Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Altars that Alter Destiny

UV 1544/10000 Altars that Alter Destiny
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

Exodus 17 v 15

Like there are several lenses inside a telescope, beginning with the eyepiece leading to a magnifying lens in the middle and one at the end, one uni-verse leads and opens onto another uni-verse. Each uni-verse is a lens through which we can view the leadership of God acting in human history. The above uni-verse opens onto the verse in Song of Solomon chapter 2 verse 4: “He brought me to his banqueting house and his banner over me was love.” The implication is that when we erect the altar of worship in spirit and truth, it leads up to the banner of victory being erected over our lives, our homes, our workplaces, our families. Abraham erected an altar of sacrifice before the Lord or Jehovah Jireh and the Lord blessed him with abundance while Moses experienced victory over the powerful foe Pharaoh and the army of Egypt. Jehovah reveals Himself as the God of Victory or Success in our lives. Moses erected the altar to Jehovah Nissi as a mark of his thanksgiving and worship for the victory the Lord gave the Israelites over Amalek, a kingdom that was resisting their advance towards the promised land.

Today, many people have made success their god while Jehovah Nissi is the God o who gives lasting and real success or victory. When we raise an altar of remembrance, of thanksgiving, of worship and sacrifice before the Lord, He will raise a banner or flag of victory in our area of challenge. He will bring us into his banqueting house or in other words, we will hear news of victory and success in our ears and in our homes and lives that causes us to rejoice, celebrate and raise an altar to Jehovah Nissi. In a banquet many dishes and delicacies are served. There is laughter and music. Similarly, the Lord wants to hear the voice of rejoicing in the tabernacles of the righteous.

The Lord establishes victory for us not with His might or His power but by His Spirit. This is the lens at the end of the telescope. He does things not instantly. He has not promised us instant news but good news and great news. We should not be impatient but rest and rejoice in the assurance of ultimate and complete victory as promised by the Lord. Joshua had to combat 31 kings and wrest victory before he could lead Israel into the promised land. Similarly, we have to combat 31 kings before we have final and complete victory. In other words, we combat one king or other of the spirit realm every day of the month. We should not become worried or doubtful but fix our eyes on the banner of love that Jehovah has surrounded us in His Son Jesus. We should raise an altar of thanksgiving like Jacob did at Bethel, as Abraham did with the altar to Jehovah Jireh and Moses did with the altar to Jehovah Nissi. In the course of our lives, we can raise as many altars as Jehovah has manifestation-declaring names.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Leadership and the Power to Bless

UV 1543/10000 Leadership as the Power to Bless

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Psalm 103 v 1

The power to bless is associated with divinity. Yet how did David dare to bless the Lord? It is on account of the divinity that dwells in every child of God that we can bless the Lord. David commanded his own soul to bless the Lord. To bless implies to lift up, to enlarge, to exalt, to cause good to happen. The Lord has no need of man’s help. Yet He feels gratified when we bless Him. He will not repent for having created us and thereafter redeemed us with Jesus. We are called to be leaders who are a blessing to the world and not a curse or a burden. If we have the power to bless God, then how much more we have power and responsibility to bless those whom we are leading or serving or teaching. The important thing to note is that we do not bless in our own right but in the name of the Lord.

David goes on to direct all that is within him to bless the holy name of God. What lies within us includes all of our faculties, all of our organs, all of our plans and visions, all of our achievements and failures, all of our memories, all of our desires and hopes. The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote : “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” This is not necessarily true but when read and lived in conjunction with our faith in the living God, then what lies ahead of us and what lies behind us will become tiny matters. The word “holy” also means holistic. We need to bless people in all dimensions of life and not just appeal to their intellectual or emotional faculties. Without factoring in God, how can we understand life? Without understanding life, how can we come up with an adequate response to our challenges? We need to bless the Lord’s name with all of our best- our faculties, our conscience, our dreams, our desires, hopes, thoughts, emotions, imagination, talents, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Since we are called to be His own, we are also called after the Lord’s name. With all these resources and abilities and potential that lies within us we need to bring glory to the Lord’s name. The means we adopt to achieve our goals should bring glory to His name. Our ambitions and goals should bring glory to His name. David went to battle the giant Goliath with inadequate training, inadequate experience, inadequate weapons but he went with abundant faith that made up for every inadequacy. He went in the name of His Lord and God, in the name of the God of Israel. That testimony is a blessing for three generations and a blessing to the name of the Lord. The Tabernacle or temple of ancient Israel had many parts with different functions and purposes but the ultimate purpose was to worship and glorify God. Similarly, all that lies within us is meant to glorify or bless the name of the Lord.

Our desire to provide for ourselves and our families is not something that is not of God but of God. It is blessed by Him. Our efforts to do so will bless the Jireh dimension of His name. Our desire to be channels of peace and to be problem solvers blesses the Shalom dimension of His name. Our desire for wisdom and counsel is blessed by the Rohi or Shepherd dimension of His name. Our triumphs and victories over trials, tribulations and persecution blesses the Nissi dimension of His name. The healing that we pray for ourselves and others blesses the Rapha dimension of His name. When we deal with our own inner weaknesses and the pulls and pressures to yield to external temptations or to conform to the world instead of His word, we are blessing the El Shaddai dimension of the name of God. Every exercise of faith blesses or lifts up the name of the Lord. When we use every talent and gift we have been endowed with and utilise every opportunity we are given, we are blessing the name of the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 28, 2015

Destined For Leadership

UV 1542/10000 Destined for Leadership
The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
Psalm 115 v 12

The Lord has His mind full of us and our well being. He is ever conscious of us. He is aware of our names, our needs, our challenges. His intellect is focussed on plans for our well being and future. His emotions are centred on our happiness. His decisions, actions and interventions are fixed on securing His will and desire for our lives. He is preoccupied with our present joy, future hope and eternal destiny. From His perspective, the eternal outweighs the past, present and future. This is the reason He allows a measure of suffering and trials in the lives of His chosen. Nothing in history or science or the contemporary compares with the value of the eternal. The price to live forever in the presence of God is very high and cannot be paid for by a man’s good deeds or by following certain rites, rules and rituals. It was paid for in full by His Son Jesus. He gave us this right to be part of Israel or the commonwealth of Israel and gave us the key of David- faith to enter therein. The blessing on David’s forefather Abraham was passed on to us by faith. We use the key of David to enter the house of Israel –to have a personal relationship with God. Now it is our turn to be mindful of God.

Only a true priest of God is always mindful of Him. We are to move from just being a believer of Jehovah or an Elijah to being part of the house of Aaron: a closer bonding with the Lord, dedicated and serving the Lord. We are called to continually worship the Lord, to intercede for those who have not yet entered the house of Israel. We exist not for our own pleasure but for the pleasure of the Lord. Our own blessing and rewards are like meat for sustenance of the worker. When we fulfil our onus or our responsibilities as a priest, He gives us a bonus- or what is good for us and our families. He gives us the anointing He gave Aaron and the anointing He gave David. We need to have the heart of sacrifice of a priest, the reverence for God that a priest has. God is our employer. He pays our wages. We need to have the strength, boldness and courage of a king like David.

The Lord’s ear is always open to our prayers and cries of our hearts. He hears us even before we pray or a word is uttered from our mouths. He will bless us as He blessed Israel and as He blessed Aaron and his generations. The blessings of Israel are listed in the first fourteen verses of Deuteronomy 28. We are blessed wherever we are. We do not have to go in search to any place or person in pursuit of blessing. We are destined for increase. We are destined for safe keeping and security. We are destined for success in everything we do. We are destined for holiness. We are destined for true and blessed fame and true riches. We are destined to rule. We are destined for leadership and primacy. For these aspects of our destiny to be fulfilled, for our heritage to be claimed and enjoyed, we ought to be mindful of the commands and enthusiastic in believing and claiming the promises of God. We are destined to be in the presence of the Lord and to serve Him and His people. Our life will not be without struggles. But instead of struggling with God, we will only hereafter struggle with our common enemy and those of our own kind. Like Israel we will be surrounded by enemies of different kinds and few faithful friends. Like Joseph, we might be betrayed by our own brothers. Like Jesus, we might be let down by our own but each trial and struggle will make us better and not bitter for He is with us as Immanuel and Ebenezer. He will fight for us and give us testimonies out of all our tests and trials.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fountains and Filters

UV 1541/10000 Fountains and Filters
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.
Psalm 87 v 7

All our fountains are in the Lord: all our sources of joy, of peace, of growth, of prosperity, of abundant and eternal life, of victory, of blessings, of mercy and grace are found in the Lord. These are springs that are hidden underground in the Word and proceeds as open streams in our visible or observable lives. If we look at our bodies: The whole body consists of a series of fountains and filters: the heart sets off fountains as does the brain - fountains of thoughts and emotions. The lungs- fountains of air. The kidneys are filters. Similarly, to lead our lives we need a series of fountains and filters- fountains of joy, hope, peace, energy, ideas and filters of words, emotions, thoughts. The fountains are symbolic that all our thoughts, desires, emotions, words and actions. Like a fountain, we might notice a rhythm of rise and fall of our energy levels, our emotions, our faith, joy and love. This is fine as long as it falls to rise again or there is a constant renewal of our inner being in the waters of salvation. The word “ water” is an acroustic in this context for wisdom that is spiritual not worldly, assurance of salvation and faith, talent and temperament working together for the glory of God, energy and emotions yoked to Christ and relationship with God and mankind marked by love.

The waters of the eternal springs, the rivers of life giving water that bubbles forth from our hearts should not be muddied by our negative thoughts, negative words, limiting beliefs, disbelieving actions and reactions. We need to have filters of our thoughts, filter on our mouths to drain out the negative words, filters on our emotions. We need the Holy Spirit to filter out our pride, lust, jealousy, selfishness, greed and vanity. We need to place filters on our hearts for the Lord has warned us to guard our hearts for out of it are the issues or fountains of life. The filters are at least as important as the fountains. Wisdom is an effective filter on our thoughts and words. Our love for the Father and Jesus act as a restraint or filter on many negative thoughts, words and actions. The filters should be used to remove the dregs, the impurities, the deposits, the dross of the world that tends to mix with the pure waters of the fountains of eternal life.

When all our fountains and filters are in place and working in unison and effectively, we will be ready to use all our instruments or resources and gifts to glorify, magnify, adore, worship, praise and thank the Lord. Without the filters, the sources of our joy and peace will get dried up or dirtied. Without being filled with joy and peace, we cannot overflow with the hope in Jesus. Without the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, we will get wearied, worried and demotivated. We will be like the old men who get tired and young men who get exhausted with all our striving in flesh and blood. When the fountains and filters are working well, the rainbow of God’s covenant will be seen across the whole spectrum of our lives: timely rain or help from above, abundant crop or productivity, protection and restoration from spoilers and distractors, financial provision, spiritual anointing, deliverance and blessings upon our families.

Prateep V Philip

Iron and Bronzen Qualities

UV 1540/10000 Iron and Bronzen Qualities

For behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.

Jeremiah 1 v 18

We who trust God and His Word are a fortified city. We serve the purpose of the Lord both individually and collectively. The promises of God are our ramparts and strong defence. It is like an iron pillar that can withstand corrosion. We have in us the strength of a bronzen wall- bronze combining the strength and qualities of many metals. The Lord builds His Kingdom within us and through and with us. We have the combined strength of the Trinity, the Word, our spirits. Iron is a symbol of strength and discipline. Our appetites are disciplined. Like Daniel and his faithful companions, we have no desire for what defiles the image of God in us. The empire of Babylon has not prevailed. Its wonderful structures have all perished but the shining example of Daniel and his friends continue to inspire people to this day to live a life of faith. The armies of Babylon, the fineries, the palaces have all perished with barely a trace left in history. The values, principles, models and precepts the Lord has taught us over time are converted into practices or habits. The Lord uses these to remove our feet of clay or our weaknesses and to remove our feet that are stuck in the miry clay of this world and put us on the Rock of ages.

Neither political or military power nor religious influence or common people can prevail against the faithful. We are like an invisible iron pillar of strength, a bronzen wall of the kingdom of God. We in turn lean on Jesus as our tower of power- our source of strength, power and grace. Prayer, study and meditation on the Word, praise and worship, fellowship and witness determine our mettle as well as the shape of our lives. Iron is not that malleable while bronze is malleable. Hence, in the basics of our faith we should be less flexible like iron while in all other things we can be like the more flexible or malleable bronze. We can like Paul become all things to all people so that some may be saved.

All the military hardware, the technological innovations and sources of power of the modern world will one day perish like the wonders and might of Babylon but the life of faith will continue to prevail and inspire people. The Lord is not impressed by genius or brilliance or might but He is touched by the prayers of the faithful and humble. The metaphor the Lord uses for people who please Him are varied, colourful and meaningful: the salt and light of the earth, a well-watered and fenced garden, a spring whose waters never dry, a city on a hill, clay to the potter, an iron pillar and bronzen wall. An iron pillar is a symbol of victory. An iron pillar endures and beats the worst that nature can throw at it. Similarly, our faith will endure despite all changes in our environment and happenings in our lives. The Lord has designed us to be a symbol of victory and blessing. We are to be like a glass prism to split the white light of His grace and power into seven blessings of the rainbow : timely inputs for our growth and flourishing like the former spring rain and the latter rain at the time of harvest, restoration of what we have lost, making up not only for lost time but for lost opportunities and lost blessings of peace and joy, deliverance, financial provision, miracles or wonders that our eye has not seen or our ears have not heard, vision and blessings on family and offspring or generations to come.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 25, 2015

Leaders are Climate Changers

UV 1539/10000 Leaders are Climate Changers

And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
I Kings 17 v 24

Elijah was a nobody who came from somewhere in 9th century BC Israel. His ancestry was not known. He came from Tishbe in Gilead and was called Elijah, the Tishbite. The name “Elijah” means “Jehovah is my God.” His name proclaimed his faith in Jehovah. God clothed him with power on high. There are different kinds of power the Lord bestows on His chosen vessels: sustaining power, overcoming power, overwhelming power and wonder-working power. All types of power were manifested in Elijah’s life. He had overwhelming power for when he said that it would not rain or drop dew for three years, God confirmed the word of his mouth as truth. The Lord counselled Elijah on making a strategic retreat after his word of prophecy of drought for three years. He was sustained in the desert with water from the brook at Terebith and with meat and bread brought to him by ravens. He overcame his fear of the power of King Ahab and his wicked queen Jezebel. When the widow of Zarephath cried out for her son’s life, Elijah resurrected the child by lying on his dead body. When Elijah offered a sacrifice, the Lord sent down fire to consume his offering. The Lord vindicated the words of Elijah’s mouth and proved it to be His own.

We too might be ordinary people like Elijah in terms of our background or where we come from. But the Lord has called us to be extraordinary. When the word of the Lord is constantly in our mouths and on our minds, He will anoint us with sustaining power- we do not have to worry over what we will eat or drink even during a time of famine. The Lord will provide our need. He will give us overcoming power to speak the word with authority as Elijah did. He will give us overwhelming power against our mortal foes and enemies. He will give us wonder-working power. He will not let a word from our mouths fall to the ground without being fulfilled. He will cause miracles to happen that will manifest His awesome power. He will give us power over the elements of nature- to command the rain to cease and to fall. Our sacrifices will be acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.

The powers manifested in our lives are not to draw attention to us but to point people to God. There were different seasons in Elijah’s walk with God. He was willing to stand up for God and speak on His behalf the uncompromising word. Therefore, the Lord chose to honour him and his words. The climax of Elijah’s leadership was his being taken away in a chariot of fire. Elijah was a king-shaker, king-remover, king-anointer. He did not forecast the weather. Yesterday, many world leaders at the UN met to focus on the phenomenon of climate change. Elijah was the cause of climate change. God chose to establish him and his words as He establishes us and our words in this day and time. He wants us to be climate changers like Elijah in the 21st century. Like the widow at Zarephath and the people of Israel and King Ahab were witnesses of the extraordinary presence and power of God with Elijah, the least to the greatest in the land we dwell in will be witnesses to the presence and power of God in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Greatness - A Legitimate Aspiration and Attribute

UV 1539/10000 Greatness – A Legitimate Goal and Natural Attribute

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
Haggai 2 v 23

The first words in the uni-verse “In that day..” implies that it happens on a day or time set by God and that it happens in real time or historic time. The Lord God is the Lord of the armies of angels. No nation or ruler however mighty can withstand the power of God. He takes us as He took Zerubbabel, a descendant of David for we too are spiritual descendants of King David. He has called us to be governors of the spiritual realms. He has chosen us. He has anointed us. He has equipped us. He has empowered and enabled us by His grace. He will make us as a signet ring- a symbol of authority of the Lord. The Lord takes us as we are- our natural selves with all our strengths and weaknesses and polishes us over a long period to be a flawless stone that can be used as a seal. We are a precious ring on the finger of the Lord. We are a metaphor of the sovereignty, majesty, regality, dignity and power of God. What the Lord executes in this world requires the stamp of this ring. We are servants of the Most High. It makes us not an easy “push-over” but powerful people who act at the behest and on behalf of the Sovereign Lord.

The Lord has sealed us as His own. The Lord has sealed us with great peace, joy and power. We in turn need to give His seal of approval to the people and actions that please the Lord. The Lord will use us to bring forth the fruit of the spirit in abundance. He will bless the seed that we sow with our prayers, thoughts, words and actions.

A true leader needs by definition to be a servant of God. Or else he or she will be a servant only of self or of the enemy of humanity. Jesus said that all those who came before or after Him on their own authority are thieves and robbers or agents of the enemy. In contrast, we are servants of the Highest. We are called to be great leaders, not ordinary or mediocre leaders. We have to do our utmost to serve the Highest. Greatness is a legitimate goal or aspiration of every one of us. Jesus said, “ The more we serve, the greater we become.” The concept of chosenness needs to be understood. The Lord has chosen us and we have acquiesced willingly in His choice by virtue of our faith. We have chosen to be chosen. Faith affects our intentions, thoughts and habits. We become a warrior in the hand of the Lord. The intentions and thoughts are the shaft of the arrow and the habits or regular actions that we do every day of our lives in the name of the Lord like studying and applying the Word of God is the arrowhead of flint stone. Our prayers are the sling on which we cast the smooth stones of God’s promises into the forehead of the Goliaths or the challenges we face every day.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


UV 1538/10000 Fulfilment
Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
Haggai 1 v 13

Many people who claim or think themselves to be successful including the greatest teachers of self development and success are “ success-fooled.” They imagine that success is the ‘summom bonum’ or the greatest good. They become too full with themselves. They are suffering from the delusion of their success that they have earned great riches, built an empire or increased their following or influence, that they are in great demand to teach or train others. The Lord scoffs at them and says, “ So what? What happens when you perish? You are no longer able to enjoy the fruit of your labour.” At the end of the day, the so called successful will feel an aching sense of loneliness, emptiness and of not being fulfilled. The greatest goal in life is not seeking to be successful, rich or famous or powerful but to be blessed or to be fully filled by the Lord. The greatest blessing is the presence of the Lord with us. When the presence of the Lord with us is confirmed by the messenger of the Lord in the words, “ I am with you”, it is the greatest security, the greatest assurance of eternal life, of being blessed and being a blessing. It is the greatest guarantee of fulfilling our purpose and our potential. Emptiness and brokenness precedes such fulfilment.

The presence of the Lord gives us access to His immeasurable power and all sufficient grace. It is impossible to restrain the power of God from working in us and with us and for us. He Himself becomes our shield and our exceeding great reward. The Spirit of God dwells in us and He being a spirit of excellence, we become excellent in the sight of God. When the Lord is with us, He manifests Himself in being Jireh or provider of all our need- spiritual, emotional, material, financial, social, intellectual. He manifests Himself as Rohi or Shepherd- guiding us in our decision making. He manifests as Tsidkenu- our righteousness. Nisi- our banner of victory. El Shaddai- our source of might or power. Elohim- Sovereign God. Shalom- our source of peace, health, prosperity and joy. Our Redeemer- our source of salvation- situational and eternal, temporal and spiritual. Our vindicator- He will fight our battles. Our refuge. Our hiding place. He is all-in-One and One-in-all.

A place where God is – is a temple. Hence, we become living temples of the Lord. He dwells in us as Immanuel. He helps us in our daily tasks and struggles as Ebenezer. The Lord of the universe, of heaven and earth, the Creator and ruler humbles Himself so much to dwell with each of us who are but His creature. That thought should keep us always humble, faithful and in awe of His presence. The consciousness that He is with us should make us careful with our thoughts, words and actions such that nothing we think, speak or do hurts Him or the indwelling Spirit of God. That consciousness is a remedy for our feeling of loneliness or emptiness. That consciousness will lead us to continually pray, praise and thank the Lord. We fulfil our calling as priest, prophet and king. Our speech or the words we utter will no longer be mere words but the words anointed by the power of God.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Race of Grace

UV 1537/10000 The Race of Grace
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

Isaiah 66 v 9

God has given us the strength to bring forth our ideas, visions and plans to fruition. He will push as a woman pushes the baby in the womb. The process may be painful but it will end in the joy of fulfilment. A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul. A plan fulfilled delights the Lord. This uni-verse states that nothing that we commit to the Lord shall go in vain. It will bear fruit in due time and season.

The Lord will fulfil all His purpose in our lives. Even when nothing visible is happening, the Triune God is forming the foetus of our plans and visions in the womb of time and space. The head and heart are being formed, the limbs and internal organs are all being perfectly put together. These parts of our vision are being fed, sustained and caused to grow with the force of faith. The promises of God are like His seed that have been planted in our minds that we feed with faith, wisdom and diligent efforts. These promises cause us to be supple and strong.

It is said that the pain of delivery is equal to bone-crushing pain- the kind of pain Jesus suffered as nails were hammered into his limbs. Yet, the mother is happy to push the baby out of the bony cage of her body as she looks forward to the joy and pleasure of seeing the new creation. The “push” power is expanded as “ pray until something happens” or God acts. The difference between feat and defeat lies in the “de”- the determination to ever win and never give up. God will never make our lives barren or fruitless. He will never shut the womb. He will bless and never curse. He delights in seeing His children succeed. He partners and collaborates with them in making their plans succeed. The plan of man and the plan of God will coincide and thereby, manifest the love, power and wisdom of God and establish the glory of God as Creator and Redeemer. When man runs alone it is called a race- the rat race. When man runs with God goading, encouraging and comforting him it is called grace. The faithful among mankind opt out of the miseries of the rat race and join the great race- the race of grace.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 21, 2015

Access to the Qualitative Life

UV 1536/10000 Access to the Qualitative Life

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10 v 9

Jesus is the fate-altering miraculous door. Faith in His Name is the password to access all the the spiritual riches of heavenly places. He is the one who gives us access through the spirit to the Father. He is the Shepherd’s door through which we have entrance to the good sheepfold. He is also the door to gain access to good pastures and pastures in high places. The promises of God are the good pastures. The disciplines of study and meditation on the Word are the paths leading to these good pastures and still waters. Sheep need only food, water and rest. We obtain spiritual food, water and rest from the hands of the good Shepherd Jesus. In the Old Testament, Jehovah defined Himself in a general way as “I AM WHO I AM.” Under the new covenant, Jesus filled in the blanks by saying, “I AM THE DOOR.” He is the door leading to many doors in our lives. Just as Jesus said, “ In My Father’s House there are many mansions”, there are many doors in the kingdom of God though there is only one door to the Kingdom of God. A life of faith is exciting and full of possibilities as within the fold there are many unexplored doors that we need to open door by door. A door has a sense of mystery associated with it as one does not know what lies beyond the door but it is the sense of trust in the name, person and words of Jesus as evidenced in His acts that leads us to open each door. Jesus is the door to abundant life where abundance does not mean quantitative but the qualitative dimensions of life.

Once the sheep enter the good sheepfold, their security is assured or guaranteed by the shepherd. Jesus is our good fencing. We receive every blessing we need in abundance. What we ask for, we shall receive. What we seek, we shall find. When we knock, the door will be opened. Prayer is knocking on the door of Jesus. He watches over us day and night. He watches over our coming and going, our sitting and our lying down. He is the door to eternal life, the door of protection, the door to salvation, the door to solutions to life’s great problems and challenges, the door to provision, the door of truth, the door to eternal blessings, the door to peace and joy, the door to the abundant life, the door to wisdom and understanding the secrets of life.

A door has two aspects: it keeps out those who do not belong to the fold. It protects those who are inside. It opens to those who belong to the fold. The word “any man” implies that the door is open to anyone who believes or trusts the name of Jesus. The determining factor or critical factor is faith- it determines or decides who belong and who do not belong to the fold. Faith not only moves mountains. It changes the course of rivers. It opens fountains of joy and peace in our lives. The name or person in whom such faith is reposed should also be worthy of such faith. Jesus is the one door, the one name and person in whom such confidence can be placed.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Shield of David

UV 1535/10000 The Shield of David
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
I Samuel 17 v 45

It is interesting to note that Goliath despite his immense size and strength went against the young lad David armed with two weapons of offense – a spear and a sword and one defensive weapon- a shield. But David chose to advance towards the giant without a defensive weapon. It was evidence that he depended on the Lord God of Israel to be his strong defence. He depended on the testimonies and promises of God –of how Jehovah had delivered Israel from the mighty super power Egypt under Pharaoh. He depended on the promise of God that not a hair on his head would be allowed to fall without the knowledge and specific permission of God. His faith was his spiritual shield. His faith in the name of the Lord of hosts. His faith in the strength, faithfulness, omnipotence and love of God was the shield that he carried in his spirit. It was his internal shield that protected him from any and every external weapon.

David acted before he came within the lethal range of Goliath’s weapons. He aimed for a target that was not covered by the shield of Goliath. But Goliath was within the range of David’s only weapon- a sling and stones. All our enemies are always within the lethal zone of our weapons of warfare as they are not of this world but are spiritual. Prayer traverses the distance between us and Almighty God. Prayer is the sling that gives us access to the invincible power of the Lord. Our sword is of the spirit and it is the Word of God. Our tongue declaring the Name and Word of God as David declared is the sword unsheathed and ready for battle. Whenever and wherever we face any fear or threat, we should dip into the Shepherd’s bag- the Word just as David dipped his hand into the shepherd’s bag. The shepherd was transformed into a warrior in a few minutes of shared history. We need to share time and space with the Creator-Redeemer and we share His history. Our destiny will be transformed. David had come to the camp of Israel as an errand boy. He entered the battlefield as a challenger and left it as a hero and champion.

Today, the challenges and foes we face in the world in real time are not any less formidable and powerful than a Goliath. In fact, as they are invisible and unknown and attack from unknown quarters with unknown weapons, these forces are even more deadly or dangerous than Goliath. But our invisible weapons of offence and defence are even more powerful. The Names of God, the Commander in Chief of the armies of heaven are a tower of power. David did not even kneel in prayer before combat with Goliath. He merely declared the power of God and affirmed his faith in His saving power. He declared the utter defeat and death of Goliath. He declared the victory of God over Israel. He did not rely on his own prowess, bravery or strength though he utilised it. When we yield to God, He becomes our shield against every foe and every type of weapon.

Prateep V Philip

The Five Stones of David

UV 1534/10000 The Five Stones of David
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine
I Samuel 17 v 40

The enemy is formidable. His attack can be a frontal attack like that of the giant Goliath or a subtle and surreptitious attack of a pack of foxes. The battle is the Lord’s. He will give us victory. We only need to put our hand in the bag and draw five smooth stones. The bag is a metaphor for the Bible. The five smooth stones are a metaphor for the perfect promises of God that guarantee our victory. We too should choose five promise verses that will meet our need for provision, protection, promotion, peace and progress. The Lord had anointed the five fingers of David. He counselled him on the strategy as well as the weapon that he should use. David was not a novice with using the sling. He had defended his sheep in the pasture against predators like foxes and other wild beasts. David’s outstanding courage flowed from his faith in the God of Israel. He believed the testimony of his forefathers that Jehovah is invincible. He got his tongue and his thoughts to agree with his heart. He took quick decisions. David knew that Goliath was an easier target for his sling than these creatures for he was bigger. He aimed to hit Goliath with the very first stone lethally on his forehead. It left a dent on his thick skull. David swung the sling hard with all the strength at his command. The distance between David and certain death, defeat and humiliation was closed in by the walls of protection of the Name of God. The distance between the young David and certain success, victory and honour was quickly traversed by the speed of prayer and force of faith. Prayer is the sling on which we cast the arrows of God's promises from the sanctum sanctorum into the cerebrum cerebulum and the very heart of the challenge we are up against. Life becomes a great, thrilling and exciting adventure of discovering God's truths in the midst of our struggles and challenges.

We too need to aim accurately. We should choose a wise or smart strategy. We should act in the name of the Lord. We should use all the strength and resources at our command. We should have the confidence or faith that it is the Lord who gives us victory in all our battles. We should be familiar with the power and the use of specific promises from scripture. The brook from which David picked up the five smooth stones is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will bring to our minds the specific rhema verse we need to use in each situation. David did not shrink back in fear on hearing the threats and insults of Goliath. He advanced decreeing victory in the name of the Lord. The defeat and killing of Goliath jump started David’s career and marked him out as heir to the throne of Israel.

David had picked up five stones as he knew that Goliath had four brothers who might attack him once he slayed Goliath. Similarly, we need to be proactive and think ahead. We need to equip ourselves sufficiently. But ultimately we should know that victory comes from the Lord. We should never be overawed by the size of the enemy or the odds we face in our battles as long as the Lord is with us. He is with us as not just a good shepherd but a competent shepherd or leader. David after knocking down Goliath did use the latter’s sword to decapitate him. Similarly, our natural resources should be a secondary source of strength, a back up and supplement to our primary source of strength- our faith in the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dealing With the Foxes of Deceit and Hypocrisy

UV 1533/10000 Dealing With the Foxes of Deceit and Hypocrisy
An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
Proverbs 11 v 9
Machiavelli wrote in his book, “The Prince” about the worldly model of leadership: that the ruler or the ruling elite should always have double standards. They should speak one thing for public consumption and do quite another thing in private, that it is alright for them to lie, steal or kill as long as they are not caught. Promises in public life are made to win public support and not to be kept. In fact, Machiavelli exhorted the prince or leader to emulate the fox in terms of cunning and ruthlessness. In contrast, the Lord expects us to be an “Israelite” like Nathanael of whom Jesus discerned “ in whom there is no guile.” He hates the sin of deceit, duplicity and hypocrisy more than anything else. He could forgive immorality and prostitution but He had the harshest words for the Pharisees, the priestly class whose words showed they were very close to God but whose hearts were far away. The Lord knows our heart from afar. He knows our thoughts and our desires. He knows our hidden motives behind every word and action. His knowledge of us is so complete that we can hide nothing from His searching eye.

The earlier we get rid of the foxes of deceit and hypocrisy, the better it is. The Lord strips us of all our pretensions to righteousness even as He predicted despite Peter’s protests of love that he would deny him thrice in just a few hours. We should not attempt to be popular or men pleasers or to flatter those who are in a position to either harm us or reward us. Our willingness to pay a price for speaking what we know and believe to be the truth is a hallmark of integrity. We take a stand on the basis of the Word knowing that His Word has justified us and declared us just by grace. Like Daniel and his three companions, we are ready to withstand an ordeal by fire but will not forsake our faith or deny the Lord. Our personal knowledge and faith in the Redeemer will deliver us in every trial.

There should be an alignment of our beliefs, our knowledge of the Word, our thoughts, desires, words and actions. The word “ just” or “justify” implies to be straight. We ought to be straight and sincere in our faith and in the expression of our love. People are concerned with our external aspects while the Lord is focussing on our hearts. If the root or the heart is wicked or insincere, the fruit too will be such. If the heart is transformed by the love of Jesus, all the issues or what streams out of our hearts will turn into rivers of life giving water. If it is filled with love for this world, the love of money, the love of power and position, the love of self, the love of pleasure, then it will turn our lives into cesspools of stagnation, misery and lifelessness. The word “misery” comes from miser or one who loves money which is synonymous with love of this world.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Windows and Dealing With the Foxes of Shame and Confusion

UV 1532/10000 Windows and Dealing With the Foxes of Shame and Confusion
Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
Isaiah 54 v 4
Two great foxes of human nature are shame or guilt and the consequent confusion. Any such moral or spiritual phenomena are foxes as we do not know how to deal with it in the natural. Guilt or shame is the enemy’s way of blackmail. They grow subtly but powerfully and are so nimble and fast that it is almost impossible to catch or trap these foxes. God has the last word on dealing with the foxes of human nature. In a macabre case just being reported , a mining baron has taken several mentally retarded people to the mining field and sacrificed them to ensure his success in business. The foxes of guilt and confusion had led that businessman into the greatest shame of his life, from which he and his associates would never escape. God’s Word as both law and promise, as positive model to emulate and negative model to avoid gives us the supernatural Samson-like power to trap, catch and destroy these foxes by tying them tail to tail and setting them on fire, sending them howling into the fires of perdition, never to taunt or agonize us anymore.

His Word is meant for internal consumption such that it works like medicine from deep inside us and not to be applied superficially and externally. The foxes of human nature like shame or guilt and confusion are running around inside our minds, weakening us form inside, destroying our clarity of vision and robbing us of the joy of salvation and the power to be victorious. The enemy gets his power by accusing us, often rightly and thereby putting us to shame. Guilt is said to be the heaviest burden on our minds and hearts. But Jesus has washed us clean of all guilt, past, present and future. He has removed the cause of our shame by His act of propitiation that gives us the absolute right of absolution. We are far removed from the presence and penalty of sin though as long as we live on this earth, we are vulnerable to the power of sin. But the Word gives us the effective remedy, the torch of fire to set aflame the tails of the foxes of shame and guilt: we just need to repent, confess and seek the grace of God and deepen our resolve not to repeat the same acts that grieve God and bring shame to us. Though our sins be as scarlet, the Lord will turn it white as snow. Though they be as numerous as the hair on our head, He will cast it to the bottom of the sea. Though they be humungous and glaring, He will take it as far as the east is from the west.

Every day at the foot of the cross of Calvary is our Gilgal moment when our present reproach is tossed away along with our past guilt and shame. When God has declared us sinless and perfect in His Son Jesus, who is the enemy to try to shame and confound us? We are free to be fruitful and victorious in many fields. We are no longer sinners but winners in life. There is no one or nothing that can condemn us any longer. The fear of shame will no longer weaken us or confuse us. We are no longer haunted by the negative memories of our past. We are no longer weak, vulnerable or sorrowful like a widow for the windows to heaven and the windows of heaven are open to us all the time. The windows to heaven enable us to pray and confess and seek constant cleansing. The windows of heaven gives us access to the blessings of the Almighty.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wisdom to Deal With the Foxes of Simplicity and Gullibility

UV 1531/10000 Wisdom to Deal with the Foxes of Simplicity and Gullibility
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Proverbs 1 v 32
Simplicity of mind and heart along with gullibility are two foxes that afflict a whole lot of people. Simplicity of lifestyle is a virtue but not simplicity of mind. It makes us an easy prey to the wicked and scheming. We will tend to believe every story we hear. Gullibility leads to us getting fooled and turning bitter with everyone. This is the reason Jesus said, “ Be shrewd as the serpent but gentle as the dove.” A good number of people in this world devote their entire lives to misleading others or leading them down a garden path with a view to getting access to their resources. The Lord therefore exhorts us to be wise and cautious. There are a hell of a lot of foxes of great cunning and guile as well as wolves in sheep skin roaming around looking for simple and gullible people to devour. A lot of faithful people mistake faith for gullibility. They believe everyone who comes with the name of God. We should develop the capacity to look through the surface, to discern below the level of the superficial. The Lord wants us to be able people, not gullible people.
In my current assignment, I have come across hundreds of people who placed their faith in some “get rich quick” or “get blessed quick” schemes and lost their money and considerable peace of mind for years together. Everything of some quality takes time. Hence, the moment someone proposes a magic wand solution, we should be wary and put ourselves on guard. The Word warns us against the “prosperity of fools.” Such prosperity is a bubble of delusion waiting to burst. Scripture says clearly, “ Test everything” including prophecies to see if these are really from God. Another way of safeguarding ourselves is to consult many advicers who have both knowledge and experience as scripture says that “there is safety in a multitude of advicers.”
We should also be careful not in confiding all our secrets or to unburden our hearts with all and sundry. We need not tell everything to everybody. When Nehemiah went to survey the ruined walls of Jerusalem, he at first went alone. He did not tell anyone what he had on his heart. Similarly, we must adopt this principle of “ need to know”. Does the person we are currently speaking with need to know a particular information or not? We need to share appropriately with the apt persons at the apt time. If there is one person who we can tell everything, He is God. He has promised that if we lack wisdom, we should ask and He will give liberally. It is not a one time filling with wisdom but a daily seeking of the Lord’s wisdom. Like faith, there is a generic wisdom that flows from the fear of the Lord and there is a specific type of wisdom suited for different situations in our lives. Solomon was given wisdom in judgement and decision making to solve disputes between his subjects wisely. David was given wisdom in combat and warfare and so he chose to fight Goliath not with a heavy sword and shield but with a sling and stones. Moses was given the wisdom to delegate based on the advice of Jethro, his father-in-law. The widow in Jesus’s parable who offered her only coin to God was given the wisdom of offering her all to God and so be blessed. We need wisdom with our finances. We need wisdom with our family and every relationship.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bull Working Power-Dealing with The Foxes of Worries and Anxiety

UV 1530/10000 Bull Working Power
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Matthew 6 v 27

We need to be prayer warriors and not worriers. Worry about our present problems and difficulties, both real and imagined, self inflicted and cast on us by our circumstances, robs us of the joy of living, the motivation, the hope we need to sustain us. We need to get rid of both these foxes: worry and anxiety by turning all our worry moments into prayer moments. If you take the first letter of worry and and add it to the first and third letters in anxiety, we get the word “ wax”. When we pray, we enter the presence of the Lord God, the King of the universe, the Saviour of our souls. Worries and anxieties will melt like wax in His presence. His power will dispel and dissolve the cause or source of our worries and anxieties. Every time we enter the presence, we will emerge taller, stronger and more victorious against the present and future challenges.
In the combat with these two foxes, worry and anxiety, we need to cling to the promises of God and let go of the worries. As Jesus said, “ Do not worry about what you shall eat or how you shall clothe yourselves? Your Father in heaven knows what you need and will feed you.” For every problem we face, God has given us a solution in the form of a promise. We rob worries and anxieties of their power by reposing faith and confidence in these specific promises. Worries detract from our worth, our work and our worship. It is said to be worship offered to the wrong god. It robs us of our joy, peace, opportunities, gifts, talents and potential. These two foxes keep biting off chunks of our peace and joy, leaving us bleeding and bruised. We should not attempt to tame them or play games with them but tie them tail to tail like Samson did and send them where they belong- the fires of destruction.
By thinking positively we can instead add to our emotional, spiritual and intellectual stature. By praying positively we can add to our stature, blessings, peace and joy. Worries now become opportunities for prayer, praise, thanksgiving, worship, blessing and testimony. The more the worry, the merrier we can become. By meditating on the promises of God, we can add to our stature, status, salvation and stamina. The capacity to worry is turned into an opportunity to exercise and build our faith muscles. Jesus told us that we are carrying unnecessary loads on our minds and hearts. He stands next to us as a bull in the yoke ready to pull the plough of life in any field. He is equally yoked with us as He increases our strength from within. He gives us the power of a bull of Bashan to pull the yoke of life and of eternal life with Him. Whatever is too heavy or not necessary for us, He asks us to cast it at His feet. It will be a footstool of victory for Him.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dealing With the Fear Foxes

UV 1529/10000 Dealing with The Fear-Foxes
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34 v 4
Fears are a mixture of overpowering negative thoughts and emotions that affects everyone all the time. Fears paralayse our minds and weakens us considerably. The phrase “fear not” occurs 365 times in scripture which implies that fears attack us like fierce foxes almost every day of the year. When certain types of fear prey on our minds continually, they become a form of mental disease called phobia, paranoia or neuroses. Two types of fear that affect everyone are the fear of premature death and the fear of falling ill. The firebrand torches that can be used to set fire to the tails of these two foxes is the promise in Psalm 91: “ As you have set your love upon my Name, I will satisfy you with long life and after that show you eternity” and the affirmation of healing in Isaiah 53, “ By your stripes I am healed.”
In order to face the fear-foxes, we need to seek the Lord, His strength and grace in His word. When we confess our faith in the promises of the Lord, the fear-foxes will turn tail and flee from us.
Our faith will act as a shield against all the fear foxes that snap at us. There are other types of fear that afflict us like the fear of the future, the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure and the fear of success. The spirit of fear comes from the enemy of our souls as the Lord has stated in His word that “ I have given you not a spirit of fear but of love, power and self control.” Indeed, this divine prescription of love, power and self control is the antidote to fear. We need to always keep some firebrands of God’s promises lit around us all the time to keep these foxes away. The twin foxes of fear of failure and success can be effectively chased away by affirming our faith constantly in the promise, “ Blessed is the one who meditates on His Word day and night for he succeeds in all that he does.” It does not literally mean that we succeed in all things. Certainly, we might fail in some of the things we attempt but we will not be discouraged or feel defeated. We will learn some valuable lesson the Lord wants to teach us through that failure. Failure like death and disease loses its sting to hurt us. We are not immune to fears but we overcome our every fear with faith. Apart from the generic faith in God as our Father and Jesus as our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Counsellor, we have different types of specific faith- longevity faith, productivity faith, success faith, health faith, family faith, future faith, legacy faith, sufficiency faith, financial faith, marriage faith, work or career faith, endurance faith, relationship faith, leadership faith.. Each type of faith is a counter and a foil to every type of fear conceivable.

The uni-verse above promises to deliver us from all our fears. Our faith in the promises of the Lord releases the power and grace of God in our lives such that no fear can take hold of us. The presence of the Lord with us sets us free from all fears. As the psalmist wrote, “ Though I walk through the valley of death, I shall not fear for the Shepherd’s rod and staff, they comfort me.” Whatever threat or danger we face in life, the Lord is ahead of us. He sends His angels to encamp around us. Our sense of security is absolute as it is rooted in our relationship with the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dealing with the Foxes of Negligence and Lethargy

UV 1528/10000 Dealing With the Foxes of Negligence and Lethargy
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Proverbs 10 v 4

Negligence and lethargy are twin foxes that keep us from achieving our goals. The Lord expects us to be diligent and meticulous. He rewards diligence, faith and patience. It is by diligent study of scripture that we uncover the promises, precepts and commands of God that are the source of blessing. It is by faith and patience that we inherit the blessings of the Lord. Faith is never a full grown plant. It is always a seed. It requires patient nurturing and watering over a period of time to grow and bloom. It requires a fencing as the tender plant of faith grows into a mature tree. Lethargy on the other hand will let the garden of our life be overcome by the weeds of our weaknesses and temptations.

Scripture says that the one who is negligent is brother to the one who destroys. We need to be careful or diligent with our thoughts, words and our plans. Like the ant we need to think ahead about the winter or a period of shortage or famine. Like the ant we need to be self-driven or motivated and not wait to be driven with a whip like a slave. The word “gi-ant” implies that by gradual increments we too can develop gigantic power that we need to combat the challenges of life. Instead of being daunted by the size of the mountain of a problem we face, we should know that we can over time break down that mountain grain by grain of sand. Instead of focusing on the problem and making it look even bigger, we ought to re-focus on the promise of God. It will lead us to a practical solution if not a miraculous resolution.

Only when we do all that we can do with all the power and resources at our command, it is only then that the Lord joins us in our act. Faith is not just doing due diligence or doing what we need to do but going the extra mile. When we diligently use our talents, abilities and opportunities and tap our network, He multiplies our resources and our results. The Lord does not make things easy but He makes it possible- even what seems unlikely, difficult or impossible. But we need to deal with the foxes of unbelief in ourselves, in others, in outcomes and the Lord that manifests as the spirit of sloth, sluggishness, lethargy, negligence or indolence. He has made our sweat glands so that we sweat from a million pores. But He has not made our hearts for bleeding or our minds to become anxious, worried, overwhelmed or depressed. We need to do everything that lies with us and even more. The Lord responds when we show ourselves responsible. It is not just about being busy all the time. It is about doing our best, putting our heart and soul into everything we attempt. It is about being passionate about our work and calling. It is about doing things excellently, creatively and effectively. It is about disciplining ourselves and being determined. When we do everything we do as if we are doing it for the Lord, then the foxes of lethargy and negligence would take to their heels, never attempting to visit us again.

Prateep V Philip

Dealing With the Foxes of Envy and Jealousy

UV 1527/10000 Dealing With the Foxes of Envy and Jealousy
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth

James 3 v 14

Someone said, “ Jealousy and envy are a disease that has no medicine.” Scripture says that envy rots the bones. It grows on one like a kind of madness. It is born from selfish ambition and leads to strife and all types of machinations and evils. Jealousy is hating someone for some quality or ability or achievement that one does not have while envy is hating someone for a possession that one does not have. The root of even sibling rivalry is jealousy. Jacob and Rachel were jealous of Esau’s right and blessing as the first born. It led to Rachel instigating Jacob to steal Esau’s blessing by disguising himself as Esau and causing Isaac to bless him as the first born. People who are subjected to envy and jealousy would not hesitate to use any means to bring down those who are the object of their envy.

Joseph was envied by his brothers for the attention and affection that he received from their father Jacob. It led to them plotting to first taking his life and then under some persuasion selling him into slavery. But what his brothers thought for evil God turned into good. Even Aaron and Miriam were envious of Moses’ stature as leader of Israel. Jealousy and envy leads to strife and conflict in relationships. St James describes envy and jealousy as earthly, sensual and devilish. It gives birth to confusion and every evil work. Cain slew his brother Abel out of jealousy. What began as envy ended in the first murder in history. God as our heavenly Father might have given us a multi-coloured coat or many talents or blessings as a gift and this would cause people to envy and plot against us.

We ourselves should be wary of giving room in our hearts for envy and jealousy. We need to catch these two little foxes, tie them tail to tail and set them on fire and squealing into eternity. It is the Lord’s prerogative to decide to give different individuals various gifts or blessings. We should not resent the blessings or gifts of another person. Instead we should be thankful and contented for what we have got and try to do our best with our gifts. When we compare ourselves with others and their lot, it could lead to envy and jealousy. Boasting or showing off also engenders envy and jealousy. The spirit of envy and jealousy led both Haman and Hitler in completely different periods of history to try to destroy the Jews. It was a similar spirit that took control of Jezebel as she sought to destroy the prophet Elijah. King Saul attempted to kill David many times as he was overcome by envy and jealousy against David for his skills, his courage, his popularity and his exploits. The Pharisees were moved with jealousy and envy at the works and words of Jesus such that they plotted to have Him crucified. All these biblical as well as examples from our own lives prove that envy and jealousy should be destroyed before they destroy us.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dealing with The Twin Foxes -Unforgiveness and Bitterness

UV 1526/10000 Dealing with The Twin Foxes: Unforgiveness and Bitterness

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Hebrews 12 v 15

One of the important elements of the Lord’s prayer that Jesus taught us as a model to imitate not just in prayer but in our lives is “ Forgive me even as I forgive others.” We are only forgiven to the extent we forgive others. We need to forgive others to the extent God forgave us in Jesus His Son. Every human being errs against others and has others erring against him or her. Hence, forgiveness is a daily necessity, a way of life. But unforgiveness and bitterness are the twin foxes that creep on young believers early in their walk with God. The unforgiveness and bitterness develops against fellow believers as well as members of our own families, both for real, imagined or exaggerated wrongs done to us. The greater our proximity, intimacy, trust and love for the person or persons who wronged us, the greater is the extent of bitterness and the inability to forgive. The unforgiveness and consequent bitterness becomes a wild vine within us that brings forth bitter fruit. It gives rise to anger, disease, stress, fruitlessness, curses, depression and hatred. It will prove that we have received the grace of God in vain.

When we harbour bitterness and unforgiveness, we betray or fail the grace of the Lord who did everything possible that we bear good fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Unforgiveness and bitterness are two wily foxes that will run amuck and destroy the fruit of the vineyard the Lord has planted in our lives. We need to tie their two tails together and set them on fire and send them scurrying into enemy territory, never to return to our fields or any part of our lives. Aaron and Miriam harboured some bitterness against their own brother Moses and consequently were afflicted with leprosy. They were delivered only when Moses interceded on their behalf with the Lord. The person who led me to a personal relationship with Jesus was for a couple of years bitter with his mentors for certain misunderstanding that had developed during the time he worked in a startup firm of one of them. I have come across another young man who was threatened that he would be thrown out physically from the office by someone he looked up to for guidance as he dared to point out some of his faults. Such hurts are very painful and the best way to overcome it is to seek more of the Lord’s grace to forgive and move on.

We need to examine ourselves diligently and regularly to detect any activity or skirmishes by the two foxes of unforgiveness and bitterness. We need to erect the fence of prayer and the Word around our hearts and minds so that they do not gain any foothold in our lives. Praying for the forgiveness and blessing of those who hurt us is perhaps the best way to get rid of our own pain and hurt. It is bound to be sweeter than revenge. The stealthiness with which unforgiveness and bitterness creep on us is comparable with the steady growth of the roots that are under ground and not visible. The self examination therefore needs to be done not with our human intellect or senses but with the help of the Holy Spirit. We need to seek His help as David did in discovering any hidden error, sin or failing. Unless it is identified and uprooted, it would be like the yeast that will cause our whole lives to rise up with resentment and negative thoughts, words, emotions, actions and reactions.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dealing With the Foxes of Covetousness and Love of Money

UV 1525/10000 Dealing with the Twin Foxes of Covetousness and the Love of Money
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows
I Timothy 6 v 10
Back in school I wrote a short essay on money and started with “ Money is the protoplasm of life”. As scripture says, not money but the love of money that is the root of all evil. The love of money is the worship of Mammon- the god of money. It is sacrificing all values at the altar of Mammon. It is about giving priority to money over the Bread of Life- Jesus and the Word of God. It is a belief that if we get enough money all our problems and sorrows would be solved and assuaged. It is living by sight and not by faith- finding confidence to face life on the basis of how much bank balance remains. The love of money is the spirit of covetousness that God forbade in the ten commandments. It is the love of money that led to the sin of Balaam. He disobeyed God to act at the behest of the king to curse Israel. The uni-verse says that the love of money will lead us into many errors in our lives and we will stray from the path of faith or a right relationship with the Lord. The love of money also leads us into folly, wrong decisions and we end up inviting many sorrows and other issues into our lives.

It is said that money is a good servant but a bad master. It is to be used as a tool to meet our need and to help others in their need. When we give to the needy, we are lending to the Lord. When we give liberally and regularly from what God has given us, we break the hold of covetousness or love of money in our lives. The desire for bribes is driven not by need but by greed. Gehazi ran after Naaman, the general who was healed of leprosy, in order to collect a reward of money. The result was that Elisha declared that the leprosy of Naaman would afflict his servant Gehazi. Money gained through hard work, talent or enterprise is not condemned. It is condemned as “filthy lucre” when the means to obtain it are not legitimate. We should not set our heart on wealth. Wealth would then become an idol in our hearts and lead us astray and into other evils, away from the love of God.

Ananias and Saphira, the couple who donated the money that they got by selling their own house, kept back a portion and lied about it. This error led to their falling dead soon after. Covetousness or the desire to possess things that others possess leads to the love of money as money is seen as something that can obtain anything that one desires. In view of all these negative models as well as the positive models of Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek, the king of Salem, of Jacob promising a tithe to Jehovah, we should tie the tails of covetousness and the love of money and set them on fire. Scripture exhorts us to flee from the love of money and covetousness and pursue with equal or greater vigour – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Secret to Holistic Riches

UV 1524/10000 The Secret to Holistic Riches

Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

2 Chronicles 1 v 12

God’s blessings are holistic. He does not divide it into spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional. These strands are all intertwined- we cannot separate one from the other. Yes, we should not set our hearts on our earthly riches or we would like Lot’s wife turn back to it disregarding God’s call and get rooted to this earth. Setting our hearts on something implies giving priority to it. Solomon as a young person gave priority in his life to gaining a heart of wisdom. Hence, to wisdom the Lord added knowledge, riches, wealth and honour. It is said that the only true riches is who or what one is. When we set our love upon the name of God, upon Jesus, He will satisfy us with long life and after a long life, He will show us the riches and beauty of eternity – this is what is promised in the last verse of Psalm 91. If we set our hearts as much of the contemporary world does on the accumulation of monetary riches thinking it is the short cut to instant and constant happiness of every kind, the Lord might well allow us to get that rich but He would send poverty to our souls, an emptiness to our inner being. It will be a kind of Pyrrhic victory or vain conquest.

Wisdom is far more valuable than knowledge. It is the application of knowledge to real life issues. Early in life as well as early each day, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom to live that our lives and that day, giving priority to the Lord and His rule in our lives. Moses gave priority in his life and leadership to seek the presence of the Lord over His blessings. The presence of the Lord with Moses and Israel distinguished them from the rest of mankind. Moses knew that if the Lord’s presence left him and Israel, the blessings too would depart from them. The Lord is not partial to anyone but if He is present with us, He will mark His presence with us by differentiating us from the rest of mankind.

While blessings are holistic and inclusive of all types- material, monetary, filial, intellectual and emotional- all spiritual riches of heavenly places of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, humility and self control are promised us in Jesus Christ. When we make our homes and workplaces full of such spiritual fruit and emotional riches, these too become heavenly places. We must seek first His kingdom and His righteousness in all our relationships and all the other things that we need like material, monetary, intellectual, social and emotional riches will be added to our lives. How do we seek His kingdom and His righteousness: we should study diligently the Word, convert the Word into practical principles and then turn the principles into specific actions and the actions into lifelong habits. When we do this the Lord sees our faithfulness and diligence and blesses us abundantly. For example, the Word says that we should praise the Lord continually and we would be blessed. I turned that into a principle that I need to open what I call a Praisebook account. I started listing ten things I am thankful for – some of the items in that list I thanked and praised in anticipation. Now a month later I find many of those prayers were granted. We need to , in a manner of speaking, disguise our requests as thanksgiving, our prayers as praise.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dealing with the Twin Foxes: Pride and Arrogance

UV 1523/10000 Dealing with the Twin Foxes : Pride and Arrogance

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverb 8 v 13

Pride is the original sin that caused even the angels to fall. It is accompanied by the spirit of arrogance. These twin foxes creep subtly into almost anyone’s life. We might not even realize that we have become proud or conceited or egoistic. Samson’s pride about his great strength made him think that he was invincible. He let down his guard and even when to the extent of literally sleeping with the enemy. It led to his eventual humiliation and destruction at the hands of the Philistines. We need to catch the foxes of pride and arrogance, tie them tail to tail and set the bushy tails on fire. The fear of the Lord makes us wise through cultivating the spirit of humility. Scripture says that the Lord hates all forms of pride. He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. If God resists us, we can never overcome Him. If He yields grace to us, we can never be overcome.

When the chosen ones of God are proud, the Lord uses a process of attrition to break down their pride. Moses initially was proud of his upbringing in Pharaoh’s household as a prince of Egypt. But after he killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life, he spent years in the wilderness, looking after Jethro’s sheep. His pride was broken. Thereafter, God certified him to be the humblest of all men. We can be an useful vessel for the Lord only when we are broken and empty before Him. He will then fill us with His grace, wisdom and power. He will enable us to do that which He intended us to do. The Lord respects the lowly and meek and lifts them up in due time. He humbles the proud as He did with Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.

Our words reflect our inner attitudes. We should not boast of our own achievements or qualities but only speak of what the Lord has done in our lives. Pride and arrogance can afflict even spiritual people. It will manifest as a kind of self righteousness or a “holier than thou” attitude. St Paul dealt with it by openly declaring himself to be the worst of sinners even though he was one of the greatest of apostles. We preserve ourselves from great evil by humbling ourselves before the Lord every single day. We need to clothe ourselves with humility by saying that we are nothing but dust but for the grace of the Lord. Humility however does not mean a false sense of modesty where outwardly we profess to be humble but inwardly we entertain thoughts that we are truly great or worthy. We need to set fire to the roots of pride and arrogance or any trace of it in our lives. We manifest our humility by subjecting or submitting to others and regarding others better than us in many ways.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dealing with The Twin Foxes of Lust and Impurity

UV 1522/10000 Dealing With the Twin Foxes of Lust and Impurity
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5 v 28
Lust is such a sly fox that it develops in subtle ways. Jesus, the Master Psychologist that He is, stated that even a look with lust at a woman or man amounts to adultery. The very thought is the sin. No wonder in law it is not the actual act per se but the thought, the guilty conscience or “mens rea” that is sought to be proven and punished. The psalmist said that he stored God’s word in his heart that he may not look at a woman with lust. Yet David, the foremost of the psalm writers fell to the sin of lust and committed adultery with Bathsheba. In a moment of weakness, he fell to a sin for which he would be remembered forever and for which he paid sorely in the course of his life.
Samson though he could catch 300 little foxes and set their tails on fire, could not deal with the fox of lust. From his early days, he never disciplined his physical desires. We read in scripture of how he visited a prostitute. His enemies the Philistines decided that they could exploit this one weakness of Samson to destroy him. They set the wily but beautiful Delilah on him to reveal the secret of his great and invincible strength. Three times he told Delilah fibs about the source of his strength and the fourth time, he revealed the truth. The result was that while he slept, his seven locks of hair were shaved off. His eyes that were the cause of his lust were cruelly gouged out by the enemies. This is the reason Jesus said, “ If your eyes causes you to sin and lust, it is better that they are gouged out.” It implies that if we allow lust to overcome us, it is as good as having our eyes gouged out. It is as painful and blinding. We need to deal with lust ruthlessly and have it burnt down to its roots. Feeding the lust with pornography is like playing with fire. It will destroy us, our marriages, our minds and our future. Jesus said that the eyes are the windows of the body and if we are used to see darkness through these windows, our whole being- spirit, mind and body- will be full of darkness.

Joseph was the one who was most successful in setting the tail of the fox of lust on fire. When Potiphar’s wife lusted for him and attempted to persuade him to sleep with her, he decided in his heart not to betray his master. He literally fled from the scene of lust, leaving his garment in the hand of Potiphar’s wife that she falsely presented as evidence of a sexual assault by him. James draws the metaphor of a baby being formed when he writes that “sin when it is conceived, bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” It implies that the first thought of lust brings forth the baby of sin with all its limbs and trunk and when that baby is fed, it grows, matures and becomes death to the one who is nourishing lust in his heart and mind. Lust and impurity are the two related foxes we should tie tail to tail and set on fire and drive into the enemy territory so that they try not to enter our lives no more.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dealing with The Twin Little Foxes: Anger and Irritability

UV 1521/10000 Dealing with the Twin Little Foxes: Anger and Irritability
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Song of Solomon 2 v 15

Samson caught 300 foxes and tied them tail to tail, set the bushy tails on fire and sent them into the enemy territory. This is what we need to do: like Samson we should catch each of these little foxes that ruin our lives, our peace, our health, our relationships, our fruit of the spirit, our productivity, testimony and our legacy. Like foxes, they are cunning and creep into our nature and our lives stealthily and keep biting off juicy parts of our lives. Identifying these sly ones and catching them are certainly a big challenge. But once caught we should not treat them like pets but ruthlessly destroy them before they destroy our fruitfulness. Samson caught them in pairs as most of them are twin vices or closely related to each other. The Word of God is the fire torch that can set the foxes’ tails on fire and destroy them.
The first of the foxes we need to catch is anger. Scripture says that we should not let the sun go down on our anger. Anger first starts as a real or imagined resentment for some reason against another person. It could be against someone close to us like our spouse or our own parents or siblings. Uncontrolled anger has the potential of destroying our relationships and thereby, our peace and joy. It slowly builds up inside us and then shoots forth like the hot lava of a volcano from deep inside. We need to identify the sources of anger inside us that often dates back to our childhood. Once we identify the cause of our resentment and anger, we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us to deal with the roots of anger and rage inside us. The spirit that the Lord has given us is one of love, peace and self control. The enemy has sown the weeds of anger inside of us. We need to uproot it and set it on fire.
Scripture says that we should love what is good and hate what is evil. We should cleave or cling to the former and leave or flee from the latter. We must first choose to love peace and joy and to let go of anger or rage. We need to love peace or calmness more and more passionately and hate the opposite – anger or wrath. The source of calmness in our nature should be affirmed. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We need to feed this seed, water it, nourish it and allow it to grow even as we starve the anger roots in us. Our minds consisting of our thoughts, emotions and will need to be consistently put on the track: be calm, beat anger. These are binary commands we give to ourselves even as we ask the Lord to help us overcome anger and be calm and peaceful. Anger’ s twin fox is the feeling of irritability based on the assumption that one is always right and the other person or persons are wrong. We need to tie this fox’s tail to the anger fox and send them scurrying with burning tails to destroy each other.

Prateep V Philip

Great Expectations Fulfilled

UV 1520/10,000 Great Expectations Fulfilled
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29 v 11

We should not entertain ordinary expectations for our lives. Faith is about sustaining great expectations. In this uni-verse, the Lord assures us that He has plans not to harm us but to prosper us. Sure, the enemy of our souls has plans to harm us as Jesus said, “He is a roaring lion, a killer, a robber, a thief and destroyer.” He would love to destroy our reputations or our testimonies if not our lives. He is the archetypal Haman who was out to destroy Mordecai and the Jewish race. But Jesus is our Mordecai. He has thoughts towards us of Shalom or wholesome peace and prosperity with no sorrow added. Jesus is the all conquering hero who conquered death and sin itself. He is competent to fulfil His hope and promises to us.

Consciousness happens when we are thinking some thoughts and we are conscious we are thinking those thoughts. Faith happens when we are conscious we are thinking some thoughts and we are also conscious God is thinking those thoughts. We should visualise an expected end for ourselves in all areas of our lives and submit it under the covenant protection of the Lord. He being the Lord Amen will bring it to pass in His time and in His way. The will and counsel of the Lord will prevail for all generations. The Psalmist says that many are the wonderful ways and thoughts of the Lord toward us- they are more numerous than can be recalled or declared. He knows the end from the beginning. If He has spoken it He will bring it to pass. If He has purposed it or promised it, He will do it. His promises are like wheat laden sheaves collected on the threshing floor. We only need to claim it in faith and the grain will be separated to nourish our faith and prosper our lives. He will seek out His sheep and feed them. He will appoint pastors to feed them and care for them. The Lord shall deliver us from the hunter’s deadly hands. He will foil his plans to prey on us or to trap us.
As an application, I wrote down my expectations of the Lord over the rest of my life. We need to believe that He honours our expectations. We need to believe that He is more than capable of fulfilling our expectations. But we also need to know that His will is sovereign and trust Him to do what is wise and best for us and that He will do it in due time and not either too early or late. We need to hope and hold onto our expectations even if we do not see or experience it for a very long while.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 4, 2015

Vessels of Mercy

UV 1519/10000 Vessels of Mercy
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jeremiah 18 v 4

People who say that evolution is true and creation a myth are virtually saying that if you give it enough time, a pot can make itself. It can collect the required clay, shape itself and then light a fire to bake the clay. It is as good as if the pot has become so conceited, it thinks it is the potter. But the Lord has left enough evidence of His handiwork in our bodies for our bodies do not contain any element or compound except what is there in the earth. We are constituted from the earth as a cocktail of chemicals but God breathed His spirit and His life into the human. He endowed us with His qualities and His intelligence as well as creativity. Now we could form things for ourselves like houses, cities, tools and so on. But what we formed for ourselves is marred. Today, we have a lie detector but no “truth detector”. Our default mode was meant to speak the truth and that is why the body language and parameters betray us when lies are spoken. Now the default mode is marred. We have feet of clay though the Lord has given us faith, courage and confidence to soar on wings of the spirit that He breathed into us.

After our lives are marred, we cannot re-make ourselves. It is only the Lord who can redeem us. Many people think they can get salvation from their marred images and past by transformation through different methods and ways. But the Lord alone can re-make us. We need to receive salvation before we can experience transformation. We can either be marred vessels reserved for the wrath of the Lord and marked for destruction or we can be vessels of mercy to make known the riches of His glory and grace and prepared for a glorious purpose.

We cannot question the Potter for making us. We cannot blame Him for marring our lives in different ways. We can only trust Him to re-make us, reshape, mould and perfect us for His use and glory. We are not use and throw pots but “use and glow” pots. Every aspect of our lives should light up with the glory of the Lord. We are being shaped till the last day and even the last breath of our lives. We need to be flexible and not harden our hearts or minds so that we keep learning, changing, growing and developing. We cannot think that the Potter has no hands or that His hands are too short to reach and shape our lives. Our weaknesses and vulnerabilities are like leaks in the pot. The Lord will cement the leaks with His grace. We need to stop struggling with the Potter to have our own way. We can trust to Him to do that which seems good to Him in and with our lives. We were once marred vessels but now we are vessels of mercy being formed on the potter’s wheel of space and time. Each day is one turn of that wheel.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chosen Vessels for Honour

UV 1518/10,000 Chosen Vessels for Honour

The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

Deuteronomy 7 v 7

The Lord did not choose us on account of our greatness, our accomplishments, our power, our talents, abilities or our character. We were the most insignificant of people. We were so few and so small in number, stature, status and strength. Yet the Lord set His love on us. He chose us by His grace and His grace alone. His favour rested on us as He can show compassion on whom He choses and mercy to those He decides. He first chose us to receive mercy and grace by propitiation with the blood of the divine Lamb- Jesus. He thereby first demonstrated His great love for us for He paid for us with a price so high. It is only thereafter that we set our love upon our Saviour’s name. He rewarded us with many blessings, longevity and eternal life.

God Himself set an example for all leaders that the leader ought to first take the step to demonstrate his love. Leadership is more an exercise of love than of power. We extend grace and mercy to people around us not because they deserve it but as the Lord Himself showed us that this is the way to win people. Indeed, “behold what manner of love the Father has shown unto us that we should be called the children of God.” We can reciprocate to this love by reflecting the leadership qualities of the Father and of the Son Jesus. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is given unto us to help us be a reflection of the Lord.

The Lord has the power of the Potter over his clay. We are the clay He has collected before His divine oven. The troubles, torments and travails of this world are the fire that He has lit to shape our character and our lives. He does not want us to be half baked and brittle. He desires to strengthen us with the heat of the flame. But He will not let the fire destroy us. He wants us to be a vessel of honour for Him, a work of art that He can take pride and find pleasure in. A pot can be used to hold water to quench thirst or it can hold oil or milk. It can also contain poison and that which is contaminated. The Lord desires to fill this earthen pot, our bodies with the Holy Spirit and the treasures of His kingdom, the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord. We are the earthen vessels of Gideon’s Force 300 that hold a burning fire torch to provide light and direction to people, to wrest victory against the many strongholds of this world.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Empty Vessels

UV 1518/10000 Empty Vessels

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12 v 3

The Lord has given a portion of His grace to each believer. Like He filled the six stone jars of water at the marriage at Canna with wine that was required for the feast, He fills our lives with grace and makes our lives a “grace fiesta” or a Festival of Grace. Every day we have a different kind of need and every day He meets that need abundantly. St Paul was one of the greatest of saints and apostles and yet he considered himself not highly but as the worst of sinners, a person who is needy of the grace of the Lord. Paul exhorts each of us not to be high minded or think of ourselves superior or more able or more virtuous or more worthy than others. We should think soberly and assess ourselves realistically in accordance with the measure of faith and love in evidence in our lives. Our self thought and self talk can stop or aid the flow of grace in and through our lives. God’s self thought is “ I AM WHO I AM.” Our self thought if it is sober and not egoistic, proud or conceited ought to be “ I AM WHAT I AM BY THE GRACE OF GOD.” It is never about me but about Him acting in me or on me or around me or with me.

Every day we must be willing to do the Lord’s bidding. Like the servants who did what they were told as instructed by Mary, the mother of Jesus, we should just obey the Lord’s word. The stone jars were washed and clean. We must keep the different areas of our lives- speech, sex life, thought life, emotions, relationships and work - washed with the blood of the Lamb, sanctified by the Holy Spirit and clean. The six jars were filled with water- a symbol of the living Word of God since water sustains life, quenches thirst and meets need. Similarly, in each of these six areas of our lives we should be filled with the knowledge of the specific word that is applicable and experience a transformation similar to water being changed into the best of wine. Back in primary school, a certain strict class teacher caught me talking and made me write an imposition: I had to write in a notebook scores of times: “ Empty vessels make the most noise.” Today, I wish to revise what she made me write: “Empty vessels hold the most grace.” We need to think of ourselves as empty vessels crying to be filled with the all sufficient grace of God.

The juice of grapes when it is fermented in earthen or stone jars and matures it becomes wine. Similarly, our faith when it matures and ferments in our bodies, minds and spirits, it bubbles up as love. Faith and love are two faces of divine coinage. These two together can meet our every need. Whenever we think that our faith is strong and complete, we must turn the side of the coin and check if we are lacking in love. Whenever we are confident that our love is complete, we must turn to the other side and check the status of our faith. If we think soberly and humbly, the Lord will supply the grace or He will fill the gaps or make up for the deficiencies in either our faith or our love. If we compare ourselves with others and feel we are better or superior, the Lord cannot fill us with His grace. Like the stone jars that hold water, we need to retain or hold the Word for some time. We will hold it if we consider His Word precious and powerful. To every stone jar in our life, we need to add the Word, stir it with prayer in our spirit and the outworking of grace will begin in every area- physical, intellectual, social, emotional, financial, professional and above all, spiritual realms.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Power of Patience and Gentleness

UV 1517/10,000 Power of Patience and Gentleness
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
Proverbs 25 v 15
Patience is called the prince of virtues as it comes from long years of experience. It is a sign of maturity, wisdom and character. It emanates from an understanding of time and how human nature, situations and changes happen in life. The Bible talks of how Jacob was afraid when he heard that Esau, his twin brother whom he had deceived as a young man many years before, was approaching him with two large bands of fighting men. Jacob spent some time praying to the Lord for guidance and protection, thinking that his brother would take revenge on him for having robbed him of his birth right and blessing as the elder scion of Isaac. He then decided to persuade him by sending ahead of him droves of ewes and rams along with his servants as presents for his brother Esau. He avoided a confrontation and appeased Esau with his gifts. Jacob also spoke with great gentleness and wisdom on meeting his brother face to face so as to not arouse the embers of past bitterness.

This uni-verse appreciates the power of gentleness of speech. A gentle tongue can resolve difficult situations while rash speech would only add fuel to the fire of anger and resentment. The prophet Isaiah asked for a coal of fire from heaven to touch his tongue to purify it. We too should daily offer out tongue as a living sacrifice to the Lord so that we refrain from using it unwisely or abrasively. The Lord will send His spirit to take control of our tongues and give us wisdom so that our words are gentle and pleasing to the listeners.

Patience in our temperament combined with gentleness of speech is a powerful and winning combination. It will help us solve and resolve many tricky situations in our lives and contain the damage caused by our own attitudes and words. Every word as well as the tone with which we speak it should be measured and modulated. The manner in which Abigail, the wife of Nabal who annoyed King David, conducted herself and spoke to assuage the anger of David is held up as an example of such wise use of speech to redeem oneself in a critical situation. She spoke with such grace even as David was bent on shedding blood of Nabal and his family that it won the favour of David and he withheld his sword. After Nabal suffered death due to a severe stroke, Abigail was taken as a wife and queen to David. She had turned an adversity into opportunity by her patience and gentleness.

Prateep V Philip