Sunday, January 31, 2016

The X Factor

UV 1661/10000 The X Factor
For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

Proverbs 9 v 11

This uni-verse holds the secret of longevity as well as productivity. Without Jesus we are zero, with Him, we are hero. He multiplies the days and fills our right hand with length of days and our left hand with riches and honour. By Him, days which would otherwise have been filled with misery, trouble and weakness are filled with peace and grace. Though we live finite lives with measurable strength and limited knowledge and ability, He will enable us to experience the infinite riches of His wisdom and knowledge. He adds life to our years and years to our lives. He knows the number of the days we will live even as He knows the number of our hair. Before a day begins, He knows the direction it will take and how it will finish. The Lord renews our youth and strength as we grow older and thereby, increases our years. Faith enables us to be productive and useful well into old age. When our ears are inclined to hear His Word and our minds are devoted to meditating on it and our hearts on treasuring it, our years will be extended. We will flourish while others will perish. Other rulers through history divided their subjects and ruled but Jesus alone multiplies us, our blessings and our influence as well as impact.
The number of people on earth today is 6,775,35,842 including you and me in the last digit. If you calculate this number as a ratio of the 300 sextillion stars in the universe, it is a decimal of insignificant value. Yet, you and I are more significant than all the stars put together. We rule the stars and not vice versa. We derive our significance from our relationship with our Father and Creator through our Redeemer Jesus. We number our days as we are excited to see Him in all His glory face to face without the veil of our fleshly life and its limitations. Yet we desire to life a life that is long and full so that we do our utmost for Him in this earthly sojourn. Like St Paul, we believe that to live is Christ, to die is gain. We do not cling onto this life and the things of this world but we cling onto the Lord.
The Lord gives us wisdom, knowledge and understanding in abundance to make our days productive and our lives fruitful. The so called secular literature does not factor in the X factor of the grace of God in making our lives productive and impactful. A person without faith is like a bird without feathers. It is feathers that define a bird as a bird and enable it to fly. Similarly, it is faith in the invisible but ever present God that enables us to sprout feathers and equips us to take wing in prayer and the Word every day of our lives. Without faith, we will be vulnerable as new born birds that quiver in the heat and cold of the day. Without faith, we will be like the well dressed broiler chicken ready for the enemy to make a good meal of us. He uses us whether we are many or few. Faith, imagination and creativity are a winning combination that will unlock many doors for us. Jesus is the X Factor or the Factor which when multiplied into us can cause one to overcome or put to flight a thousand and two to put ten thousand to flight. Of Him, by Him, with Him, for Him, our days are multiplied, and our years are increased.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Universal Password and the Eternal Passport

UV 1660/10000 The Universal Password and the Eternal Passport
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Joel 2 v 32
Password security is a common challenge facing almost all of humanity today. We struggle to remember all the passwords we have for all our online accounts but we can so easily remember our password to heaven: the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is not only our universal password but our passport to heaven. The password Jesus is not kept secret unlike our other passwords but can be made known to all. Our passports issued by the governments of the earth have an expiry date but the name of Jesus is our eternal passport. It works on all the portals of earth and heaven. Whenever we call on this name, the ears of the Lord is open to our prayers. The word, “whoever” implies that it is available for anyone anywhere anytime. We have the certain promise that He will certainly deliver us. Mount Zion is a metaphor for the kingdom of God and Jerusalem is a metaphor for His kingdom on earth. He delivers us from the mouth of the roaring lion, the enemy of our souls.
Some people think that the expression, “ this too shall pass away” is the most reassuring words in language but this uni-verse asserts things in the affirmative, “ It shall come to pass.” Our prayers, dreams and wishes shall come to pass. Our hope shall be fulfilled. The Lord delivers us from eternal death as well as untimely death in this world. He delivers us from the curse of unfulfilled potential. He delivers us from our weaknesses and moral failings. He delivers us from shame and disgrace. He delivers us from those who are much stronger and powerful than us. He delivers us from temptations and troubles. He delivers us from persecution and oppression. He delivers us from all our fears and curses. He delivers us according to His promises. He delivers us from spiritual bondages. He delivers us from Jezebel spirits.

The remnant refers to believers who are called to faith by the Lord. People who do not have faith are like birds that have no feather. They are exposed and vulnerable. They cannot fly on the wings of prayer and the Word. They cannot be spiritually buoyant. The remnant or the residue of humanity that the Lord has separated on account of their faith in Jesus call on the name of the Lord. The word “calling” does not merely mean verbally or orally calling out but it means believing in the heart and confessing faith in Jesus with the mouth.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 29, 2016

God Governance

UV 1659/10000 God Governance
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Isaiah 48 v 17

When we live our lives according to the principles taught to us from the Word, we are greatly benefitted and blessed. The Lord counsels us on the specific paths we should take. We will find rest for our souls or peace in taking these paths without swerving to the right or left. This uni-verse teaches us that the Lord is our Redeemer, The Holy God of Israel, Our God, Teacher and Leader. As the Holy God of Israel, He revealed His character and His doings in the lives of scores of individuals. In the course of our lives, we experience the interface and learning that each of these biblical personalities had in their relationships and encounters with God.

The Lord is not teaching us to harm us but to help us improve, change, grow and prosper. It is for our good that He disciplines us as parents discipline the children they love. God proved to Israel that He was their Leader. He led them from slavery to freedom, from defeat and oppression to a succession of victories and triumphs. He multiplied them. He blessed their land. Through the history of the Jewish people, the Lord was demonstrating to all people that He could lead them in the same way if we leant on Him.

Our only true leader is the Lord Himself. When Israel asked for kings like other nations, the Lord was disappointed and tried to dissuade them through the prophet Samuel. The Lord told them that they would be exploited and oppressed by human leaders or kings. Human leadership right through history had its feet of clay that brought it crumbling down in due course. Ignorance, pride and arrogance, depravity, avarice, selfishness and folly are the results of the blindness of human leaders. Human leaders are not a substitute for the leadership of God. Good governance is not a substitute for God governance. Even men like Moses and Joshua were used by God to carry out His instructions. By themselves they were blind like the rest of us but once we follow the instructions of the One who knows all things about us, about the future, about our needs and desires, about the hindrances and obstacles, we will know the way we should go, the things we should do and say.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Factors of Spiritual Productivity

UV 1658/10000 Factors of Spiritual Productivity
And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
Daniel 10 v 19
When we have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, we will be surrounded by peace and filled with strength. A Christophany or the appearance of Jesus before His birth on earth came to strengthen the civil servant Daniel. Daniel was initially overawed and fell on his face to the ground but Jesus affirmed His love for him and exhorted him not to fear. Christ chose to appear before him as he had humbled himself before God. He persisted in seeking the face and will of God. Though he occupied high position in the Babylonian empire as a seniormost civil servant, he humbled himself before God to regard himself as first and foremost a servant, by grace, of God. Jesus spoke the words that He often used during His spell on earth, “ Peace be unto thee.” He then reiterated the words, “ be strong.” Likewise, when we walk close to the Lord, He will appear to strengthen us greatly.

Peace comes from an assurance that the Lord God loves us and cares for us. Nothing in this world can harm or touch us. Our faith in Jesus drives away every type of fear. Fear is paralysing and disempowering while faith is enabling and empowering. He fills us with peace and with the power of His might. The words of Christ are the source of our peace and strength.
While the young Samuel heard the voice of the Lord and said, “ Speak Lord for thy servant hears,” Daniel on hearing the words of Jesus said, “ Speak Lord for thy servant has been strengthened.” Whatever task the Lord gives us or whatever vision we see, the Lord will strengthen us in our souls to fulfil. He enabled Daniel to understand the great visions of the future of Israel and the world. The wise will understand the words of Jesus and shine as bright and strong as stars forever. From this uni-verse we understand that love is the greatest attribute followed by humility, grace, peace, strength, wisdom and understanding. These are the factors of spiritual production just as the factors of production is Economics are :land, labour, capital and enterprise. The source of these factors of spiritual productivity is the Word.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Paradigm Sift

UV 1657/10000 Paradigm Sift
For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
Amos 9 v 9
Every few years, mankind comes up with a new cliché or expression that almost everyone in the know of things or in leadership and management positions use frequently. One such expression is “ paradigm shift”. But in reality, we see very little change happening in human behaviour or in the impact on lives and destiny of individuals, organisations and nations. More than paradigm shift what we need is a "paradigm sift" where we sift and sort out our default patterns, interrupt and disrupt the normal patterns of our beliefs, values, thoughts, speech, actions and reactions. The default patterns that are a result of our human conditioning are the chaff that need to be separated from the grain. The grain are the faithful people while scripture constantly refers to the godless and faithless as the chaff that the wind blows away. The Lord uses our life’s circumstance and event to sift us, to separate the chaff from the grain. What we need is not a paradigm shift but a paradigm sift where we choose patterns of life that are God-pleasing and faith-building.

While the Lord uses circumstances and events to sift the patterns of those who live in ignorance of the principle of faith, He uses the Word as a sieve to sift our patterns of belief, work and living. The purpose of sifting is to separate what is useful from an eternal perspective from what is not useful. We should constantly examine our patterns of belief, expression, thought, action and reaction so that we more and more conform to the patterns of the Word and not those of the world. We need to constantly eliminate from our lives the negatives. We need to put ourselves on an “elimination diet” of removing anger, hatred, jealousy, bitterness, depression, laziness, lust, pride and insensitivity from our lives. The Holy Spirit will continually highlight the areas where we need to focus.

Sifting of patterns is needed to make us more effective and productive or fruitful. The Lord sifts His people before He deals with others. The more we yield to the Lord and His Word, the greater our yield. The more we are yielded to Him and willing to learn and change, the higher our yield or fruitfulness. The seed or grain that was planted in good soil of an obedient and willing heart produced a hundred fold. The chaff has no nutritive value. Similarly, we need to avoid or reduce activities that are of no value and correspondingly increase those that add value to our lives and that of other. There are different kinds of sieve depending on the type and size of the grain as well as the chaff. Similarly, we need to use different types of biblical leadership, management and life tools and skills to separate the different grades of grain- the most useful, the useful, the least useful. The Lord will command or direct and lead us to choose the appropriate sieve to sift our patterns.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sharing the Awe

UV 1656/10000 Sharing the Awe

Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased
Exodus 15 v 16
We are redeemed from those who are stronger than us in the natural. Their hearts are stony towards the Lord while our hearts are responsive and sensitive to the move of the Lord and to His Word. The Lord will deliver us from powerful foes, forces and enemies by the power of His right arm. He has bought or purchased us by the blood of His Son Jesus. He has called us from darkness to light to declare His greatness and His praises for the great things He has wrought in our lives. The heart of the enemy of our souls will become as dead and inert as stone. Though we once belonged to the enemy as we had mortgaged our souls for temporary gain or pleasure, we now belong entirely to the Lord. The awesome God makes us also share in His awesomeness.

We will pass over from death to life eternal, from the scarce life to the abundant life, from a scarcity mentality to a mentality of abundance. We will move from bondage of Egypt to the freedom of Israel. Our testimonies will drive a sense of awe and foreboding into the hearts of those who oppose us. He will make us formidable. We are a kingdom of priests, a peculiar people different from all the people on the earth. We are distinguished by our faith and the presence and power of the Lord manifest in our lives. We are a royal priesthood, holy and dear to the Lord. The Lord has transformed us who were mere stones into precious stones, a treasure that is collected.

The Lord will execute marvels, signs and wonders in our lives. In response to the work and word of the Lord, we should be a people who are zealous for good works. The Lord has purchased us at a great price and we should understand that our salvation is so great and not take it for granted or take it lightly. Whatever be our goals in our lives, the Lord will create a safe passage for us to reach those goals, clearing the opposition, the hurdles and barriers in our paths. When we are continually overshadowed by the Spirit of the Lord, we are protected, delivered, promoted, provided for and we are sanctified and enabled to be creative and productive in every aspect of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Secrets

UV 1655/10000 The Secrets
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29 v 29

The secrets of wisdom and knowledge, true wealth and power, true beauty, true joy and of the future are hidden in the Lord. It is revealed to us in and through the Word. The Word, Jesus who came in flesh and blood communicates to us the secrets of heaven and the after life. The world does not change by revolution but by revelation. The secrets of the Word are the heritage of the children of God and after us our children, too will inherit the promises and be subject to the discipline of the truths of the Word. Everything is not revealed to everyone. The Lord knows what secret to reveal to whom. The one to whom it is revealed has to cherish and use it diligently and not neglect it in any way. The secrets of the Lord are not like that of the Pandora’s box that destroys but are life-giving, life-enabling and life-enriching.

The secrets are revealed to us not just to know and cherish but to follow, obey and practice in our lives. The Word will counsel us in the decisions we take. It should shape and determine the priorities of our lives. It should influence our actions and reactions. It enriches our understanding and rules over our relationships. We must strive to do all that the Lord lays on our hearts. We need to be wholehearted in our obedience to the Word. We cannot be selective in our obedience of the Lord’s Word.
The Word should saturate our minds and dominate our conversations. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truths hidden in the Word. These truths instead of restricting our freedom as many of us fear sets us free from all our fears and all that shackles us and keeps us from realizing our full potential in Christ. The Word is like a sponge that is filled and dripping with the anointing of the Lord. The secret is not revealed at one shot but secreted drop by drop in our minds and hearts. As we soak in it, we receive the enablement and become privy to the secrets of the Lord, the secrets of the heart, the secrets of the universe, the secrets of the mind, the secrets of leadership, the secrets of good relationships, the secrets of blessing, the secrets of healing and deliverance, the secrets of success and prosperity. He uses the Word as the secret key to unlock the treasures of darkness. A treasure kept in darkness is a deep secret. It is not known to anyone. It is mystical and mysterious. It is the domain expertise that belongs to the Lord and those to whom He reveals it.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Ecstasy of the Overflow

UV 1654/1000 The Ecstasy Of the Overflow
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
Numbers 14 v 8
We have a choice in this world to live a lie believing in the goodness of richess, power, pleasure and beauty or to live the abundant life believing in the ineffable goodness and love of God. We are not given a glass that is half full or half empty with the milk of His goodness but with an overflow, an abundance of blessings and the ecstasy of fellowship with Him. “Milk and honey” are a metaphor for the smooth flow of life (as of milk) in normal times and the thick, concentrated, viscous flow ( as of honey) in unusual times. When we delight in the Lord’s word and His ways, He will delight in us. He will not withhold any good thing from those He delights in. He will lead us day by day and enable us to enter a land flowing with the pure milk of God’s Word and the honey of His promises. Many people are not able to seize the opportunity as they give priority in their hearts to silk and money instead of the milk of God’s word that could have nourished their faith and the honey of His promises that are able to give them a foretaste of God’s goodness.
A man who is righteous by faith will suffer no want. He will not go hungry to bed. He will be clothed with the clothes of salvation. He will be lifted up on earth in his influence and impact. The Lord delights in anyone who fears Him and therefore, refrains from evil and rebellion. He delights in anyone who places his hope in His Word and obeys it. He will deliver him from his powerful enemies and from the time of trouble.
The “land” is a metaphor for the kingdom or rule and reign of God. The Lord will gather those He delights in as a man gathers his treasure and brings them into a spacious place. He will plant them assuredly and securely in the land so that no one can uproot them. He will do good to them with all His heart and soul. He will do the impossible with such a person. He will do the impossible for such a person such that eye has not seen nor ear heard nor entered into our imagination. He will cause our hearts to rejoice again and again, to overflow. The person who delights in the Lord is one who is obsessed with Him. The one who is obsessed with the Lord will possess the land. He saturates his mind with the Word and imitates his ways. The Lord will enable him to live a life beyond his wildest dreams. He will cause such a person to go from strength to strength.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Fight For the Right

UV 1652/10000 The Fight for Right
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Exodus 14 v 14
We need to just turn our worries into worship and the Lord will turn our battles into blessings and testimonies. He promises to fight for us. He is called a “ a man of war”, a Lord of the armies of heavens with chariots of fire that He sends to the aid of believers. We need to hold our peace or hold onto the peace of Jesus in all our circumstances. We just need to remain still and we will certainly experience the salvation of the Lord and behold His glory and power. We hold onto our peace when we calm ourselves and rid ourselves of our fears of threats –real, potential and imagined. Faith is the antidote for all our fears. We should not be overawed by the size of our opposition, the number and power or influence of our rivals. Faith is a strength or force multiplier.
The Lord promises to sift our foes and enemies as in a sieve. We need not loose a wink of sleep over it. We might have giants rising up against us but the Lord will deliver us from all of them as He delivered David from the mighty Goliath. We only need to lean on Him for strength and be guided by His light. We need to face the fight for the right in the light of His Word. The Lord promises to cast down the chariots and the rider of the horse. It implies that He will neutralise an array of forces against us in the spiritual realm. A horse has strength equal to ten times that of a strong man. A chariot has the power and momentum of hundred times that of a strong man. What He demonstrated in Egypt to the mighty war chariots of Pharaoh and his horses, that He is willing and able to do to this day.
Being still implies that we interrupt our pattern of worrying about things in our lives. We should stop fretting and turn it into constant prayers of faith. We need to find our assurance and confidence in the promises in His Word. We only need to take battle position by holding the javelin of the Word in our minds and hearts, making our thoughts, beliefs and words to coincide. We will then enjoy undisturbed and uninterrupted peace and joy. Faith implies that our attitudes change or precede the change in the circumstances that we are hoping and praying for. Resting on the Lord means that we depend on the Lord for our strategies and plans. In quietness and our confidence in the Lord is our strength. We need not be fearful or lift a finger or our tongue in our defence but the Lord will do the needful. When we truly believe we will enjoy the peace that surpasses our human understanding but not our human experience or perception.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 22, 2016

Process Patience

UV 1651/10000 Process Patience
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126 v 6
The Word is the precious seed of God. It will germinate in certain conditions. Normally our hearts are conditioned and deceived not to believe the Lord or His Word. But tears of suffering soften our hearts and make it fit to sow the Word. As a farmer carries saplings or seedlings on his shoulder to the field to plant, we need to carry the Word for a period of time before it grows. The believer sows the Word in the soil of his soul. He waters it with the tears of repentance and the longing of hope. His sorrows, challenges and issues of life are the specific area where he sows the promises of God. The gospel is the precious seed that ceases the pattern of bad news in our lives and initiates the pattern of receiving good news.
The Lord will wipe our tears and feed us from His throne. As we seek the Lord’s will and His face in our lives earnestly and diligently, His face will shine on us as the morning sun and cause us to rejoice. We may experience “tears by night” or the trauma of a bad experience, or the low of depression but it will be for a period of time, a phase of darkness in our lives. The Lord is doing a deep work in our hearts and lives during these periods of darkness so that our souls are weaned from the love of the world and to be fit and ready to bear much harvest. Jesus is leading us to living fountains of water. He has given us abundant and effective seed for sowing. The more the seed we sow, the more we reap. In the measure, His word is precious and dear to us, our tears are precious and dear to Him. We shed tears of repentance, intercession, persistence and tears of joy. The more the tears, the faster the grain grows, the greater the harvest in our soul of the fruit of the spirit, the greater the harvest of souls.
The farmer waits for the seedling to grow. Similarly, we need to be patient and wait with hope for the fulfilment of the promises spoken or sown into our lives. I call this “ process patience”. Process patience would lead up to a period when we harvest the
sheaves.” The farmer rejoices in the time of harvest. A man of faith rejoices even before he receives the fulfilment of the promise or the actual harvest. The word “ doubtless” indicates that it will certainly happen without an iota of doubt. The seed of faith has to be sown without the chaff of doubt. Fear and doubt prevent the growth of the grain of faith. The expression “ bringing his sheaves with him” implies that the work done for the Lord will outlast our lives and pass into eternity to receive an eternal reward in the heavenly realm.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Double Edged Sword

UV 1650/10000 The Double Edged Sword

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 18 v 21

The power of death and life resides in the tongue of the believer. Elijah could speak and the rain ceased for three and a half years. Joshua spoke and the sun stopped in its tracks. Jesus spoke and the dead were resurrected. Peter spoke and Ananias and Saphira having lied about giving the entire proceeds of their house fell dead. Every word counts and every word is counted. The lips of a royal priest of God and of Jesus preserves knowledge and imparts life and eternal life to the listeners. The power of the tongue of the believer is derived from the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the constant relishing and imbibing of the Word. The Word is described as a spiritual sword and the human tongue is also described as a sword. Togther, these become a double-edge sword to give life and not to take life. A tongue that is loaded and speaks the Word becomes a hammer to destroy the barriers, the blocks, the sources of deficiency in different areas of our lives. It is a catapult to throw the fire of the spirit and missiles to destroy the strongholds of the enemy.

A righteous person treasures the good words of the Word in his or her heart. An evil person treasures the evil words of the enemy in his or her heart. The evil person thinks he or she is smarter than God and disbelieves and discredits His Word. Both bring out the kind of words that are treasured in their hearts and reap either fruits of life or of death. A fool’s tongue in contrast brings death and destruction. A fool or imprudent speaker uses his or her own tongue to cut off his or her head. He uses his tongue to cut himself and others.
The tongue is used in default as an instrument of destruction in this world and in our relationships but it is designed to be a source of the abundant and eternal life.
The tongue, tiny as it is, has the power of prayer, the power of praise, the power of command, the power of execution, the power to raise the dead to life, the power to cause healing, the power of blessing, the power of inspiration, the power of discipline and correction, the power of proclaiming and claiming victory over foes, the power to command the forces of nature, the power to produce peace, the power to impart knowledge and wisdom, the power of edification or to be able to build the faith of others. It has the power to cause springs of water to pour forth from a dry rock. We need to love these fruits or results of our proper use or God-intended and enabled use of the amazing human tongue. It also has the power to curse and to add fuel to the strife of jealousy, bitterness, hatred, pride, anger and self destruction. It can speak vain words, empty words, boastful and proud words that are destructive. We need to hate intensely these deadly fruits of the human tongue.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Phases of Diligence

UV 1649/10000 Phases of Diligence
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
Jeremiah 48 v 10
If we do our work that the Lord has called us to do negligently and without due diligence, we invite His curse. Diligence and excellence are the marks of a person who faithfully executes the will of the Lord. Nehemiah is one such biblical personality who received a calling from the Lord. He diligently studied the task at hand, formulated a plan and a strategy to carry it out. He began his work with fasting and prayer, asking the Lord to bless his mission. He could have continued to enjoy the comforts and perks of being cup bearer to the king but he left his comfort zone and travelled back to Israel. He surveyed the ruined walls and gates. The Lord revealed to him the details of the plan. He supervised the execution of the plan diligently. He assigned responsibilities and prepared the people for emergencies like attacks by enemies to stop them from building. The ruined walls of Jerusalem were re-built in 52 days or a little more than seven weeks.
Nehemiah initially told no one the vision and mission the Lord had given him. He did not want any leak of the plan prematurely. He received the details of the plan and prepared different segments of the community in Jerusalem to participate. He perceived the threats to the work and asked the people to carry their building tools in one hand and a sword in the other hand. Different segments of the wall were assigned to different groups or teams of people. Nehemiah used his influence with the king to mobilise sufficient resources to complete the wall. He got edicts issued with the seal of the king to obtain wood and other materials required for building the wall.
If we do our work faithfully and diligently, we will be blessed with success in it. We need to spend time in prayer asking for the Lord’s guidance. Thereafter, we must plan carefully and pay close attention to the details. Nehemiah motivated the demoralised people of Jerusalem and united them with a common vision and plan. He provided proactive leadership by aniticipating troubles and threats. He was firm and steadfast in his resolve. He took firm actions to weed out anyone who tried to infiltrate their ranks. He admonished the nobles for exploiting the poor people and was just in his decisions. He checked if everyone did their apportioned work properly. There are different phases of diligence: diligence in prayer, diligence in planning, diligence in execution, diligence in defence against perceived threats and diligence in follow through.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Never Short on Blessing

UV 1648/10000 Never Short on Blessing
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Genesis 27 v 38
The father reserved a special blessing for his first born. But since Jacob under the instigation of their mother came in the guise of Esau to the elderly and dying Isaac, he gave the blessing of the first born to Jacob. Esau then pleaded with his father and asked him if he had only one blessing and to bless him, too. Our Father in heaven in contrast has ten thousand blessings for us in the form of His promises in the Word. As long as we are connected to his first born Jesus, we too have the rights of blessing of the first born. We become co-heirs or inheritors with Jesus of the kingdom of God.

Esau eventually prospered and flourished in Edom and returned to the land of Canaan for a meeting with Jacob. Jacob had also got his share of the flock from Laban, his father-in-law and had prospered greatly. Both had apparently prospered but the difference was that Jacob was given the blessing of Abraham, the blessing of faith and peace. The very name of the new nation came from Israel, the name the Lord gave Jacob. Esau had sold his birth right as first born for a pot of meat, implying that he valued the satisfaction of his physical need much more than his spiritual heritage. Jacob in contrast has an encounter with the angel of the Lord. He wrestles with the angel till he blesses him. Jacob is a man who is zealous for the blessing of his earthly father as well as Heavenly Father. He sees a vision of the ladder rising to heaven as a sign of his eternal inheritance.

From the life of Jacob, we realize that it is more important to be blessed than to be successful or prosperous. Success and prosperity are just two of the blessings of the Lord. He is not short on blessing unlike Isaac and has reserved many wonderful blessings for each of us and for our future generations such that eye has not seen nor ear has heard. For success in this world we need to compete with each other but for abundant blessing we only need to be in right relationship with the Father who never leaves us nor forsakes us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Buttons of Self Destruction

UV 1647/10000 The Buttons of Self Destruction
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.
I Samuel 2 v 12
Though Eli was a godly priest, his sons Hophni and Phinehas did not know the Lord for to “know the Lord” meant not just going through the motions of faith or religion but to genuinely love and revere Him from one’s heart. It demonstrated that Eli did not bring them up in the knowledge of the ways and Word. They did not fear God to respect His name and His tabernacle. Their heart was given over to covetousness and lust as if they were veritable offspring of the devil. Eli had short-sightedly not spent time in correcting them in their early days. They were a sharp contrast to Samuel who revered and served the Lord from his childhood. They lost their anointing and heritage of blessings to Samuel who was chosen as Eli’s successor.
The very name of Eli means “God” but his sons defiled His name and brought a curse upon their lives. In their covetousness they put the three pronged hook into the sacrificial meat to draw their portion even before it was ready to be taken. We will receive our portion of blessings from the Lord in due time and in a God approved way and we should not try to take short cuts or hasten the process. The three pronged hook is a metaphor for the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. They were arrogant as they thought that being sons of the chief priest, they had the privilege to ask and get whatever they desired and when they desired it. They went on to defile their own bodies that are the ultimate temple of God by luring some of the women who were at the gate of the tabernacle. The result was that they provoked the judgement of God and the Lord pronounced that they would die on the same day and that no one in Eli’s house would live long enough to see old age. Eventually, both of the sons of Eli died along with thirty thousand Israelites in a battle with the Philistines. Eli, hearing of the defeat of Israel, the capture of the ark of the covenant and the death of his two sons, fell and died.

From the contrasting life and destiny of Samuel and the two sons of Eli, we see clearly that the Lord honours those who honour Him and those who lightly esteem Him or despise Him are also lightly esteemed and are despised by Him. To know the Lord is not just to have nominal or superficially acknowledge the Lord but to obey Him in all our ways. It is also a lesson not to honour or hold our children more dear than the Lord, to be sensitive enough to correct and chastise those of our own household on time before it becomes too late for them and for us. The scriptural paradigm of leadership and management requires that the leader or manager be free from the desire for dishonest gain and has self control or the ability to rein in his or her own physical and other passions. These two- the desire for dishonest gain and for illicit sexual gratification can prove to be the proverbial buttons of self destruction.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 17, 2016


UV 1646/10000 Upliftment
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them
I Samuel 2 v 8
The pillars of the earth are not physical structures but the principles of righteousness found in the word of the Lord. He has set the world to run upon them. If we keep them, we prosper. If we break them, we suffer the consequences much like what happens when we break the laws of physical science or the laws of man. The principle of humility and faith before the Lord had raised Hannah as a mother and a forebear of one of the greatest of prophets and the last judge of Israel- Samuel. She was on the dunghill of contempt and scorn due to her barrenness but when she lowered herself to the dust and sought the mercy, peace and grace of the Lord, she was lifted up and set among princes. She had inherited the throne of glory- an eternal seating at the right hand of the Lord, a position as judge and ruler in the kingdom of God. Though she was not a princess by earthly standards and reckoning, she is honoured in biblical history as a woman of great faith.

The thorn in our flesh that causes us most pain may be the indicator of where our throne lies, of where we invite the Lord to sit and rule in our lives. The Lord had closed the womb of Hannah for a higher purpose. If she had become a mother by natural means and not through supernatural intervention and blessing, she would have not known the Lord or tasted of His goodness, love, mercy, peace and grace. Our greatest source of pain is the indicator of where our greatest victory or success lies in life. The mustard seed of faith though it be tiny when it is sown in the area of our greatest need becomes the largest of trees where many birds or many lives can find shelter from the storms in their lives.

When we humble ourselves, the Lord exalts us. When we exalt ourselves, the Lord will humble us. Those who are poor in spirit are those who have little to gloat about or boast about in their lives. The princes or those who hold high rank and position of this world are arrogant but the children of God are meek. Eli’ sons misused his position and influence as the priest of the Tabernacle and the anointing and mantle of leadership that should have been theirs by virtue of natural descent was transferred by the Spirit of the Lord to the young lad Samuel.

Prateep V Philip

The Frame of the Big Picture

UV 1645/10000 The Frame of the Big Picture
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Hebrews 11 v 3
This uni-verse states that the worlds or the entire universe is framed by the Word of God. It sets the limits and the range of possibilities in the universe. The Word is the frame of reference for our lives. We understand and come to know the things that are of God, that are unseen with the help of the Word. The underlying principles of life, leadership and management are therefore derived from the Word. The Word is not just spiritual but holistic and effective. The physical world and all in it were brought into being by means of the Word.
When we meditate on God’s Word, we derive principles to guide our decisions, actions, reactions and relationships. We should then convert these principles into practices or habits. The Word is also the source of power and wisdom. It gives us the templates with which we can look at the world around and interpret happenings. It is faith in the Word that enables us to obtain the promises of God. When we place our hope and confidence in a specific promise contained in the Word, the Lord will cause that seed of faith to grow and come to fruition or fulfilment.
Since the visible was created out of the invisible by the invisible God, it is impossible to understand the world or its origin or where we are heading with the help of only the physical sciences. We need to step outside the frame of the physical in order to get a grasp of spiritual precepts and principles. When our views and perspectives are shaped by the Word, everything will fall in place. We will begin to grasp the big picture. The power to know God as the Maker of Heaven and earth as the Word declares Him to be is the greatest knowledge. Our significance is derived from our relationship with Him, finite as we are and infinite as He is, visible as we are , invisible as He is, mortal as we are, immortal as He is.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 15, 2016

Relationship Matters

UV 1644/10000 Relationship Matters

Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

I Samuel 2 v 3

Scripture speaks of only one way to distinguish oneself- the way of faith. Hannah distinguished herself by her faith that drew her closer to the Lord despite or even on account of her affliction of barrenness. Faith is a sign of humility before God. It is acknowledging that we cannot ever know everything and that God knows everything and He knows what is best for each of us. As we know the Lord we grow in our relationship with Him. Faith gives rise to love for God and for our fellow beings.
Peninah, the other wife of Elkanah was constantly provoking Hannah and insulting her over her barrenness. She was exceedingly proud that she had borne sons and daughters to Elkanah. It was probably due to Hannah’s inability to bear children in those days when neither surrogacy nor in vitro fertilisation was known that Elkanah decided to marry a second time despite being a God-fearing man. But the existence of two wives in the house produced much jealousy, strife and misery reducing Hannah often to an outpouring of sorrow in her tears. While Peninah which means ‘pearl’ demonstrated unpearl-like qualities, Hannah then decided not to keep her sorrow to herself but to pour out her soul to the Lord. Peninah spoke arrogantly and too soon for the Lord enlarged Hannah’s mouth over her.

God is neither blind, nor deaf to our woes and pleas. He is a God of knowledge. He manifests Himself according to our need. To Abraham, He manifested Himself as a God of blessing and providence. To Isaac, as the God of provision. To Jacob , as the God of encounter and blessing. To Joseph, as the God of favour, deliverance and exaltation. To Moses, as the God of justice and mighty deliverance. To Gideon, as the God of enablement and victory. To Rahab as the God of mercy and rescue. To Hannah, as the God of vindication and deliverance. Hannah rightly praises the Lord with an outpouring from her soul of praise. Through her personal experience, she realized that He is One who weighs our every attitude, word and action. The Lord constantly weighs our words, actions and reactions against those of others around us and His grace or favour would tilt towards manifesting Himself personally in correcting the balance or remedying the situation with justice. He is deeply involved and engaged in our greatest struggles and help us to emerge victorious and strengthened in faith or our personal relationship with Him. Faith is one word for a four word experience: personal relationship with God. The fear of God implies that we should always strive to stay on the right side of the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Enlarged, Equipped and Enabled

UV 1642/10000 Enlarged, Equipped and Enabled
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
I Samuel 2 v 1
Prayer is not just asking the Lord. Prayer is getting our heart to rejoice in the Lord for mercies received. Hannah did not go away to her routine like many of us do after receiving an answer to prayer but she prayed with praise and thanksgiving with a heart full of adoration and gratitude. Gratitude is a great attitude. She did not get obsessed with her new born son but she turned her heart once again to the Lord. Her heart began to beat at the same frequency as the Lord’s. When a human heart syncs with the Lord, it resonates in the whole universe. It is the celebration of creation and the Creator rejoices with us. The joy of the Lord becomes our strength, our source of upliftment, exaltation and sustenance. It did not become Hannah’s source of strength after she received her prayer request but from the moment Eli, the priest told her , “ Go in peace. The God of Israel grant thee the petition…” Her face was radiant from the time she received the word of confirmation or assurance from Eli. Our face may not be the index of our minds as it is often said but it is certainly the index of our hearts of how we feel. Our faces should reflect the joy of the Lord.

The word “ horn” in Hebrew signified the stimulant of honour and strength. Just as a small horn on an animal grows to become its weapon of defence, the Lord stimulates the source of our honour and strength and causes it to grow. He exalts or lifts us up in the eyes, the presence and the midst of our foes. What we speak in faith He takes and brings it to pass to vindicate us and cause us to triumph. It is a wonderful and unique biblical expression employed in this uni-verse, “He enlarges our mouth over our enemies.” He will not let our words fall to the ground or our faith to sag. The edifice of our faith is built, specific prayer by prayer, specific answer by answer. We are enlarged, equipped and enabled.
Jesus is metaphorically called “ the horn of our salvation,” implying that He is the source of our strength, triumph and salvation. We need to rejoice in the Lord always. It also means that we have no confidence or reliance in the flesh or in our own strength or the powers of this world. Joy is a natural offspring of a supernatural experience. The word “ joy” has a hidden meaning- “Jesus owns you.” If we rejoice because of who we are or what we own, it is arrogance and we will be humbled but if we rejoice because of whose we are, we are exalted and blessed in multiple ways.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Post Traumatic Redeeming Euphoria

UV 1641/10000 Post Traumatic Redeeming Euphoria
Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
1 Samuel 1 v 28

The concept of lending to the Lord is an unique one, not heard of in so called secular or mainstream literature. Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord about her barrenness and the Lord enabled her to conceive and have a child- the great prophet Samuel, the king maker, the counsellor and teacher to a great shepherd-king David. The Lord heard her cry and therefore, the child was named “Samuel” or “heard of the Lord.” Naming a child was like shaping an arrowhead in biblical times and was not taken casually as we do today since we are more concerned about how it sounds than what the child means to us and what we want the child to mean with his or her life. Hannah prayed for a male child primarily to rid herself of the shame of barrenness, to overcome the insults and taunts of the other wife of Elkanah, her husband. Hannah made a vow that she would dedicate the child for the Lord’s work all his life.

The idea of giving back to the Lord willingly what He has graciously granted us is behind the concept of lending to the Lord. Both Elkanah and Hannah were faithful in keeping their vows to the Lord. They were consequently greatly blessed and further they had three sons and two daughters but Samuel remains to this day the special one. Hannah’s song of adoration and thanksgiving that she sang once her prayer was answered and she bore her first son Samuel is a complete philosophy and theology of life. Psychology talks of the phenomenon of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but Hannah like any believer today who has his prayer heard and answered underwent “post traumatic redeeming euphoria”( PTRE) or in to put it simply, “boundless joy.” Hannah talked with the Lord and walked with the Lord. The Lord “remembering” her was sufficient to open her barren womb. She was then filled with as much joy as she experienced anguish while she was barren and taunted. A desire fulfilled through hearing our prayers is sweet to the soul. It is like marrow and fatness of the finest meat to our souls. The joy is great as we have evidence in our answer to our prayer that the Lord lives and that He redeems us. We realize like Hannah that no one but the Lord could have heard us and answered us in this manner. The euphoria overflowed to the next generation and Samuel worshipped the Lord as a full time vocation. He was dedicated to be a priest whose hair would not be cut with a razor but the Lord raised him up to be a great prophet in Israel. The birth of a boy child to Hannah was not just another birth of a baby but it meant redemption and salvation to Hannah. He in turn became an instrument of proclaiming the salvation of the Lord to successive generations.

When we lend to the Lord, He will not become our debtor. He will bless and multiply many times what we have lent Him. In place of the one child, Hannah lent to the Lord, she was given five more. It is also written in scripture that when we give to the poor, we are lending to the Lord. When we give to the Lord, we are casting our bread on water. The flow of blessings will come back to us in our hour of need. It is also promised that when we consider the poor in our hearts, the Lord will be with us in our time of trouble, safeguard and deliver us. Like Hannah, we too should bring up our children as people who know God, who walk and talk with Him, befriend Him as they would a dearest friend and worship Him. What we obtain in prayer is special and dedicated back to the Lord. We shall not consider it lightly or take it casually. It is “korban” as in Greek and not as in Hebrew. For in Hebrew, it means “burnt offering” while in Greek, it means “consecrated” or living sacrifice.
Prateep V Philip
New concept in psychology evolved in this UV: Post Traumatic Relieving Euphoria (PTRE)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Conscious Dreaming

UV 1640/10000 Conscious Dreaming
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
I Samuel 1 v 10
Alfred Tennyson, the poet laureate of England wrote: “ More things are wrought by prayer than the world ever dreamt off.” Actually, prayer is in a sense “conscious and realistic dreaming” for it is dreaming holding the hand of the Almighty, all loving, all providing, all sufficient, gracious and all knowing. Even before we open our hearts and lips to pray, He knows our need. Our need becomes the seed of faith- it becomes the means by which our faith, small as it is, begins to grow. As the One who holds our hand is Omni-competent to grant any request, there are no limits to our praying and everything is possible. We dream in a semi-conscious or unconscious state of sleep but we pray in what I call a “ super-conscious” state of awareness of the presence of God. We can hear the rustle of His feet as He moves in us and around us even as Adam and Eve heard and were warned of the Lord coming near to them. We can feel His ear inclined to our lips to hear us even as we “ pour out our soul” as Hannah did. In prayer, our souls are poured out as a libation, an offering of our being that is pleasing to the Lord. That which we pray for is never greater or more valuable than our intimacy with the Lord.

Hannah’s affliction was the curse or limitation of barrenness. A blessed life is an unlimited life of limitless possibilities. She consciously dreamt that it was possible for her to have a child if it pleased the Lord. She wept bitterly over her barrenness and made sounds of groaning that Eli, the short-sighted priest thought that she was drunk. Her tears were itself “ liquid prayer”. It melted the heart of her compassionate Father who opened her womb at that moment. Her affliction moved her to greater faith and commitment to give back to the Lord what He had given her. She only wanted to overcome her limitation. Her tears demonstrated that her faith was deep and authentic. Prayer is not a superficial “wish list” that we present to the Lord. It is the cry of our hearts, our deep longing.

We should not hesitate to do “conscious dreaming.” We should not be modest or doubtful in asking the Lord in faith. The Lord sees our afflictions, our deep need, the longing of our heart and the totality of our circumstances. It is His prerogative to decide the means and the timing of delivering the answer, of fulfilling the dream, of satisfying the need. Eli encouraged Hannah to believe that her prayer is heard by the Lord. He asked her, “ Go in peace and the God of Israel shall grant thy petition.” As soon as we pray, we receive the peace of God. This is the beginning of the process of conscious dreaming. Thereafter, even as our eyes and senses do not perceive anything happening, in our spirits we can sense, that the dream is growing organically or part by part even as a baby is formed in the mother’s womb.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 11, 2016

Set Free

UV 1639/10000 Set Free
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8 v 32
When Pilate asked Jesus, “What is the truth?”, he little realized that Truth Himself personified and embodied in Jesus was standing just a few feet from him. Truth as an abstraction is difficult to perceive, comprehend or grasp. But when Truth walks in flesh and blood, it becomes possible and easy to perceive, know, comprehend and apply. When we know Jesus as the Truth, we are set free from the fear of death and the bondage of sin and death. We are set free from our love of folly and evil. We are set free from the fear of disease. We are set free from the fear of failure. We are set free from our spiritual poverty. We are set free from blindness. We are set free from curses and limitations. We are set free from strife and misery. We are set free to realize and utilize our full potential for the limitless glory of God. We are set free from the power of the enemy of our soul. We are set free from the limitations and constraints of human traditions. We are set free from the power of dead habit. We experience true and inner freedom.
We are set free to live forever and to live fully and abundantly. We are set free to experience grace and peace. We are set free to know the Word and continue in the Word. The Word is perfect and is the law of liberty. The law is meant to imprison the wrong doers while the Word is meant to set free the wrong doers. Knowing the truth and living according to it is wisdom. We find rest or liberty for the soul in the Word of truth.
The words, “ ye shall” implies the act of knowing the truth is not a “once and for all” act or experience but a growing or progressive understanding and relationship with Jesus and the Word. The Word sets us free from the world. It separates us from the world as God separated the light from darkness at the genesis of time. The Word sets us free from our own self and our concerns, worries and obsessions. The Word sets us free to make us fulfil the purpose, will and expectations of the Lord. The Word breaks every chain in our lives- emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual or attitudinal. The word sets us free to integrate our spirits, minds and bodies, our past, present and future. We are set free to be fruitful in holistic terms and not just the spiritual.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Walk and Talk

UV 1638/10000 Walk and Talk
And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.
Zechariah 10 v 12
The Lord imparts His strength and power to us once we believe in Him and His Word. For we are no longer our own but His and we become His responsibility to safeguard and lead. The imperfect and inadequate leadership of men is replaced by the perfect and all sufficient leadership of the Lord. He strengthens us with His wisdom, righteousness and grace. St Paul who as Saul had only one focus, a negative one at that to exterminate the new faith and the followers of Jesus, was given grace to say, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” We develop a sense of omni-competence in Jesus. Jesus demonstrated the many impossible things He could do with ease: healings of all kinds, resurrecting the dead, multiplying the bread and fish, commanding nature to be still and demons to flee. He could teach and preach, prophesy and interpret. In His name, implying of Him, for Him, through Him, to Him, we can do all these things and more for He prophesied, “You shall do greater things than these.”

We might have many “ups” and “downs” in our lives but the Lord promises to be by our side as we walk in faith. He holds our hand each step of the way. When we are weary and feeble in our “down” moments, He renews our strength in amazing ways. In our “up” moments, He warns us to stay humble and depend on His grace. He gives us both insight and hindsight. Like a good coach, He eggs and urges us to keep moving towards the goal of eternal glory. We will not fall short of our goals as we have the Lord to help us at every stage.
Many people interpret that eternal life and its triumphs begin after our death in Christ. But, His glory and power is revealed in earth as in heaven, implying that the Lord rewards the just or those who walk by faith and in the light or truth of His Word not just in heaven but on earth during our long walk with Him. Our intimate relationship with Him and His presence with us is the source of all of our strength, resources, blessings, riches, grace and wisdom. People say, “walk the talk” meaning “ what we speak of or teach or claim, we should demonstrate in action. But, the Lord says, “ Walk and talk.” We walk with Him and talk with Him. As we talk with Him, He gives us strength for the next step in our lives. We talk to Him in prayer and an ongoing internal conversation while He talks with us through the Word and the whispers of the Holy Spirit. His words will strengthen us, guide us, inspire us, motivate us and enable us to walk the whole way.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Upward Mobility

UV 1637/10000 Upward Mobility
Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.
Micah 4 v 13

The Lord will bless the believer with inner strength. We are called upon to arise from our state of slumber or rest and to work as a harvester for Him. When we consecrate our work to the Lord, he will bless us with the fruit of our labour. We need to dedicate our whole lives to Him. Many people seek upward mobility by pursuing wealth, position and fame. But the Lord grants us mobility that is supernatural as if we had hoofs of brass. When we dedicate our whole lives to the Lord, He will cause supernatural measure of abundance and increase in our lives not just of the material but the more significant non material aspects of our lives. He will cause us to scale up from hoofs to horn.

When we dedicate or consecrate our feet or our means of travel to the Lord, we will not end up going to the wrong places. When we dedicate our hearts to the Lord, we will not harbour the wrong feelings. When we dedicate our hands and work to the Lord, we will be diligent and determined as well as confident that whatever be the result, it is from the Lord. When we dedicate our lips and tongue to the Lord, we are consecrating our communication so that it is perfect, wholesome and edifying, useful to others and not harmful for us. When we dedicate our substance to the Lord, He will cause it to increase and multiply and we will be enabled to share it with the needy. When we surrender our past, present and future, our memories and aspirations, our passions and our desires to the Lord, He will bless us with the spirit of self control and contentment. As scripture says, “Contentment is great gain.”

Our every gain, increase or victory is from the Lord. We do not rely on our own strength, wisdom, talent, ability or charm but we depend on the Lord for His power, wisdom and enablement. He is the One who vindicates us. He defeats the designs of the enemy against us to steal, rob and kill our joy and peace. I read an article this morning of the present Saudi defence minister being described as a most powerful man given the fact that he is the son of the present king of Saudi Arabia. He has launched hostilities against Yemen and Iran. But the man of faith is far more powerful in an invisible, eternal and subtle way being a child of God. The words, “horn of iron” and “hoofs of brass” imply that such a person is invincible. From the lowest or low priority areas of our lives to the significant or high priority areas of our lives, the Lord will manifest His immense and unlimited power and grace.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Need for Consistency and Spiritual Maturity

UV 1636/10000 The Need for Consistency and Spiritual Maturity
Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Hosea 7 v 8
We have discovered a way to keep the cake and eat it too. We keep one side of us raw and unformed and one side fine and refined. It is our way of trying to have the best of both worlds- the world and heaven. Scripture calls this condition-“ half –baked.” It makes us inconsistent with our beliefs. Our practices and actions are out of sync with our commitment. We are neither hot nor cold. It is because we have mixed up our beliefs and actions with those of the world. The actions and reactions of others throws us off course. We get easily discouraged and our faith weakens. Instead of getting mixed up with people and the world, we need to mix or blend the Word in everything we think, speak and do.
We are called to be Ephraim or “fruitful” but we produce fruits that are both sweet to the Lord and bitter. We need to heed the saying of Jesus that a “good tree cannot produce bad fruit.” St James wrote that “ a sweet spring cannot bring forth bitter water.” We cannot harbour unforgiveness and bitterness in our hearts against anyone. Our ideas are not wholesome but imbalanced and not in conformity with the Word. Our words are at variance with what we teach and preach. This brings in the yeast of hypocrisy in our lives. It causes us to put up airs and screens to project ourselves as righteous. We are not sensitive or watchful about the little foxes that destroy the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. One or more of these spiritual qualities are needed at any given point in time in order to be effective. Our knowledge of the love of God and of His Son Jesus should make us joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, humble and self controlled. Together these spiritual qualities constitute the essence of wisdom. When we encounter challenges, difficulties and crises in life, we should not veer off at tangents to our spiritual moorings. It should in fact make us anchor more deeply in His grace.
Scripture says that “ pride puffs up while love edifies.” We are artificially puffed up by pride and deceit. But love edifies or enables us to build our faith with integrity and sincerity. We need to be mellowed by experience and increase in our conformity to patterns of the Word. We need to be shaped by moulds, models and precepts detailed in His Word and not conform to the world. We need to resist the enemy and yield to the Spirit of God who knows which part of us is well formed or baked and which is not and requires turning.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Five Manifestations

UV 1635/10000 Five Manifestations
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9 v 6
The governments of the nations of this world are marked often by folly, lack of vision, weakness, fear, friction and errors. But the governance of the Lord through Jesus in our lives is marked by wonder, wisdom, might, everlasting relationship and the rule of peace. Other governments and nations invariably have their rise and fall. But the government of Jesus is ever on the increase in the scale of its influence and impact. The Holy Spirit overshadows us as He did Mary and brings forth new and wonderful things from the womb of time and space. When we set our love upon the name of Jesus, we inherit the five blessings or the right to experience the manifestations of the Lord: wonders, counsel, might, relationship as Father-child and peace. The word manifestation means that what is hidden or unknown, secret, invisible or abstract is revealed in an event or object. God ‘s hidden power, secret wisdom, invisible glory, incomprehensible peace are revealed in practical and personal ways.

As we increase in our knowledge of the Word which is Jesus, we too like Jesus should grow inch by inch, day by day in grace and truth. Sin is like a leech that sticks to us and sucks out our lifeblood, our hope, our power, our positive thoughts and feelings. I came across a colleague who spent years hunting a forest brigand and in the course of it was bitten several times by leeches. It left marks on his legs and even infected his blood with its poisons, so much so, he needs to take injections as antidote to this even years later. The leech releases its hold only when salt is applied around it. The Word is the salt that causes the leeches of sin to release its tiny clutches and suck pads from our different parts of our bodies and lives. Thereafter, we shall experience wonders that eye has not seen nor minds conceived. We shall receive wise counsel as we hear a soft voice behind our ears asking us to walk this way or that way. In other words, the governance of Jesus in our lives will enable us to take wise decisions as leaders.

The might of the Lord is revealed in our various life situations and experiences. The Lord will provide for us as a loving Father. He will protect and preserve our lives. He will lift us up on the earth and will cause us to flourish. He forgives us continually when we err and repent. The greatest blessing of our relationship with the Father through Jesus is the peace that we receive from Him. It is the peace that we can experience but cannot understand. It is a peace that nothing or no one can take away.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Replace the Balloons with a Banner

UV 1634/10000 Replace the Balloons with a Banner
Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 41 v 16
The previous uni-verse stated that we should “thresh the mountains.” Mountains are huge collections of rock and earth dotting the face of the earth. Hence, the word “mountains” is a metaphor for the huge problems, difficulties, crises and challenges we face all through life. The way to deal with the mountains is not to break our heads on it or loose our peace and sense of joy while we confront these but to “ thresh it.” The concept of threshing comes from agriculture and it means to beat the plant to separate the grain from the straw. It implies that as we struggle with all our life’s issues, we discover the true meaning of life.
Our lives are like that of a balloon seller holding different balloons, each marked with the common aspirations of mankind- health, wealth, fame, immortality, pleasure. Each of these balloons will sooner or later burst as the balloon weakens or receives a tiny pin prick. The balloon seller left with all these burst balloons will realize that he too like a balloon one day would give up the air or breathe his last. He then decides that all he has that will last is his inner being or soul. It will last provides he finds a way to connect that soul while he is still breathing with the One who breathed that soul into him. Jesus said, “ I am the way to connect your soul with the Creator. Even if the whole world is lost, you have gained eternity.”
This uni-verse speaks of the process of winnowing after the threshing where the grain is further thrown or fanned in the air to separate the grain from the chaff. It implies that once we have chosen the way to connect with the Creator, we need to focus on separating the important from the less important, the essential from the non- essential. The wind that the Lord sends or the Holy Spirit will purify or refine us of the non –essential in our lives. If we do not willingly participate and speed up the winnowing process of life, we are inviting the whirlwind. The whirlwind will scatter those who are proud and unrepentant. Those who repent and change will find their mountains turn into a fountain of endless joy and peace. The uni-verse ends in a promise of joy –that we shall rejoice and return to the mountain of the Lord. Zion, in contrast to the mountains of sorrow and pain in our lives, is the mountain of the Lord, the joy of the whole earth. Whatever be our circumstance, when we take refuge in the strength, grace and mercy of the Lord, our mountains are levelled out, threshed and winnowed. Whatever be our problem, God is bigger. Whatever be the challenge, the Lord is our helper. Whatever be the sorrow, the Lord is our comfort. We shall glory in the Lord, implying that our victory is total and complete, lacking in no aspect. We have replaced the balloons with the banner of love and victory of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Life Giving, Problem Solving Weapon

UV 1633/1000 A Life Giving, Problem Solving Weapon
Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.
Isaiah 41 v 15
The Lord promises to make us new and sharp. He will give us new skills and power to be His powerful instruments. Through our faith, our prayers and our choices we will thresh the mountains or problems, difficulties and challenges like a farmer threshes the grain. We will gain something profound, useful and valuable after confronting each difficulty or challenge in our lives. The story is told of a man who was told by the Lord to push against a rock outside his cabin with all his might. The man did that faithfully day after day for many years. The thought discouraged him that he had been pushing against the rock for a long time and it had not moved an inch. He asked the Lord in prayer, ‘ Why has the rock mountain not moved a bit?” The Lord replied, “ I only asked you to keep pushing with all your strength. I did not expect you to move it. Now look at your self: your arms and limbs are strong. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities surpass that which you had. Your calling was to be obedient and to push, trusting my word and wisdom. Now, I, my friend, will move the rock.” What is logically and intellectually impossible is spiritually possible. Prayer and the Word are not carnal weapons but sharp and new weapons to tackle every humungous problem we face in our real time lives. These weapons are powerful and effective to pull down strongholds and build our inner bulwarks of defence. We should exercise the faith that moves, shakes, diminishes mountains but we should also know that it is still God who moves mountains responding to our faith and obedience.
The words, “ thresh the mountains” and “beat them small” is a word of wisdom on how we are to face and resolve the difficulties and challenges we face. We need to chunk these huge challenges down to a level or size that we can handle and bit by bit overcome the problem. The Lord has called us to be effective problem solvers in a world full of problems. Not one of us can say that there is no mountain of a problem that we can attempt to resolve or dissolve. When the Word is loaded on the bow of our minds and we shoot it with the string of prayer at the specific challenge, it will penetrate to the very heart of the issue and resolve it. The Lord will send the mighty wind that will blow away the hills as if they are mere dust.

The promises of the Lord contained in the Word are like the sharp teeth of a saw or weapon. There are defensive promises to shield us from the weapons of darkness and all the tactics that the enemy uses against us. There are also weapons of offence or advancement that we can use to scale up in our lives to the next level. For every problem we face there is a promise in scripture. The process of activating or claiming the promise is belief in each word of the promise for each word is like a tooth, prayer on the basis of the covenant promise, patience to wait as the power of God begins to act and praise as the problem turns into something profitable for us or the hill disappears. Each challenge or mountainous issue will appear smaller and smaller till they disappear from our horizon. As each mountain appears before us, we should declare that “ you are but dust in the eyes of the Lord” and command that it break up into dust. As faith translates into reality, our testimonies will make us weapons or instruments in the hands of the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Leadership Tree

UV 1632/10000 The Leader as Tree
And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
Judges 9 v 15

Jotham’s parable on the “bramble of leadership” is a wonderful lesson on leadership relevant to modern times as it was in the time he spoke it. Jotham was comparing the leadership of Abimelech, his step brother and son of Gideon as nothing but bramble or a thorn bush whose fire would one day destroy all other trees even as he had killed seventy of the sons of Gideon. The trees, implying the people of their tribe and clan went out to select or elect a leader and ended up selecting the bramble or the thorn bush. They ignored the claims to leadership of the tallest among them in beauty and in character- the cedars. They ignored the godly leaders, the anointed of God, chosen to serve God and man- the olive trees whose leaves symbolised peace and whose fruit gave nourishment, good for the human heart and spirit, yielding pure oil that would act as lubricant, medicine, an excellent cooking medium. They did not even chose the fig tree whose fruit was sweet and healthy. They did not chose the vine- the vine that had no strength to stand on its own, needed props but stayed humble and close to the ground or to reality.

A leader should be like a tree in enabling people to climb up to their full potential using its branches. Leadership like a tree should be fruitful. A leader should be a source of blessing to those he leads. External charisma is not the criterion. Very often the most charismatic leaders lack the moral courage or inner character to be an example to the followers. The vanity and charm of the physically charismatic and the highly talented deludes them into thinking that they have a natural right to lord it over others, that leadership is a privilege that they were born into. These are the cedars of leadership- the cedar has a beauty, stature and fragrance of its wood that makes it stand out as the natural king among trees. What distinguishes the different types of leaders? Their seed or source of inspiration is different. Their root or what they derive their support and strength from is different. Their branches or the parts of their lives are different. Their sap or source of motivation is different. Their leaves or words and thoughts are different. The very wind or influence to which they sway is different. Their fragrance or invisible aura is different. When we scour the pages of world and national history, we find all these types of trees of leadership. The olive tree leaders were few : Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, M.K. Gandhi and the greatest of olive tree leaders- Jesus Himself. The bramble of leaders were many: Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and so on. The fire of their fierce ambition and ruthlessness destroyed thousands upon thousands.

Leaders who do not have any other goal but to perpetuate and promote themselves and their families at the expense of the organisation or nation are the bramble, the thorn bushes who are ready to hurt or harm others to advance their own cause. The bramble are envious of the cedars and of the olive tree leaders and would gladly set these on fire to eliminate any possible future competition. They lack vision as well as passion and mission. A mission is a larger than life purpose for which one is ready to make any sacrifice and if needed one’s own life. Such bramble leaders have marked themselves for self - destruction as most of the tyrants, dictators and despots of history have through the generations. Non charismatic but principled and godly leaders are the “ olive tree” leaders who exist for a larger and nobler purpose. They seek not to enrich themselves but to enlarge, ennoble and enable others to live a better life. These are leaders who like olive trees endure for long, whose memories and example outlives their own lives. People crush or analyse their words like olive fruit is crushed in the olive press to derive meaning and power. They stay evergreen or passionate and consistent about the vision, passion and mission in life. Though they are exalted to high positions, their attitude is one of being a servant to many people and to the One almighty God. They derive their strength and nourishment from the anointing word, spirit and wisdom of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Power of Restoration

UV 1631/10000 The Power of Restoration
And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.

Zechariah 10 v 6

The house of Judah is a house full of the knowledge of the Lord. It is a house of praise and thanksgiving for “Judah” means praise. Judah is also the direct ancestor Jesus and we need to be the descendants of Jesus by faith. The stick of the house of Judah would be joined to the stick of the house of Joseph- the fruitful bough. The Lord will make us a praise and a name in all nations. He will also add the blessings of Ephraim or of Joseph of success and blessing to the ones who know Him personally and not just in a religious way. He will not only more than satisfy our need but He will save us or give us eternal life.

Even when the Lord rejects us on account of some disobedience on our part, He will not “cast “ us off forever but restore us in His great compassion. He has compassion on us as even we as fathers, wicked as we are, have compassion on our children and keep forgiving them despite their wanton faults and errors. He has compassion when we turn to Him, confess our acts of disobedience and seek His mercy. We need to do it daily since we tend to daily offend His holiness in some way or other. We fall short of His standards. But He is willing to hear us and restore us.

The Lord restores us to be kings and priests before Him as the lion among beasts and as a lion among a flock of sheep. He does it not through a bow or a sword or with horses and chariots or outward manifestations of power but by the sword of the spirit- His holy and perfect Word that acts slowly and surely from within us to release His mighty power and inexhaustible grace. The Spirit quicken the Word to the hearts of the house of the people of Judah or the people of praise even as a bricklayer uses his tool to splash wet cement on a freshly built wall. He will build our strength from deep within. He is both the cause and the source of strength, nay He is our very strength.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Be All and End All of Life and Leadership

UV 1630/10000 The Be All And End All of Life and Leadership
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen

Romans 11 v 36

We are of Him or originated in God. We are created to flourish and not to perish. Our salvation is top priority with the Creator and His purpose and plan cannot be thwarted. All that we are and all that we have and all that we do are through Him. All things are good if we use it for the glory of God, If we give thanks for it. The material as well as non-material things of this world are a means to the end- the glory or advancing the manifestation of the greatness and power of God. Anything that detracts from this is not of Him, through Him or to Him. Wealth, pleasure, wisdom and fame are not the end of life but the means to increase the perception of people of the invisible greatness of God.

The greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty belong to the Lord. All that is in the heaven and in the earth
Belongs to Him. He is exalted as leader, ruler, sovereign and king above all persons of the contemporary world and of history and of the future. Riches and honour and wisdom come from Him. In His hand is power to make great and to give strength and nourishment to all. His name is blessed forever. He reigns over the thoughts and feelings of people. He changes the times and seasons. He removes kings and sets up kings. He calls and He enables. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. He shows great signs and mighty wonders. All our fountains or our rise and fall is in Him. He is with us in our lows as in our ‘highs’. In Him we live and move and have our being. All things were created by Him and for Him. He is the beginning and the end. He encompasses us in 360 degrees. He encircles us with His love. His mighty power is at work in us to make us perfect in His sight.

If democracy is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” the kingdom of God is of God, by God, for God and with God. As we honour Him, He will honour and cherish us. He is the “ be all and end all” of our lives. His grace is sufficient for us . We need to only grow in our knowledge of His grace and truth. He should be our grand obsession. He will satisfy us with His abundance. He is the spiritual locus of the physical, moral and spiritual universe and our focus should be on Him, with Him, through Him, from Him, to Him. Whatever be our immediate goal and purpose, our ultimate end it to glorify Him or bring the honour due to Him with our inner gifts and outer gifts, our inner thoughts and our outward expression. A weapon has two sights- one that is the nearer sight is our immediate or earthly goal. It has to be in alignment with the farther sight- the godly or heavenly goal.

Prateep V Philip

Leadership is Headship not Tailship

UV 1629/10000 Leadership is Headship not Tailship

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

Deuteronomy 28 v 13

“ The ancient and honourable is the head while the prophet who teaches lies is the tail” by definition of scripture. God is the head of the universe, the head of heaven and earth and all that is in it, the head of the human family. It is intended that those who follow the Lord be likewise the head and not the tail. The tail is only an appendix that can be cut off or it is dispensable. The tail is a symbol of weak and ineffective leadership. Most of the leaders throughout history have acted as tails when they should have been heads. Those who are strongly committed to the truth are destined to be heads and not tails. It is intended by the Lord that those who follow Him faithfully become leaders of humanity, leaders in the nations, leaders in their professions and localities. They shall be “above” pettiness and meanness, above want, above wickedness and corruption. They shall not come under the shadow of scams and scandals. The only precondition is that they diligently listen, study, meditate, observe, absorb, apply or “do” the commands of the Lord. The words “ this day” implies that our past record of leadership does not count – it is only what we do now.

Leadership has the functions of the human head- to see or envision, to think or to look beyond the superficial reality and find the inner meaning of things, the ultimate purpose of life, to find solutions to difficulties, problems and challenges, to expand or grow and develop in positive ways. Leadership has the function of hearing or to listen to feedback. It has the function of being the mouthpiece or to communicate truths that have been learnt. Like the head is also the face of a person, a leader is the face of a nation, an organisation, a corporate, a family. Like the face is the index of the heart, the leader reflects the state of the nation or organisation or business. Just as the face breaks into a smile or tears or signs of surprise or anger or indignation, it is the leader’s role to motivate, to move, to inspire, to cheer up the followers. Just as the head is the crown of the human body, the leader is the one who bears the responsibility as well as honour. Just as the head turns on the neck, the leader is the one who takes the nation, the organisation or business in new directions, initiatives and course corrections. He is the direction finder, the one who determines and decides what paths the nation or organisation needs to take. The leader is the one who plans ahead of time about fulfilling the needs of the whole body. The leader is the one who imagines and dreams. He is the one who takes steps for the protection, safety and security of the whole being or whole organisation. The head feeds the whole body but it does not retain the entire nourishment but sees that it is equitably distributed to the different parts. Similarly, leaders should not be avaricious and try to corner all the gains or collect all the wealth for their own use but distribute it proportionately according to the varied needs of the followers. The glands for growth are located in the head – so likewise, a leader should plan for the growth of the entire nation, organisation or business to take it to the next level. The head plans for rest, recreation and recuperation of the body at appropriate times. So also leaders need to provide for breaks, relaxation and recovery of followers. The head is the hardest or strongest part of the human skeleton. It protects the softest and most valuable part of the body- the brain. Similarly, leaders need to be strong to endure the toughest times and challenges. But they need to be soft and compassionate internally or at their heart level. Leadership is eventually a fine combination of hard and soft skills and strategies. We got to be hard in the hard areas and soft in the soft areas.

Just as the head is the pivot of the body, Christ is the head of the church, a body of believers in His vision, mission and passion. As leaders, we are expected to imitate or emulate Him in how He gave up all the privileges of heaven to come to the earth in a humble form and how He ministered or served people in a variety of need situations and finally, gave Himself up for the well being of humanity. Even today, instead of judging people, He acts as an intercessor and mediator before and besides the Father’s throne. We, too as leaders called and anointed by Christ should not judge but help others achieve their potential to be heads and not tails.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 1, 2016

The First and the Last Day Perspectives and Priorities

UV 1628/10000 The First and Last Day Perspectives and Priorities
God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
Genesis 1 v 5
The light is a symbol of God, knowledge, wisdom, truth, faith, love, joy and hope. The darkness is a symbol of ignorance, fear, evil, lack of hope, sorrow and faithlessness. Darkness is the absence of light. Light ought to triumph over darkness in our lives. The mere presence of light is enough to drive darkness away or overcome darkness. Similarly, the presence of God in our lives is enough to overcome every claim of darkness. We need not worry about what is absent from our lives at the moment but be only concerned and focussed on what is present. Each day has its challenges and difficulties, opportunities and blessings. The day is also a metaphor that we know some aspects of life while for the rest we are in the dark and we need to rely on faith to overcome the darkness. We need to discern what is in spiritual terms “light” and “ darkness” and embrace the light while denying and rejecting the darkness. We need to distinguish and separate the works of light from darkness. Whenever we begin to fear, we should be sensitive to pray, “Lord, let there be faith”. Whenever we are beginning to sense sadness, we need to pray, “Lord, let there be joy.” When we face difficulties, “Lord, let there be a solution.” The presence of God and the presence of mind will ensure victory each day. God is the “everlasting Light” and He will cause our mourning day to cease. Jesus declared Himself to be the Light of the world and that we too are the manifest light to the world.

Like the way the Lord made the first day, we need to work as if each day as the first day of the rest of our lives as also we need to live as if it is the last day of our lives. The reason is that there is a contrary wisdom behind the work ethic and the way of life. With regard to work, we are required to be aggressive, determined, dedicated, visionary, optimistic but with regard to our conduct of our lives and relationships, we are required to be gentle, humble, kind, loving, merciful, patient, faithful, thankful. A balance of these two types of wisdom-the wisdom of work and the wisdom of life- is the very essence of progress and fulfilment.

Just as God considered the work of His hands and saw that it was good, we too need to consider each day : every morning we should decide our priorities and schedule our activities beginning with worship, prayer and meditation of the Word. Every evening or night we should consider how the wisdom of work panned out in our day and how the wisdom of relationships panned out. It should form the basis of taking steps to correct our actions or our conduct the next day. Each day the Lord focussed on creating one particular aspect of creation- the sun and heavenly bodies on one day, the water bodies on another day, the animal bodies on another day, the plant bodies on yet another. Similarly, each day we must focus on one or other creative work of our lives. While focussed on one aspect of creation, the Lord did each day a variety of things and brought forth a variety of amazing creations and creatures. Similarly, focus and concentration on an objective does not mean that we cannot do a variety of activities or target accomplishments. Every day the Lord was on target and we, too, should be on target every day of our lives. As people of the light who has received the light of the world into our very hearts, we are called upon now to “arise and shine”, implying to live a faithful and testimonial life for the glory of God.

Prateep V Philip