Sunday, July 31, 2016

Six Pack Power

UV 2026/10000 Six Pack Power
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
I Timothy 4 v 12
St Paul wrote that physical exercises are of some value while spiritual exercises that build godliness in us are of infinite value. While we can put a number to measure various parameters of our physical health and fitness, we cannot fully measure our spiritual health and fitness. In the present age, a six pack bod is considered the acme or dream of every person wanting to be fit and seen to be fit. Similarly, we can develop our spiritual health and fitness to be a six pack source of power. The comparison is quite apt for faith is said to be like a muscle. If we use it, it develops. IF we don’t use it, we lose it.

The first pack of power is the Word. We need to read, study, memorise, analyse, meditate and apply the Word in our daily lives. My personal trainer emphasizes the importance of right type and quantity as well as quality of nutrients we need as carbs, proteins, minerals, vitamins and fibre in every meal. He says that fifty per cent is his contribution as a coach who makes us push ourselves beyond our comfort zone while fifty per cent is our own efforts in terms of an exercise regimen, diet and discipline. Similarly, 50 per cent in our developing six pack spiritual power is the work of the Holy Spirit while 50 per cent lies in our regular intake of the Word- the various parts of the Word like the Psalms, the proverbs, the prophets, the gospels, the epistles, the books of history taking the place of the components of food. The promises of the Lord are the protein that builds our faith muscles.
The other spiritual packs of power in our lives are prayer, praise and worship. We need to discipline our lives and our tongues so that our thoughts, words and conduct are pleasing to the Lord. We need to do what we read, studied, meditated and understood in the Word. The application of at least one thing that we learnt from the Word is a great way to build spiritual muscle mass. It extends the borders or boundaries of our faith and deepens our relationship with the Lord. We need to keep cutting the flab or whatever is in excess or unwanted in our lives or submit ourselves to the process of purification and refinement of our whole being. Our heart has to be purified in terms of motives and desires. Our priority should be the work , the word and the will of the Lord. Our eyes and senses need to be purified of the basic lusts. Our thought process should be purified so that we follow after righteousness and flee from all lustful thoughts and desires. It is said that if we are in love with the process, the results will follow. If we do all these things passionately, consistently and with increasing determination and discipline, the result would be spiritual health, vigour and fitness which is far more valuable than physical health and fitness.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 29, 2016

Open Gate Policy

UV 2025/10000 Open Gate Policy
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought
Isaiah 60 v 11
We should always keep our gates of our inner being open for the Lord. Our gates of prayer and praise unto the Lord should not be closed by day or night. As long as the Lord is with us and in us, there is no night or darkness. For it is written in the book of Revelation that in heaven, the gates are not shut as there is no night there. The presence of the Lord makes our lives and all things bright as daylight. These are the spiritual gateways to our minds and souls and spirits. We are not like the candle blowing in the wind, soon to be extinguished but we are to be an eternal excellency, the joy of many generations. The forces of the unbelievers or Gentiles will be drawn to us as flies to the light. We should be open to the possibility that the Lord will speak to us anytime, anywhere. Open to His touch. Open to learning from Him. Open to confess. Open to correction. Open to be blessed and enlarged by Him.
As our spiritual gates are always open, the riches of eternal life flow in and out of us as trade flows through the city gates of Jerusalem during the days of yore. We are not to shut ourselves up in closed communities but always interact and have an ongoing interface with those who do not believe. When they see how blessed we are and how the power and grace of God is manifest in our lives, they would become curious and interested to know more. Even the elite or the rulers and influential among them would like to possess the peace and joy of our faith.
The uni-verse asks us to always keep an open door to the seeker of truth and salvation. All human beings are different and diverse by race, nationality, religion, color, gender, culture, class, talent, ability, strength, means, occupation and DNA but our essential unities in our similar aspirations, needs, vulnerabilities are the bridge that connects each of us with all of us. One of our common needs and the greatest, deepest is every human being’s need to be saved. Both Jew and Gentile are in need of knowing and receiving Jesus as their personal saviour and Lord. For that to happen their mental gateways need to remain open and not closed and our heart’s gateway of compassion and love need to be always open. Salvation is a free gift available to all without regard to race, religion, culture, language, gender, age, nationality. Attempts to shut God out of schools, universities, court rooms, legislatures in the name of secularism in the USA and Europe has led to the widespread trends of depravity and lack of spiritual moorings in those countries. In Russia recently Putin’s edict to proscribe evangelism outside the church has led to a dramatic increase in hearing the gospel. Attempts to shut God out of countries have the opposite effect as we have seen in China and Russia. As evidence, in the last couple of days, the number of readers of uni-verse in Russia has increased dramatically, overtaking that of any other single country. Unwittingly, some of us have shut doors to the Lord in certain areas of our lives. It might be a habit we need to change, a belief we need to give up, a tradition we need to break.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Seed, Food, Rain and Gladness

UV 2024/10000 Seed, Food, Rain and Gladness

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
Act 14 v 17

This uni-verse testifies that the Lord has done good unto us. He has given us evidence or witness of His extreme love. The rain from heaven is a metaphor for all the amazing blessings, gifts and grace He has showered upon us. We need to be intensely thankful for the “rain” He has sent upon us. If such rain was not sent by the Lord, our lives would have been full of thorns and thistles or pain and barrenness. But by sending His showers of blessing in response to our faith, our obedience and prayers, He has filled our fields or our lives with fruitful trees. The first shower of blessings we receive are to soften the ground or our hearts and to soften the seed so that the tiny roots spring out. The second rain of blessings is to ripen the fruit or to bring us to maturity in Christ. Seasons of fruitfulness refers to times of good results,of productivity and creativity. He brings us in due time into seasons of fruitfulness or seasons of love, peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, patience and for the exercise of self control. Once we receive the mustard seed of faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord into our hearts, the seeds of greatness are also sown in us by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual fruit we bear are the evidence of the Lord working in our lives for He is known as the Lord of the harvest. The quality of the fruit is more important than the quantity. Sowing is a season or time of building hope, faith, love. Weeding is a time of disciplining. Harvesting is a time for joy. TImely blessings and answers to prayer are the rain that comes in season.

When the Lord reigns in our hearts, our bodies become the kingdom, the church, the temple of God. When He reigns He feeds our hearts with joy, love and peace in abundance. As Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the Father.” Food as we know are of different types: protein to build our bodies, carbohydrates to provide energy, minerals and vitamins needed for metabolism. Similarly, the spiritual food that our hearts feed on consists of the promises of the Lord that are the protein to build our faith, the psalms and songs of praise are the carbohydrates that fill us with enthusiasm or the energy of the Lord, the teachings and examples of the biblical leaders and prophets are the fruit and vegetables that furnish us which supply us with the spiritual vitamins and nutrients for strength, vigour. In order to be spiritually healthy we need to have a balanced diet every day. A sign of good spiritual health is a sense of inner joy and peace or gladness.

Every farmer keeps a portion of the wheat and grain harvested as seed to sow in the next season of sowing. Similarly, we need to reserve part of the food we are given, the blessings we have received and use it to sow into the kingdom, in the hearts and lives of people in need. The Lord will use that seed, the words we have spoken or the acts of grace and mercy we have undertaken to provide fruitful seasons in their lives. At different stages of our lives, the enemy plants weeds among the seed. We need to find these weeds and uproot them before they outgrow the fruitful plants. The weeds can be in the form of distraction, worry, fears, lack of enthusiasm for the work of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spiritual Habits that Renew, Restore, Prosper Us

UV 2023/10000 Spiritual Habits that Renew, Restore, Prosper Us
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

We need to keep turning to the Lord in prayer and with thanksgiving every day and in every situation and circumstance. He will strengthen us and equip us for the tests and trials of the day. He renews us. We are not to be prisoners of sorrow, frustration, anxiety or anger and hopelessness but we are declared prisoners of hope, the hope that the gospel inspires in us. We expect to hear good to great news breaking out in our lives. We gain strength and grace in every negative situation we face. We gain more from negativity and adversity than from good times and favourable circumstances. Our endurance when it is tested gives rise to the patience of the faithful and patience gives rise to character and character gives rise to hope.

The Lord not only renews us, He restores us. IF there is anything that we have lost in the past, He does not merely restore it but He restores a double portion of it. If we have been shamed, instead of shame we will be given double honour as Mordecai was honoured with the horse and position as well as authority of Haman. Like Job who was severely tested by the enemy of our souls, the Lord will make our latter half even more blessed and prosperous than before. If we received our former blessings as a shower or rain, now will receive it as a flood.

We need to continually agree with the declaration of these promises by the Lord by thanking and praising Him for the hope it inspires in us. It is not an empty or baseless hope but one founded on the solid guarantee of Jesus that His words and His Father’s will are in alignment. He is our refuge in good times as well as in times of trouble. We can rush to Him and hide under His wings of prayer and the Word as chicks run to hide under their mother’s wings as soon as they sense any danger. Adam and Eve hid from the Lord when they became aware with new knowledge that they were naked. Instead of hiding from God our shame and pain, we need to confide in Him and He will restore us to a double portion of His inheritance. Whenever and wherever we feel a sense of restriction, inhibition, absence of the presence of God, fear, doubt, negative thoughts and emotions, threats or any other vulnerability, we should rush to the Lord. The Lord will break iron bars and bronze gates to set us free from all bondages, anything that inhibits us or restricts us. We need to knit these healthy spiritual habits in our daily schedule : praise, pray, confess, declare and possess the double portion.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Challenge of Faithfulness

UV 2022/10000 The Challenge of Faithfulness
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow
2 Samuel 23 v 5
David was looking back at his entire life from the perspective of his relationship with the Lord and found that while he himself was found wanting in many aspects, the Lord had been faithful to Him in every way. It is true that when we are weak, we are strong and when we are strong, we are weak. When David was young, weak and vulnerable, he depended on the Lord. When he became strong, a powerful and victorious king, he stopped depending on the Lord. He had been faithful as a shepherd boy but as a king, he had failed the Lord and broken the covenant by committing adultery with Bathsheba and getting her husband Uriah deliberately killed in battle. The Lord did not play favourites and overlook the weakness of his chosen king and leader of Israel. He pointed it out without mincing any words through the prophet Nathan. David repented and was restored to the covenant relationship. But David had to pay a price for his failure all through the remaining years of his life. He experienced strife and struggle with his own family and sons. The power of the Almighty was responsible for his anointing and elevation as king of Israel. The counsel of the counsellor gave him wisdom to rule and lead wisely. The Prince of Peace imparted the peace that passes understanding to David in impossible situations. But it was the love of the Everlasting Father that restored him when he repented. In each part of the covenant the Lord manifests His love, power and grace in different ways.
We should not wait for the end of our lives but we need to constantly ask if our house or the way we and our families lead our lives are acceptable and pleasing to God. This is our fit response to the covenant of love the Lord has offered us. The covenant is basically a personal and eternal relationship with Almighty God, with His Wonderful person, with a Counsellor, with an Everlasting Father, with the Prince of Peace. The relationship is perfected or ordered in all its parts when we too live a life that is worthy of such love and grace. Though our salvation is not obtained by our merits or our good works, we are called now to live a life that demonstrates that we are experiencing the love of an everlasting Father, the peace that the Prince of Peace imparts, the wisdom of the Counsellor and the wonders that the Lord does. We should humble ourselves and be in awe of the power and mercy of the Almighty that enables us who are in no way equal to Him, have a relationship with Him.
Salvation is primarily an experience of love. It is a result of faith. We also experience the wisdom and power of the Lord in our lives. At all times, the peace of the Lord surrounds us and fills us. The Lord counsels us in our decisions. As a counsellor, He trains, comforts, guides, strengthens and coaches us. We need to treasure our salvation and not take it for granted or lightly, consider it as more important and significant than any other experience of our lives. We need to be passionate about sharing our experience of salvation with others. At each stage of our lives, we need to discipline our bodily passions and submit our wills to the Lord so that our house or our relationship is consistently right with the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 25, 2016

Escaping Snares and Cares

UV 2021/10000 Escaping Snares and Cares
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
Luke 21 v 34
We are to pay attention to our inner self and the way we lead our lives. We should not allow ourselves to be lured into drunkenness, excessive revelling and the obsessions of this world. As spiritual watchmen called by the Lord, our first duty is to watch ourselves. Neither should we allow ourselves to be weighed down by worries and anxieties of this world. We should trust the Lord to more than adequately meet our basic needs. We should always watch out for the coming of the Master. When He returns He should find our lamps burning bright, our faith fanned into full flame. He should find us fully clothed in the clothes of salvation and not naked or bereft of the insignia of a living faith. It needs a living faith to connect to a living God. All of us have desires of body, heart and mind. Some of these desires are legitimate and worthy. But our heart's desire or our core desire, our highest desire should be for the Lord. When that is so, we will not exchange our heart's desire for any lesser desire. The Lord having taken charge of our hearts will then not allow us to be trapped by the enemy in the area of our less than legitimate desires.
Watching ourselves implies that we should daily spend time in the presence of the Lord and examine our lives in His light to find if there is anything that offends Him. Our introspection should be guided by the Holy Spirit so that He flashes the torchlight on the areas in our lives where we need to make amends. The Word is the plumbline we should use to build the spiritual walls straight and strong around us. Like Daniel we should read the signs of the times and the writing on the wall and be able to interpret it correctly. We need to pray always so that we are counted worthy to escape the snares of the enemy and ruler of this world. The enemy prepares individual-specific snares taking into account our own inner weaknesses whether it is a tendency towards lust of the eye, lust of the flesh or pride of life. If he cannot ensnare or distracts us with pleasures that take advantage of our own hidden desires, thoughts, intentions and words, he disturbs us with cares or worries.
Prayer is a legitimate escape route from the snares and troubles of this world. Praise and worship are like an elevator that takes us into the presence of the Lord. The Word is a torchlight that guides us through the escape route into the elevator. Once we are on the elevator, we reach the level at which the Lord dwells. We can take shelter here under His shadow and under His wings from the temptations and troubles that overtake the faithless. Nothing that the enemy of our souls throws at us would no longer surprise us or ensnare us. The reference to Day implies that our lives in this world are like a time of darkness. Our knowledge of the Lord is partial and limited. We can choose to live in such a way that the Lord is watching us or be oblivious of His existence. We are to be as desirous of escaping from temptations and compromises with this world as we are desirous of escaping dangers and threats.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Four Mountain Top Experiences

UV 2020 /10000 Four Mountain Top Experiences
And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.
Jeremiah 50 v 19

This uni-verse is a prophetic word and promise of four types of blessings. Carmel is the place where the Lord gave the prophet Elijah decisive victory over the prophets of Baal. It is a promise of peace and outstanding spiritual blessings. We shall feed on these blessings and be spirit-filled and spiritually fruitful. Bashan stands for fertile land or a time of being professionally blessed and lifted up by the Lord. Ephraim is the Hebrew name given to Joseph’s second son born in Egypt. It means fruitful. It is a sign that our children and family would be fruitful. Gilead, of course refers to the Balm of Gilead and it implies that the Lord will restore healing to our bodies, minds and souls in the areas of hurt, sickness or injury.
In other words, the uni-verse promises four types of fruitfulness. Fruitfulness in the kingdom of God is a synonym for blessings and blessedness. Only the hand of the Lord can bless us. We can plan, work for it and attain it. It is unattainable except in the house of the Lord. The Lord inhabits our praises and listens to our prayers. The house of the Lord is a house of prayer and praise and thanksgiving. The Lord shall satisfy us, our bodies, minds and spirits. The Word is a cornucopia of blessings, cornucopia being a goat’s horn filled with fruit, flowers and corn to the point of overflowing. As a result , as we remain faithful to His Word and live in obedience and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we will never be short on blessing.
If we locate these places on the map of modern Israel, they are neighbouring territories, implying that the Lord will be leading us in our life’s journey from an experience of Carmel to an experience of Bashan, from an experience of Ephraim to an experience of Gilead. The words “I will bring Israel” implies the time will come when our struggles will end and we have lasting and all round peace. It is something the Lord does consciously and wilfully does to and for one who has a responsive and believing heart. It is neither an accident nor the result of any work or effort on our part. It is a work of grace. It is not meant to feed our lusts or our pride but to impart lasting joy and to prove the Lord is faithful to His promises to all generations. Life is a pilgrimage in which we do not traverse deserts and mountains, complete an arduous journey fraught with risks and hardship but a pilgrimage of joy in which the Lord brings His peace and fruit to us for us to consume and be joyful, healthy and graceful. We do not need to climb to mountain tops. The Lord will bring the mountains to us. In another sense, every difficulty and challenge in our lives will be a source of a different type of blessing, grace and strength. He will place us on the mountain top and lift us into His kingdom from there as He lifted Jesus, the Risen Son and Saviour from the Mount of Olives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Unction in Our Function

UV 2019/10000 Unction in Our Function
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well
Psalm 139 v 14

Our bodies are built like a beautiful cathedral to the Lord. The bishop of our souls who dwells therein is Jesus. Today, He is our good Shepherd. He meets with all our needs. He is the source of our security, our satisfaction and our joy. He has created us privately, miraculously and wonderfully in our mothers’ wombs. He has shaped our intellects and made us unique. Nobody is the same. Everyone of us is distinct right from the cellular level or in terms of our DNA fingerprint. Each of us have an unique eye. Each has unique gait. Each has an unique voice. Each has unique fingerprints and footprints. Our situations, families and circumstances are also unique and different. The Lord would not have paid such attention to detail except it is to distinguish us, to show us that He has an unique purpose for each of our lives. The laws by which our bodies function are part of our covenant with the Lord, our personal pact with our Maker and Redeemer.

Yet none of us are self sufficient. The strongest, the most powerful, the most gifted among us are equally vulnerable and weak. The Lord has made us fearfully such that we cannot function effectively without His help and unction. Even the organs of our bodies are in reverence of the Lord. This is the reason that when we command healing to happen in respect of any ailing organ in the name of Jesus, healing takes place. Our souls know these things without any external instruction as the remnant of the spirit of God exists in the natural man. We however often take for granted our bodies and the wonderful and miraculous way they are constructed and the marvellous way they work in unison and harmony like a million member orchestra. We assume that good health is our birth right. We abuse our bodies with food, drink, tobacco, narcotic substances, disfiguring it with horrendous tattoos and body piercing, with habits that are either indolent or destructive. We pay attention to our bodies only when sickness or injury affects us. Some of us pay too much attention to the body to the neglect of the mind or soul and spirit. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in catering to the needs of the spirit, mind and body or the whole being. All the parts of the body are held in a wonderful but fragile balance or equilibrium. The Lord preserves this equilibrium in all aspects and parts of our lives through His wonderful works.

A cathedral without a bishop however grand is not a cathedral. A palace without a king, however glorious, is not a palace. The focus of our minds and bodies, the locus of our existence is the Lord God. He is the One who holds all the bones, tissues , tendons, muscles and joints in place and causes it to function marvellously. He is the One who knows us inside out. Just as a compass firmly placed on a locus draws a perfect circle around it, so also as we fix the compass of our priorities and values firmly in the Lord, our lives too would be wonderful, marvellous and joyful. We need to often, if not continually praise our Designer, Maker and Redeemer for our bodies, for His works of purification, perfection, protection, provision, promotion and preservation in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 22, 2016

Salvation Begins Now

UV 2018/10000 Salvation Begins Now

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Psalm 50 v 15

The Lord asks us to watch and pray as the whole world is going to be turned upside down virtually with various terrible incidents and unprecedented attacks in many cities, nations and states. People will be stunned. But the Lord expects us to pray at all times and especially in the day of trouble. Each day has its own troubles and hence, no day can go without prayer. Prayer is like a watchman reporting to the master, the owner of the house. We need to be vigilant and alert like a watchman. We must look for signs or tell tale evidence like a watchman. We are reporting to the Lord the threats and dangers the world is facing. The Lord delivers us from all our troubles and our fears. Each problem in our life marks a milestone. Each threat and obstacle is a rung in Jacob’s dream ladder or stairway to heaven. The angel of deliverance stands on each rung or step. Each experience of deliverance enriches and deepens our faith and our intimacy with the Lord. Each takes us to the next level of faith, love and hope. Faith is about belief, love is about character and hope is about fulfilment of our earthly and eternal needs. It is said that troubles can make a person better or bitter. For a believer, troubles are the Lord’s message to make us better and never bitter.

The Lord will comfort us and strengthen us from within such that His name is glorified. Many of the rulers and leaders of this world need people to guard them but the Lord does not need security. He provides security to His people. When we see the amazing ways in which He safeguards and delivers us from fears and troubles, we will spontaneously worship and adore Him. Salvation is not something that happens after death but it begins here and now. Salvation is personal, holistic, real, comprehensive and eternal. As long as we stick to Him and His promises like a leech, He will keep our eyes from tears and our feet from stumbling.

Some areas of our lives are like a desert. The Lord promises to cause a river of blessing to flow through it and cause us to flourish. We need to keep offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord with the words of our lips and the feelings of our hearts. The Lord delivered the defenceless Israelites who were just freed from the bondage of Egypt with a series of events and miracles. The bondage of Egypt in our lives implies the shackles the world puts on us. The Lord will orchestrate a series of events, circumstances, breakthroughs and miracles to deliver and set us free from our troubles in this world.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Faithful Wait Versus Faithless Weight

UV 2017/1000 A Faithful Wait versus a Faithless Weight
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
Psalm 37 v 34

There is a waiting period which refers only to time and there is a waiting process which refers to the things we feel, think and do while waiting. Few things happen overnight in the Kingdom of God. It invariably involves a period of waiting as well as a waiting process. During this period of waiting, our hearts should be full of faith, our desire should not be lacking in intensity, our efforts should not be lacking in diligence, our wills should not be lacking in determination, our spirits should not be lacking in devotion and dedication. The period of waiting should be without wailing in the sense we should be hopeful, optimistic and enthusiastic. The word “enthusiasm” means to have the energy of God. We should work with the energy or passion of God. It should be like a consuming fire within us, causing us to focus and to persist.

Our hearts filled with faith and love are ignited by a dream or a vision. This is the realm of intuition or pre-cognition. The vision should be translated into goals and the goals into action. The stages of action involves a cognitive effort or a conscious effort and learning from the failures of efforts or re-cognition. When we work using the wisdom that failure imparts to us, we improve. Success is not waiting for all the pieces to be in place but to use available resources in available time to utilise available opportunities to achieve desired ends. Creativity is using imagination and ingenuity to fill in the missing pieces. At each stage of the waiting process there are many unknowns. This is where the process of metacognition or knowing the ways of the Lord comes in. We are not sure which effort will succeed and when. The Lord assures us that in due time or in good time or in His time which could even be in eternity beyond this life, He will exalt us to inherit life in the land of the living. During this waiting process, we cast all our burdens, fears, limitations, anxieties at the feet of Jesus, the Overcomer. I call Jesus, the Overcomer as He is the only One in history to overcome shortcomings as well as death and inspires the same hope, imparts the same experience to all who come to Him. The Lord will honour our hearts’ desires. The Lord will honour us among our enemies. The Lord will vindicate us. He is our absolute Mordecai- the one who nurtured the hapless orphan Esther to see her exalted as queen and then counselled her to fulfill the purpose of her exaltation – to pray, desire and work for the well being and salvation of her people. Esther honoured the desire and directions of Mordecai and therefore, she too was honoured in due course.

The wicked, the unfaithful use short cut methods since they do not have the patience or faith that waiting on the Lord helps. They resort to deceit, fraud, violence and violate all the principles of God and man. They are not prepared to either go through a waiting time or a waiting process. They have little patience and even less self restraint or self discipline. They eventually fall to their own devices and nothing can save them unless they repent and change from their evil ways. The apparent prosperity and success of the wicked are short lived. They rise and fall by their own weight. People will weight them by their strength, power, beauty, fame, wealth, influence but they are only waitng to be cut off as they do not have an eternal hope. They scorn the ways of God and the godly. They reap what they sow. They will be humbled in due course. The Hamans of this world present a counter point to Mordecai. They rise through deceit, ruthlessness, flattery, cunning and relying on their own abilities. The same things that were responsible for their rise will bring about their sudden downfall.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Unfailing Promises

UV 2016/10000 Unfailing Promises
And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
Joshua 23 v 14

It is amazing that Joshua testified at the end of a life, first of slavery in Egypt and then of wandering for forty years through the wilderness, finally, one of combat and conquest and defeat of 31 kings in order to wrest the promised land of Canaan, that the Lord God is faithful to all His promises. Not one of His promises had failed to be fulfilled. Not one word of His promise had remained unfulfilled. Joshua trusted God’s words implicitly and explicitly, and believed that everything promised in it will come to pass in due time or God’s time. The promises of God were his shield and armour in combat. It kept him alive and made him victorious. These promises were also his weapon and ammunition that he fired on the bow of his prayers as he lay in the presence of the Lord, day after day. They were his hope, sustenance and food to sustain him through grave dangers and difficulties.

My testimony as I am sure yours, too is similar to Joshua’s . My good experiences of receiving the blessings packed into the promises of the Lord are what urged me to undertake this lifelong exercise of meditating each day on one promise or precept of the Lord and draw leadership, management and life lessons from each. In all the battles I fought and am still fighting daily, the ones with myself as well as those that the enemy of our souls stirs against me, the Lord has consistently kept His word. His promises have sustained, encouraged, delivered, blessed, healed, fed, imparted strength and powered me to victory in a variety of domains. The Lord has been the source of our success, victories, personal triumphs. Even when we were down, He ensured that we were not out, that we would get back to our feet and return to the battle. His banner over us is not just of love but also of victory. The Lord knows the ultimate victory and defeats are in the realm of the spirit. He bolsters our faith and reinforces our hope such that the Lord is able to do in us and with us all that He has promised.

As an exercise to strengthen our faith, we need to collect in one place all the good things the Lord has spoken specifically and personally to us. We need to treasure these in our hearts for these are the things that neither rust nor moth nor thief can destroy. If the love of money is the root of all evil, the love of God and faith in Him is the root of all good things. The deeper, stronger and wider this good root grows in us, the better, the more blessed, the stronger, the more effective and victorious we would be. We need to thank the Lord ahead of time for the fulfilment of His promises. From the Lord’s perspective, He recognizes that we believe His promises, that we consider them valuable, more precious than gold and money and more delicious than finest honey and that we trust His word when we remember it all the time, run it over and over in our brains till they become like deep furrows in a field. He knows we believe He is able and more than willing to do what He has promised when we constantly mix our prayers and praise with His promises. At the end of the day, more than the victories, the breakthroughs, the provision, the healing, the deliverance, the miracles, the answers that the promises of the Lord births in our lives, it is the fact that our faith and our intimacy and love for God increases tremendously, as each promise is fulfilled, that counts.

Prateep V

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Joy of the Lord

UV 2015/10000 The Joy of the Lord
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Proverbs 17 v 22

Maintaining a happy heart has a healing effect on our whole being or spirit, mind and body. A broken spirit or mental depression has the reverse effect. It makes our spirit downcast, our minds divided and broken and our bodies weak and sickly. A broken spirit saps our energy and makes us feel drained and powerless. The enemy of our souls wants us to be robbed of our peace, health and joy. He intends to kill our joy. Joy is not mood-based. It is not transient or dependent on external circumstances or happenings. In order to maintain a happy heart, one needs to think positive thoughts, enjoy positive experiences, have positive feelings and speak positive words. Happiness is not the truth as William Pharrel makes it out to be in his popular song but knowing the truth makes one not only happy but blessed. Blessing is not man-made but God-ordained happiness. Knowing Jesus is the way to know God and the truth of life. Joy strengthens us. It enables us to worship the Lord and to enjoy our lives. Maintaining a happy heart being the antidote to the great ills of life, we need to simultaneously sow the seed, mow the weed, fill ourselves with the positive and empty ourselves of the negatives.

Scripture states that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” This implies that what the Lord finds joy in ought to give us our greatest delight. He delights in His beloved Son Jesus. Hence, we find our strength in Him. He delights in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and so, we find our strength in the Holy Spirit. He delights in righteousness and so we delight in trying to be righteous. He delights in people studying, meditating and praying over scripture and so we find strength in it. God is not a joy-killer but a joy-filler. He answers our prayers when we are broken so that we are made whole again, we are healed and we can rejoice. Joy is not a one time filling but a filling again and again. We need to practice being joyful in our daily lives by being thankful for all the blessings the Lord He has given us. Our faces mirror the happiness or joy of our hearts. Our joy is based on receiving the promises of the Lord and experiencing its fulfilment in our lives over time. Faith in the promises of the Lord is the mustard seed of joy. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, implying that we need to be anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit to be continually and eternally joyful.

Knowing the purpose of the Lord for our lives and working towards fulfilling it gives us great joy. Understanding the reason why certain things have happened in our lives gives us peace. Knowing that nothing happens without the Lord’s knowledge and sovereign will allowing it gives us the sense of security. Trusting the Lord with all our heart gives us access to wisdom, peace and eventual joy. We find joy in the presence of the Lord. We find joy in His Word. We need to increase the intensity of the joy of our inner being such that no circumstance or happening can affect it, nothing can break our spirit or dry our bones. Prayer and edifying prophetic words also have the effect of blowing the breath of the Lord upon our dry bones. The purpose of joy is not merely an emotional sop or to prop us up but that we are robust and strong in our faith and our ways.

Prateep V Phillip

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Why and How of Redemption

UV 2014/10000 The Why and How of Redemption
For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

Jeremiah 31 v 11

This uni-verse reveals why mankind needs a redeemer and why we need redemption. Jacob is a symbol for each of us. Jacob, the deceiver is himself deceived greatly. He is influenced by the deceit the enemy plants in the heart of the woman who brought him into life. He deceives the very brother Esau with whom he was born. His act of deceiving his aged father in order to rob his brother of his rights is the beginning of his troubles in life. The common enemy of humanity and of God is the enemy of our soul. Our souls belong to God as He is the One who created us and imparted our spirit to us by breathing it into the body of man. Satan, the fallen chief of angels who wanted the place of God is strong or powerful. He is the one who has captured our souls when man broke faith with God. He is stronger, much stronger than man and man is therefore, in need of a redeemer. Satan’s strength lies in deception and he has a multitude of devices and ways of deception. We are vulnerable, weak and powerless victims in the hand of such a powerful enemy. Jacob or each of us is like a powerless worm in the hands of the enemy of our souls. But he is not in any way as strong or powerful as God Man’s greatest and deepest need is not food, clothing or shelter, though these are pressing immediate needs. but redemption so that he can live forever. Satan needs a ransom or price to be paid for our release. That price is life itself and we cannot pay for it. God paid the price through the life of Jesus, His eternal Son. When we believe these words of God, the faith that was once broken is restored. We are restored to our Father’s house, our spiritual inheritance. We are set free from every form of captivity.

Sin or the deceit of disbelief of God’s word and His nature crouches at the door of our hearts all the time. But our hearts are safe, once we let Jesus in. We now have the redeemer living in us and with us. The powerful enemy is rendered powerless in all his strategies and plans against us. Our hearts are now part of the kingdom of God. We derive our power and strength from the kingdom of God. Now we can go from strength to strength. In the areas of our fears, inhibitions, weaknesses, the Lord will give us grace or power and resources to overcome. First, we need to be redeemed by grace and then, we need to overcome. IT is not as if we got everything as a free gift. We need now to work to redeem our time, redeem our character to be Christ-like, multiply our talents, walk the extra mile, prove our commitment.

We are redeemed from every form of captivity. We experience victory and joy in all areas of life. We are redeemed not just in our lives on earth but for eternity. The enemy cannot hold us captive in our graves. We are not grave-bound people but heaven-bound. The public square of the kingdom of God is our personal relationship with the Lord. This is the sanctuary, the tabernacle of God, the Mount Zion of the Lord, the place from which we derive our strength and overcome our former weaknesses. Our spirits return to the Lord with songs of rejoicing. The kingdom of God begins here and now. It is not one either of sadness and sorrow or of eating and drinking and making merry but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The true life in the kingdom of God is one of producing abundant, high quality fruit of the spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the One who produces the supernatural fruit of love, joy and peace. All of the fruit have one common root- faith in the Word of God.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Benefits of Remembrance and Meditation

UV 2013/10000 Benefits of Remembrance and Meditation
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Psalm 63 v 6

When I was young, my primary school teacher taught me that empty vessels make the most noise while the meditation guru teaches us that we should empty our minds. The solution of this dilemma lies in constantly emptying our minds of negative thoughts, worries, bitterness, fears, doubts and regrets and to continually fill it with thoughts not of self but of the Lord. One can meditate on a million things with some benefit but to meditate on the Lord is the most beneficial. Meditation is not merely emptying the mind but filling it with thoughts about the Lord and the thoughts of the Lord. It is a good practice to start each day with prayer early in the morning and to end the day by remembering the Lord’s goodness and meditating on His love, His works, His ways and His Word. We can remember the various names and titles of the Lord and give Him praise and thanks for what each name and title means to us. Remembrance is good preparation for meditation. We can review whether we stayed connected with Him in spirit right through the day and examine if we have kept His Word that He gave us that morning. We can think about the attributes of love described by Paul in his first letter to Corinthians and check how the attributes of Christ fit that pattern as also to what extent the things we said and did that particular day conformed to that pattern. We can set our hearts right with God and others and not carry over anger or any other negative feeling into the next day. It is like the practice of bankers to close the account for the day by balancing the credits and debits. It cannot be left to the next day.

The “night watches” were durations of three hours each in which the Lord was worshipped in the Temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem. It kept the Jewish nation spiritually vigilant and safeguarded them. Similarly, off and on we too should set up a “night watch” where we spend time in the presence of the Lord, meditate and understand His will. During these times, we should pour out our hearts for our nations, ourselves and for the lives of our children. We can lift our problems, afflictions, challenges and burdens to the Lord and He will lift the heavy yoke off our shoulders and give us the peace and strength to bear it or make the load lighter by lifting it from our shoulders.

The seeds are planted by day in an instant but the roots grow all night. Remembering all the good things the Lord has done for us fills our souls with joy while meditating or practicing in depth thinking about the character, the love of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, the grace of God fill us with peace and grace. Since this is the last thing we do every night, the thoughts and feelings will seep into our subconscious and take deep root. It will protect us from nightmares and give us the enabling power to fulfil our dreams and desires when we wake up on the morrow. It establishes the roots of our covenant relationship with the Lord. The act of remembrance fills us with gratitude and transforms our attitudes while we are sleeping. The act of meditation fills us with grace, peace and joy. Both together deepens our roots in Christ, increases and multiply the spiritual fruit or the finest qualities of character. What we think the previous night lays the foundation for the next day’s plans and activities. We can even keep a record of our thoughts and our Praisebook posts.

Prateep V Philip

Break Up and Build Up

UV 2012/10000 Break Up and Renewal
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4 v 16

Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalyst classified the components of human psyche and personality into id, libido, ego and superego. But scripture classifies it into just two components: the outer man and the inner man, the old nature and the new nature in Christ. We put the old nature to death by believing and identifying with the death of Christ on the cross and we renew the new nature by believing and identifying with the resurrection of Christ from the grave. We are not discouraged when the outer man is subjected to afflictions for the spirit of the inner man cannot be harmed or killed. We focus on renewing our inner man, the spiritual nature of man, by feeding on the Word, by prayer which is the equivalent of breathing in the oxygen of hope and faith, by meditating on the love of Christ and discovering its multiple dimensions.

Back in school, when we studied Biology, we learnt of two simultaneous processes operating in all creatures, that of anabolism or the building and replacement of tissues of the body and of katabolism or the break down of cells and tissues. This is the metaphor referred to in the above uni-verse. We need to undergo break down of some strongholds, beliefs, habits, traits, desires of our lives even as we replace these with godly ones. It is a two way process and we can speed it up by our voluntary compliance , zeal and obedience or slow it down by resistance or indifference. It is not a one time filling of the spirit but a daily top up of the Spirit. Our minds and hearts are renewed and transformed even as certain aspects of our minds and hearts are being broken down or replaced.

We renew ourselves in faith, hope and love as we fellowship with each other and worship the Lord in oneness of spirit. Renewal also means that the Lord gives us new strength to handle new challenges and difficulties in our lives. Perishing of the outer man implies that we amputate the source of evil in our lives at the very root. We put a complete end of anything that offends the Lord or grieves the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit renews us, plants the vision in us of the purpose the Lord has for our lives and helps us execute it in terms of concrete plan and steps. Our family is currently on a ninety day training program with a physical trainer who visits us every alternate day and teaches us some exercises for a new set of muscles. In the forty eight hour period before his next visit, our old muscles are perishing and new ones are replacing these. Similarly, we are visited by the Spirit and certain faith muscles are torn down to give scope for it to re-grow stronger, longer and more powerful. While building our bodies, we need to have a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins and fats in addition to the regimen of exercises for various muscles. Similarly, for spiritual build up or renewal, we need a balanced diet of teachings as well as practice of what we are taught every day.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 15, 2016


UV 2011/10000 Omnicompetence
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me
Philippians 4 v 13

The Lord is omnipotent and He makes us omnicompetent or able to do all things. He strengthens us from within. He inspires in us the confidence and hope, the wisdom and courage, the knowledge and understanding, the ability and humility to be able to do that which we never thought we could do ever before. The One who strengthens us and gives us the power is the Holy Spirit. Jesus gives us the grace to succeed in whatever we attempt. As the Father promises in Psalm 1, “ he succeeds in everything he does.”
Those who understand human resources know that every strength has a corresponding weakness. If a person is good in speaking, he may be weak in execution. If he is good with things, he might be inept with people. The gifts and abilities are not evenly distributed or found in life. But as a believer, in every weakness of ours, the Lord manifests His strength, power and grace. As Moses stated that he was a man of stammering tongue, the Lord urged him to take Aaron with him as a speaker but no where in his confrontations with Pharaoh, do we hear of Aaron speaking to Pharaoh. It was Moses who thundered, “ Let my people go!” The Lord is not a general who sends His troops into war without equipping them, training and motivating them. In the world, we always find a gap between abilities and performance, between needs and resources, but the Lord always fill the gaps in abilities and resources.
What are the things that believers in Christ can do? We can speak in His name and deliver people from their bondages, cause people to rise from death if that be the will of the Lord, command healing in His name of diseases and afflictions. We can excel in our workplace as a testimony for Christ. We can endure much suffering and go to extraordinary lengths to help others. We can work with a common vision to be a blessing to humanity. The Lord will call us to do things and experiences that our eye has not seen, nor our ears heard or nor entered into our thoughts and imagination. He will make us go places for Him. He will infuse courage in us to withstand great trials and face the odds.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Flee and Follow

UV 2010/10000 Flee and Follow
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2 v 22

If one is a true follower of something or someone, he should also know what he is fleeing from or else he will make a compromise between the two, trying to keep two Masters happy and so make the most of both worlds. When St Paul writes of fighting the good fight and running the good race, it implies that we are running away from some things and running to the Lord, we are fighting for some good goals and against evil within us for the kingdom of evil is also in us and amongst us. Most of the icons of this age fall due to youthful lusts. Tiger Woods, the icon of golf had a secret promiscuous life which led to his divorce with his wife of many years. Al Gore, the former Vice President of the USA sexually misbehaved with a female masseur and that led similarly to divorce. In the latest news, Messi, the icon of football was sentenced to two years imprisonment for tax related offences. The list is almost endless. Lusts affect people without regard to their age. Lust is an illegitimate desire that leads to temptation and an act that disgraces us in the sight of God. Lusts are the arrows that the enemy of our souls fires at us constantly. We need to erect the shield of faith around us. We need to store the Word in our hearts in order to kill the evil in our hearts. We need to resist evil and pursue righteousness with a passion. As leaders and believers, we need to flee from temptations. For that to happen our spirit should always be on the alert watching out for the prowling lion of temptation. He is waiting to ensnare us and destroy our testimony, reputation, families and peace. The world and the digital world is loaded with stimuli to provoke people to fall for various forms of temptations in the form of pornography, sensuality, lifestyle ambitions.

With the same zeal, we flee from temptations or lusts of the flesh, eye and pride of life, we ought to pursue or follow the Holy Spirit so that we bear the fruit of the Spirit in abundance. The Lord delights in purity of heart for Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” An upright heart free from financial greed or corruption pleases the Lord. We need to pray earnestly to constantly appropriate the grace of the Lord to resist, to overcome, to flee from our inner lusts and external stimuli. The enemy is persistently trying to ensnare us and compromise us so that we cannot avail the promises of the Lord which enable us to overcome.

We need to recognize that our flesh is weak though our spirits may be willing to obey the Lord and His Word. We do not have a righteousness of our own but we are clothed by faith with the righteousness of Christ who also walked in flesh and was subject to the very temptations any of us face in our everyday lives. To follow righteousness, faith, peace and goodness is to follow Jesus and the way He paved for us with His words , teachings and example. As we pray fervently, the Lord will provide us a way of escape from the pressures and temptations to compromise. Being part of a strong and intimate fellowship where we share our challenges and having a phalanx of believers to pray for us are helpful to ensure that we do not fall to either pride or lust or bitterness.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SAF to Be Safe

UV 2009/10000

SAF To Be Safe

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2 v 3

The acronym SAF stands for soldier-athlete-farmer. We got to have this triune image of SAF imprinted in our hearts and minds in order to be safe and secure in our relationship with the Lord God. We need to be tough and resilient like a soldier and not a sentimental “namby-pamby.” Life with Christ and in Christ is difficult. IF it was extremely difficult for Jesus on earth, so much so, He being the dearest and only beloved Son of God shed sweat of blood and suffered such great agony, we cannot expect it to be much different for any of us. A life of faith is not for the weak-hearted but for the lion-hearted soldier in us who is ready to experience unknown and known threats, risks, difficulties, assaults and dangers. We need to have an attitude of toughness towards ourselves along with the tenderness and compassion towards others. Like a good soldier, we need to be prepared to fight the good fight, to put the enemy to flight and be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of our lives. We need to constantly keep ourselves battle-fit and battle-ready in terms of spiritual warfare. We need to take care of our soldier’s kit and equipment to ensure these elements of our armour, our weaponry and transport are polished and in a state of good repair. We need to be obedient to our commanding officer, the Lord Himself and the people He has appointed over us. We need to be Spartan and cut out what is not needed in our schedules, relationships and lives. Our goal should always be victory and our confidence should not be in our abilities or our resources but in the Lord who we proclaim as Jehovah Nissi. The war banner over us in not hatred or hostility or violence but peace and love for all people. We are soldiers whose weapons are life-giving and life-enhancing. We are warriors for truth, peace and love.

As athletes, we should keep the rules. No stimulants or illegal performance enhancers borrowed from the world are to be ever consumed. We run with our focus on the crown the Lord has in His hands to reward all who finish. We have to cut the flab in our bodies and the slack in our lives by a life of discipline and self control. We subject our bodies to hardship in order to toughen it and make it obey the Spirit of God in us. We keep ourselves literally on our toes and listen and learn from those who mentor and coach us with an attitude of humility and submission. We train our appetites so that we are not drawn by things that adversely affect our health and fitness. We stay motivated and optimistic at all times even when the chips are down. Our focus is on reaching the finishing line, distant or close, with the same strength of faith with which we started or even greater faith. If the watchword for the soldier in us is endurance, for the athlete in us, it is stamina or staying power. As long as we stay with the Lord or abide in Him, we have power and our efforts will never be in vain. We do not do shadow boxing or chase illusions and mirages but we deal with the real.

As farmers, we need to prepare for the long haul. Our victory is not going to be instantaneous. We need to be patient. We need to read the weather of world events and prepare for the season we are in- whether it is a time of sowing, weeding, transplanting or harvesting. We would do our daily watering of the seed in us with the water of the Word. As farmers we know that we reap as we sow. If we sow in the flesh, we will reap in the flesh- sin, death, failure as wages. If we sow in the spirit, we will reap love, joy and peace. We remember that we are tenants and the Lord is our landlord. Anything we are or that we own can be added to or taken away by the Lord. As soldiers, athletes and farmers of Christ, we see the fruits of our faith ahead of time and hence, we are always filled with the peace and joy of the soldier that the war is already won on the cross, the joy of the athlete that the prize of eternal life is in our hands, the joy of the farmer that the harvest is plentiful and our little efforts have contributed by the grace of the Lord. We ought to remember that the image in which we have been re-created in Christ is SAF: a combination of soldier-athlete-farmer or one who fights for God, one who runs for Christ and one who sows and reaps in and for the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Key

UV 2009/10000 The Key
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Romans 12 v 9

Whatever is genuine should reject any iota of evil and cling to what is good. When man first sinned, he rejected good and accepted the suggestions and embrace of evil. In order to reject evil outright, we need to know its nature and to hate it with all our heart. We need to resist it in any form for evil presents itself in attractive and palatable packages. It is like a key that is used to lock one door, the door of evil, deceit, treachery, defeat, curses, loss, despair, destruction, depression and destruction and to open another door, the door of blessings, peace salvation, creativity, joy, mercy, hope, truth and eternal life. Paul who was trained in logic and philosophy by Gamaliel described love in terms of what it is and what it is not. He said that love is not jealous nor conceited nor proud. Love is not self seeking. Love if patient and kind. Love holds no record of wrongs or grudges or resentment at real or imagined wrongs. A person who is loving is humble and not egoistic.

But in real life, the old nature is often mixed with the new or Christ nature. The Lord uses suffering along with the Word to extract the impurities from the ore of our lives and make us and our faith like pure gold. Evil is often deceptive, persuasive and seductive in nature. Hence, we should always discern it and unmask it before we are tempted or deceived. The Word is the standard by which we decide a thing is evil or good. We cannot rely on our humanistic and relativist standards that keep changing and are so fickle.

Getting rid of the negative or evil while clinging to the good is a dual process in our lives that is on going and continuous like our breathing. Our own thoughts and desires often mislead us and we need to constantly submit these to the inspection of the Holy Spirit. As He points out the areas, we need to change for the better, change to be Christ-like, we should stick or cleave to that goal the Spirit sets for us. Without any effort on our part, evil often clings to us but we should exercise the grace given to us to push evil away and move towards that which is good. Life always involves fleeing away from some temptation or folly like Joseph did when the temptress held him by his robe and running towards the arms of Jesus. It could be an attitude, a behaviour trait, an intention, a habit, a relationship. To the extent we yield to evil, we are robbed of our health, peace, blessings, grace and power. To the extent we discipline ourselves and cleave to God and to the good He indicates, we are filled with peace, power, blessings, grace.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Covenant of Peace

UV 2008/10000 The Covenant of Peace
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore
Ezekiel 37 v 26

Our personal relationship with the Lord is based on a covenant that is both written and sacred. It is not temporal or temporary but everlasting. By the terms of this covenant, the Lord promises to secure us against the “evil” in this world. He promises to set His tabernacle in our midst or to reside among us and within us. His tabernacle is our sanctuary, a place to worship, to learn, to renew oneself daily and continually, a place of rest and peace. He promises to multiply us numerically and in terms of every type of blessing, physical, relational, financial, spiritual, intellectual and emotional. We enter into this covenant with the Lord of our own free will or volition. The Lord promise to do good unto us and He sets fear in our hearts that we do not partake of evil and if we do, to repent and turn back to Him. He offers us sure and eternal mercy by the blood of the sacrificial Lamb, Shepherd and King Jesus.
The closest thing to covenant on earth or among human institutions is marriage. The difference is that a marriage can be dissolved by death or divorce. Our covenant is based not on a static knowledge of the Lord but a personal knowledge that grows by the day and with every experience. We are wedded to the Lord in righteousness, in faithfulness, in the sure mercies that David, the shepherd turned king enjoyed with the Lord. We are wedded to Him in truth, in kindness and love. The Lord promises to remain with us, to be faithful to His promises that are individual, personal and specific to us. The covenant gives us access to all the blessings, promises, rights of inheritance, roots, fruit that are contained in the Word.

The covenant is not ceremonial, formal, impersonal, imaginary but it is true and real. It is subjected to the tests of reality. The covenant completes us. It is a covenant of peace and reconciliation with God and all mankind. Peace does not imply the absence of struggle and conflict in our lives but the promise of resolution of it in due time. It implies the continual presence of God being with us and the power of God being available to us. The covenant is our cover , our shield, our source of hope and strength, the reason for our rejoicing. The Word and the Spirit are given as free gifts of the Lord to establish the covenant in and through our lives. The covenant implies mutuality and reciprocity of commitment and expression of love. No part of our lives is excluded from the application of the covenant. It is the highest, deepest, all encompassing commitment of our lives. The Lord does not want us to make Him our only love but certainly He wants us to make Him the greatest and the first love of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Focus on the Locus

UV 2007/10000 Focus on the Locus
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved
Psalm 16 v 8
Soon after we are born and begin to understand things, we draw a circle of inclusion around us with us as the centre. But as soon as we realize that the Lord is the locus, the centre, the genesis and the fulfilment of life, we draw the circle of inclusion with Him as the locus. Thereafter, our focus is always on the locus, the Lord and Giver and Saviour of Life. We always sense His presence in us and close at hand always such that the things that formerly got our attention, attracted or distracted us no longer have that power over us. He is always proximate and not approximate, implying that He guides us precisely and wisely in all our ways. We are no longer afraid of the things that we were fearful of.

The act of replacing the fig leaf dresses of Adam and Eve by the Lord Himself is a symbol that whatever we do to cover our nakedness will always fall short or be inadequate. The Lord covers our shame. He covers our weaknesses. He protects and preserves us from the wily schemes of the enemy. We are no longer concerned with what is outside our circle of inclusion. We are contented that whatever we need the Lord will provide for us. We are not moved by negative stimuli. We find our security and our comfort in Him. There is nothing that we lack in Him. The focus of our minds and hearts is the locus of life.

We are anchored in the Word of God. Nothing can throw us off track. We give top priority to His kingdom and His righteousness in all our desires, efforts and actions. We are not moved by greed or selfish ambition or frustration. The use of the words “ right hand” locate the Lord close to us and also strategically so that He is able to see all round us and so shield us. We are like a rock as we are filled with the power and strength of the Lord. The enemy or his agents cannot steal our peace, threaten our security, rob us of our happiness or our blessings. He cannot kill our hope or the spirit of eternal life in us. What we treasure is our closeness to the Lord and we know no one can steal this from us. We do not however withdraw into our circle of inclusion or remain isolated or indifferent to others but are always attempting to make others realize that the Lord is the centre of their lives too if only they are willing to believe.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Productivity and Consistency

UV 2006/10000 The Results of the Spirit
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matthew 7 v 20

Success and fulfilment are determined by the results. We are known by the quality of our results or our spiritual productivity. The results the Lord of the harvest measures us by are primarily, the fruit of the spirit. Are we adequately manifesting in our character, thoughts and actions love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control? If so, we are fruitful trees that the Lord only has to prune once in a way so that we are even more fruitful. If not, we are like thorns and thistles, unproductive bushes that are not of use to God, man or beast. If so, we will be called and welcomed by the Lord with the words of recognition, “ You, good and faithful servant.”

Just as a tree’s defining quality is its fruit as to how beautiful, sweet, delicious, healthy, nutritious and abundant it is, so the fruit of character in us defines us. Each of these nine fruit are produced simultaneously in us. The metaphor of the fruit trees of heaven described in the book of Revelation for this reason speaks of trees that bear a different fruit for each month of the year. When times are good, we should produce fruit of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, humility and self control. When times are bad and things are not going we would like them to, we should produce the fruit of patience, joy in spite of suffering and faithfulness. According to our gifting and calling too, we should have varying proportions of these characteristics: in leadership, we should manifest wisdom, kindness, humility and self control. In service, we should manifest more of goodness, kindness, patience and joy. As teachers, we should manifest love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, humility and self control. As pastors, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, humility and self discipline.

The fruit are the litmus test of a believer in real time. It marks out the depth of his roots, the goodness of the soul in which the good seed of faith has been planted, the discipline that was in evidence in the early years of faith, the regularity and intensity with which we have been watered with the Word and how much of the moisture we have absorbed from the soul. A tree should be good from the roots up and not the other way around. Are our roots always nourished by the Word and the Spirit of God? Suffering is allowed by the Lord to prune and perfect these qualities in us. The qualities grow to the extent we yield or surrender ourselves to the inner working of the Holy Spirit and to the extent we resist the temptations of the enemy of our soul and the impulses of our own bodies and souls. Like pesticides are used to destroy pests that destroy the fruit, we are to defeat the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Each of these spiritual pests that range from the size of tiny microbes to birds of the air affect different fruit. For instance, the lust of the flesh and of the eye affects love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness and self control. Pride of life affects adversely humility, love, peace, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. In fact, if the fruit are abundant and mature, their strength will help us to defeat the three sources of our spiritual shortcomings. In addition to pests, we have the predatory beasts of this world like the foxes that creep in through cracks in our fencing to attack the tender grape of the vineyard of our lives. These foxes that force a backdoor entry so that we do not even know they have entered our lives are anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, depression, jealousy and such like. The fruit are our unspoken witness to the Lord and to humanity. By the manner of fruit we bear, we witness to the Lord and His word and His work in our lives. It shows that the DNA or Divine Nature of Christ runs in our veins and being. The maturity and consistency of these spiritual characteristics enables us to endure the trail of trials that life often turns out to be and emerge as victorious overcomers.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 8, 2016


UV 2006/10000 A.S.K.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Matthew 7 v 7

The secrets of the kingdom of God is summed up in this acronym A.S.K. We ask the Lord not as one asks a Master but as one asks a Father. A father on earth has limitations in answering fully and positively but the Father in heaven has no such limitations. He is able to answer more than we can ask, think, imagine or dream of. But we need to ask boldly, faithfully , thankfully and without doubting His character or His ability. We ask for our need on any given day, in any given situation or circumstance. We seek for wisdom and we knock for opportunities. We also need to seek the Lord Himself with all our heart.

We need to ask with gratitude. We need to ask according to His will and His Word. We need to ask in the name of Jesus. We need to seek His glory, for our honour, immortality and eternal life for when we seek such treasures, it pleases the Father’s heart. We need to ask, seek and knock persistently and diligently. We need to give first priority to the Kingdom of God or the rule of God in our lives and in seeking His righteousness. The Lord carefully examines the motivation of our hearts behind our asking, seeking and knocking.

The Lord is willing and able to give that which is good and perfect to those who love Him above all persons and all things. He is able to show us what eye has not seen or ear heard or entered our thoughts and imagination. It does not mean that we suspend our ability to visualise, hear or imagine but that we stretch these faculties and senses to their logical and possible limits. The supernatural happens beyond those limits. A miracle is always only one prayer away. It does not mean that we do not do whatever lies within our reach. We are not called to a “lazy bones” faith or complacency but to stretch every nerve, muscle and tissue. Asking, seeking and knocking is not an option but a command. The response of the Lord is also certain and guaranteed for the word “shall” is used and not “can” or “may.” The timing of receiving, finding and opening of doors is a decision or choice of the Lord. We need to be expectant of an instantaneous or early answer but patient enough to wait till we receive, find or access the opportunity. A refusal, a non-discovery or a closed door is not the sign of an absent God but a sign that a better thing awaits us either in the here and now or in eternity. The Lord has a higher priority – the transformation of our souls and lives than just the satisfaction of our earthly needs.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Purpose, Significance and Scope of Redemption

UV 2005/10000 The Purpose, Significance and Scope of Redemption
Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale
Isaiah 29 v 22

We cannot redeem ourselves, from our sins and from our sinful nature. The Lord redeemed Abraham on account of the latter’s faithfulness. Abraham proved his faithfulness in keeping his part of the covenant with the Lord. As a blessing, the Lord promised to bless Abraham with descendants and to similarly bless his descendants. As in marriage where a wife leaves her father’s house to where her husband takes her, Abraham too had to leave his father’s house in Ur or modern Iraq for Canaan where the Lord asked him to go. He had to now cleave to His Father in heaven. Abram’s first name which meant “High” or “Mighty” father was a misnomer for he had not till then sired a child. God changed his name and identity to Abraham which meant “father of a multitude.” His son Isaac was blessed by the Lord but it was through his grandson Jacob that the Lord revealed His mercy. Jacob had much reproach and shame in his life. His sin of deceiving his brother Esau and his father Isaac haunted him with shame. He became a fugitive from his own home and his own kith and kin. But the Lord did not forsake or leave him. The Lord did not condemn or excuse him for his cunning and deceit. He helped him deal with his sinful nature. Jacob became an overcomer. While Isaac reserved his blessings for only his elder son, Jacob was so blessed that he could bless each of his twelve sons who became in time the head of their respective tribes.

In Shakespearean tragedy as in Greek tragedies, the hero has a fatal flaw from which he cannot escape. It drags them down to defeat, despondency and death. There is no redemption for him or her and the flaw destroys them. But in the kingdom of God, the Lord redeems our nature from lying, cheating, violence, dead habits, debts, losses, mishaps, shame and reproach. There is nothing in us or in our past, present or future that the Lord cannot redeem us from. Jesus is the Redeemer of our souls but the Holy Spirit is the redeemer of our nature. The Holy Spirit asks the Jacob in each of us not to run away from our guilt and shame but to be still and know that He is God, the Redeemer, the One who is patient with us and will help us overcome our own inner weaknesses.

Matching our redeemed souls with redeemed nature is the challenge of faith. There are things we could say or think or do before with ease that we can no longer say, think or do. We can no longer be selfish, proud, arrogant, bitter, unforgiving, greedy or insecure. These behaviour traits and patterns put us to shame in the past and grieved the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are no longer the house of Jacob but the house or temple of Jesus. The love for the pure and the sacred replaces the passion for the profane and vulgar. The ignoble and baser aspects of our nature are transformed into the noble and beautiful. We are no longer running away from our past shame and guilt but we are running towards honour and glory of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Prayer Mountains

UV 2004/10000 Prayer Mountains

And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
Exodus 34 v 2

Each of us is to present ourselves on the mountain of the Lord, a metaphor for the high place the Lord inhabits in our souls and spirits. We are to have a one-to-One, face to face personal meeting or encounter with the Lord. Like the sun rises early each day, we are to rise early and bask in the Sun of Righteousness to renew our strength and draw energy, warmth and light from Him. When we do so, we receive the promise of the Lord that our days and our lives would be greatly blessed. It is the most sacred and blessed time and place of our lives. We receive the power to lead others from the Lord as Moses received power to lead his people. We receive wisdom to lead and to teach or train others. We receive specific instructions and guidance in the mundane challenges of the day.

Unlike in the time of Moses, the Lord does not write on tablets of stone or even on electronic tablets of the modern day but on the tablet of our hearts and minds. He burns His truths deep into our hearts so that our lives begin to reflect His glory and grace. He gives us the spiritual manna and the bread of everlasting life. He sends His word to heal us of our destructive ways, thoughts and emotions. We renew our covenant with the Lord day after day when we discipline ourselves to meet with Him. As we meet with Him with all reverence and thanksgiving, His presence covers us like a thick cloud and sends down the moisture or dew of Hermon that anoints us afresh and fills us with His eternal power.

When we unfailingly renew ourselves in the Lord and make the joy of the Lord our strength, He ensures that we have “top” of the mountain experiences in our relationships, our professions, our family , our challenges. Our homes become a “top” or a tabernacle of peace. Moses’ face shone with a divine radiance when he left the presence of the Lord and returned to the people. Even so, people will be drawn to the divine radiance in our lives. Sin and the desires of the world will no longer cling to us like leeches. The presence of the Lord will not leave us or forsake us even when we return to the valleys, when we have bad days or when we feel low and gloomy. Even though Jesus was so full of grace and truth, He needed to resort to the mountains around Jerusalem to commune with the Father and the Spirit. The South Korean believers have learnt from this habit of the Lord and designated various hills around Seoul as “prayer mountains” where hundreds gather every day to pray continually. The spirit behind the habit of the Lord is that we need to withdraw ourselves from all people, all attractions and distractions and retreat into the very presence of the Lord, to be renewed, re-charged and re-anointed day after day.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Life Giving Weapons

UV 2003/10000 Life Giving Weapons
And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
Isaiah 49 v 2

As we hide in the shadow of the Almighty or dwell in His presence in silence, worship, prayer, praise and meditation, the Lord makes us like a sharp double-edged weapon, a life-giving weapon not a weapon of destruction. One side of the weapon or sword is used to affirm the positive or good and the other to negate the negative or evil in life. But with the breath of his mouth, he has the power to defeat the wicked, the ungodly and unrighteous. We become the mouthpiece of God on earth to pronounce deliverance, to comfort the grieving, to encourage those who are broken hearted, to declare healing, to break strongholds. Our words whether we write them or speak them are like polished arrows that penetrate the hearts of the listener or the reader and perform the work of the Lord in their lives.

Since our words are life-giving ammunition or arrows, we should collect it as in a quiver and use it with great care and aim. The tongue is a super-power organ in our bodies. It is the bow string from which the arrow flies. Our minds are the bow itself. Hence, we need to subject our emotions, thoughts and intentions to the disciplining of the Lord. The bow takes a lot of pressure while the arrow is being loaded and aimed. Like the bow, we need to be resilient and be in constant use and readiness to be deployed. Just as our tongues are hidden in our mouths, so also we need to hide or be surrounded by the Lord at all times. We need to be saturated with His word in order to be effective and powerful weapons in His hand.

The words of life that become arrows that penetrate the hearts of people are themselves stored in our hearts. Our hearts are the ordinance factory of words. This is the reason scripture states that the mouth will speak what the heart is full of. We need to constantly ask the Lord to rid our hearts of malice, envy, hatred, bitterness for these are the weapons our common enemy of the soul uses to rob us and our words of the power to influence or build the faith of others. It is not our accents that are to be polished and sound sophisticated but our thoughts, our emotions, our desires.

Prateep V Philip

Commanding the Dry Bones

UV 1802-10000 Commanding the Dry Bones
Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
Ezekiel 37 v 5

The Lord God is the One who created us and breathed life into us. Hence, even when our bones are completely dry or even the marrow in it has dried up, He can revive us. The bones of our dreams, our careers, our hopes need to be revived by the breath of the Word. The Word contains the life-giving breath or power of the Lord. It infuses us with hope even in utterly hopeless situations. The vision that the prophet Ezekiel describes is a vast valley filled with skeletons or in other words, a valley of death and devastation. In such a situation, the Lord asks him to prophecy or command the bones in the name of the Lord and promises that the skeletons will come to life. One moment Israel is a picture of defeat and disaster and the next it becomes a powerful unified kingdom under the rule of God. Our leadership is not human but it is our Lord and God who is our leader. We are His foot soldiers. The bones signify the framework or world view that each of us has. The disparate pieces of our lives that make no sense till now will come together to reveal an unity , meaning, purpose and power. Within that framework, the Lord will pour in His spirit of life and resurrection. The coming together of the bones or skeletons is a metaphor for unconnected factors of life: people, opportunities, resources, purpose and power coming together to make meaning, fullness, abundance and triumph a possibility. People without God are like dried bones. A life without purpose is like dried bones. A plan without the power to implement it is like dried bones. Power without an eternal purpose is like dried bones. A life that ends in the grave is like dried bones. The vision of a valley of dried bones is the projection of a world without God, a world without the gospel of love and the miraculous transformation that faith and love brings about in connecting the different broken and unconnected parts of our human lives.

The Lord has quickened us or made us alive with the hope of glory that we have in Christ. Christ in us is the hope of life. Christ in us is the hope of the power we need to live victoriously like a mighty army. Christ in us is the hope of being secure, having our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs met. Christ in us is the hope of fulfilment. Christ in us is the hope of eternal life. Not only are we preserved beyond the grave but we can inspire such hope and power in others around us. We need His touch and His breath every day of our lives in order to stand up on our feet, to engage in spiritual warfare and to be victorious in all the challenges we face. The Holy Spirit is a meek but powerful Person. He can call forth light out of darkness, life out of death, faith out of faithlessness, power out of powerlessness, order out of chaos, unity out of disunity, victory out of failure. He commands the impossible to be possible.

Neither death, defeat or failure is not final or ultimate in our lives. The Lord is sovereign and absolute. He delegates His absolute power to us who believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life as He declared. We have the power to command, the power to prophecy. Nothing we do is in vain. The reference to an army is to show that there is a certain hierarchy in the anointing we receive to command the spiritual powers of life. Some are generals, some are captains and many are soldiers. According to the calling and anointing we have received, we need to exercise our authority and gifts for the glory of God, the extension of His spiritual kingdom or influence, to reclaim living souls from the spiritual dead in all nations.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Trees of the Lord

UV 1801/10000 The Trees of the Lord
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Psalm 92 v 12

The words and metaphors of scripture are employed with great attention to detail. There is no one who is righteous, states scripture but yet this uni-verse says that the righteous flourish.. There is no one righteous in terms of motives, words, thoughts or actions but we are declared righteous when we believe Jesus and accept Him as Saviour and Lord. Such a person is anointed as with the oil of the palm tree. We are anointed with the oil of gladness and joy. To be anointed is to be consecrated, to be declared sacred or holy.

A good number of people grow in terms of stature, status, wealth and fame but they remain sterile or fruitless. But we are ordained or destined by the Lord to grow tall and strong like the cedars of Lebanon and fruitful like the date palm and not nutty like the coconut palm. The cedar in India is known as deodhar or the tree of God. We are the trees of the Lord and are full of sap or spiritual attitudes and power by virtue of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The roots of our thoughts and emotions run deep into the soul and further into the Word of God. The roots drive the sap up our shoots and branches and turns it into spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Our words, thoughts, actions and reactions should consistently reflect these spiritual qualities regardless of the environment or the provocation. If we keep growing like the cedars, we are beautiful and if we are cut for our wood, we are useful.

There is a difference between the growth and prosperity of the worldly or the unbeliever. They grow rapidly like the grass but will not last long. They flourish only to perish. We perish only to flourish. The Lord is not against our physical or financial growth and prosperity but we need to offer everything back to the Lord. Our growth may be incremental or slow and gradual but our prosperity will continue into eternity. Not only should we grow but we should allow and actively encourage others to grow. We are to be like the “oxygenal” banyan tree that constantly gives out oxygen and allows others to grow around us. Jesus cursed few things in His sojourn on earth like the fruitless fig tree. The withering of the fruitless fig tree is a warning to each of us and tells us that Jesus regards fruitfulness and growth as next only to faithfulness.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Broken Clay Vessels Made Whole

UV 1800/10000 Broken Clay Vessels Made Whole

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Song of Solomon 2 v 4

The Lord calls us to His house. His house is a house of celebration like the house of the father of the returning prodigal son. The Lord desires that our hearts and minds be filled with His love and His joy. What delights the Lord we delight in and we derive our strength, nourishment and power from therein. He invites us to a continual banquet. His banner of love that is contained in John 3 v 16 is a standing invitation to all mankind. The cross is the pedestal that holds up this invitation for all mankind to see, both the great and the small as well as those in between.

The foundation of the banqueting house is the Rock called Jesus. The compound is fenced with walls of fire. The glory or the exceeding greatness and immaculate perfection of the Lord is seen in our midst or in our workaday world. The servants of God are the ones who serve the banquet to the rest of mankind. The delicious dishes are the precepts and the promises of the Lord. The ambience is one of heaven and the fragrance is that of the aroma of Christ. The music is the praise and worship of all mankind and of angels, too. The song that is sung is the Song of the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain as a sacrifice and rose again as the Lion of Judah. The cause for celebration is the coming home of those who belong to the Lord and to whom the Lord belongs. The standard of the House is not one of power , might and of war but one to manifest true love. The Lord not only invites us but He provides the transport through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Life being a continual spiritual banquet, we should be chewing on, tasting or digesting one or other promise and precept of the Lord. The Lord honours us for our faithfulness to Him and declares in public what we have done in secret or private. The roof or canopy of the house is the shadow or presence of the Almighty. His shadow is more real, powerful and glorious than the physical presence of all other beings.

The Lord is the King who collects not golden vessels of perfection but He revels in collecting broken vessels of clay. We are those broken vessels of clay. But when the divine healing touch of His burning finger touches our cracks, the fissures and fractures are cured forever and we become better than vessels of pure gold. Other clay vessels have a burning flame and heat applied on the outside and for a time till they are hardened but we have the fire burning inside us and continually, not to harden us but to soften us even as our minds and bodies are hardened to bear suffering like the Christ in us. It is the message that we carry or contain that defines us and not our outer form. The intent of the content is to convey the love of God to all. People should not be found to be preoccupied or too busy to heed the invitation of the Lord. They should not be too focussed on their private affairs, their business or their engagements so as not to be able to heed the voice of the Lord inviting them to the banquet of the Lord. The whole of scripture is but an invitation to mankind and the whole of life is a banquet. Our experiences and testimonies are the variety of dishes that are on display and for wholesome consumption. The joy of the Lord is much more than what many flagons of wine can deliver. The house of love is also a house of victory. We can shout to the Lord with a voice of triumph.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 1, 2016

Ocean of Agape

UV 1799/10000 Ocean of Agape
Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
Isaiah 49 v 1

No man is an island but we live like isolated isles, seeking our own goals, pursuing our own paths according to our lights and chasing the illusion of knowledge, power, pleasure and wealth. We live today in a world where rocks have replaced the hearts of men and we have become islands indifferent to the ocean of need around us. But, the Lord our Maker knows each of us intimately from our mothers’ wombs. He formed us and knitted us together and shaped the foundations of our personalities and of our lives. While the Greek philosopher from the islands of Greece, Socrates spouted his wisdom that “ knowing oneself is the essence of knowledge,” he did not realize that in order to know oneself, one needed first to know God, the One who birthed our very identity and breathed life into our nostrils, the One who saw us even before our earthly parents set sight upon us, the One who was with us full time during the nine months before we were born. But we cut the spiritual umbilical cord soon after we were born and began to live by sight and virtue of our limited reason and knowledge.
Limited knowledge results in limited success and joy. Unlimited knowledge results in infinite fulfillment and joy. When we know the Lord intimately as He knows us for He knows our thoughts, our emotions, our desires, our goals, our weaknesses, our failures, we would have gained the true and full grasp of knowledge. We will realize that each of us is not an isolated independent isle but that we are both interdependent on each other and dependent on the sovereign Lord for our security, fulfillment and joy. The Word is the map and manual that shows us the details of His plan for mankind as a whole and for each of us. It is Immannuel’s Manual. He sanctifies and edifies or builds us up from our wombs. Our parents may give us names they have chosen along with the names they themselves were given but our true identity is found in the name of the Lord, in the name He gives us. Jesus told Simon that “ You will be called Peter or Rock “ for his eventual steadfast faith in Jesus after the Resurrection became the foundation on which the church is built. Jesus gave the chief persecutor of those times Saul, the name Paul.

If we look at people from the perspective of this Uni-verse, we would see the seven billion plus persons on this earth as interconnected Isles surrounded and connected by the ocean of agape or unconditional love of God. Despite knowing our rebellious, stubborn and unfaithful nature, He loves us. God saw the gap between man and God and between man and man and filled it with agape. We need to fathom and comprehend by the power of the Spirit of God the length, breadth and depth of this ocean of love that surrounds us. The Word is our plumbing device to know the dimensions of agape love. Our strength is constantly renewed by tasting of the waters of agape. Now we perceive God by seeing His reflection in the surface of the ocean and in the face and suffering of Jesus. But one day death shall transport us across the vast ocean in the Ark of Christ that takes not just a representative of our gene pool but everyone named by God to the very presence of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip