Monday, November 30, 2015

Showers of Blessing

UV 1600/10000 Showers of Blessing
And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34 v 26

The Lord is the most exalted One. He dwells in Zion – a hill in Jerusalem that dominates the landscape. That peak stands for the eminence and excellence of the Lord. He is the source of all blessings. He will send down a rain of His spirit upon us as a confirmation of our inheritance. He will send abundant rain in due season so that the earth will yield its increase. He will bless us with the dew of Hermon which is a symbol for everlasting life. Blessings are a foretaste of eternal life-a crystallisation of grace and the manifestation of the promises of the Lord contained in His Word. We cannot do anything to achieve or obtain these blessings. We only need to soak in these God-sent blessings as a man soaks in the shower or in a downpour of rain. To soak in blessings is an act of worship, an act of joy, an act of cleansing, an act of strengthening and equipping.

Whatever the Lord blesses us with He does so in generous measure. It might seem slow or inadequate initially from our human perspective. But as we look back we will see the generosity of the Lord in our lives. Jesus said that “ I came that you might have life and life in all its abundance.” We need to be abundant in love for God, love for His Word, abundant in the fruit of the spirit. Each of us is a tree of righteousness in the garden of the Lord. Trees grow in the garden to please the gardener and not seek their own pleasure. The showers of blessing that the Lord sends on us should seep into the soul as water into soil and soften our hearts, make it suitable to bear much fruit.

We are not expected to be will o’ the wisps or weaklings who cling to others for support but mighty oaks of faith and we live in the security of our personal knowledge of God and not on the strength of the props of this world. Earthquakes can shake a mountain but nothing can shake our faith in the Lord. Nothing and no one can make us apprehensive or afraid for there is nothing that the Lord cannot deliver us from . The Lord shall cause the beasts of the wild to cease. The secret of our security , our peace, our strength, our blessings, our success and happiness is that the Lord is with us as Emmanuel. He is also with us as Jireh, as Shepherd, as Nisi or victorious one, as Ebenezer or helper, as Rapha or healer. His name is the mountain we look to for help, for satisfaction and fulfilment. His names are not mere names that mean nothing but a summary of the essence of who God is to us.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Blessedness Beyond Success and Happiness

UV 1599/10000 Blessedness Beyond Success and Happiness
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
I Peter 1 v 3

The English word “blessed” can be traced to the root of blood. To be blessed it requires the shedding of blood or sacrifice that once again makes us acceptable, good and perfect in God’s sight. We can make our lives blessed or messed. The presence of God in our lives, our equation with Him as Father by linking our hearts with His Son Jesus, our continual fellowship with the Holy Spirit who is God on earth make us blessed. There is no greater goal, no greater success than to be blessed. To be blessed means one is first a recipient of mercy and then a vessel filled with living hope. Death being the curse that we brought on ourselves by sin is broken by the death and resurrection of Jesus from a sinner’s death – that curse is broken. It cannot hold us prisoner any longer. It cannot hold us in the constant thraldom of fear. Once we receive mercy and grace, we are sanctified and ready to worship God as the Blessed One, the source of all true blessings.

The blessedness of God is eternal. His is the greatness, the power, the victory, the majesty and the glory. This becomes our inheritance when we believe in Jesus as we become brothers with Him by faith and are co-inheritors or co-heirs of the blessedness and glory of God. Jesus is the key of David that gives us access to an eternal realm beyond mere transient success and happiness in this world. The abundant mercy of God is triggered by people calling to Him in faith in the name of Jesus. Jesus is the channel of providing access to the mercy as well as the hope of glory of God. When we declare God to be blessed, we are proclaiming Him as the author of goodness in our lives. It is amazing that mortal and sinful man is given the privilege of blessing God. Believing God is saying that He exists. Blessing God is affirming Him for His essential goodness and His specific goodness to us. It is a spiritual and deeply personal acknowledgement of the Lord.

Christ in us is the hope of glory or unimaginable greatness. Hope in Christ and the hope of eternal life is an anchor in the storms and challenges of our everyday lives. It is our experience of the abundance of God’s mercy and the riches of God’s grace that engenders hope. That hope fills us with both patience to wait with a positive, grateful, praising attitude for God to bless us and manifest His glory in our lives. That hope also fills us with joy and strength.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Perfected By Grace

UV 1598/10000 Perfected By Grace
The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Psalm 138 v 8
There are many things, factors, relationship, issues in our lives that are far from perfect. Some of these we are not even aware of for we cannot see the beams in our own eyes. But the beams of the light of the Lord will light up the dark beams in our eyes or lives. He has complete knowledge of us, more than we ourselves. He is better equipped to work on us than we ourselves. He knows that there is a play out of all the books of scripture in our lives: we too have had our Genesis moment, Exodus moment, Leviticus (following rules) moment, moments of Psalms or praise, gospel moments and Revelation moments. He knows what we are running short of and where and when. He makes the oil of His grace to overflow in our periods of shortage.
He trains us from perilous heights to take flights of faith but is ready and vigilant like a mother eagle to catch us by the pinions and prevent us crash landing on the rocky cliff of life. He has made us and knows us, our limitations, our frailties and infirmities. He is patient with us and knows that there is a whole lifetime to work on us and with us. He accepts us as we are and makes that the starting point of His work with us. He increases the heat sometimes but makes sure that we are not destroyed but only refined further in the furnace of afflictions and trials. He walks with us closest when we are in that furnace and shields us. We experience the cool and comfort of His embrace with the intensity of the flames raging around us.

When we fail or fall, the Lord’s mercy covers up for us. He will help us to our feet again and encourage us with His promise never to leave us or forsake us. His mercy and grace outlasts all circumstances and situations in our lives. His mercy and grace enable us to withstand adversity and look with hope for the moment we will emerge from it strengthened and victorious. Though He knows we are imperfect, He never wants us to give up on the dream or goal of God-like perfection in character and life. This is the reason Jesus said, “ Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Perfection is an ongoing lifetime project in which God is our partner, Jesus is our flesh and blood model and the Holy Spirit the Enabler and it is concluded or consummated in heaven. On our own it is an impossible goal or dream but with Jesus as our forerunner, perfection is realized for as long as we are “running” or aiming and striving for it, Jesus covers our flaws with His mercy and grace. Faith shields the eyes of the Lord from our flaws and we are perfected by grace. We are washed by mercy and perfected by grace. Our role is to yield to the Lord as He kneeds the clay of our lives and not resist or struggle with Him.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 27, 2015

Lean and Learn

UV 1597/10000 Lean and Learn
And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
Isaih 46 v 4

God is the One who carries us as a mother carries her child. He promises to be our guide until death. He has made us and therefore takes responsibility for us. The word “ carry” means He will protect, provide, guide, nourish, fend, lead and teach us. He will deliver and vindicate us. He makes this commitment to us when we get into a persona or covenant l relationship with Him. Our side of the covenant implies that we carry His word in our hearts as a sign of our commitment, obedience and love for God.

The promise contained in this uni-verse is a great assurance that all humans need as we pass through middle age and feel insecure as we think of the problems and prospects we face in old age: loneliness, ill health, financial insecurity, helplessness and so on. The Lord promises never to leave us alone but to carry us close to His heart. He promises to share our burden and make it seem much lighter. He sends us help and deliverance whenever and whatever way we need or expect it. The key factor to avail this blessing is that one needs to remember the Lord in our youth, grow in grace and faith. Then the Lord promises that we will be fat and flourishing in our old age. We will bear fruit even in old age. We will never feel forlorn nor forsaken at any point in our lives if we stick like a leech to the Lord. Our hope should be on the Lord and in His promises and not on the world or what the world can offer us.

Even our nearest and dearest will one day leave us but the Lord never leaves or forsakes us. Our dependence on our earthly parents comes down as we gain in age and maturity but our dependence on our Father in Heaven increases with age and vulnerability. We can sense the presence of the Holy Spirit all the time with us as we lean on the Lord. The more we lean on Him the more we learn. The draw or drag of earthly pleasures and attractions will become dimmer and dimmer as we draw closer to the Lord as the shadows of life lengthen. Like Caleb we can seek the anointing of the Lord that will make us as strong when we are very old as while we were in our prime.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Headship and Leadership

UV 1596/10000 Headship and Leadership
The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
Micah 2 v 13

The uni-verse promises that the Lord will go before us as our king and leader. He will break our chains, anything that limits our potential and our growth. He breaks the bondages within us and the barriers and hurdles before us. He sets the prisoners free and gives hope to the hopeless. He gives sight to the blind. We are the blind who do not have a spiritual vision. The Lord imparts an eternal vision so that we see His purpose, His power and experience His grace on a day to day basis.

The headship of God is as necessary as eyes for the head of man. The head thinks of the well being of the whole body. The head stimulates or moves the different parts of the body-the hidden organs as well as the external limbs to act in the interest of the whole body. These are the roles of leadership. The head cannot exist without the body and the body without the head. They are interdependent. Without the headship of the Lord, we will grope in darkness. We will not know which path to take in our lives. The Messiah is the one who will open the gate of life and the floodgates of blessings. He has the form of a man but the power of God- one like us and yet sent by God and God Himself. He is both king and servant. He has walked the paths of suffering and truth that He now beckons us to walk. He has gone ahead of us, leaving us both example and precept. We only need to diligently follow Him.

The opening of a door needs faith for we do not know what lies on the other side. Faith can be either a getaway from life and reality or a gateway to greater freedom, responsibility and fulfillment. The Lord wants us to make faith in His name and His word a gateway and not a getaway. He wants us to face reality and not hide or getaway from it. Jesus proclaimed Himself as the gate to everlasting life, the door to salvation. He manifests Himself in the life of every believing human being as a solution, an answer, a breakthrough giver. We enter the presence and avail the power of God by entering through this door. Jesus is the one leader in all of history who broke through the limitations of knowledge, of wisdom, of resources, of power in every possible way. He revealed what lay on the other side of the door of death. He is an overcomer and expects us to be an overcomer. He is the One who can give us breakthroughs we need and expect in life. Every day and every moment is like a gate or a door- an opportunity to experience the grace and power of leadership of the Lord. Every difficulty and challenge we face is a bronze gate or door that the Lord breaks open for us.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

360 Degree Peace

UV 1595/10000 360 Degree Peace
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

Leviticus 26 v 6

Today, though the world is lacking in peace and security, the Lord assures His own of complete peace and security such that we will have peace in our homes and a sense of security. No one can make us afraid. He will protect us from violence and evil beasts which is a metaphor for those who are wicked and violent. The peace that God gives us in Christ Jesus is beyond human understanding and comprehension. It cannot be taken away by anyone. He will give us peace-hence, peace comes as a gift from the Lord. He will enable us to sleep peacefully. He protects us from every curse and penalty of sin in the course of our lives on earth and even beyond. He gives us the Redeemer’s peace: the fact that we need a redeemer is an acknowledgement that part of our souls and lives were once pledged or mortgaged to the enemy. We had to be bought back or won back paying a heavy price.

He will give us peace all around- or 360 degree peace. Our hearts will not be troubled by anything in our past, present or future. We will not yield to worry or anxiety but rest all our fears in the Lord knowing that He is both willing and able to deal with every fear, worry or anxiety. When we take responsibility for all aspects of our lives, we are trying to play God. We do not have complete knowledge or ability. If we entrust the matter to the Lord, He will resolve it effectively in His time.

The starting point or genesis of our peace is that Jesus gives us inner peace with God – He reconciles us with Him and hence, our relationship with the Father is the source of our strength, our resources and our solutions to the issues of life. The Father is the God of peace. He makes a covenant of peace with us. He is with us and therefore, wherever we are and in whatever situation, we have peace and security. He preserves us from death and destruction, from disasters and losses. As we have inner peace, it should be reflected in our peace with others around us: we need to do our best to be at peace with all the people we encounter in our lives. "Peace in the land" implies that we will enjoy the fruit of our labour and we will not be overtaken by rude surprises or overcome by shocks. We will be hearers of good news and not bad news. We will be positive minded and enjoy the blessings of the Lord. In order to grasp the value of such 360 degree peace, we just have to visualise the suffering of millions of refugees fleeing from the cauldron of unrest and strife in Syria and Iraq. They have no peace in the land, or peace in their homes or hearts.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Making A Difference

UV 1594/10000 Making a Difference
And of some have compassion, making a difference:
Jude 1 v 22

The evidence of God and the devil is in the good and evil in our lives and in the world. Our consciences are like compasses whose needles are swerving around to keep pointing out both the north- the way of God, the straight, narrow and steep path to heaven as well as downward to the opposite south- the way of the enemy- the smooth, broad, easy way all the way down into the belly of the earth. There is certainly a gravitational pull towards the latter direction but leadership is all about direction- finding the right direction that in the long term will amount to our good, our present and eternal good. When we receive Jesus into our hearts by faith, we also receive a GPS or God’s Positioning System in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are filled with the spirit of compassion and not the spirit of judgement and self righteousness. Like St Paul we need to think of ourselves as the worst of sinners, guilty of every act of violating the absolutely good standards of the Lord but we receive the compassion of God to be declared good and righteous by faith and grace. Having been recipients of compassion, unearned and unmerited, we are now to extend the same hope of compassion to all people in our circles.

Apart from extending compassion to others, we are called to make a difference in this world, in our professions, in our workplace and wherever we are. We are to make conscientious and persistent efforts to improve life around us in small and big ways. We can make a difference by wiping someone’s tears, by comforting or helping someone in distress. The Lord demonstrated and taught us that the purpose of life is not the pursuit of our own happiness but in helping others overcome their sorrows and find hope, our lives are both blessed and a blessing.

The Lord will enable us to make a difference by imparting certain fruit of the spirit in us and by giving us some special gifts of the spirit that will enable us to meet the spiritual and holistic need of the people we are called to lead and serve. A leader is someone who has had something happen in his or her life that made a big difference. Leadership is all about multiplying that experience of advancement, of well being, of breakthrough in the lives of others. We make the greatest difference by bringing hope into the lives of the hopeless, love into the lives of the unloved, care into the lives of the uncared for.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 23, 2015

Light and Darkness

UV 1593/10000 Light and Darkness
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Genesis 1 v 5

The day and night are not exactly equal in most places and times around the globe except during the Equinox. The day is usually longer than the night. This is a symbol that though evil and ignorance symbolised by darkness exists in this world, the good predominates. The good outlasts and outweighs the evil. Though the potential for good and evil exists in our lives, the potential for good is greater by far. The rising of the sun at the end of each night and the beginning of each day is a symbol of the unfailing love and hope we have in Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness in whose wings we find healing, salvation and deliverance for our spirits, mind and body. He is therefore called the Daystar, the Bright and Morning Star. The light of the sun overpowers the darkness and likewise, the love of Jesus overpowers death and evil.

The withdrawal of light is darkness – hence, the withdrawal of the love and knowledge of God is darkness or evil. We are called in scripture as “children of light”. We should not have any part of darkness in our lives. We are called by Jesus to be the “ light of the world” as the world is in darkness or in ignorance of the truth and love of God. We are to reflect His light, love and glory in this dark world. We should minimise or eliminate the potential for evil and maximise and explore the potential for good in our lives. We should make manifest or evident the glory of God in and through our lives. Light has an energising function, a warming function, a healing function. Jesus energises us, warms our hearts and heals our entire being. There are certainly some dark hours or nights in our lives. During these times we need to completely rest in the Lord and learn from Him. The purpose of the dark hours is so that we shine more brightly for the Lord in this world.

The Word is light stored in verbal form. The more of the Word we store in our hearts and the more we meditate and apply it in our daily lives, the more enlightened will be the eyes of our understanding. We will have the power to discern and dispel darkness. Wherever we find darkness, we should pray, “ Let there be Jesus here.” Wherever Jesus is there is peace, there is love, there is joy, there is healing and deliverance, there are solutions and answers. Every morning we should dedicate our activities and our schedule to Jesus. He will light up our paths and show us the way we should go as we trust in His guiding light.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Watch Word

UV 1592/10000 Watch Your Watch
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26 v 41

Jesus exhorts us to watch and pray. The context of this uni-verse is that Jesus is full of anguish to the point of death as His hour of trial and crucifixion is about to happen. He asks the disciples to keep vigil while He goes a little away to pray to the Father. On returning thrice, He finds the disciples sleeping. He admonishes them and each time asks them to “watch and pray.” We are expected to watch or be alert and vigilant lest the enemy who is a roaring lion finds us spiritually dormant or sleeping and devours us. We are to be watchful lest we fall into temptation. We are to be watchful for deliverance from evil. We are to be watchful to overcome the weaknesses of our human nature. We are to be watchful to keep the Word and to obey its statutes. To be watchful is to be spiritually awake and aware: we need to be aware of our own weaknesses and stay on guard lest these draw us into snares or temptations. Weakness is a part of our human nature but the Christ nature in us needs to be awakened. The power to overcome comes from God. If we are not watchful and pray, our spirits may be in sync with the Lord but our bodies and minds would be out of sync.

We are also to watch our own lives whether we are being faithful and fruitful. We are to be watchful about how we use time and opportunities. We are to be watchful about the things we see and hear and believe. We are to be spiritual watchmen for the kingdom of God in this world. We are to mount the prayer tower and look out for signs of any movement in the distant horizon. We are to report to the Lord in prayer the things we are burdened about in this world and to convey the concerns and burdens of the Lord to the world. We are to like the spies that Moses set out to study the land of Canaan. We are like the watchmen that Nehemiah appointed to watch as the walls of Jerusalem were being built. We do not know when or where the opposition or attack on us will come. We need to discipline our bodily appetites and watch out against lusts of the flesh, of the eye and pride of life. We need to watch our or be sensitive to the move and touch of the Lord in our lives.
Finally, we are to watch ourselves. The word “WATCH” itself is a watchword to caution and enable us to take a grip of ourselves and walk in the ways of the Lord. We need to look through the lens or the perspective and teachings of the Word at our Words- the words we use to express ourselves should contain the seed of the fruit of the spirit and reflect not hatred, bitterness, anger , sadness and frustration but it should contain love and reflect our joy, peace, patience. Our words need to be kind particularly to those who cannot retaliate owing to their position under us. We need to do acts of goodness with a sincere motive to help people and to bless them and not to show ourselves in good light or for publicity. We need to watch our attitudes: we are to check whether we are faithful and humble before the Lord. We need to watch our actions. Beyond actions and the visible, we are required to watch our thoughts and to take every thought captive to Christ. We need to watch our character whether we are conforming to His godly character. We need to watch our habits- the things we do on a regular basis. We are to examine our Words, Actions/Attitudes, Thoughts, Character and Habits through the templates of the Word of God. As a goldsmith or jeweller examines his gold or precious stones, we need to examine and evaluate as well as take steps to refine or correct our words, actions/attitudes, thoughts, character and habits. We should be careful to always think thoughts that are noble, positive, beautiful, praiseworthy and excellent. We can seek the help or enablement of the Holy Spirit as the most difficult and challenging aspect of life is managing ourselves or managing our words, attitudes, actions, thoughts, character and habits. We should pray asking for the Lord’s help to perfect us in all five aspects of our testimonial life. If we do not watch and pray for our WATCH- our own words and desires could ensnare us. Our negative words give the enemy of our souls a window of opportunity to enter and rule our lives and cause misery and defeat. The grace of God will enable us to overcome the power of dead habit in our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 20, 2015

Joy, Motivators and Fulfilment

UV 1591/10000 Joy, Motivators and Fulfilment
We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Psalm 20 v 5

This uni-verse has three parts:1. a commitment to rejoice above all that we are saved regardless of circumstance as our chief joy or highest priority and desire is our salvation. 2. An expression of that joy in visible and audible ways even as a banner is held high over one’s head so that all can see. A banner is a motivator, a standard to rally our strength in a battle. Our motivators are all found in the name of the Lord. He is the be all and end all of our existence. 3. The Lord will hear our prayers and grant our desires or meet our need so that our joy shall be full to the brim. The joy of salvation is compared in scripture to the gladness experienced by a farmer on seeing his crops in full bloom or ready for harvest, to the satisfaction of a soldier over the spoils of victory in battle. Salvation is commenced by belief but it goes on to involve sowing, watering, ploughing, fertilizing with nutrients, trimming, deweeding, transplanting, protection from predators and threats and finally, reaping. It does not involve fighting but it does involve taking a stance of faith and warfare in the spiritual realms. The battle is indeed the Lord’s but the victory is ours.

Like David we go forth to battle each day in the name of the Lord. The name of the Lord- be it Jehovah Nisi, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah El Shaddai, Jehovah Rapha -is a strong tower, a refuge in times of trouble, a source of hope and help. We are not giants like Goliath who revel in their own strength but GI-ants or God-inspired ants. Like ants we have nothing to revel in on our own- we have neither beauty nor strength nor power on our own. But inspired by the spirit of God and His Word, powered by prayer, we are valiant soldiers like Gideon. We do not crush the barley in the winepress but we squeeze the Word in our minds to extract every drop of meaning, every source of blessing and strength or grace. We have set up a variety of banners around us- the banner of love- of relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the banner of victory in all our personal battles. We set up the banner of joy- the joy of eternal life, the banner of blessings, the banner of wisdom, the banner of grace. These banners are emblems of what we stand for just as flags represent nations.

Faith is a two way agreement or relationship or commitment between God and man where our affirmation and confession of faith in the Lord is met by His confirmation, anointing and proclamation. Our petitions or prayers for our daily need are fulfilled by the Lord according to His spiritual riches in Christ Jesus. In the name of Christ, we are anointed and have access to every spiritual blessing of the heavenly realms. We find fulfilment of our need, our hope and our expectations in Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Stillness Strategy

UV 1590/10000 The Stillness Strategy of Spiritual Warfare
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
Exodus 14 v 13
The Egyptians are a metaphor for the superpower or powers that threaten our freedom and security today, who held us in bondage in the past, who suppressed us and prevented us from reaching our full potential as human beings and as children of God. The uni-verse exhorts us not to fear such as these for just as the ancient Israelites never saw Pharaoh and their former slave masters ever again, we will leave them behind as a remnant of our past. Moses tells the Israelites to hold their tongues and not to confess or give expression to their fears, to stand still and perceive the amazing way in which the Lord God would save them.
The Lord expects us to hand over our greatest fears or apprehensions to Him in prayer and to await an amazing answer. Terrorism and violence are the ancient weapons of the weak while prayer and faith are the powerful weapons of the strong. Terrorism and violence leaves their victims stronger in faith and courage while it drains the strength and power of the perpetrator. Pharaoh and his commander thought that the Israelites would be trapped by the topography of the place they were camping and would have no escape route. At times we might seem overwhelmed and trapped in our circumstances. As we look up to the Lord for salvation, He will show us the way of escape that we will be able to endure and overcome it. The Lord desires that we do not attempt to even defend ourselves but to surrender or commit our protection to His able hands. Standing still does not mean that we freeze or get paralysed with fear. The Lord asked Moses, “ Why are you crying to me? Move forward and use over your staff over the water of the Red Sea.” We are to move in the direction we are led by the Spirit of God. We are to use the all powerful weapons of the Word and prayer as our defence and shield. To yield to the Lord is our best shield and it also increases our yield.
We should hope and quietly wait for the Lord to reveal His plan of salvation as He did with the Israelites in piloting them with an angel and guarding them with a thick cloud at their rear so that the Egyptians could neither see nor approach them in their powerful chariots. When they reached the Red Sea, as Moses lifted his staff over the water, the Lord send a powerful east wind to make the waters part and stand as a wall on either side as they crossed. Likewise in this day and time, the Lord will show us the path and direction we should take as we stand still and lean on Him. This reminds us of the hedgehog who rolls into a still and impenetrable ball anytime and every time a fox attacks it.
The Lord allowed Pharaoh to chase the Israelites and hardened his heart so that His name would be honoured, so that the Israelites’ faith would be strengthened, Moses’ leadership would be vindicated. The strategy of faith is passivity of physical retaliation or action accompanied by intensity and dynamism of the spirit of God in us. Moses and the Israelites under his leadership did not panic at the sight of the dust of the horses’ hooves pursuing them. They calmly moved forward trusting in the deliverance of the Lord with a mighty hand. The result was that they were given safe passage through the sea while the same waters that stood still as walls when they crossed came down crashing and drowned the chariots of Pharaoh. This taught the Israelites that the battle is the Lord’s. We too should realize that the battle is the Lord’s. We only need to calmly do all that lies with us in the natural and in terms of our responsibilities and move forward. We shall see the awesome salvation and deliverance of the Lord but those who oppress us, we shall see no more.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

First Love

UV 1589/10000 First Love
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame
Song of Solomon 8 v 6
When we pair our wounded hearts with the heart of the Lord, we will experience repair and healing of our hearts. Death silences but love hurts. The love of God for mankind whom He created in His own image and the possibility of attaining the infinite is as powerful as death. The Lord has sealed our hearts and our bodies with His own spirit, the Holy Spirit and in so declaring our bodies as His temples, our minds as His pathways and our hearts as His throne room and sanctum sanctorum. We do not have to go on pilgrimage to search or find Him but every morning, every day and night and at all times, we just have to delve deep into our own hearts to find the love of our lives. The human heart thirsts for God as the parched throat thirsts for water, as a baby hungers for milk, as dry ground cries for rain, as a desert traveller longs for the sight of an oasis. Nothing less than God, nothing other than the living God can satisfy this hunger and thirst. In Him, we live and move and exist. In Him we thrive. In Him we find fulfilment and strength. He is Lord as His love enables us to rise from death.
When we are not zealous for God, He is jealous. It is the love of a person for his or her beloved. The beloved cannot be shared with anyone else. “The beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” “ His banner over me- this implies what the Lord declares in His Word regarding His own: His banner over us is victory, health, deliverance, justice, mercy, peace and grace. We are His first love and He wants to be our first love- our highest passion, our greatest desire. He won our love by first demonstrating His love by sending His beloved and most precious Son Jesus to embrace death on our behalf. The highest evidence of love is to die for another. He died on the cross to cancel the power of anything that separates us from God, anything that distances us from Him, anything that negatively affects our relationship with Him.

A seal is a sign or symbol of authentication or authority, of testament of covenant. We are sealed as a sign of consecration or dedication. Only documents or articles of highest value or significance are sealed. Once sealed, it cannot be broken except by the authorised person or a higher authority. Our hearts are sealed – our inner being is consecrated and dedicated to our first love. His love enables us to live and to live well and fully. The love relationship with the Lord cannot be broken. It is everlasting and endures past all times, seasons and situations. His love enables us to overcome death and the power of the grave. Our hands are sealed- it implies that just as our being is dedicated and blessed, our doing is dedicated and blessed. Naturally, our “having” will also be blessed. The uni-verse clearly states that love, death, jealousy are not lukewarm or half-hearted but have the intensity of fire. Love, death and jealousy are high energy forces. But love manifests as the fire of the “burning bush” on Mount Sinai- it burns within us without destroying or consuming us. The agape love of God has the power of negating death or declaring it null and void. Righteous jealousy is what sets the boundaries of love and protects it. Love is the highest creative energy and is never destructive. We can demonstrate our love in our being, doing and having. For instance, giving is a way of demonstrating our love in “having”. We love God for what we know of Him. We trust Him for what we do not know. Our faith enables us to prove that love is more powerful than death. In all that we are, do and have, we need to fan our faith and love into full flame.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

From Belief to Knowledge

UV 1588/10000 From Belief to Knowledge
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8 v 28

God’s purpose is to call us to share His eternal goodness and greatness. To this end, we are called, justified or “straightened out” and enlarged or “made great”. He allows us to endure some suffering so that we are purified, strengthened, established and settled in our faith and our eternal relationship with Him. Our faith is tested in fire even as steel is tempered in the furnace. Everything that happens in our lives, both the good, the bad and the terrible experiences are meant to shape and mould our character so that we reflect the love and patience of the Lord Jesus. We can acquire qualifications from a university but we are imparted qualities by the Spirit of God. These qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control are aspects of character that are called in scripture as the “fruit of the spirit.”

Some of the experiences we go through in life can be extremely painful in the short run but are meant for our eternal gain. The Lord knows given our ease-loving nature, we learn much more from pain than from pleasure and good times. Many people baulk at the idea of coming into a close or intimate relationship with God as they know they might have to undergo fiery ordeals. But those who love the Lord make a conscious choice and are among those who count the cost and are only too willing to pay the price, knowing an eternal reward awaits them. As a child trusts her parents to do what is good for her, so we trust the Lord to do good to us. A vaccination may be painful but the parents decide it is necessary to protect the child from greater harm. Similarly, the Lord vaccinates us in a spiritual sense against the shallow and superficial faith.
The belief that all things add up to our good enables us to introspect and find out from each experience the lessons of life that the Lord wishes to teach us. It keeps us from getting bitter or depressed or from wallowing in self pity. We develop an inner strength, hope and courage to face whatever turn our lives take or whatever life throws at us. We increase in faith and love of God as He leads us from one experience to another. The purpose of the Lord is to confirm our calling, to lead us into a greater depth and experience of the eternal and infinite. We should know that God makes no mistakes and that nothing is wasted in His economy. Sometimes an event happened in our lives as it was the only way to communicate His eternal purpose to us. Sometimes it happened so that we will have a testimony or some evidence of God working in our lives that we could share with others. The first three words of the uni-verse “ We know that…” implies that our belief in God’s goodness to us should move from belief to “rooted knowledge” or knowledge of God’s purpose, power and Person that is rooted in the Word.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ultimate Business Guidance Principle

UV 1587/10000
The Ultimate Business Guidance Principle
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Romans 12 v 11
The ultimate business guidance principle is contained in this uni-verse: one should not be slothful or negligent in whatever one is doing. Do it as one would if he is serving the Lord, not with an eye on the “moolah”, not as a worshipper of Mammon but full of the spirit of the Lord. An attitude of serving God through serving man should pervade our professions. We should be thoughtful, zealous, diligent, meticulous and filled with an unflagging enthusiasm and undying optimism as well as tireless in energy as we apply ourselves to the work or vocation the Lord has given us. We should add fizz to our “buzziness.” Those who are slothful spend the best part of their days and lives daydreaming. Their faculties are sleeping and not awakened to their full potential. The Lord wants all our faculties of spirit, mind and body to be wakeful and alert, to be fully engaged and stretched. He wants us to spend a little time dreaming and a lot of time working our plans and realizing our dreams. When the sun is down, we should plan and when the sun is up we should plant.

Wealth, position, qualifications, influence, power and resources are not goals but tools to attain the goal of serving God. Only a fool will treat tools as goals. Imagine a person collecting all types of tools all his life and not being able to use it for the purpose it is meant for. The book of Proverbs exhorts us to learn from the ants that keep busy all summer collecting particles of food. We will never find one ant struggling with another ant for the same piece of food but we would find them cooperating with each other to carry a much larger dead insect or piece of food. The ant does not have any common leader or chosen king. It is guided and led from within by an internal business guidance principle. We need to be self motivated, internally driven and God-led people.

Scripture says, “ the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” implying that the diligent will have their desires fulfilled in due time or God’s own time as long as they are using their talents, time and resources to the fullest on a consistent basis. They keep their minds and limbs busy and endeavour to keep their tongues idle except to speak an useful word to guide or motivate those who they can influence. Scripture says that the diligent will find themselves in the company of royalty. The one who is slothful is destructive while the one who is diligent is creative. The diligent understand that life is a window of opportunity to dream big and act in small scheduled steps to dissect the big dream into tiny parts that can be achieved bit by bit even as ants carry tiny particles to make a big mound. Faith divides the mountains of life into tiny bits and re-assembles the mountains where it is best to locate- no longer a barrier but an achievement of the impossible and improbable. The attitude of reverence for God keeps them humble and on the curve of improvement with a goal of giving of their best. The conceited think that they know it all and end up complacent. But those who are rational and diligent are always humble and learning from all they can, whatever they can.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Intimacy Leads to Fulfilment

UV 1586/10000 Intimacy Leads to Fulfilment
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Zephaniah 3 v 17

The Lord God dwells in us and amongst us. He is capable and willing to save us. He rejoices in us as a woman delights in her precious jewels. He delights in us as much as a bridegroom delights in his bride. He rejoices when people repent and turn to Him for salvation as much as a shepherd rejoices on finding a lost sheep. He rejoices as much as a widow rejoices on finding her lost gold coin. We find our rest and fulfilment in His love. His love is so great that we cannot fully comprehend it with our human understanding. Our need is met in Him as a child lies weaned and satisfied in her mother’s arms. We will cease to have that constant and restless urge to prove ourselves to others for He accepts us as we are. The inner peace He gives us heals us of our ceaseless struggles and strife within us transforming us from being Jacob – a deceiver who wants to get ahead by our own devices to Israel- one who struggles with God out of doubt and distrust to being a true believer and beloved of God- one who surrenders oneself, lock, stock and barrel, past, present and future-eternal, spirit, mind and body to the Lord. He leads His beloved into Hephzibah- a land of milk and honey, of promises and delights. The barren land or parts of our lives like the barren womb of the aged Sarah will come alive as Beulah- a woman who is beautiful, wise, fruitful. Sarah herself thought that there are limits to what God can do and laughed at the very idea of her becoming Beulah, a fruitful woman. Anyone who reveres or fears and respects the Lord and hopes in the Lord and His Word moves from being marred to “married” to the might, power, love, grace and blessing of the Lord. To be married is to be joined at the hips or to be grafted to the true vine that is Jesus.

Scripture says that He beautifies the meek with His salvation. He glorifies us or makes us worthy of manifesting His glory, power and grace. His presence with us gives us access to all He is, His immense and infinite power. He never leaves us alone or forsaken. He is faithful and will never give us up or give up on us. We might fail Him occasionally or frequently but He will examine how He can help us or enable us to overcome our inherent weaknesses. We cannot understand the direction of our lives or understand even our own selves except in the light of His being. He is mighty but concurrently He is wonderful to us. He is our counsellor. He is the Everlasting Father unlike our earthly fathers who will perish one day and leave us. He will continue to treat us as children however old and mature we get. He will provide for us. He will protect us. He will fight for us. He will lift us up. He will guide us and teach us. He is the Prince of Peace and rules over us with peace. He gives us inner peace. He is able to do exceedingly more than we can think, imagine, ask. What we think, imagine and ask, He always does or grants several levels above that which we ask, think or imagine. He yanks us out of the orbit of our normal thought , imagination and desires. We transcend ourselves in Him.

The Lord celebrates and throws a party whenever a person repents and is saved. He does not hold our past against us. He blots out our past misdeeds. He gives us a clean slate to begin again. He will restore the years the locusts had eaten. He will prosper us in all our ways and give us abundant peace. He will give us a double portion of every blessing we enjoyed in the past. He will send us the latter rain of blessings. His anointing enables us to do that which He considers valuable. He will not let any of our words to fall to the ground in vain. He takes our thoughts, words and feelings seriously and respects our desires. We will be able to do that which is supernatural as naturally as we do the natural. The Lord is generous and He does not fill our cup half full or half empty but full to the brim and overflowing. He makes us a Boaz and Joseph whose fruitful boughs overhang the walls of a well-an eternal spring that never dries up and from which others can draw water and glean for grain or fruit. He comforts us in our sorrows and suffering and helps us to draw strength and meaning from our troubled times. He breaks every yoke of oppression and every cord or chain of bondage in our lives from deep within.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Source of Our Strength

UV 1585/10000 The Source of Our Strength
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8 v 10

There was a recent story on social media about Steve Jobs of how he found everything meaningless- his wealth, his fame, his technological achievements. Along with the poignant story was a picture of him looking completely emaciated and cadaverous. For the best part of his life, the joy of innovation was his strength but pancreatic cancer robbed him of that joy and strength. There are others who say: The joy of wealth is my strength or the joy of beauty is my strength or the joy of creativity is my strength or the joy of power is my strength. But for the human being though he is multi-talented and multi-faceted, the real strength comes from knowing and experiencing the love of God. Our strengths and weaknesses are relative. Our joy in this world is transient and ephemeral. But when we put our trust in the Lord and His word, our strength-weakness configuration is changed. Our hearts that were filled with a vacuum are now filled with the joy of knowing the Lord. He perfects our strengths and turns our weaknesses into strengths. He turns threats into opportunities to reveal His plan and purpose. He unveils amazing avenues of opportunities of growth, contribution and blessing in our lives. We are no longer clods of earth seeking our own will and pleasure but seeking the Lord’s will and pleasure. A change of heart is a change of direction. As a child longs for the touch and affection of her parents, we too as adults of whatever age have a hidden desire for the parental love of the Eternal Father.

In this uni-verse, the exiles and residents of the ruined Jerusalem at the end of seventy years of captivity and bondage had gathered together as one to hear the word of God. Ezra and the priests read the scriptures to them from day break until noon and explained it to them. Hearing the Word of God revived their faith and renewed their strength. A famished man’s strength begins to return the moment the first particle of food touches his tongue. The Lord gave them understanding and revelation from the Word. Understanding the Word is like digestion. The Word had first moved the people to mourning for their sins. But God does not want our mourning to be permanent or lasting. He turns our mourning or the cause of our sadness into joy. He wants our lives to be a celebration of His creativity, His goodness, His love and compassion. The default mode of our lives is celebration of joy and only occasionally for repair and maintenance we need to go into repentance and mourning.

We are rejoicing not in our possessions, our talents, our positions, our prospects, our achievements and intelligence but we are employing all these and especially our hearts or the very essence and core of our being to rejoice in the Lord. The joy of the Lord is not a worked up frenzy of emotion but it is the quiet knowledge of the Lord. We know that the Lord derives His strength not from His great power but from His character- His righteousness. We rejoice in His righteousness or His holiness. The Israelites when they heard the Word, they bowed their heads. They lowered their faces towards the ground. They raised their hands towards the Lord. They word sackcloth and sprinkled dust on themselves. They were celebrating the holiness of the Lord. But the Lord did not want them to spend their day in repentance. They next spent a quarter of the day to praise and worship Him. This produced both joy and strength in them. They could now celebrate with sweets and delicacies and share their joy and portions of sweets with those who had nothing to rejoice over. The Lord knows best that a joy shared is multiplied and His kingdom’s influence extended.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 13, 2015

Drawing the Line of Life and Success

UV 1584/10000 Drawing the Line of Life and Success
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
Psalm 37 v 34

If a chapter in scripture is likened to a house, then the uni-verse one is currently focussing on is the keystone verse- the door through which one enters that spiritual house of blessing and wisdom. Psalm 37 begins by comparing the worldly and materialistic to the grass that seems to flourish for a short while and then is no more. It asks us not to fret or to be envious of the wicked who seem to prosper for a while. It reminds us that they will one day be cut off like a sickle cuts the dry grass. Instead, we should delight in the Lord, His ways and His Word. We should delight in the blessings and the salvation He has generously provided for us. We will derive our strength from Him by delighting in Him just as a billionaire delights in his money or wealth or possessions. A billionaire keeps his own heart cheerful by gloating to himself- look at my great wealth that I have achieved by dint of my talent and hard work: the number of my flourishing investments, the number of my businesses, my employees, my buildings, vehicles and influence. The Lord laughs at him and says to him, “Wait and in just a while you will be cut off from your great wealth in which you take such pride without acknowledging that I am the One who gave you the ability to be rich. In just a little while your wealth will be cut off from you.” The man who takes pride in his own achievements and possessions is a person who has exalted himself. The Lord promises to humble him in due time.

The alternative is to wait on the Lord. The Hebrew word for “wait” is “kawah” or a straight line-the starting point is the human heart. It is extended by intense desire and it finally culminates in the Lord. The uni-verse exhorts us to wait on the Lord to exalt us in due time. We humble ourselves before God and commit all our ways to Him in prayer and in constant or steadfast attitude. Circumstances and happenings will not deter us from our commitment to the Lord. Our hearts are focussed on the Lord as the source and fountainhead of anything good and lasting. We cannot keep His ways without keeping His Word. We need to store His word in our hearts. The starting point of our race lies in our hearts. We store His word like David in our hearts so that we do not fall short of His glory. We hold onto our hope and confidence that the Lord will bring us into our inheritance. The difference between us and the worldly is that the latter think they earned and deserve their success while we inherit our blessings. Our blessings come to us by inheritance in Jesus. It comes to us on account of our intimate relationship with the Lord as Father-child. Like the prodigal son, we do not deserve it. We deserve the pigsty but we inherit the house of the Lord. The house or life the Lord has built is not in vain. Our inheritance comes to us by grace. Grace produces gratitude while success breeds pride. Grace requires us to be patient.

There are two types of success- process success and end result success. Judged from both these criteria, those who are righteous by faith are more fulfilled than those who attempt to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Process success is on demo in his attitudes and methods while one is working towards a specific goal. End result success is what awaits one at the end of one’s efforts. The end of the race determines the ultimate success in the contest. The end of the worldly is strife and vanity- a podium of odium. The end of the righteous by faith is an abundance of peace and joy. The Lord will vindicate the faithful.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Master's House

UV 1583/10000 The Master’s House

For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Mark 13 v 34

Jesus is the master of the house. He has left His house to us, His servants. He has given us authority. He has given us certain gifts and resources. He has assigned us our roles and responsibilities. He has appointed watchmen to watch over us. We will have to give account of how we acquitted ourselves, how we spent the resources, used the talents and gifts given to us. Our trust in the Master based on our knowledge of His character and His expectations of us determines how we live. Faith is life transforming, talent multiplying, resource augmenting and purpose fulfilling. Those who do not have faith or trust will begin to think that the Master not being around for a long while will never return. They will breach the trust reposed in them by the Master. They will arrogate power to themselves and act without a sense of responsibility or trust.

The earth is the Master’s house. The faithful servants will always know that Jesus is the wonderful counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace , Eternal King and Compassionate Saviour. They know that these are not just empty high sounding lofty titles but real attributes of Jesus that are manifested day in and day out in their lives. To manifest God is to celebrate life. They will imitate the very same reverence the Son Jesus showed towards the Father. They will know that Jesus is always present. He is closer to them than their own skin. They acknowledge Jesus at every turn. They will work with all their hearts and all their strength, strain every nerve and muscle to please the Lord in their daily lives.

The faithful servants look forward to the return of the Master with hope while those who resent Him hope that He never ever comes back. The former make their “yeses” to be “yes” and their “nos” to be nos. They love the straight and narrow and avoid the paths that are lazy, crooked and that lead away from the house of the Lord. They keep their lamps shining and burning bright. They eagerly look for signs of the Lord’s return. When the Lord prospers them in their ways, they take no credit for it and attribute it entirely to the grace of the Master. The Lord expects not “eye service” or ‘lip service’ but “heart service.” The watchmen are the persons anointed by the Lord to watch over His flock of the faithful, to report the goings on in His house, to convey instructions and messages from the Lord to the faithful and to carry their burdens and issues to Him.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Heart of the Matter

UV 1582/10000 The Heart of the Matter
My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Psalm 45 v 1

We need to be stirred by noble themes that are embedded in scripture. Just as we inspire or breathe in air and derive oxygen from the mixture that is air, we need to inspire or breathe in the breath of God that is in scripture. It will quicken or bring to life our dormant spirit and our dormant gifts. We will be filled from the storehouse of God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Wisdom is that which is related to our choices and decisions in life. Understanding is related to people. Knowledge is related to this world. We will gain a heart of wisdom to recognize the things that are truly important in life to which we need to give our attention and energy. We will understand that of all persons, our relationship with God is the most significant. God will rule over our hearts and our lives as a king. We will give priority as we should to the Kingdom of God and we will enjoy speaking of the things of God. We will become spokespersons or messengers for the Lord in this world.

The spirit of the Lord will instruct our hearts and our hearts will instruct our mouths on how and what we should speak. We should store in our hearts many treasures of wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Naturally, the outflow from our mouths will also reflect what is stored in our hearts. Our words will record what the Lord has placed in our hearts. We will be like a pen that is held in the hand of the Lord to write on the hearts of people the Word of the Lord.

Our hearts and minds should be like spiritual sponges always absorbing the Word and naturally, every time we face some pressure in this world, what oozes out of us will be edifying or spiritually uplifting to those who hear or read what we write. People of this world act in an aberrant manner when they come under stress but the people who are disciplined by the Lord and are engrossed in His Word will maintain their equanimity and use it as opportunities to bring forth good fruit. Almost all the nine fruit of the spirit –love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control are embedded in our thoughts and manifested in some way or other through the mouth and tongue. Many people are quite disciplined in the way they express themselves in writing but are quite the opposite in the way they express themselves orally. As we increasingly meditate and practice the mind of Christ, we will speak the way we write. A writer always first goes to the heart of the matter about which he is writing and then builds up the case around it. Similarly, when we are speaking, we need to go to the heart of the matter and then build around it.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Process of Faith

UV 1581/10000 The Process of Faith
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Matthew 17 v 20

We begin life with the belief that some things are possible, some things are impossible and some things are in a dark area we do not know about. Faith is not a blind leap into the darkness. Rather it is walking into the light out of darkness. It is not leaning or limping on a crutch but the mustering of inner strength and spiritual resources. Faith enables one to meet great challenges with comparatively little strength or resources. A disproportionately small amount of total faith is enough to alter the contours of the most humungous problems. But the faith should be total, pure , undoubting -not resting on who we are but on whose we are, on knowing who God is and that He is both capable and willing to do the impossible triggered by the smallness of our faith. The power of faith lies in our mouths. Apart from holding an inner strong belief, we should express or confess that faith positively for Jesus said, “… say to the mountain.” The mountain is a metaphor for a huge issue or challenge. Jesus is telling us that we need not face or climb the mountain but that we can command it to be removed. Even the biggest of giants cannot move a mountain. But we are given mountain-moving power through the process of faith. Reason and human rationale based on our experiences and conditioning hitherto is itself a huge mountain that limits us. Faith enables us to overcome the limits imposed on us by reason and experience. Our ability to move things or cause that which we hope for to happen is no longer limited by the extent of our strength but by the extent of our faith. It is said that we see things not as they are but as we are. Through faith we begin to see things not as we are but as God sees it. Nothing is impossible for us as nothing is impossible for God. Faith transforms each of us into Joseph, the dreamer-doer.

An inner belief accompanied or followed by an outer expression of faith in what we want to see accomplished has amazing miracle-working power to heal, deliver, resolve and save. The context of this uni-verse is that the disciples came up against a mountain, a wall. They could not heal a young man who suffered from a severe mental illness. They were telling themselves that this disease is too difficult for them to heal. When we pray we should experience the strength of faith in our hearts and souls, see the possibility of that which we prayed for or the promise that we claimed and then our mouths should agree with our hearts and minds. To begin with our minds go through this process when we come up against a mountain: 1. The situation is impossible 2. I can do nothing 3. I am helpless 4. Nothing is impossible for God 5. The Lord can help me in this situation 6. The Lord is helping me 7. The impossible is possible 8. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens my faith. By step 3, we are up against an implacable wall. Step 4- the mustard seed of faith that seemed dormant is waking up- we realize that we are not alone in this universe, that there is Someone out there who can help us. Step 5: The problem is resolved, the miracle has happened. By Step 6, our faith is greatly strengthened. The mustard seed is sprouting and becoming one of the greatest of plants. By step 7 and 8: the mustard plant is bearing fruit for the glory of God.

The book of Proverbs says that the power of death and life lies in the human tongue. The power of death is the power of disbelief, disobedience to God, sin and negativity. Faith in our hearts cures our mouth of the power of death. Hereafter, the kingdom of God rules and reigns over our mouths. The kingdom of God is not one of eating and drinking. The tongue is meant to taste but not exclusively to eat and drink. The kingdom of God is one of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Our mouths will have mountain-moving power when they express what is in our hearts- our faith in the Lord and our consequent enjoyment of righteousness, peace and spiritual joy.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 9, 2015

Faith, Focus, Passion, Discipline, Stamina and Endurance

UV 1580/10000 Faith, Focus, Passion, Discipline, Stamina and Endurance
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12 v 1

We are surrounded by a living compass or circle of human beings who believed in God, His Son Jesus and His word. The chief of these witnesses or role models is Jesus Himself who showed us the way to salvation. He laid down His body to enable us to tread that path. The compass around us is not just great in terms of numbers but in terms of the examples men and women of faith set. They set their faces like flint and moved in the direction Jesus asked them to take. They did not flinch or fear but in everything they did and spoke, they bore witness of what they had seen and experienced in their lives. They set aside anything that hindered their faith or anything that made them ineffective. They did not get entangled with the world but moved ahead with a clarity of vision and fullness of passion.

We are in it for the long haul. We are running not a sprint but a long endurance race, not even a marathon but a lifelong one. We have to run not according to the rules of men but those set by the Lord. It is not a test of speed or endurance but of our faith. We will go through different tests and experiences much like the compass of witnesses who surround us. We need to remember their example- of how they gave of their best to the Lord, of how focussed they were on their goals of how undeterred they were of great troubles, trials and difficulties. They were not worn out or discouraged. They did not doubt or want to turn back like the Israelites when they faced the rigour of the wilderness that they wanted to return to the bondage of Egypt. We are to be focussed and motivated by the fulfilment of the promise of the Lord. We are to be encouraged by the comfort and strength we find in the presence of the Lord.

When we run alone, it is called race and we want it to end fast. But when we run with the Lord, it is called grace. Grace is the abundant supply by the Lord of precisely that which we sorely lack. Whether it is faith, focus, passion, discipline, stamina or endurance- the Lord will supply what we lack. We will run and not grow weary. The Lord will renew our strength and enable us to overcome, to finish well. It is only when we get side-tracked or distracted by temptations or doubt due to challenges and difficulties that we begin to slack. Every day as we run we should ask ourselves, “ What is weighing me down? What is slowing me and taking me off track?” To run a race it requires discipline while training and stamina while running. Jesus ran the most difficult stretch of the race. He fixed His eyes on the cross and did not count it a loss to endure the great pain, shame and suffering on the cross. We only need to fix our eyes on the best spiritual athlete of history and keep running till we pass on the baton of faith to the next generation. We should encourage ourselves with the stories of discipline and sacrifice of the large number of the faithful who ran before us.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Rule of Love

UV 1579/10000 The Rule of Love
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Acts 5 v 42

The temple is the house of God and our houses are the temple of God. When Jesus is the cornerstone at all four corners of our homes, every stone and every part of our lives becomes consecrated or dedicated to the service of the Creator and Redeemer. The apostles devoted themselves to teach and to preach the good news about Jesus every day and not just one day in the week. Human beings by nature are seekers of good news, news that bring hope, joy, comfort and cheer into our lives. Everything that is good in nature and in the supernatural is personified in Jesus. He represents the best and noblest of the divine in the human being.

Napoleon, a man of this world who had millions die to help him fulfil his earthly ambitions eventually acknowledged the greatness of Jesus and His mission in these words:
“I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.” The apostles had just faced trial before the Council of the High Priests and Gamaliel had persuaded the others to let them go for if what they teach is from man, it will not sustain but fail and perish on its own. If it is from God, they would only be fighting against God. Jesus proved that the greatest power is the power of love and He proved that His love is the greatest. His empire of love has outlasted the empires of the world and its call and appeal is timeless and eternal. His name itself became the password to eternity.

The only way to win against God is to surrender. To struggle against Him is to kick against the thorns. The thorns of life are pointers to the throne or the rule of love of the Lord. Like in the story of Androcles and the lion, Jesus removes the thorn of sin that is hurting our paw and keeps us from walking straight. The lion represents anything terrible and painful like death, sickness and suffering. When Jesus removes the painful thorn from our lives, we are filled with love for Him and are willing to do anything and even die for His name. Our nature is transformed from that of a beast into someone resembling the best.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 6, 2015


UV 1578/10000 @
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4 v 7
In this one uni-verse, the Lord makes it clear that it is our attitude quotient that makes all the difference between true success and fulfilment and failure. In the first instance of sibling rivalry in recorded history, Cain was angry that his sibling Abel had won favour with God with his sacrifice of the best in his view of the firstfruit of his flock as against Cain’s offering of some of his agricultural produce. Abel’s offering was wholehearted – he gave of his best. He did so out of his love and reverence for the Creator. Cain gave less than his best. If attitude quotient is represented by @ then Cain’s attitude is @=anger+sadness+resentment+jealousy=satan or sin ruling over his heart, mind and life. That kind of powerful cocktail of emotions tries to overpower him but God urges him to master or overcome it. Cain listens to the counsel of the wicked and commits the first murder in recorded history of Abel, his own brother. His motive and his emotions control his body and he does violence to his own. Cain allowed the enemy to occupy a part of his heart. With just a wedge or a toe hold, he can make a stronghold. A little compromise is sufficient to negate promise and potential. Thereafter, one can only seek comfort as Cain cried out to God as he could not bear the punishment for his crime. Abel’s blood itself became a precursor or foreshadow of the Messiah Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

If Cain’s attitude quotient was right, he had the equal opportunity of having good standing in the sight of God. Cain wanted to get even with Abel by eliminating him so that he would never be a threat to his well being again. In so doing, he sealed his fate literally. To this day, our attitude quotient determines our actions and the consequences we face in life. Lucifer representing rebellion, pride, ignorance, folly lies at the door of our hearts waiting to enter and dominate or lead us from within to become restless wanderers on earth. Jesus stands at the door of our hearts as a good Shepherd waiting to enter, help us, save us, lead us into eternal life.

Jesus spelt out what our attitude quotient should be. We should always be @peace,@humility,@righteousness,@mercy,@purity,@endurance,@joy,@contentment. These are the spiritual mail ids where the Lord delivers the promised blessings we are praying for and expecting. It is God’s will that we should do well, be blessed and live by grace. If we neglect our attitude quotient and be careless like Cain, we will be destined to be restless wanderers on this earth, finding neither rest nor peace on earth or in the life hereafter. One question we can keep asking ourselves is : what am I @ right now? Am I at peace with God and man? Am I humble? Am I faithful? Am I merciful? Am I pure? Am I contented? Then we will discern where we are. We can seek God’s grace to fill the gaps wherever and whenever we come short.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Telescoping Study of Life and Fulfilment-1-7-9-12

UV 1577/10000 A Telescoping Study of Life and Fulfilment:
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Exodus 3 v 14

We can telescope the revelation of God through His name Jehovah or “ I Am Who I Am” to the seven manifestations in Jesus when He claimed that He is the Bread of Life, the Light of Life, the Door, the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection and the Life, the Way, the Truth and the Life and the True Vine. All our quotidian or daily need as well as eternal need is met in these seven manifestations. Further, let us telescope to Jesus’s statement that “rivers of life-giving water will flow out of our hearts” through the indwelling Holy Spirit. These rivers are manifested in the nine fruit of the spirit: love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. These are like nine streams flowing through our lives every day. Our spiritual being dries up when these rivers cease to flow.

Let us now telescope the vision to the final manifestation as revealed in the book of Revelations: As the nine rivers or stream flow unceasingly in our souls, twelve types of fruit are produced, one every month, implying that our lives will neither be vain, empty or barren but productive, creative and blessed. In these visions and manifestations, the Lord promises that all of our need- spirit, mind and body will be met in full. Our faith should have the quality of patience that even Abraham’s faith lacked- to wait till His will is revealed and His will is fulfilled. His will was revealed in a promise to Abraham and Sarah but His will takes time to get fulfilled at the divinely appointed hour. Many of us are not willing to wait during this gap period and try to jump the gun as Sarah did in offering Hagar her slave
as a kind of surrogate mother. Hagar’s son can only be Ishmael and not Isaac. He is not fully a legit son to Abraham but a “kind of” or a “ make do”- a substitute. God always does what is fully legit. He does not deal with a “kind of”. Sarah and Abraham did not have the fullest revelation of God that came with the manifestation of the seven identities of Jesus. They did not know that Jesus could bring her dead womb to life when she was close to hundred. They decided to go for a natural and rational substitute. Today, every need of every human being, every leader, every manager can be met fully in one or other or combination of the identities of Jesus. We have the Light of Life in us and hence,we are the light of life, we have the answer to every problem of darkness. We are God’s answer in today’s world to every problem of darkness. Since we have the light of life in us, we have the rivers of peace, joy, goodness, love flowing in our hearts. God gave the outline and Jesus filled in the details of our life and its fulfilment. The alternative is to go for less than legit natural substitutes like Abraham and Hagar did.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Internal Judge

UV 1577/10000 The Internal Judge
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart
Hebrews 4 v 12
The Word of God is effective. It is the sword of the Spirit. It is the weapon that the Spirit uses to shape our faith and our character. Unlike lethal weapons, it gives life and does not take life. Indeed, the most powerful weapons are not those that take life but give life and mould life to be what the Creator intended it to be. The Word in our mouths is a sword or a spiritual weapon that proceeds from our mouths. It is used to do spiritual surgery within our inmost being. It is double edged as it affects our present and our future. It affects the lives of the speaker and the listener. It penetrates the deepest part of our bodies, minds and souls.

The Word is alive and active. It is like an internal judge, coach and guide sitting inside us giving us a pre-view of life. The Word pre-judges us. In other words, when we willingly and gladly examine our lives with the help of the Word, we are judging ourselves according to the absolute standards of righteousness of the Lord. The Word says that “ If you judge yourself, you will not be judged.” It discerns or finds out the motives behind every thought, word and action. It throws light on the dark, subtle and secret parts of our inner being. It heals us of our sinful urges and proclivities. The Word acts quickly or in the twinkle of an eye. It acts promptly. It discerns our need and throws up the very answer we need. The Word is not about religion but about “realigion”.
We cannot discern where the mind ends and the spirit begins but the Word does a kind of forensic analysis of our being and shows us the finiteness of our mind and the infinite range and scope of the spirit. The Word offers real solutions to the problems and challenges we face in this world. The Word gives us access to supernatural grace and resources. Leadership and management literature does not give answers to how to resolve our inner issues, how to discern one’s own motives and the direction of one’s own conduct. Why would a nobel laureate sexually harass a junior colleague? Why would a World Bank President sexually assault a hotel maid? Why would a US President have clandestine contacts with an intern? The positions these persons occupied probably gave them a sense of immunity. They thought they would not be questioned or judged. They did not discern their own motives or actions resulting in huge damage to their reputations. Holding the Word in one’s heart for a long period of time is not a guarantee of moral preservation for the moment the Word departs from our hearts, we are level with everyone else and prone once again to misjudgement. David had all his youth kept himself from temptations but when he was at the height of his power and fame as a military conqueror and king, the Word departed from Him and he departed from the Word. He lost his path as he did not hold the Word to illumine every step he took as a man holds a lamp to light up the steps just ahead. We cannot see too far but just enough to move forward day by day, moment by moment. At each point of choice, the Word will tell us quite clearly, “Choose this way – it leads to life, abundant and eternal. Choose that way- it leads to death, misery and suffering.”

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Cause To Celebrate

UV 1576/10000 A Cause to Celebrate
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Luke 15 v 32
The younger son partied without cause and without restraint. He quickly ran out of the money he had collected from his father as his share of his inheritance. His father rejoiced on seeing him return alive though apparently downcast and depressed. He found it a cause for celebration and ordered a feast to mark the occasion. The lost son was found again. The dead son had come alive. Similarly, when we take what we have in this world and do just what we want, we are like the lost son. We are dead to the Father. But He rejoices when we return to Him and acknowledge that we have fallen short of his expectations. He will place on our finger again His signet ring- the sign that He has made us a ruler in His house- a house with many mansions. He gives us the new robes of salvation.

The experience of salvation is one of restoration. We are blind to the Father’s love. But now we see a whole new world open before our eyes. We will never leave the Father’s house again. It is one of resurrection- we are spiritually dead though physically alive. The Lord revives us and calls us to life. It is an experience of being lost without hope. But the Lord finds us while we are lost and enables us to find all that we were seeking in vain this far in His embrace. Salvation is a continual spiritual feast in the company of Jesus where we feast on the wonderful promises of God. We have a commitment to keep our newly gifted clothes clean. We have the authority delegated by the Father over the spiritual and material world. We have the spirit of gladness and the joy of salvation that no one can take away from us hereafter.

The younger son’s repentance brought more joy to the Father’s heart than the self righteousness of the elder. We cannot enter the presence of a perfect Father on the strength of our own goodness. But when we go to Him with a broken and contrite spirit, He more than restores us. He makes us feel like a returning hero. He does not remind us of our past but beckons us to enjoy the present and live forever. The younger son had violated every good principle the Father had taught him while he lived a wild life on his own. He had killed his conscience. Yet when he had hit rock bottom and lived off a pig sty, he remembered his Father’s house and had an urge to return. As long there is the urge to return, there is hope of salvation. The Father did not work up His feeling on seeing his son return but all along while his son lavished his passions and his money on a wasteful life, He remembered him and pined for him. The extent of the Father’s love enabled Him to forgive without limits: this is the meaning of grace. While the younger son lived in the Father’s house, he thought he was entitled to certain rights and privileges but when he returned, he knew he did not deserve anything. Whatever we receive from the Father is unmerited, undeserved and is grace. The Father celebrates with a feast but we celebrate with a feast of gratitude in our hearts for undeserved love, unmerited blessings and unearned promises.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Praising Tongue is A Discipled One

UV 1575/10000 A Praising Tongue is A Disciplined One
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
Psalm 50 v 23
Praise is an offering of one’s soul. It is a recognition that he or she is unworthy of any kind of appreciation and the Lord alone is the object of adulation and worship. When we praise God, it pleases Him and it fulfils and blesses us. We are fulfilling the purpose of our being created and formed uniquely in His image. Our tongues or faculty of speech are formed not to criticise each other or to boast or to quarrel but to offer genuine thanksgiving from a heart of gratitude and authentic worship from a heart of reverence. Praise is a natural reflex to the awesomeness of God. It is motivated not out of fear or admiration but out of love for He first loved us and taught us to love in turn. The word “ whoso” implies that regardless of one’s background, race, class, religion or denomination, we have a natural tendency to worship God. Worship is in fact a deeper need and longing than even sex or hunger. In worship not just our tongues but our entire being is intermingled with the Lord. The human soul is satisfied in worship alone. The mainstream writing on management and leadership omits these elements of our communication addressed to God and to each other and that accounts for the fact that most leaders and people emerge half-baked and unfulfilled.

A tongue that is used for praise and worship is a tongue that is disciplined, whose speech is edifying or beneficial to hearers. It follows the disciplines of truth, love, kindness, humility and goodness. These disciplines are like filters that are applied to every word that is uttered. A disciplined tongue is also a discipled tongue. It implies that we learn the wholesome pattern of speech that Jesus used and that the apostles learnt at His feet. The same tongue that is consecrated for worship cannot obviously be used for less than noble purposes. As St James wrote, “ Sweet and bitter water cannot flow from the same spring.” Our hearts and minds are the spring of eternal life. From it should flow conversation that is orderly, pleasing, useful for building up the hope and faith of others. We should yield our tongues to the Holy Spirit to sanctify and discipline it. We cannot have a forked tongue, one part to speak good and another to spout venom. St James says rightly that if any of us lacks wisdom, he should ask the Lord who will liberally give wisdom. We need spiritual wisdom that is gentle, peaceable, kind, loving and humble in order to discipline our tongues.

The mouth will speak what the heart is full of. We should be wary of what we store in our hearts in terms of memories. If we store bitterness, it can only bring forth bitterness. If our heart is full of the treasures of the Word, it can bring forth the pure, unadulterated and living truths that apply to daily life, leadership and management. Our tongues should be used to magnify the Lord in the lives of people just as a magnifying lens focuses the light of the sun on a piece of paper or straw to set it on fire. When we so discipline our tongues or offer it to such discipline, the uni-verse holds the wonderful promise of the Lord that He will show us His salvation. Showing us His salvation implies that the Lord will manifest His mercy, grace, love and power- the very attributes that are the focus of our praise- in amazing ways in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Faith, Image and Imagination

UV 1574/10000 Faith, Image and Imagination
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1 v 27

Man has taken the word “ image” and diluted or distorted it to mean only an impression, the outer view of a person or organisation. In the original, image is the real and authentic self, the inner being of a human, whether male or female. The parallel for this uni-verse is Jesus’s declaration that “ the kingdom of God lies within us and among us.” The divine image or the divine rule, vision,power, influence and leadership lies within us. Whether we chose to conform to this divine rule and leadership from within us or succumb to the call of the external forces and influences is entirely up to each individual. Whatever be our circumstances, we have a certain inner space to grow in the image of God as He has intended. Every human being is created in the image of God and that implies an inherent respect and love for our fellow beings and tolerance of our apparent differences. When we do violence in anything we think, speak and do to our fellow beings, we are doing violence to God Himself. Both male and female are created in the image of God and hence, it rules out gender disparity or discrimination. Since we are all created in the image of God, we are equal. Since we are created in the image of God, our greatest and most fulfilling relationship necessarily has to be with God Himself. Since we are created in the image of God, we have an inner urge to realize and release His goodness, power, wisdom, love and other attributes in our lives. Since we are created in His image, we too can be creative and create things from virtually nothing. Since we are created in His image, we have personal autonomy and are free to choose. We can make out that all the deep concepts of leadership and governance like freedom, equality, authority, fulfilment, development arise from this uni-verse.

Image, then is who we really are and the way God sees us. Do we see ourselves as a creation of God with a special calling, abilities, potential and destiny? Do we see ourselves as children of God? Do we see ourselves as servants of God who are executing His will in our lives? Do we look to God for our upliftment, our advancement, our source of help? Our sinful choices since birth for we are sinful from conception lead us away from the image of God and distorts His image. Jesus redeems our image and restores us to the very image of God. Like Jesus, today we are the visible image of the invisible God- a great and tremendous responsibility in which the Holy Spirit helps us in real time to fulfil.
Faith has a lot to do with imagination. Both faith and imagination thinks of things that are not as if they are already. Reason helps us to take patient and consistent steps to turn things that are not into a reality. Reason or rationality or the ability to think, to ask questions and find answers becomes a servant and not the master of our souls or our image. We have two types of DNA- the DNA of our parents that determine our sex, our features, colour, physical aspects of our bodies and the dna or divine nature of Christ in us who unifies us once again with the Father in heaven. Satan intended the fall of man to divorce God from man but it actually resulted in the Creator-creation relationship between God and man being deepened and transformed as Father-child relationship. The ability of man to fulfil or realize his divine nature became more feasible as all the resources of the Lord God are now accessible to every human being. Hamartia or shortcoming or the power of sin is banned forever. The grace or abundant power of God fills all the gaps between our need and the provision, between our goals and our abilities, between the reality of our human nature and the potential of our divine nature. We begin to resemble God in our thoughts, words and actions. We will only be never however be equal with God for we are only a reflection of the Creator and Redeemer both in His creative and redemptive functions.

Prateep V Philip

Eagle-like Leadership

UV 1573/10000 Eagle-like Leadership
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:

Deuteronomy 31 v 11

An eagle is one of the strongest as well as most regal of birds. Though it is known for its ruthlessness with its prey, it is extremely caring as a parent to its young. The eagle has a long life of almost human life span of seventy years. Its wings are long and powerful. It can instantly move up to great heights and remain afloat close to the clouds. It is tireless. It is focussed on its objectives whether to obtain a prey or to train its young to fly. The eagle’s eye as the expression goes implies nothing escapes the attention of the eagle even as it hovers high above. The eagle makes its nest on the mountain cliff. Once the young eaglets are ready for flight in the judgement of the mother eagle, the eagle stirs its nest or disturbs it so that the young ones are forced to learn to fly. The parent eagle hovers over and catches the young on its pinions should they fall perilously down the cliff. Initially, the young eaglets go hurtling down the cliff before they pick up strength and courage to flap their own wings and attempt to fly.

In life and leadership, the Lord God deals with mankind as the mother eagle deals with its young. Apparently, the eagle cares for the eaglets and does not want the young to stay longer than necessary in the comfort of the nest. The eagle nudges the eaglets to venture to the edge of the nest and stirs or disturbs the soft upper layers of the nest so that the thorns and thistles in the lower levels make the nest even less comfortable and inviting to stay. Eaglets are born to fly or the inherent capacity to fly high in the skies. Even so we are born to lead. God has intended that every child of His discovers and fulfils his or her full potential. He hovers over us as we learn to live and lead even as the mother eagle looks out for other predators and threats to the lives of the eaglets. Once the eaglets have learnt to fly and are confident, the mother eagle moves away so that they too can form their own nest and have their own young

At times in its life, the eagle stays on the cliff and shed all its feathers and begin to grow new ones. Similarly, we too should return to the Lord and renew our strength, renew our hope, faith and joy. The Lord will bear us on the wings of prayer and the Word. His very shadow or presence in our lives is like a mountain fastness. An eagle is most powerful not when it is resting on a branch of a tree but while it is flying. Similarly, we are most formidable while we are praying, meditating or studying the Word. The eagle’s pinions are the long feathers of its wings. The pinions of the Lord on which He catches us while we are falling from great heights and in mid-flight are His promises. The curved beak and the talons of the eagle are its defence against more powerful predators. These are the tough side of our personalities which is seen when we have to take hard or tough decisions at certain points in our lives. The eagle takes its strong foes off the ground –for instance, a serpent is carried into the air where it is helpless against the eagle’s tearing beak and claws. A strong leader should also know what his or her advantages are and what strategies to adopt against different adversaries. We are called to be strong as the eagle and gentle as the dove. We are to love our enemies but to stay away from their claws and clutches.

Prateep V Philip