Monday, May 30, 2016

The Master Key

UV 1769/10000 The Master Key
“ I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16 v 19
Do we have one key to open all the treasures of heaven and earth? That key is the master key, rather it is the Master’s key. The Master is Jesus and He is the key to all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of heaven and earth. When we have Jesus as ruler of our hearts, it is like holding a bunch of keys in our hands, that can be used to lock and unlock many things, many doors, many opportunities, many threats, many possibilities. He is the Yes and Amen to all God’s promises. He is the Affirmer and Affirmation of our potential in Him. Without Him we can do nothing. Without Him, we amount to nothing, we are like the grass that is here today and gone tomorrow or like the flower that is here today and faded tomorrow. With Him, we can do all things. Nothing is impossible for us. Nothing is beyond our reach. What eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor entered into the imagination of man is accessible in Him. He is the Amen, the One who establishes and fulfils God’s promises in our lives. He is the One who agrees with God’s purpose for our lives and releases His grace and power to go ahead and do it.

Jesus is the Key of David- the key to open the gates of heaven for us. He holds the key to death and hell, the key to the abyss of life. He is the key to salvation. He is the key to understanding the secrets of the Lord and of His kingdom. He is the key to realizing His kingdom or rule within us and without. He is the key to success, joy and fulfilment. He is the key to health and healing. He is the key to deliverance. He is the key to protection and security in this life and beyond. He is the key to prosper us in spirit, first but also in mind and body. He is the key to contentment and stability of homes as well as the holistic development of individuals, organisations and nations. He is the key to peace and eternal life. He is the key to abundance and prosperity, to freedom and honour. He is the key to unlocking our personal bondages and chains. He is the key to unlocking our talents and abilities and locking our destructive potential. He is the key to spiritual victory and all triumphs of the spirit. He is the key to destroying all strongholds of the enemy. He is the key to integrating our spirits, minds and bodies. All these keys are the light yoke He places on our shoulders in place of the heavy yoke of our past. He is the key to every blessing of God’s word and to avoiding every warning of the Lord, to keeping every command and direction. He is the key to being the head and not the tail, the key to being above and not below our circumstances, the key to flying like an eagle over the storm and being like a young man who runs and never gets tired. He is the key to all spiritual blessings and riches in heavenly places, the key to breaking down barriers and brass gates that hinder our progress and growth.

Jesus is the key to locking doors that need to be locked like the doors of destruction, the doors of addiction and negative habits. He is the key to unlocking our human and divine potential. He is the key to fellowship and friendship with the Creator. He is the key to resolving our conflicts and solving all our issues. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the key to all the beginnings, the endings and all that lies in between. He teaches us two main disciplines: to love that which is good and to hate or abhor or avoid that which is intrinsically evil. In the uni-verse, we are given the power, the authority, the grace, the privilege to lock what is evil on earth ad to unlock whatever is good on earth and all that is good in heaven. We are given the power to lock the guilt of our past, to unlock the hope of the future, the joy of the present, to lock the power of curses and unlock the power of blessings, to lock the power of death in our tongues and to unlock the power of eternal life of our tongues, to block the darkness and to release the light. What we shut in faith, no man can open and what we unlock, no man can shut.

Prateep V Philip

The Management of Invisibles

UV 1768/10000 The Management of the Invisible and the Intangible
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear
Hebrews 11 v 3
Faith enables us to understand what even scientists or philosophers or scholars or thinkers cannot understand. We understand the primacy of the invisible world. We understand that the visible world or universe was created by the invisible God, that His word is law and it is the law governing our universe. We understand that everything visible was created out of the invisible, that God is the Author and creator, that He alone has the power both to judge and to save. The more fundamental laws of the universe that govern our relationship with the Lord and with each other are derived from His Word.
If all the worlds, the visible and the invisible, the known and the unknown are framed or under-girded or founded on the Word of the Lord, how much more should our lives, our relationships be surrounded or covered or founded on His Word. Our invisibles and intangibles are more significant than our visible and tangible bodies and possessions. In His Word there is no separation of the two but a beautiful integration, of harmony between the visible and the invisible. It is due to the violation or disbelief of God’s Word that the dichotomy or disharmony between the visible and the invisible came into being. The invisible enemy of man became visible and audible to man and deceived him to believe that the visible had more significance and credibility than the invisible and intangible. Man began to live thereafter by sight and not faith, by the grasp of the physical rather than the spiritual, invisible and intangible. Jesus, the Son of God became the visible expression of the invisible God and sought to redeem mankind from this state of blindness, disharmony, lack of faith and true vision. He became the visible expression of the invisible Word. We who were spiritually naked were clothed in the invisible clothes of salvation, given the invisible ring of His sovereign authority and given the invisible shoes to go places for Him and proclaim the majesty of His Word, the greatness of His being, the liberty of the gospel of grace.
We now realize that we are not in subjection to the kingdoms of darkness, the kingdoms of this world. Our kingdom is an invisible and eternal one. Our laws are found in His Word. Our goals are blessed by Him. He enables us to achieve our goals for His glory. The focus of our lives is not the tangible happiness, the tangible wealth, the tangible pleasures, the tangible privileges of this world. These may follow us as part of the goodness and mercy of the Lord but we do not get entranced or obsessed or distracted by such. We live in the physical and visible world but we are not of it. We obey the rules and regulations of this visible world so long as it does not violate the higher principles and precepts of the Word. We learn the principles and precepts set in His Word, precept by precept, line by line, day by day. As scientists experiment with different substances in their experiments, we test these spiritual principles in our experiences of life. We are both subjects and objects in the experiences to prove the Word is true, genuine, authentic. Our lives are dominated by the supernatural and miraculous. In the interface between the visible and the invisible, miracles or experiences transcending the ordinary, the scientific, the natural take place in accordance with our faith and His Word. Signs and wonders are secondary evidences of the Lord, the primary evidence, the substance of our faith is His Word. It is so fundamental and significant that Sovereign God and the invisibles also subject themselves to the Word. We eat of the invisible tree of the fruit of wisdom and of the abundant and eternal life, when we eat every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The Word is the frame of reference for our invisible and visible world: It determines and guides us on how do we view wealth and money in the context of our lives. It frames our thoughts, words, emotions, actions, reactions, relationships, goals, priorities, desires. All our invisibles are guided by the invisible influence and power of the Word and all our visibles are blessed by it.
Prateep V Philip

Due Season

UV 1766/10000 Due Season
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Galatians 6 v 9
Our work for the Lord is never in vain. In due time or season, in the hour appointed by the Lord our efforts will bear fruit, our life’s work will be recognized and rewarded by Him. We should not feel discouraged that nothing seems to be happening, no sign of favour from the Lord. We need to rejoice in the hope of our reward. This may be the season of the early rain or the latter rain, when the seed is growing or when the crop is ripening. Having laboured this far, we should be patient like a farmer and not feel exhausted, let down or disappointed. Worldly people measure their gain in terms of the money they earn per hour or per day of work. But our yardstick is whether the Lord judges us to be faithful and diligent. We have different seasons in our lives: the tilling season where the fields are ploughed and prepared, the sowing season where the seed is sown as the early rain softens the ground for the seed to take root in the soil, the growing season where the shoot and branches are growing, the fruiting season where the fruit begin to grow, the reaping season where the fruit mature, ripen and are ready to pluck. There is also a fallow season when the ground is kept idle so that the soil is renewed in its fertility. Each of us are in one or other of these seasons in our lives. Different types and degree of effort and other inputs are needed in each season. In the sowing season, the focus is primarily on getting the best seed or seedlings to sow. In the reaping season, the focus is on the dividends or rewards of our efforts.
Different crops have differing seasons to ripen and be reaped. Different fruits have varying periods of time to mature and ripen. Likewise, our fruit may be waiting for the apt time or period to be manifest. We should keep doing all the good we can by all the means we can so that we can win some souls for the Lord. We should set our eyes like flint as Jesus did when He moved towards the cross. We should not despair but know for sure that the Lord is with us and is always acting ,intervening, interceding on our behalf.
Like an athlete who increases his pace as he nears the finishing line,we should work with renewed gusto and energy at the tasks at hand. We should have the constant assurance or faith that in due time we shall reap. The Holy Spirit will egg us on like a coach who sees his trainee approach the finishing line of a race that he had prepared for over a long time. The Holy Spirit is an encourager, a comforter, a hope giver, the One who renews our youth and vigour, our energy and courage. Whatever the Lord has called us to do, we should do it with all our heart and not half heartedly. We should go the extra mile or go to extraordinary lengths to fulfil the Lord’s purpose in every area of our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Packing Our Faith with Power

UV 1675/10000 Packing Our Faith with Power
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
I Peter 1 v 7
Faith is valuable as it is a balm to heal our wounds, a guard to our footsteps, a guide to our decisions, a boost to our courage, a foundation to wisdom, a sail to catch the wind of God's favour or grace, a goad to greater efforts, an anchor in the storms of life, a reason to accept and love people as they are. It is an energiser and a stabiliser. It is the dynamo, the rudder and the steering wheel. Anything valuable is to be tested for two reasons: to test if it is authentic or true and to further purify or refine it to the highest level possible. Paul wrote that when all that is there in life is squeezed, the essence that remains is faith, hope and love, of which the greatest is love. Our faith if it is true and real is tested and refined even as our love for God and fellow being is tested and refined. Faith is the equivalent in the kingdom of God as gold in the human economy. Gold is tested and refined in the crucible of fire even as our faith is tested and refined in the crucible of suffering in the name of Jesus.
Once our faith is tested in suffering and we hold onto our trust in God and Jesus, our confidence in the Holy Spirit, we are marked by the Spirit of God as “approved” or as a good and faithful servant to whom more can be given, more blessings as well as responsibilities. We are tested both by trials of suffering as well as temptations of this world. Just as gold is tested seven times over, the believer is tested and tempted in many ways and that is why scripture refers to it as “manifold suffering”. The tests, trials and tribulations are meant not only to authenticate but to remove the dross or impurities of thoughts, motives, desires, words, gestures, reactions and attitudes that we are accustomed to. The purification process is sometimes like a sieve, sometimes like a furnace, sometimes like a refining soap to wash us. The less we resent, resist, refuse these trials and tests, the more we yield, welcome, accept and acquiesce to these tests, the faster and more effective the process of the purification of our faith. The tests will establish whether our faith weakens or gets even stronger in moments of crisis, periods of suffering. Do we cry out to God, for God in our “lema sabachthani” moments, do we cling to Him for comfort and strength?
Building, testing, refining faith is like building a six pack body: the first pack is our thoughts. We need to take every thought captive to glorify or honour God and Christ in us. The second pack is our speech. Our words have to be run through some “question filters” to emerge pure and wholesome. The third pack is our emotions- we need to avoid a murmuring or complaining attitude. The fourth pack is our motives, goals and priorities. We should not be motivated by selfish gain or pleasure or power or ambition but by the focus on building the kingdom of God. The fifth pack is our patience, perseverance and diligence. The sixth pack is our love for God and compassion for people. If our faith is without love it is useless and fit to throw on the rubbish heap, according to St Paul. Jesus was not weak but the toughest guy in history. We need to fix our eyes on Him and emulate Him in our exercise of faith and expression of love. We may pray like Jabez, “ Lord, keep me from pain and grant my desires” but if pain is God’s will we should willingly submit to the pain. From the perspective of the Lord, pain is a great discipliner and affliction a great teacher of the attributes of God that we should emulate.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting Rid of the Stockholm Syndrome

UV 1674/10000 Getting Rid of the Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35 v 10
Most of us human beings suffer from what is called the Stockholm syndrome of being in love with our captor. We have been so inured or used to living in captivity and bondage to the world and the enemy of our souls that we accept our lot and remain in continual mourning. We need to activate our sacred imagination to imagine we are captives in the custody of a powerful enemy, a hostile power who is much stronger than us. There is no escape from his clutches. At this point in time, Jesus comes and pays the ransom, the payment for our freedom, our total liberty in spirit, mind and body. He pays with death and blood since the Father Himself had set the price of freedom, the abundant life, eternal life to be absolute death and the blood shed willingly of a perfect sacrifice.
Faith is not fantasy but fact-based, history-based imagination. We are now set free from both the clutches of the enemy, set free from hamartia or tragic failing, set free from the need to pay for our own failings, set free from the threats, accusations, curses and power of the enemy. Only a person held in continual captivity in a dungeon knows the value of such freedom. The moment we realize this value, we will from that moment be filled with continual rejoicing. We are filled with hope, a sense of security since we have no fear that we will not be taken captive again.
The assurance of such amazing and awesome salvation fills us with joy and gratitude since we did not attain it by our efforts, our abstinence, our penance, our merits. Since we are now restored to an intimate relationship with our Redeemer and know He lives in us and with us, sorrows in the form of burdens, worries, fears, diseases, failures, scarcity, shortcomings, happenings will evaporate. Our lives and our emotions will no longer be “yo-yo” but “You-You”. He becames the locus of our existence. We live and move and have our being in Him. Our desires and needs are fulfilled in Him and by Him. We are not released and rehabilitated like convicted prisoners but redeemed like innocent victims. But no longer can we have the victim mentality and exhibit the Stockholm syndrome of being in love with the enemy and the fallen world but live as strangers and pilgrims in this world, children of God waiting to return to our permanent and eternal homes. While we wait to return home, we ought to command every fear, every worry, every negative thought, word and feeling to flee. Our temporary homes are redeemed. Our minds are redeemed. Our wills are redeemed. Our bodies are redeemed. Our relationships are redeemed. Sorrows and sighing are the visiting card of the enemy. We should reject these outright, telling him he has no part in our lives, even as Nehemiah told the foe of the Jerusalem wall building project, “You have no part or share with us.”
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cancelled Judgements

UV 1763/10000 Cancelled Judgements
The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
Zephaniah 3 v 15
We often tend to be judgemental about others without realizing the extent to which we are indebted to the Lord for not being judgemental about us. If He is judgemental, we would not be able to even approach His throne of mercy and grace. We would be cast away and rejected. But, the Lord has cancelled the judgements against us by His great grace and mercy. Forgiveness is about cancellation of judgements. We too are exhorted to cancel the judgements we have against others who have offended us in some way, big or small. The Lord holds us as innocent and just not by the standards of law but by the standards of grace. Nothing we have done or not done could have earned us this unction or anointing. Having received His grace and mercy, we have no reason or excuse to feel guilty. Since the Lord Himself has declared us guiltless or blemishless in His sight, we are free from every form of captivity or bondage. The foundation of a cleansed past gives us a joyful present and a bright future. We are shielded in order to be fielded as God’s invincible champions in the battlefield of life.
The Lord rules in us as not just God but as a king among men. He orders our steps or the things we need to do in our lifetime. He is in our midst and accompanies us wherever we go. He is with us in our deepest thoughts. He rejoices over our righteous conversations. He delights in our noble intentions and actions. He identifies with us in our pursuits. His kingdom is being built in us and with us, day by day in all that we think, speak and do. We find our recreation, rest and relief, renewal and rejuvenation in Him. All our fountains lie in Him, implying that all that refreshes us is found in Him and His wholesome word.
Not only is the Lord not judgemental and extremely gracious and merciful towards us, He casts out evil from our midst. All that the enemy has plotted against us to take us captive is cancelled by His sovereign decree. He preserves us from every weapon. For all the days we have experienced evil, He multiplies good in our lives. He takes away our reproach or that which causes shame, pain or embarrassment to us. He strengthens us internally and externally. He will wipe our tears or remove the causes and sources of our sorrows, fears, mourning and regret. He comforts us. He restores us. He delivers us from all manner of evil. Every morning He will bring His judgement concerning to light as the Morning Star. The sun being an unique star that shines not in darkness but from the morning of every day, Jesus is unique. Other leading lights of history shine in the darkness dimly but Jesus alone is outstanding, shining forever and outshining all else. His light or His love, integrity, glory, grace, holiness and truth dispels all manner of evil or darkness. Our walls will be ramparts of salvation and our gates towers of praise, implying that His salvation will surround us at all times such that we need not fear death or judgement.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 23, 2016

Killers to Keepers

UV 1762/10000 Killer to Keeper
And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
Genesis 4 v 9
Human beings are either killers or keepers. A killer is moved by destructive motives, emotions, deceitfulness and selfish impulses. A keeper is moved by love, nobility, creativity, honesty ,empathy and sensitivity. The Lord is not only our keeper but He is also our brother’s keeper. We are so ill equipped to take care of ourselves, not to speak of others. Brothers are often moved by sibling rivalry and jealousy and do not care for their own. Cain was moved by the evil spirit of jealousy to slay the innocent and faithful Abel but the Lord looked for Abel and questioned Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain desired to eliminate Abel as the latter had won the grace or favour of God. Jealousy seized Cain’s mind and he plotted to kill him. A better blessing or a greater good coming to our own brother provokes us to jealousy and violence. The theme is often repeated in biblical history with Esau and Jacob, with Joseph and his brothers. The culmination is the birth of the beloved of God- Jesus. He is plotted against by the enemy even before his birth. Herod the king is moved by jealousy and insecurity to order the killing of all new born male infants in the entire realm to prevent the promised ruler and Messiah being a threat to his own reign.
The point being made is that it is only the Lord who can be trusted to take care of our well being, it is only the Lord who can be trusted. No earthly ruler or power or authority can be trusted but Jesus alone. As long as we keep faith with Jesus, He is our keeper. As long as we keep His commands and hold His words dear, He is our amazing and wonderful keeper. He keeps His promises to us and our successors. The innocent blood of Abel and his better and whole hearted sacrifice saved him. The innocent blood of Jesus and the perfect sacrifice He made with His own body and life has the potential of saving all mankind.
As long as we keep or store the law of God in our hearts, He keeps us from temptations. As long as we keep our faith, He gives us grace to endure every trouble and challenge we face in our lives. Like Abel, we need to offer our best consistently and diligently to the Lord and He would surely bless us and cause us to be a blessing as the faith of Abel is a blessing to succeeding generations and his example a forerunner to the sacrifice by the Lord of His precious son Jesus. Once we know that we are safe and secure in the hands of our Keeper , the Lord God, we are now able to take care of the interests of our brothers or fellow beings as if they are our own. We are rid of the lying or deceitful nature the enemy had planted in Cain and in any human being born since then. The nature of the enemy of our souls is that of a killer while the nature of God is to be a keeper. As the Keeper of the flock, He raises a sure and safe fencing of His words around us. We too imbibe this godly nature to become keepers not killers, enhancers not detractors. When scripture proclaims that we have become a new creation in Christ, it implies that we have been transformed from being killers into keepers.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Focus and Commitment, Sun and Shield, Grace and Glory

UV 1761/10000 Focus and Commitment
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Psalm 84 v 11
In our personal relationship with the Lord, there are two aspects-the positive aspect of His being our provider and the defensive aspect of His being our shield. The metaphor of the sun is appropriate as it is an infinite or limitless source of energy. The Lord is an energiser, a life sustainer, a life defender, a life enhancer. If we remove the letter “f” from life, it becomes a lie. Without true faith in the living God, the sustainer, defender, provider and enhancer, our lives would indeed be a lie regardless of who we are and what we have done or what we have. Just like the relationship between the earth and the sun is our relationship with the Creator-Redeemer. If the sun withholds its light and warmth from the earth for even a few hours, all life- both vegetable and animal would perish from the earth. Similarly, if the Lord withholds His love and grace from all mankind we will perish. We cannot look directly for long at the sun but we can bask in its light, we can look at the light from the sun cast on various objects. Similarly, we cannot perceive the absolute glory of God with our naked eyes but we can see its reflection in our daily lives.
But the Lord does not withhold His love, grace and glory from those who endeavour to do their best to walk in accordance with His eternal word that contains the law of the Lord. Indeed, as the uni-verse puts it, “ No good thing does He withhold from us.” The “good thing” that He will give us is not defined or limited. When He decrees a blessing of a “good thing” in our lives, He causes it to happen as He is the great Possibilitizer. He can create anything from nothing by merely speaking the word. Like nothing can stop the sun from sending its rays on everyone on the earth, nothing and no one can stop the goodness, grace and glory of the Lord. He lights up the path we should walk with His eternal wisdom. He covers us and shields us from every threat and curse. He enables us to overcome every shortcoming, scarcity, failure and weakness in our lives. He enables us to live fully and abundantly. As an exercise, we can list out all the good things that the Lord has granted us over time in our lives and further all the good things we need. Our focus should not however be on the good things or blessings that we receive when we believe the Lord and His word. Our focus should be on our walk with the Lord. Are we walking in alignment with His will and purpose? Focus and commitment are mutually reinforcing. For focus produces commitment and commitment renews focus.
The world is racing towards its goals but we are commended to walk uprightly. Every step we need to take with sufficient care and caution. Every step of every day, we need to appropriate the grace or enabling power of the Lord to walk towards His absolute glory. We need to constantly use His grace to work unceasingly for His glory. A life of faith is a step by step progression towards the absolute perfection of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Light of Leadership

UV 1760/10000 The Light Of Leadership
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22 v 5
God is light and in Him is no darkness, neither of ignorance nor of evil. He gives us His light: love, integrity, goodness, godliness, grace, happiness, holiness, health, truth,tenacity and triumph over darkness or evil. The absence of God is evil. The absence of goodness is evil or darkness. The presence of God brings light. People living in darkness get used to it and do not want to experience light. They do not understand light or to acquire these qualities. These are the spiritual graces that distinguish a godly leader. The path of each of these factors becomes brighter and brighter and not diminish. We need to increase in the measure of our love for God and for fellow man. We need to increase in our understanding of the love of God, discern its unfathomable depth, its length, and width. Love is three dimensional even as life is three dimensional. It implies that our love should be manifested in real time in a real way. Unlike God who is absolute in all these attributes or graces, we need to keep increasing in each quality- in love, in integrity, in goodness, godliness, grace, happiness, holiness, holistic health, truth, tenacity and triumph over the forces and factors of darkness. Light travels far and fast. Similarly, these godly attributes of ours, given to us by grace, need to travel far and fast for His glory.
The Lord has intended each of us to be a leader in our own rights but by His light. He desires that we be the head and not the tail. He desires that we be visionary leaders and not blind or short sighted leaders. The span of our vision should extend to eternity and the width should cover the whole globe. He anoints us as rulers or leaders. Except the house of leadership be built in vain, the rulers labour in vain. The Lord will help us integrate our spirits, minds and bodies such that we have a sense of integrity and we experience oneness with Him. He will show us His goodness. He will add grace to grace in our lives. He will shape our character to be godly or like Him. He will cause us and teach us to be happy, peaceful or blessed as defined by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He will sanctify us and rid us of all hidden factors that contaminate our faith and lives. He will reveal the hidden truths in His Word that we can judge ourselves in accordance with it, set right our areas of error and falsehood.
We need no human teachers or blind leaders to lead us for the Spirit of God Himself will guide us into all truth and teach us all that we need to know. We become the channels to usher in the rule of God on earth. We subject ourselves to His discipline. We exercise authority over the spiritual realms in His name and on His behalf. We shall overcome the world even as Jesus overcame the world. He has anointed us to reign as kings and priest, kings in authority over the spiritual realms, the invisible world and priests to intercede on behalf of fellow believers and the lost and spiritually blind. We have to blend or balance firmness with compassion, authority with humility and exercise our spiritual gifts with diligence. We need to be consistent in manifesting or celebrating by experience love, integrity, goodness, grace, godliness, happiness, holiness, holistic health, truthfulness. Our choice may at best be a lesser or greater degree of each of these attitudes and attributes. Our aim should be an ever increasing degree. Our endeavour should be not to allow an alternation between light and darkness, between love and hatred, integrity and dishonesty, goodness and evil, happiness and sadness, holiness and a lack of reverence for God, truth and its absence or violation. Darkness can never resist light. It flees in the presence of light. Hence, when we experience and cherish the light, the dark factors of our lives that troubled us this far shall flee.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Contrasting Perspectives and Priorities

UV 1758/10000 The Contrasting Perspectives and Priorities
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Revelation 18 v 23
The worship of money or the love of Mammon, the alternative god of the world is the source of all deceptions. It puts out the candle of light in our lives: light standing for love, integrity, grace, holiness and truth. The sorceries of merchants refers to all the means by which people try to get ahead of others in terms of materialism or wealth. Wealth itself is not a bad thing but considered a blessing for when the Lord makes a person wealthy, He adds no sorrow to it. They get caught up in the attractions of false teachings. They exchange the truth for falsehood. They seek to exalt themselves. But the foremost passion of a person ought not to be the things of this world, the pleasures of the flesh that “Babylon” stands for. Our longing should not be for the Babylon of this world but the spiritual Jerusalem, the city of heaven. We should not revel in the deceitful longings of this world, the seductive appeal of this world but live as strangers and pilgrims who find their foremost joy in the presence of the Lord, who revel in their personal relationship with the Lord and draw their strength, sustenance and well being from Him. We seek to humble ourselves before and under the rule of Since God is closer to us than our own skin, our sins are put far away, as far as the East is from the West.
The citizens of Babylon, the merchants who are prone to the sorceries or deceits of this world live by their own lights, the little candles that they light for themselves. They regard lies and half truths as their guideposts and are pierced with many sorrows, pains and misery due to this. Hence, neither the Bridegroom Jesus nor the bride, the church can delight in such. They have a self destructive appetite and are misled to pursue chimera and mirages. Their standards are relative and keep changing according to circumstances and situations. Their only goal is their gain but eventually they gain neither the world nor their souls. The kingdom of God is of little relevance. Even the mere mention of God irritates them. They are not just indifferent but hostile to the kingdom of God.
We however who believe in Jesus and rejoice in the company of the Bridegroom should always pray and work to let “His kingdom come”, implying we should usher in His rule, His principles, His ways of speaking and doing things. We should rejoice in the things He rejoices in and lament of the things He laments of. The candles of human principles cannot be a substitute for the Sun of Righteousness. We do not ask like men of the world like Pilate, “ what is the truth?” when we behold Truth embodied in Jesus walking beside us and talking with us. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all the truth and we will be freed from the “hamartia” or tragic shortcomings and deceit of this world. We will be in the world but not of the world. We will stand out as a fruit tree in a field of thorn bushes, a cedar in a forest of dry trees. The world will perish but we will flourish not just for a season but forever.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Many Voices, Degrees and Phases of Joy

UV 1757/10000 The Many Voices, Degrees and Phases of Joy
The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 33 v 11
Many scripture verses endorse the view that God is not a kill joy but it is the enemy of our souls who is the killjoy who steals our peace, robs us of gladness and kills our joy. These verses repeat the refrain, “that your joy shall be full.” We should be full of joy and our joy should be overflowing. We do not have to pursue happiness for it is given into our hands and laid in our laps. It constitutes the rivers of life giving water that flow from our hearts. It is spring that rises deep inside our souls and not something that tingles and starts at our nerve endings. Our joy is not dependent on our circumstances or the extent of our possessions or bank balance. It does not arise due to thngs that happen or do not happen to us. Joy arises as Jesus owns you and me. Its genesis is from our personal and intimate relationship with our Creator-Redeemer. It comes from the deep insights and revelations of God given to us by means of the Holy Spirit. It has no exodus for it never leaves us. Gladness and joy are the fuel that feed the flame of praise of God. Unless we are glad, joyful and grateful we cannot sincerely worship the Lord. When we hear the voice of the eternal Bridegroom Jesus, we who are the church, the bride, rejoice. We glady acknowledge His leadership, His headship of our lives. When hurting people hear the voice of believers they rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for the good works we do and the good words we speak in His name. When they see our feet approaching, they are joyful for they know we bring glad tidings of joy, the Word to heal them of their diseases and prayers to bless them.
The sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away all the sin of all mankind does away with all other sacrifices but one: the sacrifice of praise. Praise and worship is a sacrifice as we need to subdue and kill our own egos to submit all to the Lord. We seek or take no credit for anything but give glory to Him and to Him alone as the psalmist says. We praise God for His great, boundless and everlasting mercy. He never tires of showing us His mercy. We praise God for choosing us to receive His mercy. We acknowledge we are undeserving and do not attempt to justify ourselves before the just and holy One. We avail of His mercy and depend entirely on His grace. Formerly, we were running a race for ourselves to become great, to become rich, to become famous, to become powerful. We thought it would lead us to lasting happiness. But we were mired in greater and greater misery. We realized the vanity of our ways and now we have joined grace or the good race, God’s race. Formerly, we were running towards something or running away from something. Now, we run with our eyes focussed on the author and finisher of our faith who will take us to the finishing line and place a crown on our heads, saying, “You good and faithful servant.”
The Lord restores us from our former obsessions, captivities, bondages, dead habits. Our obsession with our own success in this world is replaced by a desire to glorify the Creator and Redeemer. A million real life situations in our lives gives opportunities for manifestation of the Lord’s love, mercy and grace. Each such situation becomes a fount of praise and joy in our lives. When we fall sick and He heals us, we praise Him as our Healer. When He delivers us, we praise Him as our great Deliverer. When we are taught a new lesson, we praise Him as our Teacher. When we suffer some loss, He comforts us. We praise Him as our Comforter. We are created to experience joy in different degrees and phases and not move up and down like a yo-yo from sudden highs to sudden lows, from excitement to boredom, from exhilaration to depression. Such upswings and downswings of our moods throw our systems out of gear. We are created and redeemed to move from gladness to joy, from joy to gladness, from gladness to ecstasy or for different phases and degrees of joy. We are glad that we are not doing it on our own but the Lord is with us every step of the way and He is enabling and equipping us for every task He sets for us. We are glad because He has clothed us with the garments of praise. Garments cover nakedness of our otherwise vain desires. We are joyful as He has given us the clothes of salvation that neither moth nor age can destroy. We are glad as He has washed our past record and blotted out the very memory of our past sins, shortcomings and failures. Happiness has different degrees: pleasures of this world that are ephemeral and do not last long. Gladness is the type of happiness that comes from the Lord restoring us from our losses. Joy is the next level of happiness that comes from the gains or blessings He bestows on us. Ecstasy is the highest level of joy that comes from worship in beauty and truth where we think neither of our own losses or gains but we are aware only of the beauty and truthfulness of the Creator and Redeemer.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Join the Winning Side

UV 1756/10000 Join the Winning Side
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
Psalm 118 v 6
There are two sides: the sinning side and the winning side. Both sides have sinned and fallen short of God’s favour but the latter chose to find forgiveness of their sins by and through a personal Saviour Jesus. The Lord is on our side and we have joined the winning side. No strength of man can ever prevail against us. He is the LIGHT of our lives: source of true and everlasting Love, the cause of our Integrity, the source of Grace, the source of our happiness and the source of Truth. By these means He greatly strengthens us with the weapons of the spirit that can counter any weapon of the flesh. When we know and experience the Truth that is Jesus, the Truth sets us free from inhibitions, limitations, fears, guilt and all other bondages. The universal fear that all mankind has is the fear of death. We are not afraid of death and we are not afraid of life on earth. We are set free of the sting of fear of death by the resurrection of Jesus. All other kings and conquerors succumbed eventually to death and were seen no more. But Jesus alone rose from death, conquering death itself. As Jesus lives today, we too will live forever.
Since we are in the Lord’s favour, He will cover us under His protective shadow, the cloud of His presence. Nothing and no one can penetrate the shield and fencing He places around us. The prayers of other believers are also another source of help to us. The disciples were encouraged by the Lord when they were incarcerated, saying,” I have many people in this city.” Indeed, the Lord saves us with many or few.” Faith in Jesus fills us with great boldness, calmness, assurance, a sense of absolute security, confidence, courage, fortitude, the capacity to endure. Of course, we might cause harm to ourselves by the way we confess our faith. Our mouths having power of life and death can invite injury or death in the words we speak. We must avoid these self goals of destruction by the words and choices we make in life. When my boss, the Superintendent of Police of the district was told by an astrologer that he would perish on May 21st , 1991, he was filled with apprehension and tried to do all that he could humanly do to avert a tragedy for himself and his family. He even expressed that apprehension that the stars control our lives and predictions based on the stars but I denied his suggestion, saying that “ I am not afraid of what the future holds as God holds my future.” On the fateful night of May,21st my boss’s worst fears came true while the Lord enabled me to escape, a powerful RDX bomb explosion that assassinated a national leader and seventeen others. My injuries too were of such a nature that I could fully recover in a few months.
Neither man nor the enemy of our souls can touch a hair on our heads unless the Lord allows it for a purpose. He allowed many people in the first century AD as well as in our times to be martyred for a greater purpose. All we need to do is to affirm that “ we do not fear anything or anyone.” Even if an army is arrayed against us, the Lord will deliver us.” The prophet Elijah was fearful when he heard the wicked queen Jezebel was intent on killing him. But the Lord delivered him and took him up on a chariot of fire. Moses was delivered from death even as a baby by the basket of reeds in which he was placed. God turned his persecutor, the Egyptians to become his adoptive parents. When the whole world faced the wrath and judgement of God, Noah was told to build an Ark to preserve his family, self and all creatures on earth. David was saved from the jealous king Saul. Nobody can stop us from fulfilling our divine destiny and purpose for nobody can thwart the plans of the Lord. The only thing we need to do to remain on the winning side is to always remain in alignment with the center of the Lord’ s perfect and pleasing will. We should not enter an alliance with the sinning side or imitate the ways of the sinning side.
Prateep V Philip


UV 1755/10000 @
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Romans 12 v 12

The sunrise and sunset every day around the earth is a symbol of the glory of God. It is a daily reminder of the greatness of the Lord. Our hope of seeing another sunrise, another sunset keeps us joyful. The promises of the Lord in His Word inspire us with hope. That hope keeps us rejoicing in the Lord and His faithfulness. When a promise is fulfilled in our lives, we are joyful and our faith and hope are further renewed. The hope of eternal life keeps us rejoicing in our hope. The hope of prophecies spoken in our regard coming true gives us joy. We rejoice that our names are written in the book of the living in heaven. The answers to our faithful prayers in the past fills us with hope. The fact that the Lord has led us from where we were to where we are fills us with joyful hope. We rejoice not on account of who we are but on account of whose we are. We rejoice because Jesus, the eternal Bridegroom declares, “ My beloved is mine and I am his and my banner over him is love.” We rejoice as He lifts our heavy yoke or burden and gives us a light yoke – the seeds of His promise to make our lives better through verse.
When times are good, the faithful are hopeful. When times are bad, the faithful are patient, knowing that our suffering will come to an end sooner or later. We are patient in tribulations and trials as it is God’s way of forming our character and strengthening our faith. We are patient as we trust the Lord and He knows what is best for us. We are patient as the Lord will intervene in due time. We are patient as the Lord rewards the faithful who suffer for no fault of theirs. We are patient as we know the Lord’s promise that “blessed are those who are persecuted for My Name’s sake.” We are patient as the Holy Spirit comforts and strengthens us so that we can endure our troubles. We are patient as the Lord will surely provide the way of escape. We are patient as many leaders and men and women of God have landed in greater trouble when they decided to step ahead of the Lord and find solutions themselves instead of waiting for the Lord.
In good times, we need to pray as if we have already received that which we hope for. In bad times, we pray that the Lord will take away our cup of suffering but His will should prevail and not ours. We should give up the spirit of mourning, of moaning, of sadness and don the garment of praise in all circumstances. Scripture exhorts us to be joyful in all circumstances. Our @ or attitude of hopeful expectation, patient endurance and constant prayer will give opportunities for the Lord’s grace to operate in our lives. Our human nature is inclined naturally to be weighed down by one reason for us to be sad even if we have a hundred reasons to rejoice. But as the Christ nature takes control of us, we develop the patience of Jesus. Prayer is a continual connection in the spirit with the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 13, 2016

Divine Contentment

UV 1754/10000 Divine Contentment
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalm 23 v 1

A modern day version of this uni-verse would read: “The Lord is my shepherd and there is a hell of a lot of things I want and after that heaven, too.” Instead of making God a mere need-satisfier or love Him in an utilitarian way for what He gives us in the expectation of getting even more, we need to enter into a state of “Not wantingness” every day where we celebrate the Lord for who He is – a great Shepherd who leads us and feeds us, a great Shepherd who gave His life for the sake of His sheep, a great Shepherd who is with us and would never fail us or forsake us. “Not wantingness” is divinely inspired contentment. It is an attitude that we have all we need for the Lord has provided and He will provide. It is an attitude of continual thanksgiving for every blessing received. Our prayers should not be a litany of requests or a wish list that we submit to the Lord but an expression of our deepest feelings for the One who did not hold back anything or anyone from us.

“Not wantingness” is an attitude of total and complete security knowing that the Lord is with us as Immanuel. He will never desert us or disappoint us. He is able to do far more than we can ask or even think of. Once we give Him priority in our lives, everything else will follow us. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us, catch up with us and overtake us. We need not chase the goodies as the good Lord is with us. Goodness and mercy lie in His wake and go ahead of Him. The Lord knows what our needs are and that it differs from individual to individual. He answers us even before we ask for them. He knows our deepest desires but we need to lie in His arms and stay in His presence like a child who has been weaned and lies in her mother’s arms.

Even if the Lord has made us rich, we should not place our confidence in these riches. Both our joy and our security stem from knowing the Lord as our own Shepherd. We do not look for greener pastures but are content to feed wherever He leads us. We do not want to keep up with the Joneses or regard others as competition with whom we should keep up with. We do not compare our lot or the portion of blessings we have received with that of others. We do not worry about the future and its stock of provision as we live day by day, trusting in the Lord. We need to practice “Not wantingness” at least once a day for half an hour where we adore the Lord for who He is and ask not a thing or request Him for nothing either for ourselves or others.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

More than Conquerors

UV 1753/10000 More than Conquerors

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1 v 5

No human being can withstand the will of God. Hence, when the Lord is with us, no human will be able to withstand or overcome or defeat us all the days of our lives. The Lord who is both the breath-giver and the bread-giver is with us all the time though He is unseen and not audibly heard. We breathe nearly a thousand times per hour and nearly 24000 breaths per day and 8.4 million times in a year. We need to endeavour to remember the Lord with every breath. Every breath is a prayer, every breath holds a praise and thanksgiving, every breath is an attempt to draw closer to the Lord and be like Him. His presence may be hidden from our eyes but He is near us. When we remember the Lord all the time, He will be with us, strengthen us from within us, protect us, provide for us and bless us.

Our goals become the goals of the Lord. Our struggles and battles become those of the Lord. He defends us against our known as well as invisible and secret enemies and their deadly weapons. He will never fail us, rather He will enable us to succeed in the pursuit of our goals as long as they are in tune with His overarching purpose for our lives. We should never give up for the Lord never gives up on us. He remembers us at every turn and holds our every breath in His hand. No human power can prevail against us. When I was young I was an admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. But the Lord says today that you and I are greater than an Alexander the Great or Napoleon or any other mighty general. We do not have to struggle and attain greatness. We are great by grace. Greatness was gifted to Moses and Joshua. It is also gifted to us, too. To be esteemed by God is the greatest aspect of greatness. Daniel was esteemed by God. It implies that God regarded Daniel as great. Greatness is not a future legacy that we will leave after our deaths. Rather it is our present anointing. No man could stand before or withstand Moses and Joshua on account of the calling of God and the anointing they had received.

The Lord makes us more than conquerors for conquerors stand to shed their own blood. They need to unsheathe their own swords and wield the shield of defence. We need not unsheathe nor wield neither sword nor shield. We only need to yield to Him and resist the enemy of our souls. Other conquerors use people as pawns to achieve their ends, sacrificing countless lives. Other conquerors rely on plans and strategies. Other conquerors are more feared than loved. We are loved by the Lord and called to love the world. Other conquerors aim at winning wealth and territory for themselves. We aim at winning souls. Other conquerors become instruments of death for both their enemies and their own followers. But we become instruments of abundant and eternal life in Christ. We rely on the Lord. The Lord will wrest victory for us not with His might or power but by His Spirit. Moses and the people of Israel did not have swords or shields or chariots to defend themselves against the mighty Egyptian Pharaoh and his army of chariots. They also did not have to flee but they were led, protected, provided for and ensured safe passage through the wilderness and the Red Sea. We do not use force or violence or the methods of our enemies. Yet the Lord will guarantee our place on the victory stand.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Power of Persistent Prayer

UV 1752/10000 The Power of Persistent Prayer
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Luke 18 v 7

Jesus spoke a parable about a wicked, hard hearted and atheistic judge on whose doors a widow knocked, crying for justice day and night continually. The judge was not even a humanist who did good for the sake of man and not God. He lived according to his own whims and followed his own lights and conceit. Yet, the judge could not bear the persistence of the widow and finally did justice to redress the grievance of the widow. We do not know what was her grievance whether her property was encroached or taken over by some oppressive person or her only son was killed by some violent and cruel person. But the hard hearted judge gave in to the woman’s pleas and rendered her justice. Jesus is saying that how much more would He hear the cries and prayers of His beloved people, the ones who both fear His justice and love His mercy. The uni-verse is an endorsement of focussed and persistent prayer.
We should not nurse our grievances ourselves but pray day and night to the Lord. We should not seek to avenge the wrongs done to us but continually appeal to the Lord for justice in every matter. The Lord is not like that wicked and hard hearted judge. His heart is moved by our sighs, moans, cries and even silent prayer. We are His and He is ours. We are His elect or chosen ones. We are the apple of His eye as a mother dotes on her only son. Vengeance and justice- we obtain from the Lord. He revels in throwing His immense power on the side of the weak, the oppressed, the wronged. He is our advocate. He pleads our case before the Father, pointing out how faithful we have been in the past, though we might have failed in the present matter. He defends us against all the accusations of the public prosecutor –the enemy of our souls.

Persistent prayer is rewarded. We need to pray with every breath. We need to hope under every breath. We need to continually connect with the Lord in spirit. I heard the touching story yesterday of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who thought to himself that he is the most devout follower of God as he prayed five times every day, did all his religious duties zealously, built mosques, gave alms and so on. But as he thought these proud thoughts, he saw a dream of the one whom God showed to be the most devout- a mere cobbler. He felt both angry and ashamed at God’s choice. He called the cobbler and asked him how often he prayed. The cobbler said that he had no time to go to the mosque, or to kneel and pray but as he worked with every move of his cobbler’s needle and every breath, he prayed and praised God. No wonder it was the cobbler and not the zealous emperor who touched the very heart of God. There is no wrong that the Lord cannot set right. There is no grievance He cannot redress.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Source of Our Strength

UV 1751/10000 The Source of Our Strength
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
I Chronicles 28 v 20

Solomon was still young when he inherited the throne. He was charged with the responsibility of building the Lord’s temple as per some plans and patterns that were revealed. He might have been intimidated at the size of the task and responsibility before him. It is at this time that David exhorts him to be strong, courageous, to do it, to not fear or be disappointed, that the Lord God, his God would be with him, that He would not fail him, forsake him till he had finished the work for the service of the house of the Lord. The same promise applies to each of us as challenges loom before us like mountains. He will be with us till we finish ALL the work for the service of the house of the Lord. It does not mean that the Lord will leave us at a particular point, when we have completed the assigned tasks. It means that the One who was with us from beyond the womb and beyond the tomb would abide with us and we with Him.

The exhortation to be strong implies that we need not to depend on our limited human strength but to depend on the strength of the Lord or to be strong in the Lord. We need to appropriate the grace and infinite power of the Lord along with the hope of the great promises He has given us in His Word. We use His strength to utilise opportunities, overcome our weaknesses, defeat the weaknesses of others, neutralise threats from within and without. Whatever plan the Lord has given us we should execute to the full and in the finest detail. Whatever decision we have taken we should carry out. Whatever talent or gift the Lord has given us we should utilise fully. The source of our strength is not our genes, our possessions, our position, our talents, our connections. It is I AM WHO I AM- I am your strength. This is the reason scripture states that “by strength no man can prevail.” This is also the reason Paul writes, “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Life is an enterprise that is too complicated to live alone, on one’s own strength but it is meant to be lived in partnership with the Lord.

To be courageous implies that we should act in such a way that we do not yield to fear. The fear of failure keeps many in the pits of mediocrity, keeps them from fulfilling their God-given potential, keeps them from utilising both their gifts and their opportunities, keeps them from setting their heights too high for the glory of God. The fear of happiness keeps many depressed, in perpetually low spirits, in continual guilt and regret. This is perhaps the reason that only one in ten leaders finish well in life and their work. The uni-verse says that we should not regret or be disappointed. To act courageously means to do things with all our heart, soul, mind and bodily strength. To act courageously would make us marked men and women as the enemy of our soul and those who are in his clutches would target us for he is a stealer, robber and killer. But the Lord says, “Do not fear.” To the world, fear could mean “ forget everything and run” but for us it means “forget everything and resist”. To not succumb to fear, to doubts, to regrets, to distractions, to worries, to guilt is to resist the enemy. The uni-verse also reminds us that we are not self –servers. We are here to serve in the house of the Lord. We need to re-assure us ourselves every day and every moment when we feel our strength or courage or spirit is sagging or flagging that WE WILL FINISH ALL THE WORK IN THE SERVICE OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD. We got to be at the feet of Jesus to draw our strength and courage, to be in the Spirit to overcome guilt, fears, regrets and every negativity of thought , emotion, word or deed. We got to cling to the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 8, 2016

To Be Fused and Used

UV 1750/10000 To Be Fused and Used
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6 v 18

Love is having a relationship with a person we can see, hear, touch and talk to. Faith is having a relationship with a Person we cannot see, hear, touch. But we can talk with the Father as a man talks to his friend. We can walk with the Lord as a lover walks hand in hand with his beloved. He beckons us to see and hear Him through His Word. The truth that He walks with us implies that He is with us every step of the way every day in every way. He is deep, intense, personal and real. He calls us not just to be His friends but His sons and daughters. We may not try to influence the character and behaviour of friends but we do try to influence, shape, groom, develop the attitudes, character and behaviour of our children. So also the Lord is keen to challenge us to change to match up with His own character and behaviour.

We need to be fused with the Lord before we can be used by Him effectively and extensively. We are rooted, grounded, grouted and grafted in Him. He supplies all that we need as we remain connected to our roots of faith. He promises to lead us by rivers of water in a straight path wherein we will not stumble. He gives us the privilege of being sons and daughters whereby we should exercise godly restraint and responsibility. He gives us the power to be sons and daughters whereby we should exercise godly power and gifts He has given to us. Friends are in a second circle while sons and daughters are in the inner circle. We are in the inner circle of God just as Jesus had three out of twelve disciples who were in His inner circle. As a father protects his children, provides for them, encourages, teaches, trains, blesses, equips, promotes them, the Lord provides, protects and promotes us. As a father delegates responsibilities to his children, so also He delegates powers and responsibilities to us to do on His behalf. But the Father in heaven has done what no earthly father would possibly do- to give up His son for the sake of sinful people.

We are led not by the spirit of bondage to this world and its spirits but we are led by the Spirit of God in our daily walk. We are to be free from all that contaminated us in the past and that could contaminate us in the present: pride, lust, envy, bitterness, untruth, laziness, selfishness and so on. We need to place many filters in our minds and lives to purify and refine us. The Lord also takes us through fire and water experiences to refine and perfect us. He disciplines us as we are His loving children. We are children of adoption and should not forfeit our rights of adoption by our misconduct such that the Lord disown us due to our wilful and unrepentant disobedience. We should be sensitive to the admonition of the Holy Spirit and constantly listen to His witness to our spirit. As children we are co-inheritors or co-heirs with Jesus to all the great and wonderful promises of God that equip us to be victorious in this world. We need to overcome the world and its temptations, endure our trials and suffering and declare that the Father is faithful, loving and truthful. We can indeed marvel at what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the sons of God.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Altar of Mount Moriah

UV 1749/10000 The Altar on Mount Moriah

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Genesis 22 v 14

God provides as this is of the essence of His nature. He has provided in the Earth’s nature, alone among all planets to this date, for the food, drink and shelter of all manner of creatures. But He has a special dispensation for mankind and an even more specific dispensation for those among mankind who love Him, trust Him, fear Him enough not to love evil. Yes, we have difficulties galore to surmount in our lives but the Lord is present in our midst as Jehovahjireh, my Provider. He is personal and specific in His timely and gracious provision to each of us according to our need. He provides according to His ability which is unlimited or infinite. We need not despair that Economics teaches us that human wants are unlimited for God’s ability and willingness to provide in response to our faith is also unlimited.

The seed for provision is supplied either in the spirit, physical or intellectual realms. Abraham was supplied the faith to reply to his son that “the Lord will provide the lamb for the sacrifice they had prepared themselves to do unto the Lord.” He prepared his tools, a knife and firewood and transport. Those words and his faithful and trusting as well as courageous actions to take his lone son of promise, born to his wife long past the child bearing age in obedience to the testing command of the Lord. Alas, for His Son the Jehovah allowed Him to not just pass a test but to go the whole tortuous way up to Golgotha or Calvary. The sheep that was caught in a bush by its horns getting trapped in it is a forerunner of the sacrifice of the only Son of God. Most of Jesus’ s miracles on earth are also manifestations of the “Jireh” aspect of godhead like His multiplying the few loaves of bread and fish or turning water into the best wine in the marriage feast at Cana. God does not want our lives to be a famine but a feast of joy, sufficiency if not abundance and celebration.

Each of us has had a “Mount Moriah” experience, a mount meaning some great need followed by our expressing words that become the seed of faith and our eyes beholding the provision of the Lord. If we take God at His Word, He takes us at our words. Our words become the seed for our need to be fulfilled by the Lord. After receiving the provision, whether by openly miraculous means or by a hidden miracle, we too like Abraham should erect an altar in the spirit before the Lord to worship Him right though our lives for this manifestation of His love, care and grace. The fathers of faith under the Old Covenant erected altars at the very site of their Moriah experience so that it would remind them and their generations of the goodness and kindness of the Lord. These altars were the milestones in their walk or journey back to God. If Abraham had indeed been allowed to sacrifice his son Isaac, it would have been a millstone around his life and the life of his wife Sarah. Their lives would have ended in tears and sorrow. But the Lord turned the millstone into a milestone to mark their leap of faith. An altar is writing in stone our gratitude and adoration for the Lord. Every time He alters our lives by His miraculous intervention of His provision, we should build an alter in the spirit inside the very heart of the temple of our own bodies. We should always keep the candles burning on these spiritual altars and a constant epiphany keeps rising to the Lord who provides. Instead of asking our Lord for the next need, let us thank Him for satisfying our last.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 6, 2016

Gateway of God

UV 1748/10000 Gateway of God

For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee
Psalm 147 v 13

The human mind is a gateway and not a getaway as most people seem to think. It is a gateway to help us understand who God is , how He rules, how He blesses. Prayer, praise and thanksgiving accompanied by a desire to live a righteous, God-fearing and God-loving life are the gateway to God. Jesus is the gateway to such a blessed life as He declared Himself to be the Door. Jesus paid the bill for our gates. As the great shepherd He is, He laid His body at the gate to the sheep. We get entrance to the kingdom of God through our faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit is sent to strengthen the bars of our gates in a variety of ways. If we keep the door of our hearts locked, God will not enter our lives. Gates are located at a strategic part of a building, a home or a city. Gates are a metaphor for the protective barriers that the Lord erects in the spirit around us. When the hinges of our minds rotate on the Word, the Lord builds our home, builds a wall around it, places strong gates at the entrance such that no evil can come in and the inmates are protected from temptations wherever they go. The difference between an opportunity and a temptation is that the pain is experienced before the opportunity is availed while pain is experienced after one yields to a temptation. The Lord strengthens the bars of our gates so that we do not get tempted, if tempted, we do not yield.

The bars of our spiritual gates that determines what comes in, what stays and what goes out of our lives are strengthened by teaching, by leading of the Holy Spirit, by our experiences and the lessons life teaches us. The Lord desires that we avail opportunities and enjoy the blessings He sends our way. We should not be found wanting or sleeping at the time. He equally desires that we repel temptations and the tempter of our lives. He places evil detectors just as the police use metal detectors to detect bombs and other harmful substances in places that are secured. Just as bombs are camouflaged and hidden in cargo, shoes, bags, clothing, inner garments, evil is often disguised as good and makes many attempts to enter our lives to advance the design of the enemy to steal our peace, rob our health and kill our souls. The Lord assures us of all round security as long as we are focussed and hinged on Him. He gives us the freedom to go into the world and come back but we need to erect some gates that separate us from the world. The protective promises of scripture like Psalm 91 and Psalm 121 are gateways of such protection. The provision promises like Psalm 23 are the gateways of our material need in this world being met. The promotion promises are the gateways to the next level.

As long as we hold onto the bars of His gates and enter it with thanksgiving and praise, the Lord hears us, strengthens us, blesses, equips, enables, empowers each of us and our children, too and their children after them. The process of strengthening us is a lifelong process. He strengthens us so that we can endure much pressure, so that we do not cave in and give a free run to the dark forces of this world. Gates are not only for security for they add to the beauty of an edifice. The gates are the symbol of cities and nations: indicating where one country ends or one city ends and another begins. It carries the symbol or logo of the one living or working in an office or home. Our gateways indicate where our engagement with this world ends and where the kingdom of God begins. Heaven has gates of pearl indicating the significance the Lord attaches to gates. Our testimonies are the beautiful gates of our lives that attract others to enter the kingdom of God. The many hurts, setbacks, turnarounds, triumphs over trauma of our lives constitute the bars of these pearly gates just as irritation and hurt causes the oyster to secrete the substance that hardens into amazing pearls.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 5, 2016


UV 1747/10000

Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
Exodus 18 v 21

Whether a person is the captain of a small boat or a big ship, the rules of navigation of leadership remains the same. He needs to chart the course for the vessel to reach the port of destination. He needs to provide supplies for the crew. He has to take steps for the security of the vessel. He has to maintain discipline on board. He has to plan and be ready for contingencies and emergencies Above all, he should know the direction in which he should sail. He should have a compass or GPS to guide him. The complexity might increase but the rules and principles of leadership remain the same. Jethro underlined the basic principles of leadership. Ability to lead, rule, govern, judge is a given. It is a basic consideration to choose people to occupy positions of leadership. But more fundamentally, they should possess qualities and attitude of fear of God, integrity and hatred, not mere dislike of covetousness. The fear of God is the fountainhead of wisdom, of values in actual practice as against mere advocacy or professing to possess the values.
A person with ability of a high order but without the fear of God will become a law unto himself once he is clothed with authority over others. He does not hold himself accountable to those he leads. He is filled with pride and arrogance. He begins to exploit those he leads instead of serving them. If he fear s God and knows he is accountable not just for every action or reaction but for every word and even thought or emotion, he will correct himself whenever he goes wrong. If he is a believer, he will be sensitive to the whispers and promptings of the Holy Spirit and walk in the path of righteousness indicated by the Holy Spirit. All the systems of man and attempts to prevent and often even detect and punish corruption in all nations have failed in keeping the leaders on the straight and narrow.
A person who fears the Lord loves the truth hidden in His Word and learns to cherish and treasure it more than necessary food. He will be diligent in unearthing the truth and abiding by it. Even if he fails or falls, he will rise up every time and try to avoid the pitfalls of leadership. Those who neither know the truth nor have a desire to know it are like the blind leading the blind. They appear to lead but do not know where they are heading. They are like a ship without rudder or helm. They will fall into the pits of untruth and unrighteousness and lead many others also into it. A person who loves the truth will hate dishonest gain and injustice. The principles of life and leadership that underline every uni-verse steers them and leads him through the storms of life. He derives his vision from his values. He knows where he is going and where he is leading the led. He is deeply anchored in the values that give him strength and courage to face the high seas of life. He is never insecure as his faith in the Lord keeps him grounded and on an even keel at the best and worst of times.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Divine Mindfulness

UV 1746/10000 Purposeful Divine Mindfulness
The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
Psalm 115 v 12

Today, mindfulness is taught and practiced as part of the New Age movement. But mere mindfulness is vain like all of human pursuits unless we are mindful of the Lord, His presence, His praise, His Word, His glory, His beauty, His goodness, His grace. Since we are in a covenant relationship with the Lord as a wife with her husband, the mindfulness is mutual. Even as the Lord is mindful of us, we too need to be mindful of the Lord. He is mindful of our prayers, of our needs and desires, of our thoughts and feelings. Similarly, we need to be mindful of the feelings, thoughts and will of the Lord. To be mindful means to be continually aware of whoever or whatever we are being mindful of. To be mindful of the Lord and His Word will give us a glimpse or insight into the very mind of Christ. Paul exhorts us to have the mind of Christ. Christ during His earthly sojourn was mindful of the Father always. He was mindful of the Father’s will. He was mindful of the Father’s greatness, love and compassion. He was mindful of every word spoken from the mouth of God through the prophets of Israel and other men of God. He was mindful of the power of God. He was mindful of the justice of Jehovah. The Father is mindful of us to provide a Saviour from His own being. He is mindful of us to watch over us day and night without slumber. He is mindful of us to know us inside out. He is mindful of us to send us the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and lead us. We need to practice a similar mindfulness.

When we practice mindfulness of the Lord, He will bless us. His presence accompanies when we are mindful of Him and not when we ignore Him. He will bless us to gain greater strength even in our struggles as Israel meant “struggle with God.” Jacob was first called Israel as he wrestled with the angel of the Lord and released him only when the latter blessed him. Jacob’s life as a fugitive from God, from his own home, from the land of Canaan, of fleeing from the truth ended at that moment. From that moment he was blessed. He was blessed with many children or heirs. He was blessed in material terms with lands and cattle. The angel being much mightier could have knocked Jacob off his feet with one blow. But the Lord does not wrestle with man to defeat us, to frustrate us, to strain us but to train us to be mindful. After such an encounter with the Lord, we will ever remember His mercy, grace and power. Our fickle minds will develop the ability to focus. To be mindful of the Lord is to have our minds saturated with the Word and our hearts soaking in worship and adoration, our thoughts dripping with gratitude, our wills surrendered to do the Lord’s bidding, our lips focussed on His praise, our emotions lifted up in joy in the presence of the Lord. Mindfulness to be purposeful is continual prayer, continual dialogue, continual meditation, continual worship, continual fellowship with the Lord. To be mindful of the infinite love, mercy, power and grace of the Tri-une God is both a privilege and a fountainhead of blessings.

When we are mindful of the Lord, we are blessed like Aaron. We will be a priest in His eyes like Aaron. We will be consecrated for service by the Spirit of the Lord. We will be blessed to be a spokesperson for the Lord on earth. Everything we do will be blessed and bloom and blossom like the almond branch of Aaron. We will be like the olive branch that is always dipped in the oil of the lamp. We will be like the golden lamp whose oil is always full. The Lord will make us fruitful in all we attempt. The Lord will give us the tongue of the learned. To be mindful of the Lord is to be always learning at His feet like Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Every place we go to will be a “Bethel”- the house of God. Divine Mindfulness affects deeply the totality of our being, our experiences, our circumstances, our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Double Edged Covenant

UV 1745/10000 The Double Edged Covenant
If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
Psalm 132 v 12

Our covenant relationship with the Lord is eternal or everlasting. It passes from generation to generation as long as our children keep the covenant and live testimonial lives in the way that the Lord and we have taught them. They will be greatly blessed and the nations will be blessed through them. They will occupy respectable seats wherever they go. The Lord will never lie to David or to us. He is faithful to His promises through a thousand generations. IF our children disobey their covenant, the Lord will correct, chastise and admonish them as a parent corrects her children. But He will not utterly forsake them. He will give them many chances to return to Him. A covenant relationship is a real time relationship tested by many changes in circumstances. In every situation or circumstance, the Lord will send His anointing, His enablement, His guidance, His empowerment, His protection and His specific Word. We prove our faithfulness by holding onto our hope and His Word even when the results we are hoping for are not yet visible or evident.

The Lord who placed His anointing on us, His word in our mouths will place His anointing on our children and on our children’s children. It shall not depart or leave their lives or their mouths. His Word is a spiritual seed that is planted in them and it will grow to bless and cause them to flourish in every way. Our descendants will retain the favour of the Lord forever. This uni-verse gives us the assurance that our generations will be blessed and that they will be a source of blessing. If good seed is planted it produces a good tree with good fruit. If evil seed is planted, it produces a bad tree with bad fruit. Similarly, some of David’s sons turned out to be evil like Absalom. The books of Kings and Chronicles is replete with testimonies of both kinds of heirs of kings- the good and the evil.

A covenant is not one –sided. It is mutually binding. This is the reason that when some of the heirs of kings of Israel departed from the anointing of David and they ceased to both fear and love the Lord, they lost the plot. They suffered defeat at the hand of their enemies and were routed and put to shame and even death. This is the reason this uni-veres begins with “If”. The blessings of covenant are conditional to the depth and intimacy of our relationship with the Lord. It is double-edged: if we are faithful to the covenant of our forefathers with the Triune God, we will be greatly blessed. If we prove ourselves faithless, we will be greatly punished and the grace of God or His favour is withdrawn from our lives. We are to imitate the positive actions and attitudes of the positive models in scripture and avoid the negative actions and attitudes of the negative models in scripture.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 2, 2016

Seeking First to Last

UV 1473/10000 Seeking First to Last
And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper
2 Chronicles 26 v 5

This uni-verse was spoken of Uzziah the king who did right like his father Amaziah before him. Uzziah prayed to the Lord at the young age of sixteen and the Lord prospered him in every way. He was given many spiritual gifts. He could understand visions. He implemented many plans and built many institutions and structures in Israel. Zechariah and Isaiah were two great prophets who lived during his reign. He was given many military victories. His enemies were defeated. He had a long reign of more than five decades. All these blessings he was given as he had sought the Lord as a teenager.

Uzziah in later years became proud and tried to take the place of the priests in making an offering in the temple. He was resisted by the priests and he was afflicted with leprosy that never left him till the end. This is a warning to us who are faithful. The Lord will raise us up and cause us to flourish. At the time we should not begin to think that it is our own doing. Pride will creep in subtly like a serpent and take control of our actions and reactions. We should continue to humbly seek the Lord and His will every day of our lives. He will never resist the humble but will give grace. We should remember that the same Lord who lifted us up can cast us down.

We need to seek the Lord diligently. It implies that we should study our own heart’s motives for many actions and reactions. We need to cleanse ourselves of anything that might offend Him. Studying the Word diligently and applying it to our lives, learning to avoid the mistakes of the negative models and imitating the positive ones will help us be focussed and consistent in our walk with the Lord. Seeking the Lord as a teenager is the secret of my success, too. From the very first day I humbled myself and sought the Lord, He has blessed me and raised me up. The biggest challenge to faith comes when the Lord lifts us up. It is the equivalent of the temptation of power when Jesus was taken to a high point and shown the whole of Jerusalem. Satan told Him that all this would be His if He only fell down and worshipped him. David fell to the sin of adultery with Bathsheba at the pinnacle of his success. We need to take the counsel of the Holy Spirit at every moment and be sensitive as well as responsive to His promptings. The Lord tests our hearts as to how we behave both in the high points and in the valleys of our lives. He is pleased to find that we are equally penitent, humble and faithful when the going is good and the going is bad. He wants to know where our heart’s priorities lie, whether we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, whether we continue to seek His righteousness when He has granted us our desires and fulfilled our needs. He wants all weather friends, not opportunists and self -seeking time servers. This is the reason many leaders who begin well finish badly. It is said that only one out of ten leaders finish well. He will help us finish well as we have begun well with His help provided we continue to acknowledge, humble ourselves and depend on His grace, help and leading till the very end.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Stones of Our Help

UV 1742/10000 The Stones of Our Help
Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
I Samuel 7 v 12
A stone is a symbol of strength, endurance and power. A stone can also be a weapon and an instrument in our hands. A stone has weight. The Lord is the “stone of our help.” He has given us many “ metaphoric” stones for our help. David picked up five stones from the stream as he went to confront Goliath as he took into consideration the fact that Goliath had four brothers who were giants and champions like him. We need to pick up the promises of the Lord that have been shaped and made smooth by the river of the Holy Spirit. Just as David placed his stone in his sling, our requests, needs and dreams are loaded on the sling of our prayers and praise and it reaches the very heart of God. We need to carry the stones of the promises of the Lord in the pockets of our memories, faithful imagination and hearts. We cannot find them when we need them unless we are loaded with the stones of the Lord. The Lord who has received our praise, heard our prayers, answered, met our needs, fulfilled our dreams and granted our requests this far in our lives will be the mighty stone of our help.

As Samuel made an offering to the Lord, He thundered upon the Philistines’ army and they were shocked and scattered. The Israelites routed the Philistines. After the great victory, Samuel offered his thanksgiving and adoration by placing a stone between Mizpeh and Shen, calling it Ebenezer. The promises of the Lord are the stones of His specific help in different situations in our lives hitherto. Each uni-verse is a divinely provided and shaped stone to build us up, to help us, to lead us. Like stones, the promises of the Lord are weighty since they are truthful and the Lord is faithful to His promises so that no word of it fails or disappoints all who place their trust in it. Like stones, the promises of the Lord outlast the ages. When I look back, He has helped me in my career, personal life and family life. Even as I write He has thundered in the ears of my enemies as He has promised and scattered them. Hence, no man or giant can stand before us for the Lord is with us as He was with Moses and Joshua. As scripture says, “No dog can raise its tongue against us. “ No weapon can be forged or developed against us as we take our stand of faith upon the name of Jesus and on the strength and assurance that His promises provide us. Jesus is the Rock of our Escape. He is the Rock of ages and cleft for us, a shelter from the heat, a refuge from the storms of life. What the enemy plans as millstones around our necks, the Lord turns into milestones on our covenant journey back to Him.

The ancient Israelites including Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, Samuel set up memorials unto the Lord by placing stones or a heap of stones at different strategic times and places in their lives when the Lord gave them decisive victory. Abraham intended it as an altar. Jacob intended it as a memorial and as a witness. Joshua placed several stones as a thanksgiving for giving Israel victory over 31 kings in their conquest of the promised land. Samuel placed it as an act of worship and thanksgiving. Samuel placed it at Mizpeh which means watchtower. The Lord builds a watchtower in the vineyard of our lives. He watches over us day and night. He supervises even our dreams. We need to constantly recall all the ways in which the Lord has helped us hitherto. We will then be built up, shaped as living stones in the house or the eternal temple of the Lord. The living temple of the Lord is built around the cornerstone of Jesus. Jesus is the rock, the foundation, the keystone as well as the capstone. He went to the bottom of the heap to lift us up and hold us there. The Book of Revelation says that He has given us a white stone. He makes us pure and perfect as a white stone in the course of our lives. He changes us from within so that we are transformed from being an out of shape or useless stone for building into a perfect and precious stone. He corrects our angularities and makes the rough places smooth. All the ways in which the Lord has enabled us, equipped us, vindicated us, provided for us become a cairn or collection of spiritual stones that will be our enduring testimony to outlast the ages.
Prateep V Philip

New concepts : “covenant journey”: a life of commitment to God, to relationships, to principles and to people