Thursday, March 31, 2016

Focus Produces Perfect Peace

UV 1714/10000 Focus Produces Perfect Peace
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26 v 3
Single-minded focus produces both stability and dynamism. Both stability and dynamism are needed at every point of life. The earth and the entire universe are in constant motion but at any given moment it appears to be still. We too need to experience this kind of stability and dynamism. Focus produces peace and progress, stability and dynamism. Only a magnifying lens that is held firm focuses the rays of the sun on a particular spot on a paper and sets it afire. Similarly, our faith is fanned into full flame only by focus. All our abilities, dreams, goals, desires, thoughts, plans, actions and reactions need to be focussed on the Lord. The net result is that we will have mind blowing and amazing experiences in real life that will further build our faith, increase our love and trust in the Lord. If we stay focussed on the locus of life- the Lord who not only created us but redeemed us from the power and penalty of sin, we will enjoy the perfect peace that Christ alone gives. It is a perfect peace and not the peace of the grave- not a passive peace, not a mere absence of activity or conflict. The Hebrew word for perfect peace is Shalom- a state of blessedness in which we lack in nothing we need and no good thing is withheld from us. Our mind- implying our thoughts, emotions and desires should be firmly anchored in Him, His ways and His Word. We rejoice in what He has done for us and trust Him for our future. We also trust the Lord for showing us mercy and grace for our shortcomings and wilful failures of our past.

We affirm continually our faith in the many promises of the Lord and hold onto them in every conceivable situation. If our mind is truly stayed or focussed on Him, we would not let these pass like water through a sieve but hold back the content of each promise, claim it and ruminate on it. If our mind is truly focussed on Him, we will believe it will be fulfilled in our lives even before it happens and maintain an attitude of expectancy and thankfulness. Even when circumstances become adverse and challenge our faith, we should continue to trust the Lord and His Word.

In the reality of our world, our minds are moved by different stimuli in our immediate environment and our attention flits from one thing to another. Our mind is like a monkey mind jumping from one thing to another quickly. Meditation on the Word on a regular basis enables us to focus our mind on the priorities of life rather than the immediate which demands our attention. Meditation and prayer are like the dual processes of respiration: breathing in and breathing out. Meditation also enhances our prayer and changes it from a mere litany of requests to an appreciation of who God is. Prayer is an unburdening of ourselves and handing over to the Lord to resolve the issues that we cannot. Prayer is spending time in the presence of the Lord, completely immersing oneself in His glory, grace and mercy. We need two eyes to focus on anything while we are walking or moving around. Our two eyes to focus on the Lord are prayer and meditation. We need two nostrils to breathe. The two nostrils by which we breathe in grace are prayer and meditation. We need to breathe in trust and faith in the Word and breathe out praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Problem Solving-God 's Way

UV 1713/10000 Problem Solving- God’s Way
There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
Daniel 5 v 11

Daniel’s testimony was phenomenal. He was known as a person in whom the spirit of God dwelled. On account of that, he had understanding and wisdom beyond the ordinary bordering, the very wisdom of God Himself. He was known as an extraordinary problem solver, riddle cracker and mystery solver. He had a keen mind and insight. He was neither corrupt nor negligent. He could interpret dreams and decode the thoughts of God. The Holy Spirit illumined his mind and gave him gifts to interpret dreams and signs. When the Babylonian king Belshazzar saw a hand writing on the wall of the palace hall where he had thrown a great banquet, he was terrified by its import. His advisers could not read or interpret the writing on the wall.
Daniel explained the vision of the hand writing on the wall. The hand is the metaphor of the hand of God who holds all things and all people in His hands. The hand of God holds us and all our ways. As long as we are not proud, arrogant and boastful and honour Him above all and in all things, He holds and upholds us in His grace. When our ways do not align with His ways as described in His Word, He has the power to give us up. Then what was written about the destiny of the king Belshazzar would come true for us: If we do not fear God to number our days, God will number our days or limit our lives. We will be weighed in God’s scales and found wanting. Our minds and hearts will be divided. Belshazzar dishonoured God deliberately by having wine served in the consecrated vessels and goblets of gold seized by his father Nebuchadnezzar from the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. He knew how his father had been out of power for seven years and how he had been restored after he acknowledged the sovereignty of the Lord. Yet he was callous and mindless in being irreverent to the Lord. Soon after Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall, Belshazzar was assassinated and the dynasty ended.

The secret of Daniel was that he humbled himself daily at the feet of the Lord. He imbibed the spirit of wisdom, knowledge and understanding from the indwelling Holy Spirit. He communicated regularly with the spirit of the Lord. He fasted and prayed to enquire of the Lord and to understand His will in all his ways. The Lord sent His angel to strengthen him, to guide and protect him. He did not set his heart or his eyes upon the material rewards and position that kings offered him in return for his extraordinary service. He attributed all the praise and glory to the Lord. He remained blemishless and above reproach in the eyes even of his enemies. He was respectful and loyal to his earthly masters. He had a high sense of his calling. He knew he served the King of Kings, the Lord of the universe and not a mere mortal or territorial king. He knew God to be One who is all powerful, faithful and able to help him solve every problem he faced and to extricate him with honour from every situation and predicament. We too need to exude a similar confidence. We should be the persons to be called in our generation, in our countries, in our organisations to solve exceptional problems in an extraordinary way.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sovereignty, Sensitivity and Surrender

UV 1712/10000 Sovereignty, Sensitivity and Surrender
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel
Jeremiah 18 v 6

The Earth spins like a giant potter’s wheel. Everything is spinning and nothing remains the same as change is happening all the time in our lives and around us. The Lord shapes and moulds us from the miry clay in His hands and turns us into useful and beautiful pots. The Lord’s will and purpose that He sets for our lives are final and sovereign just as the potter can do as he wants with the clay. We cannot question His sovereign will. Instead, we need to yield like clay to the work of the Lord in our lives. We do not see the full picture nor do we know the full design He has in mind for us. As pots or earthen vessels meant to carry the message of the Lord, we need to only Pray, Obey and Trust. We obey His commands and trust His promises. We should not be stubborn or harden our hearts to disbelieve the Lord or disobey Him. We need to admit that not just our feet are of clay and therefore brittle and vulnerable but our whole being is fragile and that we are better off yielded to the Lord in complete surrender and trust.

As pots in the making, we need to be sensitive and soft to the touch of the Lord and allow our lives to be moulded in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to Him. Every touch of the Lord makes a difference to our lives. The Lord takes us through the furnace of afflictions to form our character and inner being. Our strength to endure is built up in these times of afflictions. Sometimes the Lord breaks us and re-makes us. We should not complain when we are broken. As pots we need to focus more on what we contain and not focus on the superficial- how we look on the outside or the externalities of life-eat, drink or being merry. We are earthen pots meant to carry the treasure of the Lord. The kingdom of God is the treasure within us that is far more valuable and lasting than us. We should be willing to be broken to reveal the kingdom of God within us. Like us, others too are being formed and shaped on the potter’s wheel. We should not attempt to take the place of the potter in forcing change in their behaviour or character or pre-judge them. If we do so we are taking the place of God.

The word “ Israel” means to struggle with the Lord. Jacob struggled as he came out of Rachel’s womb to get ahead of his brother Esau. He struggled in obtaining the blessings of his father ahead of Esau, the first born. He struggled to control the rivalry between his two wives and between his sons. He struggled with neighbouring chiefs and people. His struggles ended only when he yielded himself to the God of Abraham and Isaac, knowing that He knew what is best for him. As pots in the making, we mar ourselves and mess our lives when we struggle with the Lord or with other relationships. Each turn of the minute hand on our watches, each day, week, month and year are but turns on the wheel of life on which we are being formed. We are being formed to be transformed with every major and minor event and happening in our lives. We only need to Pray, Obey and Trust.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cross Over to Eternity

UV 1711/10000 Cross Over to Eternity
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me
Galatians 2 v 20
To identify with the death and resurrection of Christ is to crucify our flesh nature with its evil desires or lusts. It is to die to the world and its evil influences. It is to die to the idea that one is able to save himself or herself by his or her good deeds. It is to rely on grace of Jesus and grace alone. It is to put one’s own ego to death and to know that the purpose of life is to live in and for Christ. It is to put the old self to death and to live by the new self re- created in the image of Christ. It is to live by faith in Jesus and by the leading of the Spirit of God. It is to yield our entire being to God in the same manner Jesus yielded Himself to the Father. We yield and use the different parts of our being for the glory of the Lord by the grace of Jesus. The resurrection power and life of Jesus are manifest in and through us.

To be crucified with Christ does mean that we pay the price of following Jesus. We share in His suffering as well as His glory and grace. We need to abide in His Word and obey His will. The more we obey His Word and will, the more our own sinful nature is put to death. We are ransomed prisoners formerly abducted by the spirit of this world. Now that we are freed, we enjoy our freedom but do not abuse it. It shows up in a change of perspective, a change of priorities and in our character.
To be crucified with Christ is not to take the supreme sacrifice of Jesus for granted but to be thankful and to reflect our gratitude in our thoughts, words and actions. It is to understand what it cost the Father and the Son Jesus to substitute His death in our place and give us the opportunity to live forever. It is to understand the magnitude of the love of God and of Jesus and to allow that love to transform our own nature. Our crucifixion with Christ is not an event that happened on a single day but it is a progressive and spiritual transformation of our lives. We carry the cross every day in every way possible. For instance, we do not retaliate in the same manner when people harm or hurt us as we are carrying the cross of Jesus. We forego many of our rights and privileges as we carry the cross of Jesus. We are able to endure much suffering as we focus our eyes on the cross. As His suffering was much more intense and extreme, we make light of our own temporary troubles and pain. Our attitude is not one of grief or mourning or sorrow but one of joy for we know that every cross we carry for Christ ends in a crown of victory.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Threats and the Promise

UV 1710/10000 The Threats and the Promise
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10 v 10

In this uni-verse, Jesus dealt with both the threats and promise of our lives. The enemy of our soul is the ultimate thief. He wants to take that which does not belong to him. He operates by extreme deceit, stealth, surprise, secrecy, cunning and ruthlessness in orchestrating pre-meditated or targeted attacks on people. There are different degrees or levels at which the enemy works. He is a thief who steals the peace of individuals and homes. He attacks the unity of homes and the sanctity of marriages. He is a robber who robs from the life of people who are not wary of his intentions. A robber is one who is willing to inflict violence and physical harm to achieve his goal of stealing. He is a ruthless and bloodthirsty murderer. He can manifest in our thoughts, words and actions or reactions. Lucifer got this kind of nature as he tried to rob God of His glory. He delights in taking people off the straight and narrow path. He promotes strife and contention everywhere. We need to set up mental and spiritual alarms for this thief, robber and murderer. We need to take steps to deter the robber and protect ourselves from the killer by wearing the full armour of faith. We need to be watchful and prayerful for ourselves and our loved ones. He is like a deadly bird of prey who will swoop down on the young ones. He enjoys destroying the potential of the chosen ones of the Lord. He motivates people to make their own plans of wrongful gain. He even makes plans to cause the untimely end of people by sending the spirit of murder, suicide and mass terror upon individuals and groups. He enters our souls, our homes, our relationships, our lives without our knowledge or consent. He gains that opportunity often when we are careless and leave the front or rear door open. Sometimes, he prises open and forces his way into our lives. The fallen one delights in making as many as possible fall like him. The greater the score the better for he feels he is winning against the Lord. The fallen one has many former angels as his agents now in aiding him in his world-wide mission.

Jesus in contrast to the enemy of our souls befriends us. He desires to protect us from the attacks of the enemy. He prayed for His disciples and followers, “ Father,… deliver us from evil.” He also prayed that none of them be lost. Jesus came to enable us to live the eternal and abundant life- a life abundant in peace, joy, love, faith, kindness, humility, wisdom, self control and patience. He left the Holy Spirit with us to enable us to grow such fruit in our lives. In contrast to the enemy who constantly attempts to rival and undo the work of Jesus, Jesus focusses on shepherding the faithful on paths of righteousness, safely guiding them across perilous heights, leading them from one green pasture to another in life’s journey, to still waters where they can drink to their heart’s fill. He ensures they get enough food, drink and rest. He watches over them when they are sleeping and wards off the evil one. When a believer gets lost, falls or gets hurt, Jesus goes after that sheep and does all He can to restore him or her.

We need to decrease our exposure to risks of attacks by the enemy of our souls and stay in close proximity to Jesus. When we stray away from Jesus, the possibility and intensity of attacks will increase. The enemy often uses our own words, our beliefs, our habits and actions, our own decisions and choices, our own desires and hidden lust to enter and take control of our lives. Like in all systems, we need to set up different levels of security to deal with all these insidious threats to our peace, health, well being and eternity. We can defend ourselves with the Word. We need to take every thought and word captive to Christ. We need to pray proactively and tap into the power of prophylactic prayer to prevent and pre-empt the enemy. Jesus referred to the enemy as strong. Hence, we should never underestimate his strength and prowess or our vulnerability at any point in life. We need to bind and break the power of the strong one with the help of the stronger authority, power and grace that Jesus has vested in us. Jesus defeated every weapon and temptation that the enemy threw at him. He ultimately defeated sin, curses and death in His death on the cross and in His resurrection. We need to claim our victory too against the entire arsenal and wily schemes of the enemy through our faith in Jesus, the power of His name, the power of His blood, the power of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to stay close to the Good Shepherd, stay with the flock, follow the voice of the Shepherd and ignore the other voices – of others, of the world and of the deceitful one or his agents.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Resurrection and the Life

UV 1709/10000 The Resurrection and the Life

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 11 v 25

Jesus is God incarnated as man. He declared Himself to be the resurrection and the life, implying that He has the power to resurrect the dead, the hopeless, the sinful, the dying – the deceased and the diseased. Being the author of life, the one who commences life, He is also the finisher, the sustainer, the one who completes our life, the one who enables us to live fully in spirit, mind and body. We need to plug into Him or connect with Him in order to live fully and forever, to live meaningfully, purposefully and fruitfully. We connect with Him by the faculty of our belief or faith. He blesses the qualitative as well as the quantitative dimensions of our lives, the physical as well as the emotional, relational and spiritual.

Jesus resurrected Lazarus on the fourth day after the latter died physically as a sign of being the Resurrection. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus and therefore, Jesus first grieved over his physical death and then used His authority and power to recall Him from the realm of death. Jesus did not command death to depart from Lazarus. Instead, He asked him to come alive. He has the power to revoke the irrevocable, the power to repair the irreparable, the power to breathe life back into a dead man’s nostrils, to enable a spiritually dead person to hear the words of life that He speaks. Death has many dimensions: physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual. Man fears physical and mental death but relational, emotional and spiritual death are far more awful. Jesus referred to the death of Lazarus as if the latter was only sleeping. Physical death is only a kind of deep sleep but spiritual death is continual and eternal dying. The moment we trust Jesus and accept His friendship, we have access to His life in this lifetime on earth and we also have access to Resurrection power of Jesus after our physical death.

By His own resurrection on the third day, Jesus validated that He is indeed the resurrection. If any person died an absolute death it was Jesus while He walked on earth as all the sins of mankind were vicariously attributed to Him. His body was also physically drained of all blood and fluid. The bare bones of His body were dry and without hope. But the resurrection power vested in Him enabled Him to be absolutely alive again. The Spirit of God dwelt in Him and by the Spirit and the Word, He came alive on that first Easter. His original glory that caused His face and His clothes to shine like the sun was restored to Him. Similarly, our dry bones come alive when we are in contact with Jesus. His resurrection power surges through our veins and every part of our lives, filling us with hope and grace. When we believe in Jesus, the Spirit of God dwells in us. By the Spirit and the Word, we too shall live forever in the spirit though not in our present bodies. The Resurrection power of Jesus is applicable not only in instances of physical death but in every situation that seems dead, lifeless and hopeless. By believing prayer and by believing the Word we appropriate the Resurrection and enlivening power of Jesus in every situation, relationship, challenge and circumstance of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Spiritual Anchor of Life and Leadership

UV 1708/10000 The Spiritual Anchor of Life and Leadership
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven
Psalm 107 v 30

The Lord constantly helps us navigate through the rough waters of our lives. He promises to send a favourable wind our way. We only need to keep rowing with our eyes fixed on Him. He will calm the many storms in our lives and give us peace and rest in due time. He will eventually bring us to our port of calling, the safe harbour of our eternal destiny where neither death nor sin is present, where there are no tears or fears. Scripture verses are like the buoys the Lord has placed in the unchartered waters of our lives to mark the dangerous rocks and pathways in the sea. Our witness is like the flares or signals that we trigger to warn and guide others in their storms.

Instead of us chasing the wind as Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, the Lord will send a wind our way. Our sails are a metaphor for our spirit. It should be open in the direction the wind blows so that our sails catch it. He will also send the fish our way so that we catch it in our nets and have enough and more for our sustenance. Steering the boat is our responsibility. We need to always look ahead and not the course we have left behind, while learning from all our experiences of the past.

The promise that we will reach our “desired haven” implies that the Lord in His sovereignty factors in our heart’s desires and does not delight in denying us our desires. He in fact rejoices in guiding, enabling, empowering, equipping us to fulfil those heart-felt desires as long as these do not violate His Word and will. Ultimately, every person’s desired haven is our home on high, our mansion in heaven. The Lord enables us to have “ win-win” on account of our personal relationship with Him: we are transformed from sinners into winners here on earth. We are able to ride every storm in life thanks to the strength, wisdom, guidance and protection He affords us. The moment a storm ceases, our hearts and souls are filled with an immense sense of relief and gladness. Eventually, when we overcome all our troubles and temptations in life, we are presented as winners before the Lord. Then, we can rejoice and worship the Lord forever. Scripture asks that we be joyful in ALL circumstances, that in all seasons, in all phases of our voyage of life: when we are in the harbour of our dreams and goals, when we set sail, when we are facing a storm, when we are going through the storm, when we come out safely out of the storm, when we reach the harbour of our destination, when our goals are fulfilled or not fulfilled. Our faith in Jesus is an anchor of a different kind for an anchor keeps a ship or boat fixed in one part of the water. But our spiritual anchor keeps us still when we need to be still, still in the midst of a storm. It keeps us dynamic and moving at cruising speed in all circumstances.

Prateep V Philip

The Pioneer of Our Faith

UV 1708/10000 The Pioneer of Our Faith
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Galatians 3 v 13
The law being perfect and we being imperfect cannot match up to the full requirements of the law of God. The gap between us and the law is sin or shortcoming or the curse of “hamartia.” The one who does not continue in all the ways written in the law is cursed. It is also the trainer’s and the performer’s curse that in whatever our goals, we fall short of it. Significantly in chapter 28 of the book of law of Moses- Deuteronomy, more verses prescribe and describe the curses of disobedience of the law than the blessings of obedience. The law came by the hand of Moses not to save us but to establish that we have fallen short of the glory and perfection of the Lord. Christ the One anointed by God to be the Messiah became the very curse to redeem us from the curse of sin. We move by faith from the shadow or presence of sin to the shadow or presence of God.

The law would always remind us of our unrighteousness and our guilt while the mercy and grace of Jesus would blot out our account, our moral and spiritual debts to the Lord. The gospel is not just good news but great news that we have made a transition from darkness to light, shortcoming to fulfilment, failure to success, law to grace, spiritual death to eternal life, curses to abundant blessings, strife to peace, disease to health and healing.

Jesus hung on a tree to break the curse of sin on humanity. His blood was shed on the cross to atone forever for all sin that any human repented about. His body was broken like the alabaster jar of Mary Magdalene to send out the sweet perfume of God’s love wafting to all souls who chose to believe. Judas also hanged on a tree and was cursed. But Judas being sinful and not having repented about betraying Jesus condemned himself to eternal death and misery. But sin and death could not hold Jesus a prisoner. He broke the power of sin and death and so pioneered a new way of faith for mankind to live forever.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Conception of Grace

UV 1707/10000 The Conception of Grace
And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
Genesis 30 v 23

Just as Rachel conceived a son after she had been barren for a fair length of time, we too go through barren times when little seems to be happening positively. We suffer pain, anguish and humiliation even as Rachel did for a barren woman was greatly scorned in those times even by kith and kin. But if we stick to the Lord for grace and resolution of our situation one way or other, He will take away the cause of our humiliation, our pain and suffering. People have demonstrated their ability to stick like a leech to sin, pleasure, money and such other things of this world but few have developed the ability to stick to the Lord like a leech.

God does not need a Plan B. He allows the times of testing of our faith when nothing positive is clearly visible to open our ability to see from the inner eye. Only if our faith is genuine and strong will we hold onto God even when for a long while, we do not have what we are longing for. Our faith for the Lord will give rise to personal knowledge of the Creator and Redeemer. Our knowledge will give rise to love. Our faith and love will further give rise to hope. We will see the rainbow even before the storm ends. We will not despair when things seem to be getting worse. We will remain patient and gracious under pressure. The Lord allows us to experience the full heat of the negatives in life so that we will better and more fully enjoy the positives He sends our way in due time. A person born rich does not understand the value of his riches till he runs out of it even as the prodigal son realized the greatness of his father and the comforts of his father’s house only after he lost it all. He realized he should not have left his father’s home and sought his share before time. He realized he had made the wrong choices. The realization of our mistakes in life is often what the Lord enables us to conceive in our minds and hearts to enable us to move from reproach and humiliation to joy and triumph.

God provides the seed and we need to grow it by His grace. The Lord will enable us to conceive ideas, visions and plans that would remove our reproach or cause of dishonour shame. It is our Gilgal moment – the place and time when the reproach of Israel as a slave nation was removed or rolled away. Indeed, the large boulder that was rolled away from the empty tomb of the resurrected Jesus who suffered the utmost dishonour, shame, pain and soulful agony is a metaphor for our sin, shame, sadness, pain, disease, dishonour and defeat being rolled away from each of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Death of Death

UV 1706/10000 The Death of Death
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
John 19 v 34

Blood is a carrier of life literally and water is meant for washing, purification and to satisfy the thirst of every creature. The piercing of the side of Jesus was so that mankind could pronounce a diagnosis of certain death. It was absolute death, a certainty beyond doubt, ruling out the hope or possibility of revival. Jesus submitted Himself to the cross, to excruciating pain, shame and humiliation, torture and agony of the worst kind so that He could pronounce a diagnosis of certain hope and life eternal for the very mankind who subjected Him to such travails. The signs of eternal life of each of us is our faith in the shed blood of Jesus. The gushing out of blood and water is symbolic of the justification by blood and the sanctification by water that the death of Jesus brings for each of us. Is three and a half litres of blood sufficient to pay for the sins and shortcomings of all mankind who came before Jesus and after? It is sufficient as it was absolute in purity and chastity, in holiness and power to justify. It was a sufficient payment for the absolute grace of the Lord God. No more sacrifice of repentance was required. Only the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving is now called for from us who believe.

The presence of water along with blood was a sign that every drop of blood of Jesus had oozed out as the perfect blemishless sacrifice that ensured all the vilest acts of mankind expiated or paid for or justified. Jesus had given His all, every drop of His precious blood for us. God had given His best for us. Our response in faith and love should be to give our all and our best for Him.
Under the Old covenant that admittedly was obtained by an imperfect sacrifice of the blood of a lamb or sheep or dove. Sin had to be paid for by death- a substitutionary death. Hence, death had to be put to death by the death of the absolute and holy One. The blood of the Lamb when marked in the shape of a cross over the thresholds of the houses of the Hebrew people secured for them freedom from the death that the angel of death visited upon the ancient Egyptians who held the Jews in captivity. That was a type of the spiritual marking of our hearts and souls by the blood of Jesus which secures for us freedom from eternal death. The bronzen serpent that Moses had engraved as lifted on a staff that preserved the life of people bitten by snakes as they gazed on it was a sign of the cross of Jesus and that deliverance was at hand for everyone, the Jew and the Gentile. That blood secures for us protection from all the curses that mankind has brought upon ourselves, healing from diseases, uplifting from misery and blessing of every kind in its place. Death had made everything meaningless and vain for the super rich, wise, famous, self indulgent Solomon, the king of Israel but the death of the King of Kings in this manner makes everything meaningful and fruitful once more not just for kings but for slaves, not just for saints but for sinners, not just for Israel but for all humanity.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 21, 2016


UV 1705/10000 Convergence
And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Matthew 17 v 3

The experience of transfiguration was an evidence of the divinity of Jesus. Moses, the greatest of the persons under the Old Covenant along with Elijah, the prophet appeared and talked with Jesus. It was a kind of heavenly consultation between Jesus and the two Old Testament greats. How did the three disciples recognize that it was Moses and Elijah? The Holy Spirit made it known to them. The appearance of Moses and Elijah is to signify that Jesus is the greatest of persons born on earth, that He was about to perform the greatest mission anyone would ever attempt- to save the souls of mankind from eternal damnation, that all shall be able to live forever. It was a convergence of the formative past, the immediate present and the potential future in one moment of eternity. It was a convergence of the righteousness of law represented by Moses, the edification by prophecy represented by Elijah and the grace of Jesus, the Messiah. The struggles that Moses went through to shepherd the enslaved people of Israel to freedom and the struggles that Elijah had with an evil king, his wicked queen Jezebel, the prophets of Baal and the fickle minded people of Israel were going to pale by comparison with the struggles that Jesus was about to undertake soon after this experience of transfiguration. The struggles of Moses were like the birth pangs of a nation. The struggles of Jesus on the cross were the birth pangs of humanity and new creation made possible by that sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. His body was to be sown as the seed of the tree of everlasting life that the Father had removed from the Garden of Eden.

Before we experience unusual events, we too are often sent unusual signs. The appearance of Moses and Elijah were a sign that the law and the prophecies were both going to be fulfilled in the mission of Jesus on earth. It was a climactic moment in the spiritual history of the world when the ancient law giver Moses and the fiery prophet Elijah who went up in a chariot of fire appeared to encourage the Son of God. It was almost like telling Him, “ Keep going: You are on the last lap to victory, the final but most difficult steps.” The birth of Jesus was heralded by angels and shepherds. But the death and resurrection of Jesus was to be heralded not by angels but by the dead heroes of Israel Moses and Elijah as an indication that Jesus too like them would wake up from the sleep of death. His transfiguration where His face shone like the sun and His clothes were shining white was an indication of His future glory in the heavenly realms. It was a foretaste of His eternal glory, leadership and dominion.

Peter sought to build three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, not knowing that one for Jesus alone is sufficient for Moses and Elijah had come to serve Jesus. They had been sent by the Father to communicate a message: “ You will drink the cup of suffering but it shall pass away like the darkness of night passes away with the sunrise.” All our greatest troubles, suffering and afflictions too will pass away like darkness before the shining face of the Lord that surpasses the glory of the sun or anything else He willed into existence. Our bodies, our work and our lives are the tabernacle we are making to honour Jesus, a foretaste of the mansion He builds for us in heaven.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Standing on Holy Ground

UV 1704/10000 Standing on Holy Ground
• And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Exodus 3 v 5

The angel of the Lord warned Moses as he approached not to come any nearer as he was standing on holy ground. The presence of the Lord in any place or vocation makes that place or vocation holy ground We need to come before the awesome presence of the Lord with reverence. When we realize that we are always filled with the immanent presence of the One called Immanuel, we should always offer our lives and our bodies as a living sacrifice, our words and our works should be worthy of being a sacrifice consecrated to the Lord. In the law revealed to Moses, no animal could touch holy ground like the mountain on which Moses communed with the Lord. There were clear boundaries between man, animal and God. Taking off the shoes is a symbol of the inadequacy of anything man-made before the Lord. We need to come before Him without any pretence, with complete sincerity and devotion. We stand naked and exposed before Him even as our feet are naked without shoes. The shoes are also made from leather that is obtained by tearing it off the flesh of horses and other such animals with a tough hide. It was in contact with blood. The shoes are to be removed as a sign that we are entering His presence not on the merits of our own flesh and blood but the shed blood of Jesus that was sacrificed once and for all humanity. By the grace of Jesus we can enter the presence of the Lord boldly not as sinners but as redeemed children of the Lord. Hereafter, whatever we touch is not only holy or sacred and dedicated to the Lord but it is redeemed. The ground we stand on is not only holy but it is redeemed from the curse that the Lord had put on it when Adam first sinned. We can now draw near to the Lord such that He is closer to us than our own skin.

We cannot come before the Lord with any veneer of status or a sense of our own identity apart from Him. Our shoes are a symbol of anything extraneous that interferes with our deep oneness and intimacy with the Lord. Moses did not present before the Lord any claim to fame, any title, any achievement or ability that he had. He came before the Lord a broken and humble man with no high ambition. We too need to come before the Lord with a sense of our brokenness, our emptiness and a consciousness of God’s power, mercy and grace that can fill us even as we empty ourselves of sin, vanity and pride.

Our lives, our professions, our families are the holy ground on which we stand. Do we stand for the Lord in these places and situations? Do we submit ourselves completely in these places for the Lord to act in us and through us to fulfil His greater purpose or are we engrossed and lost in the wilderness of pursuing our own desires, dreams and ambitions? The removal of shoes from the feet in response to the command was an act of submission. Submission is a sign of total love, obedience and trust of the Lord. Every morning after I finish my meditation on an uni-verse I lie flat on my face as a sign of submitting my entire day, family, life and work to the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Trinitarian Balance of Values

UV 1703/10000 The Trinitarian Balance of Values

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

Psalm 112 v 4
The Word is the plumb line that determines who is upright. It gives us the righteous principles to which we should align ourselves. The righteous live in the light of truth and love. Even in dark and seemingly hopeless situations, the Lord will send them a ray of hope. The righteous eschew the deeds of darkness. If we abide in the Lord, we abide in His Word and we will always have hope that He will redeem us from every form of darkness within and without. If one is only righteous, it will tend to make us proud and feel morally superior to others. This is the reason, the uni-verse places the values in this order: first, graciousness, then, compassion and finally, righteousness. This kind of balance of a trinity of values will keep us from being judgemental, legalistic, self righteous. It will teach us humility and help us remember our own past and present vulnerabilities. The Lord’s definition of integrity or uprightness is a balance and combination of graciousness, compassion and righteousness. This is the Trinitarian balance of values that holds our lives together: the righteousness or holiness and perfection of the Father, the graciousness of Jesus and the compassion of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

We are required to be gracious even as the Lord is gracious. It implies that just as we freely and undeservedly received mercy and grace from the Lord, so also we are to gracious to others, not because they deserve it. To be gracious means that we need to be generous, kind, loving, gentle, forgiving and helpful. We should not tire of being so even to those who are rude and not reciprocating our goodness. In actual life, we are often bitter when people do not reciprocate our kindness, our goodness, our favours to them.

In addition to being gracious to all, we are called to be compassionate to those who are in need, those who are sick, weak and vulnerable. The opposite of compassionate is a heart that is hardened, unmoved, untouched and unfeeling. The heart of Jesus made Him weep at the plight of Jerusalem pondering over the mass destruction that was to come. It made Him think of providing food miraculously by multiplying the few loaves and fish available in order to feed the hungry people who followed Him. The compassionate of Jesus made Him weep at the tomb of Lazarus. It moved Him to resurrect the dead Lazarus. The compassionate heart of Jesus led Him to forgive the sinful woman who was about to be stoned to death. The compassionate heart of Jesus led Him to forgive many others like Zacheus. The compassion should not be merely emotional or intellectual but it should move us to action to satisfy the need that evoked it. A compassionate heart is one that resonates with the heart of Jesus. A compassionate heart is one that is gentle and meek and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 18, 2016

God's Enough is Our Enough

UV 1702/10000 God’s Enough is Our Enough
The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
Proverbs 10 v 15

Scripture does not condemn riches nor does it celebrate poverty. God is not against the prosperity of people. In fact, scriptures says that He has plans to prosper us and not to impoverish or harm us. Abraham, a man of faith had cattle on a thousand hills. He was asked not to receive any spoils of war from the king of Sodom lest the latter claimed that he had made Abraham rich. For the Lord had blessed Abraham in many ways including earthly possessions. Poverty, however, is the bane of humanity. Jesus warned the rich from trusting in their uncertain riches that could not save them from death and judgement. We are admonished not to place our confidence in riches. Wealth also whets one’s appetite further to long for even more. It is insatiable. We are never satisfied as we do not know how much is enough. The believer in contrast should say and act on this belief,”God’s enough for me.” His grace is sufficient for us. God’s enough is our enough. We are contented with what He gives us from time to time. He meets our every need and gives us enough to give for the need of others. Our confidence is “ I shall not want” or lack in anything good that is needed. Our focus is not on the “moolah” , the silk and money but the “milk and honey” or the nourishment, strengthening, growth and fruitfulness of our inner being by the satisfaction of our need.

Wealth acquired through honest, honourable and legitimate means is a source of blessing as long as we trust in the Lord, find our security in Him and are grateful to Him for our earthly blessings- every one of them. But the source of tension is whether we place our love in riches- whether we cherish it more than our love for the Lord. Jesus said, “ Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” We need to acknowledge like Job that what the Lord has given, He can take away. We need to understand that we came into the world naked and without any possessions and we would eventually leave the world with no iota of any possession that we may enjoy while living here on earth. We need to possess our possessions without being possessed by it. Both riches and poverty are testing and challenging for the human heart. This is the reason the wise prayer is included in the book of Proverbs, “Lord make me neither too rich that I act as if I do not need You and Your grace or too poor that I curse myself by saying that it is better I die and not live. Just give me enough.” Excess wealth and grinding poverty can both have a corrosive effect on our faith and souls. Elsewhere in the Psalms, it says that if we pant after worldly wealth, our desire might be granted but the Lord would send poverty to our souls. We need to understand that the true wealth that is a strong city that can meet our every need of body, mind and spirit is faith. We need to amass enough of this kind of spiritual and holistic wealth. A strong city is where the Lord dwells. A strong city is where the “strong one” – the enemy cannot tempt or afflict or divert our attention, where he cannot steal, rob or kill.

We should never gloat about our wealth nor should we look down on the poor. Wealth gives the godless a false sense of immunity that they could get away with anything. It leads them into many errors and wilful mistakes. Wealth for the godly is a source of blessing-another reason to praise and thank the Lord. They do not boast or gloat in it. They recognize that it is a gift from the Lord and not a demonstration of their own skill and prowess or talent. They are generous to use it to bless others. They look upon themselves not as owners but as stewards to whom the Lord has entrusted it for some time. They try diligently to increase or multiply it using every legitimate opportunity even as they are contented with what they have been given. The Lord identifies Himself with the poor and penniless even as Jesus was born into an impoverished family though a scion of the line of King David. He puts His weight behind the poor and tests the heart of the rich by their attitudes and actions of giving or helping the poor. Wealth that is acquired through wrongful means has a curse on it even as poverty is a curse that came with the fall of man. But the Lord is prepared to redeem people from it as they turn to Him for help and lifting them up from the miry pit of poverty. Poverty is a source of destruction of the human body, the mind and the soul. The body is afflicted as the basic needs cannot be met satisfactorily in terms of food, clothing, shelter, hygiene and health. The mind is afflicted as it makes people disbelieve in the goodness of God and in the possibilities that God’s goodness and greatness makes available to everyone who acknowledges and trusts Him. The spirit is dragged down by disbelief in oneself, others and in the Creator. Poverty makes a person defenceless and vulnerable to attack from all possible directions. True wealth should transport us and keep us in the “strong city” forever where we are not vulnerable, where we are secure forever. All other wealth is vain and illusory except it is used to lead us into the strong city.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wisdom Trumps Folly

UV 1701/10000 Wisdom Trumps Folly
Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Proverbs 10 v 14

Often our own words ensnare us. We are caught in the trap that we have ourselves laid. Instead, if we store the knowledge of the Word in our hearts and minds, we preserve our lives and that of others. The lips of priests are meant for the salvation of others. The words we speak from our knowledge of scripture and our experience of its truths in life will lead many to salvation or eternal life. Destructive words should be far away from our minds and lips. Wise words are forged out of a heart of wisdom that has been touched by the Lord and blessed by meditating day and night on His Word.

What we call with our mouths will come to us like an obedient dog. Hence, we should be careful about what we call to ourselves. The Lord created the universe with His Word. Hence, infinite power is invested in His mouth and words. A portion of that power is invested in our own words since we are created in His image. Our words that limit us or expand our potential becomes self fulfilling prophecies in real life. In the current Presidential election campaign, the words used by the Republican candidate Donald Trump are an instance of the above uni-verse: “the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.” He has emerged as the most divisive of candidates for Presidency in US and perhaps western history, bordering on neo-nazism and racism, spewing hate and venom against other nationalities and religions. His speech reeks of brashness and arrogance. No wonder the Republican party itself is trying to distance itself from his avowed policies. Rioting and clashes with protestors have broken out at his campaign meetings. The hactivists group Anonymous has attacked his website, provoked by his provocative speech. The mouth of the foolish can bring even a nation and the world at large to destruction.

We need to send our words through seven filters to distil and purify it of any destructive content: First, we need to ask if the words we are using regularly – are they destructive and negative or creative and constructive for our own selves? Second, are they destructive or harmful to others or are they helpful and an encouragement to others to do their best?
Third, are they wholesome and truthful or are they half truths and deceptive?
Fourth, are our words timely or spoken too soon or too late?
Fifth, are our words well thought out and chosen or are we careless and brash in its use? Sixth, are our words the right length- neither too long nor too short but just right for the context and the purpose. Seventh, are our words reflecting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility and self control. The fruit of the spirit grows out of our mouths. These are the streams of life giving water that flow out of our belly to satisfy the thirsty and glorify the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Law of Humility

UV 1700/10000 The Law of Humility
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
Regular so-called literature on management, philosophy and leadership is bereft of hope and holistic meaning affecting the whole gamut of human life. This is the reason that we need to daily look deep and intensely into scripture to unearth the underlying principles of the universe and human life. These are the pillars of the earth and the universe that the uni-verse above refers to. A pillar is a source of support that holds up a roof or building. Proportionately, it occupies only a little space but since it is undergirded with a frame of steel into which concrete is poured into, it is a source of great strength to the entire edifice. The world is set upon such pillars that hold up our lives. We ignore these to our peril and shame. But when diligently studied and observed all our lives it leads us to a throne of glory. We are co-inheritors with Jesus of His throne of glory. We rule with Him in the heavenly realms as on earth.
The Lord does not mind the greedy but He is mindful of the needy. He bodily emotionally and spiritually lifts us out of the dunghill of our misery. The serpent, the fallen angel lifted its head against the Lord and tried to exalt himself against God in the sight of man and was consigned forever to live and walk in dust. The dust is a symbol of vanity, uselessness, death, humiliation and defeat. Similarly, to this day any human who lifts his or her head arrogantly, conceitedly or proudly against the Lord will be humbled or lowered in the sight of all. But the supplicant, the one who comes humbly into His royal and awesome presence, conscious of who He is and who we are, will be certainly lifted up in due time. He will seat us at the high table of the princes. He will seat us at His banqueting table where we feast on His promises in the presence of our enemies.

The humble are the inheritors of the glory of God. God chooses such persons to manifest and reflect His glory on earth. In order to stay humble consistently, we need to always be mindful of the Lord at all times. Our thoughts, emotions, words, decisions, actions and reactions should be an thanks offering to the Lord. He will then lift us out of the miry clay and place us on a rock of security. We will be like a lily of the valley that Solomon in all his glory could not compare with. We will be like the beautiful lotus that draws its nourishment from the miry clay of the dirty pond that is a metaphor for the world. The lotus and the lily open out its petals only as long as the sun shines. With sunset, they curl up and close their whorls. Similarly, as long as the Lord’s face shines on us, we can glorify Him in all that we think, speak, do. He causes us to flourish where we are. He lifts us up or exalts us in the very circumstances we find ourselves in. Humility is to acknowledge that all that one is – is due to the grace of the Lord. Humility is to strive for the glory of the Lord and not our own. Humility is to depend on His word, wisdom and strength and not on our own.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Battle is the Lord's

UV 1699/10000 The Battle is the Lord’s
One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
Joshua 23 v 10

The Lord is a God not just of grace but also of overwhelming and awesome power. Only He can restrain His own power and nothing and no one in the heavens or the earth can restrain His power. The experience of Israel under Moses and later under the leadership of Joshua was that the Lord fought for them. It was also the experience of Gideon and his band of three hundred volunteers that the Lord delivered them supernaturally and miraculously from formidable and numerically as well as militarily powerful enemies. Joshua was enabled to defeat 31 kings in order to wrest the promised land from them. The promised land is not given to us on a platter. It involves many great challenges. The Lord promises to be with us in all these challenges and to reveal His awesome power so that our force, strength and power is magnified a thousand times.

There is a common saying, “ it is not the size of the dog but the size of the fight in the dog.” It is not our size or power or prowess but the size of the God in us who determines victory and deliverance. He is our bulwark of defence, our refuge, our fortress. He encourages us in all our struggles or gives us courage from within to see victory coming and stay in the fight till we taste it. The Lord is involved personally in all our struggles. The battle is truly the Lord’s. We need to only take time in prayer, claiming His promises to give us certain victory and also do due diligence on our part or all that He has asked us to do or all that common sense and practice requires us to do.
In all our struggles in life, we need to depend on the Lord’s guidance and wisdom and not on our own feeble strength or limited wisdom and intelligence. It is the sword of the Lord and not our own that gives us victory. We need to cleave to the Word or hold onto the promises of the Lord like Eleazer had such a tight grip on the handle of his sword that it seemed to be part of his arm and body. We need to cleave to the Lord as Israel under Joshua clung to Him. We also need to leave behind the “hamartia” or failure and misery-causing selfish or flesh nature of fear, lust and double-mindedness behind us. The first battle the Lord needs to win is the one inside each of us- the inner enemy camping deep inside us. Once that victory is claimed, running over the external enemy is only a matter of time and detail.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Purpose of Adversity

UV 1698/10000 The Purpose of Adversity
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Psalm 50 v 15

The Lord does not promise that we will not have troubles but that He would be with us in the day of trouble. He will deliver us and redeem us. This He promises to everyone who believes. Some are delivered from great trouble and then they believe. I just saw a video of a US explosive defusing team leader whose both arms and legs were blown off in a landmine blast. But he recovers, learns to use artificial limbs and overcomes his troubles. I remember the time when I was injured in a blast, temporarily incapacitated but mercifully did not loose anything permanently except part of a nail. Though at the time it was extremely painful, I can now glorify the Lord on account of His great deliverance. In our most painful moments we tend to give undivided attention to the voice of the Lord where otherwise we would be distracted by far too many voices and stimuli. The etches of our character and soul are deepened and completed in such moments of adversity. The patience and faith of Job was not shaped when everything was going well with him and he was prosperous. His faith that “ My Redeemer lives” was born out of his many troubles that came one after another- disaster, financial loss, bereavement, isolation, disease. One secret that I learnt from my own life’s troubles is that the sooner we completely yield and surrender all to the Lord, the shorter He makes the crash course in adversity.

Deliverance from our troubles is not automatically triggered but we need to call upon Him in the midst of it. He will then manifest His grace and bring us out of those difficulties. Our faith would be strengthened. Our belief in a living and responsive God would be affirmed. Our personal relationship with Him would be deepened even as we remember fondly those who stand with us in our most difficult times. It is not as if the Lord sent trouble our way deliberately. He does not derive any sadistic pleasure from it. Deadly accidents, tragedies, disasters and mishaps keep happening as it is the natural order of things in a fallen world. The Lord in His sovereignty does not interfere with this natural order but He responds to our cries.
The enemy of our souls derives pleasure from the troubles of our lives and is delighted if it drives us deeper and deeper into depression. But in the dark night of our soul when we have no one else to cry out to, the Lord hears us and comes rushing to us. He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us, to heal our innermost spiritual wounds. He gives us hope in our most desperate moments that things will improve and once more be near normal. He inspires strength and grace in us to bear our present pains and travails. He enables us to speak of those difficult times and troubles and how the Lord helped us overcome the seemingly insurmountable challenges. He gives us a sense of victory and undying joy at the end of the experience that keeps reminding us of His presence and His love. Sighing and moaning will flee away and we will return to Zion, the Kingdom of God with joy. We will begin to think and thank the Lord that every trouble that ends in victory and joy is worthwhile to undergo. We discover a new dimension of ourselves and of manifestation of the grace of the Lord in these troubles. The Lord was with Joseph when his brothers conspired against him. He had already inspired him with a dream of his destiny. He first redeemed him by prompting the brothers to go for the lesser evil of selling him as a slave instead of killing him. He was with him in Potiphar’s house. He was with him when he was tempted by Potiphar’s adulterous wife. He was with him in the prison. He was with him when he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh. He was with him when he was the right hand of Pharaoh in all Egypt. He was with him when he received and forgave his brothers. Every believer’s life is a story of redemption and unless the story line has great troubles running across it, how will the grace and glory of the Lord be manifested? Great adversity or troubles have the role of re-defining our purpose and shaping both our character and our destiny.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Enablement to Overcome Doubt and Disbelief

UV 1697/10000 Enablement to Overcome Doubt and Disbelief
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Mark 9 v 24

A part of us believes or trusts God and a part of us disbelieves or doubts. The father of the child who was possessed and often thrown into the paroxysm of some kind of fits wanted badly to believe, to think it was possible for God or Jesus to heal him. But he needed the help of Jesus to believe in this wonderful possibility as against the miserable reality he had experienced since the boy’s early days. All of us need divine help to believe and help to overcome our disbelief. Part of our disbelief comes from the fact that in our experience it has not happened before. Part of our disbelief come from our distrust of the character of God. Part comes from our own sense of guilt and incompleteness or inadequacies. The irony is that the greater our self confidence and the greater our knowledge of the world, the greater is the doubt and the inability to believe. We need to disbelieve the world and what we have been taught and learnt this far in order to believe the Lord. We need grace to enable us to overcome disbelief, distrust and doubt. Unbelief is of different kinds: it ranges from total disbelief to varying proportions of doubt and belief. Elsewhere Jesus had said, “ A little faith can move mountains” implying that a little faith mixed with a lot of doubt can also cause wonders to happen. However, in every situation, our first response is likely to be the natural and rational before it turns to the spiritual, supernatural and the miraculous. Faith begins as tiny as a mustard seed but over time and experience of the grace and power of the Lord, it becomes the primary plant of fruitfulness in our lives. That seed sends down roots of the Word into the subsoil of our souls. It then sends up the shoot of faith and the branches of testimony- the branches of healing and deliverance, the branches of victory and power, the branches of blessings and the fruit of the Spirit. There might be other trees in our garden of life like that of reason, diligence, talent and skill but the greatest tree would be the tree of faith. Answered prayers are the sap that rises up this tree.

The response of the father came as a kind of prayer to Jesus. For Jesus had said that “ all things are possible for him who believes.” Belief removes the lid of limitation on all our possibilities. We believe for instance that medicine can heal a disease. But we also need to believe that the Lord can heal without medicine. His word is sufficient to heal us. He can also heal through medicine. The disciples could not cause the healing of the dumb boy. Jesus was disappointed at their lack of faith. Their faith had not expanded enough for them at this point in time to enable them to cast out the spirit in that afflicted boy. They too needed to pray, “ Lord, help us overcome our unbelief and help us believe nothing is impossible for You and us in You.” Faith is pushing the limitations of what the Lord can do in our lives. He is infinite, unlimited and can do all things- the difficult and the seemingly impossible.

Our natural conditioning to believe in the physical realities of the world around us. Our experience of the rational and logical world of cause and effect tends to limit our faith. Our existing knowledge of the world and its laws causes us to doubt. But constant flexing of the muscle of faith in prayer, affirmation of our faith in the promises of God and His assertion that nothing is impossible for him who believes that God has infinite power to do the impossible causes the miraculous, the marvellous and the supernatural. Our position changes from the natural, “ We see, therefore we believe” to “ We believe, therefore we experience.”

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Whose Am I?

UV 1696/10000 Whose Am I?
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve
Act 27 v23

Who we are is determined by whose we are. To whom do we belong? We belong to Him from whom we came. We belong to Him whom we serve. We belong to Him by whom we live. We belong to Him who saved us and saves us in every storm of life. Our identity is derived from the Person to whom we belong who is far greater, most gracious and loving. It is not derived from a man- made religion or ideology like communism, capitalism or socialism. These are often the figment of the imagination or reasoning of one or more men who are just as weak and vulnerable as any of us. Our calling to serve is given by the Person to whom we belong. Our confidence and security is derived from the Person to whom we belong. He is the source of our power. He is the source of our very lives.

Paul was unperturbed by the threat of shipwreck as the Lord to whom he belonged had sent a messenger, an angel to re-assure him. Very often when we face threats and dangers in our lives, the Lord sends His angels. We can even ask for His angels to be deployed around us, our transport, our homes, our family and children. He watches over our coming and going, our lying down and our sitting up. The more we know the One we belong to, the more secure, fearless and confident we become. The more we are able to serve Him with all our hearts. Paul was able to assure not only himself but the entire people on the ship including his Roman captors of their security. He assured them that not a hair on their heads would be lost. Paul was given wisdom in the crisis to guide the captain of the ship at every point when they were puzzled and bewildered. He was as unflappable as Jesus who slept in peace even as the boat in the Sea of Galilee was rocked and his disciples panicked. From whom we derive our identity defines us and refines our reactions to all that life can throw at us. We can afford to be calm and composed in the worst of situations.

In modern day cloud computing, the cloud can only give us any time access to more storage of data. But the cloud of the presence of the Lord gives us access to any time protection, preservation, promotion, provision and enablement. The password or “passperson” to access the cloud of the Lord is Jesus. The means to access are the Word, prayer and faith in action. We derive not only our identity and blessings from the Lord but our purpose, meaning, wisdom and power to act and react from Him. Paul was staring at death in its face but he was nonplussed as he knew that the Lord of life and death was with him and in him. He could either ride through the storm or meet with Jesus face to face. But he also knew that his time of departing from this life had not come.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 11, 2016

Unsearchable Riches

UV 1696/10000 The Unsearchable Riches
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 3 v 8

Paul, a one time fiercest foe and persecutor of the people who believed in Jesus became after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus the greatest of apostles. Yet, he referred to himself as the least of all saints, the worst of sinners. He acknowledged that it was only by the grace of the Lord that he was called and given the calling to preach to all nations the gospel of Christ. The riches of Christ in terms of His mercy, love, knowledge, wisdom, grace, peace, hope and other spiritual attributes can be accessed only by revelation. It cannot be discovered by human brilliance or ingenuity or enterprise. It cannot be mined or extracted from ores. The Lord had chosen Paul to reveal these hidden mysteries. The riches of Christ are hidden in His Word for He is the Word that became flesh. By diligent study of the Word, the riches of Christ are revealed.

Today, on Google or other search engines, one can search out any piece of information he needs but the riches of Christ’s love , mercy and grace are unsearchable. These are hidden from the world but revealed to the believer. These are the riches that neither moth nor thief nor rust can take away or destroy. The riches of Christ stay with us and grow in us. These are the riches that make us richer and wiser than Solomon in all his glory. For Solomon bemoaned that after all his various attempts to find happiness that all is vain, a mere chasing of the wind. But in Christ, all that we attempt and do is blessed and established. The secret locker or vault in which the riches of Christ is stored is the human heart. The riches of the world are an undependable or fair weather friend as Solomon discovered while the riches of Christ are an all weather friend. They do not take wings and fly away. These do not diminish in value but fulfil their eternal purpose. The riches of the world are not satisfying and that is why even the very wealthy always are pining for a little more. It does not give them a sense of permanent security while the riches of Christ satisfy the longing of the heart. The riches of the world are meant for hoarding but the riches of Christ are meant for sharing, building and edification of the faith and lives of others.

The riches of Christ are the most precious thing on earth. It is the precious stone that Jesus spoke of when he said that a trader sold all he had in order to buy the most valuable precious stone he found. It implies that salvation of our souls is more valuable than success in this world. Nothing else can be traded for it. It cannot be found by ability or determination or hard work or diligence. It is discovered by grace and enjoyed by grace. Since it is discovered and experienced by grace, the possessor of the riches of Christ cannot be puffed up or proud.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 10, 2016

True Riches that Last

UV 1695/10000 True Riches that Last
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Revelation 3 v 18

To be spiritually rich or rich towards God should be our goal for amassing even all the wealth of this world would still leave us poor, miserable, wretched and naked. We are never to place our confidence in money or our earthly riches that will leave us naked, exposed, miserable and ashamed. We are to be always clothed in the white clothes of salvation that doubles as a spiritual armour of protection. It is white as it should not be tainted by any spot of this world. We are like the prodigal son who returns home to be given a hero’s welcome, new set of clothes, new shoes to go places for the Father, a new belt of truth to hold up our clothes, a ring of authority over all of the spiritual realm of darkness. Instead of shame, we are led by grace into the glory of His kingdom. We do not have to hide in shame like Adam and Eve due to our failures and weaknesses. We will receive grace from the Father to overcome temptations and endure trials. Faith is like a hard currency in this uni-verse with which we can buy anything we need in the Kingdom of God. Only with faith are the promises of the Lord fulfilled in our lives. Only through faith we receive grace. Faith in Jesus is the first step in our 10000 mile journey and the 10000 promises of God are the remaining steps we need to take by faith, implying that we will obtain grace as we believe these promises in a variety of our real life experiences.

Jesus as the Wonderful Counsellor counsels us to get faith that is the equivalent of gold in the human economy. Our faith is to be pure, refined and purged of all impurities and hence, we are allowed to go through suffering and trials by the Father. Faith like gold has a quantitative and qualitative dimension. The more faith we accumulate in our lives and the more refined and pure it is, the richer we are spiritually. Just as gold that is refined in fire reflects the maker’s face in it, our lives and character should reflect the Face of God or the glory of God. Jesus said, “ No man except the Son has seen the Father’s face.” But people see that face in and through our words and actions. Foremost in the qualities of the Father are His love, mercy and grace. Faith that is mature and refined is reflected not in a litany of prayer requests but in the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, self control, goodness, humility and faithfulness. It is reflected not in the grasping aggressive worldly wisdom but in the gentle wisdom that comes from above that is peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated.

Only when we develop a faith that is refined and pure , only when we are filled with the fruit of the Spirit can we develop a vision for the Kingdom of God. We will begin to see things from the Lord’s perspective, from the perspective of the eternal, abundant, the possible and the practical. We will not be short sighted or blind. We will practice our faith and not be deceived by the enemy of our souls.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

LIsten to Glisten

UV 1694/10000 Listen to Glisten
If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

Job 33 v 33

We need to restrain our tongues and still our restless thoughts in the presence of the Lord every day in order that He be able to teach us wisdom. Being still in His presence quickens or awakens our spirits. Being still in His presence implies that we quieten ourselves in order to listen to the Lord. Like Job had to hold his peace, in order to understand the purpose of the Lord in allowing much suffering and misfortune to befall him. There are times in each day as well as seasons in our lives where we need to spend time at the feet of Jesus just quietly reflecting over the course of our lives and the hand of the Lord in our lives. We might be puzzled why the Lord allowed a certain adversity in our lives or the lives of our near and dear ones. We might be seeking an answer for questions that the Lord alone can answer. We might be feeling weak, physically, emotionally, spiritually demotivated and be in need of a rejuvenation. These are both signals and triggers for us to quieten ourselves and spend time just listening to the Lord. There is a bit of the two sisters Mary and Martha in us. We are often like Martha caught up in the affairs and engagements of this world drowning out the voice of the Lord, finding fault with others who seek to slow down and just soak in the presence of the Lord. Every day we need to ask the Martha in us to hold her peace and like Mary spend quality time at the feet of the Lord as He teaches, counsels, heals, delivers, touches, encourages, explains, admonishes, moulds and injects deeper and deeper wisdom into us with His words of wisdom and eternal life.

The next four days I have chosen to be a sabbatical for me for the purpose of quietening myself and listening to the Lord. The word “sabbatical” comes from the Sabbath- it is an extended Sabbath to know the Lord, His Word, His will and purpose for our lives. We listen in order to glisten or to shine even more brightly than in the past. It is not time lost but we will be able to accelerate the pace of our life, our work and deepen our wisdom and understanding, increase our inner strength and be able to focus better and accomplish more in the days, weeks, months and years that follow. We will rise in the Lord’s presence with a double portion of His anointing, His power and grace and be able to do our tasks and fulfil our responsibilities with redoubled vigour. Our tongues and minds need to be rested even as our bodies and even the sun itself in a manner of speaking rests overnight to be able to be up and about the next day. We need a break from the past in order to have a breakthrough of understanding and wisdom.

Times of listening at the feet of the Lord are a retreat from the world of our routine but it is a time of casting deeper roots in the Lord and making great advances in the realm of the spirit- the kingdom of God. The restless tongue and the restless mind both find complete peace in the Lord. As St James, the great tongue specialist wrote, “ The one who is able to control his tongue is perfect.” Holding our peace is equivalent of surrendering ourselves to the Spirit of the Lord in order to be ministered to, taught and strengthened by Him. This uni-verse is a promise to us that whenever we hold our tongues or our peace, with a resolve to listen to the Holy Spirit, He will teach us wisdom. He will teach us how to apply the truths that we learnt straight from the Lord’s mouth, not the horse’s mouth for we can get our horses or our forces and resources ready for deployment but it is the Lord who gives victory. These are periods of renewal and intimacy with the Lord where we still our own thoughts, emotions and desires and incline our inner ears closer and closer to the Lord’s mouth. He will teach us wisdom in how to apply His Word to our work, to our inner life, to our relationships, to our challenges, to our ministry, to our legacy and contributions. He will teach us wisdom to justify us or straighten out the crooked parts of our souls and lives. He will teach us wisdom to know Him better- the ultimate knowledge. He will teach us wisdom to be like Him and follow Him. He will teach us wisdom to align our thoughts, attitudes, emotions, words, actions and reactions with His Word, will and purpose. No part or secrets of His wisdom and understanding will He withhold or hide from us as He has promised to impart it to us in generous portions and not stingily or miserly. He will teach us wisdom to live the abundant, effective, successful and eternal life. He will teach us wisdom to live the “win-win” life- win here on earth and win in heaven or eternity.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Word- the Best Medicine

UV 1693/10000 The Word- the Best Medicine
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Psalm 107 v 20

Our self destruction buttons are situated deep inside our souls, our spirits and minds. These self destructive tendencies rob us of our peace and keep us from fulfilling our potential and obeying the will of the Lord. It could be a self destruction button like excessive anger or fear, or hatred, nervousness, jealousy, greed, lust, pride, prejudice, extreme sadness or depression. It could be a false belief that has grown in us to become a stronghold of oppression of our spirits. Negative beliefs severely limit us and keep us from growing. When we read or hear the Word, it moves like a spiritual scalpel deep inside us, in the very core of our being and removes these negatives. The Lord sends His specific Word to heal us of different hidden afflictions and predelictions.

Not only are the self destruction buttons removed but new creative and helpful buttons or tendencies are set afoot in us by the deep work of the Spirit in us. He sets us free from wilful sins as well as mistakes that we commit unwittingly. The Word along with prayer acts swiftly, effectively, precisely inside us. He keeps our feet from stumbling and our eyes from tears. He heals our stony hearts so that we are once more sensitive and responsive. He removes the bitterness from our hearts so that it does not turn venomous and harmful to us. The Word heals us not only of physical, mental, emotional, social diseases but also of spiritual diseases.

The pain that we have suffered often in our lives becomes a cause of depression. The Lord will send His apt Word to heal us of such deep seated depression or destructive sadness. We are also set free from emotional issues like conceit and egoism. The Lord quickens or enables us to be able to forgive others and to let go of resentment and grudges. Jesus is not only the Physician, the Specialist of Specialists of all fields of holistic medicine but He is the Balm of Gilead or the very medicine that heals us of all our diseases of spirit, mind and body. Meditating on the Word is the best medicine. It is both preventive and curative. When we pray, we are applying the medicine to our bodies, spirits and souls. He not only heals us but He heals our relationships.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Supply, Apply, Mutiply, Magnify

UV 1692/10000 Supply, Apply, Multiply, Magnify
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord
Colossians 3 v 16

The Word of God is also described as the Word of Christ as Christ the Word became flesh in order to communicate the peace of God with all mankind. Having the peace of God, we should then let the Word stay with us. It implies that we never depart from the Word and that the Word never departs from us. We abide in the Word- we are surrounded at all times by the teachings of Jesus. We abide in Him when His teachings stay with us. We will be enriched by the wisdom of the Lord. We need to richly experience the Word by applying our knowledge of His Word in all practical and real situations of need or challenge in our lives. The process is “Supply, Apply, Multiply, Magnify” : first, we need to ensure an abundant supply of the Word by spending enough time reading, praying over, memorising, claiming, remembering, meditating. Then, we need to apply specific verses to specific situations. Finally, we need to teach it and multiply it in the lives of others around us. A doer of the Word is its best teacher.

We need to use the Word to build or edify or strengthen each other. This kind of rich input will lead to an outflow of peace, grace and joy from our hearts that will express itself in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs. There will be a constant outpouring of praise, thanksgiving and worship in our innermost sanctum sanctorum- our very hearts. Every blessing, counsel and experience of salvation, deliverance and victory the Holy Spirit will turn into a song of thanksgiving from our hearts that words cannot express, that no man-made instrument can accompany. We are magnifying the Lord even as a magnifying lens catches the light of the sun to focus it on a particular object.

When a stream of praise and thanksgiving flows from our spiritual hearts like blood that oozes in and out of our physical hearts or breath that flows in and out of our nostrils, respiratory passages and the lungs, the grace of the Lord continually flows in our lives. Instead of our natural tendencies of fight or flight, we will be in a supernatural state of flow. The grace of the Lord will fill and overflow our lives as water overflows a vessel that is standing under a constant downpour. Moses enriched himself in the Word so much that he applied it to his life. He modelled it in his leadership and applied it to practical situations in leading the people of Israel. He taught it to the people he mentored and led. The grace of the Lord or the favour, enablement, empowerment and blessing of the Lord was multiplied in his life and leadership. He experienced mighty deliverance and great victories. He magnified the Lord with a spiritual song called the song of Moses.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Comprehensive and Deep Trust

UV 1691/10000 Comprehensive and Deep Trust
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding
Proverbs 3 v 5

Whom we love we trust. Trust is a practical outflow of love. We need to trust in the Lord with ALL our heart since we love Him with all our hearts. We may give our energy, money, time and attention to a host of things but we need to give our whole heart to the Lord. The concept of God being a Jealous God implies that we need to believe in Him wholeheartedly or without holding back on anything, without any reservation. We often are tempted to think we are smarter or wiser and rely on our own understanding of things. This messes up things for us and then we blame the Lord. We should rely entirely on the wisdom, guidance and precepts that the Lord has given us in His Word and the promptings and urgings of the Holy Spirit who indwells in us.

We not only need to trust wholeheartedly but we need to acknowledge Him in all our ways. It implies that we need to realize that the Lord has greater and complete knowledge of every area of our lives. We need to accept His sovereignty and our dependence on His grace and wisdom in all our ways and not in just some of our ways: our inner life, our thought life, our private life, our professional life, our family life, our marriage, our parenting, our fitness plans, our diet, our finances, our relationships, our network, our decisions, our emotional issues, our goals and desires, our secrets, our challenges, our problems, our difficulties, our fears, our frustrations, our anguish, our doubts, our questions.. We demonstrate our trust when we pray over each of these areas of our lives. We prove our trust when we act on the promise of the Lord in each of these areas. We show our discipline when we obey the Lord’s commands or directives in each of these areas.

In practice, we rely partly on the Lord’s wisdom and partly on our own. We adjust our views to suit the views of our peer group. The uni-verse upholds to us the kind of trust that Daniel and his three friends demonstrated in their lives. They trusted the Lord for their health, their dietary preferences, their lifestyle, their deliverance, for revelation of dreams and their meaning. They trusted the Lord to the point of confronting death and danger. They acted on their convictions and took bold risks. They came out victorious and unscathed.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, March 4, 2016

Pressing CLose

UV 1690/10000 Pressing Close
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Psalm 73 v 28

We draw near to the Lord not for His sake, not because He needs us but because we need Him. It is good for us to draw near to Him as a man needs to draw near to the fireplace on a cold wintry night. We need Him as plants need sunlight. We derive our spiritual food, air and energy from Him. His breath in our nostrils is the bread of our life. He sustains us. He elevates us to new levels of understanding and aspiration. Without Him our lives are cold, purposeless and powerless.

After drawing near to the Lord or in other words after commencing a personal relationship with God through Jesus, His Son, we place our complete trust in Him and His Word. His Word describes the myriad ways in which the Lord works in our lives. Each verse in His Word is a rung of the ladder that Jacob saw in his dream connecting heaven and earth. We climb the stairway to heaven using the specific verses from scripture. Our trust in the Word gives opportunities for the Lord to act in our lives. Using the Word He moulds our inner being. He makes possible what we desire and what is impossible in human terms. Each promise verse in scripture enables us to hop paradigms or patterns of living. The excellent or extraordinary or the miraculous will operate and often manifest in what we think, speak and do. The Word in us becomes the work of the Lord. He does works in us, for us and with us. The works in us refers to the removal of our limiting beliefs and the inner transformation of our being. The work for us refers to the benefits or blessings, spiritual, material and physical that we need. The work with us is our purpose in life to declare who the Lord is and to declare His works.

Our testimonies are our stories or our declarations of the works of the Lord in our lives. It is the narrative of our lives to influence others in our generation to draw near to the Lord that they too be similarly blessed. Most people hesitate to draw near to the Lord as they fear Him out of a sense of guilt even as Adam and Eve hid from Him after their temptation and fall. When we fear Him out of a sense of reverence for His awesomeness, we do not hesitate to draw nearer and nearer to Him as we experience His tender mercies and His love. The woman with a chronic problem of bleeding pressed close to the Lord to touch Him and be healed. So also we need to draw closer and closer to Him, so that we can hide in the hem of His clothes like a child. The woman being healed was one of the rare occasions when Jesus involuntarily healed a person. Similarly, when we are always walking close and pressing close to the Lord, even without us praying or the Lord listening, answers and miracles will be released from the very presence of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Kingdom Perspective

UV 1689-10000 The Kingdom Perspective
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Luke 17 v 21
The first and foremost change that happens in a believer’s heart and mind is a change of perspective or how he or she looks at life, the world and his or her personal circumstances. Instead of a worldly or kingdom of man perspective, we develop a new creation perspective or kingdom of God perspective. We look at the immediate through the lens of the eternal. Instead of man going to the kingdom of God, God brought the kingdom of God to us through His Son Jesus, the Crown Prince of Heaven. Jesus not just brought the kingdom near us but He installed it in every believer through the ages. We are therefore a kingdom of priests and kings. We are the living temples of God. We are the living stones with which the temple is built. The law of God or the Word is written by the Spirit on our hearts, minds and spirits. The kingdom is not geographically located in space and time but it is situated in each of us and all of us. The rule of God is established in us and through us. The Lord executes His will through us.

The grace, beauty, righteousness, peace, joy and power of God is within us and we realize it day by day, moment by moment in our personal relationship with the Sovereign Creator through His Son Jesus. The kingdoms of man perishes but the Kingdom of God lasts forever. The kingdom of man revels in the exhibition of brute power while the kingdom of God is established not by might or by power but by His Spirit. The kingdom of man relies on the power of the sword and the strength of horses, a symbol for the vast array of weapons and arsenals developed by mankind. The kingdom of God relies on the power of the Word and the Spirit. The kingdom of man operates on the principles of fear and control. The kingdom of God operates on the principles of love and freedom.

The kingdom of God is an all encompassing perspective and world view: it includes all of our being, all of our relationships, all of our thoughts, words, deeds and reactions. The kingdom of man becomes irrelevant after our deaths but the Kingdom of God enables us to see God, the Ruler of our lives, the Saviour of our souls face to face. The kingdom of man is impersonal, formal and distant. The kingdom of God is personal and intimate. The kingdom of man values us on the basis of our status, contributions, abilities but the Kingdom of God values us on the basis of who we are intrinsically. We do not have to travel far but only need to look within to find the kingdom of God. The kingdom of man is hierarchical and bureaucratic while the kingdom of God is flat: anyone can approach the throne of His grace on the basis of faith in Jesus. Anyone can seek audience and obtain remedy.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The GI-ants

UV 1688/10000 The GI-ants
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Numbers 13 v 33

The people of Israel saw themselves as tiny, weak or puny as ants. They recognized how vulnerable they were against the giants of the land. They were living by sight and not by faith in the God who had done mighty miracles to deliver them from the bondage of Pharaoh and Egypt, the superpower of the ancient world. We too regard ourselves often as if we are as weak as ants due to what I call the ANT –process- an automatic negative thought process that limits our growth, locks us up in fears, real and imaginary, destroys our confidence in the Lord, others and ourselves. Instead, we are called to be GI-ants or “God Inspired ants” who can defeat any giant in our land.

Moses had chosen twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan that God had promised them. Of them ten had low esteem of themselves, of Moses and of God that they gave in to the fears inspired by what they saw- the men were strong, the cities were walled and fortified. They had seen how through forty years, the Lord had delivered them and led them through many ups and downs and all kinds of experiences of victory against all odds, yet in forty days of spying on the land they were promised as their possession, they had lost the vision, become discouraged and overcome by fear. The past nearly forty years the Lord has led me from one victory to another but I can loose it all in one day if I give in to fears, doubts, pressures, temptations, weaknesses and low faith and confidence in the Lord who has brought me this far.

God inspires us with examples of deliverance and victory against impossible odds from scripture and our contemporary life. The Lord inspires us with His Word. He inspires us with the power of the Holy Spirit. He inspires us through prayer. No one can stop His promise to us from being fulfilled. We can defeat or slay any giant. We need not be deterred by their great size or prowess. We are GI-ants and our power is just as great as our faith makes it to be. We are to be “Eschol” or extraordinarily productive and brave. We need to be optimistic and confident like Caleb and Joshua who were the two lone men who stood by Moses and said that it was possible to take the land from its current possessors. They recalled the mighty wonders the Lord had done to deliver them in Egypt and along their long course back to the promised land. Our faith should enable us to jump like grasshoppers from one level to another in our walk with the Lord and in our accomplishments in His Name. When others look at us , they will see very ordinary and vulnerable persons but they do not suspect the hidden amazing and awesome power of the Lord at work in us, through us and around us. We see ourselves not with the esteem of others or of our own esteem but with the esteem of the Lord. We see ourselves as God sees us as “mighty warriors and people of great valour.”

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sowing, Ploughing, Raining, Reaping

UV 1687/10000 Sowing, Ploughing, Raining and Reaping
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Hosea 10 v 12

There are two worlds out there: a big, bad and mad world and a small, good and wise world. The choices we make determine which world we belong to. Apparently, God puts His weight behind the latter and it is the winning side. We need to join the winning side and always sow in the spirit of righteousness, with right motives and actions. Then, we will reap in abundance of the tender mercies of the Lord that falls like the morning dew on us. We will reap abundance of blessings of peace and grace and joy. The fallow ground or the areas of our lives that are not productive so far will be made fertile and fruitful. The Lord will send His latter rain and former rain of blessings of the righteous on us in due time, never late and never early. IF we sow mercy, we will receive mercy. If we sow peace, we will receive peace. If we sow good news, we will receive great news. If we sow grace, we will receive grace. It is more vital than even sowing wheat or rice or fruits or vegetables for the yield from the latter will perish while the yield from the spiritual seed will flourish forever.

If we sow in the spirit, we reap in the spirit. We will enjoy eternal and abundant life. The quantitative and qualitative dimensions of life would be impacted. If we sow in the flesh, we will reap the consequences of lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life. The shadow of hamartia or the lack of blessing of the Lord will be upon us. When we sow in the spirit, the shadow of the Almighty will be upon us and we will be blessed by His grace and peace. Sowing in the spirit implies that we need to seek the Lord with all our hearts and all our minds and in all that we do wholeheartedly. We need to seek His face to know Him better. We need to seek His grace to do better. In every phase of life, we need to acknowledge and give priority to the will, word and work of the Lord.

We break up the fallow or unyielding ground, the hardened parts of our lives by ploughing in the spirit. By hearing and meditating and applying the Word in a spirit of reverence, obedience and prayer, we plough in the spirit. The fallow souls of our fellow human beings are also ploughed in the spirit when we pray for them and share the Word with them. The Word filters out the perverse influence of the big, bad and mad world and keeps us at the centre of His will. It fertilizes the positive seed planted in us. When we so plough, the Lord will send showers of blessing to further soften the soil of our souls and bring a great harvest into His kingdom.

Prateep V Philip