Monday, October 31, 2016

The Process of Perfection

UV 2109/10000 The Process of Perfection
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Psalm 19 v 7

The Word is a perfect mirror. It reflects to us the glory or perfection of God as well as our own imperfections. It shows us the standard to which we should attain as well as our current reality. Filling that gap is the process of transformation. The Word gives us a principle we should follow, a model of a person who followed that principle or precept, a model of a person who failed to follow the precept, the consequences or blessings that either model faced in real life. It makes us wise by enabling us to chose between good and evil, between what is true and what is false, between what is praiseworthy or creditable and what is unworthy.

God promises in His word to be with us and help us in our struggle for perfection. We realize that we cannot perfect ourselves on our own strength or efforts but that we should depend on the evidence of grace that He has shown us in His word. In our judicial systems, testimony is meant as evidence to convict people of crimes or offences against the law. But, testimony in the law of the Lord is evidence of grace- evidence of the Lord helping ordinary people attain to their best.

The Lord does not want us to be naïve or gullible or simple minded. Adam and Eve were too simple such that the serpent, the enemy of our souls could easily deceive and trap them in acting against their best interests. He desires that we be wise or fully aware of the viles of the enemy, the snares of this world, the pitfalls of life. He wants us to be well acquainted with the ways of the Lord as well as the ways of the enemy of our souls. He wants our choices in everything and every day and moment to be informed or enlightened by the precepts and models of His word. We can no longer excuse ourselves on the plea of ignorance or innocence. We are to take responsibility for everything we think, speak and do. The word should have a bearing or inform our be-state, our do-state, our speak-state, our feel-state, our relate-state, our behave-state and our have-state.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Mirror Image

UV 2108/10000 The Mirror Image
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1 v 27

Man was not just one among the many creatures of God. He is set apart. He is the only one made with resemblance to the Creator. Since the Creator is not a physical but a spiritual entity, we are created to resemble Him in our be-state or our heart condition, our do-state or what we do, the relate-state in how we relate to others, the think-state of the thoughts we think, the speak-state or how we express ourselves, the feel state or how we feel, the behave-state or how we behave, the have-state or how we regard our possessions. These states together constitute the image of God or the reflection of God in us. We are created to be a shadow of God. A shadow follows the principal object that casts the shadow and never departs from it. It has no existence apart from that object. So also we have no existence apart from the Creator.

Even for our physical appearance, the Lord God had a model in mind when He moulded us out of clay. That model is His Son Jesus. Jesus is not made in the image of man but we are made in the image of Jesus- the perfect man-God. We will do well in the eyes of the Father if we diligently study the be-state or the heart state of Jesus towards the Father and towards all beings and emulate or reflect Jesus. If we diligently study the think-state, the feel-state, the do-state, the relate-state, the speak-state, the behave-state and have-state of Jesus and make our corresponding states or conditions to as closely resemble that of Jesus, we would be a faithful reflection of Jesus, a shadow of God, a mirror image of the Lord.

Our purpose in life is not to be God but to be a likeness of Him and His Son Jesus, the visible image of the invisible God. We are to make manifest in our lives the love of Jesus, the wisdom of Jesus, the power of Jesus, the humility of Jesus, the grace, mercy and peace of Jesus. Jesus submitted willingly to the most minor of the laws of God and of man. We are to imitate His submission, His obedience, His endurance, His patience.

Prateep V Philip

The Leadership Triangle

UV 2107/10000 The Leadership Triangle
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind
2 Timothy 1 v 7

The leadership triangle of power, of love and of a sound mind or self discipline replaces the erstwhile spirit of fear in us. Our natural tendency is to fear. The power to overcome fear comes from God. He imparts the Spirit of might, of counsel and of the more wholesome fear of God. He gives us the strength to run and to finish the good race of life well. The leadership triangle consists of power or ability, of love or character and of self discipline. The Lord pours His strength or grace in the areas of our weakness and imparts His glorious power in the areas of our strength. The Holy Spirit enabled the impulsive and emotional as well as undependable Peter the grace to overcome in the areas of his weakness. He also enabled the spiritually blinded fanatical, one track mind Saul to see and experience the transforming power of the risen Saviour Jesus. He enabled Peter who feared arrest and a cruel death by crucifixion like Jesus to overcome his fear of death and to lay down his life eventually as a martyr. He enabled Peter who did not want to reach out to the Gentiles or non Jews with the love of Christ to do so. He broke through mental and emotional barriers and taboos of social interaction.

Fear holds us back from sharing the love of God with others. Fear holds us back from utilising all our talents and abilities for the glory of God. Fear of a lack of resources keeps us from trusting the Lord for our provision. Fear of our past haunts us in the form of guilt. Fear of the uncertainties of the future keeps us from taking risks or decisions. Fear keeps us from growing strong and mature in faith. But perfect love casts out all fear. Our love for the Lord needs to be perfected or established by the Holy Spirit who knows what exactly holds us back.

Faith does not mean a suspension of all our mental faculties but a fuller and more balanced use of our God-given wisdom and understanding. We need to discipline ourselves, our appetite, our attitudes and our habits. The Lord promises to help us or give us grace or strength to do so. The fear of God keeps us from all evil while the love of God keeps us on the path of goodness and positivity. The One who inhabits us helps us deal with our inhibitions.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 28, 2016

Prevailing Power, Availing Grace

UV 2106/10000 Prevailing Power, Availing Grace
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Hebrews 1 v 3

Only the reflection of the light of the glory of God made Moses’ face radiant after his communion with Jehovah but the light of the knowledge of God shone on the face of Jesus. Jesus is the first and final and full representation of God on earth. He is the visible image of the invisible God. He being able to uphold all things by the word of His power, can He not uphold us. Despite being the fullness of God, He offered Himself as a pure sacrifice to purge us of our shortcoming of God’s glory as He alone qualified to do so. He has now restored us, each of us to the fullness of the glory and grace of God. The more unqualified we are, the less deserving we are of His glory , the more His grace works in us and for us. When we reject His offer to us, we accept the disgrace that is our lot or what we deserve.

The sun is visible in all parts of the world every morning as the morning star. It is a daily celebration of the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil. All the lesser lights of the night, the moon and the stars cannot usher in the day. Likewise, all the lesser lights of history, the great men and women of yesteryears cannot usher in salvation for mankind. Their distance from the infinitely holy and all powerful creator is too great. Their distance from us due to their physical and spiritual deaths do not allow the intimacy we have with Jesus. Jesus alone is alive and seated on high at the right hand of the Majesty that both created and rules the entire universe. He alone can influence the course of our lives. No lesser saint or preceptor can substitute for Him or compete with His infinite brightness and glory. No one else can mediate for us, not His own earthly mother or any of the apostles. Nothing created can substitute for His grace. Nothing man-made can replace Him.

God who has commanded the lights of the universe to shine has directed the light of the knowledge of God vested in Jesus to shine in our hearts to encourage us, to enthuse us, to empower us, to cause us to rejoice and to celebrate every moment of our lives. The book of Ecclesiastes rightly says, “Where the word of a king is, there is power. Who can say, “what doest thou?” Where the word of the King of kings is, there is everlasting and infinite power. We need to avail that power, that grace, that wisdom to overcome in this life even as He overcame.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 27, 2016

True Riches

UV 2105/10000 True Riches
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Proverbs 10 v 22

The word used in this uni-verse is the singular “blessing” and not blessings. It implies that it is the presence of the Lord with us through His name, His word and His Spirit that spontaneously and supernaturally blesses us or enlarges us. True wealth and riches are found in our personal relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus. His word enriches our understanding. His anointing releases multiple streams of blessing in our lives. His presence preserves us from temptations and during trials and troubles of this life. Moses understood this secret and pleaded that the presence of the Lord be with them. His presence would give them victories over formidable foes and enemies on the way to the promised land. His presence would give him wisdom and grace to lead the rebellious and indisciplined Jewish people. His presence would preserve him from his own folly, the weaknesses of his own flesh, his anger, depression and fears.

Financial or worldly riches often accompany or follow the blessing of the Lord but these are secondary and not the focus or purpose of our decision to follow Jesus. Physical health often is a blessing of faithful obedience to the will and word of the Lord. Yet, health is not the purpose of our relationship with Him. We will be the source of blessings and help to many people. Yet, the service we render is not the purpose or true outcome of our seeking the Lord and His kingdom. We are to be rich from the perspective of eternity, the perspective of the Lord. We are to be rich in faith, love, patience and hope. These are the eternal fruit or results of the Lord’s investment in us.

It is a temptation to shift our focus from the blessing of the Lord to the blessings of the Lord. Our relationship with the Lord is non-negotiable and top priority. Nothing and no one can replace it or affect it negatively. We need to be continually and intimately connected and dependent on the Lord. We are to be rich in the grace of the Lord, implying we are to be strong in the strength that the Lord provides or imparts us. The Lord does not grudge us our joy and peace in Him. He does not willingly afflict us or add any sorrow or pain or suffering to our lives as long as we make our relationship with Him, our communication with Him the topmost priority of our lives. His presence will supply all our need- spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual and physical according to the infinite and immeasurable riches of His grace and glory. His favour is enough to prosper us in spirit, mind and body but we do not seek Him merely to advance our spirits, minds and bodies. Many persons in this world are phenomenally wealthy but their hearts are pierced with many sorrows- either a crippling disease, marital breakdown, scandals, black sheep in the family, tragedies and so on.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Discerning Desires

UV 2104/10000 Discerning Desires

The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
Proverbs 30 v 15
The worldly lust is like a leech that latches itself to our skin. It keeps sucking our lifeblood and is never satisfied. It attaches its suction pads to our lives and sucks out our peace and joy. It contaminates our blood as it injects a kind of anaesthetic so that we are not even aware that our lifeblood is being sucked out. Only one thing can make a leech loosen its tentacles on us- it is salt. The Word is the salt that can release the clutches of the world and its temptations in our lives. The Word teaches us contentment. It teaches us to say , “enough” when our needs are satisfied. It keeps us from moving into levels of greed. St James clearly understood the “sin cycle”: desire conceives sin, the sin seed matures and is given birth to. The sin feeds on us and becomes full blown or full grown and leads to death. Sin produces many byproducts or offspring in our lives like pride, selfishness, arrogance, deceit, strife, envy, conceit, self righteousness and so on.

In every area of our life, the Word teaches us to trust the Lord and not rely on our own understanding of what our needs are. We trust the Lord for the means to satisfy the needs as He is the creator, the sustainer and the provider. This is the reason Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “ I will give you water that will never make you thirst again.” Once we receive the promise and hope of eternal life, we stop hankering after the things of this world- pleasure, fame, ambition, power, wealth, position. The Lord knows what we need and how much of it we need. It is written that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” We are not in quest unlike the rest of the world of more and more gain and ungodly gain. Our blessings come from the Lord and it is not the blessings we seek but His presence is all sufficient for us. His grace is enough for us.

In everything we say and do, we do not look for our personal gain or benefit or ask, “What is in it for me?” Instead, we look for the will and glory of the Lord. We no longer are in pursuit of illusions and delusions but are contented to do what the Lord leads and asks us to do. We should apply the word as salt in advance to prevent any leech sticking onto our skin and not wait till we see a leech doing so for the assaults of the world are so silent and secret that we might not even know. Not all desire is sinful or ungodly or worldly. If it is a godly desire or a God-inspired desire or a desire that is pleasing to the Lord, when the Lord satisfies that desire, we are grateful lifelong. Such a desire will not creep on us subtly and latch onto us. It will grow patiently like good seed over a long period in our hearts.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The 360 degree 365 Day Hedge

UV 2103/10000 The 360 degree 365 day- Hedge
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Job 1 v 10

God’s covenant with the faithful in all nations is that He places a hedge about their lives, their health, their household, their possessions. He blesses the work of their hands and establishes it. He increases their productivity and their production. He prospers them in spirit, mind and body such that the fruit of all three grow, mature, ripen and multiply. The enemy of our souls in contrast is like a fox that burrows holes in our hedges that it can snipe at our lives, our health, our families and our possessions. He attempts to curse all our efforts and bring it to naught. He frustrates our plans and tries to spoil the fruit of our spirit, minds and bodies in a variety of ways. He desires to steal our peace, rob our health and kill our hope. This is the reason the number and intensity of attacks and assaults on the faithful in all generations is much higher than those who are not in a bond or relationship with the Redeemer.

Knowing the enemy, his strategies and tactics in his single-minded desire to destroy our faith which is the basis of our relationship and our affirmation that “our Creator exists, our Redeemer lives, Our Lord rewards.” The enemy attempts to destroy the ‘f’ that stands for faith in our life and turn it into a lie. We are not alone in our resolve to frustrate the designs of our implacable foe of all times. We need to specifically ask the Lord to place a hedge of protection around our lives, our health, our loved ones, our fellow workers, our possessions, our workplace, our conveyances, our finances, our inner being, every one of our internal organs that the Lord has lovingly knit together in our mothers’ wombs.

It is not just a one time asking for the hedge to be placed around us. The word uses the metaphor of a hedge as it is a living fence. It needs daily and regular maintenance. It needs watering of prayer, tears, the word of God. We need to notice the gaps and fill the gaps as soon as possible. Any attempt by the fox to burrow a hole through should be detected early. Breaches or weaknesses in the hedge develop from time to time. We need to reinforce the hedge planting pillars of support by affirming the specific promises of the Lord meant for that area. We need to have an early warning system in place before it becomes too late and the fox not only makes an entrance but builds a nest inside of us. Some places the hedge gets overgrown- we need to trim these areas. The enemy’s advantage is surprise. He choses when and where to launch a strike. We need to apply the wisdom behind the “broken window” theory in policing wherein a sign of neglect like broken windows in an apartment complex is an invitation to antisocial and criminal elements to visit, occupy and spoil. Indeed, eternal vigilance is the cost of retaining eternal life though it is given to us freely and fully in Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Surrender to Awe

UV 2102/10000 The Surrender to Awe

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139 v 14

We are both created to be vulnerable as well as awesome. Our vulnerabilities cause us to be in awe of the amazing grace and power of the Creator. Our breath can be taken away in an instant, our spirits summoned in a moment by the sovereign Lord. Our bodies are made wonderfully. Every super specialist studying and working on every human organ or even part of the organ like the brain, the heart, the eye, the ear, the nervous system, the bones, the kidneys, the lungs, the teeth, the mouth or the intestines is in a constant state of wonder at how the particular organ was formed and how it functions. The geneticist would wonder at how such a large volume of specific instructions about our structure, the unique individual colour of skin, eyes, hair are written into the DNA of our cells well ahead of time. The scale, the diversity, the detail of creation takes away our breath. Each cell, tissue or organ is capable of functioning well lifelong and yet, without a moment’s notice can malfunction or cease to function. If we like Job stop in our tracks and just consider the awesomeness of God’s genius, the infinite love demonstrated once in creation, then in redemption and in thousands of marvellous acts, works and mercies in our lives, we would not question His love or His wisdom or doubt His faithfulness. We will entrust or surrender ourselves to the knowledge that He knows what is best for us. As for us, we only know enough to wonder at His great love and power, His great mercy and goodness. We only know enough to be grateful and trusting His will for our lives. We only know enough to understand that we need unction or anointing or the pouring of divine favour in all of our functions.

The soul of every human person knows very well that he or she is created in the image of the Creator, to know Him, to know like Him, to love Him, to love like Him, to think about Him, to think like Him, to feel like Him, to create like Him, to speak like Him, to act like Him to be like Him. The soul of every person bears the imprimatur of God. The soul of every person longs for re-union with the Creator. The soul of every person knows that he or she will return to the Creator. The soul of every person longs for the salvation prepared for him or her by the Creator in His new and wonderful role as Redeemer. But the same soul when it loses the fear of God, loses the sense of vulnerability or dependence on the Creator-Redeemer lives in denial of these truths and tendencies. The soul has the capacity of creating its own make believe world based on assumptions.

A door is useless but for the hinges that connect it to the frame of the threshold. Similarly, without the hinges of faith, our minds and our souls become unhinged, unconnected with the Creator. Our minds are both in possession of tremendous potential for good as well as for harm. It needs a door that lets in only what is good for the soul and to let out what is harmful or not truthful or beneficial for our being. A person who realizes the awesome power, amazing love, immense faith and responsibility that the Lord of life has invested in him will always have praise for the Creator in his every thought and feeling. He would live a praise-worthy or God –worthy life. Every thought, word and action would be an act of praise and worship, out of both reverence and love or that mixed feeling of awe and gratitude at what God has wrought for us in creating us in His image and in forgiving us and restoring us to His image through His son Jesus. He first formed us fearfully and wonderfully, He then informed us faithfully and inspirationally and finally, He transformed us completely and eternally. We owe Him a triple debt that we will never be able to repay both in this lifetime and the next. The benefits we have in Him are extensive, too awesome to comprehend, too wonderful for words, too deep for emotions, too numerous to list out. Once we appreciate how little we know, how much God both knows and cares for us, we will like the psalmist make a commitment to day-long from sunrise to sunset to sunrise, week-long from Sunday to Saturday, month-long from January to December, life-long surrender to our awe and love of God.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 21, 2016

Word Power

UV 2101/10000 Word Power
Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded
Proverbs 13 v 13

Loving and delighting in studying the Word has quite the opposite effect of ignoring, despising, disobeying and disregarding the instructions, precepts, standards of the Lord as written, illustrated, explained, enumerated in His Word. The Word has the innate power to both preserve and promote us in this world. Without the word, there is no light of knowledge, wisdom and hope for mankind. It is the honey-sweet manna that sustains us in our journey through the wasteland and the desert. It is the only food prepared by the Lord for mankind. It has no substitutes. It is more important than our necessary physical food. It is more valuable than our gold, silver and precious stones. It is more nourishing than meat or grain. In contrast, if we ignore the Word, even our prayers will be unacceptable and hated by the Lord.

The Bible is a living book, implying that it is the book by which we should live. It gives us a world view or frame to understand and interpret reality around us. It shows us what snares or traps of the enemy we should look out for and avoid. When we despise the Word, we cast all caution and fear of God to the winds. We are at great risk in getting our feet ensnared in the snares. Our souls will be baited. We go for bait or the cheap stuff that is dangled in front of our eyes instead of discerning that it is meant to trap and destroy us.

For every need of man, there is a seed in the Word to meet that need. Every question our reason asks is answered more than adequately in the word. Every threat, insecurity and fear is confronted in the word. We shall know the word and the word will set us free from all untruths, the consequences of thinking, speaking and living these untruths. It is not enough to cursorily or casually read the Word but it is necessary to dive deeper and deeper into it, unearth the hidden meaning and delight in applying the discovered truths to our lives. We are too small to experiment with the truth but we can experience the truth in the course of our lifetime. The word is balanced and wholesome, meeting every need of spirit, mind and body. The Word penetrates and seeps into the deepest, unknown and unseen parts of our being.

Prateep V Philip

The Significance of Our Situations

UV 2100/10000 The Significance of Our Situations
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
John 13 v 7

Jesus was referring in this uni-verse to His washing the feet of the disciples. He told them that they did not understand the meaning or significance of His acts at the time but in due time, they would understand. Similarly, when we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we might not understand the importance at the time but in due time, we would realize the meaning and receive the blessings. The Holy Spirit would bring into our remembrance the word spoken to us in the past. Jesus Himself explained to the two grieving believers who were on the road to Emmaus that He had taught them that He would be crucified and that He would rise again on the third day.

Every seemingly insignificant event in our lives, every seemingly insignificant word we hear, every seemingly insignificant circumstance and situation, the Lord will turn it into a source of comfort, meaning, significance and blessing in our lives. Spending time daily in prayer and in meditating on His word has a huge impact on our lives. We should not grudge these moments but treasure these times greatly. These times and acts become the triggers of great blessing and source of great strength and comfort in our lives. The Lord who alone knows the end from the beginning will cause events to unfold, to give us revelations and visions. We need to be patient, faithful and expectant. We need not bemoan like Solomon that all is vain, everything is a chasing of the wind. Instead, we should believe and affirm with our hearts and mouths that everything is meaningful and fruitful in the Lord. The absence of the Lord makes everything meaningless- the wisdom, the pleasures, the treasures, the strength, the accomplishments, the learning of this world. The presence of the Lord or the personal knowledge of the Lord as Saviour, Friend and Master makes everything and every moment meaningful and graceful.

As we lean on the Lord for understanding of life, He will reveal His plan and will for our lives. We will be satisfied as we drink deep at the fountain of His wisdom like the Samaritan woman who believed that Jesus had the words of eternal life. We need to look for the hidden truths and meaning in every verse of scripture. We will realize the continuing relevance of the truths revealed, illustrated and demonstrated by Jesus during His earthly sojourn. Nothing in life will baffle us, fox us, puzzle us, depress us or defeat us as we derive the meaning of life from His word.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Birth and New Life

UV 2099/10000 New Life and the New Birth
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
Isaiah 66 v 9

Whatever the Lord initiates in our lives, He will complete it or bring it to fruition. He will cause that which is conceived in faith to be born strapping and healthy. He nourishes the parts and causes us to grow holistically. Faith is often compared in the word to the growth of a baby in the womb. From a single cell, multiple organs are formed and finally, the whole child is born. Faith also involves conception and a period of formation or gestation. It is formed in the womb of space and time. It is not imaginary but happens in real time. It happens hidden from the human eye. Yet, one can feel it in one’s heart as the process of formation is ongoing and continuous till the time of the birth pangs.

While the child is being formed, the head, the trunk and the limbs are first shaped in the womb. The heart starts beating. The internal organs are differentiated and formed. The facial features are formed and finally, the child is born. All the while, the baby is fed through an umbilical cord. Our umbilical cord in the womb of space and time of this world is the Word. Our faith feeds on hope and love of God. Our tiny lungs begin to breathe in the oxygen of the promises of the Lord that are proved true in real time as we value these and hold on to it.

Our suffering in this world are like the severe pain of birth pangs. It ultimately turns out for our good. Our tears like the first cry of the child on birth strengthens our spiritual lungs and prepares us for eternal life. The Lord never leaves us alone during the whole process of birth. He oversees every part and parcel of our lives. This is the reason Jesus uses the metaphor of being born again in the spirit. New life, new strength, new set of priorities, new values, new set of standards, new vision are given birth to. Every moment our old lives are perishing continually while our new life is being renewed and strengthened for eternity. The Lord shapes our new personality to be like Him for Jesus exhorted us to “be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.” He frees us from our worldly lusts and imperfections over time. This is the process of becoming mature. We can no longer be babies but keep growing to the very stature of Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spiritual Processes

UV 2098/10000 Spiritual Processes
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Ephesians 1 v 3
This uni-verse contains an unique phrase: “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Christ, the anointed Messiah sent by God is the keystone, the cornerstone, the very key to all the spiritual blessings in heavenly places. In Him, we have the privilege and right to be part of the kingdom of God. Paul continued the tradition of the Old Testament patriarchs in blessing God, our Father in heaven, our eternal Father. He recognized that the Father in heaven is the source or fountainhead of all spiritual blessings. He knew that spiritual blessings are far more vital than worldly blessings that could only last the lifetime spent on earth. He was convinced that we have access to all spiritual blessings of peace, joy, eternal life in abundance through our faith in Jesus. All these things eluded him when he lived as a zealous religious Jew. Paul suffered many reverses in fortune after he put his trust in Jesus following his encounter on the road to Damascus but the presence of the Lord never left him. He experienced a dramatic paradigm shift in his faith. Till that point in time, he saw God as a holy, almighty, punishing Creator. But now he saw Him as a loving Father and Jesus, His Son as the complete manifestation of His love, power, mercy and grace.

The name of Christ guarantees every spiritual blessing we receive in Him. Jesus said, “ I and the Father are one, “ implying that the will and desire of Jesus coincides fully or agrees with the will of the Father. Jesus rules at the right hand of the Father ever since His resurrection and ascension to heaven. These are the heavenly places referred to in the uni-verse. He is our wisdom, grace, strength, redemption, salvation and sanctification. These are heavenly processes more than they are attributes. As long as we continue in faith in Jesus and His word, we continue in these lifelong processes. The distinction between redemption and salvation is that salvation is once and for all, it is the salvation of our souls while redemption is situation-specific. These spiritual processes will supply whatever we need in terms of spiritual needs.

The uni-verse states the truth in the past tense, “ who hath blessed us…” He has already accomplished it. He has already confirmed that we are spiritually blessed. This is the reason that Jesus said on the cross, “ It is finished.” It implies the spiritual processes of wisdom, righteousness, redemption, salvation, sanctification are finished. He has given us the opportunities to fully and freely participate in these processes. The uni-verse does not mean that we will not receive physical blessings or the needs we have during this lifetime. As long as we are giving priority to the spiritual blessings we receive in Christ, these will follow after us without our being obsessed with it.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 17, 2016

Seasons of Life and the Mountain Top

UV 2097/10000 Seasons of Life and the Top of the Mountain
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it
Micah 4 v 1

Our lives’ landscape consists of both mountains and valleys, plains and plateaux. The mountains refer not only to the high points of our days and of our lives but it also refers to the challenges, difficulties, problems of life. The mountains will not come down to us but the Lord will enable us to climb to the top of the mountains and hills, day by day, step by step. He will teach us His ways and help us follow His paths to the top of the mountains. A test always precedes a triumph. A triumph is an occasion to bear testimony to the Lord’s saving grace and power. In the season of test and trial, we need to be joyful as it is the season preceding the season of harvest, the season of joy. During the times of trials and climbing the mountains and hills of our lives, we are joyful due to the hope that enables us to see that which is not yet visible- our triumph in the Lord. In the season of triumph, we need to rejoice again as we see the triumph, the overcoming, the victory.

During the season of tests and trials, the Lord is at work and doing what we cannot ask, expect, imagine. We are closest to the Lord in our times of trials and difficulties. We realize the true value of things during this season. We are most receptive to learn the lessons and to gain from the wisdom the Lord wants to impart to us. We experience the full extent of the faithfulness of the Lord in this season. The Lord endeavours to establish us on the top of the mountains. As He does so, we should exalt or worship His name, His person and reflect deeply on His word. The judgements of the Lord or the great powers of the Lord and His character are made manifest or visible to our eyes of faith during the season of trials and hardship. We will not only confront mountains or big problems and challenges from time to time, our feet or our faith and strength are tested and made strong on the smaller hills.

There is no short cut to the top of the mountain of the Lord. The enemy of our souls may lift us suddenly to the top of the high places even as He tried to tempt Jesus. He wants to destroy us by feeding our vanities, our ungodly ambition, desires, thoughts and pride. But the Lord lifts us to the top of His mountain step by step, degree by degree, gradually. Not for us sudden fame, wealth or rise to authority and power. The Lord prepares us over a lifetime for His eye is upon eternity and not the short run. The enemy wants to demolish us while the Lord desires to establish us on the top of the mountain. All through and in every season of our lives, we shall have the peace of the Lord flowing in us, through us and from us like a river finds its source in the top of the mountain.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Fencing

UV 2096/10000 The Fencing
He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
Psalm 18 v 48

The Lord is our fence and defence against all offence. He is a wall of protection. The Lord delivers us from a variety of enemies, spiritual and temporal, invisible and human. He delivers us from accidents and disasters. He delivers us from the weapons of the violent. He delivers us from our fears and apprehensions. He delivers us from temptations and trials. He elevates us above the schemes and devices of the wicked. His means of deliverance also are varied, unique and a testimony in itself.
Recent archaeological discovery has found a huge number of skeletons, chariot wheels and weapons lying buried in the bed of the Red Sea giving evidence of the drowning of the mighty Egyptian army that pursued the hapless Jewish people led by Moses. Thereafter, the Lord enabled Joshua to provide leadership and to defeat 31 kings on the way to the promised land. Similarly, the Lord defeats or delivers us from 31 kings, implying persons and forces more powerful and formidable than we can face of handle on our own strength. The spiritual enemy of all human beings stimulates or provokes our rivals, adversaries or foes to oppose or to openly attack us. As we take refuge in the Lord, He acts as our shield and saviour. On the contrary, by giving in to our fears, by our utterances, we give permission for the enemy to attack us in a variety of ways.
People in position and power oppose even the noblest of projects. They are often motivated by envy, jealousy or hatred. It is evident even in the relations between governments and nations. When Nehemiah mustered the resources and people of Jerusalem to re-build the walls of the city, they were opposed by Sanballat and a few others. Nehemiah posted scouts and guards to look out for any enemy attack. He asked the people building the walls to also carry their swords to defend themselves. The Lord delivered Daniel and his friends from the jaws of death in the lion’s den. Likewise, He is able to save us from the jaws of death. Affirming our faith in Jesus is like holding our shield of defence aloft to save us from some otherwise lethal blows. Claiming the promises of protection is another way to hold the shield of faith all round us to thwart the designs of the enemy and protect ourselves from the fiery arrows shot at us.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Breath of Life

UV 2095/10000 The Breath of Life
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

Ezekiel 37 v 4

Hearing the word of the Lord is what oxygen does to our whole bodies. It sustains our lives with hope, hope beyond death, beyond suffering, beyond knowledge and human understanding. It makes possible the impossible even as it is impossible for the dry bones of skeletons that have been separated into parts coming together to form a living, vibrant nation. The Word spoken into hopeless, impossible and challenging situations makes it possible. Praying employing the Word is like prophesying to our own selves so that the resurrection power of Christ that is held in each word of God is released. The same power that turned dead clay into living flesh of the first man, the same power that turned the pierced, bloodless and absolutely dead body of Jesus in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea into the resurrected, glorified body of Jesus that could appear and disappear, pass through walls and present Himself to the apostles is released into our dead and hopeless situations. Sin and death are at work in the world but salvation and resurrection are at work in our lives.

Man can only attempt mummification and preservation but God’s power resurrects even dry bones. He brings together the disparate dried up parts of our lives- the physical, the emotional, the social, the spiritual, the psychological, the logical. He breathes life into these parts and enables us to live fully. At times when our souls are dried up and we are out of touch with the Lord, He sends His Holy Spirit to revive us. He sends us a word through His servants, the prophets to tell us His intimate thoughts about us. He encourages us with prophecy. He equips, empowers and enables us to be part of a vast army of prayer warriors. Our weapons are not carnal, causing harm to the flesh and blood but are spiritual and powerful, causing benefit and hope to arise in a darkened world.

Our goals in life are like dry bones but it is the Spirit of the Lord that supplies the sinews, the cartilage that connects, the tendons that connect the muscles, the blood vessels and the oxygenating blood, the heart and every internal organ to make life possible. All our efforts will be in vain but for the Lord’s blessing and breathing upon us. Our desires would be still born but the Lord knows each one and causes things to happen, circumstances to change to facilitate their realisation as long as they are in alignment with His will for our lives. He causes our hearts to throb and our minds to think. He gives us visions and dreams. He strengthens our limbs and prompts us to move in the right direction. Life would be just a valley of dry bones, of death and hopelessness and sorrows but the Lord has turned it, transformed it into a range of mountains and hills of joy and hope. The Word is the breath of God released into our otherwise dying nostrils to make it moist and active with life. With every breath we should intake a portion of the Word, with every breath release prayer and praise unto the Lord of life, the Lord of hope, the Lord of our salvation, the Lord of our strength. The Breath of Life, the Bread of Life affects the length and breadth of our lives, the whole gamut of our emotions, every event and circumstance, every thought and desire.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Eternity Focus

UV 2094/10000 Eternity Focus
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4 v 18

We are not human “bee-ings”, bees who are too busy to focus on one thing, on the unseen Creator of all things, attracted and distracted as we are by the sights and sounds of the seen world. We are human beings created with a faculty of faith even as we have the six perceptive senses and the faculty of reasoning. We are to focus not on things of temporal or temporary value but the things that are of eternal value. Faith does not involve the suspension of reasoning but it involves focussing all of our faculties, emotional, rational and perceptive to see the unseen, to know the unknown, to understand the things of God and of His kingdom.
We need to forget what is behind us and focus on the goal of knowing Christ and becoming like Him. We need to imitate the single-minded focus that Jesus had as He prepared Himself to be sacrificed on the cross. Jesus constantly focussed on the eternal even while He was alive to the needs of the present moment. Even as He taught the multitude the eternal truths of the beatitudes, He saw that they were hungry and asked his disciples how much food was available. The limitations of resources namely seven fish and five loaves did not limit his desire to satisfy the hunger of the people. He did not limit Himself to the seen but prayed to the unseen Father and thereby, saw the multiplication of food. We need to develop this kind of focus that lets us connect serving the needs of people around us in the immediate context while preparing to fulfil the Lord’s eternal purpose for our lives.

There is a constant interaction between the immediate, the future and the eternal. Our faith in the Lord gives us an unifying vision. There is also a constant interface between the seen world and the unseen spiritual world. Jesus laid bare the principles and precepts that underlie the unseen spiritual world. Faith gives us the ability to focus on the unseen and spiritual without ignoring the demands or needs and priorities of the seen, present and physical world. Jesus mastered the art of focus on the unseen and eternal- He could walk on water, multiply the fishes and loaves, heal the sick, cure the incurable, bring the dead to life, find a gold coin in a fish to pay His tax, explain the principles of the Kingdom of God in simple parables. When we focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we learn and live a spiritual or abundant life.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Fountainhead of Our Well Being

UV 2093/10000 The Fountainhead of Our Well Being
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring
Act 17 v 28

We are the offspring of the Lord in Christ. In Christ, we experience the resurrection, the life and the power to be like the Father. Our well being is closely knit with the Lord. His word is the well spring of our joy and our inheritance. The more dependent we are on the Lord, the stronger and more victorious we are in this life and the greater the blessings in the life to come. Our very breath, our every move, our every thought, word and action lie in His hands. The Lord is intimately involved in the details of our lives. He is committed to us as a husband to his wife, as a father to his child, as a redeemer to all people. Our confidence, faith and hope stems from this belief.

The Lord has total knowledge and understanding of each of us. He knows when we are still and when we are restless. He knows the worry that knits our brow. He knows our every move and action. Every move, every step is measured in terms of how close or far it took us from the Lord. He knows just what we need at each moment in our lives. He provides it in unseen ways. He holds our past, present and future in His hands. The more we trust Him, the less we worry for ourselves, the less we fear the unknown and uncertain aspects of the future. We can hide nothing from His gaze. His light shines in our darkness and illuminates every nook and corner of our hearts. We fix our focus on Him as our faith, hope and love originate in and with Him. Every human experience is an opportunity to know some dimension of the love of Christ for us. Every expression and every effort of ours is an opportunity to make known our love for Him.

The totality of our being is immersed in His presence. It is no longer I who exists but I –in –Him. In Him we have access to every blessing, every promise and hope, every treasure of heaven and earth. He should increase and I should decrease. There is no more a struggle between our egos and the Lord. No longer do we have to wrestle with His spirit like Jacob did, pleading for a blessing for His very presence guarantees our well being. We willingly submit every thought, word, action, experience and every moment to Him. He justifies or straightens and corrects the crooked parts of our lives. No human relationship on earth can possibly compete with the intimacy and depth of friendship that one has with the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Quagmire

UV 2091/10000 The Quagmire
That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up
Micah 7 v 3

Today, there is no one who is upright. All are skilled in doing evil. Evil is covered in a veneer of sophistication. The ruler and the judge expect bribes. Everyone is keen on advancing their own interests. They conspire together to mutual benefit. They are intent on dishonest gain. They are not interested in the truth or righteousness or justice. If need be, they are ready to shed blood to achieve their goal. From the least to the greatest, people have given in to covetousness. Thieves and mischief abounds in every land. It is at such a time as this that the Lord looks for watchmen who will stand in the huge gap and pray. Watchmen who trust in the Word and hope for the coming of the Lord and His righteous rule on earth.

The current election to the most powerful office in the world-the Presidency of the USA is a case in point. Never before have both parties offered candidates who do not have the moral credentials or standing required. It is a case of extreme moral bankruptcy on either side. On the one hand, we have a person who had a playboy lifestyle and the other an overly ambitious and unscrupulous former first lady. It is in times like these that the Lord looks for faithful watchmen in every land who will watch and pray. As we watch and pray, we hope in the Lord and the tide will change. All changes are first wrought in the spiritual realm and then get reflected in the physical, political, cultural and social spheres. Once we recognize the symptoms of our age, we should base our faith on the rock-like foundation of the word and the Lord will stem the rot. Spiritual watchmen influence every sphere and realm – the physical, the political, the economic, the cultural, the social, the emotional and psychological.

We should not surrender to the enemy and remain hopeless and frustrated but take the realm by the force of our conviction and faith. We should not let the enemy wrap it up but pray that the Lord has the last word in every situation. Every human being’s experience is like that of a person caught in a mire or quick sand. Every attempt to extricate ourselves on our own efforts or strength only drives us further into the quagmire. It is only the Lord who can stretch His strong right hand, hold us and pull us out of the mire. Having pulled us out of the mire of our dead habits and beliefs, He needs to now place us on the rock of hope, the rock of salvation. What we build on that rock of hope and faith is what brings us our rewards in eternity.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 10, 2016

Learning and Living By Heart

UV 2090/10000 Learning By Heart
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart
Proverbs 4 v 21

The uni-verse exhorts us to keep a continual focus on the Word of God. The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” should be modified in this context as : “Out of heart, out of sight, out of mind, out of life.” Whatever is most valuable finds a place in the core of our lives- our hearts. Our understanding of the Word is the mustard seed that grows and keeps growing into a great tree of faith, love and hope. It is the seed that produces much fruit of wisdom and of the spirit in our lives. The Word guards our hearts from within against both folly and sin. Out of the heart are the issues of life. The Word will mingle with all the issues of our lives and purify and perfect these. The Word stored in our hearts will keep us from the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Sin is conceived in the desires of our hearts. The Word acts as a contraceptive to prevent even the conception of sin in our hearts. The Word will act as a sieve or filter of our emotions and the words that emanate from our mouth.

The law that is written on paper or even on stone is often violated but the law of the Lord that is written by the Spirit on our hearts is not violated. The very fact that we voluntarily and wholeheartedly store it in our hearts imply that we delight in obeying the law of the Lord. It will keep us from stumbling in the dark. It will produce health, longevity, honour and well being in our lives. The Word in our hearts will illuminate the path we should take, step by step, action by action, word by word. It will clarify our vision and enable us to fulfil our God-given purpose. It will impart peace to us and teach us patience. The Word stored in our hearts is our constant companion comforting us, encouraging us, inspiring us, guiding us, leading us. It is our teacher 24 x 7 all the days of our lives. It gives us strength from within to face the crisis and storms in our lives.

We store the Word in our hearts by memorising and meditating on it, line by line, precept by precept, day by day. It enriches our understanding not just of spiritual aspects of life but every aspect- physical, intellectual, financial, emotional, psychological, familial and social. Human hearts are not made to treasure money, gold, silver or precious stones as these cannot by any means be stored therein. They are not even made to store memories for these fade with time. They are not made to store the finite knowledge and wisdom of man. They are constructed so that we can store the instructions and promises of the Lord. These become the spiritual DNA of our new nature in Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Of Covetousness and Contentment

UV 2089/10000 Of Covetousness and Contentment
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13 v 5

Our conduct or our speech should not hold any trace of covetousness. To avoid covetousness is one of the ten commandments given through Moses under the old covenant. We should avoid desiring what belongs to another. Only what the Lord has decided in His grace and mercy to put into our hands belongs to us. We are to be contented with the portion that the Lord has ordained for us. We are to be contented and thankful for the blessings He has poured into our lives. Covetousness led Adam and Eve into sin and the fall. As long as we have enough to eat and to wear, we should be satisfied and not be pining for more and more. This uni-verse comes with the promise that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us. He would be with us forever. He will meet our needs according to His glorious riches of heaven and earth. All the silver and gold on the earth ultimately belongs to Him. He can give it to those He desires.

The crux of this uni-verse is that we should never transfer the center of gravity of our faith from the Lord to the things of this world. We should only desire His presence with us for If He is present with us, if He resides in us, we will never be short of what we need for as the Psalmist wrote, “ He denies the righteous no good thing. “ Covetousness is due to deep insecurity that our needs will not be met, both those of the present and of the future. We desire to guard ourselves against the many uncertainties of life by providing enough for our old age, our times of ill health, for the needs of our children and the next generation. We seek to store up more and more as an insurance against future needs. When we do so, our faith is transferred from the Lord to our treasure. We measure all benefits in terms of our monetary gain and in terms of monetary value. Love of money will surely, slowly and subtly creep in on us and replace our first love for the Lord when we just had enough to meet our needs. This is the reason that Jesus warns us that we cannot serve both God and money, either we can love God and hate money or love money and hate God. Covetousness causes us to be selfish and untrustworthy. It affects our relationships and our choices in life adversely.

The Lord wants to be the immediate, ultimate and only source of trust and security of our lives. He promises to help us in our hour of need. He promises to satisfy our physical needs of hunger, thirst and shelter. When we place our faith in our bank balance, it detracts from our faith and His lordship. It goes against the very nature of the Lord as a faithful, kind, generous provider. It delights Him when we look to Him for our every need and we do not serve Him just to secure blessings or due to our greed for filthy lucre or monetary gain. Our attitudes should be characterised by constant thankfulness, trust, hope, confidence and a sense of security. We should be contented and thankful for the income we currently have, the assets the Lord has blessed us with. If we are not so contented, the enemy of our souls will rob us of our peace, our faith, our health, our joy and at times even our salvation. We will be led into the error of Balaam, the prophet who sought rewards from the enemy king or like Gehazi, the servant of Elijah the prophet who ran after Naaman, the general to secretly claim a reward. Covetousness will lead us to the sin of Ananias and Saphira who suffered judgement and sudden death as they held back from the apostles part of the proceeds of the sale of their own house. Instead of desiring to be richer than others, we should seek to be rich in testimony, rich in our faith towards the Lord. Truly, contentment with godliness is the greatest gain. It is the kind of gain that thieves or robbers cannot take away or what rust or moth cannot destroy or decay.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 7, 2016

Now Power

UV 2088/10000 Now Power
For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.
Nahum 1 v 13
The Lord promises in this uni-verse to remove our burden, to break the yoke that ties us and weighs us down with sorrow and pain. The use of the word “ now” in conjunction with many of the promises of the Lord is to indicate that His “now” power is already at work in us towards that end of freeing, liberating and lightening our load. We may not yet see it with our physical eyes or experience it as the power of the Lord has begun the work in us. The yoke or burden might be one relating to spiritual oppression, to a source of pain and affliction. It is something that constrains us and keeps us from being our true selves in Christ. It is the yoke that the enemy of our souls has laid upon our shoulders.

The implication of this uni-verse is that for a fairly long time in our lives, we might have suffered due to some issue- personal, emotional or spiritual. But the day will come when the Lord will give us complete deliverance. Till such time we need to be patient in affliction. Till such time we should be filled with hope. The time when we bear the yoke is the time when our faith is tested. It is the period of ploughing or churning in our souls just as a heavy yoke is used to churn and turn the soil of the field to prepare it for sowing. Till the time, our souls are ready for sowing the seed of hope, we need to carry the yoke.
We are tied with many bonds or cords to this world. The Lord promises in this uni-verse not just to break the yoke but to untie our bonds. These bonds refer to our worldly ties that hold us back and keep us from fulfilling the Lord’s purpose for our lives. The bonds could be our attitudes, our habits, our choices, our desires, our fears and doubts. These tend to act like shackles and fetters on our souls. WE cannot break the yoke or lift it on our own effort or burst the bonds on our own. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to recognize what weighs us down, what restricts and constrains us. When we pray persistently, the Lord lifts our burdens. When we meditate on the word and apply it in different areas of our lives, the bonds or cords are broken on the sharpened edge of the sword. The cords are broken in many pieces such that we will never again get tied like that.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Paradox Perspective

UV 2087/10000 The Paradox Perspective
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6 v 10

The paradox of this world is that even when people attain their desires, they are not joyful or satisfied. A new type of frustration and hopelessness sets in once their ambition is fulfilled. In contrast, St Paul excelled in writing about the paradox of faith. He knew that he was poor in terms of worldly possessions. Yet, he considered himself rich and able to enrich others as true riches consists of real wisdom and understanding. It is more valuable than gold and silver or precious stones. The wisdom and knowledge of Christ had so enriched Paul that he had no thought for worldly riches. He was persecuted, imprisoned, flogged, on the point of being killed on several occasions. Yet, He rejoiced in these conditions that would normally depress a person and cause him to be full of sorrows.

We too need to develop this paradox perspective so that we have a different value system to assess our lives and that of others. We should measure our riches in terms of the extent of our faith. For in the promises of the Lord we are in possession of all things. We are unimportant from the world’s perspective but from the Lord’s perspective we are well known and valuable as His children by faith. Our yardstick of progress is not the bottomline of profits but how obedient and submissive we have been to the commands and precepts of the Lord. The paradox perspective enables us to be rich when we are poor, joyful when we are beset by many sorrows, peaceful despite many nagging worries, strong when we are physically and emotionally weak.

The paradox perspective enabled the apostles to worship the Lord joyfully when they were in fetters and imprisoned. It enables believers to be full of zeal and comfort when they are being martyred as it happened in the early church and they were thrown to lions to tear them apart. The paradox perspective is what is described in the beautiful attitudes that Jesus extols in His sermon on the mount. It is a state of blessedness that circumstances have little to do with. It is about having a positive attitude even in the most negative of situations and circumstances. The paradox perspective also implies that even when the Lord blesses us in terms of worldly position or riches or fame, we conduct ourselves as if we do not possess any of these things. Christ being the be all and end all of life- when we are in Christ and with Him, we are in possession of all things in this world and the next. This is the reason Jesus spoke of the merchant who sold all his possessions to own the most precious keystone jewel in the world- the kingdom of God. It is the keystone or fulcrum on which all life turns.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wonderful Refuge

UV 2086/10000 Wonderful Refuge
I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge
Psalm 71 v 7

Without great affliction, there cannot be even greater deliverance, healing and victory. The Lord makes each of His children who believe and trust in Him and His word to become a sign and wonder unto many. He makes our lives a testimony of His strength, grace and power. He is not a refuge of desperation but a “strong refuge.” People who watch our lives cannot fully comprehend how things happen. David experienced the mighty delivering and uplifting hand of the Lord even as he worshipped Him as he looked after his father’s sheep. He could slay the bear with his bare hands and wrest his sheep from a lion’s jaws. Even so as we look after our Father’s sheep, feeding them, tending to the weak and wounded, He will give us victory over our threats, fears, dangers, foes and enemies, mortal and spiritual. Thereby, He makes us a wonder even to angels as to men.

David’s next great test and victory was when he accepted the challenge of Goliath as a callow youth. Even from the days of our youth, the Lord enables us to overcome and defeat forces and persons many times more strong or powerful than any of us. The Lord saved David from the deadly jealousy of his royal patron, king Saul. The Lord protects us from friend or patron turned enemies. He makes them the footstool on which he enables us to rise to greatness. We leverage on the strength of our foes and enemies. He elevates us above our contemporaries as he elevated David, a mere shepherd to be king of Israel. The Lord imparted skills, wisdom, understanding and abilities of an extraordinary nature in David. David never put his trust on his own extraordinary abilities and strength but He constantly made the Lord the source of His dependence.

When David was morally defeated by temptation of adultery, he was at his lowest ebb but he cast himself on the mercy of the Lord. He truly repented and obtained grace or he was restored once again to the full favour of the Lord though he could not escape the consequences in the course of his lifetime. Obtaining the mercy and grace of the Lord even when we have failed Him in a terrible way itself makes us a wonder to many. The salvation offered by Jesus plays out in our lives in a variety of ways in real time. The Lord is both the first and last resort of the believer.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WItness in Word and Deed

UV 2085/10000 Witness in Word and Deed
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.

John 10 v 25

For any evidence, there is a need of two witnesses, one to speak it and another to corroborate it. Jesus said that His first witness was His words. His second witness was the works He did in the Father’s name. He truly walked His talk. Likewise, each of us by our words bear witness to Jesus as the good Shepherd. Our second witness are the works or actions we take to corroborate our words. The integrity and consistency of our words and actions speak to the soundness of our belief in Jesus. When these two come together, nothing can shake it for it has a rock hard solidity.

Salvation also comes by the Word of God and by the word of testimony. Both go hand in hand or are two sides of the same coin. The word of testimony is the word-in-action. Our beliefs are proved by these two together acting in harmony and consistency. Whatever Jesus did, He spoke of it ahead of time and then went ahead and did it including laying down His life for the sheep and taking it up again on the third day. The Father also spoke through the centuries through prophets and then went ahead to act and fulfil those words spoken ahead of time. The first witness is a proclamation or declaration and the second witness is a confirmation and corroboration.

Jesus spoke more than forty remarkable parables to lay bare the principles and truths of the kingdom of His Father and did more than forty amazing, “para-able” or beyond human ability wonders and miracles of healing, deliverance, commanding the storm to be still, multiplication of bread and fish… Such wisdom of God was never spoken by any person before or since and such works or miracles were never done by any person before or since to prove His deity, His mission on earth and His plan for man. We too need to be imitators of Jesus in word and deed.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kingdom Dynamics

UV 2084/10000 Kingdom Dynamics
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 14 v 17

The kingdom of man is a physical entity defined by a lavish consumption pattern. The chief goal in this physical world is the satisfaction of needs and wants. The kingdom of God is not about consumption but it is about accessing by faith the grace and righteousness of God in and through Christ. The reason why God does not manifest evidence of His existence, redemption and work in a physical way is because it will not then leave much scope for faith. We in fact are most receptive to the Word in times of affliction as our hearts are most sensitive during these times. We are able to cast off our carnal minds and able to think and perceive spiritually the things of the Lord.

By faith we have access to the righteousness, peace and indescribable joy in the Holy Spirit. Our enjoyment in life does not come from a mere satisfaction of our physical needs and wants but by seeking the rule of the Lord in our lives, by trusting His word and believing His promises. Our world view is not that of the world- “ Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you shall die.” Our meat is not of this world. Our bread that sustains our hope and spirit is the daily intake of His word. Our confidence is not in this world and its ways. Our confidence is in the Lord and His word. We drink deep of the Holy Spirit. There are fountains of joy and streams of life giving water flowing from our hearts.

The kingdom of God is near us, within us and amongst us. Our joy is not based on circumstances but on our faith and hope in the Word. Our stance of faith determines our circumstance. The Kingdom of God is not one of mere words but one of power. It is effective as the word translates into real time power in our daily lives and experiences. Love rather than fear drives our motives, thoughts, attitudes, behaviour and actions. It is manifested in our relationships and our hope of eternal life in Christ. We have peace that cannot be explained or understood in rational terms. We are planted in this world as trees of righteousness to produce a different fruit – of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Self control implies that we are submitting ourselves voluntarily and wholeheartedly to the discipline and correction of the Holy Spirit who indwells us. We rejoice in hope before the fulfilment of the promises of the Lord and we rejoice again with grateful worship after it is fulfilled. Joy is a recurring pattern of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Process of Sanctification

UV 2083/10000 The Process of Sanctification
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 5 v 23

The work of sanctification, of making us whole in spirit, mind and body is that of the Lord. We only need to cooperate. The extent of our cooperation and obedience will either speed up or slow down the entire process. Each of us is a work in progress, a work in process. The Lord intends to cleanse us of every trace of evil. He intends to prosper us in spirit, mind and body. He desires to perfect us and preserve us from the evil in this world. If we are aligning our own lives and goals with that of the Lord’s, we would cling to what is good and let go of every vestige of evil, anything that even remotely appears evil. The process of sanctification implies that the Lord establishes, proves, prunes, corrects, perfects and stabilizes us in our faith and its manifestations.

The Lord Jesus is the God of peace. He is the author of peace and not of confusion and chaos. He cleanses us by our faith in His shed blood on the cross. But He sanctifies us by the Holy Spirit and the washing and regeneration by the Word. He is faithful to His followers till the very end and He is waiting at the finishing line to receive us. He expects us to finish well and does everything to make it happen. He desires that we excel in all things. He sanctifies us by separating us from all people as a pure and precious bride without blemish or wrinkle or flaw. He has called us personally by our names and He has called us out from all people to be a special people unto Him, blameless and blessed.

Jesus is not only the God of peace but the God of grace. He is able to strengthen us in our innermost being. He knows the specifics of the areas of our lives that need sanctification, healing and deliverance. Sanctification is not only a process of cleansing or purification but of edification or building. We are being built up in faith till we are complete in Christ and have fulfilled the very purpose of our lives, the purpose of our creation and our salvation. Finally, we will receive the inheritance along with those who have been sanctified in Christ.

Prateep V Philip