. Our wait in life is a wait with a hopeful attitude. The Lord promises to save us from all our troubles. We only need to pray in the morning, at noon and in the evening and wait for Him to answer our cries. As we wait we should affirm to our souls, “ My God will certainly hear me.”

The Lord will strengthen us as we wait. He will work on us from the inside as we wait it out. He is not making us to wait to test our patience but to build up our faith and hope. We should wait without complaining or murmuring. We should wait with a sense of inner joy and confidence in the Lord that He will not let us down. He will more than just fulfill our hope. Our souls and spirits are not idling or kept dormant during times of waiting but are prepared for the Lord’s work. Knowledge of the character of God and His competence to answer all prayers though the petitions and request might now seem impossible enables us to wait patiently.

What does trusting the Lord with all one’s heart mean? We need to pour out our hearts and our concerns fully to Him, empty ourselves of all anxiety, fear, distrust and doubt. We should not allow our faith or hope to slacken or weaken over time. Instead, we cultivate a spirit of expectancy, joy and gratitude even before receiving or perceiving the answer. We do everything that lies within our means, our reach and power. We do everything that is natural and obvious for us to do. But we do not try to help God the way Sarah tried to provide her maid for Abraham to sire a male heir to fulfil God’s promise to him. We do not tire of waiting and are prepared to wait as long as it takes. We should not look on the gestation period of hope and faith with frustration. It is not as if nothing is happening though nothing seems to be happening. What we are hoping for is being prepared or formed. We should not try to box or fit God and His working into our time table or calendar. He may in His sovereignty decide to do it now or instantly, after a short time, a long time or over generations and in eternity. God is with us for the long haul. He is the only one with us on the eternal plane.

Prateep V Philip

Oneness with the Father and Each Other

UV 1503/10000 Unity with God and Each Other
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

John 17 v 21

To be one with the Father was the privilege of the Son but Jesus shared that privilege with all who believe in Him. When we are united with Jesus by faith we also become one with the Father. We become interdependent with each other. Oneness or being united with God makes us not just partakers in His power but in His character and grace. God is infinite and all powerful. He is also holy and loving. These qualities begin to rub off on us too. God is invisible, invincible and indivisible. His presence with us is also invisible and His power in us is invincible. We cannot be divided or separated from the love of God.

When a branch of a certain plant is grafted onto another plant, it becomes part of that plant. Similarly, we who once were independent of God and distinct from Him have now become part of God through Jesus. The invisible, invincible and indivisible God begins to act through us so that others in this world may also become part of Him by believing and trusting in Jesus.

This uni-verse is in truth quite a powerful precept. It means that just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are part of the Triune God, we too are part of the family of God. We are members of the same body – the body of Christ. We are re-made or wrought in the image of God. We should see each other as the restored image of God. We should honour each other and live in unity and love. The words that Jesus spoke are our food and sustenance like the sap of the mother plant on which we are grafted. We manifest the power and grace of God in our lives. Being convinced of this we should realize that we are not alone or helpless. Our lives are not futile or purposeless. We can accomplish great things by unity and by holding onto our hope.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Build to Match the Foundation

UV 1502/10000 Build to Match the Foundation
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
2 Timothy 2 v 19

Jesus is the foundation that God has planned for mankind from the foundation of the earth. He is the rock foundation. He imparts strength and grace to our lives. Nothing can shake or move us. He has sealed us as those who belong to the Lord with the Holy Spirit. We have been adopted as children of God on account of the foundation. He has given us everything that we need to lead blessed lives and for godliness through our knowledge of Jesus who called us by His own grace and goodness. The rest of our lives is meant for building on the foundation with the spiritual equivalent of gold, precious stones and diamonds. We should be as pure, precious and shining like gold, as beautiful as precious stones and as strong and multi-faceted as diamonds. The Lord gathers us as a man gathers these treasures.

Nobody builds a hut on top of a rock foundation. We are building huts when we live lives that are unworthy of Jesus. We are building on the rock foundation of faith in Jesus by imitating His goodness. To that goodness, we should build by adding knowledge of the Word and the world. To knowledge, we should add self control, to self control we should add perseverance, to perseverance we should build brotherly kindness and to kindness we should add love. Love is the summit of our building. The foundation of our lives is faith, the roof is love- love of God and love of others. We should keep adding to these godly qualities more and more. If we do not add these qualities, we are like a builder who just lays a foundation and leaves the superstructure shabby and incomplete. When huge pits are dug for a foundation for a building it looks ugly but once the building is complete it looks beautiful. We look to the foundation, Jesus for strength, stability and certainty while Jesus looks to our lives for beauty and glory. Nobody sees our roots but everyone sees our fruit- make sure these are ready for plucking and eating. People see the fruit and recognize we belong to the Lord. The Lord sees both our roots and our fruit and delights that both our roots and fruit are good and wholesome.

Faith involves a process of demolishing and building, of uprooting and casting new roots, of leaving and cleaving. We need to leave the errors and sins of our present and past. We need to cleave to the goodness of Jesus. We need to run towards goodness and flee from evil. We should cling to our hope and give up our anger, malice, pride, lusts and folly. We should endeavour to build a structure that is worthy of the foundation, worthy of the name of Jesus that is written all over our roots. Jesus supercedes our genes, our family background, our qualifications, our accomplishments, our failures, our strengths and weaknesses, our fate and our foes. A glorious foundation is meant to build something equally glorious. The many names of God- Rohi or Shepherd, Rapha or Healer, Nissi or Victor, Jireh or Provider, Shalom or Peace, Adonai or Lord..are written on the foundation and those dimensions or manifestations will be revealed over time in the superstructure of our lives. God who provided the safe and sure foundation will also provide us material for building the superstructure.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Present Power and Future Hope

UV 1501/10,000 Present Power and Future Hope
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

Matthew 12 v 18

Winning and losing the esteem of men is easy as men judge superficially. But winning the love and esteem of God is difficult and valuable. It is a guarantee that our lives are blessed forever with present power and future hope. Each of us should aim to win the esteem and affirmation of God that we are his chosen, His beloved, the ones in whom His soul delights. He has chosen us to be a light to the world to lead them to the Lord and to be the salt of the earth to whet the appetite for the things of God and to enhance the taste thereof. We should like Jesus lead humbly and deal wisely in all matters. He makes our mouth like a sharp sword for we shall proclaim His Word. He will hide us in His quiver to be used as a sharp weapon or arrow to pierce the deadened lives of people and quicken their faith. He will use us to glorify His name. We can use the Word to break the chains of captivity of people, to claim healing and deliverance, to cause to happen miracles or the release of God’s power on earth. What pleased the Lord was the servant-like attitude of Jesus, His Son: His humility and gentleness, His willingness to serve everyone He came across in distress and suffering, His love and compassion for people.

When the Lord is pleased with us, He will anoint us or fill us with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. These spiritual values of leadership have been stated in a descending order. We begin with the fear of the Lord, then we move into faith or the Spirit of knowledge, then we grow in counsel and power and finally, we are filled with wisdom and understanding. Those who are without God are without hope. Those who are chosen to know and trust God have present power and future hope. We are not to be spiritually weak and anaemic but supplied on high with all the nutrients that faith requires- commands to discipline and mature and promises to cherish and claim. We are not to keep the great news of salvation to ourselves but share the righteous judgements and provisions of the covenants of God with those we come across in our daily lives: the old covenant provisions to convict of sin and the new to convince of eternal life. Eternal life through faith in Jesus gives us present power and future hope. Present power comes primarily as gifts of the Spirit of God.

Present power can be used by us to excel in our professions or work like Daniel and Joseph. It can be used to set captives of sin, disease and judgement free. Future hope is used to set people free from the fear of death, from the fear of the unknown. As we employ present power and release future hope, we should always act as servants and not masters. We should not be egoistic or contentious. We should always humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. When God and people look at us, they should not see the visage of a master but that of a servant, humble, gentle and willing to serve in any way possible and practical as well as impossible. The fruit of the Spirit should be more visible and manifest than even the gifts. Present power produces evidences and testimonies of the Lord at work and being present in our lives. Future hope ensures the unbroken continuity.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Four Corners of the Tabernacle

UV 1500/10000 The Four Corners of the Tabernacle
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Psalm 27 v 5

The Lord who is the ultimate leader says, “My tabernacle will be with you. I shall be your God and you shall be my people.” Leadership without the aid and vision that the Lord provides is blind leadership. The leaders of the world hide behind the ranks and lead from behind and make sacrifices without number of their followers. But the Lord hides us in the time of trouble in His pavilion, the four corners of His presence, within the invisible walls of the tabernacle. We are hidden between the four corners of His mercy, grace, peace and love. The Lord will surround us with songs of deliverance. He gives us physical deliverance which we acknowledge with the song of Moses against formidable powers of the earth, against foes who are much stronger than us. He gives us spiritual deliverance from the enemy of our souls and his agents. We acknowledge spiritual deliverance with the song of the Lamb or the song of Jesus. Though there is a song of Moses recorded in the Bible, there is no song of Jesus. It implies that our praises that emanate from our hearts inspired by the Holy Spirit is the song of the Lamb.

The physical manifestation of the tabernacle of the Lord moved with the Israelites in their journey to the promised land. The spiritual tabernacle of the Lord moves with us in our journey to the land of the eternally living- heaven. We should always ensure that we are dwelling, moving , working and relating or reacting to people and situations of life within the four corners of mercy, grace, peace and love. The four corners that hold up the glory of the canopy of God should move along with us. The secret of the tabernacle is that it should always move with us and we should always move within the four corners of the tabernacle. We can hide always in the shadow or presence of the Almighty. The Lord is our secret source of strength and rejoicing.

As we live and move and exist within the tabernacle, as we trust in His Name, as we hope in His Word and are faithful, diligent and obedient to His commands, the Lord will establish us on the rock . He is like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. In other words, this world and the life in it is like a hot and torrid desert. But the Lord’s presence upon us is like the rock that provides a shade during the hot day time, a hiding place from the cold of night, a covert during rain and storms and a refuge. As we are covered within the four corners of the presence of the Lord, we will be blessed, secured and His will and promises fulfilled in our lives. I recently saw a movie called “Castaway” in which a survivor of a plane crash, an employee of Fedex who had a fetish for excessive punctuality, lives alone and marooned on an uninhabited island. On the island he lost his sense of time and lived somehow from day to day. On the 1500th day, he escapes from the island on a makeshift sail boat. Today, I have incidentally completed 1500 days of meditation on the uni-verse or a single verse of scripture. It has been shared with thousands of people across the globe to encourage them to walk in the ways of the Lord. I can testify that a verse a day not just keeps the doctor away but enables us to live securely within the four corners of the tabernacle and to be blessed and established in the ways of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 10, 2015

The GAP in Our Conversation

UV 1499/10000 The GAP in Our Conversation
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

Malachi 3 v 16

The focus of our conversation reflects what are our priorities in life. God is in all the thoughts of those who fear Him. Just as the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear Him, His ears are inclined to listen to what they speak when they converse with each other. It is mind boggling how He gets to listen to zillions of conversations across the globe at any given point in time. He not only listens but He also maintains a record of our conversations. He delights in the things we speak about Him. He is a silent participant in all our conversations. This is the reason that the scripture says that we are blessed when we order our conversation. He rejoices when we remember His name and acknowledge His presence. The word “ often” used in the uni-verse implies that the Lord is not an occasional reference in our conversation but the frequency of our including Him in our conversation denotes the role He plays in our lives, the centrality of our relationship with Him in our daily lives.

Like Jesus was listening to his two disciples talking on the road to Emmaus, He is always our companion and He is listening. He will interpret what we do not comprehend and enable us to understand the mysteries of the Lord. The Lord’s ears are always open to our cries and our prayers. He is a constant companion on every road that we travel and in everything we do. We need to be like the good teacher who stores many treasures of wisdom in his heart and shares it. Once he uses a treasure of wisdom to bless or encourage or teach another, he should bring out new ones in the course of time. Each of us is a priest, prophet and king in our spheres of influence. As a priest, through our prayers and our conversations, we stand in the gap between our families, our localities, cities, nations and God. As a prophet, our words not only throw light on what is God’s will but influences the course of events and as kings, we exercise authority, dispense justice and establish peace and order. At times, we are engaged in a priestly conversation with the Lord and with others. At other times, we are engaged in a prophetic conversation with the Lord and others just as Moses and Elijah talked with the Lord and with people. Sometimes, we are engaged in kingly conversation to establish the direction our people should take, to establish peace and secure progress. The standards of our body language as well as the content and words we use in our conversation should be minimum acceptable but preferably good and acceptable. The word “GAP” gives us a guideline for conversation: the norm of the level of our conversation should be G for good. If it falls, it should decline to not less than what is Acceptable to God and people. But we should always strive for the standard of Perfection where we do not make a mistake in anything we say or even the way we say it.

The Lord is a deep listener. What we speak to ourselves is our inner thought. He listens to our inner conversation, our self talk. When we talk to ourselves with the words and themes of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and make a melody to the Lord in our hearts, He rejoices. This is the essence of the Kingdom of God. Our souls are the territory of His kingdom. When we affirm the Word of God in our souls, His kingdom is being established. When we share the Word, His kingdom is being expanded. The language spoken in His kingdom is one of peace and grace. Every word counts and is counted. When we are careful about every thought and word we speak, it shows or proves to the Lord that we fear or honour Him, that we cherish His image in us and in others, that we want to reflect His glory and grace in and through our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Faith, Diligence and Patience

UV 1498/10000 Faith, Diligence and Patience
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6 v 12

The Lord lets us do the natural, He helps us with the difficult and He specialises in the impossible. We are ourselves expected to be diligent and persevering in the tasks and responsibilities cut out for us. We are to be rich towards God in terms of our faith, our love, our grace, our wisdom, our fruit of the spirit, our prayer, praise and service. Our faith should outlast our difficulties. We should wait patiently for the Lord to answer or to fulfil the promises He has spoken into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

It is written in scripture that the hand of the diligent shall rule. The desires of the diligent are fulfilled. Diligence is the equivalent of good stewardship. The one who is slothful is equal to one who destroys. God does not appreciate negligence of our duties and responsibilities. Diligence is needed to make our calling and election sure or for the confirmation of God’s grace. The path of the diligent is safe and smooth as he thinks of the risks and problems ahead of time and takes steps to clear the mines while the path of the slothful is like scraping against a hedge of thorns as he gets hurt all along as he moves thoughtlessly. The diligent has to be proactive or think ahead of solutions to likely problems or existing challenges.

Diligence is required to remember the Word of God and to keep the commandments in terms of obedience and to keep the promises of God in terms of believing the Lord will fulfil these in due time. There is a waiting time or gestation period between doing the will of God or claiming a promise and its fulfilment in our lives. It helps to remember the faith of those who went before us and how they held onto their faith through difficult and impossible circumstances. It helps to imitate their persistence and patience. The attitude we display during the waiting periods of our lives reflect the quality of our faith. If it is rich, our patience will not get exhausted. We will not loose hope or get tired of waiting. We will not murmur or complain like the Israelites at the waters of Meribah. When we do so, we test the patience of the Lord. He is pleased when we remain thankful. Our hope will turn to bitterness, our faith to disbelief when our patience weakens. We should keep throwing the cross in the water to keep it sweet by remembering the willingness, the endurance, the unmerited suffering of the Saviour. Unmerited suffering brought us unmerited favour or grace. Since He endured and overcame, we should endure and overcome.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Supernatural Leadership

UV 1497/10000 Supernatural Leadership
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
Daniel 10 v 12

From the first day that Daniel committed his life to the Lord, his prayers were heard by the Lord. He had set his heart to understand and to repent on behalf of his people, Israel before God. The Lord sent his messengers, the angel to Daniel to strengthen him and to give him help to interpret the signs and times. It was revealed to Daniel that a prince of Greece, Alexander the Great would rise to conquer Persia and a large part of the then known world. These revelations were given to Daniel centuries before Alexander the Great was born. Alexander and the Greek empire represented the kingdom of bronze in the magnificent statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Alexander, Nebuchadnezzar and their like were natural leaders who revelled in physical power but we are called to be supernatural leaders like Daniel, Moses and Jesus. We become conducting rods for God’s miraculous power to flow through us. Both Alexander and Jesus died at the same age: thirty three but Alexander’s glory and greatness faded with time while Jesus’ greatness, territory and glory are expanding.
We as watchmen of the Lord need to humble ourselves and set our hearts to understand and discern God’s will for our lives in the times we live in. Our humility is not the modesty we put on show before other people but it is the attitude of humility before God. It is knowing that though we are the worst of sinners, God can use us. We make ourselves attractive to the Lord when we are steadfast in seeking His will, word and wisdom. He will move heaven and earth on our behalf as He did for Daniel. He will hear our petitions and bless us. An answer to our prayers is like a kiss from the Lord on our lips. It is an affirmation that the Lord esteems us as He esteemed Daniel. Prayer is like a stairway to heaven while praise and worship is an elevator. The Lord will reveal many things to us as He did to Daniel. We will excel in divine knowledge of the extent of love of the Lord for us, of the extent of His mercy and goodness as well as the awesomeness of His power.

God will send His angelic messengers to us. He will touch us and strengthen us. He will speak a word to remove all fear and to encourage us. He will make known the outline of the future. Even while we are praying, He will answer us. Alexander the Great proved the vanity of conquests, the vanity of power, the vanity of fame and greatness, the vanity of wealth and territory. Jesus is the cornerstone that is not cut with human hands on account of His immaculate birth. He is the cornerstone that makes each of us greater than an Alexander for we are more than conquerors. This cornerstone shall fill all nations. Unlike the third horn that stood for Alexander and could be cut off, we will increase in power, grace and influence as we continue to fellowship with the Spirit, dwell on His Word and seek to understand and to do His will.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 7, 2015

Covetousness versus Contentment

UV 1495/10,000 Covetousness versus Contentment

O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.
Jeremiah 51 v 13

If we dwell by the river of God, if we are planted on its banks, we will be like a tree that is eternal or everlasting. Our leaves will never wither or fall. We will bear fruit –internal and external, throughout our lives and in every season of our lives. Our greatest treasure is the joy of salvation and we do not value anything including all the wealth or the pleasure of this world more than that. Our thoughts are constantly fed with the Word as river water seeps in through the soil pores to reach the roots of plants and then rises up their shoots to water every branch and leaf or every part of our lives. The hope of Donald Trumps of this world will one day be cut off along with his breath but the hope of Billy Grahams will never be cut off. The latter have eternal hope and eternal life after the future. Covetousness has no limits while contentment sets limits to what we desire. The covetous are never satisfied. The Word compares the covetous to a whore who sits on many waters and states that in one hour great riches will come to naught. The covetous are also compared to clouds without water carried about by the winds of their desires, raging waves of the sea, fruitless trees that are plucked out by their roots and wandering or falling stars. The sin of covetousness is compared with the error of Balaam and that of Cain.

But if we dwell by many rivers, if we consider wealth or pleasure or fame, power or position more valuable than our knowledge of the Lord, then He will give us over to our covetousness. Our end will come when all of it will be in vain, our lives would be empty or futile. We will be like the foolish man who built his house upon shifting sands and not on the rock of faith and obedience. We will be like the rich man who gloats on all his storehouses, bank balance and treasures but whose life is taken away suddenly and he loses all of it. Secure “livers” and leaders are not covetous but secure in the knowledge of God and the hope that it engenders.

Covetousness is bred by insecurity and distrust. It gives rise to a false sense of security, a kind of complacency that will be a downward slide. The greater our faith in the Lord, the greater our contentment. Contentment is bred by trust and faith in God as provider and “purposer”. He provides meaning, purpose and power to my life. He will never desert me. He will not give up on me. He will not let me down. He will uphold me. He will enable me. He will not break His promises to me. Faith is planting oneself firmly on the bank of the river of God and drinking daily, continually and often from His promises. He declares Himself to be the “portion of Jacob” or what every believer needs and drinks. God and faith in Him is not a luxury but a necessity like water. Faith is not being tossed around like a wave in the sea. It is being anchored in Him. Faith is positive believing and positive living- looking for a glimmer of hope through dark clouds, a silver lining and not a pot of gold below the rainbow. It is not advancing by giant leaps but little by little towards a distant goal.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Life and Leadership Unveiled

UV 1494/10000 Unveiled Face of Leadership

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3 v 18

The face of Jesus is the unveiled or revealed face of God, He being full of grace and truth. All others could not see the glorious face of God. Moses had to wear a veil after talking face to face with God but even he did not see God with his mortal eyes. This is the reason Jesus said, “No man has seen the Father except the Son of God.” Jesus revealed the Father’s image to us and as we reflect on His glory, we begin to reflect that glory in our lives in small and big ways. We begin to see God with all the mysteries surrounding Him unveiled. We understand His character, the limitlessness of His grace, power and mercy. The sacrifice of love at Calvary made the love of God evident. The knowledge of the glory of God’s love brings the light of heaven into our hearts. We are called out by our names from spiritual darkness or ignorance and misery into His marvellous light – the light of His presence, His Word and His grace and power. Little by little, degree by degree we are transformed by the Holy Spirit over our lifetime into His very image. The Word of God is the chisel the Spirit uses to etch our edges and shape our inner being.

Under the Old Testament covenant, the eyes of people was veiled not to perceive the full extent of spiritual truths needed to comprehend the image of God. Our vision of God was clouded but now the fog is cleared and the light of God’s truth and love shines through our every pore. God is honoured when His image is restored in us. He is pleased when He sees the qualities of gentleness, humility and patience of Jesus reflected in our lives. The Word is the seed that the Spirit plants in our hearts and minds. As the seed casts down roots into our lives and shoots forth a stem and branches out to produce the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control.
The weeds of lust, pride and sin that the enemy of our souls has planted in our DNA and our nature are removed or uprooted by the Holy Spirit. In place of these negatives, the Holy Spirit resurrects the DNA or divine nature of God in us. The face of the Lord begins to shine on us as the Sun of Righteousness. Conforming to the image of Jesus is the process of transformation. The secret lies in the discipline of “beholding” or seeing Jesus in every way and with every sense, constantly, continually, unceasingly. We move from being acceptable in our thoughts, words and actions to being good, from good we move towards perfection as we perceive Jesus by the power of the Spirit and imitate Him in all our ways so that we are like siblings that have striking resemblance to the first born Son of God. People can now see the radiance not just on our faces but in all our words and actions.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

God Governance and Self Leadership

UV 1492/10,000 God Governance and Self Leadership
And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
Habakuk 1 v 14

Good governance is no substitute for God governance. When Jesus and the Holy Spirit rule over us, we have no need for an earthly ruler. We will instinctively like the fish of the sea go in the right direction and be able to successfully negotiate any storm in our lives. Jesus is the model of humanity, divinity and leadership for every one of us. When we think like Jesus, we will also feel, act and live like Him. No more fight or flight but we will flow and overflow with peace, grace and power. Jesus taught us all the leadership lessons we need. He came into the earth from His heavenly home with one purpose- to save mankind. We too should identify one purpose for which we live. In this sense, we should not be like the fish, the reptiles, ants and all other creatures – that have only one purpose to exist as long as possible or survival. Jesus showed us that while the fittest among us can only survive like the fish, the ants and other creatures, the faithful thrive. We will not be tempted by the bait of the enemy of our souls. We will not be caught in the snare of his nets. We will open our mouths like fish all the time to praise God and the Lord will fill it. He will fill our mouths with good news to share and great news to break. He will not withhold any good thing from us.

Jesus showed us how to be humble and gentle. He taught us to be loving and forgiving. He set an example of serving others. He washed His disciples’ feet. He had compassion on the sick and suffering. He wept for His dead friend Lazarus. He is the Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting King, Prince of Peace. He rules over us not with fear and intimidation but with love and peace. He accomplished His purpose on earth and in heaven. He revealed the loving nature of the Father. He transplanted the DNA or divine nature in mankind. He taught us the value of faith, how faith can help us surmount the greatest barriers and problems in our lives. He pointed us to the perfection and beauty of holiness of the Father and asked us to be likewise perfect and holy, to be set apart for God. He taught us to have the unity of a school of fish so that we move in a synchronised and united way.

The Holy Spirit is the ruler the Lord Jesus sent to us, to abide with us and in us. He is the counsellor, the comforter, the remembrancer. He reminds us and prompts us. He guides and leads us into all truths. We receive gifts of character and power from the Holy Spirit. He will teach us to be wise, to learn from everything and every word that is spoken to us. We will learn to work hard in summer and prepare for the winter of our lives like the ants that have no leader, guide or overseer. Most of the time right through history and even today, most human beings cannot lead themselves let alone others. They end up living a double life- one meant for the eyes of the public and one that is lived in private. Jesus and the Holy Spirit teach us and instruct us in self leadership. Jesus is the One who holds us together and integrated as one even as the joints and ligaments hold the body together. He taught us to be anchored in the Holy Spirit. Every day as I feed the fish in our little acquarium, I see them rushing to feed on the tiny pellets of fish food. Similarly, we should rush and feed on the Word the Holy Spirit speaks into our souls. The food that the fish feed on gives them energy while the Word we feed on gives us strength and direction, confidence and hope. So much so, we have no need for an earthly leader or ruler like the fish and the ants.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Kingdom of God and Three Dimensional Leadership

UV 1491/10000 The Kingdom of God
The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
Zephaniah 3 v 15
The Lord has taken away our reproach- our disgrace. We are declared justified and perfect in the sight of God. He has broken the power of sin and guilt in our lives. The enemy has no power over us. For the past we have abundant mercy, for the present we have power and for the future, we have sufficient grace. This is three dimensional leadership- of spirit, mind and body, of past, present and future converging into the eternal. Leaders who only deal with the physical or political or economic or cultural but not with the three dimensions of spirit, mind and body are fractional and flat leaders. The Lord has overthrown the enemy of our souls who used to accuse us of the very deeds into which he tempted us. He has overthrown the enemy who weakens us and destroys the hope of our future. He now rules in us as the King. He is seated on the throne of our hearts. He reigns in our midst. The kingdom of God is established in us. Evil shall not rule over us any more. Things do not happen to us by chance or accident. It is no longer I alone struggling against my own flesh, my own evil desires and the evil in the world but the Lord God is our Ebenezer and helper in our struggles. We now have an invincible partner. We have joined the winning side. We are called to be winners and not whiners. We can command evil to disappear, to depart, to flee. Evil that was once ingrained in us has now nothing to do with us. We are no longer a mixture of good and evil but the DNA or divine nature of God will begin to shine in us and through us. The King not only rules over us and in us but He rules through us. We exhibit godly character and exercise kingly power.

Whatever the enemy of our souls now throws at us, whether accusations, fears, worries, guilt, shame, threats, deception, we can now cast it away. Scripture states that the place reserved for all these things of the past is the bottom of the sea. We can now live untrammelled and untainted by these. This is the meaning of spiritual freedom. This is the reason Jesus said, “ You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” He sets us free from all the chains of the past and gives us the wings of the Word and prayer to fly high and free. He not only justifies us or straightens our lives out, removes the rough edges and angularities of character and habit, He sanctifies us or makes us perfect in thought, word and deed. The King is in our midst. He is within us. He rules over our every thought, word and deed as we submit ourselves willingly to Him. Our relationship with God is no longer that of Jehovah with Jacob or Jehovah with the nation of Israel- one of struggle and rebellion, one of hiding or running away or resisting God, one of affliction and surrender, one of faithlessness, distrust and betrayal but one of peace, love, faithfulness and submission to the Lord. The Kingdom of God is one of freedom. It frees us from the negatives of life and frees us to pursue the positive.

When we know we are always in the King of King’s presence, we should be like Nehemiah, the cupbearer, at our best. We should have a joyful attitude. We know we have nothing to fear. Our hands are strengthened. We know that He is mighty and He can save us from any and in any situation. We can ask what we need and He will give us from His riches in glory. We will suffer no lack. We shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and regrets shall flee from us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sacrifices of Joy

UV 1490/10,000 Sacrifices of Joy
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

Psalm 27 v 6

The Lord promises to exalt us or lift us in the eyes of our enemies. To be blessed by the Lord implies that we are lifted up and we are to be envied. This will cause us to rejoice and offer the sacrifices of joy. The more the struggle we go through in life and the more the Lord helps us to emerge unscathed, the greater is our joy. The joy bubbling up in us will prompt us to sing and praise the Lord for the victory He gives us.

Normally, according to Hebrew tradition, sacrifices are offered with sorrow and repentance. But this uni-verse refers to the “sacrifices of joy.” When we offer our thanksgiving for the great deliverances of the Lord in our lives, it is a sacrifice of joy. David was given great deliverances as a youth and shepherd from the lion and the bear, from Goliath as a volunteer fighter, from Saul and from internal and external enemies of the kingdom of Israel. Many of the psalms he composed and sang were songs of deliverance, sacrifices of joy. When we declare what He has done for our souls, we are offering the sacrifices of joy.

When a hope is fulfilled, a desire is granted, a promise of the Lord is accomplished, we are to offer sacrifices of joy, thanksgiving and praise. Where are we to offer the sacrifices of joy? The uni-verse says offer it in His tabernacle- in the temple, in our bodies which are the living temple of God, in our hearts and minds. The use of the word “ now” in the uni-verse shows that we are to offer sacrifices of joy from now on and all the time. Opening a Praisebook account is helpful in making it a habit to thank and praise the Lord all the time for the wonders the Lord is doing and has done and will do in our lives. The book of Revelation talks of two songs: the song of Moses for deliverance, miracles and victory in this world from physical forces and the song of the Lamb or the song of Jesus for salvation, eternal life and deliverance from sin and its consequences. We should praise the Lord with both the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. Moses praised the Lord as “ majestic in holiness, awesome in glory and working wonders” for physical deliverance from bondage and slavery to the Pharaoh of Egypt. We need to also praise the Lord for spiritual deliverance from bondage and slavery to the ruler of the world. There are two principal reasons for us to be joyful and to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord: for physical blessings and deliverance and for spiritual blessings and deliverance.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Commitment

UV 1489/10000 The Commitment
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

The Lord hides His face when He is displeased with people. When we revel in our sin and anger Him, He hides His face. He hid His face from Israel when they rebelled against Him and disobeyed. He gave them over to captivity and they were dispersed around the world. But the Lord ‘s salvation and love are everlasting: the salvation He provides are in all directions, dimensions and aspects of time, space and circumstance. He promises not to hide His face from us anymore. He is up close and personal with us. He is with us as an intimate friend. When His face shines on us, we are greatly blessed. It is a period of sunshine in our lives. We will feel His warmth and grace. He will bless and keep us. In this uni-verse, the Lord promises or commits Himself never to leave or forsake us. We will not have to search for Him any longer. We will find evidence or signs of His presence in our lives all the time. Instead of us hiding from the Lord like Adam and Eve after the fall, or God hiding from mankind after the abounding of sin and lack of faith, we can now hide in the Lord. We can hide in Him in trouble and times of threat, to seek rest and refuge, to be blessed, to be strengthened, to obtain wisdom and guidance, to find help and salvation in any situation. It is a commitment to reveal the depth and dimensions of His love, power and grace in our lives.

The Lord pours His spirit upon us when His face shines on us. The word “ pour” implies that He gives us His grace, power and wisdom in abundance and in sufficient measure to meet every change and challenge. Each of us as well as all of us collectively constitute the “ house of Israel.” Israel means “ struggle with God. He will give us triumph in all our struggles. As we find and increase in Shalom or peace with God, we ill increase in peace within ourselves and with all others. His spirit softens our hearts so that we do not harbour sin therein. He removes every trace of guilt, bitterness and anger from within us. He will remove the spirit or attitude of mourning and regret from our lives. He will not let us be confused or ashamed. He will instead clothe us or cover us with the spirit of rejoicing in the Lord or rejoicing in His presence, rejoicing in His promises, finding our strength and hope in His Word.

When the Lord does not hide His face from us, it means that we have found grace or favour in His eyes. He is watching over us all the time, both night and day. He leads us from within and directs our steps. The use of the word ‘house’ indicates that the Lord resides in us and we dwell with Him through His indwelling Spirit. The Spirit of God releases both the seed of the fruit of character as well as His divine gifts. An anointing with oil externally is only superficial- it touches only our skin but the anointing of the Spirit from within deals with our sin and cleanses us. We are perfected from deep within. The Spirit does a work of comfort and restoration within us. He does a work of healing too within us. He reveals mysteries and secrets to us. He prophesies to us to encourage and build up our faith. He affirms or endorses the good things He sees in our character and practice of faith.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Listen to Obey

UV 1488/10000 Listen to Obey
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams
I Samuel 15 v 22
Each of us is expected to be a leader who listens to the Lord, a Samuel or one who listens to the Lord. Listening to the Lord delights the One who made us. If we truly listen, we will obey His voice. To listen and obey is better than sacrifice. The Word is the voice of the Lord. We should daily listen to the Word and delight in it. There are different types of listening: listen to understand, listen to obey, listen to apply, listen to be warned, listen to teach, listen to learn. Samuel was blessed as he listened to the Lord. We too will be blessed as we practice the different types of listening. Recently, a Russian billionaire has set apart several million dollars for what is known as the Breakthrough Listen project that searches the universe for signals and signs of extraterrestrial intelligence or alien life. It would give us a much bigger breakthrough at no cost but with great reward if we listen to the cues, signals, words and signs from the greatest of all intelligence, the most loving of all beings- the Lord God Himself. Instead of looking for remote and weak signals, it would make more sense to listen to understand who God is, listen to understand who we are, listen to fulfill God's will in our lives, listen to be blessed. But our hearts become hardened and our ears hard of spiritual hearing from time to time and we should command ourselves, "Ephphatha" or open up to listen. Once we listen, we should be willing to change, ready to obey.

From childhood Samuel was dedicated to the Lord. He heard the voice of the Lord calling him by name thrice and he first thought that the blind priest Eli had called him. We too sometimes mistake the voice of the Lord for the voice of people we know. But as we listen intently, we will be able to recognize the voice of the Lord. We should be willing or ready to listen to the Lord. Samuel did not fear in communicating the oracles of the Lord to King David. He boldly shared the words of rebuke and chastening to the king, running the risk of incurring his displeasure and wrath. But Samuel was not reluctant in sharing the Word of God with others. His straightforwardness and truth -telling kept David from straying completely from the Lord who had anointed him through Samuel.

The voice of the Lord distinguishes itself from the din of the world. We should always be sensitive to the whispers and promptings of the Holy Spirit. His Word contains wisdom for practical living. It is eternal and irrevocable. Once it is spoken it cannot be recalled. Like the rain and the snow, it will not return but will sink into our inner being and produce changes and fruit. Just as the moisture of rain, dew and snow penetrates the soil and sub soil, reaching the deeper parts of the earth to melt the salts and minerals of the soil and sub soil and carry it up through the roots into the shoots of plants and trees, the words of the Lord penetrate the soul and sub-soul, nourishing the seed and roots. Jesus asked, “ If the salt loses its saltiness, what can make it salty again?” If a human being loses his god-like qualities, what can restore it? He did not answer that seemingly rhetorical question but the obvious solution is the Word can make us salty again.
Prateep V Philip