Saturday, December 31, 2016

Expect the New

UV 2161/10000 Expect the New
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43 v 19

The Lord who is the Creator of all things and all creatures is able to renew our lives. He gives us a fresh start each day with each sunrise and the rising of Jesus in our hearts as the Sun of Righteousness. He is able to bring forth hope in our hearts even in absolutely hopeless situations. The “desert” metaphor stands for this kind of barrenness in our lives for not a blade of grass could grow in the extreme climate of the Egyptian desert through which the nation of Israel was led. It could not grow as there was not a drop of water. Yet the Lord in His mercy made rivers of water available to soothe the parched throats of the Israelites. Once He frees us from the slavery to sin, death and satan, the Lord blesses our provisions – our stores of food and water.

There was also no clear pathway in the desert sand but the Lord went ahead of the people of Israel as a dense cloud by day and a fire by night. Similarly, the cloud of His presence leads us even today. He communicates to us out of the cloud- I call this cloud communication as opposed to cloud computing. He lights a fire of faith in our hearts and minds so that we believe in Him, in ourselves, our dreams and hopes for a better life than before. In the contemporary darkness and madness of violence and greed in this world, the Lord acts as the light to guide us step by step, moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month and year to year. The things the Lord does to us and for us is hidden and secret. But He brings forth the hidden treasures meant for us out of darkness. The hidden treasure may not be gold or jewels but a new word the Lord speaks to us in our hour of dire need.

Life in this world is like travelling through wilderness. Every day looks similar like every tree in the woods. There are no red flags to highlight risky paths, no markers to help us navigate in the direction we ought to go. There are a lot of red herrings thrown in by the enemy of our souls to divert us, to distract us, to make us take a detour that leads us off the path and direction we should be taking in life. But the Lord creates a clear highway for the manger leader or manager to take. There is no shelter on the way but the Lord Himself becomes the rock shelter in the “dry and weary land.” The Lord will bring forth fresh spring water of blessings from the rock to refresh and renew us. Just as a spring never dries up unlike a river, the Lord remains our eternal spring. When is the time the Lord will do these “new” things in and for us: today and now as stated in the uni-verse. So we need to look forward with hope, expectation and faith to every present moment. He knows the end from the beginning and He wants to give us the expected end.

Prateep V Philip
*Wish all faithful readers a Blessed New Year 2017 in which you will experience in truth and reality all the above.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Transformation- A Two Way Process

UV 2160/10000 Transformation- A Two Way Process
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5 v 17

Jesus is the Word of reconciliation between God and man, between man and man, between man and woman, between the past, present and the future, between spirit, mind and body. The implanting of the Word in the manger leader or manager initiates a new creature in him. Two processes happen simultaneously in the manger leader or manager- one of living for Christ, in Christ, by Christ and another of dying to the self, dying to the flesh, dying to the ego, dying to sin, dying to lusts, dying to the world. He has to cleave to the Lord and to leave the world. He has to cling to good and let go of what is evil. The first process builds us up. The second process breaks down all the negatives in our lives. Together, these two processes constitute renewal and transformation.

The first time God created man in His image, He did it on a single day. Now, the second act of creating our inner selves in the image of Christ is done over our lifetime on earth. The first time we were created, we were made distinct from all other species with a soul and a spirit. But we had no participation in the act of creation. Man was given the power to name or label every creature and plant. Man was also given the power of domination or leadership. But, man by a single act of disobedience developed the spirit of disobedience or rebellion against the godly order. The second time we are created in the image of Christ by faith and it therefore, it involves our participation. We are now invested with the self same spirit of Christ- of reverence and obedience of the Father. He is now become our justification, our sanctification, our redemption, our salvation, our wisdom, our righteousness and our strength. The first time God created man, He left him and visited him. Now, the Lord never leaves us. He is with us as the immanent God and Saviour.

Jesus said, “Do not put new wine in an old bottle.” Accordingly, He put the new spirit of obedience in a new heart, a heart of flesh and not of stone for as soon as man rebelled against God, his spiritual heart shrivelled and died. As a result, the manger leader has a new and eternal perspective. For the manger leader or manager, that the Lord is with him, is the greatest joy, the greatest strength, the greatest wisdom, the greatest power, the greatest wealth and pleasure. The manger leader has a new vision of life, a new sense of priorities. He is no longer driven by his own passions and desires but by the purpose the Lord has created him and redeemed him for.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Leadership By Grace

UV 2159/10000 Leadership By Grace
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4 v 16

Jesus has by His death and resurrection absolved us by the first act of all sin, gives us hope of eternal life by His second act of rising from the dead. He is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven as our advocate, intercessor and High Priest. On account of these we can enter boldly the court of the Lord and approach His throne to obtain both mercy and grace. Grace is beautifully defined or described in this uni-verse as the divine help God gives us in our time of need. The manger leader or manager ‘s testimony is always, “ I once was blind but now I see by grace.”

A manger leader or manager does not enter the presence of the Lord on his own merits but on the basis of the justification provided by Jesus. The word “justification” means to “make straight.” The Lord is the One who has made our ways straight, our hearts straight. We live and walk in the “street called Straight.” It is the narrow way. It is the more uncomfortable way. If we move a little to the left or to the right, we will be hurt like Balaam the prophet on his “prophetic donkey.” Jesus as our High Priest who once was fully human walked this narrow path and remained faithful and victorious till the end. Though vulnerable as humans, He proved Himself to be the Mighty God. He did not yield to temptations or pressures. He knows our shortcomings and supplies what we lack by His abundant mercy and grace.

Manger leadership and management is not about self righteousness as there is nothing to be proud of in terms of our character or our abilities. It is leadership and management by grace. It involves boldness, courage, initiative, dynamism and confidence based not on our physical or intellectual attributes or expertise. It is not based on good luck or intuition but on the favour of the Lord. Like Jesus, the manger leader or manager grows in wisdom( Decisional Intelligence) and in knowledge( Intellectual Intelligence) and in favour with God(Spiritual Intelligence) and man( Emotional and Social Intelligence). Decisional Intelligence is about making the right choices consistently and to be able to identify at an early stage if one has made any wrong choice and take prompt steps to correct it or at least contain the damage. Since the Lord is the only One who knows the end from the beginning of everything that exists and will ever exist, He gives the manger leader guidance by way of prompters, pointers and markers through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and through the shaping of circumstances.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

All Round Prosperity, Peace and Progress

UV 2158/10000 All Round Prosperity, Peace and Progress

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth
3 John 1 v 2

In today’s parlance, this would read as “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” The manger leader or manager is a well wisher of all including his friends, followers and foes. He desires above all that they prosper in spirit and mind and body. He prays for holistic prosperity, health, well being and all round peace for all people. True health is not just physical but it is also mental and spiritual. The average leader or manager works for only financial prosperity- only one parameter matters- the bottom line of profits. True prosperity is not just financial, it is also emotional, intellectual, social, familial and spiritual. The body, mind and spirit are closely integrated and if the needs of one part is not met, the other parts also suffer. The manger leader is not concerned only with his health and well being but that of his staff and clients.

That said, the prosperity of the soul or the mind in conjunction with the spirit is the most fundamental need of human being. We cannot afford to gain all that is good in this world and lose our soul. The soul has an eternal and infinite value. In order to save it, God gave His own Son as saviour and sacrifice for all humanity. Our faith in Him is not static but dynamic and growing. It affects positively all aspects of our lives- spirit, mind and body. It enables us to live positively. The manger leader or manager knows that it is not enough to just think positive but it is necessary to believe positive, dream positive, speak positive, feel positive, act positive and react positive to even the most negative situations and people.

As manger leaders or managers, we should not let success or for that matter, failure to interfere with our happiness. We do not place success on the altar of our soul for it belongs to God alone. We do not place self or any other on the throne of our soul for it belongs to Jesus alone. We do not have to sacrifice our happiness, health or well being for the sake of temporal success. Inner well being is as important, if not more, as external prosperity. Inner well being depends on our attitudes. If we are rooted in Christ and growing in Him, we will reflect the attitudes that Jesus extolled in the beatitudes: being repentant, being empathetic with the suffering, being merciful, being a peace maker, being meek and humble, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, being pure, being willing to pay a price for standing for the truth. These attitudes when they fructify into attributes of the manger leader or manager manifest as the nine fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Prosperity of the soul implies that we abound in these fruit in our inner life and its manifestations in our relationships. The manger leader is contented with what he has, with what God has blessed him with, but he is willing to work for more. He exercises the hope and option of progress. He does not confuse contentment with complacency.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Manger Leader's Source of Strength

UV 2157/10000 The Manger Leader’s Source of Strength
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness

Isaiah 41 v 10

The manger leader or manager has no fear. His confidence and trust is in God. He is assured of the Lord’s presence with Him at all times, in the valley of the shadow of death as well as in the land of the living. The presence of God is the source of his strength, competence, resources. He humbles himself before God and entrusts all of his concerns, desires, challenges to the Lord. He knows that God is with him as an everlasting Father who will never leave him nor forsake him. He does not trust in earthly riches or power or position. He believes in the generous provision and absolute security the Lord provides. He knows he will never have cause for disappointment or regret as long as he walks in His LIGHT- His love, His integrity, His grace; as long as he reflects the “ be happy” attitudes that Jesus extolled in the sermon on the mount, as long as he walks in truth.

The manger leader or manager recognizes that God’s grace is sufficient for him. He knows that God who said He is the I AM can be all things he needs him to be. He believes in the justice and power of God as the Mighty One who will vindicate, deliver, extricate him, honour him, bless him abundantly. The manger leader does not however shirk his own responsibilities. He goes the extra mile to excel in whatever he does for he does it in the name of God. He lives by the credo of devotion to God, dedication of all efforts to God, determination to set and achieve targets, discipline to control his own desires, emotions and actions and diligence in all matters.

The uni-verse promises that if there is a shortfall in anything, the Lord will help us. He will strengthen us in our resolve, our faith, our faculties. He will impart wisdom and guidance. If we fall short of our goals, He will support us. He will equip us to make good the gap. The manger leader or manager has an attitude of dependence on God and interdependence with other people. He uses all the God-sent opportunities. He employs all the available God-given resources. He does not suffer excessive stress or executive burn out as he never feels or acts as if he is overloaded. He is neither proud of his own strengths or ashamed of his weaknesses as he has dedicated the former to the Strongest One – the Almighty and he considers his weaknesses opportunities for God to manifest His grace and power.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Spoils of War and of Peace

UV 2156/10000 The Spoils of War and Peace

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
Isaiah 9 v 3

The word joy to the manger leader or manager means “Jesus owns you.” He or she is a servant or steward of the Lord. Formerly, he was abducted by the enemy and was possessed by him but now he has been ransomed or bought back by Jesus. The ownership of God of man has been restored forever. This produces the euphoric feeling of victory. The joy is similar to that a farmer experiences when he sees that the fruit of all his labour, his sowing, fencing, ploughing, watering, tending, praying, hoping is about to be harvested. The harvest will meet his own need for bread or food, that of his family and others. Since we are living souls and God is the harvester, we can rejoice along with the harvester in our salvation. We are not the chaff or hay that is meant for burning but the souls that are ready for harvest. The Lord of the harvest, being the Multiplier He is, multiplies our talents, our abilities, our resources, our impact, our contributions, our victories, our blessings. We should not grudge it when He multiplies our challenges and difficulties to make of us a better farmer, a greater soldier.

The joy the manger leader or manager enjoys is the result of a struggle, a battle, a war in the spiritual realms. Each soul is wrested from the abductor and his forces of captivity. The cords and bonds with which he has tied up humankind are torn asunder by the Prince of Peace. Hence, we enjoy the spoils of war and peace. The spoils of war are the blessings in place of curses that we inherit in Christ. The spoils of peace are the eternal rewards we receive in heaven. The Old Testament records the raid that Abraham did with his band of loyal fighters on the Midianites camp to recover his captured servants, women folk and cattle. Similarly, we do surgical strikes on the enemy camp and celebrate our victory in Christ by sharing the spoils of war. We take back what rightly belongs to us, what has been stolen from us, our spiritual inheritance of peace, joy and everlasting life.

The manger leader or manager is a farmer in peace time and a soldier in a time of war. He is patient and hardworking as a farmer. He is as brave, disciplined and loyal as a soldier. As a farmer, he is diligent and does appropriate things at the apt time and in due season. As a soldier, he is always in training for warfare. As a farmer, he watches out for the pests and birds of prey and keeps these at bay. As a soldier, he stands guard and alert at all times. As a farmer, his tools are the yoke of Jesus to plough, his seed are the gospel of transformation, the believers and followers of Jesus are the flock. As a soldier, his weapon is the Word that he brandishes in fervent prayer. His shield is his faith in the whole Word of God. His shoes are the Commander-in-Chief ’s call to go where he sends him. The truths he has learnt and applies in his life are the belt that ties up and holds his armour in place. His helmet of assurance of salvation is indestructible and impenetrable even as his ear pieces allow him to hear even the whisper of the spirit. The farmer divides the spoils of peace. The soldier in us divides the spoils of war. A man of all seasons is able to turn the threshing rod into a sword and the sword into a threshing rod.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Immanence, Transcendence and Omnicompetence

UV 2155/10000 Immanence, Transcendence and Omnicompetence of The Manger Leader

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7 v 14

God is with us through the presence of Jesus in four dimensions- Mighty God who renders justice to all- the righteous and the unrighteous, the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, the meek and the powerful. Wonderful Counsellor- who gives amazing directions, counsel and guides us in wisdom in our everyday situations and predicaments. Everlasting Father in His loving embrace, acceptance, protection, provision and promotion of us. Prince of Peace who preserves us from the curses of disobedience and rebellion against the perfect order of God and the wiles of the enemy to steal our peace, rob our joy, kill our hope. When we are grafted onto the good root of Jesus by our faith and commitment of our hearts and lives, we will experience each of these dimensions in our everyday lives, culminating in our salvation. He does not hesitate to give us signs of His presence, His power, His attributes, His sovereignty. He lives in us and with us. We are His living tabernacle. He does not live in man-made tabernacle. We are the housing of the Spirit of God as He chose to live in our God-made and ordained bodies.

Since “ God is with us” in the four dimensions described in Isaiah 9 v 6, the manger leader or manager always has access to unlimited love, power, wisdom and peace. Though he appears externally to be weak, poor, unimpressive, ineffective, in reality he is able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him. This is the secret of omni-competence of the manger leader or manager.

God not only framed our bodies. He breathed His spirit into us and thereby created us in His spiritual image, the image of Christ, the anointed One, the chosen of God. The high calling of the manger leader or manager requires that he is invested with the spirit of Jesus in four dimensions: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of the fear of the Lord. These are not four different spirits but four attitudes that the man of God cultivates with the help of the spiritual Teacher, the Holy Spirit. In practical terms, these attitudes translate into a lifestyle of five D’s : devotion, dedication, determination, discipline and diligence. These five attitudes and attributes will enable us to fulfil the Creator’s purpose for each of us. A one hundred per cent devotion of all that we are and all that we have to the perfect God who is all mighty or all powerful, just and merciful, who is a wonderful counsellor , eternal Father and the One who rules us with love, peace and grace. A dedication of all parts of our being and all that we think, say and do to increasing the perception and knowledge of the greatness of God. The perfect paradigm is executed by the following three practical components of our mindset: A determination to set goals and achieve these with systematic planning and efforts. Discipline to cut out the frills, to sacrifice pleasures and comforts, to avoid the bad choices, to stay the course. Finally, diligence in seeking and doing God’s will by studying His word and His model of perfection- Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Manger Leader's Source of Power

UV 2154/10000 The Manger Leader’s Source of Power
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1 v 23

God could have chosen to manifest His Son as a full grown man but He chose Mary to be the surrogate to bear the holy child. He could have chosen to have His Son to be born into a family of great wealth, stature and influence but He chose a virtually impoverished family whose head was a mere carpenter. God wanted the kingdom of God to begin as small as the mustard seed, to grow naturally to fill the whole earth with the knowledge of His truth and grace.

The kingdom of God is the government of God, by God, for God. God governance being better than good governance, His kingdom is ushered into the earth by Jesus being born as a normal human child though He is mighty God, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counsellor, Everlasting Father. His kingdom and therefore, manger leadership has the characteristics of power, peace, wonder, wisdom and of being for all eternity. A manger leader or manager does not just pay lip service to the idea of God but He is a living person indwelling in and with Him. Emmanuel or the God with us, in us, for us manifests Himself in a variety of ways in our day to day lives. Faith in the finished work of Jesus makes us worthy for God to dwell with us. Love of God in Christ produces good works in and through us.

When God is in us, with us, for us, we can tap into His wisdom. We experience His power, might and unfading greatness. We will gain an understanding of the wonders of creation that we normally would take for granted. The rising of the sun will remind us of the birth of Jesus every single day. The Lord will counsel us through His Holy Spirit to do certain things and as to what we should avoid doing. We will daily experience His love, care, protection and provision as our Everlasting Father. Manger leadership and management proceeds on the assumption that it is natural to be supernatural and spiritual since the non-physical parts of our being and life are created in the image of Christ. Jesus is the perfect image of God and it is the endeavour of the manger leader or manager to emulate Jesus, to model on Him, to be just like Him.

Prateep V Philip

The Manger Leader's Humility

UV 2153/10000 The Manger Leader’s Humility
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake

Psalm 115 v 1

The manger leader is not egoistic, vain, proud or arrogant. He is not proud or boastful regardless of what he accomplishes. He does not grumble or murmur when circumstances are adverse or unfavourable to him. The manger leader does not appropriate all praise and glory for any good he does to himself. Instead, he stays humble by attributing all success, achievement and contribution to the Lord. He recognizes that he is just a channel for the Lord to reveal His power, majesty, sovereignty, glory and grace. He knows that all glory belongs to the Lord and to Him alone. The name of God is a symbol of the different dimensions of the One who said His name is “ I AM WHO I AM,” implying that He is our glory, our joy, our strength, our source of power, mercy and grace. The manger leader meditates on the names of God – Jehovah Jireh- the provider and gives constant thanksgiving to this name. Jehovah Nissi – the Invincible One who gives victory. Jehovah Rapha- the healer of spirit, mind and body. Jehovah Shalom- the One who gives wholesome and holistic success, prosperity, joy and peace. The manger leader strives to be perfect like the Father and in that process, he catches up with excellence. He realizes that he has fallen short even in the best work he has done of the standards of God. But he is thankful he can rely on the mercy of the Lord.

The manger leader knows that the Lord is the One who fights all his battles. He has victory as he depends on God and Him alone. He does not neglect all that he has to do. He gets his horses and chariots ready for battle but he knows that the Lord who gives the victory. This implies that we should use all the tools, talents, skills, abilities that the Lord has blessed us with. The blind, uninspired leader or “danger leader” in contrast takes credit for all the good that happens and passes on the blame to others.

The manger leader applies the truths he has learnt from the Word of God by the inspiration and interpretation of the Holy Spirit. These truths are his shield and buckler, his weapon of defence against all the fiery darts shot at him by the enemy of the soul as well as his weapon of attack to deliver a deadly blow on the head of the enemy of his soul. He puts into practice the principles he has learnt from the truths he has discovered and learnt from scripture. Whatever he does or attempts he does it for the greater glory of God or in other words to demonstrate the greatness, goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. The manger leader does not wait till a thing is accomplished but gives praise, thanks and glory to God at every stage and all through the process of waiting for the Lord to answer a prayer, accomplish a certain matter. He discovers that faith is the fuel of the engine of hope and giving glory and praise to God to whom it belongs is the lubricant. Giving all glory to God and Him alone also is an effective antidote to preventing pride, egoism, arrogance in leaders and managers.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

BE a Manger Leader

UV 2152/10000 Be A Manger Leader
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2 v 16
Jesus, though the Lord of heaven, of angels and archangels did not deem it below Him to be born in a manger. He could have chosen the grandest of palaces and royal families to be born into. But, He chose to be born into the poorest of royal families, the lineage of King David, in the house of a carpenter. All that was available to usher in the Lord of the universe into the world was a cave in which cattle and sheep were kept. The reason He could do this was that He knew who He is- the Son of God who is the Bread of Life, the Light of the world, the True Vine, the Resurrection and the Life, The Good Shepherd, The Gate, The Way, The Truth and The Life. He made these seven claims and substantiated it by His life, works, words and miracles.

Jesus initiated a new type of leadership and management called “MANGER LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT”. All other leaders and managers are “danger leaders” or blind leaders and blind managers as they do not know who they truly are, they do not know where they came from and where they are heading, they do not know all aspects of the past, present or future, they do not have a vision for the world, for others or even for themselves. A manger leader or manager is a visionary as he knows where he comes from and where he is going. He knows his identity is derived from the ultimate and absolute reality- God Himself. When he refers to himself as “ I”, he implies that he eats of the Bread of Life, that he is guided by the eternal and unfading light of Jesus, the Morning or Day Star of his life. He recognizes that he is grafted onto the True Vine to experience the discipline of truth and the freedom of grace. He avails of the impossibility, miraculous, awesome Resurrection power made available by faith in the finished work of Jesus. He is guarded, guided and governed by the Good Shepherd to become a good shepherd himself and not a wolf or fox in sheep skin. A manger leader or manager is led by God Himself.

The manger leader or manager seeks opportunities to enter only by the narrow gate and not the broad gate of the world. The manger leader identifies with the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak. He is compassionate and not clever and calculating only what is in it for him. He is interested in the common good. A manger leader lends his eyes, ears, hands, resources and voice to the mute and defenceless, symbolised by the baying cattle and bleating sheep in the manger. A manger leader or manager is a risk taker, stays calm under pressure. He views everything from an eternal perspective and not merely from a temporal perspective. A manger leader or manager is neither ashamed of poverty nor proud about riches. He is willing to stoop to lend a hand to others to climb, to help others conquer. A manger leader or manager blends authority with humility. A manger manager or leader acts on the presumption that wealth, power, talent and ability are a trust, an opportunity to serve, a responsibility to fulfill, not resources to squander or flaunt. Manger management and manger leadership implies going to the bottom of the human pyramid and uplifting the oppressed, the down trodden, those who are at the bottom of the social ladder.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Transition

2151/10000 The Practical to the Spiritual, The Natural to the Supernatural
Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
John 11 v 39

When Lazarus died, they tied his legs as it was customary. They placed him inside a cave as it was also customary and covered the mouth with a large boulder. Jesus asked the mourners to remove the stone. He did not move the boulder Himself. Likewise, the barriers and obstacles that we ourselves have place in our lives over the dead things and hopes in our lives have to be removed by us. The cords or ropes we have tied ourselves up with the things we affirm, speak and think should be cut by us and removed. Jesus did not remove the cords and sheets around the resurrected Lazarus. He asked the mourners to cut and remove these as the resurrected Lazarus rose from where his body lay.

Many of our blessings lie submerged or obstructed due to various factors in our lives. The large fish that the disciples caught on the direction of the resurrected Jesus were at the bottom of the lake unseen by their eyes and unknown to them but rose to the surface when He commanded the fish to do so. Likewise, many of our eternal and earthly blessings lie submerged and on the Lord’ s command will rise to the surface of reality. Our faith and our obedience of the Lord’s commands should be such that we take our life’s major decisions based on His wise counsel by the Holy Spirit.

We need to move from our acceptance of the absolution provided by the death of Jesus on the cross to the even more significant experience of His resurrection power. The resurrection power of Jesus can cause what would normally be dead, rotting or stinking in our lives to come alive, revived and renewed. That power of Jesus is the power of doing the impossible- to bring alive that which is dead. Jesus first gave in to the emotion of weeping at the grave of Lazarus. Then, He groaned in the spirit, gathered His spiritual faith and strength and asked the dead Lazarus to come forth. Jesus moved from the natural to the supernatural. In one moment, He was giving them practical instructions, the next He was invoking the supernatural power and authority He is vested with. Likewise, we need to set aside our initial reaction, remove the man-made barriers and restrictions and act with faith to speak to the dead situation we are in. As we do so, the power to accomplish the impossible is released by our faith and our words. We need to believe that Jesus even today can do all things. By means of our faith in Him, we can do all things too. Like Jesus, we need to constantly transit from the real and practical to the real and spiritual, from the natural to the supernatural and back to the natural.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 19, 2016

Jesus is the Locus

UV 2150/10000 Jesus is the Locus
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3 v 17

Jesus is the locus while the enemy of our souls is the locust. God sent Jesus, His only Son begotten of a woman for the salvation of all mankind. Those who believe and receive Jesus into their hearts and lives are people who walk in the light. They are the ones who hate violence, wickedness and evil of every kind. Light is an acronym or short form for love, integrity, grace, happiness and truth. We are called to be people of love who reciprocate the unconditional, unreserved, undeserved love of God or agape in our love for Him and for people He has created in His image. We are also to walk in righteousness or integrity. We are to be perfect like our Father in heaven. We are declared righteous or free from all sin by grace or substitutory righteousness of Jesus. We are free from condemnation of God, of our own conscience, of other people. The burden of guilt is removed from our shoulders. Having been freed from the penalty of sin and the power of sin through death, we should work towards freeing ourselves from the presence of sin too. This implies we should walk in integrity with God, ourselves and with other people.

In order to walk in love and in integrity, we need grace or the help and enabling power of God manifest in the resurrection of Jesus, the atoning sacrifice from death on the cross. Having been loved, accepted, blessed by the Lord, we are to be always joyful in the presence of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Our joy is not dependent on happenings or circumstances as it is with the people of the world but on the assurance we have in Jesus of salvation, of forgiveness, of love, of victory, of guidance and divine help. In order to love, walk in integrity, avail the grace of God, be joyful, we need to know the truths hidden in the Word and revealed by the Holy Spirit as we pray, seek revelation, understanding and insight. We need to know these truths and apply it in our lives.

Jesus is the locus and focal point of history, of the moral and spiritual universe. As we focus on this locus, the Lord will enable us to live in the LIGHT that God sent into this world to save us from condemnation, from the locusts or limitations and shortcomings of failure, spiritual and moral poverty. Those who chose to love the darkness and do the deeds of darkness will naturally hate the people walking in light. Indeed, whose we choose to be determines who we are and who we become.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 16, 2016

Profiting From Spiritual Exercises

UV 2149/10000 Profiting From Spiritual Exercises
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
I Timothy 4 v 8

Physical exercises are useful to develop our fitness and improve our health. It even has some impact on our feeling of wellness and state of mind as exercises stimulate endorphins in the human brain. Intellectual exercises like cracking puzzles, learning riddles, attempting quizzes, reasoning tests, comprehension of various passages, problem solving exercises sharpen the brain. Emotional exercises help to develop a sense of calmness, equilibrium or poise as well as to enhance emotional intelligence, emotional wisdom on how best to handle emotions- one’s own and that of others like fear, anger, anxiety and sorrow. Physical, emotional and intellectual exercises can be counterproductive beyond a certain point. If done excessively can have a deleterious effect on body and mind. All these types of exercises are of some value but St Paul exhorts people to do spiritual exercises that make one godly or like God as these are of infinitely greater value not just for the spiritual realm but in every aspect of life- physical, emotional, social, relational, familial, filial, intellectual, financial, creative.

Spiritual exercises like prayer, meditation, doing good works, sacrifices, giving to the poor, helping others, reading and reflecting on scripture, memorising scripture verses or portions, applying scripture to derive concepts, precepts and practices, fasting, silence and solitude have impact on all the aforesaid aspects of our lives here and now as well as in the hereafter. Just as the regularity, intensity and frequency of various physical exercises affect the level of fitness and development of different muscles and organs of the human body, the regularity, intensity and frequency of our spiritual exercises alter and impact our spiritual development and maturity. Physical exercises often requires a human trainer or coach. The Holy Spirit is our coach or trainer for spiritual exercises. Jesus is our spiritual mentor and model. Physical exercises need a clear space and time meant for it. Spiritual exercises can be done anywhere anytime by anybody. Physical exercises have a limited impact on the character of people but spiritual exercises have enormous impact on our character, ideas, contributions, legacy, productivity and long term holistic profitability.

Often in life people learn only through much pain and suffering the wisdom required to both endure and enjoy life. Spiritual exercises have the great value of learning the lessons of life without the need to go through great pain and suffering. These exercises develop one’s sense of calmness, compassion, courage and creativity- the four C’s of a diamond that the Creator will look for in a human to check if he or she is ready for eternal life in heaven. A lifestyle embedded with several of the spiritual disciplines listed above would make us heir to the many spiritual blessings Jesus promised in the sermon of beatitudes as well as the more mundane and earthly blessings enumerated in Deuteronomy chapter 28 from verse 1 to 14. We become a lightning rod to conduct the power of the Lord and to pass it on to others, a sponge of wisdom and grace to absorb the blessings of the Triune God in spirit, mind and body, to get squeezed by life’s tests, troubles and challenges so that it passes onto others.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Power of Positive Confession, Declaration and Proclamation

UV 2148/10000 The Power of Positive Confession, Declaration and Proclamation
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
Genesis 49 v 25

The faith of our fathers’ and their blessings is a source of much that happens in our lives. The God of Jacob was with his son Joseph wherever he went, whether in the pit in which his envious brothers threw him or while he was being auctioned by Potiphar, the Egyptian priest, in the latter’s house, in the jail, while he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream to him. Jehovah with whose angel Jacob wrestled was his one and only, immediate and ultimate, resolute and absolute source of help. God is our helper, our Ebenezer with the absolute strength and immense power of the Eternal Rock in all the various crises of our lives.

The very same Jehovah is our God, Almighty, Beautiful, Merciful, Just, Wise, Gracious, Loving, Trustworthy, Perfect in all His ways. He is the source not just of our earthly help but of our spiritual blessings- the blessings of salvation, eternal life, eternal rewards beyond this lifetime. He is the source of the hidden blessings of the deep, the secret, the mysterious, the unknown, the priceless. To illustrate the blessings of the deep, we need to recall the incident in which the disciples were fishing all night but caught not a single fish. The resurrected Jesus stood at the shore, not yet recognized by them as their beloved Master. He called out to them to cast the net on the other side of the boat and lo! Their nets were full with large fish to the point of bursting. These fish were an example of the blessings of the deep. It was not visible to human eyes. It was not known to the human mind. Yet Jesus with His omniscience knew that there was a large school of large fish at the bottom of the lake. He directed the fish to rise towards the surface and the nets with His sovereign power, a small thing for a man who had just defeated His own death and come to life.

The blessings of the breast and the womb refer to marital blessings, familial and filial. The Lord will bless our children as we bring them up in faith in the God of our fathers, Jehovah and His son Jesus. In order to avail these blessings, we need to often confess positively our total faith in the promises of the Lord contained in His word, declare these with our lips to ourselves in private and proclaim these to others in public. The promises of God are our nets. We need to cast them down into the water and wait to get our catch of the blessings of the deep by tapping into the power of positive confession, faith declaration and proclamation. But we should not forget that the greatest blessings are the heavenly or spiritual blessings for these are eternal, infinite, immeasurable and incalculable.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Tabernacle of Refuge

UV 2147/10000 The Tabernacle of Refuge
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
Isaiah 4 v 6

There are different types of storms we face in this world: flash floods that happen without any warning and can sweep away all that lies in its path, squalls or local heavy rains that affect a locality, hurricanes with gale force of more than 150 to 200 kms per hour, cyclonic storms with wind speeds of 100 to 150 kms per hour like cyclone Vardha which we in Chennai faced a couple of days ago. When we are caught in a storm, it is like a blast of rain against a wall. There is no let up or relief till the storm is past. There can also be depression weather which does not witness heavy winds but brings a continuous downpour. Extreme heat, drought and famine can be oppressive and the suffering produced by these conditions too is intolerable. The Lord God, Almighty, Awesome and amazing in grace is the tabernacle, the place of shelter, of refuge from every type of storm and drought we face in this world. He is the shadow, the covering to protect us from the intense heat and pressures of life. He is the One who brings hope and refreshment to us when we are weary of the troubles we face in life. He renews our strength and releases immense power in us to face every possible challenge of life.

The Lord is not just an external refuge for us but an internal covert. He is a covert source of power, strength, grace and hope as He is tabernacled in us. He does not just preside over our lives but He resides therein. He goes before us as a pillar of cloud in the daytime and He is a fire for us by night. Sometimes, we find our lives being wound in the anti-clockwise direction like the winds of a cyclone but He corrects the direction our lives take. He is a source of comfort and restoration once the storm is passed. He is the source of wisdom and guidance on the decisions we need to take in the wake of the storm so that we can weather it better and with less damage the next time we face it. The very name of the Lord is our strong tower of power to revive us. He is the tabernacle of rejoicing in normal times when He floods us with the light of His presence, His word and His manifold blessings. He is the tabernacle of refuge in our troubled days and times. He is the house built on the rock that the floods cannot destroy or damage. He is the lighthouse on the rocky crag to keep us from shipwreck and show us the path we should take at every juncture of our lives.

Most of the time when human beings build homes, they build for good weather for all construction activity takes place only in fair weather. The Lord sends storms our way so that we will build to last with better and stronger materials of eternity. We ought to build the tabernacle not for fair or good weather but with a view to face the worst possible weather conditions. At the time, we build the effects of the winds and rains may not be visible or known but we need to visualise every possible threat of nature and take proactive steps by chosing spiritual materials and structures that will withstand gale force winds and lashing torrential rains. Even if the storms of life leave us battered and bruised, we should pick up the broken pieces, the threads of life where we are and allow the Lord to help us re-build.

Prateep V Philip

The Sufficiency of Grace

UV 2146/10000 The Sufficiency of Grace
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me
2 Corinthians 12 v 9

Universally, there is hamartia Our sufficiency is not of ourselves, our resources, our talents, our abilities, our connections or our character and personality. It is derived from our relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus. His grace is enough for us to face up to our fears, our weaknesses, our insecurities, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, our opponents, rivals, foes and persecutors, the shortcomings in our situations, the foreboding of future crisis, disasters whether man-made or natural. We therefore do not speak of with pride about our strengths but are enthusiastic in confessing or acknowledging the areas of our weaknesses and shortcomings for these are opportunities for the Lord to act in our lives and reveal the working of the Spirit, the work of His hands, the transforming, reviving, resurrecting power of Christ. We are not ashamed of our shortcomings and do not hide it from the view of others.

Faith is our source of strength in the areas of our weaknesses. It is the equivalent of the muscle s of the human body. The muscles develop when these are subjected to carrying weights or resistance. Similarly, when we carry the burdens of the spirit, our own as well as those of others, our faith is greatly strengthened. Our faith enables us to overcome our weaknesses, shortcomings and inadequacies for it gives us access to the very power of God manifest in Christ. Christ was never defeated by the restrictions of His circumstances. When there was a shortage of food to feed the multitude, He prayed and the bread and fist were multiplied. His grace will enable us to overcome our spiritual, intellectual, social, financial and physical challenges.

When we face the reproaches, taunts, bullying, insults and assaults of the world, the Lord will give us the inner strength by grace to bear, endure and emerge unscathed and victorious. His grace will vindicate us in every circumstance. When we face disease and ill health, that of ourselves or our loved ones or of others, He will give us the grace to sustain our faith through it and if it is His will, to be healed by His power. In man-made or natural disasters, the hand of the Lord will be upon us to protect us, sustain and enable us to pull through safely. Grace is God’s power working in us, with us and for us to perfect our faith and reveal His glory and greatness. Grace is given to us not only in the form of divine help in times of need but at every step of our way, every moment of our lives. Grace is the spiritual oxygen we breathe every moment. Grace makes us omni-competent or able to do all things the Lord has commanded us.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Sufficiency of Grace

UV 2146/10000 The Sufficiency of Grace
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me
2 Corinthians 12 v 9

Our sufficiency is not of ourselves, our resources, our talents, our abilities, our connections or our character and personality. It is derived from our relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus. His grace is enough for us to face up to our fears, our weaknesses, our insecurities, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, our opponents, rivals, foes and persecutors, the shortcomings in our situations, the foreboding of future crisis, disasters whether man-made or natural. We therefore do not speak of with pride about our strengths but are enthusiastic in confessing or acknowledging the areas of our weaknesses and shortcomings for these are opportunities for the Lord to act in our lives and reveal the working of the Spirit, the work of His hands, the transforming, reviving, resurrecting power of Christ. We are not ashamed of our shortcomings and do not hide it from the view of others.

Faith is our source of strength in the areas of our weaknesses. It is the equivalent of the muscle s of the human body. The muscles develop when these are subjected to carrying weights or resistance. Similarly, when we carry the burdens of the spirit, our own as well as those of others, our faith is greatly strengthened. Our faith enables us to overcome our weaknesses, shortcomings and inadequacies for it gives us access to the very power of God manifest in Christ. Christ was never defeated by the restrictions of His circumstances. When there was a shortage of food to feed the multitude, He prayed and the bread and fist were multiplied. His grace will enable us to overcome our spiritual, intellectual, social, financial and physical challenges.

When we face the reproaches, taunts, bullying, insults and assaults of the world, the Lord will give us the inner strength by grace to bear, endure and emerge unscathed and victorious. His grace will vindicate us in every circumstance. When we face disease and ill health, that of ourselves or our loved ones or of others, He will give us the grace to sustain our faith through it and if it is His will, to be healed by His power. In man-made or natural disasters, the hand of the Lord will be upon us to protect us, sustain and enable us to pull through safely. Grace is God’s power working in us, with us and for us to perfect our faith and reveal His glory and greatness. Grace is given to us not only in the form of divine help in times of need but at every step of our way, every moment of our lives. Grace is the spiritual oxygen we breathe every moment. Grace makes us omni-competent or able to do all things the Lord has commanded us.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Believing is Seeing and Experiencing

UV 2145/10000 Believing is Seeing and Experiencing
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11 v 1

Man does not live by bread alone, by empiricial evidence but by experiential faith. We cannot ask for evidence in order to believe the truths revealed in scripture about the Unseen God, the unseen realms, the unseen beings. It is remarkable that this uni-verse states that faith is itself the evidence. We believe in God, therefore He exists. We believe, therefor we see. It turns on its head the universal human premise, “ Seeing is believing.” It implies that believing enables us to see and not the other way around. Faith enables us to hope and then to wait patiently for the hope to be fulfilled.

Faith is the substance or the invisible material with which our hope is built, realised, fulfilled, experienced. Faith enables us to deploy in full in our three-dimensional life and world, the five D’s – devotion to God, dedication to the service of man, discipline to control oneself, the determination to achieve or realize one’s hoped for goals, targets, aims, objectives, the diligence to do all that needs to be done by us while trusting God for the unseen and unknown rest. Our experiences of the love, grace, justice, righteousness and power of God is the evidence to verify the veracity and authenticity of our faith. We need to live on earth with an eternal or heavenly or godly perspective and priorities. It is an acknowledgement that the spiritual realm transcends and supercedes the physical and seen world. The real world is not the physical world but the spiritual world, the kingdom of God that lies within us and amongst us. The physical world is only a shadow of the spiritual world. The shadow of God is more real than the most solid three dimensional object. Hence, when we believe that the shadow of God is upon us, all other shadows of fear, of sin, of death, of curses and limitations melt away. Faith is therefore not an airy-fairy something on the sidelines of real life but the substantial aspect of life.

Faith is the sixth sense. It does not abandon the other five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell but it combines the effect of all these five sense with common sense and works on the principle that all that exists cannot be seen for instance, air or electronic waves, radio waves and so on. Faith enables us to see beyond what our eyes cn see, to hear beyond what our ears can hear, to touch beyond what our hands can touch, to smell beyond what our nose can smell, to taste beyond what our tongue can taste. It is like visible spectrum of light and the invisible ultra violet light, or like the audible sound and ultra sound. When we believe, we experience that which is promised by the Lord- His grace, His love, salvation, eternal life. We can touch Him and be touched by Him in our hearts and spirits. It may or may not have physical correspondence. We can hear His voice through the Word, through true prophecy, through other men and women of God anointed by Him. We can taste His mercy, His love, the fruit of the Spirit in us. We can smell and spread the sweet fragrance of the presence of Jesus in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 9, 2016

Seed, Sword, Food and Water

UV 2144/10000 Seed, Salt, Sword, Food and Water
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55 v 11

The Word we read, meditate and declare as truth is not authored by finite man but by the infinite God. It cannot be annulled. It cannot be amended. It cannot fail. It will develop in the situations where we plant it with faith and water with our prayers. It is the incorruptible and unperishing eternal seed that conceives new life. It is milk and honey, food and drink for the faithful. The Lord takes the faithful through storms and various impossible or difficult situations so that they can verify the truth of the word in practical ways. The Word is also salt that makes life tasty, preserves it and repels the leech of sin that attempts to suck our lifeblood.

The Word performs the perfect, pleasing will of God. It blesses, enlarges, empowers the one who receives it with faith and who hastens to honour and obey it. The word is compared to a sword for like a sharp sword that penetrates the deepest parts of our flesh and bone, that can separate flesh from bone, the word penetrates the deepest parts of our souls and hearts. Like a sword, one needs to have a firm grip on it. Like a sword, we need to keep using it lest it rusts and loses its sharpness. It is double edged- one edge works on the one who speaks and the other edge on the one who listens and receives it as truth. One edge works in the spiritual realm and the other in our physical realm. There the comparison with a sword ends for a sword takes life while the word gives life, enriches, enables the good life in Christ.

The best use of the word is to store it in our minds to quietly influence our thoughts and replace it with the thoughts of God. We need to recall apt portions of scripture and apply it to all of life’s situations to experience the reality of its dynamic power. We should release the word from our mouths so that it will prosper in the things we send it to. The Word is the template through which we understand that we are the temple of God. Our word view will transform our world view. Our perspective will be neither optimistic nor pessimistic but it will always be faithful. The Word is to man what water is to a plant. Unlike a plant that needs watering occasionally or once or twice daily, we need the watering of the word constantly.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ransomed, Redeemed , Restored

UV 2143/10000 Ransomed, Redeemed, Restored
For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.
Jeremiah 31 v 11

Every human being needs a protector, a redeemer , a Saviour for sin, death, curses and the enemy of our souls who rules by these instruments is far more strong than any of us. The enemy is not only strong. He is also subtle and has a vast arsenal of weapons to use against us including our own inherent weaknesses and proclivities. Jacob the young lad fell a prey to the machinations of the enemy through the persuasion of his mother, Rachel. He indulged in deceit. He cheated his brother Esau of his inheritance as the first born. He then became fearful and fled his own house to escape the anger and vengeance of his brother. Jacob the free man who lived in his father’s house had become a captive to his own desire and evil intention. A person in captivity lives in fear. His freedom is restricted. He is not fed or clothed well. He is not able to do all that he wants to do. A man can flee from all things but he cannot flee from his own conscience- the record of his own wrongs. The Lord remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather and decided to meet him. Jacob encountered the Lord in the wilderness, first in a dream and then in his wrestling match with an angel of the Lord. Jacob entered into a covenant relationship with the Almighty at this point and acknowledged his dependence on His mercy. He sought to be blessed of God. His life changed at this point. The “ Peniel” point of his life’s struggles merged into “Bethel”- his being ransomed from the enemy of his soul and being inducted as a member of God’s household.

Jacob’s struggles did not end there but no longer did he have to struggle alone. He had the Saviour as Immanuel and Ebenezer- immanent God and helping, saving, redeeming God. Indeed, weakness is a part of our human nature but the power to overcome comes from the Lord. His love and grace is stronger than sin, death and every disease and curse. He redeems us by paying the cost or ransom- His own Son Jesus, the Anointed One to be sacrificed and to be resurrected to be King of Kings who rules over every redeemed sinner and turns them into winners. He pays the ransom to redeem us from evil and the evil one as He cannot compromise on His own standards of absolute holiness. Sin has to be paid its wages in terms of death. Eternal life is given as a free gift to everyone who believes like Jacob in the covenant promise of the Lord.

Jesus saved Jacob from all his predicaments, including the practical and earthly situations. He redeemed him from exploitation by his equally cunning father in law , Laban. He chose him as the founder of the nation of Israel. He prospered him in his flocks and multiplied his family and his descendants. He saved his family from death by starvation by raising ahead of time his own long lost son Joseph, ruler in Egypt. Therefore, salvation in Christ has many dimensions- eternal and earthly implications, physical, emotional, familial, filial, financial, social, cultural, economic, intellectual and political. The primary benefit to an abducted person on being ransomed is the restoration to his original freedom. We like Jacob are restored to our pristine, pre-fall nature when we could live in the lap of nature, enjoy the bounties of the earth as well as walk and talk with Almighty God, no longer just our Creator but our beloved Redeemer and Saviour. We should take care not to be deceived again, to return to captivity and bondage but to live in freedom and in union with God through Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

More Precious than Precious Stones

UV 2142/10000 More Precious than Precious Stones
And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Malachi 3 v 17

The Lord of the armies of heaven fights fiercely for us as we belong to Him. We are His treasured possession that the enemy tries to take away from Him but in vain. We are His share, His precious inheritance. We are His crown jewels. He values us greatly as a man values diamonds. He evaluates each of us based firstly on our faith and secondly, on our character , thirdly, on our thoughts, words and deeds. We are however, jewels and diamonds being formed and not yet fully crystallised. He is still shaping us from within and without. We need to reflect the four C’s that pertain to any diamond- cut, colour, carat, clarity or how well our faith has cut our character to resemble Jesus, His most precious Son, our attitudes of heart and mind, the intensity of our passion and enthusiasm for the rule of love of Christ, the weight of our words and deeds acting in agreement with each other and in conformity with our beliefs and His word, the clarity of our vision and values of calmness, compassion, courage and creativity. Jesus during His earthly sojourn showed no interest in gold or jewels or diamonds. His focus was on people, turning people into living diamonds and jewels. He had the transformative impact on all He encountered, the wavering disciples as well as those who met him either by seeming accident or design to answer a heart-felt query or to heal an incurable ailment. He is even today a jewel former and transformer.
Once we are formed the Lord positions us on His person, the body of Christ to adorn and to shine for His glory. We share in the glory of God in Jesus. Just as the Lord God loves Jesus, He loves and cares deeply for each of us. Jesus though He is the Son of God and the only one at that, made Himself like a servant, many levels below His true and eternal status in order to enable those He chose to be spared the judgement of their shortcoming of the glory of God.

Every human being struggles to know if he or she is truly valued by anyone else. He also struggles to know to whom does He truly belong. He struggles to be able to do all that he wants to do and accomplish in this world. Jesus ends this struggle of mankind for belongingness, for esteem and for competence. We belong to Jesus. He is ours and we are His. His attitude towards us is one not of relative love that is based on performance or circumstances or predilections but one of absolute, eternal, perfect, complete love. He esteems us so much that He laid down His life for each of us. In a sense, He considers us better than diamonds and lifeless precious stones for imbued with the same power that sustained Him and resurrected Him from death, we are now competent to do all that He wants us to do. We are not dead jewels but living diamonds, ,intended to serve Him, emblazoned for His glory by His grace. Our attitude, too, towards our fellow humans of whatever background, hue or view should be that he or she is more precious than precious stones. We ought not to have an utilitarian or mercenary view of people, considering in what we can benefit or exploit the relationship. People have an infinite value of and in themselves.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Secret of Great Leading, Living and Loving

UV 2141/10000 The Secret of Leading, Living and Loving
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent
Proverb 28 v 20

Faithfulness of human beings presage the blessing of the Lord. He searches the earth, the hearts of people and blesses the faithful abundantly in all generations and in all nations. Our blessings from the Lord are not the focus of our personal relationship with Him but incidental to it. He blesses us in terms of health, healing, deliverance, financial adequacy, emotional stability and spiritual joy. The Lord who is the source of all blessings dwells in and with the righteous and faithful who are trying to be perfect in all their ways. Such faithful ones are not in a hurry to become rich by any means. Those who try to become wealthy somehow are inclined to take short cuts, make compromises, break their own principles, violate the law of God and of man.

There is a wonderful enumeration of blessings any human could desire that is surprisingly relevant and coveted to this day. It is listed in Deuteronomy along with the condition to inherit and appropriate these blessings. God’s love is unconditional but His blessings are conditional to our listening, observing diligently the commandments of the Lord. The love of Christ did not cancel the law of God given through Moses. It fulfilled and completed it. Love should therefore precede law in our lives. But the law should be inscribed in our hearts. The transference of the law and precepts of the Lord should take place from the pages of the Bible to our hearts. We should diligently and carefully listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who is constantly whispering and guiding us. We should not seek to go to the right or to the left. We should do what we listen and hear. The Lord promises to set such as these high above all nations. It implies that when we give priority to the Lord and His word in our lives, we are in a different orbit altogether. We do not have the excessive desire for wealth that afflicts people of all nations. We are contented with the portion the Lord gives us and are guided only by His priorities, the priorities of the kingdom of God. We do not pierce ourselves with the many sorrows that afflict those who foolishly seek after the curse of ill gotten wealth. Since we have immediate, full and free access to the throne of the Almighty, we are more powerful and influential than the high and mighty of this world. We enjoy the presence of the Lord much more than the worldly enjoy wine, wealth, fame or other pleasures of the flesh.

We ought to be more zealous for righteousness and the kingdom of God or the rule of love of Jesus more than misers treasure gold, connoisseurs value their collections of wine, art or coins. Then the Lord will bless us in the cities where we dwell and we will blessed in the field where we work. The Lord will bless our children so that they are a source of blessing and not of trouble. He will bless our land and its produce. He will bless our livestock, even our pets. He will bless our store so that it is more than sufficient for all our needs. He will bless our food and drink so that it is wholesome and keeps us strong and healthy. He will bless our entry and exits. He will bless our journeys with joy, safety and good outcomes. He will bless everything that we undertake and establish the work of our hands. He multiplies our talents and abilities so that we perform exceptionally well. He makes us the head and not the tail, the significant leader and not the also ran. He will give us the early rain or shower of all these blessings as well as the latter rain or the blessings needed at the time of maturity of crop, fruit or results. He will send us the rain of blessings in due proportion and due time, not late or early, not scarce or excessive. He will inspire fear and awe of us in our enemies and foes. We will be a sign or testimony unto all people around us as to the reality and awesomeness of the blessings of the Lord. Above all these blessings, the name of the righteous by faith in Christ is written in the book of eternal life. This single blessing outweighs all the aforesaid blessings. We need to name and number all our blessings and it will give us a heart of joy and gratitude for God’s grace. All these blessings are obtained by grace of God in Jesus in addition to the blessings of peace- the protection from the curses of our fallen nature- the curses of disobedience, the curse on all flesh, the curse on the earth, the curse on our children, the curse on our work, the curse on our health, the curse on our finances, the curse on our generations, the curse on our food and drink, the curses on our land, the curses of our foes, rivals and enemies, the curses that we have brought on ourselves by the things we thought, said or done.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Inner Imparted Supernatural Strength

UV 2140/10000 Inner Imparted Strength
In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
Psalm 138 v 3

The greatest strength to face life’s most painful or troublesome or difficult moments is not intellectual, physical or emotional. It does not come with financial muscle or political power or influence. It is not an innate or inherent strength but the strength the Lord imparts to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. By this kind of strength Paul was able to endure flogging, imprisonment, shipwreck, desertion by companions, loneliness and all his travails. When we cry out to the Lord in our weakness, He has mercy on us and fills us with power from above. He strengthens our souls with supernatural comfort and strength during the times we face losses, defeat, failure, death and attacks of powerful inimical forces.

The strength the Lord imparts in us first of all emboldens us to face or confront the mountain of the difficulty. The mountain is not removed or reduced in size for us to endure or overcome it. Rather, step by step we are enabled to climb and overcome it. Every day of our lives we need this strength of the Lord to face , endure and overcome the day’s troubles and challenges. Samson was the strongest man in human history. Yet when he did not yield to the Holy Spirit and instead yielded to the weaknesses of his own flesh and will, he fell into the hands of his mortal enemies, the Philistines who gouged out his eyes, blinded him and had him chained. This example warns us of the need to constantly lean on the strength and counsel of the Lord in all we do.

The Lord strengthens us by delivering us from all our fears- the fear of evil, the fear of curses, the fear of the enemy, the fear of death, the fear of punishment, the fear of judgement, the fear of the need to pay the price of sticking to the truth and to one’s integrity, the fear of diseases, the fear of disasters, the fear of scarcity, the fear of failure, the fear of people and so on. All these fears were nailed to the cross with the death of Jesus and it gave rise to hope and faith in its place through the resurrection. The hope and faith that Almighty God, Our Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counsellor inspires in us daily and especially, with a double portion during the crisis times sustains us like the manna deposited daily in the desert of Egypt sustained the Israelites through their arduous journey through the wilderness. The Word is another channel of pouring in the power, strength and wisdom of the Lord into our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Love's Many Manifestations and Dimensions

UV 2139/10000 Love’s Many Manifestations and Dimensions
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
I Corinthians 13 v 4

Both lust and love are four letter words but lust has only one meaning while love has a million inner meanings and manifestations. The call of faith is the transformation from the confines of lust to the refinement of love. Lust is the dross or impurities in the love of our hearts. Love manifests in showing consideration for those who are weaker. Love manifests in patience with people and exercising patience in our circumstances. Love manifests in our attitudes and our actions. Love shows up in how we listen to people. Love is seen in our motives as well as our behaviour. Love is demonstrated in our ability to suffer for others, our willingness to make small and big sacrifices for those we love.

Love for the motherland is shown in the soldier being willing to die for his nation. Love for God is seen in the willingness to live for Him. Love for humanity is shown in the service we render to others who might be not related to us in any way. Love for animals and all creatures is seen in the kindness shown in feeding and caring for them. Love for one’s spouse is shown in tolerance for weaknesses, acceptance and forgiveness. Love for one’s family is seen in working hard for providing for the family not just in material terms but in terms of spiritual leadership, commitment, thoughtfulness. Love for friends is manifested in spending time with them, in sharing one’s life, joys, sorrows and burdens with them. Love for self is seen in doing one’s best in everything one attempts.

God’s love for us is the perfect love or agape love. He gives His all and His best to us in Jesus and yet expects little or nothing in return except our faith and commitment. He does not wait for us to love Him. He first loves us. He shows His love in His provision, His rescue, His protection, His blessing upon our lives, His counsel, His grace. Our model of love that we need to study, understand, meditate and emulate is the love of Jesus. He showed His love by being egoless with His disciples while the latter jostled to prove who is the greatest among them, He made Himself who is all powerful, mighty and sovereign like a slender reed. He demonstrated His love by washing the feet of the apostles. He showed His love by beckoning children to Him and cradling them in His lap, extolling their simplicity, innocence and childish faith. He showed His love by forgiving His enemies, forgiving those who cruelly and mercilessly condemned and crucified Him, forgiving the adulteress condemned to death by stoning. He showed His love by feeding the hungry, healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, promising paradise to the thief on the cross. We can love only by learning from the love of God in Christ. We can fill the many gaps in our love with the agape love of Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 2, 2016

Discerning the Times

UV 2138/10000 Discerning the Seasons and Times
My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me
Psalm 31 v 15

Nobody except the Lord knows what each day brings, not to speak of an entire week, month, season or year or lifetime. Our faith teaches us to trust the Lord for each day, each week, each month and year of our lives. Since we know the Lord personally for a certainty, we can combat a legion of uncertainties regarding our days and times. There are times in our lives when we are joyful, times when we are sad, times when we dreamt, times when we worked hard, times when we relaxed and enjoyed, times when we loved and times when we hated, times when we fought and times when we made peace, times when we were bored and times when we stayed engaged, times when we gave and times when we received, times we sowed and times we reaped. In all these times, the Lord held us in His able and gracious hands. During all these times He delivered us from the hand of our enemies. He reduced all their planning and conspiring to naught. He freed us from the presence and the power of those who persecute us.

The Lord manifests different aspects of His love for us and of His grace and power in the diverse seasons and times of our lives. He is Immanuel and is hence, our constant companion in all times- in fair weather and in storms. The extent to which we lean into His unseen but real presence and draw our sustenance and strength will determine the extent to which we experience His grace as Jehovah Nissi in being victorious in all circumstances.

We are to ask for wisdom to discern the times we are passing through and the grace to act accordingly. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of discernment to know the hour in which we dwell. In some seasons, we are to rejoice, in some we are to listen, be silent and meditate more deeply on the truths the Lord is teaching us, in some we are to speak, in some we are to be strong and courageous, in some we are to be diligent and persevere, in some season we are to just wait and be patient for the Lord to act. At all times we are to be thankful and offer our praise and worship from grateful hearts. In each season, we need to get closer to the Lord and love Him even more than the last, retaining our first love when we first knew Him.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

UV 2137/10000 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Psalm 139 v 15

Everything in this universe is engineered and configured to inspire a sense of awe at the scale at which the Lord thinks and executes. When we have a glimpse of the universe through the pictures captured by modern telescopes, we can only say, “ God is awesome.” When we have a glimpse of the micro-universe- our own bodies, we can only say, “ He is awesome.” When we look at the inner workings of the human mind, we can only say, “ He is awesome. “ The Lord knows us so intimately. He made every organ in our bodies carefully and wonderfully. When we think of this completeness of His knowledge and the intimacy of His attitudes towards us, we will be filled with wonder and curiosity about Him. We will want to explore our own selves so that we know more about our hidden Creator. But the Lord did not make His person secret but revealed Himself fully in the person of Jesus. Jesus told us all that we needed to know of Him so that He no longer remains a mystical, mysterious, shadowy person out there somewhere beyond the infiniteness of the physical world.

The Lord watches us from His throne that is hidden from our eyes. As we pray and thank the Lord for every organ in our bodies, every one of those infinite number of cells, we inoculate ourselves spiritually. It is amazing that our own attitudes towards the Lord can keep Him at an infinite distance from us or bring Him much closer to us than our own skin. He does not compartmentalise or surgically divide us into spirit, mind and body but He sees us as one whole being. His concern is our eternal well being and not just the prosperity and enjoyment of our physical substance on earth. We are out here on earth like children sent out by the parents to play in the garden till it is evening and we are called home to the Father. The garden is itself beautiful but it has many pits, pests, serpents and we need to avail of the Lord’s intimate knowledge of the territory to stay out of trouble. We can be playful but also careful and prayerful. The enemy has an unholy jealousy of us as God’s most priceless creation and he sets up ambushes and booby traps.

In the words of Job, “ The Lord has clothed us with skin and flesh and fenced us with bones and muscles.” Our tissues, muscles, bones, organs and skin have been amazingly arranged to form us. Many people work out hard in gyms with the hope that their rippling muscles would win the admiration of all who behold it but little do they themselves admire the splendidness of God’s creation. Or are we to be like the senseless beasts that do not know their Maker? The Lord honours our bodies as His temple. The implication is that there should be an ongoing continual worship and adoration happening within us. As the Psalmist puts it, “ All that is within me praise His holy name.” Our praise and thanksgiving of the Lord in good and healthy times needs to be as vocal, persistent, consistent as our cry for healing when our health fails.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Manger Managers and Management

UV 2136/10000 Manger Managers and Manger Management
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2 v 7

If the innkeeper really knew who this baby was, he would have given his own room to Mary and Joseph. The world is often like the innkeeper- too obsessed with the affairs of life, the opportunities, the problems, the activities, the pleasures, possessions to make space for the Lord and Messiah. The extraordinariness of the birth of the God child who had been prophesied by many and chiefly by the Messianic prophet Isaiah was surrounded or camouflaged by the ordinariness of the physical circumstances. God chose that His only begotten son be born in a humble family and in humble circumstances. He went right to the bottom of the pile or the bottom of the social pyramid to make an entrance into the world and the history of humanity. He was opening a new style of leadership and management – manger management. Our titles, our labels, our ranks, our badges of honour, our qualifications, our possessions do not define the manger manager but to obey the Highest in meeting the need of the greatest number of people whom we are called to serve. A manger manager or leader does what is possible while expecting the Lord to do the impossible. He realizes that he is only an agent or instrument, a part of a larger and glorious plan of a great creator.

A “manger manager” or leader is one who stays humble and gives top priority to the will of our Father God. All the three persons in the manger were people who obeyed the Lord- Mary who rejoiced in being a handmaiden to bear the Messiah sent by the Lord, Joseph who acquiesced in the will of God setting aside his own sense of propriety as well as fears and inhibitions to play the role of a foster father to the Child from God. Finally, Jesus who though part of the Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Wonderful Counsellor, though He is the image in which man is created, accepted willingly and joyfully the Father’s decision to send him to a small space on one of the humblest planets Earth. A manger manager follows the example of these three of the holy family in making the obedience to the will of the Lord his or her chief pleasure and duty.

A “manger manager” gives priority to the word of God and spends time reflecting on it. He tries to blend it into all his activities and pursuits. He draws wisdom and inspiration daily from it. A manger manager is not defeated by rejection or by difficulties or by lack of physical comforts. His faith enables him to rise above every circumstance, fixing his eye on the ultimate vision of fulfilling God’s will and executing His plan on earth. A manger manager lives in harmony with all God’s creatures and with nature. A manger manager is contented if his basic needs are met. He is realistic and stays close to the ground reality even as he has his eye fixed on heaven. A manger manager makes the best of the worst circumstances, never grumbles about his lot but does his best to remain comfortable in the prevailing circumstances, while hoping and working for the best. Towards this end, a manger manager is creative and innovative.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blocks and Bondages

UV 2135/10000 Blocks and Bondages
Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
John 11 v 39

From this uni-verse we learn that the Lord expects us to remove the blocks and bondages that we ourselves have placed or tied ourselves with. Jesus asked the people who placed the stone to remove it themselves. Likewise, when Lazarus came to life again when Jesus said, “ Lazarus, come forth”, He told them to set him loose as he was bound with a shroud around his face and his limbs were tied with grave clothes. The Lord expects us to do the possible and He will do the impossible. The Israelites led by Moses had to begin walking towards the Red Sea while the Lord parted the waters for them to walk through. The Lord gave the manna and the quails while the Israelites had to collect it. The body provided the few fish and the bread while the Lord multiplied it to feed the multitude. The apostles had to venture out fishing in the Sea of Galilee. They cast their nets down into the water. The Lord filled it to the point of bursting. If we initiate with faith, the Lord will complete it with grace. If we walk one mile, the Lord will walk the extra mile with us.

By the things we do, say and think, we place hurdles in our own paths. We tie ourselves up with the thoughts we think and the words we speak, the things we do. Jesus will not free us from these things as He expects and directs us to remove the obstacles ourselves and remove the blockages or bondages that restrict us in the spirit. He only promises that if we believe, we will see His glory, His greatness, His goodness, His grace, His power, His mercy. He will bring to life again by His word the things that are dead in our lives.

We need to identify the things in our lives that stink, that is displeasing to the Lord and have these removed. There are things the Lord has warned us to avoid or to do. We need to obey these instructions implicitly. Our own limiting beliefs are the stone and the bonds that inhibit or restrict us, keeping the grace and power of God from being fully manifest in our lives. Our vision is shrouded and clouded by our own fears and doubts. These things weigh heavily on our mind and restrict the Spirit of the Lord from working fully in us. We need to take decisive action to remove these.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 28, 2016

Like Attracts Like

UV 2134/10000 Like Attracts Like
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
Job 3 v 25

Both our most dreaded fears and our most ardent hopes have the power of self fulfilling prophecy. We attract into our lives the very things we fear. If we fear a certain event in our hearts and confess it with our mouths, it will probably happen. Our fear becomes the seed of bad news. Likewise, our hope is the seed of good news. Job greatly feared that God’s wrath may rest upon him and he and his family might face some deadly disaster due to some wilful and unwitting words spoken by any of his sons. He openly stated that he was terrorised by the thought of destruction inflicted on him by God. Fearing evil is distrusting God, not believing Him to be our loving Creator and doting Father. Giving expression or confessing such fears is like cursing God for our beliefs have the power of limiting what the Lord can do in our lives. It is an expression of no confidence in an all loving, all knowing, all powerful Father and Saviour.

The story is told of a man who feared something disastrous would happen if he went outside his home. He remained ensconced in what he thought was the safest place on earth- his home. He locked himself into his room. But the irony is that a rare and deadly insect somehow entered that room and stung him. Indeed, our fears poke holes or chinks in the armour of faith. Imagine those who have no faith or hope. They are completely bereft of any protection whatsoever and are open for attack or spiritual assault from any direction. I recall my then boss, the Superintendent of Police of the district where I was posted in 1990. In May 1991, he told me that he feared something deadly or disastrous would happen to him due to an astrological prediction based on his horoscope. He began to be more careful and even more religious. He even asked his staff car driver to go slowly lest he met with an accident. But tragically, on May 21, 1991, the Superintendent of Police died due to severe injuries in the human bomb assassination of the former Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi. I survived with injuries on account of my faith which I expressed to him that “ God will protect me and my family.”

I just heard of a person who lost his job in the USA as he secretly feared for a long while that he might lose his job. We need to replace our fears with a faith in the living, sovereign and Most High God who revealed Himself through the prophets, His word and most fully through His son Jesus. Fear of God or faith repels all fears. It is a fail proof, fool proof, fire proof, sin proof, disaster proof, flood proof, bullet proof and bomb proof protection for those who trust Him. We need to wear the whole armour of God- from headgear full of assurance and hope, a heart of trust and love, a shield of faith in the specific promises of protection as in Psalm 91, Psalm 121 and so on, the sharp, heart-penetrating truths of the sword of the Word, the willingness and discipline of applying rightly the truths revealed and learnt, the feet and shoes to go places to be a w itness for the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rootedness and Fruitfulness

UV 2133/10000 Rootedness and Fruitfulness
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2 v 7
Believers are trees of righteousness that grow forth from the tiny seed of faith in Jesus planted in our hearts. If we are rooted in this faith, we will not move away from the hope of eternal life we were first inspired with when we believed and received Jesus into our hearts with folded hands. We will increasingly be more rooted, strengthened, established, settled, not just convinced but convicted in our faith. Our doubts and fears will flee. We will fan our faith into full flame and sustain it right through our lives. We will not allow false doctrine or setbacks to affect the fervour of our faith. Our foundation will be like that of a castle that is set in solid bedrock. Nothing can shake our faith. Nothing and no one can cause us to shrink back from the grace of the Lord.

To be rooted in the Lord, implies that we are rooted in love. The vertical plank of the cross is our love for God. The horizontal is our love for each other- our near and dear ones, the stranger and the neighbour, our friends, our enemies. Both need to intensify and grow over time. Our understanding of the multi-dimensional love of Christ needs to grow manifold. As that understanding and our own love grows, we will glow in both good words and good works that are the fruit or the expression of that deep seated, deep rooted love. We will grow in maturity and will no longer be just consumers of grace but producers, c0-producers of grace. We will no longer be governed by our whims, our fancies, our moods, our desires but be driven by God-given, guided and goaded goals. We will not translate the huge load of teachings we have received this far into principles that are actively practiced in our daily lives.

One of the things that pleases the Lord and is evidence of our rootedness and maturity is a heart of gratitude. We need to overflow with thanksgiving towards the Lord for all He has done for us, for all He has revealed, for all He has given us in His grace. The attitude of constant and overflowing gratitude towards the Lord is a state of bliss and blessedness. It is a stimulus for our further fruitfulness and growth. It is both the cause and effect of sustained joy forevermore. It is also a faith multiplier.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 25, 2016


UV 2132/10000 Fufillment
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12 v 13

Fearing God implies having a deep and abiding sense of reverence towards the Lord of heaven and earth. It causes the extinction of all other fears- the fear of death, the fear of evil, the fear of failure, the fear of violence, the fear of punishment, the fear of the consequences of guilt, the fear of the consequences of one’s mistakes and so on. Fear of God in other words is not fear but the opposite of fear- faith. Trusting God for all the shortcomings, personal and of life. The fear of God promises us the rewards of true and inner wisdom, longevity, productivity, prosperity and continuity of legacy in succeeding generations.

The fear of God is not a mere psychological issue or an attitude but it is the active enthusiasm for His Word. It is about paying attention to the letter and spirit of His commandments and doing it. It is about knowing the nature or character of God and trying to conform to it. It is about walking in all His ways, step by step, moment by moment, all day and all our days. It is about loving the Lord, serving Him with all our hearts and souls. It is about giving priority to the kingdom or rule of the Lord in our lives. It is about actively seeking His will and abiding by it.

Solomon discovered after all his experimentation and experiences with a variety of things like pleasure, wealth, wisdom that fearing and serving God is the essence of our lives. It is our wholesome duty and in it all our other activities and duties would be subsumed and fulfilled. It will keep us from all pitfalls, vanities, follies and errors, wilful and otherwise, in our lives. It is the very purpose of creation and of our existence. We will find our fulfilment in loving and obeying the Lord wholeheartedly. Both our journeys and the destination, the process and the results would be greatly blessed. The fear of God does not restrict us but expands our understanding, our freedom, our powers and the use of all our faculties. It gives us access to great spiritual wisdom that eluded the great men and women of history.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Facing Good and Bad Times

UV 2131/10000 Facing Good and Bad Times
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Romans 12 v 12

It is written in the book of Proverbs that, “ A hope fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” Our hopes cause us to be desirous of living on. The moment all hope is gone, we would rather perish. When the hope is realized, we rejoice. When a promise of the Lord is fulfilled in our lives, we rejoice not just at that moment but the very memory of God’s faithfulness to His promises causes us to rejoice all the days of our lives. The word “ rejoice” is used thrice consecutively in the Psalms and in the epistles of Paul. It implies we rejoice for our past hopes that are fulfilled in Christ, rejoice for our present hopes being fulfilled in Christ, rejoice for our future hopes to be fulfilled in Christ. Proverbs also states that “ a cheerful heart is good medicine.” The secret of a cheerful heart is the nourishment given by hope. We hope for a better life for ourselves and our families. We hope for eternal life. We hope for success in our workplace and elsewhere. We hope for good and health, long lasting relationships. Each hope is a cause not just of eventual joy but right now as we are filled with hope, it gives us joy.

Someone stated that our lives are like the keyboard of a piano with the white keys signifying the good times and the bad keys signifying difficult or bad times. Both produce musical notes. If we can accept good times as a blessing from the Lord, we should also accept difficult times as a blessing. We need to be patient if not cheerful as James asks us to be when we face trials and problems. We need to know it is a passing phase and a testing time to make us and not to break us, to strengthen us from within and not to weaken or destroy us. We should face it with equanimity and not murmur, grumble or complain that the Lord is unfairly dealing with us. We may not know the purpose at the time but in due time, it will be known and we will thank the Lord even for the difficulties and challenges.

Praise, thanksgiving and prayer need to be offered up continually during good times. We should not go to the Lord only when we have difficulties as it will show we are time servers and opportunists. Our faithfulness is proved only when we are consistent in our prayer life at all times. During difficult times, we need to offer supplications, intercession with thanksgiving and praise. In short, we need to pray continually and the Lord will give us the grace to rejoice in hope and to endure in our troubles.

Prateep V Philip