Friday, September 30, 2016

The Power of Retention

UV 2082/10000 The Power of Retention
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
Isaiah 44 v 3

A person without the touch of God in his life is like dry and parched ground. We can visualise a famine-affected land that breaks up into millions of pieces of cracked top soil, each crack aching for a drop of water. But when we manifest a thirst for the truth, a thirst for the Word, a longing for a relationship with the Lord, He promises to pour in the water of His love, truth, mercy and grace. The soil of our souls will soak in the water and get connected, the parts with each other and the whole with the Lord, our Creator and Redeemer in Christ. The soul like the soil will come alive again and new life in the form of seed, saplings, crops, flowery plants and fruit trees will spring up from the soul as from the wet soil. We may have everything in life and yet feel dry without the Lord in our lives. We do not have thirst because there is water. Rather, there is water as we have thirst. Our deepest need for God and a Saviour is met in Christ. His words of truth are the water of eternal life which when we drink daily and often will lead us never to thirst again. Like water has multiple uses: it quenches thirst, it cleans, it refreshes, it regenerates, it renews, it irrigates, it softens, the Word regenerates, cleanses, refreshes, softens our hearts and renews us.

Our tongues and our throats always need to be moist and wet. If these are dry, it would be highly uncomfortable and we would be longing for water. Water is one of our most basic needs and we need it all the time. As we are using up the water all the time, we need to keep taking a refill. Similarly, we need to take a refill of the Word in order to renew ourselves in the Lord. The Lord pours His Spirit upon us, into us and ours. The Spirit like a river refreshes us and turns into streams or tributaries of life –giving or inspirational water. The Spirit inspires in us faith, hope and love. In accordance with our obedience and abiding in the Spirit, He turns it into a flood of divine wisdom, guidance, gifts, anointing and triune blessings on spirit, mind and body. The blessings do not stop with us but carries into our generations.
Mere intention to read or hear the Word is not enough. We need retention. Just as water needs to percolate and enter the deeper parts of the soil, the Word needs to be retained so that it percolates to the different parts and deeper as well as deepest parts of our souls. In different soils, the ground water is reached at different depths. Water finds its own level in soul. There is no stopping it till it hits the bedrock. So also the springs of our well being run deep. Mere surface scratching or superficial attention will not do. The Spirit has to do a deep and lasting work with the Word in our lives. Then and then only will the dry and parched soul gets transformed into a soil that throws up a hundred fold or a thousand fold of crops and fruit. The dry land will be lifted up like a hill and all around there will be blessings in abundance. There will be showers of blessings and at times, even a flood. The dry land will be turned into a pool, the wilderness into a stream, the desert into an oasis. We will have the early spring rain at the time of sowing as well as the latter rain at the time of harvest. The Lord to whom both the field, the seed, the crop, the water and the harvest belong will oversee our growing to fruition. The mountains will drop down the new vine of new life and the pastures will flow with milk and honey.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Teacher -Non Pareil

UV 2081/10000 Teacher- Non Pareil
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go
Isaiah 48 v 17

There is no one who can teach like the Lord. He teaches us what is best for us. He teaches us how to make choices in life. We learn from Him that we should always go for the best, no “second best for us.” He guides us and tells us which way to go and which way to avoid. He teaches us to benefit our spirits, minds and bodies. His teaching is wholesome and holistic. He being the repository of all knowledge and wisdom far beyond all our books of learning and our wisest or most knowledgeable persons is able to tell us in advance before a thing happens. He is the only One who knows the end from the beginning. Of course, He does not tell us all of it at one go. He is the one who teaches us how to communicate. He teaches us how to teach and He teaches every generation. He teaches our children and their children, too. By just spending time in His presence,we learn even as the disciples were transformed as they spent time with Jesus. He teaches us what no other teacher can possibly teach. He integrates the past, present, future and eternal in teaching us.

The Lord inscribes His instructions in our hearts. He gives us a heart of understanding and the ear to listen. He subdues with gentleness and patience our rebellious spirits. He teaches us the mastery of our thoughts and emotions so that we are not misled by them into great folly. He leads us into all perfection. He holds our hand and walks with us. At each juncture in our lives, the Holy Spirit whispers in our inner ears, “ Take this way.” Jesus taught mankind the ways of God through His example as well as through His remarkable but simple parables. He sought to make us “ para-able” or be able to do far beyond our human ability, knowledge or understanding. He hones our talents and abilities, even the non existent ones.
The Lord teaches us with a “hands on” approach. He teaches us through our experiences, through adversity and afflictions, through good times and bad times. But the primary method He uses to teach us is His Word. We need to store or lay up His word in our hearts and minds and it will give us more wisdom and insight than our teachers, our elders and our enemies as it is written in Psalm 119. We need to superimpose the patterns of His word on the patterns of the world to understand His ways. He is a patient teacher and never gives up on us. He encourages us to take responsibility for our lives but He is always nearby as our helper. He prepares us for lifelong learning. He teaches us how to prioritise. He teaches us how to battle and defeat our own inner self , our personal demons as well as the powers of darkness. He teaches us how to handle relationships with those who are intimate as well as those who are inimical. He is also the best teacher of change management as well as challenge management. He teaches us how to redeem our time or to make the best use of time, opportunity and resources. He teaches us to overcome our insecurities.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thoughts of Peace, Plans of Progress

UV 2080/10000 Thoughts of Peace, Plans of Progress
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29 v 11

The Lord God has thoughts of peace that translate into specific plans to help us. The enemy of our collective souls in contrast has thoughts of strife that translate into plans to harm us. When we enter into a covenant relationship by faith in Jesus with the Lord God, He not only takes responsibility for the former to happen but to protect us from the latter, the plans of the enemy to steal our peace, rob our joy, kill our spirits, destroy our testimony and our future. The Lord is the author of goodness in our lives while the enemy is the antithesis- the author of all evil and deception in our lives. The Lord pits His strength on our side. Jesus fought the ultimate battle for the human soul on the cross and wrested ultimate and absolute victory for each of us.

As the Psalmist David wrote in wonderment and humility, “ Why should the Lord even think of us.” Yet, the Lord’s plans for each of us are multiple and dynamic. His thoughts towards us are innumerable, infinite and beyond our understanding. He desires our well being, our temporal as well as eternal well being. Our own thoughts, actions, choices often interfere with His plans, thoughts and intentions for us. He knows or consciously orchestrates things and circumstances in our favour. His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours, much higher than our collective and individual knowledge as well as imagination. He knows our end, the end of everything in our lives from the beginning and has spoken or revealed it often ahead of time. Our response ought to be to have a lively hope or a real time hope and to wait for the Lord’s thoughts, intentions and plans to translate into reality. Our response is to surrender our thoughts and plans to Him, knowing His plans will prevail and His plans are for our good. He seeks not just a passive acquiescence in His plans but a joyful trust and acceptance.

We need to daily and frequently seek the counsel of the Lord. Unlike the enemy, He will not lead us up a garden path or a path of red herrings. Our trust in Him is demonstrated when we actively do His bidding whatever be the cost. The emphasis in God’s plans is on finishing well. My father –in-law once wisely counselled me that how we end our lives determines whether we are a success or not. This uni-verse promises us that we will have an expected end. The “expected end” is always much better and higher than our own expectations. Scripture reveals from beginning to end the thoughts, plans and expectations of the Lord for each of us. The task cut out for us is to conform to these thoughts, plans and promises. Hope is a by-product of faith that can be used in every situation of life. Our faith in this uni-verse inspires great hope in us. The cracks or weaknesses in our understanding and faith in the Lord inspires needless fears and doubts about our lives, about our health, about our future and about our end.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Test of 360 Degree Success

UV 2079/10000 The Test of 360 Degree Success
And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.
I Samuel 18 v 14

It is indeed interesting that in the King James version, it is written that “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways” while in modern versions, it is translated as “ In everything he did he had great success as the Lord was with him”. In today’s world, success is worshipped and placed on the highest pedestal. But from the perspective of the Lord it is not success but wisdom in all our ways that counts: wisdom in the way we live, the way we behave, the way we listen, think, speak, decide, react, work and act. This kind of behaviour would lead to all round success, a wholesome success or what scripture calls in the book of Joshua “ good success.” Obviously, there are forms of success that are intrinsically bad, where the cost in personal or familial or moral terms is too high, where the victory is Pyrrhic or painful, causing more regret and sorrow than everlasting joy.

The sole criterion for good success is the favour or the grace of the Lord. Every biblical hero had this common factor whether it was Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Joseph or David that the Lord was with each of them. That alone guaranteed good success in everything they did. Wherever Abraham, Moses and David failed, it was when they departed from the wisdom of the Lord and gave in to the ways of their flesh either in terms of lying to save themselves out of fear or in giving in to anger in the case of David or to lust in the case of David. It was interesting to hear the testimony of Benny Prasad, the Guinness Record holder for travelling to the most countries (251) in the shortest time. He said that the greatest test comes when the Lord’s blessing lifts us up and our goals are fulfilled and we are considered successful. It is at this time that we are tempted to think and feel that it was done on our own steam and strength. We do not attribute the glory to the Lord. He said this was the time when he felt “spiritually dry”, as if he did not need the Lord any more. It is at this juncture in our lives that we should be “ intentionally humble”, walk even closer and lean on the Lord for more grace. It is at this point that the Lord tests our hearts. It is not a time of triumph but of testing our spirit as Jesus was tested by being taken to the heights of the mountains and offered the kingdoms of the world. It is a time of choosing between success and the Lord. It is not a time for complacency but for recasting our goals and priorities. It is the test of whether we are “Kingdom material” or whether we are only after the things of this world.

It was said of David that he was skilful in music, a valiant man, a mighty man of war, valiant with a pleasant or attractive appearance but he succeeded in all things as the Lord was with him for his heart or character was shaped by the Lord from his early days. The Lord prospered everything that Joseph laid his hands to. The fear of the Lord made these mortal men wise in all their ways. It was the Lord who gave them 360 degree success. Success in one domain was not at the cost of another area of their lives. Our greatest test of faithfulness and wisdom would come when we are on the summit of success. If we cease to depend on the Lord, we plunge. If we increasingly seek His presence and His grace and love in Jesus, the Emmanuel or the one who guarantees and seals the presence of the Lord in and with us, the Lord will even turn our failures and weaknesses into a source of great blessing.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Pursuit of Humility

UV 2078/10000 The Pursuit of Humility
He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3 v 30
Every believer of Jesus needs to have the attitude of John the Baptist who desired that the greatness of Jesus increase even as his own decreases. Our own egos need to shrink as we give greater and greater room and priority to Jesus in our lives. We are at best friends of the Bridegroom – Jesus who rejoice in His presence and His glory. The more we humble ourselves and point all glory, greatness, credit and thanksgiving to the Lord, the more pleased is the Triune God. Such an attitude and life pattern does not come naturally for the natural inclination of each of us is to try to get greater as we age and increase in prowess and influence in this world. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that enabled John to humble himself to say that he was not even worthy to tie the laces of the sandals of Jesus. We too need such a grace and anointing in order to humble ourselves.

As we yield ourselves more and more to the leading of the Holy Spirit and deny our own egos, the miraculous power, grace and wisdom of the Lord will be revealed in and through us. The fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control will increasingly be in evidence in our lives. We realize that we can do nothing on our own but our position is initially- I- in -Him but as time passes and we increasingly yield to Him, it will be He-in-me. His circle of influence will increase and my own circle of influence will decrease.

John the Baptist was called the greatest since Moses and yet Jesus said that even the least in the kingdom of God is greater than him. Like John, we are to prepare people to repent in order to receive the greatest King and ruler as King, ruler and Saviour of their souls. Though John was such a great chosen prophet of the Lord, he humbled himself as a servant, as one who heralds or goes ahead of Jesus to announce His coming. Likewise, everything that we are and everything we have and everything we do should be dedicated to the purpose of making Jesus known to the rest of humanity. We need to decrease in terms of our sense of importance, sense of entitlement and in terms of thinking first of our own needs and desires. In a sense, we need to die to ourselves and live increasingly for Jesus, to extend and expand His kingdom in us and around us. Whoever we are and become, whatever we do or do not, we realize that we are only basking in the greatness and glory of the Sun of Righteousness, that we have no righteousness of our own. WE are at best like solar panels that collect the heat, energy and light of Jesus, store it and transmit it to others.

Prateep V Philip

Patterns -Acceptable and Unacceptable

UV 2077/10000 Patterns- Acceptable and Unacceptable
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4 v 7

We need to rule over our own desires and not allow desires to rule over our hearts and minds. Temptation and hence, the tempter is always at the door of our hearts and minds. The threat of temptation is always proximate. The Lord sees our hearts and reads our minds. Our spiritual worship and sacrifice emanate from the heart and mind of man. It is the innermost tabernacle, the sanctum sanctorum, the holiest of holies. Here, the Spirit of God and the spirit of man should commune and the tempter should never be given room. Our attitudes at the heart and mind level should be acceptable and pleasing to the Lord as was that of Abel. We should always be aware and wary of the desire for sin to rule over our hearts and minds as the unholy jealousy of Cain provoked him to murder his brother Abel as his sacrifice did not win the favour or grace of the Lord. A pattern is a combination of inner motive, thoughts, attitudes, words, actions and reactions.

God should rule over our desires, our thoughts, our emotions, our decisions, our actions and reactions. This is the kingdom of God within us. Once His righteous rule is established in us, His kingdom or righteous rule will be established between and among us. It is an inner change of heart that the Lord first wants to see in us and not any external manifestation. Once however, the inner change is wrought by the sacrifice the Lord Himself made in and through His Son Jesus, it tends to get reflected in our attitudes and actions to our fellow beings. We are moved not only to look out for our own well being but that of our kindred. We receive the power and authority to fend ourselves from the sin that crouches at the door of our hearts and minds.

It is the Lord ‘s desire that we do well in all things, that we excel in all things. Our good, His glory! In order to do so, we need to study the patterns of the Word and avoid the patterns of the world. The patterns of the Word are made evident through the faith and lives of people of faith from Abraham to St Paul. It is made evident through the communications of the Lord direct to them and through them to us. There are patterns of thinking, speaking and doing that Jesus demonstrated to us. We need to adhere to these and imitate these patterns. The Word also shows us patterns that we ought to avoid like the example of Cain’s jealousy and his surrender to the enemy of his soul.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Master Builder

UV 2076/10000 The Master Builder
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
I Corinthians 3 v 9

We are co-workers with God, labouring side by side with Him . He is the CEO of our lives. But He also stoops to dirty His hands with us. We therefore have the immense, immeasurable and awesome power of God working in us, with us and for us. The Lord is partner with us in our life’s work. He will supply what we need. There can be no deficit of resources, strength or wisdom. The same God who made the mighty mountains, the vast oceans, the great rivers, the sun, moon and stars made you and me. He could have invested a measure of the stature, the might and power of these phenomena in us but the fact that He did not goes to show that His presence with us is what will invest such greatness in us and we cannot do it of ourselves. The Master Builder has the building plan with Him. We are to build to that plan or it will be disastrous. We are to build to plan, build the best, build to last. Anyone who has built a house knows that it has three main stages: the foundation, the structure and the finishing works. The foundation should be deep and preferably on a bedrock so that nothing can shake it. Our faith in Jesus, the Highest Rock should be unshakeable, deep and be able to withstand any storm, the power of the ocean’s waves or crashing thunder and lightning. The structure should be without flaw or defect. It should be strong and stable. We need to finish with the most beautiful materials, the flooring, the walls, the ceilings, the furnishing.

The greatest work the Lord does in our lives is what He does in us. We are tilled, ploughed and turned over like the soil of a field that is being prepared for cultivation. When a land is dug up to lay the foundation of a building, it looks ugly but when the building is completed, it is beautiful. The more the land was dug up, the deeper the foundation was laid, the stronger and more enduring the building would be. The Lord wants to build us with precious stones, jewels and treasures but we should not choose instead hay and stubble that are easily burnt and destroyed. He is building us day by day, nay moment by moment, experience by experience till we match every detail of the plan He laid out for us as a master builder.

Unlike building materials that play a passive role, we too are co-builders with the Lord. Even our act of yielding to the Lord or acquiescing in His will involves an exercise of choice. The Lord as the owner of the field or the building lays a hedge of protection around us. The choices we make right through our lives reflect our faith and how we are growing. We can choose as our minds and flesh directs us or as the Spirit led by the Lord directs us. We are a work in progress all the time though the Lord views us as a finished work or perfected building by His grace and mercy. By constantly listening to the voice of the Lord through His Word and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can avoid costly errors and the need to break down to rebuild sections of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cloud Communication

UV 2075/10000 Cloud Communication
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
I Corinthians 3 v 6

In the kingdom of God, one ploughs, another sows, yet another waters, and another harvests. God, the Lord who provides the seed of the gospel is the Lord of the harvest for all human souls ultimately and immediately belong to Him and to Him alone, the Creator and the Redeemer. This is “cloud communication” where all the elements or components of the plougher, the sower, the waterer, the harvester come together in unity of purpose. The plougher, the sower and the waterer should work together that the maximum of people are benefitted, the greatest number of souls are touched in the deepest way possible. They should work hard, work smart and work with the operation of the gifts and grace of the Lord so that the harvest is both plentiful and bountiful.

Our earnest and fervent prayers seed the cloud of the Lord that it brings rain where it should rain and the rain cease where it should cease. The Word of the Lord is also the spiritual seed to cause the clouds to bring abundance of rain or needed blessings that His people are crying out for. The water softens the hardened hearts of people just as the early or first rain every year softens the hard and parched ground and makes it ready for ploughing. Once the ground is softened, the sower needs to come forth and cast the carefully chosen good seed. The seed needs to be daily watered to prevent the ground from hardening and imprisoning the new life. The sapling too needs to be watered over the growing period. Even after the plant matures, it needs watering. But however hard one works at each stage, it is the Lord who causes one plant to grow and flourish and another to perish. At each stage, the worker of the Lord needs to use the gifts, resources and opportunities he or she is given without claiming the credit or the glory for self but to give it all to the Lord of the harvest who alone determines which plant shall yield what crop.

Like the cloud that is here today and gone tomorrow after it causes its loaded moisture to precipitate onto the thirsty earth, our responsibility is to be the source of the communication and not to remain on the stage of life to take the bow. Nothing should transpire to affect the purity, the clarity, the purpose of our communication. St Paul refers in the book of Hebrews to being surrounded “by such a great cloud of witnesses”. He does not refer to it as a crowd of witnesses but a cloud of witnesses of Jesus, implying that we are not to be a group or groups of disparate individuals working as lone wolves but as sheep in a flock rubbing shoulders, mingling our cries and and prayers to a common great Shepherd. Today, the cloud is much larger than in St Paul’s time. Sin, ego and personal agenda are the burdens that can easily entangle us and disrupt the cloud communication. The clouds are to be electrically charged by the Spirit of the Lord. Cloud communication also means that our communication is boundary-less and sheds the message wherever it alights. The Spirit will move the cloud and position it where it should rain- in some places where ploughing is due, some places where sowing is due, some places where harvesting is due and in all places where growing happens. The plougher, the sower, the waterer, the thresher should each do in hope of a plentiful and good harvest, each making his contribution, each enjoying his wages, none taking that which belongs to another. As we excel in our tasks, the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth from all nations on the Earth.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 19, 2016

Being A Signet Ring

UV 2074-10000 Being A Signet Ring
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
Haggai 2 v 23

Zerubbabel was a descendant of David, of royal descent and was one of those responsible for the re-building of Jerusalem and the temple. Jesus is addressed in this uni-verse as Zerubbabel as He too was of the house of David and of royal descent. But He was also the Son of God, of divine descent. Yet Jesus humbled Himself to be a servant of God. A signet ring is given to only such persons who were trusted by the king to issue commands, orders and edicts on his behalf. The signatory spoke, wrote and acted on behalf of the king. He could marshal his army, order payments from the exchequer, order people to be put in prison or to be released, to be bound or to be loosed. Jesus was chosen as the signet ring, the One who gave the seal of approval on behalf of the Lord of the armies of heaven. Whatever Jesus authorises or approves, the Lord authorises.

Today, if we believe Jesus, we too are chosen to be servants of the Lord. We are a modern day Zerubbabel, of royal and divine descent by adoption or by faith. We too are chosen to be a signet ring on behalf of the Lord. We affix the seal of approval on the judgement and mercy of the Lord and transmit these to the unbelievers. We too are re-building not a physical temple with a specific location in Jerusalem but a spiritual temple, the kingdom of God. We have the power and the influence of a king, a kingdom builder, an authority on earth. We are agencies to extend the rule and reign of the Lord on earth. On whatever we affix the seal of approval, the Lord will also approve and commend. We execute the will of the Lord on earth. We command the pleasure of heaven on earth.

Discipleship is the process of turning us into signet rings, to be able to use spiritual authority with responsibility, compassion and humility. The words “that day” refers to now, this day and time when the Lord requires us to act on His behalf. The day we receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the process of being a signet ring is initiated. We may have the manner and appearance of a servant but we are given the authority over all spiritual realms. The armies and forces of heaven can be marshalled by us. We can issue payments from the Lord’s exchequer, have people lifted up or brought down, rewarded or punished. We should be guided by the Holy Spirit in the exercise of these vast powers and influence.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Vitality of Presence

UV 2073/10000 The Vitality of Presence
Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
Haggai 1 v 13

The Lord affirms through His word and through many godly messengers that He is with us. His unique presence is the source of our blessings, our strength, our help, our support , our deliverance, our salvation and our sustenance. It is His presence that distinguishes us from all other people on the earth. His presence is our refuge, our shield, our strong and impregnable fortress. His presence teaches us, leads us into all truth. We should therefore, not seek His presents or His gifts but above all, we should seek, love and honour His presence.

The presence of the Lord accompanies us wherever we go. He never leaves us or gives up on us at any time. When we go through the river of difficulties and challenges, it will not drown us. When we go through the fire of persecution and tremendous problems, we will not be consumed. His presence is like a fire that will melt our enemies like wax in a flame. His presence will fulfil all the promises we have received in faith hitherto and we hold onto as a shield. His presence gives us grace and peace in abundance. His presence fills the vacuum in our lives and hearts with joy as nothing else in this world can. His presence enables us to be our very best. His presence breaks every curse against us, blunts every weapon and assures or guarantees the enjoyment of every blessing in heaven and on earth. His presence enables us to see or perceive as we should and to hear as we should. His presence is the source of our security regardless of our external circumstances or situations. His presence delivers us from the flames of the furnace, the mouth of the lion and the waves of the sea. His presence gives us hope , confidence and courage.

The presence of God goes ahead of us a beacon light to guide our footsteps, our every decision and action. He comes behind us to guard us and cover our backs from any attack we are unaware of. He surrounds us with ample evidence of His care and love of us. He is with us as a wonderful counsellor, advising us, prompting us, goading us. He is with us as a Mighty King. He reveals His awesomeness in multiple ways. He is with us as an everlasting Father who never leaves us unlike our earthly parents. He is with us as a Prince of Peace in order to allow peace that is beyond human reason and understanding to rule over us in every storm. He is with us as a Mighty God who demonstrates and manifests His power and wisdom at every turn. His presence dispels darkness, ignorance, evil as authoritatively and decisively as light drives out darkness in an instant.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spiritual Phalanx

UV 2072/10000 Spiritual Phalanx
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 20 v 7

Temporal power is based on military strength, financial resources, political strength, intellectual acumen and physical strength. But the base of power for a believer is the Lord Himself. Constantly remembering the name of the Lord is a veritable source of eternal power. The name of Jesus symbolises and contains all that God is- the Saviour, a loving Father, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace, a wonderful Counsellor. It is easy to put one’s trust in the temporal sources of power as these are visible, physical or perceivable. But the power of the Lord can be perceived only with the eye of faith and experienced in the heart of belief. This uni-verse says it is vain to place our trust in the earthly sources of power.

There is no safety for a general in the number of his horses and chariots for his own soldier in whom he trusts could take his life or betray him. The enemy could also come with greater force of numbers to defeat and put him to rout. A debilitating disease could also overtake him even as Alexander the great couqueror could not be saved from death by the legendary Greek phalanx. Jesus surrounds us with His invincible phalanx: the power of His name is released when we look to Him for help. The power of the Word is also at work in us. The power of His blood redeems us from sin, curses and death. The power of the Holy Spirit guides, leads and comforts us. Jesus sends angels as His foot soldiers to guard us against unknown and known threats and dangers. He arms, equips and trains us with spiritual weapons of offence and defence. The military standard or banner He holds over us is one of victory, peace and love.

Our sense of security is rooted in our trust in Jesus. He is the captain of our ship and no storm or rock can wreck the ship as long as He is in our lives. We need to commit our lives forever to Him. Apart from this once in a lifetime commitment of our lives, we need to daily renew our trust and relationship with Jesus. If there are any gap in the spiritual phalanx around us or if any of our spiritual weapons are rusty and in disuse, we need to set that right from time to time. Jesus makes our life failure-proof, defeat-resistant and victorious in all domains and areas of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Root of Victory

UV 2071/10000 The Root of Victory
The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

Psalm 20 v 1

The Lord is near us all the time but He is nearest in our most troubled moments. The names of the God of Jacob are many and they signify power, grace, mercy, healing, deliverance, might, strength, victory- names such as Jehovah El Shaddai, Nissi, Rapha, Jireh, Shalom, Shamah, Ebenezer, Immanuel and so on. It implies that the Lord identified Himself as “ I am Almighty, I am Victory, I am the Healer, I am the Provider, I am Peace, I am the Helper, I am the One with you.” He identifies with each of us in our troubles and manifests that aspect of His grace that we are most in need of. The result is that not only are we truly in awe of Him but we are in love with Him as He stretches out His right arm to help us, to extricate us from dangerous or delicate or difficult situations. We need to step out to face our difficulties and challenges in the name of the Lord. Each of us can now affirm to ourselves, “ I have the help and support of the Almighty, the Victorious One, the all sufficient provider, the Peace –giver, the Deliverer.” As David invoked the name of Jehovah El Shaddai as he went out to face the biggest challenge of his life when he was yet a callow youth and at his most vulnerable, the power of God gave him courage, wisdom to reject the king’s weapons and to use his shepherd’s sling from a safe distance before Goliath could reach him and crush him. The Lord gave him the skill to shoot the stone from his sling so accurately and hard as to hit Goliath on his large forehead and penetrate it.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower of defence. We find our shelter of safety in it. He encourages us with a timely and apt word. He supports us from His sanctuary. He protects us from the wrath of our enemies and their weapons. He strengthens us. He delivers us. He vindicates us and honours us. David rejected the help that Saul, the king proffered. He discarded the heavy armour and sword that would have further handicapped him. The help of man likewise is vain in these situations and we need to lean only on the Lord’s help.

Our weapons of warfare are not of the flesh or mind but of the spirit- prayer, the Word, praise and worship. These are powerful enough to pull down spiritual strongholds of the invisible enemy of our souls. Anything that exalts itself against truth, justice, mercy, faith, purity is brought down by these spiritual resources and weapons. Everything that happens in the physical world has a spiritual root. The root can be evil or good. Jesus is the “good root” and as long as we are attached and grafted onto the good root we have victory, deliverance, comfort, support, strength and salvation.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Prevailing Power

UV 2070/10000 Prevailing Power
And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee
Jeremiah 1 v 19

Life for believers in Jesus at the best of times involves struggle, challenges, fighting as we are always fighting for the right in the light of His truth. This uni-verse states that the adversary of our soul and his agents would fight against us. It does not state that we will need to fight for the Lord asks us to be still, to still our hearts and fears in quiet prayer, to bolster our faith and to wait for the resolution that He will bring about. It is an assurance that they will never prevail against us as long as we hold onto our faith for the Lord is with us. He is able to deliver us out of the hand of the terrible, the wicked, the powerful and mighty of the land as He delivered Moses and Joseph time and again.

The Lord makes us a strong, fenced bronzen wall. Nothing can penetrate through such a defence. No fiery arrows of the enemy can pierce our defence. The strength is not ours but that of Jesus invested in us by faith and grace. He is the One who said, “ I am the good Shepherd.” He is with us as a good Shepherd and guard us against the roaring lion, the cunning fox, the hungry wolf and the deceitful serpent. As shepherd, He has strength to rip open the jaws of death as Samson ripped open a lion’s jaws. He can make the sweetness of the promises of the Lord to flow like wild honey from the dead lion’s carcass.

Jesus in His manifestation as the True Vine will enable our conflicts and crisis points to stimulate our growth and fruitfulness. He will impart patience or mastery over the flesh and mind to us in all our struggles so that we would not hasten but wait for the breakthrough He provides. Jesus as the Bread of life will provide for us daily manna from His Word during these times of struggle. Jesus as the Way will show us the way out of these troubles. We might be bruised or hurt during these times of attack or assault but the Lord is our healer and the Holy Spirit will comfort us. Jesus as the Light of the world will illuminate our paths even as we face the fight. David as he faced the mighty giant of a man, Goliath had all the odds against him 10 to 1. Nobody not even his brothers or King Saul or the other soldiers gave him a chance. His faith that the Lord is on his side gave him the courage, the strength and the faith that he would win. The Lord reversed the odds in his favour and he had decisive victory. Our sling is our fervent spirit of prayer and the five stones that David collected as ammunition to bring down Goliath are the five top priority prayer requests we should always have in our minds and hearts as we face our daily struggles. Indeed, persistent prayer brings prevailing victory.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Bunch of Keys

UV 2069/10000 The Bunch of Keys
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open

Isaiah 22 v 22
This uni-verse is spoken of Elikiam, the Prime Minister to King Hezekiah. As Prime Minister, he controlled who gained access or audience to the king. Jesus today and forever holds the key to David as the government rests upon His shoulder. Each believer is like a vice regent or Prime Minister to Jesus in ruling the spiritual world. We should be a servant leader like Elikiam who knowing the King’s will took decisions to further it. Often in our lives, we tend to bang our heads on walls, struggle against bronzen gates and doors- while all the time, we have the keys to open these dangling on our shoulder. This is the lighter yoke the Lord has placed on our shoulders- the responsibility to lead with a vision, to govern with diligence and wisdom. The solutions to the problems we face may not be found unless we use the key of David, the key to lock the influence and power of the kingdom of darkness, evil and death, the key to the power of heaven and earth.
A key is a symbol or metaphor of authority and control. In order to use a key to open a lock, we need to know which key is meant for which lock or we should be willing to try one key after another till one fits. The Lord has laid upon our shoulder a bunch of keys: the key of David that will open the door that no man can close and shut the door that no man can open, the key to Hades and death and the key to bind that which needs to be bound and to loose that which needs to be loosed. The house of David was a house of victory as opposed to the house of Saul that was in decline and defeat. If we use our authority in heaven and earth that the Lord has delegated to us, we will enjoy victory and move from strength to strength, joy to joy, wisdom to wisdom, blessing to blessing. The house of David was a house of worship, praise and thanksgiving. Constant and consistent worship and thanksgiving along with contentment are a source of joy, victory and blessing. The doors that these keys open are divinely ordained and no man can stop us from opening and entering these opportunities or openings in our lives. The doors that these key lock cannot be opened by anyone, however high or mighty.

Using the key to Hades and death, we can pre-empt evil and temptation from prevailing against us. Using the authority to bind and loose, we can bind the powers of the enemy to confound, taunt, shame, sadden or worry us. We can bind the power of every curse, destroy every limitation, overcome every challenge. Invisible forces conspire against us can be bound using the Jesus-given authority to bind these forces. We have authority to bind evil against us or others and the authority to release the goodness or blessings of heaven. We need to safeguard the bunch of keys entrusted to us with a sense of diligence and responsibility. A simple turning of a key opens a door or locks it. Likewise, a simple turning in faithful prayer to Jesus opens or locks doors, binds or looses the power to heal, to deliver, to defeat, to overcome, to wrest victory. In addition to these three generic or master keys, we receive and use specific keys in various situations in the shape of “rhema” or specific promises spoken into our lives. Each promise of the Lord is a key to open the hidden treasures of heaven.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

More than Royalty

UV 2069/10000 More than Royalty
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
Isaiah 49 v 23

All kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, the legislators, civil servants, the army and the police are ultimately accountable to the Lord. They derive their position and their authority and power from Him and though they may seem immune for a time, the Lord is sovereign and He has raised them up for a specific purpose and time. If they acknowledge the Lord of the earth and heaven, they are blessed or lifted up as was Cyrus, Darius as kings, Esther as a queen, Abraham Lincoln as the US President. If they do not and act according to their whims, they shall lick the dust of humiliation, defeat, death, failure and shame. They shall know that the One who said, “ I Am Who I Am” or Jehovah is the ultimate sovereign in earth as in heaven. Leaders should always recognize that they are servants of the Lord, that they would face judgement for any unfair act or failure to act to render justice. Their longevity, health, wisdom and power are in the hands of the Lord. They should act as nurses and servants for the children of God or those who trust Him and live in personal relationship with Jesus.

Rulers and leaders ought to rule through the power of love and not for the love of power. Fear of God will give them wisdom not to abuse power, not to be arrogant, but to be always humble, diligent and progressive. This uni-verse confirms the favour shown by kings like Artaxerxes, Cyrus and Darius to the people of Israel, in giving them freedom to worship Jehovah, in re-building the ruined temple and Jerusalem. When kings like Nebuchadnezzar became proud and arrogant, they were brought down but when they repented, the Lord restored them. Those who did not repent were weighed and found wanting, their days were numbered or in other words, their rule was cut short abruptly. Kinship by faith with Jesus, who is Lord of Lords, Adonai,, King of Kings before whom kings and queens bow and quiver is more important than any kingship or royal position, title, rank or honour. The Lord will raise up even temporal powers to save and serve us. He will send angels and chiefs of angels or king-angels to minister to us and cater to a variety of needs we have.

The people who wait for the Lord’s judgement and execution of justice are given the promise that they will never be put to shame. The Lord Himself will vindicate them and if necessary overthrow wicked and unjust rulers and authorities. Like Mordecai who was put through trying times by his arch foe Haman, but eventually honoured and given a rich reward, the ones who are consistently faithful, never giving up on their hope in the redemptive power of Jesus, will be blessed, lifted up, protected and turned into a channel of blessing to successive generations either directly through their actions and words or indirectly through the power of their legacy and testimony. To be re-born as a child of God through Christ is more meaningful and a greater blessing than being born to kings and queens. The latter wear a crown of thorns. But Jesus by symbolically having His head pierced with a crown of thorns has exchanged our many pains and afflictions for His gains and blessings.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 12, 2016

Blessed to Bless

UV 2068/10000 Blessed to Bless
But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
Obadiah 1 v 17

Mount Zion is a metaphor for the righteous and just rule of the Lord. It implies that the Lord works our His plan for our salvation. He promises us deliverance from the blight of sin and its penalty. Our response is to live holy lives, lives set apart for the Lord. We are to submit to the rule and plan of the Lord for our lives for we trust that He knows what is best for us though in the short run, events do not seem to suggest it. We are to firmly place our feet on Mount Zion or be anchored and rooted in the kingdom of God even as we seek our mundane day to day pursuits and needs.

The promises of the Lord to Jacob or Israel to be with him in his struggles and to enable him to succeed are our inheritance by faith. When we believe Jesus, we are to be all that He wants us to be, we are to leave all that He wants us to leave, we are to live by His word and the assurance of the promises. Believing Jesus enables us to see, taste, experience and manifest the exceeding greatness or glory of God in all aspects of our lives. The journey of the Israelites over forty years to the promised land of Canaan after a God-guided and ensured escape from generations of slavery in Egypt is itself a historic metaphor for our lives. The promises of the Lord are our promised possessions. We are to step out in faith and keep moving towards “possessing these possessions.” We have been given freedom from the enemy of our souls. We should not look back to returning to such bondage. The presence of the Lord will be unto us a cloud by day or a shelter and a provider of a rain of blessings to satisfy our thirst. The presence of the Lord is also a fire by night to guide us in all our dark moments, to ward off the predators, to give us warmth and light.

A promise is only as good as the one who makes it. Since the promises are made by an all knowing, all loving and all powerful God, the promises are as good as already fulfilled. In other words, the promises are already possessions that we own, enjoy, experience, use and share. “Posessing the possessions” implies that we should start enjoying what we are hoping for as if the Lord has already placed it in our hands. It implies that we do not rely on circumstances or our feelings but depend in faith to live out each day, to experience deliverances at the hand of the Lord. Our standards or principles should not be human or relative but matching up to the call to holiness of the Lord. We are blessed to bless or B2B. In other words, we are living not merely for the satisfaction of our needs but our lives are to inspire hope and strength in others. We are to live as if the things we already possess, we do not possess and the things of the kingdom of God that we do not yet possess as if we already possess.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Yoke, Bonds and Yield

UV 2067/10000 Yokes, Bonds and Yield

For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.
Nahum 1 v 13
Each of us have causes of anxiety, bondage, fear, frustration and sadness. The enemy brings these “yokes” or burdens. He ploughs the furrows of our brains and burdens our spirit. But in Jesus, the Lord has broken many yokes and He is still breaking yokes and tearing apart the cords that bind us tightly, restricting our movement, growth and fruitfulness. The Lord removes the burdens from our shoulders. He also gives us the strength and grace to bear the lighter responsibilities He gives us. The principal yoke the enemy uses to destroy human potential is sin, curses, death and defeat. Now instead of sin or separation from the Lord, we will live in union with Him. We are grafted onto the root of Jesus. We inherit lion-like or kingly power over all spiritual forces of darkness. The yoke of curses of diseases, famine, drought, poverty are broken.

The Lord uses the power of the gospel to break the yoke and the truth of the Word to break every bond that binds us. The Lord breaks every rod of oppression with which the enemy of our souls enslaves people. The uni-verse is used in the context of our current challenges as it uses the word, “ now”. He empowers, equips and enables us to gain lasting and eternal victory over the enemy. Each of us has some Goliath challenging us, attacking our peace and confidence. The Lord first increases our courage and confidence that we can face the Goliath and destroy him. He then gives us a strategy that cannot fail or put us at risk. He gives us the weapons like the sling and stones that David picked up. The final blow is given by the very weapon of the enemy as Goliath was decapitated with his own sword.

As we travail in the spirit, the Lord sees our burdens and bonds and lifts the former and breaks the latter. Our response is to first bolster our faith in the Lord as David pumped himself up against the taunts and insults of Goliath. Our next response is to step out
and decide in what manner we will handle the challenge. The next step is to choose our protective gear. We use our weapon of choice that fits the challenge best. At no point should we rely entirely onn our own strength or resources but we depend on the Lord to give us complete victory. Finally, we should be filled with joy, give thanks , praise and glory to the Lord for the great deliverance He has given, the amazing victory He has wrought in us and with us. The yoke is broken, the bonds are torn asunder with the purpose of increasing our yield to the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Power of Tears

The Power of Tears
Jesus wept.

John 11 v 35

When we weep, we expose our vulnerability. It is a confession of child-like inability to handle a challenge. Why did Jesus who declared Himself to be the Resurrection and the Life weep on seeing Mary and the Jews with her weep? It was to show His humanity and His humility. The tears of Jesus was liquid prayer in the eyes of the Father. It released the Resurrection power and authority that rests in Him that enabled him to summon Lazarus from the land of the dead to the land of the living. The Jews thought that He wept out of His love and grief at the death of His friend Lazarus. They had no hope that He could call Lazarus back from death though they thought perhaps He could have healed him on his death bed. More things are wrought by tears than the world will ever know. It sets in motion the greatest miracles, obtains the most awesome relief and release from afflictions. One of the most effective routes to the very heart of the Lord is our lachrymal glands provided these are connected to our hearts. We need to be sensitive to the move of the Holy Spirit. We need to be “sempathetic” or full of spiritual empathy by which we feel the pain of God as if it is our own.

We too should set aside times for weeping in our lives, times to lament like Jeremiah and cry out to the Lord, times to repent and be penitent, times to intercede and groan in the spirit. Our sincere tears move the very heart of the Lord. He will act to erase the cause of our tears. It should not be tears of fear, frustration, anger, depression but tears of faith, reverence, pleading and trust. The tears have a deep and powerful cleansing or purging effect on our souls and lives. The eloquence of tears is such that it can communicate what words cannot. We feel the agony that Jesus felt as He prayed on the Rock of Agony and shed great drops of sweat as His whole body wept. We experience a godly sorrow that will enable us to be diligent, wise, passionate, zealous. Godly sorrow is compassion. It is one of the rivers of life-giving water that should continually flow from our hearts and souls.

We should weep for the city and the country we live in. Weeping is the most earnest form of prayer. It is not a sign of weakness but a mustering of all of our inner faith and strength to make it bear on the mountain of a challenge that lies before us. We should weep for ourselves and our weaknesses. We should weep for our generations that they be redeemed and walk in faith. Blessed are those who weep for they shall be comforted. The Lord promises to comfort us. He will send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. His word will speak to our souls and comfort us even as He comforted the two disciples who were grieving over the death of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. We should turn our fears into tears like King Hezekiah. God saw his tears and heard his prayer and healed him. He extended his life and reign by another 15 years. Like Hezekiah we should turn to the great wall- Jesus and weep. He will embrace us and take us under His arms like a hen takes its chicken under its wings. We will experience the protective love of a mother, the provident love of a father, the might of the King who rules kings, the comfort of a great and best friend. Tears melt the heart of Jesus and sets in motion the outworking of His grace, mercy and power in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Combo of Joy

UV 2065/10000 The Combo of Joy
Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
Psalm 112 v 1

The one who fears the Lord is guaranteed divine wisdom. Such a person delights in the Word of the Lord. He considers it more than necessary food, more than the delicacies of the best chefs of the world, more than all the money and riches, pleasures and luxuries of this world. He dwells on it frequently and dwells in it continually. It enables him to comprehend the wonders, the blessings, the riches that the Lord has reserved for those who love Him. He first comprehends and then, he perceives or experiences these blessings. A cornucopia or a combo of various overflowing blessings, physical, social, financial, emotional and spiritual, await the one who delights greatly in the Lord and His Word. It is not enough to just delight but to delight greatly or far above the average or ordinary level.

Psalm 112 starts off with a 'hallelujah' which is the Hebrew word for 10000 praises, 10000 thanks for the 10000 reasons, blessings, promises of the Lord to those who live in a covenant or relationship of commitment to the Lord and His Word. Some of these blessings are the very things the people of the world seek but seek it in vain and in the wrong places: our children will be mighty in the land. Our ideas and words will grow in power and influence in the world. Our actions will have great impact. Our initiatives will prosper in the realm of our work. Our spheres of influence will keep expanding beyond what human or natural factors can explain or account for.

The ten commandments given through Moses are based on fear of penalty, to avert punishment. The two commandments given by Jesus are based on the agape love revealed through His life, teachings, death and resurrection. In all, we are given twelve commands but 10000 blessings as a result of our love of these commands and our eagerness to live and love by these. Some of these blessings that I have already perceived in my fifty five year sojourn so far on earth are that our children would be mighty in the land, wealth and riches without sorrow will be added unto us, our righteousness or godly reputation would endure forever. We will experience the grace, compassion and righteous correction of the Lord in the course of our lives. We will be given wisdom to manage our affairs with discretion and discernment. We will receive divine and human favour and be able to be a source of blessing and help to others in need of it. We will receive honour and be recognized as a source of inspiration and blessing. We will be secure based on our firm trust of the Lord. We will not fear bad news or be overtaken by things and events over which we have no control. We will constantly be optimistic and be expecting to receive good to great news, to be overtaken by blessings that the Lord had set in motion behind us. The worldly wise, the unprincipled, the unrighteous, the power hungry and the envious will perish while we flourish. The Lord will vindicate us in due time before our enemies if we hold fast to our love for Him and His commandments and promises.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Mastery of Mystery

UV 2064/10000 The Mastery of Mystery
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
John 3 v 8

Just as we cannot fully comprehend where the wind originates and where it blows, the ways of the Spirit of God are mysterious but we feel the effects wherever or in whomever He breathes or blows. The changes of the new birth or the regeneration of our corrupt and sinful nature once we believe Jesus and receive Him into our hearts and souls are evidence of the Spirit breathing in us. The Lord is sovereign and He decides what gifts and to what extent the fruit of the Spirit are visible and effective in our lives. But the new life is constantly growing from within us: new love, new strength, new priorities, new hope, new wisdom, new emotions, new goals are set in motion like the wind blowing on the earth.

The winds originate from the North, East, West and South and often bring storms and disasters to many but the Holy Spirit is a gentle spirit and He comes to us as He is promised to us by Jesus. When Jesus breathed upon the disciples, many of whom doubted His mission, His resurrection, His power, His words, they were transformed. They received power from above and were gradually transformed into fearless apostles. The Holy Spirit is like a gentle cool breeze and leaves no physical signs of His presence in us and with us. But He quietly works out the promises of the Lord in our lives and has a deep and powerful impact on our hearts and souls. His ways are mysterious and intriguing, beyond finding out or understanding. He is not entirely predictable but He acts in consistency with His Word, His promises and His revealed nature.

When a child is being formed in the womb, no one knows how the different organs, bones and limbs develop. Likewise, as new creatures divinely formed by the Holy Spirit, we are born again as children of God, not for disobedience or disbelief of the Lord but for belief and obedience. We realize that the Lord’s will is sovereign in our lives hereafter and we are but instruments in His hands. He directs our steps like He directs the winds. No storm can blow in our lives as it wants. The Lord desires to prosper and benefit us. Even if we suffer it is for a greater purpose. Though there is mystery and the unknown involved in our lives, we do not fear as we know we are secure in the Lord’s hands. He who balances the clouds over the whole earth, who keeps the oceans within its rims and boundaries and directs the powerful winds is fully in control of our past, present and future. He is the Lord of our destiny and eternal guide till our destination.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Walking in the Light

UV 2063/10000 Walking in the Light
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
John 1 v 7

We walk in the light when we walk in truth. Every step we take in life, every decision, every interaction is guided and guarded by the truth of His Word. In contrast, the world, its philosophies and systems are the darkness. We are called to be in it but not be influenced by the world and its philosophies. Walking in the light implies that we know the direction we are heading for. It is the direction Jesus set for our lives. We are to walk in the righteousness of Christ. We have no righteousness of our own but we are clothed or anointed or covered with righteousness by faith in the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus. Sin represents darkness and we are set free from its power. The metaphor of walking is used as our relationship with the Lord is a step by step progression, a day to day experience of His grace, love and mercy. It is sequential- one step leads to the next. The terrain will change, the pace will change, the weather will change : yet, we are to keep moving in the direction He beckons us to. Our journey on earth is not lonely or loaded with unexplained misery or sorrow and care but like the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, the Resurrected Jesus walks with us every step of the way and explains every step we need to take. He not only accompanies us, explains things to us but stays back to enjoy our fellowship, to break bread with us. But we should be able to recognize His voice and understand His meaning. Once we recognize Him, we will be filled with joy and gladness, a sense of awe and worship of the Lord.

Adam’s perfect fellowship with the Lord broke when he first chose to sin. His rebellion was not so much in doing the forbidden but in disbelieving the words of the Lord and choosing to believe the words of his mortal enemy. When we choose to believe Jesus and to receive Him, we are choosing again not to sin in order to be restored to the fullness of fellowship of the Lord. We are also restored to fellowship with each other as we no longer see the speck in our brother’s eye and ignore the beam in our own.

We no longer have to hide ourselves from the Lord but can approach Him boldly, without guilt or fear. He relates to us as a person with his best friend. We can share all of our lives with Him. He is no longer a spectator in our lives but He is deeply aware of all that happen in our lives. He knows our thoughts and feelings, our desires and limitations. He knows our potential and our strengths and weaknesses. He is deeply involved in all of our lives. Since we have no light of our own, no wisdom or knowledge that we can call our own, we should let His light, the light of His love and knowledge and wisdom to shine through every pore of our bodies, every aspect of our lives. His light penetrates the deepest part of our being. The light from the sun’ s rays is the difference between life and death for all species on the earth. So also the light of the Lord’s love is the difference between eternal death and eternal life. It is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. Just as sunlight is good for plants, animals and all humans, so too the light of the Lord is wholesome, health-producing and health-enhancing, invigorating and energising.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Rest

UV 2062/10000 The Rest
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4 v 3

We have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Hence, we enter the rest that is promised to those who believe. We need not do a single thing to be saved hereafter – no ceaseless striving to be found good enough to be saved by works. All the works to save us were planned and initiated from the foundation of the world culminating in Jesus uttering the declaration, “ It is finished.” We are freed from the burden or responsibility to strive for salvation. Our salvation is accomplished the moment we believe and receive Jesus’ death on the cross as the penalty for our sins. There is nothing we can do to add or detract from that salvation. We are saved by grace and not of ourselves or our self effort. We rest from the need to justify ourselves. We rest from the need to prove our worth. We rest from the need to vindicate ourselves or avenge ourselves against wrongs.

Having been saved by faith and appropriated the grace of the Lord, we are now to build on the rock foundation of faith a life, an edifice that is worthy of the Lord, during the rest of our days on earth. Our good deeds or works are now a response of gratitude to the Lord saving us by grace. While holding onto the peace with God or the rest, we are to strive to do our best and do our utmost to bring glory to the Lord, to communicate the same love of God to all. Just like our bodies need rest after a time of exercise or hard labour, so also our souls or minds need rest. From time to time we should take breaks to renew ourselves, to rejuvenate ourselves, to re-energise ourselves. For the believer, rest is not so much a ceasing of all activities but a soaking in the grace and mercy of the Lord. The times we spend with the Lord in prayer and in His word are the rest for our souls. These times become the fount of joy and strength in our lives.

We can constantly refresh ourselves or renew ourselves by delving in the spirit into a deeper intimacy with the Lord. We can refresh ourselves also by a daily intake of the manna- the Word. After every effort or struggle we have in life, we can find our rest in the Lord. The Lord also renews and refreshes us by means of the Holy Spirit. We find our rest in the presence of the Lord. For the faithful, death is itself a final rest though the grave is not the final resting place.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Seven Part Yoke

UV 2061/10000 The Seven Part Yoke
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls
Matthew 11 v 29

All those who do not trust in Jesus are heavily burdened, restless and weary. They are weighed down by their own pride that does not let them admit that they are overburdened and tired. Their pride is manifested in anger and aggression that produces conflicts at the individual level and wars at the level of nations. Jesus is the ultimate teacher of wisdom. He beckons every individual to get rid of the burden of sin and guilt, fear and shame that weighs him down. Instead, He asks us to model our lives on Him and His teachings. If we place our trust in Him, He lifts the weight of sin and its curses off our back. Our souls or our inner being will be greatly blessed with a wholesome peace that invades our spirit, minds and bodies. We will not be restless or weary. We will rise in every situation and circumstance on the wings of prayer and the word. We need never strive to be who we cannot be or to have what we cannot have.

Jesus modelled humility and gentleness. We will realize that we do not have to prove to anyone that we are superior to them. We will rise in life not due to aggression and ruthless competition but by imitating Jesus in humility and gentleness. Our behaviour or our communication need not be abrasive or hurtful to others. Even as we are meek, the Lord will lift us up and manifest His power on our behalf. The Lord found Moses to be the humblest person on the earth and therefore, chose Him to confront the proudest and most powerful person on the earth at the time- Pharaoh, the king of the old world’s superpower.

A plough has many parts: it has a heavy wooden log into which are fixed sharp blades that are meant to churn up the earth. The heavier the wooden block and the stronger and heavier the metal parts, the more effective the plough. Believers in Jesus are given a light plough to carry on their shoulders as the major part of the weight rests on Jesus. We have no need to be stressed out, frustrated or hopeless. We only need to humble ourselves and trust Him to operate His power and grace through us. We need to learn lifelong from Jesus how to speak, how to think, how to feel and how to act or react. Our identity is derived from Him- the I Am who I Am. As Jesus teaches us, “ I am who I am- the Good Shepherd,” we need to take His guidance, listen to His voice and follow Him. He protects us and hence, we need not worry about threats and fear of danger. As He teaches, “ I am who I am- the Bread of Life, we need to trust and believe that He will meet all our needs- physical or otherwise. As He teaches, “ I am who I am- the true vine”, we need to be grafted on Him to bear fruit- the nine dimensions of spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility. As He teaches us “ I am who I am- the light of the world,” we derive knowledge and wisdom from Him. As He teaches us, “ I am the Gate or Door”, we find every opportunity to improve and progress in Him. As He teaches us, “ I am who I am- the life and the Resurrection,” we believe we have eternal life here and now and beyond death. As He teaches, I am who I am- the Way, the Truth and the Life, He is the way to lead a truthful and blessed life. These seven identities are the seven parts of the yoke of Jesus. It is not a yoke that burdens us but one that lightens our load, one that eases our pain, one that meets our need, one that equips us, one that leads and guides us, one that lights up our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Aroma

UV 2060/10000 The Aroma
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place

2 Corinthians 2 v 14

The Lord God enables us to triumph in Christ always. He does so that the aroma or sweet fragrance of His name, His Word and His Son spreads to the entire world. The name of Jesus is itself like a fragrant ointment, the Balm of Gilead that causes miracles of healing, deliverance and salvation. The power of the Lord is revealed when we invoke the name of Jesus. The knowledge of the Word of God is also the source of the aroma of Christ. We cannot hold it back but just as the perfume from a broken jar spreads its fragrance right through not only the room in which it broke but right through the whole house. Similarly, the aroma of Christ is experienced through our words, our actions and our presence by all who come in contact with us. Mother Teresa is a good example of a believer who spread the aroma or influence of Christ everywhere in practical ways.

To some the aroma of Christ is the smell of death while for others who believe it is the sweet fragrance of salvation. The metaphor of fragrance and aroma is used in this uni-verse as salvation is an experience. It is tasted and it tastes good. When we do not conform to the patterns of the world but conform to the Word and are transformed from within so that we are evidence of the one who is good, acceptable and perfect sacrifice of the Lord, then we are the aroma of Christ. It accompanies us wherever we go and in whatever we do and with whomever we relate.

Our praise and thanksgiving for the wonderful experiences, the miracles, the acts of grace and mercy of the Lord in our lives are the aroma that reaches the very nostrils of the Lord. When we do things with selfish motives or wrong or mixed motives and attitudes , it ends up as a sacrifice that is rejected. We are to be like the sacrifice of Abel- a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Lord. In order to be so, we need to be sincere, wholehearted and fully committed in our devotion to the Lord. Our testimonies and our testimonial lives as witnesses of Christ in this world are the aroma that is pleasing to the Lord. We should therefore avoid any thought, word, action, reaction, relationship or transaction that is not a sweet smelling one to the Lord. In order to do so, we need the spirit and gift of discernment and we should exercise it as often as it is required instead of jumping headlong into every muddle. When we manifest the nine fruit of the Spirit, the very DNA of Christ- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control, we spread the aroma of Christ. Even if one is missing, say for instance self control, we could end up spoiling our testimonies and setting off a foul smell instead. Our lives should be like the alabaster jar of Mary that was broken to anoint Jesus with every drop of perfume of nard that was in it. Everything we do, professional or personal that we attempt should glorify the Lord. Jesus upheld Mary’ s example and said that she had done a beautiful thing for Him. Likewise, our lives should be a series of beautiful things we do for the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Knowing the End from the Beginning

UV 2059/10000 Knowing the End from the Beginnning
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Isaiah 46 v 10

The seed does not know if it will grow and become a tree. The tree does not know whether it will bear fruit and if it bears fruit whether it will be good fruit. God is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. He not only knows it abut declares what is yet to happen. What He declares is bound to happen and no one can prevent or pre-empt it. He will do whatever is His perfect will. He revealed through the prophets and the apostles and through His Son Jesus, the contours of history. A hundred years before Cyrus the Great became the Emperor of Persia, his name was made known and it was declared that the temple of Jerusalem would be re-built with his help. Even the manner I which he would invade and conquer Babylon through the river sluice gates was declared ahead of time.

Stephen Covey, the management guru wrote that we should see the end from the beginning before starting any project or work. But it is only a gift from the Lord that will enable us to see the end from the beginning. The Lord will give us insight and understanding to see the details of the conclusion of the hope that we have. For this to happen we need to submit each day and each day’s activities into the Lord’s hands. The Lord will then do His pleasure or what pleases Him in our lives. It is the presence of the Lord that gives us the prescience to know the future, to know how a matter will conclude, how work will progress and succeed.

Even Jesus knew His end from the beginning. He knew that His life did not end on the cross but that His glorious reign over all of creation would begin then. This is the reason He declared in one of the last seven utterances before committing His soul to the Father, “ It is finished.” In order to finish well in our lives, we need to daily benefit from the counsel of the Holy Spirit in all that we think, speak and do. Knowing that our ultimate destination is to be with the Lord forever enables us to focus on the kingdom and His righteousness. We will not be side tracked or distracted and sent off on a detour from our journey back to the Lord. The Lord will stand beside us and give us good counsel. He will induce His wisdom and insight in us. When we involve the Lord as the managing partner in our lives and in our work and projects, He gives us the benefit or advantage of His foreknowledge. He will counsel us to be patient when we hit a rough or lean patch in our lives, give us the strength to endure and to persist beyond the point of natural resistance until we finish our tasks, fulfil our purpose, accomplish our goals.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Good Fight

UV 2058/10000 The Good Fight
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
I Timothy 1 v 18

Spiritual warfare is the only type of war that can be described as a good war. It is based on the precept that everything physical, emotional and social has a spiritual root and these are but reflections or shadows of the spiritual realm. It is not violent. It is bloodless and does not involve physical combat. It is nonetheless warfare and tough fighting as it involves the struggle of good versus evil, the godly against the unrighteous, the children of God against the enemy of their souls. Spiritual warfare is the responsibility of the royal priesthood, of kings and priests. It is meant for the extension of the kingdom of God. We fight it on our knees in prayer. We fight it on a daily basis. The Lord gives us authority as kings to claim and proclaim victory over the forces of darkness. He gives us the heart as priests of the Most High to plead or intercede for souls.

Faith involves engaging in spiritual warfare. It involves pulling down spiritual strongholds, fighting against the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. The might and power of the Lord is revealed as we battle with these forces in the spirit. Over the garments of salvation, we need to wear the armour. The enemy would always focus on hitting us with fiery arrows of temptations, trials, troubles at vital points. For our protection, we need to hold the shield of faith firmly, wear the belt of truth implying that we are led by truth and not by falsehoods or illusions, carry the sword of execution of the Word of the Lord. We need to wear the protective gear for our faith in terms of a steadfast knowledge and hope of our salvation in Christ. Our feet should be protected by the shoes that make us a messenger for the Lord in this world. We should wear knee guards to safeguard our knees in endless hours of prayer.

Spiritual warfare involves being still in the presence of the Lord. He will fight the battle for us as the battle is in His realm. He decides the timing, the strategies and secures the victory as we stand in faith. On our part, we only need to prepare to endure hardship as a faithful soldier. We need to be disciplined and obedient, refusing to engage or meddle in civilian affairs or the affairs of this world. We need to constantly work to keep ourselves spiritually fit and alert to sense the moves of the enemy of our souls. Prophetic word and other spiritual gifts play a role in guiding, encouraging and exhorting us as we engage in the good fight.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Purposeful Mindfulness

UV 2057/10000 Purposeful Mindfulness
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Psalm 8 v 4

God is mindful of man. His mind is always filled with thoughts of love towards mankind though He knows how weak is our frame, how inconsistent our ways, that we were made from dust and would one day return to dust. The Son of God Jesus humbled Himself to visit us as the son of man. Though He is infinitely great and awesome, He made Himself to be as one of us. He who knew no sin or shortcoming or limitation made Himself limited by being confined to a human body, a human family and the privations and suffering of a sinful and fallen world. His mindfulness of us caused Him to visit us on earth. His mindfulness caused Him to embrace sin and its curses and redeem each of us from its power and penalty.

If the Lord is mindful of us and we are not, it will be unrequited love or love that is spurned. In response to such great love and care, we ought to be mindful of the Lord. Our minds should be saturated with His Word, with His thoughts, with remembrance of the things He spoke and did. Our minds and wills should be aligned with the mind of Christ. We should avail of the full benefits of Jesus visiting us from the Father’s kingdom. Mere mindfulness for mindfulness sake as is being taught by new age gurus is in vain. But when we are mindful of Christ, our minds are anointed. Our spiritual blindness will end. Our hearts and spirits will be revived and we will be able to live fully and wholly for His sake and by His power and grace.

When Jesus visited the house of Martha and Mary, the latter chose to be mindful of Jesus, to sit at His feet, to enjoy being in His presence, unmindful of all household responsibilities and earthly cares, to let His voice seep into her inner being, His words penetrate her spirit and heart, cleansing her from a sinful past, transforming her into a faithful disciple, the one to anoint His feet with precious oil of nard as a preparation for burial, the only one to be at the feet of the cross, the first to see the empty cave in which His body was buried, the first to behold the resurrected Jesus and hear His voice and words, the first to convey the good news of the resurrection of Jesus to the other disciples. When we are mindful of Jesus, we experience and witness many wonderful miracles, to receive many blessings and grace of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip