Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Fire That Burns In US

UV 1741/10000 The Fire that Burns In Us
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Luke 24 v 32

Our hearts burn when the Holy Spirit opens the scripture to our understanding. The Word is both a fire and a hammer. As a hammer it destroys all strongholds of evil, as a fire, it burns all evil desires and attitudes. Jesus described His Word as spirit and life. The Spirit quickens it to our minds and hearts or makes it active and live. It cuts to the point where bone and marrow meet, our innermost core. The Word that we store up in our hearts becomes like a fire that is shut up in our bones and core.

The evil desires of our flesh are like a leech. A leech never says it’s had enough. Hence, money or pleasure or power will never be enough. Only salt can make the leech let go of a person. The Word acts as the salt that releases the leeches of this world to release its clutches from our hearts and minds. A colleague of mind who was hunting a forest brigand was bitten several time by leeches. It had contaminated his blood and left signs and symptoms like itching and pain. The leeches secretes a hormone that anaesthetises the human body as it sucks. Similarly, there is an exchange with the world when it sucks on us like leeches. The Word provides the antidote. When Jesus spoke to the believers who were grieving his death on the way to Emmaus, His words burned in their hearts with the power of truth and conviction. It cut into their spirits as a sharp sword cuts into flesh and bone. At the same time, as they gained understanding and received the revelation, they were comforted and they were filled with great joy.

Like the disciples who were accompanied by Jesus, we too are accompanied by the unseen presence of the Risen Saviour. He walks with us and He talks with us. He blesses us with peace- the seven fold peace or Shalom. He never leaves us nor does He forsake us. Each word spoken by Jesus is so precious that it should be numbered and analysed as the bread was broken by Jesus and they chewed it to bless their bodies, minds and spirits. His words penetrate to the point or intersection where our minds and spirits meet. It judges or studies our thoughts, motives behind every thought, our emotions, our words, our actions, our intentions, goals and guides our footsteps.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 29, 2016

Seek the Peace of the City

UV 1741/10000 The Fire that Burns In Us
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Luke 24 v 32

Our hearts burn when the Holy Spirit opens the scripture to our understanding. The Word is both a fire and a hammer. As a hammer it destroys all strongholds of evil, as a fire, it burns all evil desires and attitudes. Currently, due to an intensely torrid summer, we read in the news of a lot of fires in buildings as well as in the forests across the country. But these are destructive fires that destroy people, materials and trees. The Word is a creative fire. It melts down what is not required and edifies or builds us in faith and strength to face every possible situation and factor in life boldly and triumphantly. Jesus described His Word as spirit and life. The Spirit quickens it to our minds and hearts or makes it active and live. It cuts to the point where bone and marrow meet, our innermost core. The Word that we store up in our hearts becomes like a fire that is shut up in our bones and core.

The evil desires of our flesh are like a leech. A leech never says it’s had enough. Hence, money or pleasure or power will never be enough. Only salt can make the leech let go of a person. The Word acts as the salt that releases the leeches of this world to release its clutches from our hearts and minds. A colleague of mind who was hunting a forest brigand was bitten several time by leeches. It had contaminated his blood and left signs and symptoms like itching and pain. The leeches secretes a hormone that anaesthetises the human body as it sucks. Similarly, there is an exchange with the world when it sucks on us like leeches. The Word provides the antidote. When Jesus spoke to the believers who were grieving his death on the way to Emmaus, His words burned in their hearts with the power of truth and conviction. It cut into their spirits as a sharp sword cuts into flesh and bone. At the same time, as they gained understanding and received the revelation, they were comforted and they were filled with great joy.

Like the disciples who were accompanied by Jesus, we too are accompanied by the unseen presence of the Risen Saviour. He walks with us and He talks with us. He blesses us with peace- the seven fold peace or Shalom. He never leaves us nor does He forsake us. Each word spoken by Jesus is so precious that it should be numbered and analysed as the bread was broken by Jesus and they chewed it to bless their bodies, minds and spirits. His words penetrate to the point or intersection where our minds and spirits meet. It judges or studies our thoughts, motives behind every thought, our emotions, our words, our actions, our intentions, goals and guides our footsteps.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Arm of Our Help

UV 1739/10000 The Arm of Our Help
O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.
Isaiah 33 v 2
The Lord is gracious as He does not expect any return favour or help when He comes to our help or aid. He is Ebenezer God or our one and only Helper. The help of other men is in vain. The arm of flesh can fail. The arm of flesh may disappoint us when we expect the help of man. The arm of flesh moves due to some selfish motive of quid pro quo. The arm of flesh helping us in our time of need can result in mutual bitterness. In contrast, the Lord is our arm of help every day. Our all- round help comes from Him. Every morning we need to approach His throne of grace with praise and thanksgiving. We need to avoid the attitude of complaining and murmuring. His spiritual power will be manifested through the work of our hands and the words of our lips. Our problems and worries will flee like flies from the fire. We need to chew the Word every morning and we will digest all our problems. We will be able to swallow our problems and challenges instead of being swallowed by these. We need to claim the amazing promises of the Lord and wait for their fulfilment in our lives.
We should be glad and rejoice in our salvation and not take it for granted or take it casually. We should remember the names of the Lord and draw strength from each name. We should recall the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. We should confess our faults and failures in order to be redeemed of these. We should pour out our hearts to Him. As we do so, He will hear our cry and strengthen our hearts, implying that He will give us the right attitudes towards all and towards all our issues. Scripture says, “ Guard your heart diligently for out of it are the issues of life.” It implies that guarding or setting our heart right can be done only by the Lord. His Word is the plumb line of our hearts. It is the plumb line that sets our hearts or attitudes at the right angle to the Lord. Whatever we start with prayer will flourish in the end.
The Lord is our salvation in our time of trouble. We focus on Him just as a servant waits on his master to reward him. The servant will continue to work diligently, patiently, loyally and faithfully till the Master recognises his work. We need to focus on the Lord with faithful expectation, confidence and hope. Our souls wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning for when the day comes their duty of vigil ends. So also the end of our trouble comes when the Morning Star of Righteousness- Jesus rises on it. As the morning sun dispels the mist and fog, the plentiful redemption of the Lord will dispel our nagging worries and haunting issues. He restores us so that we are better off than before in every sense. He restores the years and times that the locusts of life’s worries and issues had destroyed. He comforts us so that we can in turn comfort those who are in similar trouble and encourage them with the same hope of salvation.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fly HIgh, Run Strong, Walk Slow, Wait Long

UV 1738/10000 Fly High, Run Strong, Walk Slow, Wait Long
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint
Isaiah 40 v 31
We need to wait upon the Lord with prevailing faith. By strength no man will succeed but by faith every man can prevail. Waiting implies expecting a positive outcome from the Lord. We wait with praise, thanksgiving and adoration. We wait with positive attitudes. Our faith lifts us up above our circumstances. The Lord will exalt us to a new orbit. Through faithful prayer and the Word, we can fly at the height of heaven, around the throne of God Almighty, far higher than any spacecraft or aircraft or bird. When circumstances are adverse or negative, we should take a flight of faith like an eagle. The eagle keeps flying in circles till its eye spots a prey on which it swoops down and picks up by its talons. When we gain height in our spirits and look at ourselves and our issues, we will gain perspective- a heavenly perspective. We need to soar in our spirits using the wings of prayer and the Word and the Lord will enable us to spot the solution and swoop down on it. Once we get the vision, we can run with it with renewed motivation and strength. We will overcome our inner weaknesses that would otherwise drag us down and make us weary and morally as well as spiritually defeated.

This is problem-solving- God’s way: we need to first, fly, then, run and finally, walk- a reverse of the laws of aviation. Faith will illuminate not the whole way but only the next step that we need to take. We can only walk on the ground. We need to live life moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. Even as we walk and encounter obstacles and challenges, the Lord will enable us to shift gears and move into flight mode whenever the barrier comes up ahead. We fly over the barrier and hit the ground running. Flying refers to flights of faith and not of imagination. Running refers to starting whatever we are doing with great zeal. Walking refers to the panning out of God’s will and plan for our lives, step by step. Our difficulty as human beings is that we are not ready to fly high, wait long or walk slow. We want to walk fast and run strong. The Lord teaches us over our lifetime, our walk with Him to fly high, to run strong, to wait long and walk slow.
The metaphor of the eagle is used to indicate that every believer is a leader. He has eagle vision and eagle wings. Like an eagle is able to grow new feathers, even after a debacle or setback, we can grow back our wings of faith and mount on high. An eagle has a killer instinct. In this aspect we differ from an eagle. Though we have great power residing in us, a sharp mouth and sharp talons to seize, we are like a dove in terms of our lethality. An eagle flies over the storm and likewise, we should fly above the current problem we are facing. We should fly by faith over every mountain we face in our lives and careers. An eagle attacks a serpent or snake not on the ground but by changing the theatre of conflict or warfare to the air, it is able to easily overpower the deadly adversary. Similarly, we do not fight in the flesh but change the theatre of conflict to the realm of the spirit where the kingdom of God prevails. Like an eagle trains its young by nudging it off cliffs and keep itself to catch the young as they come crashing down, we are called to mentor and train succeeding generations of the young in undertaking the flight of faith.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Source of Holistic Health

UV 1737/10000 The Source of Holistic Health
And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
Deuteronomy 7 v 15
What we proclaim in faith with our mouths, we claim. This uni-verse is an assurance of good health. The Lord Jesus took away our sin by His sacrificial death while He took away our sickness or diseases with His wounds. By His wounds, we are healed of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual disease. The word “ disease” means absence of ease or peace. When we do not have peace with God, we come under the shadow of disease. To protect us from disease and sickness is part of the important covenant promises of the Lord. We must constantly place a shield of faith against all known and unknown diseases. The Word or Christ is like a gigantic mushroom under which we can take shelter where no insects or pests can attack. Ironically, the sign or logo of healing, the serpent lifted on a staff- on the boards of pharmaceutical stores around the world is a symbol of the healing power of Jesus. Everything physical has a curse or limitation of disease in it. That limitation is broken or lifted up and destroyed by Jesus. Similarly, every limitation or sickness or disease is broken as we lift ourselves up in faith and proclaim the Word of healing and power.

We must always confess positively that we are blessed with good health, one of the greatest of the blessings of the Lord. We must not call sickness or invite disease to us by confessing negatively that we are sick or tired or weak. Then, the Lord will allow none of the deadly diseases that remind us of our past bondage to the world. “Egypt” is a metaphor for that bondage and the reference is to the plagues of various diseases that afflicted Egypt as Pharaoh hardened his heart against the expressed will of God to “ let My people go.” The Lord is our Freedom Fighter. He is our healer. He sets us free of death, disease and every bondage of sin. The Lord Himself is the Balm of Gilead that heals us and removes our pain.

Those who are unrepentantly cruel, oppressive and wicked are marked by the Lord. Different organs in their bodies are marked for affliction in accordance with their words and deeds. As we sow, we reap and as they sow, they reap. They sow evil in their flesh and spirit and consequently reap the ills and afflictions of spirit, mind and body. But we shall not be found wanting in any aspect of holistic health. The word says that our bones will flourish like herbs, implying that the resurrection power of Jesus is at work in the innermost core of our bodies where bone meets marrow as well as in the innermost core of our spirit and minds. The bone marrow produces RBCs or Red Blood Corpuscles that is responsible for transporting oxygen to all parts of our bodies. Every twenty four hours the bone marrow produces millions of RBCs to replace the dying ones. Similarly, the Resurrection Blood Corpuscles or RBCs of Jesus heals us all the time, preserves us and protects us against all manner of disease. The “Resurrection Blood Corpuscles of Christ” will invigorate our spirit, minds and bodies. Our anointing of health is not from external sources but does a deep and lasting work inside us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Promise of Abundance

UV 1736/10000 The Promise of Abundance
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you: never again will my people be ashamed.
Joel 2 v 26
There is the promise of abundance running right through scripture even as the principle of scarcity rules in the world’ s economy. Seven states in India are reeling from drought conditions and millions are in desperate need of even drinking water and for water to irrigate crops. I read the scary forecast this morning that water will have to be imported by the year 2050. But in Joel, the Lord prophesies what Jesus reiterated later, “ I have come that you might have life and life in all its abundance. The uni-verse promises that we will have an abundance to satisfy our every need. We need to eat the Word daily until our minds and spirits are full or saturated by the Spirit of God. We will then perceive that every good thing we have in life is from the hands of the Lord and that He has been generous in the measure He has used to pour blessings into our lives.
We have a choice in life to focus on the locusts-the small worrisome things that eat into our sense of joy, peace and wonder or to focus on the locus- the Lord, giver and Redeemer of life - the source of all awesome wonders, amazing blessings, abundant provision, absolutely fail proof protection, gaurantor of eternal life. The above uni-verse begins to operate when we make the second choice. We need to constantly recall and enumerate the wonders the Lord has done in our lives right from the very beginning. It will cause us to praise Him with a deep sense of gratitude. Praise, worship and thanksgiving opens the floodgates of heaven. We worship the Lord not for His sake but for our own sake. When He sees our hearts and minds overflowing with thanksgiving, praise and prayer, He opens those floodgates and we will be literally flooded with blessings, wonders, victory and rejoicing. We will forget the years of shame and disgrace, the connected events and memories will fade away. The years that the locusts of destruction snapped away at our peace of mind, our inner joy and hope when we focussed not on the focus of our lives, the Lord Himself and instead focussed on our needs and meeting those needs. The times when we were unmindful of God and His provision, uncaring for His love and protection will pass away like a bad dream.

The Lord promises that “never again” will we have reason to feel ashamed. He will remove the memories of our guilt, our fears and worries to such an infinite distance that they can never again approach or attack us. He will satisfy us as with the choicest meats. Life is meant by the Lord to be a feast and not a famine or a house of mourning. We will have abundant spiritual food. Unlike physical food which satiates us after a point and makes us feel nauseated and wanting to throw up, the more spiritual food we have that Jesus provides us in His pastures, the greater is our hunger and thirst, the greater is our revelation, wisdom, love, understanding, joy and our blessing. Great knowledge of this world makes a person weary, sad and weird but greater and greater knowledge of the Lord and His Word makes us renewed, rejuvenated and keeps us rejoicing.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Greatest Source of Our Deepest Comfort

UV 1736/10000 The Greatest Source of Our Comfort
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem
Isaiah 66 v 13

God is not affected by the gender divide. He is both mother and father, brother and sister. He comforts us as a mother. A mother literally smothers her children with love. The Lord also covers us, embraces us in all our situations. Just as a child is the apple of the eye of a mother, so also we are the apple of the Lord’s eye. His gaze on us is uninterrupted. He comforts us as we come into His presence. He comforts us with His soothing touch. He comforts us with His Word. He comforts us with His silence as we wait with hope in His promises. Just as our mother carried us when we were in the womb, the Lord carries us when we are older. The Earth, space and time are just like the womb of the Lord and we are being carried by the Maker- we live and move and breath and exist in Him. Faith enables us to affirm Him even as He affirms us: “My beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” A mother reacts and responds to everything we do with love. So also whether we are doing good or are messing up, He responds to us with His infinite love and patience.

He comforts us by turning our failures and weaknesses into sources of learning, wisdom and strength. He changes all our waste places into places of blessing. He turns all our wild places into a garden of Eden. He turns all our deserts in our spiritual landscape into gardens or an oasis. He renews our flailing strength just as He stopped the ageing process in Caleb and made him as strong at eighty as he was at forty. He makes our bones to flourish. The anointing of the joy of salvation and continued fellowship and feeding by the Lord keeps us youthful in zest and energy and vigour.

A mother always desires the best for her children. So also the Lord desires the very best for each of us. But there the comparison ends for many mothers I know have forsaken their own children but the Lord is ever faithful and never forsakes or disowns His children. A mother comforts her children by her gentleness and softness. Similarly, the Lord remains gentle with us even when we have done or said the worst of things. A mother always blesses her children and uses words to edify or build up the esteem and confidence of her children. The Lord always builds us up in confidence and hope. A mother’s heart is most stricken and affected when her children are afflicted and feels their pain as her own pain. So also the Lord feels our pain and is moved by our cries. A mother is so sensitive that she understands the very sigh or look on the face of her children. So also the Lord is sensitive to our very thoughts, feelings and needs.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Five Mountains of Israel-Our Help

UV 1735/10000 The Five Mountains of Israel- Our Help
Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, “ O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord.”
Ezekiel 36 v 1
When we face the mountains of life- the challenges, problems, afflictions, difficulties of our lives- we should look to the mountain of the Lord for our help. Before the Lord all these mountains will become as plain land. Instead, the Lord raises five mountains of Israel for our help: the mountain of Horeb where we drink of its spring water- the Word of God- we will be strengthened and renewed in hope. When we are frustrated and thirsty we should go to Horeb. We should go to Mount Horeb early in the morning to get the manna before the day breaks, consume it to renew our strength so that the sun or the heat and the pressures of the day does not spoil the manna. All our problems will get diluted and digested. We get help also from Mount Tabor where Deborah, the leader and judge of Israel prayed to Jehovah Nissi and obtained great deliverance from the Lord. We go to Mount Tabor to experience the power of spirit-filled prayer and deliverance. We will experience the transfiguration experience of Jesus on Tabor. We will be filled with power from on high.
The third mountain of the Lord is Carmel where we enjoy a spiritual and fruitful garden in the presence of the Lord. Carmel is the place where Elijah slew the priests of Baal, the place where the fifty strong guard were consumed, the place where Elisha restored the widow’s son from death. We receive help from our Ebenezer to stand strong and victorious, where we experience many miracles and wonders of deliverance and judgement. The fourth mountain of the Lord is Hebron which means “to join.” Since we are joined with the Lord no one can stand before us to intimidate us or touch us or attack us. The Lord will bless our associations and friendships. He will bring the right people our way to help us handle our problems and challenges. The fifth mountain is the mountain of Moriah on which the Lord provided Abraham a ram. It is a sign and symbol that in Jesus we have complete provision to fulfil every vision and purpose in accordance with the sovereign will of the Lord. The Lord allowed the mighty Jesus to be caught like a vulnerable sheep in a bush for our sake. The Lord will send us help from Mount Moriah. He will provide our specific need.

When we dwell and use the help of the above five mountains , we ascend the mountain of the Lord - Zion, the mountain of the presence of the glory of the Lord. The Lord will elevate us and promote us. He will lift us up to be a city built on a hill, to be a light in the contemporary darkness. We obtain the prevailing help of the Lord even as we worship Him and immerse ourselves in His presence, use His gifts and authority that He has delegated to us. In the presence of the Lord, we are surrounded by these five mountains. We should draw our strength from these five spiritual or supernatural strongholds to overcome all the mountains and giants of this world. We can prophesy our victory ahead of time, or declare the defeat, the neutralisation, the elimination of the mountains of the world. Our performance will be at peak levels in every area or sphere of life. We need to speak the Word of help of the five mountains according to the need and context with the spirit and boldness of a prophet. Before it happens we should speak with authority and faith and the Lord will cause that which hampers us, tries or conspires to harm us to be utterly shaken and defeated forever. The mountains of darkness, the mountains of this world will melt like wax in the presence of the Lord as we speak His Word prophetically to it. Whenever we face a mountain in this life, we should climb the higher mountain of the Lord and decree against it. We need to prophesy or command the valleys or low points in our lives to be elevated, the rough places to be made smooth, for the streams of blessing and rivers of joy to flow. We need to prophesy to the multitudes of dry bones or people leading only a hand to mouth existence, a skeletal existence to come alive. The power and authority to do so is vested not only with prophets like Elijah and Elisha but with any son or daughter of man. The natural man can naturally be supernatural.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 22, 2016

Seven Fold Peace

UV 1734/10000 Seven Fold Peace
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you
John 20 v 19

The Hebrew word for peace “Shalom” is an all encompassing peace. The word that Jesus spoke to His disciples, who cowered in fear of persecution and shut themselves up in a secret location, delivered them from the paralysing fear of persecution. Shalom is a rainbow blessing based on our relationship with Jehovah through Jesus. Just as the rainbow has seven dimensions, Shalom has seven dimensions. It can be summed up in the acroustic “ SEPFFIS” implying when we speak the Peace of Jesus to a person, it blesses them in the following dimensions: Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, Familial, Financial, Intellectual and Social. Spiritual peace is peace with God through receiving forgiveness by believing that Jesus shed His blood and died for our sins and shortcomings. Whatever we lack He provides as the Good Shepherd. Emotional Peace is peace with oneself, to be freed from the chains of fear, anger, confusion, hatred, jealousy and bitterness and to be filled with joy and love. Physical peace is freedom from fear of death and disease, to be blessed with good health and to receive healing of our ailments.

Familial peace is peace in our homes and peace and love in our relationships with our kith and kin. Financial peace is to be blessed in such a way that we have enough to meet our own need as well as to give to others. Intellectual peace is to be filled with knowledge and wisdom and to be able to realize our full intellectual potential. Social peace is peace and harmony with co-workers, with neighbours, friends and our acquaintances and the world at large. When we bless people with SEPFISS Shalom, we bless them in these seven ways.

The Lord gave a sign of his covenant with Noah and the rest of mankind with a rainbow after the great global flood. It is His covenant not to harm or destroy us but to bless or prosper us in multiple dimensions of our lives. Peace is not the absence of problems or challenges. It is the presence of God in our lives. His presence guarantees this seven fold blessing on us and ours. Our covenant relationship with the Redeemer is the fountainhead of these seven fountains of blessings. Though we do not get into a personal relationship with the Lord for the sake of gain, we become heirs to many blessings or benefits. These benefits become additional sources of joy in addition to the joy of salvation. The joy further engenders hope and strength as well as an attitude of gratitude to the Lord that flows from our hearts in praise and thanksgiving.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Formation to Transformation

UV 1733/10000 Formation to Transformation
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise
Isaiah 43 v 21

The Lord has chosen us, formed us and transformed us. The purpose for our formation and transformation is to manifest the praise of the Lord. To manifest or show forth the praise of the Lord is even greater than declaring it by means of our mouth. It implies that our mere presence on Earth is sufficient to manifest the praise and glory of the Lord. Even without the utterance of a word, the grace and glory of the Lord are manifest to the nations in which we live. We are chosen and set apart for God. We are to reflect His greatness, goodness, love, beauty, truth and faithfulness in all our interactions and relationships. We are transformed people as He has replaced the ashes of our misery and sinfulness with the beauty of His holiness. He has replaced the spirit of sadness, heaviness, gloominess, depression and negativity with the garment of praise and positivity. He has given us the anointing of the joy of salvation in the place of our fears and sorrows. He has called us to a divine destiny, to be a royal priesthood, to be the chosen generation, to be a nation of priests and kings. He has called us out of the darkness of ignorance into the marvellous light of His presence. He has called us to be a peculiar people with unique standards, values, habits and priorities of life. We have been bought not easily but with a heavy price and hence, whatever we do, we should do it for His glory and by His grace.
The Lord forms us through our experiences, both good and bad, the sweet, the bitter and the tough ones. He forms us through the Word by convicting us of various truths and goading us to follow these truths in our lives. He forms us through our interactions with other people. He forms us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit who indwells us. The more we resist the act of being formed in these various ways, the slower and more painful the process will be. The more we yield to the move of the Lord to form and transform us from deep within, the more blessed and faster the process will be.
We are to manifest His praise continually even as we declare it continually with our lips. We can ask the Lord to form us in the areas where we are partially formed. We can yield the parts of our lives to the Holy Spirit that need further shaping or grooming so that we reflect the true image of the Lord in our lives. He forms us all our lives. There is something to learn, to re-shape, to re-form every day within us. There are some parts of our lives and inner selves that are like “broken cisterns” which do not manifest the glory of the Lord. In these areas, it is critical we ask the Lord to repair us and make us whole again.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Paying the Divine Rent

UV 1732/10000 Are We Paying the Rent ?
And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
Mark 12 v 1
The Earth and all in it is the vineyard that the Lord God has planted. He has placed a hedge of protection around the vineyard- the hedge of His grace. We are His tenants given responsibility to tend the vineyard and to pay the rent thereof. Our best and first fruit is our rent. The rent we pay is our thanksgiving and worship, our adoration and love for the Lord. Those of us who have been landlords or tenants, know how vital it is to pay the rent on time to maintain a good relationship with the landlord. He has made us stewards of all that is on the earth. We need to be diligent in our work. The Lord has planted a fruitful vine. Our degenerate lives become fruitful when we are grafted by faith to the vine of Jesus who declared Himself and demonstrated that He is the true Vine that lasts forever. We need to be watchful against beasts, pests and predators that can harm the vineyard. We need to respect the messengers sent by the Lord to remind us to pay the rent- the prophets and men of God sent into our lives. We need to revere the Son of God, Jesus.

Instead of overindulging ourselves and getting drunk on the produce of our vineyard, we need to make provision to give to others. We should be faithful and honest in keeping the accounts and rendering unto the Lord His due. As wise stewards and workers, we need to produce a variety of fruit of the spirit, of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. We pay rent to the Lord out of such qualities that we manifest in our lives in real and practical ways. The tower set up by the Lord on the vineyard is the facility of prayer. We can reach out to the Lord anytime and all the time. We need to work hard to maintain the vineyard, to see that it is well watered, sheltered, provided fertilizers and manure.

We should aim to distinguish ourselves by the outstanding fruit of the spirit that we produce. We are to be “Eschol” or Hebrew for abundantly and amazingly fruitful. We should always be aware that the Lord is watching us. We need to see that the hedge of the Lord around our lives is never breached. Protection is as vital as production. We are entitled to the worker’s wages for our upkeep. We should be content with the portion or proportion the Lord has given us in terms of blessings, abilities and opportunities. Like Isaac, we should dig many wells and re-open the wells our adversary has closed in the past. We need to plant new vine to replace the old ones. We need to remove the weeds and wild plants that are striving to grow in between. The weeds are our negative qualities. The wild plants are our weaknesses and evil desires. As faithful tenants, we need to be grateful to our gracious Lord. Whenever He asks us to leave, we should be ready. We should also be prepared for the next visit of His Son Jesus. We cannot take over the vineyard by guile and force and become owners but we can become co-heirs or co-inheritors with Jesus by faith and grace.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

All Sufficient Grace and Sovereignty

UV 1731/10000 All Sufficient Grace
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Revelation 7 v 17

This uni-verse describes the all sufficient grace and sovereignty of Jesus. The title and metaphor of Lamb is used in the last book of the Bible to indicate the meekness of Jesus as the Lord of the universe and of heaven. The Lamb is the light of our lives. He is the lamp unto our feet for He leads us with His Word. He not only leads us but He feeds us with His Word. He not only feeds us but He washes us with His Word. He not only washes us but He comforts us with His Word. He removes the thorns from our hearts and minds and heals us with His Word. The amazing thing about eternal life according to biblical faith is that it does not commence after our deaths but right here and now. He is enthroned in us in all His resurrected glory. The Lamb with seven eyes is a metaphor that Jesus is all knowing. Nothing is hidden from him, neither our frailties nor our oppressions. What He sees, He knows. What He knows, He decides, issues royal decrees. What He decides, He does. The seven horns of the Lamb is a metaphor is that He is all powerful. Eternal life is defined as knowing Christ by St Paul. St Paul had a complete turnaround after his vision of Jesus and after he heard the voice of God saying, “ Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He was symbolically blinded for a period of time to indicate that till that moment, he was spiritually blind. When his eyes opened, he became a visionary: a visionary is one who does not see as man sees but as God sees. A visionary is one who sees what others do not. Jesus lit up the inside of Saul. So much so, he became a new man symbolised by his taking on a new name Paul. Jesus fed him with His Word and gave him new knowledge and spiritual wisdom. The throne of Jesus was established in his heart and mind such that he could take every thought captive to Christ which had earlier held him captive. Paul became a powerful instrument of the kingdom of God on earth.
The kingdom of Jesus is within us and among us, even as we speak to each other, do our business or get on with our family lives. We need to look to Jesus to rule us with His sovereign power from His throne within us and amongst us. We need to look to Him to lead us, to guide us in our decisions and choices. We need Him to feed us from time to time when we are spiritually hungry and need to be renewed in strength and faith. He feeds us like a shepherd. A shepherd does not keep putting grass in the mouth of the sheep but instead leads them to a green pasture. We need to do our eating ourselves. He sends us the Holy Spirit to help us interpret it, digest and assimilate it into our lives. He gives us times of rest and renewal. At times He carries us, holds us to His bosom and lift us on His shoulders. He gently leads those with young. The Word He feeds us becomes the living fountain of waters within us. We shall be satisfied by the abundance of His provision. We shall drink of the river of His pleasures. We shall feed on the strength of the Lord and in the majesty of His name, implying that we are royal and divine sheep. We are not being reared either for our meat or our wool or our usefulness to Him but for His pleasure. Our evergreen pastures are in high places, meaning that these are inaccessible for the ordinary sheep.

The living water of the Word that washes us cleanses us forever. The living water that we drink becomes wells or springs of everlasting and abundant life. But we should take heed not to become broken cisterns that cannot hold the water even for a little while. We should not be people with limited attention span and ever changing focus. We need to hold the water day and night, all our living days. We also need to be thirsty for living water. When these conditions are fulfilled, the springs turn into rivers of life-giving, life-enhancing, life-sustaining and life-enriching water. We shall obtain joy and gladness, sorrow and sighing shall flee from us. The very touch of the Lord on our faces is enough to dry all our tears and we shall forget altogether our sorrows, fears and worries that used to haunt and plague us.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 18, 2016

Our Praisebook Account

UV 1729/10000 Our Praisebook Account
The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
Psalm 126 v 3
We not only have historical evidence for the greatness and goodness of Jesus but we have contemporary and personal evidence from the great things He has done for us, in us and with us. As we recall all these wonderful acts of grace and glory, our soul will automatically magnify the Lord as the young Mary did. Our Praisebook account should be full of these wonderful acts of deliverance, mercy and love the Lord has done for each of us. The enumeration of the numerous ways the Lord has blessed us, the numerous ways He has saved us from great risks and perils in our lives is the source of our gladness.

As I look back, the Lord has delivered me from certain death on many occasions. He has lifted me up and honoured me. He has given me experiences that eye has not seen nor ear heard. The great things He has done for us in tangible and intangible or unseen ways reinforces our faith in Him and enables us to pray without ceasing, to praise without reservation, to trust without doubting. Apart from the generic blessings He has made available to everyone, the common blessings to believers, He does specific and unique things in each of our lives, making every testimony unique and different.
Broadly, the kinds of great acts He does in our lives are : great deliverances, great upliftment, great provision, great anointing or enablement, great healing. He not only preserves our lives, but He sustains and promotes us. It is described as “great” as it is far beyond normal human experience, conception and even imagination. Together, it is summed up in the phrase, “so great a salvation.” Our salvation is the greatest source of our gladness and joy. Mary Magdalene was eternally grateful to Jesus as she had been given great deliverance. She had been delivered from seven tormenting spirits or demons. The result was that she was always glad to be a follower of Jesus and followed Him to the foot of the cross, then to the grave and beyond to the point of His resurrection. She proved herself to be more devoted than any of the disciples. She was given the privilege of being the first human to see and experience the first appearance of Jesus after resurrection. The sequence is this: we first experience the great love or agape of God manifested in practical ways in our lives. We are then filled with gratitude and that sense of gratitude leads to gladness and joy. The overflowing joy in turn leads to greater devotion, greater experiences, greater testimony and ministry as well as contemporary impact on our generation and lasting legacy thereafter.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Claim Your Sheave

UV 1729/10000 Claim Your Sheaves
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126 v 6

We need to go forth. We need to take the initiative. We cannot sit in isolation, depressed and bemoaning our fate. We need to bear the precious seed of the gospel. The seed is precious for without it there would be no generation. The seed is precious for it gives hope. The seed is precious as it was obtained at great cost. The seed is precious as it is the seed of goodness, greatness, glory, hope and salvation of all mankind. It is the seed of success, excellence and fulfilment. Every day we sow the seed in the lives of others by the words we speak. Each believer in Jesus has his own unique gospel story- of where the Lord led his feet and what He did in his life. Every day we add a letter or a word to our gospel story. Gospel- go spell it out it in the way we live. We need to bear the precious seed of the Word of God. We need to bear the precious seed of the promises of the Lord. We need to bear the precious seed of the commandments and leading of the Lord. Certain things He commands with a loud voice, certain things He whispers in our ears. The Holy Spirit whispers in our ears, “ Don’t go that way- it will add to your tears. Go this way.” Action, persistent action needs to follow belief. We need to carry the Word with us to work and not leave it behind at home. Indeed, “ Carry the word when we are young, and the Word will carry us when we are old.” We need to be messengers of the Lord wherever we are going. We are “blessengers” as we carry a message to bless others with similar hope and strength.

Tears are a metaphor for difficulties, troubles, obstacles, barriers, limitations, persecution, sorrows, pain, efforts.. The most difficult part of growing a seed is the long wait to see it turn into wheat or grain or fruit. If we fill this period with constant communication with the Lord, with praise, thanksgiving and supplication, with faith and hope and assurance, we will be greatly blessed and rewarded. He is the only one who knows the end from the beginning and He will comfort, encourage, strengthen and cheer us up. We need to weep tears of repentance, tears of persistence, tears of gratitude, tears of love and compassion. These tears will moisten the precious seed that we carry in our hearts and cause it to germinate and grow. As scripture says, “tears by night will be followed by laughter in the morning.” We need to spend hours and hours in prayer with tears and thanksgiving. Prayer is labouring in the spirit. We are sowing in the spirit. When we sow the precious promises of the Lord in the spirit through prayer claiming each promise, it will grow to bear grain or fruit in our lives. Joseph, the dreamer went forth from Israel to Egypt, the land of his bondage but in the land of his bondage, as he held onto the precious dreams he saw as a callow youth, he held onto his faith and hope in the Lord, though with tears. The Lord blessed him wherever he went and prospered him. He turned his bondage into freedom, his curses into blessings, the conspiracy of his brothers into a plan for salvation of Israel. Joseph wept loudly but secretly on seeing his brothers. Those were tears of love and compassion and not bitterness or self pity. Their sheaves bowed to his sheaves. His sheaves saved their lives. A promise sown in faith is a precious seed. A promise fulfilled, a dream realized is a sheave.

There is great joy at the time of harvest. When the seed we have sown in different fields have grown and we see the fruit of our spirit, our labour of faith and the Lord’s grace, we truly rejoice. The promise in this uni-verse is that we would “doubtless” come again with rejoicing. We will not go empty handed as we came into this world but we shall experience intense joy, the tears of joy, the laughter of a merry soul. There shall be rejoicing in the tabernacle of the righteous. Rejoice, rejoice, and again I say, rejoice for the Lord is faithful and He will do that which He has promised us. We should not keep the seed to ourselves but sow it according to a person’s need. We need to “know the need, do the deed and sow the seed.”
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Holy Ground of Life and Leadership

UV 1728/10000 The Holy Ground of Life and Leadership
Exodus 3 :5 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
Where the presence of the Lord is, that is “holy ground”. The presence of the Lord is everywhere to which and to whom He is invited and honoured. Hence, all of the earth is holy ground in that sense. No place is “God forsaken”. No person is “God forsaken.” Leadership and positions of authority are holy ground as persons in leadership are appointed, anointed and chosen by the specific knowledge and consent of the Lord. Hence, no one should go rushing into areas of leadership but wait on the Lord to find His will and purpose, obtain His grace and power, wisdom and leading before wearing the mantle of leadership. There should no arrogant display of power. As it is said, “One can have the power of a giant but he should not use it like one.” A leader should be a person who is conscientious and accountable to God and man. He should not take his duties lightly or his privileges for granted. Leadership is meant to serve and not to be served. The more people we serve and the more ways we serve them, the greater is our calling.

The concept of leadership and life itself being “holy ground” should produce a sense of reverence for the Lord in us. That sense of awe and respect for the Lord will in turn engender the wisdom that will keep us from committing wilful blunders or folly. An unwanted thought, an unwanted gesture, an unwanted word could offend the Lord and this uni-verse teaches us to guard against anything that offends the Lord. Moses under the old covenant relationship with the Lord could not draw near to the presence of the Lord but we are called by our names and are expected to draw nearer and nearer to the Lord. A similar ‘holy ground’ experience during the transfiguration of Jesus in the company of Moses and Elijah got Peter all excited and he offered to build three tabernacles for them. All Peter had to do was to offer his life and his body as the tabernacle of the Lord. Our bodies are on holy ground when we offer ourselves as a tabernacle for Lord and the indwelling Holy Spirit takes control of our lives.
“Putting off the shoes” is a metaphor to deal with anything in us and around us that defiles and offends the Lord. We need to put off our worries, our pride, our lusts, our fears as we draw near to the Lord. The shoes are also a symbol of whatever is made by the hands of man including man-made religion and ritual. We cannot come to the Lord on the strength of anything we are or we have done. We can approach His holiness or perfection only by virtue of His grace and mercy. We need to completely focus on the Lord and appreciate the beauty of His holiness, the depth of His love, the extent of His power, grace and mercy. Ultimately and immediately, as we do so, we become the holy ground of the presence of the Lord, the living temples sanctified by Jesus. The transformation is striking : from a position of awe and reverence, of distance and fear we move in our spirits to a position of intimacy and complete identification with the Lord. The Lord then lights not a bush that does not burn down but He lights the fire in our bellies, a passion and zeal to exceed and excel for His glory. By the power of the Holy Spirit we burn brightly but we do not get consumed.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 15, 2016

Process Questions to Perfect Conversation

UV 1727/10000 Process Questions for Perfecting Conversation
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
I Peter 1 v 15

Emulation of the Lord is the highest form of worship. We need to conform to the image of Jesus, the Son of God as we are children, brothers with Jesus and co-heirs of His inheritance. To conform to His image implies, one, that we do not conform to the world and its ways and two, that we conform to His example, principles, teachings. In a world of fallen icons and role models, Jesus remains our only perfect role model- perfect in speech and conduct. We are called to be holy, blameless, righteous in all of our conversation and conduct.
In order to be holy or righteous, we need to understand the holiness of the Lord, His uncompromising nature as far as sin is concerned, so much so He willingly sent His Son as a sacrifice to justify all mankind. He did not lower His standards of justice and righteousness in order to avoid paying such a huge cost for the salvation of mankind. In order to maintain such a standard of conduct, one should be prepared to pay the cost. But at no point should we allow ourselves to feel self righteous by imitating the meekness and humility of Christ. Our conduct and conversation should show the meekness of the wisdom of God. We will manifest such meekness as we realize that both our salvation and our righteousness is due to the grace and mercy of God and not our own merits.
St James bestowed the attribute of perfection on a person who is able to control his tongue and make it speak just the apt word at the apt time. We need to mint our words and not mince it. In order to mint our words, we need to run our words through seven processes just as silver and gold that is purified are processed seven times over in the crucible of purification. These seven process questions for all our conversation are basically seven yardsticks or standards for our conversation: Is our conversation pleasing to the Lord? Is it edifying to the listener in terms of building up his faith and hope? Does it communicate the love of Jesus to the hearers? Is our conversation truthful and helpful at the same time? Does our speech reflect the glory and grace of the Lord? Will we regret our words after some time? Are any of our words spoken in pride, condemnation, anger, bitterness or contempt? If we constantly and consciously practice these process questions over a period of the next few weeks, it would become a matter of automatic habit for the rest of our lives.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The All Encompassing Identity

UV 1726/10000 The All Encompassing Identity
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3 v 28

Our separate identities are dissolved in Christ Jesus. He is like the ocean in which all rivers merge and blend. Most people think that their identity is their destiny and feel they cannot be separated from their identity either of nationality, religion, race, colour, gender, class, clan, language, family and so on. But this uni-verse transforms the pattern of our thinking. Even the identity of gender that is biologically determined is dissolved. In the kingdom of God there is perfect unity of identity in Christ. The only factor that determines our identity in Christ is our faith. If we believe in Christ as the Son of God sent as our personal Saviour and Lord, then we become heirs of the faith of Abraham.

Most people cling to their identities as they get a sense of power from these. They derive a sense of pride from their separate identities. But the power and grace derived from the promises of God as children born again in spirit is far greater. Even if the whole world is against us and God is with us, we are on the winning side. Conversely, even if the whole world is for us and God is against us, nothing and no one can save us. Our identity by virtue of birth, nationality, gender, colour, class or race is of limited value in comparison with our identity as followers of Jesus. The name of Jesus is the banner that defines and unites us. Our identity in Christ makes us also anointed or chosen by the Lord. To be anointed is to be called, equipped, empowered, blessed. Our identity is not our destiny but it helps us to fulfil our destiny or purpose in life.
Once we are sure of our identity in Christ, we must constantly check if our attitudes, personal qualities and habits are in tune or consistent with our identity in Him. We should live in such a way that He should be able to recognize us and not say that He does not know us. We should not identify ourselves with the denominational and traditional or doctrinal walls that separate the followers of Jesus. We are as one body and one spirit. All who call unto the Lord and pin their hope on the name of Jesus will be saved. Hence, our primary identity is as a people redeemed by grace and the operation of faith working out or expressing itself in love.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Total Well Being

UV 1725/10000 Total Well Being
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 John 1 v 2
This uni-verse contains a blessing of material prosperity, physical, emotional and intellectual health and spiritual prosperity. We need to desire this triune blessing of spirit, mind and body for ourselves and those we love, lead or minister to. The world is obsessed with monetary or material prosperity but our spiritual prosperity and our complete health is far more vital. In order that our souls or spirits prosper, we need to walk in continual fellowship with the Holy Spirit, study and apply the Word in the details of our lives, pray continually, have fellowship with other fellow believers, be a witness to the unbelievers and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness. Our faith which is the root should produce both hope and the fruits of love in all its dimensions in our lives. The sign of spiritual prosperity is that we abound in the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. A bone that is dry and lifeless has no marrow. To extend that biblical metaphor, our spiritual bones or the foundations of our lives are full of the marrow of hope. It will light the flame of hope in the hearts of all those we come in contact with or the Lord brings our way in the course of our lives. The world sticks to us like a leech sucking our lifeblood. The only thing that causes a leech to let go of a person’s skin is salt. The Word is the salt that deals with the leech of the world. We need to apply the Word constantly to be freed from the clutches or blood sucking tentacles of the world and its ways.
Holistic health is also of far greater value than monetary or material wealth. Sickness was a curse that sin had brought into the world. The power of sickness and disease is broken by the sacrifice of Jesus since His death paid for all sins of all mankind. Our faith in His death and resurrection gives us the authority as children of God to command sickness and disease to be healed. Good health is a most valuable blessing and we need to thank the Lord every day for the health of every organ in our bodies as well as our total health. We cannot take it for granted or wait till we fall sick to pray for healing. We need to tap the power of prophylactic prayer to prevent the ailments that are both common or uncommon and to claim health ahead of time.
Material or monetary prosperity comes only third in the order of priorities after spiritual prosperity and total health. Money is a good servant but a bad master of our lives. We should never be moved to do things out of love of money. It should be treated as a means of serving the Lord and meeting our needs. We need to be diligent stewards of money in saving enough as the Lord exhorts us to learn from the tiny “Joseph” ants who store grain in times of plenty in order to be meet their needs in times of shortage or famine. We need to invest money in productive channels that will multiply over time so that we have enough for our needs as well as enough to give to others in need. If we seek spiritual prosperity and cherish our total health, monetary or material prosperity will be added to us by the Lord in whose realm the footpaths are made of gold. The metaphoric meaning of golden footpaths is that we should not be lovers of wealth and its by -products but treat it as something we stand and walk on to reach the goals the Lord has set before us and fulfil His purpose in our lives. The world tries to find paths that lead to gold but we are given golden footpaths that lead to God.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Foot Slips of Life and Leadership

UV 1724/10000 Foot Slips of Life and Leadership
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Psalm 121 v 3

The “foot slips” on the precipices of life, leadership and management can by quite risky and costly. A slip on the precipice of life could cost one’s life. A mere fall on a slippery floor can end our lives or leave us maimed for the rest of our lives. A slip on the precipice of leadership could cost one’s reputation and position. A slip on the precipice of management can cost a lot to the organisation and individual. Some of our “foot slips” are accidental or due to circumstances but some are wanton or deliberate. The Lord promises to keep our feet from slipping and our eyes from the consequent tears of our fall. But we need to lean heavily on the Lord in these trying times. We need to move in the umbra or the inner core of His shadow or presence and not the weaker penumbra or the periphery of faith. He will enable us to get a firm grip on the track we are trudging on. The enemy of our souls lays booby traps in terms of temptations and troubles on the way we are walking in but the Lord keeps our feet from being caught therein.

The Lord watches over us day and night. He maintains a vigil and keeps us from the snares of the enemy. He foils the plots and conspiracies of those who oppose us. He does not let His guard down even for a milli-second. He warns us of possible obstacles and barriers with a whisper of the Holy Spirit who guides our feet and our decisions. Even when we commit blunders, He catches us as we fall and contains the damage. He sends His angels to keep our feet from dashing against a stone, whether physical or metaphorical. He holds our hands and never lets go under any circumstance. We should not however due to our own stubbornness and willfulness prise our hands free and attempt to move in the opposite direction. Leadership is about knowing the right direction while management is taking steps in that direction. Only the Lord knows the perfectly right direction and He guides us step by step till we reach the intended destination or goal. He is our keeper and our brothers’ keeper. Jesus is the great Shepherd who takes complete responsibility for His sheep. Every one of us counts.

The Lord is able to raise up help from any quarter even as Esther was told by her foster father Mordecai to persuade her to approach the king for protection for the Jewish people against the evil plot of Haman to destroy all Jews. The best of security systems can be thwarted but the Lord’s protection is fail proof. He goads, He guides and He guards. By human strength or prowess, we cannot prevail or triumph but by His grace we prevail. It is amazing how the Lord is able to provide this level of security cover to billions of believers like us all through history. It is written that His seven pairs of eyes move to and fro across the earth to act strongly in behalf of those who are faithful. It is not as if He overprotects us and keeps us from learning from any mistakes. Even if we fall seven times over, each time He will enable us to rise again with renewed strength. He will ensure that we do not get floored with a “knock out” blow and that we finish well in the race and fight of faith. We will emerge from each failure or setback a little wiser, a little more faithful, a little better and stronger. I have experienced physical foot slips, professional foot slips, personal foot slips, emotional foot slips, financial foot slips but the Lord has kept me from stumbling and falling flat on my face. His grace has helped me recover rapidly and fully.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 11, 2016

Positive Endurance and the Double Portion

UV1724/10000 Positive Endurance and the Double Portion
Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;
Zechariah 9 v 12
The Lord is our stronghold. Every other stronghold is a deceptive quagmire or quick sand that drags us in and drowns us. We need to return from time to time, day after day to the Lord for our fill of strength, renewal and refreshment just as animals come dawn after dawn to their watering hole to have their fill of water and to cool down with a dip in the water. We also get cleansed in our innermost being by dipping into the Lord. We can tear down every spiritual stronghold of darkness with the power and authority the Lord vests in us. We can break every chain and bondage that restricts us by His power working in us.

Our bodies as well as the world’s systems hold us prisoners but we have hope in Jesus for Christ in us is the hope of salvation, freedom from every curse, limitation and shortcoming in our lives. We hold onto the declaration of the Lord that “it is finished.” He has accomplished everything for us on the cross for us to claim it in faith and grace. He does not want us to look back like Lot’s wife at what we have left behind but seize the opportunity of the present moment and today for this is the day of salvation.
As we immerse ourselves in the Lord and renew our strength, He promises to restore us to former glory and grace as well as to give us a double portion or a double share in His manifold blessings, grace, anointing, power, mercy and peace. Elisha the prophet and successor of Elijah received a double portion of anointing which prevented the former from being depressed and feeling frustrated and defeated unlike Elijah who was run to the ground by the evil powers of this world. Our bones will never be dry and our hope will never be cut off. We will receive double our prosperity even as Job was made twice as prosperous as he was before his many afflictions. When we suffer losses or setbacks, we should realize and hold onto this hope that the Lord will bless us even more and doubly once we patiently and positively endure our afflictions, never giving an opportunity for doubt, fear or frustration to set in and overtake our souls.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Flight from the Earth to Heaven

UV 1723/10000 Flight From the Earth to Heaven
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people
Isaiah 51 v 16
The Lord has put His Word or words in our mouth. Like a cow ruminates on what it holds in its mouth and chews on it again and again, we too need to ruminate on the Word, meditate on it again and again, every waking hour till our thoughts, our words, our choices, our actions and reactions are consistent with the Word we have meditated on. During this stage of meditation, the words of the Lord never leave our mouths but remain in us and with us. Just as our mouths are full of teeth or tools to masticate and break up food into tiny chewable and that we are able to swallow and absorb, the Lord has given us many sharp and smart tools to masticate, analyse and break His words into tiny parts. The Lord will use His words to plant heaven or the kingdom of God in our hearts and minds and lay the foundation of our work on earth. It is Jesus, the Word that bridges the gap between earth and heaven, between us and God, between us and the kingdom of God or Zion. It is the Word of God that bridges our understanding with the purpose and understanding of the Lord. As we memorise and meditate on His word, it becomes a fire or light within us and we cannot hold it back. We need to communicate it to others to bless them similarly. It becomes a hammer to knock and smoothen the rough edges of our lives and personalities.

When the words of the Lord are constantly in our mouths and minds, we are living under the shadow and in the presence of the Lord. He literally covers our back from unseen weapons and enemies. He empowers us from within. He equips us. He energises us. His hand shields us. His hand blesses us and lifts us up. He tasks us even as we as His children who belong to Him can t-ask Him: time-ask, treasure-ask, talent-ask, target-ask. In other words on account of our personal and intimate relationship with the Lord, we can ask Him to bless our time as our times are in His hand- the high time and the low time, the seasons of our lives. We can ask Him to bless our talent to multiply it. We can ask Him to bless our treasure, spiritual, material and monetary so that it is sufficient not only to meet our need but to give to bless others. We can ask Him to help us fulfil our targets, achieve our objectives and reach our goals: personal, professional, familial, ministry-related.

Through His Word, the Lord is creating a new heaven and a new earth. Each of us are a branch of His planting to become trees of righteousness, bearing spiritual fruit for His satisfaction, pleasure and glory. We are planted by Him in Him and His Word. The Word and the gospel of hope is the seed that is planted in our hearts. He writes thereby His law on the tablet of our hearts and minds. His commands are the source of discipline, the boundaries of our lives that we shall not cross and His promises are our inheritance. We should therefore ensure that our mouths, minds and hearts are full of His words. The words of the Lord are the basis of our new covenant relationship with the Lord. If we abide in and by His words, we belong to Him and He belongs to us. He declares to us that we are His people, a spiritual nation ransomed from all nations- the people who live in the new heaven and new earth, the people of Zion. Any visitor to Las Vegas is entertained by the shows that happen inside or outside each casino every hour on the hour. Similarly, it will be useful to remember every hour on the hour the uni-verse you read every day. Memorise the words, recall it every hour on the hour, meditate on it, obey, apply, claim it and experience the power of the Lord all day and all the days of our lives. Our foundations on earth will be established and our place in the new heaven will be assured.
Prateep V Philip

The Bible Telescope

UV 1722/10000 The Bible Telescope
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8 v 12

Jesus, His life, His example, His teachings are the light in this world of darkness. We who follow Him should offer our lives, our example, our words, our actions and reactions as the lens through which His light, the light of life passes to reveal the glory and grace of the Lord. You might have heard of the Hubble, the world’s largest telescope that is installed in space to capture every ray of light and distant heavenly bodies and objects and its contours travelling through the vast space of the universe. A telescope is a combination of a series of lens installed in such a way as to magnify the rays of light coming through the outermost lens. We are the “Bible telescope”. We have multiple lens in our lives. We have the lens of our own inner life- our souls which are the primary lens for the light of the transforming power of Jesus to flow in and out of our lives. We have the lens of our family life to allow the light of God’s love to flow through as manifested in Jesus. We need to exhibit the same forgiveness, mercy and grace extended to us in Jesus. We also have the lens of our workspace, our public life and our ministry or witness to others so that those who live in darkness and ignorance of God’s love see the hope that we have and the consequent joy and strength that hope inspires in us.

As “Bible telescopes” we look through the lens of the immediate at the ultimate and absolute truth- the very light of life. Jesus also said, “ I am the way, the truth and the life.” The light of His love and grace illuminates our ways, our paths and reflects God’s truth and power in and through our lives. We can also look at the immediate through the lens of the ultimate and the absolute- the Word of God. Unlike the Hubble telescope that can only look outward, we gain a two way perspective – from the inner to the outer and from the outer to the inner, from the absolute to the relative, from the relative to the absolute. Each word of scripture is a ray of light. All the lens of our lives will magnify the grace and light of Jesus in this world.

We do not drive away darkness but we allow and welcome the light of Jesus into our lives and the darkness is automatically eliminated. The presence of God or our personal equation and relationship with God through Jesus means the absence of darkness. The more we allow the light of Jesus to penetrate the different areas of our lives, the dark recesses of our minds and hearts, the more we overcome the darkness of lust, the folly of wickedness. Instead of becoming the wicked as is our natural proclivity, we become the lit wick of light. We become a microscope to magnify what cannot be seen by the human eye, what is hidden from our natural vision. We are also a telescope to magnify what is distant.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 8, 2016

Winning the Battles of Life

UV 1721/10000 Winning The Battles of Life
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
Psalm 55 v 18
Life is not easy at the best of times. It is difficult for the best of us. We are fighting battles all the time in different domains and areas of our lives: the home front, the professional front, the workplace, the streets, in the public space, in the mind and heart, in the spirit. The Lord promises to deliver us from all these battles and gives our souls or innermost being the peace that passes understanding, overcoming circumstances, adversities, opponents. In fact, the uni-verse states it as a fait accompli- “He has delivered my soul in peace from the battle”. We are able to overcome as He who is with us is greater than he that is with them. God is greater than all the power and wiles of the enemy of our souls. He who is in us is greater than he who is in them. They who are with us are greater in number and strength than they who are with them: the angels. Jesus said that if He prayed, His Father in heaven would send twelve legions of angels or more than a thousand angels to deliver Him.

The faith affirmation that we sing, “ We shall overcome” is based on an intimate relationship with the Lord. We realize that no weapon man or evil design has forged can harm us in any way. An array of forces may be against us but these are never greater than the army of Jesus: the chariots of fire that transported Elijah. He who attempts to touch us or afflict us or attack us touches the apple of God’s eye. With them is the arm of flesh but with us is the army of God. We only need to stand and be still for the Lord will fight our battles. It does not mean we remain passive and uninvolved but that we labour in prayer and the spirit. We do not try to “help God” but God helps us in all our ways and battles. We also need to do due diligence or do all that lies with us to do in a particular area or matter.

We win or loose battles with the attitudes of our hearts and minds. More than half the battle is won or lost in the human heart and mind. The equivalent of territory for a conqueror in wars of old or even of the modern day are what our heart and mind space mean to our common adversary. He is very subtle , cunning and deceitful. We need to be wise, faithful, courageous and strong in order to defeat Him. The blood armour of faith in Jesus and the sharp sword of the Word strengthens and equips us from within to fight every battle. Like in any battle, we need to hold our ground, make strategic advances in different areas and beat strategic retreats when required. We have an invincible Commander –in –Chief in Jesus for neither the power of man nor the power of the enemy nor the power of death or of sin could defeat Him. We have vicarious victory by faith and grace as we place our complete faith and maintain undivided focus on Jesus. Victory is our second "birth right", salvation or eternal life being the first.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Holistic Healing and Total Well Being

UV 1720/10000 Holistic Healing and Total Well Being
For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
Jeremiah 30 v 17
We have been nursing all kinds of wounds- the least enduring and painful of wounds are the physical ones. The spiritual, emotional, social and psychological ones last longer, sometimes a whole lifetime, fester and cause much more pain. The Lord is a healing God, a forgiving God, a cleansing God, a delivering God. He is a Specialist of Specialists. He is both able and willing to heal us of all our wounds, even the incurable and chronic ones. The term “health” in the biblical context is used not in a limited way but in a holistic sense. Our physical well being is intimately and inextricably connected with our spiritual, intellectual, emotional and psychological well being. We need to draw our strength and health with joy from each uni-verse – the solid basis of our hope and well being. As scripture says, “Draw with joy from the wells.”
The curse of knowledge is that we know but we do not know enough and what we know we do not apply or use. This kind of spiritual purblindness leads to many self inflicted wounds inflicted on ourselves often unwittingly. We are also subject to many attacks of the enemy of our souls. We are derided and looked down upon as an outcast for being a part of the Kingdom of God- Zion. We are considered strange, peculiar and foreign to this world and its ways. What we know, we do. What we do not know, we trust the Lord for it. We live as if we are strangers, travellers in this world
In this uni-verse, the Lord Jesus promises to restore us. He restores us to a double portion of His anointing and His blessings. He heals us of all our diseases and cures all our wounds. Like the sunlight heals many wounds that would fester if hidden under a bandage, we need to open our wounds, emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical to Him so that His healing rays penetrate every hurt and cell and cause complete healing. We seek Him, His Word, His kingdom rule and power in our lives. We place these far above all other things we know or own in this world. When we receive forgiveness by faith in the shed blood of Jesus and His wounds, we derive healing of our spirits and of our emotional, relational, psychological hurts or wounds. “ By His wounds, we have been healed.” Each wound on the body of Jesus has a specific significance and power of healing to this day of the wounds on the body of Christ- the church or all believers everywhere.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Transplanted to Be Transformed

UV 1719/10000 Transplanted to Be Transformed
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee
Genesis 12 v 1
At the age of seventy five when Abram was settling down in Haran and his comfort zone, the Lord asked Abram to leave the country of his birth, leave his kith and kind, leave his father’s house to the land of Canaan. Though this was a kind of wrenching experience in which Abram was uprooted from the place he was used to and the places, situations and people he had grown with, it was intended to transplant him in a place of the Lord’s choosing. The Lord often transplants us in a place we will grow well and flourish. We are moved from our comfort zone to a challenge zone. He does it to enlarge our lives and our impact, to fulfil our divinely ordained destiny. Abram believed God’s promise to bless him and make him a blessing to all nations. He took his family, his servants and livestock with him to Canaan. Abram’s life was transformed. His identity changed to Abraham, the father of faith and of many nations. He was greatly blessed. He was blessed with an heir Isaac. He grew more intimate with the Lord and received visitations of angels. He became a signatory on behalf of mankind to forge a covenant with the Lord. The Lord drew forth an entire nation, Israel from his loins. Abraham became the forebear of the Messiah or Saviour of mankind- Jesus.

The Lord transplants us to transform us. Just as paddy saplings are transplanted to another field to make these more productive, the Lord makes us more fruitful. He enables us to be a blessing to all nations. It implies in one sense that He enables us to find globally applicable solutions to the world’s problems. The Lord knows the end from the beginning. He equips us and prepares us for our eternal destiny. He determines the place where we should work and live. The Lord accompanies us on all our travels. He gave victory to Abraham against his local adversaries. The readiness to go places for the Lord marks out the man who is faithful and obedient. The very change of place challenges us. In addition to these changes of ambience and environment, we confront numerous unfamiliar challenges and difficulties. The way to progress is the overcoming of problems holding on to the promises of the Lord.

The Lord promises to show us the land He wants us to move to. Our journey on earth is a metaphor to show that our lives are a journey or pilgrimage back to the Lord. We ought not to get attached to any of our ties or possessions. Our attitude should be to hold these lightly and hold tightly onto the Lord. As Job said, “ He has given and He has the right to take it away.” Faith leads us into many great spiritual adventures. The Lord will give us evidence that He is with us through all our experiences as He was with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are always living in a challenge zone. Our faith in the Lord is vindicated as the Lord will enable us to overcome every challenge in our lives. We will confront many great trials of our faith, many tests, many troubles – so that the overcoming of these challenges by faith not only proves our faith as Job’s faith was tested and proved but our faith will be greatly strengthened. Our testimonies of victory, deliverance, blessing, healing, answered prayer, signs and wonders, counsel, comfort and wisdom will be further a source of blessing to all nations.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Blessed are the humble

UV1718/10000 Blessed are the humble
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation
Daniel 4 v 34
Nebuchadnezzar was initially filled with pride at his royal power and his achievements. He exalted himself in his own eyes. Thereupon, the Lord humbled him and he lived like a person demented and who had lost all his senses. When he lifted his eyes to heaven, his sanity was restored. He re-gained his understanding. He acknowledged the sovereignty of God. He acknowledged that the Lord is the King of Kings who lives forever while he himself was a mortal man destined to die. He acknowledged that the kingdom of God is everlasting and is not bound or limited in time or space. He also acknowledged that the power of God is manifest from one generation to the other. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged, blessed, praised and honoured the Lord of heaven and earth. The setback he suffered on account of his pride and arrogance led to this realization of the awesomeness of the Lord. But for that setback, Nebuchadnezzar would have looked upon himself as a veritable god. It had even prompted him to set up a huge statue of himself that was to be worshipped by his officials and people. We too should never venerate or elevate a human being as it would lead to his or her moral and spiritual destruction.

Before the Lord, leaders and followers, kings and subjects are equal. We should always cultivate a humble attitude towards the Lord. This is the true reverence that leads to wisdom and understanding. We have to lift our eyes up to the Lord at all times in prayer. We should not become full of ourselves, our success , our talents, abilities or resources. Every day we need to empty ourselves before the Lord acknowledging that we would have been but a dead stump but for our being grafted to the root of Jesus. It is the Lord’s pleasure and will that each of us grow and flourish like a tree full of evergreen leaves and full of fruit but we should always realize that the sap of blessings that rise in us and flow out of us is not from us but by the Lord’s grace.

Pride is considered the original sin – the source of deception and misery. When Lucifer, the loveliest and most powerful of angels aspired to be like God, Jesus the Son of God submitted to the Father’s plan and will to become one among the poorest of human beings. Lucifer’s heart was turned over to be like that of a beast. Similarly, Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was turned over to that of a beast. For seven years, he lived in the wild like a beast but he was restored when he came to his senses and humbled himself. Whatever be the position to which we are exalted by the grace of the Lord, we should remember the paths in which He brought us. We should recall our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. We should be warned by the example of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar himself though he was a gentile or unbeliever was convicted by the example, words and testimony of Daniel. He gave glory to God as the one true God when Daniel’s friends were delivered from the fiery furnace. The example of Nebuchadnezzar also inspires in us the hope of restoration even when we fail or fall from the grace of the Lord. The more messed mankind gets, the more we realize that it is vital to be blessed by the Lord. Humility is a counter-intuitive attitude and action- the lower we climb down, the higher we go, the more we exalt the Lord and humble ourselves, the more we are blessed. Each of us is expected to be a witness to the sovereignty, might, love, grace and mercy of the Lord in our generation.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Fountainhead

UV 1717/10000 The Fountainhead of Blessings
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Ephesians 1 v 3

God is one who blesses and does not curse. The curses come from being separated from the Father and His love. When God looked at the crown of his creation, mankind who resembled Him in many ways, He asked Himself, “How do I save them from self imposed curses ? How do I restore them to a relationship with Me without compromising on my standards? How do I give them maximum benefits at minimum cost to them?” His answer is Jesus. Jesus united us back with the “father love” of God. He is the fountainhead of all blessings. By becoming the curse and breaking the power of curses, Jesus gave us access to all spiritual blessings in Him. Most people value their material blessings more. But our spiritual blessings are the basis or foundation of our material blessings. Take away the foundation and the material blessings will come crumbling down like a house of cards. Our personal relationship with the Father through His son Jesus is the source of our spiritual blessings. To be in the presence of the Lord is a spiritual blessing. To be able to talk with Him is a spiritual blessing. To be able to listen to His word is a spiritual blessing. To appropriate or claim the huge variety of promises of the Lord is our spiritual inheritance as sons and daughters of the Lord. To be able to believe without seeing is a spiritual blessing.

To be able to bless the Lord is itself a spiritual blessing and privilege. That we can pray, praise and worship the Lord individually and collectively is a spiritual blessing. To be able to confess our shortcomings and to receive mercy is a spiritual blessing. To have God on our side is a spiritual blessing ensuring victory in every struggle. To be able to live forever beyond a physical death is a spiritual blessing. To receive revelations of the future and of the kingdom to come or of the heavenly realm is a spiritual blessing. To share the name or the identity of Christ as a co-heir is a spiritual blessing. To have authority and to exercise power in the heavenly realm is a spiritual blessing. To be immune and shielded from the deadly attacks of the enemy of our souls is a spiritual blessing.

To be considered righteous by virtue of our faith in Jesus, regardless of our deeds is a spiritual blessing. To be imparted the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a spiritual blessing. To be a recipient of the abundant wisdom of the Lord is a spiritual blessing. To enjoy the fellowship of the meal of communion is a spiritual blessing. To participate in God’s plan for saving mankind, to execute His will in our lives is a spiritual blessing. To receive angelic protection is another privilege we have. The word “all” in the uni-verse implies that all the blessings we need are provided in Christ, no good thing or needed thing is withheld from us. How do we respond to such a variety of spiritual blessings? The angels responded to the Lord with singing , “Blessing and honour and glory and power, praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.” We need to bless the Lord likewise in our lives. If we understand the anguish of Abraham as he proceeded to sacrifice his only son Isaac in response to the command of the Lord, we will be better able to appreciate and bless the Father who sent His only Son to make us eligible to receive all these spiritual blessings. To understand the Father’s heart, the extent of His love for us is itself the root of our spiritual blessings. To understand the willingness of Isaac, as he was about to be sacrificed with one plunge of the knife his father held in his hand, will enable us to understand the heart of Jesus as He willingly acquiesced in the plan of God to save mankind. When these twin understandings, so to speak, penetrate our heart, we will be ready to continually bless the Father and the Son. When the Father blesses us it is in the sense of His giving to us. When we bless the Father and the Son, it is in the sense of acknowledging all the benefits we have in Him with gratitude.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spiritual Wrestling

UV 1716/10000 Spiritual Wrestling
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places
Ephesians 6 v 12

Our struggle is not against our our own human kind but it is with spiritual powers of darkness, the prince of this world and his agents who rule the world, against evil in high places. We cannot come against such as these by our own power or strength. We need to cover ourselves with the spiritual armour of protection that the Lord provides. We should guard against developing chinks in this armour that the enemies’ weapons can penetrate. We are to be clothed in the clothes of salvation by faith in Jesus and we need to wear righteousness we obtain by grace as a breastplate to guard our spiritual chest and heart. It implies that we should be always spiritually aware and acutely conscious that we have been saved by grace, justified by blood of the blemishless Jesus for all eternity, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. This breastplate would then defend us against the accusations of the enemy, guilt and fear. We should in addition carry the shield of faith in the promises of the Lord to defend ourselves effectively against every doubt, every lethal assault and missile of the evil one. We position ourselves for victory by affirming our faith in the promises of God. We position ourselves for victory by modelling ourselves on the heroes of faith: Moses, David, Samuel, Gideon, Noah, Elijah, Jonah, Ruth, Paul, Peter and the commander in chief of our faith and of the armies of God - Jesus. Their faith breakthroughs become our source of inspiration. A faith that inspires is one that overcomes and endures. They had setbacks but all of them finished well. Everything happens twice- once in the spiritual world and then in the physical world.

Jacob wrestled all night till the break of dawn with the angel of the Lord. He never gave up till the angel blessed him and he derived a new identity by virtue of his struggle. We too need to persist in wrestling and never give up till the enemy is defeated. The trouble with spiritual wrestling is that the enemy or opponent is invisible. His weapons too are invisible. To fight an invisible and powerful enemy we too need to use invisible weapons like prayer and the Word of God. We do not win this battle in a day but need to fight it lifelong as long as we breathe. We need to use a tough belt to hold up our body armour and the clothes of salvation below it. This belt is a commitment to the truth of the Word.

A soldier needs strong shoes to stand, to walk and to fight. Our willingness to take a stand of faith in the gospel, to go places for the Lord is our shoes. We need to be armed and equipped from teeth to toe, head to foot. For our heads, we need to guard ourselves with a spiritual helmet- our assurance of our own salvation. Our faith in Jesus should be unshakable and strong as steel. The visor of the helmet should protect our eyes from lust of the eye. The helmet of grace should protect us from spiritual pride and lust of the flesh. Unlike other battle helmets, our spiritual helmet should protect us from external weapons as well as internal ones- our own thoughts and desires. The mouthpiece of the spiritual helmet should keep us from speaking what is unnecessary, negative, unwholesome or demotivating. Our ears should be kept free to hear the Word and our inner ears to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. Our grip on the sword of the Word should be firm. The double edged blade of the spiritual sword should be always kept sharp and shining, one edge to cut our own spirits and the other to fend off any spiritual attacks. Our focus should not be on the foot soldiers of the enemy but the commanders, the strategic heights that the rulers take. We cannot let our guard down for a moment for we are under constant watch and spiritual attack. When we praise and worship, spiritual fetters break and spiritual strongholds crumble. Jesus warned us to “watch and pray”. We need to watch out if the attack comes from within us, behind us or from ahead of us, or below us. We need to use our spiritual authority as all the power of the enemy is placed under our feet to crush. We need to use our spiritual power as all the power of the Lord is placed at our disposal. We will never be found short of weapons or ammunition or spiritual reinforcements of the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Pattern

UV 1716/10000 The Pattern
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Timothy 1 v 16

The key word in this uni-verse is “ pattern”. With Jesus’ birth, teachings, ministry, miracles, death and resurrection, a new template to building a living temple based on belief came into being. The pattern of our lives is determined by the pattern of our beliefs. Adam’s folly was not in the act of merely eating the forbidden fruit but in disbelieving the words of God and believing the words of the deceptive serpent. Adam’s pattern of belief was distorted in terms of what he along with Eve believed good, healthful, attractive, pleasant and knowledge and wisdom-producing. What he believed by choice began to produce the opposite fruit in his life and that of subsequent offsprings and the rest of mankind. Just as the disbelief of one man Adam brought eternal death and misery, the belief of Jesus and the belief in Jesus produces the fruit that is genuinely good, attractive, pleasant, healthful, wholesome and knowledge and wisdom-producing. The experience of the grace of God in Jesus alters not just an element or one aspect of our lives but the whole pattern of our beliefs, habits, lifestyle, goals, attainments, communication, attitudes and behaviour.

Paul regarded himself as the worst of sinners as the pattern of his unbelief had turned him into a callous monster of persecution and terror to the followers of Jesus. Now, the pattern of his belief in Jesus who was earlier anathema to him transformed the pattern of his life. He gave up everything that he had regarded as good and worthwhile in order to carry the great news of the new template or pattern of belief, hope and everlasting life to much of the contemporary world of the time. Belief in Jesus produces an altered pattern of hope, joy, love, assurance, purpose, power, conduct, communication and priorities in our lives. The pattern of God’s deep mercy, all sufficient grace, everlasting love and omnipotent power is also revealed in our lives. From being either gods unto ourselves or underdogs, we turn into "underGod" living templates.

The new template enables us to make greater sacrifices as we live not for the pursuit of our own happiness but to reveal the greatness and goodness of God. It enables us to be bolder, more patient and tolerant of suffering. It makes us tougher and not softer. It was interesting to read the testimony of the West Indies captain: He confessed an unshakable faith in Jesus, how Jesus endured great suffering on the cross undeservedly but went on to gain eternal glory. His belief is the engine that is driving the team and its current success and he foresees lifting the World T20 trophy later this evening. He is not distressed but challenged by trenchant criticism that his team is “brainless.” Regardless of the outcome of the game, he comes out a winner in life with his rock-like faith. The pattern of our beliefs sets us up for success or failure in life.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hide and Seek

UV 1715/10000 Hide and Seek
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
Isaiah 54 v 8

The Lord hides His face from us at times when He is displeased with us as well as to test our faith and love for the unseen God. In the book of Numbers, the prayer for blessing asks the Lord’s face to shine upon us. The metaphor is the sun shining on us. If the sun does not shine for even a few days, life on earth would perish, plants would not survive or thrive. The Lord is the source of our light and warmth in order to both survive and thrive. If He but withdraws that light and warmth, we will be shivering in spiritual darkness and cold. We would be spiritually hungry, thirsty and listless. The presence of the Lord with us causes us to excel in all manner of things. Abraham acknowledged the Lord as the source of his strength and the sword of his excellency. He is the one who enables us to hear the word of exhortation of the spirit and carry the sword of execution- or the ability to put in practice the things we hear, aim and plan.

Ours is not a blood relationship with the Lord but a covenant relationship. It is not a religious relationship but a personal relationship. When we break the letter or the spirit of the covenant even in our thoughts or words, it could affect our relationship with the Lord and grieve the Holy Spirit. It is at times like this that He withdraws His presence from us. He hides His face. But when we confess and repent of our wrong doing, the Lord relents and restores us to grace or His presence and favour. He promises that His mercy is sure, steadfast, enduring beyond the ages or everlasting.

We need to fear the wrath of God and not take His mercy for granted by making amends whenever and wherever we fail Him and displease Him consequently. The ancient Israelites displeased Him greatly by worshipping other man-made gods and by murmuring or complaining about their lot from time to time. The spirit of covetousness or the desire for dishonest gain is another aspect that displeases Him. Things go terribly wrong when we displease the Lord and He withdraws His grace even for a short while. At these times, we will know for sure what it is that we did or said or thought that displeased Him. King Saul lost his anointing to lead as he consulted a medium about his future. When we forsake Him, He will forsake us. He does not act impetuously or whimsically. Even Moses displeased God in a few ways: when he hesitated to accept the responsibility to represent to Pharaoh on behalf of the Hebrew slaves and ask for their freedom, when he struck a rock instead of speaking to it to yield water. We too need to speak with faith and authority and not act in anger against the rocks in our lives- the hard things that obstruct us, the difficulties we face every day. King David displeased the Lord by falling into the sin of lust and adultery. He lost the presence of the Lord for some time till he paid a price and deeply repented of his wilful sin. When we actively please the Lord by our faithful obedience and avoid displeasing Him by our impatience, discontentment, anger, faithlessness, doubt, hesitancy, greed, fear or lust, He will never hide His face from us. His mere shadow is enough to bless, prosper, protect, preserve us. When He hides his face from us, we should seek it through genuine soul searching and repentance.

Prateep V Philip