Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Our Life Rocks

UV 2056/10000 Our Life Rocks
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings
Psam 40 v 2

A life without the Lord is truly like a horrible pit. Without Him at our side and inside us, we would always have a sinking feeling, a feeling of insecurity of being drawn deeper and deeper into a quagmire, a quicksand pit where every effort to get out only drags us deeper into it. We have this feeling since all else is vain in the absence of the Lord. He is the rock that is higher than any man. He gives us a secure base or foundation on which to stand and to build our lives. Instead of being surrounded on all sides by the mud walls of a pit, we would have the tabernacle of the Lord to encompass us. Instead of sorrow, pain and desperation of this world, we will enjoy peace, joy and the strength of the Lord. Once we are redeemed by the Lord, we are blessed and our feet are blessed. Our lives become His responsibility.

Living a life without purpose, meaning and power is like living in a pit, swamped as we will be by the bellows of misfortune, calamity and fate. It is like the experience of Joseph. He was consigned to a pit as a prisoner by his brothers out of extreme jealousy. His father’s love could not protect him but it became the cause of his apparent downfall. But as he believed that the Lord is the dream-giver and dream-fulfiller, he clung onto the Lord for help, he clung onto the promises of the Lord, he clung onto the dreams he was given from above. In a series of apparent coincidences, the Lord proved to be his strong deliverer from the pit, from slavery, from death, from bondage in prison and fulfilled the dreams he was gifted as a callow youth. He established Joseph as the “right hand” of a foreign power, the Pharaoh. He established his “goings”.

Inside a pit, there is a lot of miry clay or dust and dirt. Inside a pit, there is limited scope for movement, limited light and limited access to food and water. Jesus is called the Rock or the strongest person of all history and of all mankind as He endured the utmost pain, suffering and torture and overcame death that all mankind are subject to Once we are drawn out by our faith in Jesus, the Rock of our faith, , we have access to plenty of light of the truth, the water of eternal life, plenty of food of the Word and the freedom to move in the direction the Lord indicates to us. Jesus is the Rock of our salvation, the Rock of our Escape, the Rock of our victory, the Rock of our provision, the Rock of our Strength, the Rock of our Security. He is the rock that is not cut with human hands that Daniel prophesied would fill the whole earth. So much so, all the mountain ranges and peaks like Mount Everest are dwarfed in strength and comparison with Jesus. Even Mount Everest has declined in height by a few measures over the millennia but Jesus never diminishes in stature or power or majesty or sovereignty. The cross is the means by which we are drawn out of the miry pit. It is our bridge to eternal life, the bridge to continual fellowship with the Lord, the source of all our blessings and benefits. Now our life truly rocks! Our miry past of captivity to sin is forgiven and forgotten, our present and future are blessed and our eternity is guaranteed. He has set our feet on an even path so that we no longer stumble or fall into a pit. Nothing can shake us. Now, we have stability as well as the ability to progress towards Him.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Well Watered Fenced Garden

UV 2055/10000 The Well-Watered Fenced Garden
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isaiah 58 v 11

The Lord leads and guides us continually, right through our lives even until the end of our lives and thereafter, rewards us with the glorious life forevermore with Him. He instructs us through the Holy Spirit on the path we should take. His eye is always upon us and He silently indicates the direction we need to take. The best type of leadership is godly leadership, a type of leadership that leans heavily on the Lord for guidance. This type of leaders err seldom, recover quickly if they do commit a blunder. Their legacy lasts forever. Examples of such leaders are Daniel, Joseph, Abraham Lincoln, Dr Livingstone, Mother Teresa and a long list of people around the world who build their lives, their careers around the principles and precepts of the Lord as written in scripture.

The Lord in return for our dependence on Him, satisfies us at the point of our need. He satisfies the deepest longings of our souls, the quest of our innermost being for peace, love, joy and hope. Our “faith bones” will never run dry but will always be strong and moist with the dew of hope in the Lord. He strengthens the foundations of our lives. He waters our soul so that it is always growing and flourishing, producing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. His word is an eternal spring that flows from our hearts nourishing the different parts of our being. It refreshes us, cleanses us, heals us, blesses us and causes us to be a blessing to others.

Those who fear and trust the Lord suffer from no form of scarcity, no shortcoming. Our souls are Lord-realized not self –realized. When the Lord resides in our souls through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we are fulfilled people. The purpose of our creation and our redemption from “hamartia” or sin is fulfilled. All else is bonus. We need not strive or strain for anything anymore. However, our souls will no longer be sleeping souls, unaware of our ultimate purpose and our immediate highest need. Our souls are made dynamic or full of power by the presence of the Lord in us and with us. We have become well watered and fenced gardens of the Lord. Jesus spoke of the rivers of life-giving water flowing from our hearts. The Holy Spirit will trigger life-enhancing, life-producing, life-strengthening and energising streams in us. Instead of sadness and gloom, a stream of everlasting joy, instead of hatred and bitterness, a stream of love and forgiveness, instead of strife and pain, peace and harmony, instead of anger and impatience, a stream of patience and wisdom, instead of wickedness and cruelty, a stream of kindness, instead of evil, a stream of goodness, instead of unfaithfulness, a stream of faithfulness, instead of uncontrolled passion, a stream of self control will flow in us. The gardens of our souls shall produce fruit in all seasons. It will produce a different fruit to meet different needs every month. However, we will have troubles, trials and tribulations to prune our character and make us more fruitful than before.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 29, 2016

Faith, A Force Multiplier

UV 2054/10000 Faith, A Force Multiplier
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Deuteronomy 31 v 6

The Lord exhorts us to be strong and courageous in the face of opposition, challenges, difficulties. He asks us to get rid of every vestige of fear. It is, in fact, His command that we be strong and courageous and avoid being weak and fearful. Faith is the opposite of fear and it implies that we hold onto the Lord our God and partake of His immense strength, wisdom and power to overcome everything that lies in our path. The Lord on His part promises to go ahead of us and with us. We should believe earnestly without a shadow of doubt that the Lord will not fail us or leave us.

Biblical history tells us that Israel under the faithful commander Joshua defeated 31 kings before they took over the land promised to them by the Lord. The 31 kings we are to fight and overcome may not be earthly authorities or physical entities but the same principles and strategy applies in our lives: we need to be strong and courageous. Strength alone is not enough. It should be accompanied by the hope of ultimate victory. It should be accompanied by courage to face up to the obstacles, problems, challenges that confront us. Our strength is derived not from natural sources like our physical or intellectual or strategic prowess but from the All powerful and Almighty One. Our courage is based on our faith in His existence, His faithfulness, His word and His promises.

We are to be strong in the power of His might. We are to also be strong in the grace of Jesus. We should not be disappointed by temporary setbacks or reverses for the Lord will give us ultimate and absolute victory. It is a “ faith accompli” not a fait accompli that we are declared winners from the start as the Lord is with us, in us and He fights for us. To strengthen our faith, we only need to remember what the Lord did to Pharaoh and Egypt to rescue the Israelite slaves under Moses. The Lord is greater in power and might than any superpower in this world. His presence comforts us, coaches us, exhorts us , guides and leads us into every battle.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Focus on the Better Choice

UV 2053/10000 Focus on the Better Choice
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Luke 10 v 42

Martha was distracted by many worries of running the household while Mary chose to focus on Jesus and the joy of listening to His voice and understanding His words. She had chosen in the eyes of Jesus, the “better part.” Further, Jesus asserted that the thing she had chosen would never be taken from her – the agape love of God. We taking the example of Mary ought not to be distracted by worry or attracted to many things of this life and this world. Rather, we should consistently choose the better part. Ultimately, life is a choice between whether we spend our time and resources on a particular thing or its better alternative. Let us consistently focus on Jesus and choose the better alternative. In order to do so consistently without messing up in every decision we take, we ought to first listen intently like Mary did to the words of Jesus, the voice of the Holy Spirit who resides in us who believe in Jesus. Jesus was actually understating things: it was the best thing Mary could do in the whole universe. She never let go of this unique opportunity to be blessed in the presence of the Lord. It gave her more security, pleasure, satisfaction, power and grace than money, comforts, food and drink, entertainment, friendship, kinship or achievement.

Only one thing, Jesus said, is needed to be joyful in this life and that is listening to the voice of the Lord and abiding in and by His words. The enemy of our souls may try to distract us, seduce us, deceive us, throw us off track but the Spirit of the Lord will prompt us, guide us, lead us, counsel us, enable us to focus on what is good, noble, praiseworthy, beautiful, wholesome, perfect. Mary enjoyed the time she spent at the feet of Jesus like nothing else she did all her life. She was so unlike Martha who was weighed down by her responsibilities and chores. Martha wanted to please the Master Jesus by cooking his food while Mary found her pleasure in spending time with Him. It is not however a cue to us to become carefree or irresponsible but to give priority to the things of the Lord. Mary was literally feasting on the teachings of Jesus. It gave her joy, strength, wisdom beyond anything else she had heard or done all her life.

We need to treasure our times with the Lord above all other mundane necessities. Our spirits should consider His words more than our necessary food. Our bodies and minds have many needs and face many challenges in fulfilling these but our heart can only be satisfied by being filled with the love for Jesus and the love of Jesus. Once we do this we are indeed seeking His kingdom in us and seeking to be and do His righteousness in our lives. The Lord promises to add whatever we need for our bodies and minds. Jesus did not interfere with the choices that both Martha and Mary made. He respected those choices but He clearly held up the choice of Mary as the exemplary one. We are always presented a choice between two priorities, two ways to spend our time, two ways to devote our attention and focus our energy. Let us consistently choose the better one with the guidance and enablement of Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wise Men Still Seek Him

UV 2052/10000 Wise Men Still Seek Him
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Psalm 105 v 4

When man first sinned, he became aware of his blunder and hid himself from God, His creator. The Lord is not only our Creator but also our ‘Breather’ for He not only fashioned us out of mud but He breathed into our nostrils. It is His breath or spirit that runs in each of us, that flows in and out of us. Hence, when we hide ourselves from God we disbelieve Him. We are cutting ourselves off from the very source of life, of strength, of love, of everything true, noble and worthy. After God discovered man’s sin and that the latter had broken faith and trust in His word of wisdom given that he might live forever, God chose to hide Himself from man, revealing Himself only to those who seek Him with all their hearts, minds and spirits. He revealed Himself through the prophets of God, chosen vessels and finally through His visible image- Jesus. Seeking Jesus is believing.

Truly, wise men and women still seek the Lord Jesus. He is the source of life, the source of wisdom, the source of our strength, the way to our redemption and salvation. The more we seek Him, the more He reveals His glorious face to us. The more eagerly, enthusiastically and wholeheartedly we seek Him, the more He fills us with His spirit, strength and joy. He is the “Yes and Amen” to all God’s promises. He is the fulfilment of all the prophecies of men and women of God.

Jesus is the One who enables us to have a personal relationship with the Father. The Father revealed Himself completely to mankind through Jesus. The hidden face of the Father that no man has ever seen before including Moses and Elijah is revealed to us in the face and person of Jesus. The eternal and absolute dimensions of the love of God for all mankind are revealed in Jesus. In Him we have access to the throne of the Father. In Him we have access to eternal peace, justice and mercy. In Him, we have access to healing and deliverance from every evil. In Him every bondage is broken. In Him, every curse and shortcoming is defeated. In Him, the enemy’s plan to steal our peace, kill our souls, rob us of eternal life is thwarted. In Him we have entrance to heaven. In Him we are part of the kingdom of God. In Him we discover the kingdom of God within us and among us. In Him we have access to all the blessings of the world here and now and of heaven forever. In Him, the joy of the Lord becomes our strength. In Him, our days will be blessed, our nights will be peaceful. In Him, our lives will be fruitful. Seeking Jesus is not a phase in our lives, a passing passion but it is a lifelong pursuit, an eternal passion.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Casting Crowns

UV 2051/10000 Casting Crowns
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.

I Chronicles 29 v 14

David had many things to be proud of: that he was the hero who saved Israel from the taunts of Goliath by slaying him when no one else including King Saul could take the challenge. He was a good composer and musician. He was a great worship leader. He was a victorious king. Yet he humbled himself before the Lord and confessed that he and his people were nothing before the might and awesome power of the Lord. He acknowledged that everything that belonged to him actually belonged to the Lord. It came from Him. David and his people were casting their crowns, achievements, prestige and possessions at the feet of the Lord.

The twenty four elders in the book of Revelation also cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus. We too should cast all our crowns at the feet of the Lord. We should surrender all that we are and all that we have as a pleasing offering unto the Lord. We need to know and acknowledge that all that we have has come from His generous hands and that is ours is truly His. We should never think that the Lord is obligated to us in any way for anything we have done on His behalf. We in fact are beholden to Him for all that we are and all that we have.

Only a person who humbles himself can exalt the Lord. This is the reason the Lord loved David, despite his wanton errors and blunders, as he gave himself wholeheartedly to the Lord. When we humble ourselves in this manner, the Lord shall certainly bless us and our land. David offered an abundant sacrifice unto the Lord with a heart of uprightness. If he did not have an upright heart or the correct attitude towards the Lord, he, his people and their offerings would have been rejected. We should cast our crowns or what we consider valuable to us willingly and wholeheartedly to the Lord. As we do so, He will bless us even more than before. He will lift us even more than before. There is no limit on the store of His blessings and rewards.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Jesus Focus

UV 2050/10000 The Jesus Focus
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God
Hebrews 12 v 2
Jesus is the locus or central point of our faith. We need to focus on Him as His act of sacrifice on the cross makes Him our eternal Redeemer and our Saviour and help every single day and moment. He is the One who writes the story of our faith from beginning to end. He is the One who completes our faith and perfects it. We need to develop not a laser -like focus but a Jesus-like focus who set His eyes like flint upon the cross once it became evident that there was no other way to redeem mankind. On account of His sharp and determined focus, Jesus did not get discouraged by setbacks or the shame that accompanied the sentencing after a mock trial to death on the cross. He was not discouraged by the thoughts of the physical pain, torture and trauma of the painful hours of being nailed to the cross and being hanged on the cross. Jesus went to the cross as a meek Lamb but He rose again as a lion king. The reward of being seated at the right hand of the Father forever encouraged Him even as He contemplated His humiliation and suffering on the cross.

As we focus on Jesus, we will also be able to undergo the trials and suffering of our own lives. Our eyes should be trained to think of our eternal crown of life and gain and we will be able to endure the pain, rejection, trials and suffering in our lives. Jesus now dwells by faith in us, seated on the throne of our hearts as the Lion King. His sovereign will be done in our lives. God is enthroned in our hearts even as He sits on the white throne in heaven. His might, power, splendour, glory, grace and mercy are manifest in our lives.

Like Peter who commenced walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee fixing his gaze upon Jesus, we should not only begin with focus but not take our eyes off Jesus. As we fix our gaze upon Him, He will do many wonders in our lives. If our focus shifts, we will sink in the miry waters but if we hold fast to this focus on the locus of life, Jesus, we will be standing and walking on rock. He will give us the grace and strength to endure and to overcome in life even as He overcame. Looking unto Jesus implies seeking Him in all our situations and challenges. Looking unto Jesus implies doing His will in our lives. Looking unto Jesus is seeking His guidance and wisdom in all puzzling scenarios in our lives to obtain a clear sense of direction. Looking unto Jesus implies not just believing in Him as our eternal Redeemer but a daily leaning on Him and the Holy Spirit He sends to us.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Practicing Death

UV 2049/10000 Practicing Death
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
John 12 v 24

Death in nature is an essential precursor to growth, renewal and fruitfulness. Jesus by embracing absolute death on our behalf caused many including us to the first fruit of God. As I meditated on this uni-verse, a new thought or concept came to mind – that we too should daily “practice death” in our lives. The seed of sin, pride, lust of the flesh and lust of the eye needs to fall down into the ground and die. Such death will ensure that the weeds of evil do not multiply in our nature and in our lives. Usain Bolt, the legendary fastest runner in the world over three successive Olympics having won a triple triple of gold medals gave thanks and glory to God after winning each race. But photographs of him in bed with a Brazilian student have gone viral destroying his testimony. He even goes to the extent of justifying his having a fling with many women as his fame attracts women to “keep throwing themselves at him.” If his faith is true, he needs to be taught to practice death of his inner lust and if his life and testimony are to be really fruitful. Likewise, in each of our lives we need to identify the seed of pride or lust and allow it to fall and die.

Some good seed or some of the good things in our lives also need to die in order to reproduce something even better. Some desire of ours may not necessarily be a bad thing but the Lord might impress on our hearts to let it die. This is what is meant when Jesus said, “ If any man wants to follow me, He must carry His cross daily and deny himself.” We need to crucify or put to death some part of ourselves daily so that the new life, the new nature, the Christ nature may grow and thrive in us. We need to put to death some of our likes and dislikes. When Peter saw the vision of all kinds of unclean animals and he was asked to eat them, he was being asked to put to death the feeling that the gospel was not meant for the Roman centurion, Cornelius. Many of our hidden prejudices and traditions that we love need to be put an end to.

St Paul put to death his past priorities and goals. What was once valuable to him was now only garbage to him, implying that he had died to many aspects of his past. We could also put to death a certain habit or pattern of doing things as the Spirit lays it upon our hearts to do so. We need to also put to death our doubts and fears with such certitude that these have no possibility or opportunity to resurrect and reappear in our lives. In our relationships, we can put to death certain arguments and quarrels that we tend to have repeatedly on the very same issues with the same people. The most challenging aspect by far is putting to death our egos that often stand in the way of our growth and fruitfulness.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bone Strength

UV 2048/10000 Bone Strength
All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

Psalm 35 v 10

The 206 bones in every adult’s body praises the uniqueness and graciousness of the Lord who acts strongly on behalf of those who regard themselves as needy of His help. Every member of our bodies is written in His book. When none of these were formed in the wombs of our mothers, He saw how they should be fashioned or shaped. The same Lord in whose image we are formed was “poured out like water” on the cross. All His bones were out of joint due to the torture and whip lashing. His heart melted like wax in the midst of the bowels as it is written in Psalm 22. We need to be thankful and offer our worship for the wonderful way in which He formed us and the compassionate way in which He saved us at such great cost. He gave us absolution by His death and strength to live by His living again. He strengthens every bone and every organ in our bodies. We need to name and thank the Lord for the health and strength of every bone and organ.

The enemy of our souls however is always conspiring on how to destroy our souls, how to harm us so that we are discouraged. He proves stronger than us as it is a contest of the unseen and supernatural against flesh and blood, bone and flesh. But Jesus being a living Saviour comes to our aid and rescue all the time. The enemy’s chief goal is to destroy the testimony and spoil the faith of the believers. IF we depend on our own strength or understanding or earthly resources or contacts, we would be doubtless defeated. But if we depend on the Lion King Jesus for strength even as we availed of mercy through the sacrifice of the Lamb Jesus, His roar would disperse the enemy and diffuse his attack.

Resurrection power of the Lion Jesus is turnaround power. We can turn around any situation with His help and strength. Many are our afflictions as our acceptance by faith of the Lamb Jesus makes us perfect in the sight of the Lord but the Lion Jesus will deliver us from all of these afflictions, troubles, persecution, trials, difficulties, oppression. He will break the yoke of the enemy and give us a lighter load. With His strong hand, He will ease the burden on our shoulders, if He does not life the burden altogether. He will strengthen us from within and increase the carrying capacity of our bones. The immense and infinite spiritual riches of the Lord makes us “bone strong.” He gives us strength to bear, strength to endure, strength to overcome even as He overcame. Just as bones need calcium to retain its strength, we need to feed on the Word to strengthen ourselves. Its absence or reduction would lead to us being easily broken or dismembered and unable to bear the assault of the enemy who is stronger than us. If the bones are healthy, the marrow produces the Red Blood Corpuscles needed by our bodies to be nourished. If our inner being is healthy, it will produce the faith, hope and love that we need to live fully. Our muscles are attached to the different bones so that we can move different parts. Our faith muscles too are attached to the stronger parts of our inner being so that we can live, move and exist in Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Burning and Bearing

UV 2047/10000 Burning and Bearing
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Revelation 11 v 4

This uni-verse is a parallel to the image of two olive branches that stand by a lamp that is fuelled with golden oil in the book of Zechariah. Grafted onto Jesus, we become like the olive trees and our lives are lit up by the lamp of His wisdom. Believers are anointed to be like olive trees whose every part has value- the olive fruit, the olive leaves, the oil that comes from the crushed olive. The olive tree also is capable of continuing to flourish for centuries. Similarly, we are to live and flourish forever. The olive leaves signify peace and we too are to be peacemakers in this world of strife and conflict. The oil of the olive has many healing properties and we too are to be an extension of the healing hand and word of the Lord.

We are also to be like a candlestick standing and burning for the Lord on earth to disperse the darkness of evil and bring His goodness to light. The candle never stops burning till it is fully used up. It burns continually. Likewise, we should burn till the end and burn continually, emitting spiritual light for the world. We draw our strength and power from the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power of His Word. Our achievements in this world are meant to be a tall candle stand to hold up the name and glory of the Lord.

Both olive plants and candles are meant to be used. We too should use all the gifts the Lord has given us to be a blessing to many. An electrical device if not put to regular use will not function. Similarly, we should put to use the powers and gifts the Lord has imparted to us. We cannot keep these dormant or idle. He has given us power like Elijah to stop the rain and to cause the rain to fall, the power to turn water to blood and to call forth plagues and blessings. These gifts and powers are to be used diligently, prudently and faithfully. When we pray, praise and worship continually and breathe in the oxygen of the Word of God continually, when we continually minister to the needy, we will be like olive trees that flourish and endure forever and a candle that burns forever.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The House of Joy

UV 2046/10000 The House of Joy
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Song of Solomon 2 v 4

Dwelling in the house of the Lord is living in joy forever. The Lord has brought us, implying that not only does He invite us into His house but He provides the transport to carry us. His body became the vehicle as it hung on the cross. His house is a house of joy and not of sorrow. His house is a house of love and not of misery. His house is a house of celebration and not of depression. His house is a house of peace. His house is a house of victory and not of defeat. His house is a house of provision. His house is a house of healing and deliverance. It is the house of His salvation. The foundation of this house is faith in Jesus and His words. The walls are the promises of the Lord. The commandments are the doors and the precepts are the windows to get a glimpse of His joy, love, peace and victory.

His banner over us is not one of power and fear but of love. It is a protective banner. It is a mark of ownership and lordship over our lives. It is a sign of ultimate authority or sovereignty. He gives us every blessing and meets our every need. He bans curses from our homes and families. He makes His love for us visible to all people around us as a banner flying over a house would be seen by all passing by. We dwell in the house of the Lord in fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We dwell with them forever. The Triune God also dwells with us forever. The banner of love is a symbol of strength for the joy of the Lord is our strength. It implies that the things that give joy to the Lord brings us strength and celebration-worthy victory. These things are righteousness, true love, mercy, faith, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, humility, order, sacrifice, praise and worship in the beauty of holiness. When we delight in doing these things, our strength is renewed and redoubled.

If we truly believe and accept this uni-verse as a personal promise to us, we should always be joyful in every circumstance and situation. We should enjoy the love and intimate relationship with the Lord. The Lord will turn every problem into a remarkable solution, every challenge into a wonderful testimony as we rejoice with Him. The dishes served at the Lord’s banquet are the various promises in the Word. We should rejoice as we feed on these. These verses will strengthen our inner being, nourish even our bodies and minds. The use of the words “banqueting house” is significant as it indicates that the celebration is continuous and not either once or once in a way. Every day we sup with the Lord as delight in His Word and as we enjoy His fellowship. The Lord also loves to sing and dance with us and over us as He celebrates our every little step of progress, every victory, every healing, every deliverance, every act and word of faith and testimony.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 19, 2016

Good Works Follow Faith

UV 2045/10000 Good Works Follow Faith
Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
Amos 5 v 14

Though good works is not the root of our salvation, the seed being the gospel of Christ, the root being our faith believed and confessed by us, it is fruit that follows after we begin to believe and profess our faith. While good works by itself are like “dirty rags unacceptable to the Lord” and it cannot clothe us or hide our shame, these become sanctified once we believe. We should therefore aim to do what is good, acceptable and perfect in the sight of the Lord. After we get grafted onto the branch of Christ, we should desire to be good and to do good and to depart from all manner of evil. We should actively and diligently seek to be good.

It is a law or axiom of life that if we sow good, we reap good. If we sow evil, we reap evil. We should seek good in all that we think and all that we speak. The Word exhorts us to do good to the needy, the widows, the orphans, the distressed, the poor. Our hands become the very hands of the Lord to reach and help such as these. Our eyes become the eyes of the Lord to look upon them with compassion. It is written that when we give to the Lord, we lend to the Lord. The implication is that He remembers it as a debt and never keeps it but returns it to us manifold in terms of blessings upon our lives and the lives of our near and dear.

The genuineness of our faith is proved by the good deeds and actions we do. We can no longer be partakers of evil in any form. We authenticate or validate our faith by our goodness and good works. It is like the seal or stamp or signature of our souls. It pleases the Father when we conform to the image of Christ in us. This uni-verse promises that His presence will be with us as we endeavour to be good and to do good. The Lord will also direct the armies of angels or ministering spirits to be with us. It is not the extension of our influence or our good name or reputation that we seek but the extension of the reign and rule of the Lord over the lives of our fellow beings. As we do so, the Lord will send forth into our lives the enabling conditions or blessings of Deuteronomy chapter 28 v 1 to 14 while preserving us from the curses that follow in the same chapter.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spiritual Battles

UV 2044/10000 Spiritual Battles
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.

2 Chronicles 20 v 17

All of us wage different types of battles in different domains all through our lives. Whatever type of battle it is, the battle truly belongs to the Lord. It is for Him to fight on our behalf and ordain or secure victory for us. We only need to take battle positions in stillness and on knees of prayer. We shall surely see the salvation of the Lord, His amazing and awesome power at work in our midst. We need to continually offer praises and thanksgiving in anticipation of the victory. Like Hezekiah the king we should just turn to the wall- Jesus and pray. He is the wall of our defence, the wall of strength and power, the wall of victory.

We need to believe the Lord is both faithful to us and He is invincible. Once we know this, we will not fear regardless of the type of the battle or the size and prowess of the enemy. We should not feel disappointed with every temporary or seeming reverse, knowing that our faith is being tested. We only need to wait with hope and quiet confidence in the Lord and He will surely act in time and effectively. He is our shield and fortress. But the opponent’s defence shall fail him. The Lord will disarm the array of principalities and powers against us. He will cause them to be powerless to attack or harm us.

The Lord is never short of strength or resources to defeat any force against us. Our first and last resort is prayer and praise. These are not the weapons of the weak as some think but they invite the presence and the power of the Lord in our battle-like situation. We need not panic at the odds against us for the greater the odds against, the more is the power and glory of the Lord manifested. We need to however always don our spiritual armour covering ourselves from head to foot. Every day in our lives involves a certain kind of battle. We sorely need the continual presence of the Lord to ensure victory consistently.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cutting Around Hearts

UV 2043/10000 Cutting Around Hearts
And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Deuteronomy 30 v 6

To circumcise is to cut all around what is not essential. The Lord circumcises our hearts or cuts all around to remove any coating or traces of pride, deceit, lust, hatred, fear, doubts, suspicions, bitterness. These emotions and traits harden our hearts against the Lord just as Pharaoh’s heart was hardened against God’s will to let the Hebrew people go. It causes us to loose our fear or reverence for the Lord. He teaches our children too in the same way. He does it through the on-going work of the Holy Spirit at move in us. The process of circumcision is painful but it is also gainful in that when our hearts are so freed from all these blessing blockers, relationship blockers and communication blockers, we are able to relate to the Father as mature children of God. The process is lifelong and is often done through our tough experiences and trials.

The Word is the scalpel, the blade the Holy Spirit uses skilfully to cut around our hearts. He restores our hearts to their pristine condition and removes the dross or impurities in our faith. Our hearts will then always remind us that we belong to the Lord and everything we do and have belongs to Him even as He belongs to us. It is a mark of ownership and a stamp or seal of approval that we now are “kingdom quality.” Our hearts are healed by the process of its natural depravity. We learn how to love the Lord with all our hearts, with all our minds and all our strength.

The spiritual circumcision is also called the circumcision of Christ as the body of sins of the flesh are removed from us. Our hearts of rebellion are transformed into hearts of trust and obedience. We learn from the example and Word of Christ that to live well is to love God and to love God is to live fully and well. The greatest sacrifice that the Lord desires of us in response to the sacrifice of Christ is the surrender or sacrifice of our hearts, day after day to Him. Our hearts so sanctified is the innermost place of the tabernacle, the place of continual worship.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fullness and Fruitfulness

UV 2042/10000 Fullness and Fruitfulness
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 11 v 9

Belief turns to knowledge that comes with practical experience of the working of the Lord in our lives. As we are filled with deep and personal knowledge and understanding of the Lord, we will be filled with His wisdom and we begin to develop His character. Our tendencies to hurt and get hurt as well as destructive traits will disappear like the morning mist before bright sunshine. We will find ways to be helpful and not harmful to others, ways to shine forth the love, mercy and grace of the Father. If we are to be His children, we also ought to have His nature. The nature of God is to be creative, to be loving, to be gentle and kind, to be humble and wise.

Jesus revealed the nature of the Father to us. He being full of the knowledge of the Lord is gentle, wise and humble. He never tried to grasp what was not His but instead gave His all to us so that we can dwell in and with the Father in heaven. The prophet Isaiah described His character as being so meek that He would not break a reed. Though we tend to hurt the Lord in many ways, He is patient and does not destroy us. The gentleness or meekness of the Lord is not due to weakness but due to His restraining of His immense might and unlimited power. He knows us from the inside out and knows our weaknesses. He does not rush the process of our purification and refinement but gently prods us in many ways.

Being filled with the knowledge of the Lord implies being filled with the Holy Spirit who transfers the traits of the Lord to us as the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. The metaphor of fruit is used to show that these character traits are initially in seed form in us but over our lives and in accordance with our faithfulness and submission to the Lord, the seed would continually grow in us. The spirit the Lord imparts to us is one of love, power and self control. The Spirit regulates our thoughts, feelings, desires such that we do not hurt or harm others nor do we press any of the self destructive buttons of our old and sinful nature. As we grow in the knowledge of the Lord and in maturity, these spiritual traits will increasingly be manifested in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Spirit of Discernment

UV 2041/10000 The Spirit of Discernment

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
Isaiah 11 v 3

If we are to be like Jesus, we ought not to rely on our five senses to take decisions and determine our course of action. We need to rely on the discernment and wisdom that the Holy Spirit who is called the quickening Spirit of God gives us as a gift. This will come if we constantly listen and are led of the Spirit. We will no longer judge by external appearances or mere superficial words but be able to take decisions and do things that are pleasing and acceptable to the Lord.

The natural man does not receive the gifts of spiritual wisdom and understanding as he or she cannot discern these and it would appear in their eyes and ears as foolishness in the absence of spiritual discernment. The spiritual man is enabled by the Spirit of God to look into the heart the matter and the hearts of the people he or she is dealing with. What is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord is the absolute gold standard. It is the best. We will no longer be just able to discern between what is good and bad, right and wrong but between the best and what is merely good or bad. We will be able to consistently choose the best.

Any of the many sons of Jesse would have been good enough to fit the bill to be a successor to Saul, the king but the Lord gave discernment to Samuel to look beyond the good, beyond the obvious, beyond the visible and audible, beyond the sensory. Samuel was asked to look for one who was not yet seen or heard – the one who was a shepherd boy while the other brothers were strong soldiers in Saul’s army. The Lord had heard the thoughts and inner words of the young David as he composed his own songs of praise to sing as he looked after his sheep under the night skies of Israel. He had seen his sense of wonderment, awe and his heart of faith and trust in Jehovah, the God of Israel. The Lord enabled Samuel to discern the spirit of David. Similarly, Daniel and his three friends in ancient Babylon were not drawn to externalities and superficialities. Their eyeballs did not pop out at the sight of the luxuries and delicacies of royal lifestyle. The Holy Spirit gave them inner and spiritual discernment and kept them pristine and pure, free from the influences of the world.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Attributes, Attitudes and Anchors

UV 2040/10000 Attributes, Attitudes and Anchors
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
Deuteronomy 7 v 9

The covenant is a key concept of faith and of our lives. It is the equivalent of an eternal bond or marriage with the Lord that lasts far beyond our physical lives. We need to know or in other words explore and experience in the course of our lives that God is faithful, merciful and holy. He is a covenant- making and covenant- keeping God. He deals with people who are committed to Him, who love Him and His word, in accordance with the terms of His promises and commands. Hence, it is vital that we know the terms of the covenant with the Lord by delving deep into the word with the help or enablement of the Holy Spirit. In contrast to the Lord’s attributes that are unchanging , our attitudes are changing all the time like mercury at room temperature. We are sometimes loving and faithful and when it suits us loveless and faithless. Throughout our lives, our attitudes are pitted against the attributes of the Lord. The faithfulness of the Lord to His covenant promises and the priority He gives to the law of His word regulating our lives are the hope of our lives and the anchors that lend stability to our lives. His love is infinite like an unbounded sea. Our lives are like boats floating on that sea. Just like fishermen anchor their boats on the high sea to catch fish, we need to anchor our lives in the love of the Lord.

God is not just a force but a person who loves us. He is intimately involved in the details of our lives. Our capacity to love and relate to others is derived from Him. We need to know Him as the One who declared that “ I am who I am.” We need to know Him as our personal all powerful Lord and loving Saviour. We need to know Him as a faithful person who stays true to every word He has spoken, as a person who keeps His commitments to all people. We need to know Him as a merciful person. He is slow to anger but quick to forgive. Our short lives on earth are meant to discover these attributes of the Lord and experience it personally.

If a generation is taken as standing for fifty years, the uni-verse states that the Lord is faithful and merciful to a thousand generations or for as long as 50000 years. If this be so, why should we worry about a mere 50 to 100 years that we live on earth? The only conditions to this amazing promise being fulfilled are that we are in a relationship of love with the Lord, implying that we believe Him and His Word and give highest priority to doing His will and obeying His commands and follow His precepts. When we truly believe that such a person is God and that He is in charge of our lives, we can be still. We can relax. We can let go of all the fears and inhibitions we have.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Esteem of the Lord

UV 2039/10000 The Esteem of the Lord
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 7 v 6

We are declared in this uni-verse to be a special people, a peculiar people, a holy people. We are special not on account of our abilities, talents, qualities, the race or class or any attribute or any action on our part but as we are chosen by Him to be in a covenant relationship with Him. We are special as we are in a covenant of love with Him by the sacrifice of Jesus. We are above all people on the face of the earth as He loved us first and then we respond by obeying His commandments and walking in His ways. This fact is the foundation of our faith and on that foundation, He will establish the covenant or build it till it is complete and perfect in every aspect.

As a further response to His love, we are to offer spiritual and not physical sacrifices- the sacrifice of our egos, the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. We offer praise and are zealous for good deeds as He has called us from the darkness or ignorance of Him that prevails in this world into the marvellous light of personal knowledge of the Lord. He has called us out of all nations to be God’s own nation, a spiritual nation of dedicated priests and kings, above all human concepts and divisions of nationality, science, religion, ideology and culture.

The belief that we are a people esteemed by the Lord should humble us and enable us to work towards His standards of holiness in our conduct, speech and thoughts. It should give us the confidence and boldness to overcome temporary hurdles and difficulties we encounter in this world. Our focus is on the author and finisher of our faith as we run the race and fight the good fight. We are never alone in this race or fight for the Lord goes with us and He fights on our behalf. We do not have a sense of self esteem for our esteem is of the Lord. This kind of self esteem does not make us proud or complacent but it teaches us to endure more, to persevere more, to work for higher goals and priorities in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

The Sheep People

UV 2038/10000 The Sheep People
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Matthew 25 v 33

The Lord divides all people into the “sheep people” and the “ goat people.” The sheep have the quality of believing, listening and following the shepherd wherever he leads. The sheep are content on feeding on the pasture the shepherd leads them to and to drink of the pond to which he leads them. The goats tend to wander from one place to another, eating on foraging on wild plants and whatever they can find. The sheep recognize the voice of their master. Their relationship is marked by trust and belief while the goats do not trust anybody and follow their own whims and desires. The goat people revel in their own strength and power. The goat people indulge in violence and schemes to achieve their goals by any means. All persons start life as goat people but can end up as sheep people.

The sheep are gentle, meek and obedient creatures. Likewise, we are taught by Jesus to be gentle, humble and obedient to the Lord. The sheep yield themselves fully to the will of the shepherd even as they allow the wool off their backs to be sheared at the time of the shepherd’s choosing. They do not steer to the right or to the left but remain on the path the shepherd indicates. We too are to follow the teachings of Jesus and not be attracted or distracted by every new fangled man-made doctrine. The sheep welcome the presence of the shepherd and are quite reassured that he is near. They do not fear the attack of foxes or wolves as long as they know the shepherd is standing guard over them.

The sheep do not compete with each. They do not jostle one another on the mountain paths or in the pastures where they feed. They know that there is enough for them to feed on. Jesus portrayed Himself as the Good Shepherd, the One who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the sheep that they live forever. He is the Good Shepherd who went after one lost sheep that got caught in the bushes. Indeed, He helps to disentangle us when we get caught in the ways of the world. The sheep are the chosen ones of God- the ones who hear His voice, follow and obey Him. Unlike the shepherds of this world, Jesus knows His every sheep by name. The sheep know that on the day of reckoning they will be rewarded and find themselves on the right hand of the Lord for as the Psalmist King David and former shepherd says,” There are pleasures forevermore at the right hand of the Lord. “

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Our Infinite Value

UV 2037/10000 Infinite Value of Human Beings
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12 v 7

The Lord has complete knowledge of us. No hair of ours falls without His knowledge. Nothing happens to us without His knowledge. We are of infinite value to Him. He cherishes us as a man or a woman values jewels. Just as a man who has mortgaged his jewels due to some dire circumstances, will then go and work hard to earn enough to redeem the precious jewels, the history of the world is the story of the Lord redeeming us, one by one. He has a good plan and purpose for each of us. He will never harm us. Nor will He allow us to be harmed by the enemy of our lives. He has given us as many blessings as the hair on our heads.

What does this uni-verse imply that we should do? There are four implications: Our sense of security should be absolute and our hope of prospering in spirit, mind and body needs to be certain. We should not be distracted by worry or anxiety or fear. We should be confident that the Lord will fulfil His good purpose for us and in us. We ought to be thankful and overflowing with gratitude towards the Lord.

Jesus used the metaphor of the sparrow as it is one of the most common and least wanted birds. It is not esteemed highly. Yet, the Lord has allowed the sparrow to fly freely, to find its food freely, to make its nest or home wherever it chooses. In comparison, human beings who are made in the image of God, in the likeness of Christ are of immeasurable value. We are precious to the Lord. He watches over us day and night. He knows our thoughts and desires of our hearts. He sends help in natural as well as supernatural ways. His will is sovereign and His decisions are the last word in our lives. He determines the number of our days. Jesus, in fact, esteemed us and loved us so much that He allowed His body to be crushed for our peace, for our grace, for our health and joy, to secure us forever, to enable our spirits to fly freely like sparrows. He holds nothing in reserve but has given us all that we need in Him.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Key to Eternal Success

UV 2036/10000 The Key To Eternal Success
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 1 v 8

This uni-verse prescribes the lifestyle that is certain to be blessed, prosperous and successful in a holistic sense. Scripture says that a good teacher stores many treasures in his heart and keeps drawing new and out ones out according to the need and situation. It implies that the Word makes a person internally and eternally not “temporarily” wealthy, successful and powerful. The Trumps, Buffets and Gates of this world are only temporarily wealthy, successful and powerful. For this to happen, we need to hold the Word in our hearts and minds. We need to remember it and recall it often. We should ruminate or chew on it both day and night even while attending our daily routine. Instead of brooding on our problems and deficiencies, we should delight in thinking about and understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit who interprets scripture to our spirits, hearts and minds. The Word is God’s breath solidified and it releases life, strength, power, wisdom, peace, grace and healing into our nostrils as we take it in or inspire it.

The next stage of applying scripture is to always have it on our lips. We need to quote it as Jesus quoted it to overcome the many temptations that the evil one brought His way. We need to include it in our conversations at home and at the workplace such that it makes our words salty with truth and grace and it comes alive in the lives of our hearers. When we speak aloud the Word, we are confessing it, professing it, declaring it. We become the mouthpiece of the Lord. We should be able to defend our faith truthfully and gracefully as well as effectively. Our communication abilities and content will be transformed. Our tongues, lips and vocal chords will be anointed and powerful instruments in the hands of the Lord. The Lord will not let our words fall to the ground but will vindicate and accomplish that which we speak of.

The purpose of knowledge is not to know it but to do it. The ultimate purpose of scripture is to apply it. An application a day keeps the doctor away and keeps us in good spiritual and emotional health. We need to carefully observe what is written in it and abide by it or obey it. It will give a solid foundation to our days and our lives. When our roots are nourished constantly and strengthened continually, we can take wing. Nothing can shake us. The net result would be that we would be greatly blessed. We will prosper in spirit, mind and body. We will succeed in whatever we set our minds and hands to which is in accordance with the sovereign and pleasing will of the Lord. Our lives will not be in vain but will be fruitful and meaningful. Our success will not be a Pyrrhic victory at great cost to our well being and that of others but it will be good, balanced and in various aspects of our lives and not just in financial terms. Our level of success will be beyond our natural abilities since we have supernatural power and grace flowing through us. The Word will also keep us from the follies and foibles that our human nature left to its own is prone to. The Holy Spirit will advise us through our intake of the Word in the success strategies we need to adopt in every domain of activity. The Word will help us anchor in deep and eternal values. The Word will also help us raise the bar of both our conduct and our performance. It will also stimulate or egg us on with the hope and motivation to glorify the Lord in all that we do. It will teach us to focus and to finish well.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Journey

UV 2035/10000 The Journey
And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
Numbers 10 v 29

The Lord promises us to take us to His promised land or realm. His goodness will do it to us. Our lives are but a journey to the place which the Lord has promised us. The Lord will set us free from our captivity just as He freed and brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. Michael Phelps, champion US swimmer has confessed how he contemplated suicide just two years ago due to depression following addiction and the scandal that followed. But Jesus saved him from depression and led him out of captivity. Someone gave him the book, “The Purpose Driven Life” and it led him to find his saviour in Jesus and to discover that the purpose in life is more than just winning a record number of more than twenty Olympic gold medals. Likewise , the Lord will send His rain to each of us in due time.

On Israel’s journey, they encountered many new experiences. They crossed deserts, came upon oases, fought enemies that lay in their path, defeated many and ultimately entered Canaan, the good lands that the Lord had promised. Likewise, there will be desert experiences in our lives, times when our spirits cry out to the Lord in the wilderness. He will enable us to find the oasis for our rest, recuperation, renewal and refreshment as we trudge through the deserts. At times, He will cross rivers to flow in the deserts. The progress may seem painfully slow in the desert sands but we just need to keep moving with our sight focussed on the promises of the Lord. His presence accompanying us will give us the strength to persist, the power to overcome. His presence will comfort and give us rest. His presence will overshadow us and bring forth all that we need for our journey. Every moment and step in the journey counts and brings us closer to our destination. Of course, if we are off track or wandering away from the direction in which we should be going, we are slowing down the process of reaching our goal. His presence or our deep, intimate and personal relationship with the Lord is more important than reaching our destination. It makes light of our present troubles and difficulties and gives us the patience to endure it with hope, joy and love.

We will encounter dangers and threats on our journey like the Israelites encountered serpents and scorpions en route. But as we fix our eyes on the cross of Jesus, they will not harm us in anyway. The empty cross on which Jesus was lifted up is not just a symbol but the very instrument for our upliftment, healing and deliverance in our journey’s most perilous moments. The Word is the compass that the Lord has given us to undertake life's journey. Like a runner holds the baton in his hand, we need to hold onto the Word and the promise of the Lord. It will keep us from running after illusions and mirages in the desert times of our lives. It will keep us from getting discouraged or allowing our enthusiasm from flagging off. It will provide us manna or energy for each day's efforts. The Spirit of God would never leave us but accompany us at each step and moment of our journey. Each day is a milestone in our journey of life. Every day we should try to go an extra mile instead of slowing down our pace.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Making the Main Thing the Main Thing

UV 2034/10000 Making the Main Thing the Main
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 9 v 24

AS human beings we tend to boast about the things we delight in or the things that bring greatest joy to our lives. The Word exhorts mankind not to delight in knowledge, wisdom, strength, beauty, pleasure or riches. Instead, we should delight in the fact that we have been given the grace and privilege of understanding who God is and knowing Him personally. All the former pursuits are but in vain but when we have a personal relationship with the Lord, even these things take on a new meaning and purpose. We need to recall the acts of love, mercy and righteousness, the Lord has executed in the world and in our personal lives. When we delight in His love, mercy, justice and righteousness, we discover and experience the joy of the Lord which becomes our new source of strength, power, wisdom, grace.

Suffice it to say that a personal or intimate relationship with the Lord is of far greater and eternal value than temporal riches, health, strength or power. That relationship then becomes the source of our knowledge, wisdom, power, strength and riches. We do not and cannot know the Lord fully but Jesus reveals to us the nature and heart of the Father as well as the Holy Spirit. Only the Son knows the Father and to those to whom the Son reveals the truth. We need to exult or rejoice in the love, mercy, justice and righteousness of Jesus. As we reflect and realize the extent of the agape or unconditional love of the Father, we experience a genuine awe or respect or reverence for His kind of love. That respect itself will create a heart of wisdom in us. As we meditate on His justice and righteousness, we get trained in righteousness. IF these three traits of the Lord, His love and mercy, His justice and His righteousness become our main pursuits, then none of the things we attempt or do in life would be vain. It would no longer be an empty boast but a real experience with repercussions on eternity. The use of the three words, “ in the earth” implies that the Lord exercises or manifests these three traits in real time in our real life situations and experiences of life. We need to reflect on these traits of the Lord and their manifestations in our personal lives at present and in the past.

The greatest glory is to know the Lord and to adore and imitate His character. As we do so, our lives will be filled with grace and peace. A personal relationship with the Lord is the source of all our blessings and victory in life. We can even be successful in some aspects of our lives on our own but we cannot be victorious in all aspects without knowing the Lord personally. When we get to know the Lord personally, we have access to all the resources and power of the kingdom of God. It takes more than a lifetime to fully know the Lord but even His image or reflection or shadow on our lives has a substantive impact and influence on all aspects of our lives. It will also reduce or remove a lot of the unnecessary pain we inflict on ourselves through our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Abundance and Victory in The Valley

UV 2033/10000 Abundance in The Valley of Drought
For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts
2 Kings 3 v 17

The kings of Israel, of Samaria, Judah and the king of Edom had come to Elisha the prophet in their distress as there was no water for their armies as they marched against Moab. As Elisha called the musicians to worship the Lord, the word came to him to ask them to dig ditches to collect water in the valley. The Lord not only filled the ditches with water but He gave victory to their armies. Likewise in our lives and our areas of activity we may see no visible sign of wind or rain but the valley will be filled with sufficient water – a metaphor for the solution or the blessing we are seeking at the hand of the Lord. The valley is a time of depression, a time of challenge and difficulty that we encounter in our lives. It could be a financial crisis, a relational crisis, a challenge in the area of health or in our professions or business. Rain or water is a symbol of provision that is beyond our control or beyond our efforts. These are blessings that can only be granted by the Lord and not earned or summoned.

Leadership is the art of seeing the invisible. We need to see the invisible Lord. We need to see His invisible grace and mercy. Then, we will begin to experience it visibly. Seeing is not believing. Believing is a far greater kind of seeing. The Word, prayer and testimonies of other people open our spiritual eyes, our inner vision to behold the glory and grace of the Lord. His grace is abundant and sufficient for all of our need. His riches are everlasting and unlimited in supply. His power is unlimited. Impossible is a word not found in the dictionary of the Lord. His hand is able to accomplish whatever His mouth has promised. The Lord not only met the need for water for the armies of Israel but He also gave decisive victory to their forces over Moab.

When we are in a valley of drought, we should not look to the clouds or the sky or natural factors to favour us. Instead, we should spread our sheet like King Hezekiah did or place our need before the Lord with a believing, trusting and thankful heart. The Lord can and does fill our empty valleys with water or blessings sufficient to meet our need. The fact that the kings ordered ditches to be made in anticipation of the water filling them shows that we need to initiate action in the direction the Spirit of the Lord indicates to us. No great plan was ever executed with all the resources in place before the project began but as we carry on the work faithfully, we will see the valley filled and we will have decisive victory, overwhelming success.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 5, 2016

Spiritual Breathing

UV 2032/10000 Spiritual Breathing
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
Job 27 v 3
The fundamental unit of life consists of each breath we take in and breathe out. After God formed man, He breathed into his nostrils and man began to live. The source of our lives is the breath of God. All other creatures like the animals and birds were created by the Lord speaking them into existence. They breathed, too but the breath was not that of the Lord. They had no living spirit and hence, are called beast. He reserved the best for the best of his creatures- man. Our breath and spirit are special and intermingled with that of the Lord. He breathed His very spirit into our nostrils. Hence, with every breath we need to acknowledge, focus and anchor on the Lord. We can use our breathing to be in touch with our souls. We can breathe to praise and worship the Lord. WE can breathe to invoke the spirit of God. We can breathe to cling to good in our lives and to let go of the evil. Without the breath and spirit of God in us, we would be no more than other beasts or inanimate things. The Lord animated or triggered our lives with His breath. Hence, we can animate or trigger good things in our lives by anchoring on our breathing.
To begin with we can offer sacrifices of breath-praise, breath-thanksgiving and breath-prayer. We can train ourselves so that with virtually every breathing in of oxygen, we thank the Lord for the good things He has endowed us with, the good experiences, the blessings. With every breathing out, we can ask the Lord to protect us, preserve us from all things evil in this world. I call this pattern of breathing “spiritual breathing”. Spiritual breathing is extremely powerful and effective. It combines the natural with the supernatural, the spiritual with the temporal. We will be able to draw on the inspiration of the Spirit of God, the grace, peace, joy and strength of the Lord with every breath.
When the resurrected Jesus breathed on His disciples, they received the Holy Spirit. They were transformed from being disciples or “learners” to apostles or the ones sent out to the world to teach, to heal, to deliver. Likewise, the Lord has breathed on us that we receive the Holy Spirit afresh. We can use our breaths to renew our faith, to regenerate our love, to enliven our souls, to refresh our inner being, to be one with the Lord and each other in spirit for the same spirit and same breath dwells in all mankind. This uni-verse teaches us a new a pattern of meditation – one where we fill our hearts and minds with the fruit of the spirit just as we inspire air, followed by breathing out the weeds of the evil one or the enemy of our souls. Breathe in the spirit of God and the love of God, breathe out selfish love, breathe in joy of the Lord, breathe out unwholesome sadness, breathe in peace, breathe out bitterness, hatred, anger. Spiritual breathing practiced over a lifetime will build a godly character in us, equip us to handle every challenge of life. We become a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dealing With Three Mortal Fears

UV 2030/10000 Dealing with Three Mortal Fears
And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Matthew 8 v 26
The boat in which Jesus was sleeping was being rocked badly and the disciples were fearful that the boat would sink, that they would drown and die. Jesus was awakened and He first rebuked them for their lack of faith before rebuking the winds and waves. Jesus just spoke three words, “ Peace, be still” and the winds and waves were calmed. The disciples could not comprehend where He got such great power and authority. They could not understand how three short and simple words could produce such an awesome result. This incident reported in three gospels give us an insight that faith is the opposite of fear, that fear results from a lack of faith or from weak faith. Again when Peter cried out to Jesus for help as he started walking on water but began to fear, Jesus rebuked him for his lack of faith. Leaders are called to walk on uncharted waters and take great risks. Mankind is most plagued by the fear of death, a sudden ending of all that we know and care for. Faith in the authority of Jesus to awaken us from death is the antidote to the fear of death. He enables us to eat from the tree of permitted fruit- the fruit of eternal life. Jesus gives us not only eternal salvation but also internal salvation- from our mortal fears as we face a variety of circumstances and situations in life on earth.
On another occasion, Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith for thinking that there was not enough money or food to feed the hungry multitude. Jesus had satisfied their spiritual hunger and thirst with His words of eternal life but He also wanted to satisfy their physical hunger. The second greatest fear of mankind is the fear of scarcity. Faith again is the antidote: faith that Jesus is the source of all abundance for He said, “ I came that you may have life and life in all its abundance.”
On yet another occasion, Jesus rebuked his disciples when they returned unable to heal a person or deliver him from possession. The third greatest fear is the fear of failure, the fear of being unable to do that which one has set out to do. The antidote again is faith that “ I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He equips us, He enables us, He empowers us to do that which we have purposed in our hearts to do. Fears and doubts keep rising in our hearts and minds like mountains but we need to remove these mountains and cast them into the sea by commanding them in the name or authority of Jesus. The fear of death affects a soldier. The fear of scarcity affects the farmer. The fear of failure affects the athlete. The secret is not to live in denial of these fears but to acknowledge them as we are mortal creatures and then seek the help of Jesus to overcome these fears. We need to constantly rebuke these three types of fears and keep expanding our faith. As the fear strikes or enters our thoughts and heart, we should affirm according to which fear it is: If it is threat or fear of danger or death, “ My Lord is my shepherd and protector.” If it is fear of scarcity, “ My Lord is my Provider.” If it is fear of failure, “ Nothing is impossible for my Lord.” When we deal with these three types of insecurities in this manner, we are greatly strengthened and able to do great things for the glory of God. We need to command with the authority that Jesus gave us who believe such that even the restless, stormy brain waves of fear, worry, anxiety obey the command, “ Peace, be still.” Great calmness, comprehensive but incomprehensible peace shall fill our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bat On With the Baton of Faith

UV 2029/10000 Bat On With The Baton of Faith
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD
I Chronicles 28 v 20

David did not ask Solomon, his young son and heir to just do it but to be filled with strength and courage from above. David knew from his personal experience that the Lord has a special calling for each one. He knew that the Lord enables us to do the impossible. For he had been enabled to slay the mighty Goliath as a young lad. Strength and courage is an expression that means faith. Courage never denies hope for the basis of courage is hope and hope cannot be carried to fulfilment except through courage. Faith is the belief that the Lord God has given us all that we need for the task He has set for us and whatever we may lack as we progress with the task, He will bring it our way. Faith implies that we first marshal all our inner resources and then do the task. This uni-verse exhorts every believer in Jesus to be filled with His strength and power and courage by the working of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit fills us with hope, joy, peace and patience. He reminds us of the specific and unique promises of the Lord to us. We should not behave like a victim but as a victor. The exhortation comes with a promise that the Lord would never fail or leave us, that His presence would go with us and ahead of us and around us. Stone walls cannot protect us like the presence of the Lord as stone walls can be scaled or brought down like the Berlin wall. He will help us fulfil His purpose for our lives. He will be with us and enable us until we have done every thing that the Lord has purposed in us, with us and for us.
The perspective that this uni-verse gives us is that each of us are part of a mission to build the temple or church to worship Christ. Every day we are laying bricks or carving a new beautiful feature of the edifice. As we do so, our morale should be high, our motivation should be intense, our physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual strength should be renewed day after day by spending time in His presence. The Lord will add days to our lives and lives to our days. We will be filled with enthusiasm or the energy of God. He will supply all the resources, the skills, the opportunities, the gifts, the helpers to fulfil our commitment.
We need to have the courage of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete and the patience and hope of a farmer. Our faith will be tested with temporary setbacks and failures. But we need to persist beyond failure for God cannot fail and He will help us learn to overcome. We need to set aside our own doubts and apprehensions. We need not fear the consequences of our actions in building the body of Christ. We should not be discouraged or depressed when we run into temporary hurdles. The Lord has set the time and the manner for completion of each task in our lives. It only calls for dedication, determination, discipline, diligence and devotion on our part as workers of the Lord. We need to put in all of our heart, strength and energy into the task the Lord has assigned to us. No one can stop us, no force can hinder us until we have accomplished our goals for the Lord. His unstoppable power and grace is with us, powering us until the finishing point. Like David did to Solomon, we should pass on the baton of faith to the next generation.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Robes of Salvation and Transformation

UV 2028/10000 Robes of Sanctification and Transformation
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God
Revelation 19 v 13
Jesus is the full and final message of salvation to all mankind. Jesus being full of grace and truth, His Word is also full of grace and truth. The Word clothes us spiritually and fills us with grace and truth. We experience transformation by transference. The Word of God sanctifies us as water washes our bodies. The power to sanctify that the Word of God has is obtained from the perfect sacrifice of Jesus where He was drenched with blood. Our pure white clothes of salvation have been obtained therefore at a great price. We can never take for granted the cost that was paid by Jesus to obtain total salvation, both here and now and in the eternal realm. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet with water but He has offered to wash the totality of our being, spirit, mind and body with His blood. Consciousness of the Commander of the armies of heaven, the Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, Almighty , whose face shone with radiance, whose voice was the voice of a thundering waterfall, whose feet, whose eyes are like blazing fire, whose feet are like polished metal, wearing garments soaked in His own blood makes us at once grateful and willing to pay the cost of following Him.
The white clothes of salvation that we wear have been obtained by the blood of the Lamb of God. We should therefore hasten the process of aligning our heart and our lives with the Word of God in all aspects of our living. The Word is what washes the clothes of salvation such that we can present ourselves as living sacrifices that are pleasing unto the Lord. When a compass is placed flat on a surface, the magnetic needle corrects itself to point upward to the North and downward to the South. The Word is our compass that enables us to determine what is the true North, the direction in which we should travel as well as what is the false South that pulls us downward and away from the Lord and our true purpose in life.
The robe of blood that Jesus is seen wearing in this revelatory vision of John is a symbol of the new robes that the father gives his repentant but formerly prodigal son. It is a sign of the reconciliation that we now have with the Father. The Word affects our sense of worth. We are now no longer mere mortal men and women but children of God, co-heirs with Jesus, the first fruit of God, the inheritors of the Kingdom of God. The Word influences our work, the way we conduct ourselves. The Word determines our attitudes of worship, the reverence for God that is the beginning of wisdom. The Word releases hope, joy and resurrection power in our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 1, 2016

His Word Precedes and Supercedes

UV 2027/10000 His Word Precedes and Supercedes
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1 v 1

The Word preceded the world. The Word contains life and light. We cannot live successfully in this world without the life and light of the Word of God. All our beginnings are found in His Word. All the answers to all the problems and challenges that life throws at us are found in the Word. His Word is at work in us. It is His power to create, sustain, shape, mould, perfect that is at work in us through His Word. When we intake the Word we are filling ourselves with His power. The way to be in the world but not of it is to have our minds saturated with the Word. Salt is said to be crystalline in structure and therefore, it is not affected by dust. Similarly, the Word makes crystal-clear many puzzling aspects of life that the most intellectual and wise cannot understand such that our priorities do not get muddled and our lives do not get muddied.
His Word enables us to understand how the world was formed. It enables us to live our days on this earth fruitfully and meaningfully. In the absence of the Word, the world is meaningless, everything is a chasing of the wind, everything is in vain. The Word gives us a framework for our lives. The Word enables us to understand who God is and to learn to love Him and comprehend the multidimensional nature of His love for us. The Word forms the character of God in us. It gives us a set of values to guide our decisions and choices in life. The Word is unchanging and hence, gives us an yardstick or standard to measure or judge our lives for ourselves.
The Word is a metaphor that John uses for Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God personified. As His disciples affirmed, “You have the words of eternal life.” Our passion for eternal life or the incessant desire to live fully and eternally is fulfilled in Jesus, in believing the words He spoke. When we carry the Word close to our hearts, we are virtually carrying God in us. It becomes the mustard seed of faith that grows to an amazing height and size. As we obey the Word in the details of our lives, the kingdom of God is established in our lives. The Word is a visible representation of the invisible God. The Word is the most influential factor in the lives of believers in Jesus. Both the conditions of the covenant relationship with Jesus and the promises of the covenant are learnt and obeyed or claimed. To begin each new day with the Word is a great start to the day.
Prateep V Philip