Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Manger Managers and Management

UV 2136/10000 Manger Managers and Manger Management
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2 v 7

If the innkeeper really knew who this baby was, he would have given his own room to Mary and Joseph. The world is often like the innkeeper- too obsessed with the affairs of life, the opportunities, the problems, the activities, the pleasures, possessions to make space for the Lord and Messiah. The extraordinariness of the birth of the God child who had been prophesied by many and chiefly by the Messianic prophet Isaiah was surrounded or camouflaged by the ordinariness of the physical circumstances. God chose that His only begotten son be born in a humble family and in humble circumstances. He went right to the bottom of the pile or the bottom of the social pyramid to make an entrance into the world and the history of humanity. He was opening a new style of leadership and management – manger management. Our titles, our labels, our ranks, our badges of honour, our qualifications, our possessions do not define the manger manager but to obey the Highest in meeting the need of the greatest number of people whom we are called to serve. A manger manager or leader does what is possible while expecting the Lord to do the impossible. He realizes that he is only an agent or instrument, a part of a larger and glorious plan of a great creator.

A “manger manager” or leader is one who stays humble and gives top priority to the will of our Father God. All the three persons in the manger were people who obeyed the Lord- Mary who rejoiced in being a handmaiden to bear the Messiah sent by the Lord, Joseph who acquiesced in the will of God setting aside his own sense of propriety as well as fears and inhibitions to play the role of a foster father to the Child from God. Finally, Jesus who though part of the Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Wonderful Counsellor, though He is the image in which man is created, accepted willingly and joyfully the Father’s decision to send him to a small space on one of the humblest planets Earth. A manger manager follows the example of these three of the holy family in making the obedience to the will of the Lord his or her chief pleasure and duty.

A “manger manager” gives priority to the word of God and spends time reflecting on it. He tries to blend it into all his activities and pursuits. He draws wisdom and inspiration daily from it. A manger manager is not defeated by rejection or by difficulties or by lack of physical comforts. His faith enables him to rise above every circumstance, fixing his eye on the ultimate vision of fulfilling God’s will and executing His plan on earth. A manger manager lives in harmony with all God’s creatures and with nature. A manger manager is contented if his basic needs are met. He is realistic and stays close to the ground reality even as he has his eye fixed on heaven. A manger manager makes the best of the worst circumstances, never grumbles about his lot but does his best to remain comfortable in the prevailing circumstances, while hoping and working for the best. Towards this end, a manger manager is creative and innovative.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blocks and Bondages

UV 2135/10000 Blocks and Bondages
Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
John 11 v 39

From this uni-verse we learn that the Lord expects us to remove the blocks and bondages that we ourselves have placed or tied ourselves with. Jesus asked the people who placed the stone to remove it themselves. Likewise, when Lazarus came to life again when Jesus said, “ Lazarus, come forth”, He told them to set him loose as he was bound with a shroud around his face and his limbs were tied with grave clothes. The Lord expects us to do the possible and He will do the impossible. The Israelites led by Moses had to begin walking towards the Red Sea while the Lord parted the waters for them to walk through. The Lord gave the manna and the quails while the Israelites had to collect it. The body provided the few fish and the bread while the Lord multiplied it to feed the multitude. The apostles had to venture out fishing in the Sea of Galilee. They cast their nets down into the water. The Lord filled it to the point of bursting. If we initiate with faith, the Lord will complete it with grace. If we walk one mile, the Lord will walk the extra mile with us.

By the things we do, say and think, we place hurdles in our own paths. We tie ourselves up with the thoughts we think and the words we speak, the things we do. Jesus will not free us from these things as He expects and directs us to remove the obstacles ourselves and remove the blockages or bondages that restrict us in the spirit. He only promises that if we believe, we will see His glory, His greatness, His goodness, His grace, His power, His mercy. He will bring to life again by His word the things that are dead in our lives.

We need to identify the things in our lives that stink, that is displeasing to the Lord and have these removed. There are things the Lord has warned us to avoid or to do. We need to obey these instructions implicitly. Our own limiting beliefs are the stone and the bonds that inhibit or restrict us, keeping the grace and power of God from being fully manifest in our lives. Our vision is shrouded and clouded by our own fears and doubts. These things weigh heavily on our mind and restrict the Spirit of the Lord from working fully in us. We need to take decisive action to remove these.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 28, 2016

Like Attracts Like

UV 2134/10000 Like Attracts Like
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
Job 3 v 25

Both our most dreaded fears and our most ardent hopes have the power of self fulfilling prophecy. We attract into our lives the very things we fear. If we fear a certain event in our hearts and confess it with our mouths, it will probably happen. Our fear becomes the seed of bad news. Likewise, our hope is the seed of good news. Job greatly feared that God’s wrath may rest upon him and he and his family might face some deadly disaster due to some wilful and unwitting words spoken by any of his sons. He openly stated that he was terrorised by the thought of destruction inflicted on him by God. Fearing evil is distrusting God, not believing Him to be our loving Creator and doting Father. Giving expression or confessing such fears is like cursing God for our beliefs have the power of limiting what the Lord can do in our lives. It is an expression of no confidence in an all loving, all knowing, all powerful Father and Saviour.

The story is told of a man who feared something disastrous would happen if he went outside his home. He remained ensconced in what he thought was the safest place on earth- his home. He locked himself into his room. But the irony is that a rare and deadly insect somehow entered that room and stung him. Indeed, our fears poke holes or chinks in the armour of faith. Imagine those who have no faith or hope. They are completely bereft of any protection whatsoever and are open for attack or spiritual assault from any direction. I recall my then boss, the Superintendent of Police of the district where I was posted in 1990. In May 1991, he told me that he feared something deadly or disastrous would happen to him due to an astrological prediction based on his horoscope. He began to be more careful and even more religious. He even asked his staff car driver to go slowly lest he met with an accident. But tragically, on May 21, 1991, the Superintendent of Police died due to severe injuries in the human bomb assassination of the former Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi. I survived with injuries on account of my faith which I expressed to him that “ God will protect me and my family.”

I just heard of a person who lost his job in the USA as he secretly feared for a long while that he might lose his job. We need to replace our fears with a faith in the living, sovereign and Most High God who revealed Himself through the prophets, His word and most fully through His son Jesus. Fear of God or faith repels all fears. It is a fail proof, fool proof, fire proof, sin proof, disaster proof, flood proof, bullet proof and bomb proof protection for those who trust Him. We need to wear the whole armour of God- from headgear full of assurance and hope, a heart of trust and love, a shield of faith in the specific promises of protection as in Psalm 91, Psalm 121 and so on, the sharp, heart-penetrating truths of the sword of the Word, the willingness and discipline of applying rightly the truths revealed and learnt, the feet and shoes to go places to be a w itness for the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rootedness and Fruitfulness

UV 2133/10000 Rootedness and Fruitfulness
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2 v 7
Believers are trees of righteousness that grow forth from the tiny seed of faith in Jesus planted in our hearts. If we are rooted in this faith, we will not move away from the hope of eternal life we were first inspired with when we believed and received Jesus into our hearts with folded hands. We will increasingly be more rooted, strengthened, established, settled, not just convinced but convicted in our faith. Our doubts and fears will flee. We will fan our faith into full flame and sustain it right through our lives. We will not allow false doctrine or setbacks to affect the fervour of our faith. Our foundation will be like that of a castle that is set in solid bedrock. Nothing can shake our faith. Nothing and no one can cause us to shrink back from the grace of the Lord.

To be rooted in the Lord, implies that we are rooted in love. The vertical plank of the cross is our love for God. The horizontal is our love for each other- our near and dear ones, the stranger and the neighbour, our friends, our enemies. Both need to intensify and grow over time. Our understanding of the multi-dimensional love of Christ needs to grow manifold. As that understanding and our own love grows, we will glow in both good words and good works that are the fruit or the expression of that deep seated, deep rooted love. We will grow in maturity and will no longer be just consumers of grace but producers, c0-producers of grace. We will no longer be governed by our whims, our fancies, our moods, our desires but be driven by God-given, guided and goaded goals. We will not translate the huge load of teachings we have received this far into principles that are actively practiced in our daily lives.

One of the things that pleases the Lord and is evidence of our rootedness and maturity is a heart of gratitude. We need to overflow with thanksgiving towards the Lord for all He has done for us, for all He has revealed, for all He has given us in His grace. The attitude of constant and overflowing gratitude towards the Lord is a state of bliss and blessedness. It is a stimulus for our further fruitfulness and growth. It is both the cause and effect of sustained joy forevermore. It is also a faith multiplier.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 25, 2016


UV 2132/10000 Fufillment
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12 v 13

Fearing God implies having a deep and abiding sense of reverence towards the Lord of heaven and earth. It causes the extinction of all other fears- the fear of death, the fear of evil, the fear of failure, the fear of violence, the fear of punishment, the fear of the consequences of guilt, the fear of the consequences of one’s mistakes and so on. Fear of God in other words is not fear but the opposite of fear- faith. Trusting God for all the shortcomings, personal and of life. The fear of God promises us the rewards of true and inner wisdom, longevity, productivity, prosperity and continuity of legacy in succeeding generations.

The fear of God is not a mere psychological issue or an attitude but it is the active enthusiasm for His Word. It is about paying attention to the letter and spirit of His commandments and doing it. It is about knowing the nature or character of God and trying to conform to it. It is about walking in all His ways, step by step, moment by moment, all day and all our days. It is about loving the Lord, serving Him with all our hearts and souls. It is about giving priority to the kingdom or rule of the Lord in our lives. It is about actively seeking His will and abiding by it.

Solomon discovered after all his experimentation and experiences with a variety of things like pleasure, wealth, wisdom that fearing and serving God is the essence of our lives. It is our wholesome duty and in it all our other activities and duties would be subsumed and fulfilled. It will keep us from all pitfalls, vanities, follies and errors, wilful and otherwise, in our lives. It is the very purpose of creation and of our existence. We will find our fulfilment in loving and obeying the Lord wholeheartedly. Both our journeys and the destination, the process and the results would be greatly blessed. The fear of God does not restrict us but expands our understanding, our freedom, our powers and the use of all our faculties. It gives us access to great spiritual wisdom that eluded the great men and women of history.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Facing Good and Bad Times

UV 2131/10000 Facing Good and Bad Times
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Romans 12 v 12

It is written in the book of Proverbs that, “ A hope fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” Our hopes cause us to be desirous of living on. The moment all hope is gone, we would rather perish. When the hope is realized, we rejoice. When a promise of the Lord is fulfilled in our lives, we rejoice not just at that moment but the very memory of God’s faithfulness to His promises causes us to rejoice all the days of our lives. The word “ rejoice” is used thrice consecutively in the Psalms and in the epistles of Paul. It implies we rejoice for our past hopes that are fulfilled in Christ, rejoice for our present hopes being fulfilled in Christ, rejoice for our future hopes to be fulfilled in Christ. Proverbs also states that “ a cheerful heart is good medicine.” The secret of a cheerful heart is the nourishment given by hope. We hope for a better life for ourselves and our families. We hope for eternal life. We hope for success in our workplace and elsewhere. We hope for good and health, long lasting relationships. Each hope is a cause not just of eventual joy but right now as we are filled with hope, it gives us joy.

Someone stated that our lives are like the keyboard of a piano with the white keys signifying the good times and the bad keys signifying difficult or bad times. Both produce musical notes. If we can accept good times as a blessing from the Lord, we should also accept difficult times as a blessing. We need to be patient if not cheerful as James asks us to be when we face trials and problems. We need to know it is a passing phase and a testing time to make us and not to break us, to strengthen us from within and not to weaken or destroy us. We should face it with equanimity and not murmur, grumble or complain that the Lord is unfairly dealing with us. We may not know the purpose at the time but in due time, it will be known and we will thank the Lord even for the difficulties and challenges.

Praise, thanksgiving and prayer need to be offered up continually during good times. We should not go to the Lord only when we have difficulties as it will show we are time servers and opportunists. Our faithfulness is proved only when we are consistent in our prayer life at all times. During difficult times, we need to offer supplications, intercession with thanksgiving and praise. In short, we need to pray continually and the Lord will give us the grace to rejoice in hope and to endure in our troubles.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

True Liberty

UV 2130/10000 True Liberty
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5 v 1

True liberty is spiritual freedom that we get when we are set free by faith in Christ from the many bondages of sin, its consequences and death. If we do not sin, we shine. When we sin, we are taking away light or truth. When we obey the truth who is Christ, we are set free from sin and its consequences. We should therefore not return to a lifestyle of sin. We are set free from envying, anger, hatred, strife, drunkenness, sexual immorality and the like. We are also set free from the onerous requirements of the law of Moses- the many rules and regulations. We have one law now and it is the higher law, the ultimate commandment that of love and service.

We should no longer get entangled knowingly or unknowingly with the lusts of this world. These are the yoke of bondage that restricts us, limits us, entraps us. These bonds have been broken with the death and resurrection of the Messiah. The Messiah saved us from our mess. We should not therefore return to it. We should not return to the loveless legalism of the bondage of law- a thousand do’s and don’ts. The law is the veil that kept us from the Shekinah radiance of the Lord. That veil has been torn asunder from top to bottom indicating it is an act of God so that we can freely perceive the truth and freely obey it.
We are no longer to be led by the law but we are led by the Spirit of God. He guides us through the many dynamic scenarios, situations and choices in our lives. He enables us to enjoy the freedom we experience in the presence of the Lord. He illuminates our paths so we should know the next step we should take. We trust Him for our ultimate destination, that He would help or enable us to get there. We are not bogged down by restrictions and prohibitions, the shackles of the expectations of society but we take our stand on every issue in accordance with the revealed will of God as per His word. When we err, the Holy Spirit disciplines us, when we do the right thing, He encourages us.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Are We Tasteful?

UV 2129/10000 Are We Tasteful?
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psalm 34 v 8

The uni-verse pleads with us to taste of the Lord’s goodness. The only pre-condition to being able to taste of His goodness is our implicit trust in Him and faith in His word. We taste or experience the eternal goodness, grace, mercy and power of the Lord and discover that He is goodness personified. We derive all our blessings from our trust in His goodness and faithfulness. Yet do we ask ourselves whether we are tasteful to the Lord? His word is sweeter and healthier than milk and honey. Are our words sweet and healthy to His hearing? He is preoccupied with thinking about our well being and our benefits. How much of our thoughts, time and resources are devoted to such a One? We taste the precious promises of the Lord that gives us hope in all things. But do we keep the vows and promises we make to the Lord?

We who have partaken of the body and blood of Jesus- the sacred symbols- are we taking active steps to have our lives sanctified, our faith edified? The Lord looks for sweet and enduring fruit on the various branches of our lives? Only when these fruit appear in our lives, will He find us tasteful. Are we testing our love against the checklist Paul provided in I Corinthians chapter 13? Are we patient, kind, forgiving? Do we reflect the qualities of the Lord in that our faith, hope and patience never fail? Are we gentle and unhurtful in our speech and manners toward each other? Do we keep our commitments? Are we helping each other lift our burdens or lighten our burdens? For these are the attributes, attitudes and actions that will enhance the experience the Lord has of us even as we have experienced His goodness.

Are we joyful, cheerful and full of positivity and hope or are we murmuring and complaining about our lot? Are we contented with what the Lord has generously given us and not feel envious by comparison with the wages or blessings others have got? Are we enthusiastic about the word of God and imbibing as much as we can on a daily basis? Can the Lord trust us with greater responsibilities and gifts? The answers each of us honestly give to each of these questions will determine whether we are considered tasty by the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Authentication Process

UV 2128/10000 The Authentication Process
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good
I Thessalonians 5 v 21

The Lord is not shy of testing for proof. Everything that He has created is evidence of His greatness. That He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to save mankind is evidence of His love and mercy. That He is real in our lives is evidence. Our experience of His grace is evidence. Jesus allowed Thomas to place his fingers in his wounds to prove the authenticity of His resurrection. This uni-verse asks us not to accept anything by blind faith but to test or subject to the tests of proof if anything is good, acceptable and perfect. The Lord commends a rational approach to a person of faith so that faith is founded on facts and not superstitions or make believe. We are given ten thousand promises in scripture. We need to test and experience the truth of these promises in the course of our lifetime. We test it by beginning with trust, holding onto the promise, claiming it in prayer with thanksgiving and waiting with praise and patience for its fulfilment.

Once a promise or a principle is proved to be true, we need to hold onto it with persistence. We should not waver in our faith but believe that it holds good in all situations, through thick and thin, good times and bad times. We also need to test our relationships to see if it is God-approved. We need to test our own strengths in times of trials to see if we endure through it and come out the better for it. We need to test prophetic utterances to see if these are true and coming from the Lord. We can authenticate anything by testing it against the word which is the ultimate touchstone to prove the genuineness or otherwise of anything.

Testimony is the result of testing. Our faith is increased through testimony. A person who is mature in faith is tested in the kind of fruit of the spirit that is in evidence in his character, temperament and conduct. Is he gentle in his speech? Is he kind to all in his actions? Is he loving and consistent in his love ? Is he joyful in all circumstances ? Is he peaceful and patient ? Is he faithful to what he believes and professes? Is he humble in his attitudes and deportment? Does he exercise self control over his passions and desires? These questions are the tests of a fruitful faith.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 20, 2016

From Where Comes Maturity and Wisdom

UV 2127/10000 From Where Comes Maturity and Wisdom
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil
Hebrews 5 v 14

Children are innocent, naïve, prone to error and they cannot easily distinguish between what is good and what is harmful. It requires years of patient upbringing by parents, teaching by teachers and training by mentors before they develop the discernment to distinguish between good and evil. Their bodies initially are not fully developed as infants. Their immunity is not high and they are easily prone to disease. Their diet consists chiefly of milk as they do not have strong teeth to chew. But as they grow older, they are given more solid food or meat so that they develop strong bones and muscular mass. They mature over time and are strong physically, intellectually and emotionally. Spiritual growth is similar. Initially, we are fed or taught only the elementary truths. But as we grow older spiritually, we need to move to more solid food or spiritual meat. Meditation is the equivalent of chewing. Practicing what is learnt from study and meditation is the equivalent of exercising. We need to meditate deeply on scripture which is milk for the young believer and meat for the old. The study and meditation as well as application of scripture in terms of practical principles of life will develop in us the spirit of discernment or the ability to discern good and evil. Such discernment will enable us to make the right choices in our lives, keep us from the pitfalls that befall the immature and undiscerning. The development of permanent and strong teeth and the development of strong bones, muscle mass and limbs are the equivalent in spiritual terms of developing effective tools and skills in understanding and applying scripture.

Scripture needs to be learnt and applied in such a way that it informs, educates and refines all our senses. Solid food will strengthen our frame and enable us to discern the will of God in a given situation. If knowledge of God is a candle, wisdom is the flame. We need to fan it into full flame. Scripture is useful for training in righteousness as it sets forth the eternal principles of integrity illustrated with models of good examples who reaped the rewards of complying with these principles and models of bad examples who reaped the pain and punishment of disobeying or disregarding these principles and precepts. Though we learn lifelong, we are not to be permanent learners or beginners. Our understanding or our skills in analysing scripture needs to keep increasing and improving. It should also be reflected in changes in our A, B and C or attitudes, behaviour and character. Our faith needs to be perfected or strengthened and made complete in all aspects.

Spiritual maturity will enable us to rely on the wisdom and revelation of the Holy Spirit rather than our own deceptive senses. We will not pander to the lusts of our own flesh. We will test all things to prove if it is truly good and not go by mere hearsay or appearances. We will learn to master the use of our tongues as we submit our tongues to the control of the Holy Spirit such that we do not speak a single unintended or wasteful word that might provoke strife or anger or distress. St James upheld the example of a person who has mastered his tongue as one who is perfect and able to control his whole body. Jesus exhorted us to aim to be perfect or strong like the Father and set an example for us in all things of how to be wise, mature, patient, strong and perfect. We might still make mistakes but it will not be the kind of mistakes we made as infants or children.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Challenge Zone

UV 2126/10000 The Challenge Zone
If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

Jeremiah 12 v 5

The Lord does not want us to remain within our comfort zone. He desires that we live in the challenge zone where our faith, our inner strength, our spirit are tested. He places many obstacles and Jordans in our paths so that our faith in Him is not only tested but each time we overcome or have a breakthrough, it is further strengthened. He does not want us to be complacent and idle. But we need to utilise all our abilities, all our resources, all our talents for the greater glory of God.

Our strength is tested only in adversity. The depth and resilience of people is made evident only when they face storms. All Job’s wealth, children, lands, cattle were taken away to prove the genuineness of faith. Adversity is a fire that removes the dross or impurities in our faith and makes us come forth as pure gold. The essence of all great testimonies is not about how they prospered but how they faced, endured and overcame great trials and tribulations with the help of the Lord. We should therefore not complain or murmur when we confront problems or challenges in our lives. We need to hold onto our hope that the Lord will see us through it safely.

We need to contest with forces much more powerful than us. We may be facing strife around us but we should hold on to the peace of Jesus within us. As we strive in the challenge zone, the Holy Spirit will comfort us from within and egg us on from without. He is the great enabler, the empowerer and will supply us all the energy, the strength, the resources we need to contend with the mighty and yet emerge victorious. The eaglet loves to stay in its nest, provided for by its mother but the mother eagle nudges initially and then forcefully pushes the reluctant eaglet from the nest to cause it to fall from the nest high up on a tree or a cliff. It does so not to harm the eaglet but to give it the feeling of the fall, the sense of fear, the desire and stimulus to attempt to flap its wings and fly. The mother eagle will break the fall and catch the eaglet before it hits the hard ground but will again persuade the eaglet to try to fly. So also the Lord trains us to run with horses, soar with eagles and roar with the lions.

Prateep V Philip

The Father's Love

UV 2125/10000 The Father’s Love
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Psalm 63 v 3
David had tasted the love and kindness of the Lord from his youth. He discovered that all the things he enjoyed daily as well as the big breaks he got in life came by the grace of the Lord and not due to his own innate abilities or talents or prowess. He therefore committed his life to make it an elaborate and lifelong praise of the Lord. The result is the psalms or songs of praise he penned, sang, played on his harp and danced to. He found a song to praise and thank the Lord both in his good times and in his bad times.
The usage “lovingkindness” is unique to scripture. It implies that God’s love travels from love to kindness, love at all times and kindness when we err, mess up or need correction and forgiveness. His love does not indulge us but it aims to prune us, make us faithful and fruitful. Life without experiencing God’s love is pointless and purposeless. His love not only sustains, protects, preserves, promotes but also surrounds and hems us in. His love transforms our lives. His love sets us free. A life without His love is hopeless. Without His love, we are like dry and parched land where no trees, plants or crops can grow.
All the qualities we seek in others and in ourselves which are noble, excellent, praiseworthy, great and gracious are found in His love. Praise and worship are an automatic reflex action of our hearts, minds, lips and hands as we understand, appreciate and experience His love and kindness. We can praise the Lord not only with our lips but with our actions, our work, our habits, our relationships. The ultimate test and price of the love of God was sending His Son Jesus at a point in time to the earth to communicate that love and redeem all mankind. It is His grace and mercy that He redeems us merely on the basis of our faith in the redeeming work or mission of Jesus.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Day Star and the Moon

UV 2125/10000 The Morning Star
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised
Psalm 113 v 3

The clock-work precision with which the sun rises in the morning even as the moon sets reveals the truth of the verse in the book of Genesis which says that the Lord has set the sun to rule over the day and the moon over the night. The sun is a symbol of Jesus, the Son of Righteousness who rose like the sun on the earth at the time of His birth, His birthplace marked by a remarkable star. Jesus is also called the Day Star or the Morning Star. Each of us is like the moon which shines in the reflected glory of the sun. Like the moon, we have no light of our own but we shine with the reflected righteousness of Jesus. Left to ourselves, like the moon, our lives are ugly and full of craters or faults and failures but we are glorious and beautiful as we reflect the light of Jesus.

Like the moon which is just a satellite of the earth, yet it shines brighter than all the planets and all the infinite number of stars in the heavens, we too outshine in the Lord’s perspective the great number of stars of this world in different realms and spheres. Our lives on earth are like the night, the time spent for the Daystar to rise in all His glory again. Meanwhile, we are to rule the world like the moon does the night in spiritual terms in shedding light of the truth for others to see, taste and experience. Every moment the moon, though it seems to be at rest, is in motion and is moving degree by degree around the earth. Similarly, our lives are dynamic even when we appear to be still in prayer and meditation.

Every day is an opportunity to acknowledge and know better the light of Jesus. During the day, the moon moves into the background and remains invisible and unseen. We too need to wax like the moon for the glory of God every month and wane or fade into the background in the presence of His ineffable glory. In everything we think, speak and do we need to adore, admire, emulate and worship the Lord from the time we wake up till we go to bed at night. At different times of the day, we need to meditate, think and thank the Lord for the different gracious dimensions of His many titles of grace towards us – Jireh when our needs are being met during the day, Nisi as we experience victory in circumstances and against foes, El Shaddai as we experience His power and sovereignty, Rapha as we experience health and healing, Shalom as He gives us wholesome success, prosperity and peace. Like the moon, we are held in place by the gravitational pull of the sun and the earth. Similarly, the pull or attraction of the Lord towards Him against the attraction and temptations of the world is what keeps us in a constant orbit.

Prateep V Philip

Understanding Love in Management Terms

UV 2124/10000 Understanding Love in Management Terms
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
John 13 v 34

Virtually, every decision and action we take is based on a balancing of “ cost to me against benefit to me.” The meaning of the new summary commandment Jesus gave that in effect contains and fulfils all the requirements of the Mosaic ten is that when we love others as we love ourselves, we would further balance cost to me versus benefit to me with “cost to others and benefits to others.” The first summary commandment of Jesus, “ Love God with all our hearts” implies weighing “cost to me” against “cost to God” and “benefits to me” against “benefits to God.” Together these two summary commandments met all the requirements of the Ten Commandments. For considerations of “cost to me” along with “cost to others” would prevent one effectively from lying, coveting another’s, robbing, murdering or hurting others in any way. Considerations of “benefits to me” and “benefits to others”, would keep one from acting or doing evil or from disobeying the Lord. It would also keep one on the path of consistently doing good to others and not just desist from doing harm to others.

Jesus also said, “ Love others as I have loved you.” This implies that in all our thoughts, words, actions, reactions, decisions, we should aim to match the highest standards of Jesus. He was prepared and did pay the highest cost to Himself in order to benefit to the greatest extent the others who believed and followed Him. It means that we should serve others the way Jesus served His followers. It is leadership for service or servant leadership. In this model of leadership, no gains are sought for oneself while there is a preparedness to pay any cost.
It is not as if we do a cost-benefit analysis every time we say or do anything but the attitude to consider the interests of others, to lift the burdens or alleviate their suffering while not in anyway contributing to it underlies everything we do. Even the most altruistic human act has an element of self interest in it. It requires an understanding, appreciation and experience of the agape or unconditional love of God in Christ to shift from merely loving others as we love ourselves to loving others as Christ loved us- a willingness to pay the entire cost without reciprocation or expectation of return.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gradual but All Round Transformation

UV 2123/10000 Gradual but All Round Transformation
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3 v 18

Moses had to veil his face to hide the radiance that came from having spent time in the shekinah glory of the presence of God. But today every believer in Jesus and the gospel of hope can spend time in the presence of the Lord with his face unveiled. As we spend time in His presence we are changed from within our inmost being a little by little or degree by degree. In proportion to the time we spend in prayer, worship, fellowship, study and meditation of the Word, application of what the Spirit has taught us from the Word and faithful witness to the things the Lord has done in our lives, the process is speeded up. The light of the Lord has to shine in our lives. The blinkers on our vision have to fall away. We need to see the image of the Lord constantly and as we see the image of Christ, we are being moulded by the Spirit to conform to that image of peace, love, grace, mercy, strength, gentleness and wisdom.

Our transformation then does not happen overnight but it is a lifelong process. All that binds us and blinds us has to be removed. We need to take a good look in our spiritual mirror – the Word and seeing what is missing in our lives, take steps to attain that and seeing that which should not be part of our lives, we need to get rid of it. We no longer live to pander to the cravings and desires of our flesh but to feed the spirit and live the spiritual but holistic life. To be spiritual does not mean that we live a cloistered life cut off from others. It does not mean that we wear any masks or veils but we live an open life. We are open to correction and change by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our transformation though gradual is comprehensive , deep and lasting. Sometimes, the Lord takes us through painful experiences before we develop the will and momentum to change in a particular area of our lives. We increasingly de-weed in the flesh and sow in the spirit. As we sow in the spirit, we will also reap or harness many spiritual benefits.
Transformation implies that Jesus should increase in our lives and we should decrease. This further means that we need to give up our pride and egos. As we meditate and emulate the surpassing love of Christ, we grow in our spiritual nature and stature. Our reliance on our own opinions needs to give way to the teachings of Jesus. Our sensitivity to the move of the Holy Spirit will increase and we will find ourselves listening more intently to the whisper and promptings of the spirit. Our hamartia or sinful nature or shortcomings due to the lustful drives of our flesh will be increasingly replaced by the desire to imitate the greatness of Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Process of Holistic Building

UV 2122/10000 The Process of Holistic Building
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Jude 1 v 20

After dedication comes edification or building. Faith is the foundation on which we need to build. Faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in the work of the Holy Spirit. Character and good works are to follow to complete or perfect our faith. Hope is born out of faith in our future and our eternal glory. The Word is the master plan to build our lives on faith. To faith in God we need to add faith in self and to faith in self, faith in other believers and in others. To such faith, we need to add love, the agape of love of God. To love of God, we need to add love of self and love of other believers and all others inclusive of our enemies. Then, we need to add hope to our lives, hope in God, hope in Christ, hope in self, hope in others, hope in every situation. Every day in everything we learn and practice, we are adding a brick or a layer of bricks on the foundation of faith.

To hope we need to add patience or the grace to endure all trials and troubles. We need to add patience to wait for the pleasing will of God to be revealed and done. To that we need to add patience with ourselves, patience with other believers and patience with all others. To patience, we need to add kindness or compassion – the desire to make a difference to the lives of others, to lighten the burden of others, to share the agape love of Christ with others without expectation of any return. To kindness, we need to add a column of self control- allowing the Holy Spirit to control, guide and lead our minds, regulate our passions, control our tongues, our appetites, our every organ and desire. To kindness, we need to add humility- humbling ourselves before God and others, considering others better than us, more entitled than us to whatever we are seeking, submitting ourselves to the will of the Lord, regarding the interests of others as important as ours. To top it all, we add joy- the feeling of pleasure at being in the presence of God, in the centre of His will for our lives and doing His pleasing will. All these brick layers and columns are not done sequentially but often happens simultaneously. But we need to evaluate, decide and chose one brick at a time to build, or one thought, one word, one decision, one action or reaction at a time.

We cannot do all this building on our own. We need the help of a Master Builder- the Holy Spirit who knows the roadmap and the blueprint. We need to breathe in His power, grace and wisdom and to follow His lead. Our spirit needs to be of one accord with the Holy Spirit. He knows us from the inside out and He will shape us from the innermost being to be strengthened, built up and rooted in the foundation of faith as we increasingly yield to Him. As we are being built up in the spirit, we should not neglect the mind and the body, for the body is the temple, the residence, the mind is the living room of the Lord, our heart His sanctum sanctorum, the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place. We are to build to outlast time.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 13, 2016

One Hundred Per Cent Commitment

UV 2121/10000 One Hundred Per Cent Commitment
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29 v 13
This uni-verse is a remarkable promise that if we seek the Lord with all our heart, we shall surely find Him. We seek Him with all our heart when we acknowledge Him in everything we do. We seek Him with all our heart when we value His word, study it diligently, meditate on it and persistently obey His precepts and laws of life. We seek Him with all our souls when we apply our minds to understanding the inner and hidden meaning of the word of God. The word influences our thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions. In other words, the Lord controls our heads, hearts and hands. The choice we have is 100 per cent or nil. The Lord will accept nothing less than hundred per cent commitment of our hearts. The tiny seed of faith can only grow into a mighty tree inside such a heart. It can be fruitful only inside such a heart.

We cannot accidentally or fortuitously chance upon the Lord. It requires intentional seeking. It requires seeking with an all out commitment. We are ready to use all of our time, all of our energy, all of our resources, all of our faculties to find the Lord. When the Lord sees this kind of total commitment of our hearts, He choses to reveal Himself. Like He revealed Himself to Elijah, He does not reveal Himself with mighty manifestations of His power but in gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit. He will reveal His thoughts towards us, thoughts of peace, love and mercy.

Our quest for the Lord needs to be persistent and passionate. Whenever Jesus saw zeal in reaching Him for a particular need like the woman who needed healing and pressed forward through the crowd to touch the hem of His cloak, or when He saw enthusiasm in someone trying to see and listen to Him as in the case of Zaccheus or the extent of faith He saw in the centurion who sought healing for his servant, Jesus revealed His own heart to such persons. The reason the Lord wants a total commitment of our hearts is that He Himself has reserved nothing in His own heart towards humans but poured out His own heart in full for the restoration of man. Faith requires reciprocation in like manner as the love the Father has revealed unto us.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Go For the Genuinely Good

UV 2120/10000 Go for the Genuinely Good
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat
Genesis 3 v 6

The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings in more ways than one. It is not just the account of how all things were brought into being and how all creatures including man and woman were created but it records the beginning of the three primal lusts: lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and pride of life to which are attributed all sins. The tree appearing to be good for food is the beginning of the lust of the flesh. That it was pleasant for the eyes is the genesis of the lust of the eye and the desire to become wise is the pride of life. These primal lusts began to operate in every generation, so much so in the very next generation, the pride of life causes Cain to slay his blameless brother Abel.
The love of money is related to all three primal lusts: the illusion that money could get one anything one wanted, anyone one wanted and any position one desires drives the desire to accumulate more and more. This is the reason scripture calls the love of money the root of all evil. Again, false beliefs are related to all three primal lusts. It is not as if the tree or its forbidden fruit was genuinely good or genuinely pleasant or something that would genuinely make one wise. It led to the fall of man and the descent into sin by all subsequent generations. It brought eternal death instead of eternal life. The knowledge of good and evil was not the knowledge of God but of the demons. This is the reason that something intrinsically evil can masquerade as something good. It is the secret behind anything counterfeit, be it currency or precious stones or people. It would look 99 per cent genuine but the one per cent difference if spotted in time would prevent much loss and harm. We need to develop this ability to spot the genuine and distinguish it from the counterfeit.

Deception was the main modus operandi of the enemy. Things are made to appear as good and genuine to lure us into it, to ensnare us. This uni-verse should prod us into looking deeply at everything and to not chose anything till it is proved to be genuinely good. It is not as if there were no genuinely good options available to Adam and Eve in the garden but the enemy saw the desire in their hearts to be god-like. Both Adam and Jesus proved the power of one. One man can lead all humanity into a free fall into sin and shame while one man can also lead all humanity to salvation and eternal life and glory. God’s desire today is that we be genuinely Christ-like and He will give us what is genuinely not deceptively good. He proved Himself genuine by yielding to a painful death on the cross but resurrecting Himself on the third day. He proved Himself genuine by His words and His deeds.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Purpose of Suffering

UV 2119/10000 The Purpose of Suffering
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23 v 4

David was affirming his faith in his Lord and God in the face of adversity. Death casts its foreshadow on life with sickness, injury, accidents, crimes, assaults, losses, failures, disappointments, regrets. The reason a loving God allows the alternation of the green pastures of pleasure and comfort to alternate with the valleys of suffering and pain is to test the consistency of our faith in good times and bad times. Life is like a chequer board of alternating squares of white and black. When we are on the white, we ought to prepare for the black and while we are on the black, prepare for the white.

Yet another reason the Lord allows suffering to overtake His beloved is to prove the reality of His love, power, grace, healing, deliverance, help, guidance, word and wisdom. As humans we tend to learn more from our seasons of suffering than from our seasons of enjoyment. Pain is often a more effective teacher of the lessons of life than pleasure and leisure. The challenges of life prompt us to draw closer and closer to the Lord. His presence is the greatest source of comfort and strength. When we are overshadowed by His presence, all troubles and sorrows tend to flee. We are restored to our erstwhile joy despite the loss, the suffering, the pain, the deprivation, the failure, the disappointment.

Human suffering is often a rod of correction of certain flaws in our character or nature. It is also a staff of protection from even greater harm. It warns us of greater dangers and disciplines us before it is too late. We do not approach the Lord out of fear that we will be beset with greater evil if we do not do so but out of trust that He knows what is happening in our lives and He will see us through. He will be with us through the thick and thin of it. Even though we walk through the river, He will not let it drown us. Even though we walk through the flames of a furnace, it will not harm us. Yes, we will face afflictions but these afflictions will turn out for our good from a longer term and eternal perspective. We should neither resent nor resist it. If our faith is not strong or complete, we would be bewildered and frustrated in the short term. This is when we hold onto our eternal hope that we will overcome the shadow of death even as Jesus did. Even the worst scenario can only cast a shadow on us for the presence of the Lord, His word and the hope we have in Christ will comfort us while it lasts and restore us after the storm is past.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Esteeming Others

UV 2118/10000 Esteeming Others
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves
Philippians 2 v 3

Our motives behind deeds and words are the root cause of conflict. We should do nothing out of envy, vanity, pride as it will provoke strife. When we submit ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, we become true gentle persons. We will not act with carnal wisdom to get ahead of others but wait for the Lord to lift us up as per His will. Jealousy caused Cain to commit the first crime in all of history- fratricide. Today, a fratricidal war is being fought in the Middle East. The rivalry between the world’s powers to dominate certain regions or nations leads to wars and threats of global war. Feelings of racial superiority leads to the growth of strife and oppression of minorities. This uni-verse exhorts us to respect the differences, even celebrate it without compromising on our basic beliefs and convictions about practices and lifestyle choices that are forbidden or to be discouraged.

The solution is to consider others better than ourselves and not engage in such rivalry and conflicts. We need to be careful not to develop a contentious attitude and submit to one another. We should think not only of what we would gain or lose in a particular transaction but think also of the interests of others. This is what is called a win-win relationship or partnership. Even among so called spiritual leaders and believers, we witness an unholy jealousy. Not many are willing to concede primacy of anointing or gifts or contribution to others. There is a constant jostling for claiming credit and to pass on blame in organisations everywhere. The Lord always esteems people who humble themselves. He spoke of Moses as one who is the humblest on the earth. He esteemed Daniel from the day the latter humbled himself before God. Anything that people say or do to such persons, the Lord takes personally.
Our attitude or mind should be that of Jesus for He chose to wash His disciples’ feet. We need to develop the mind set of a servant. The serpent leader tries to dominate. He is aggressive, vain, proud and arrogant. The serpent leader tries to serve and to submit. He is humble, modest, gentle, kind and focussed on serving and contributing to the greater good of people who are his constituents, colleagues, juniors and the greater glory of God. Everything we say and do is a reflection of our inner being or attitudes. Hence, we should always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to regularly audit and prune to make us more fruitful internally. It is natural for our sinful selves to try to get ahead of others, to be competitive, to stamp on the toes of others while trying to get ahead. But the word and the Spirit will admonish and correct us as we submit ourselves for such transformation.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Silence of Critics

UV 2017/10000
The Silence of Critics
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
I Peter 2 v 15
The alternative to living in accordance with the will of God is to live in subjection to the lusts of the flesh. If we live in accordance with the master plan of the Lord, we would be living well and keep ourselves from the misery caused by serving the lusts. God’s will is for us to do well, to live well. This is the reason He chided Cain saying, “ You could have done well like your brother Abel.” Cain had an equal opportunity to do good but his attitudes led him into a downward spiral. Like any parent the Lord wants His children to do well, to excel. In order to do well, we need to be whole-hearted in our commitment and our desire to serve the Lord. It is ignorance and folly that leads people into doing evil, to pander to the whims and vices of the flesh. Scripture says that they are wise enough to do evil but not knowledgeable enough to do good. But when we claim we know the Lord personally, the source and author of all goodness in heaven and on earth, we ought to aim to be like Him, to excel in all that we do, to do good, to exhibit wisdom and knowledge from every pore of our being.
The good that we do is evidence of our faith in a good God. Even those who oppose us or are hostile to us would see it and have a glimpse of the absolute goodness of the Lord. Faith is the horse driving ahead while our good works are the cart that follows once we are saved by faith and grace. Good works are the fruit while faith is the good root of salvation. The Holy Spirit tends the tender root with the water of the spirit of anointing and the insight into the word. Like a tree has many branches, we should aim to do good in a variety of ways, at home, in our workplace, in the streets, with friends as well as strangers. We need to do good without expectation of quid pro quo or a return on our efforts. We do not do it to gain a good reputation among our peers or society. When we do well, we give an effective answer to those who question our faith. We silence our critics through the unchallenged logic and eloquence of a life lived well.

The good Samaritan faith in the oneness of God and of all mankind without regard to race or nationality or colour or religion led him to be different from the other travellers on the road on seeing the plight of the injured man. Our faith generates a strong desire in us to align ourselves with the implicit and specific will of the Lord in our lives. We do not do good deeds to earn brownie points with the Lord for if such was our motivation to earn favour in His eyes on the ground of our works, it would seem like “dirty rags”. It is a natural outflow of the supernatural goodness or love of God or agape that we have tasted or experienced. It is a reciprocation and transmission of that goodness or light.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 7, 2016

Making Life Snare-Proof

UV 2116/10000 Making Life Snare-Proof
Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalm 25 v 15

Our eyes should be focussed on the locus of life- the Lord. If all our attention is riveted on Him, He will direct our energy, our thoughts, our lives. He will keep our feet from the snares planted for us by the enemy of our souls. Sometimes, He warns us ahead of time and despite His warnings, we plunge into the nets of the wicked one. The Lord then employs His strength to reach out and extricate us. The enemy lays different types of snares or traps for us at different points in our lives. Often, He stimulates wicked people to ensnare people even in the form of a set of bad friends. They pick up their habits of drinking or smoking or doing drugs.

The enemy targets our peace of mind, our health, our children, our reputation, our testimony, our relationships, our finances, our decisions. But as we trust the Lord and take shelter in His presence from day to day and even moment to moment, He keeps us vigilant and alert. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit residing in us as He tells us to take this path or not to take that path. We should be aware of our vulnerabilities and constantly seek the help and protective cover of the Lord. For our physical and spiritual protection, the Lord is ever ready to send His angels to guard our feet. As we focus on Him, He increases our inner strength and wisdom. We learn to make the right choices in life for very often our wrong choices cause a lot of misery and anxiety in our lives.

Developing a habit of praying all the time or unceasingly is a powerful practice that keeps our focus always on the Lord. We are aware of His presence near us all the time. We do not depend on our own understanding but lean on Him for wisdom. Spending some time every single day studying the word and the rest of the day trying to apply it is another powerful godly habit that keeps us from the viles and snares of the enemy and of this world. Another snare that the enemy uses universally to bring down leaders is excessive wealth and money. They take their focus off the Lord and their wealth becomes the source of their security and comfort.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Being a God Pleaser

UV 2115/10000 Being A God Pleaser
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ
Galatians 1 v 10

Paul writes with a touch of sardonism that if you want to be popular with people, the best way to do it is not by becoming a servant of Jesus. He is underlining the need for leaders to be God pleasers and not man-pleasers. Often, the stand one takes could offend many people and even turn them quite hostile and openly inimical. Speaking the truth has never been popular. People like to hear what they are itching to hear. But teachers of the word have a duty to teach what is on God’s heart. It is intended not to make people cheerful or comfortable or proud but it is intended to convict and create change for the better.
Paul repeatedly states in his epistles that he received the gospel and the commission to teach or share it with all nations not from people but from the Lord Himself. He remained ever faithful to what was entrusted to him, never compromising on the tenor or tone or content of communicating the whole truth of the gospel to diverse audiences, some who were faithful, some who were hostile, some who were prosecuting and judging him. He was often flogged, imprisoned, tried and eventually sentenced to death. But the fear of man or pain or punishment by the antagonists or people in authority did not deter or discourage him.
The Lord tries our hearts or our attitudes to check our faith, its integrity and stability in difficult and different circumstances. He is most pleased when we are bold, fearless but not necessarily tactless or unwise in the way we communicate. We need to communicate the truth with grace in all circumstances even as Paul addressed the kings and rulers of the day with utmost respect and regard. He did not rely on the power of persuasion or eloquence or human wisdom or guile to win people to Christ but by the power of the Holy Spirit. He did not think himself either superior or inferior to the other apostles though he was more gifted and came to Christ with vast scholarship and knowledge. He did not allow the guilt of having persecuted the early believers and oppressed them ruthlessly in his great but misguided zeal. He was as single minded now in the spread of the gospel as he was earlier in impeding it, in preventing it from influencing more people. He had counted the cost of discipleship and was ever willing to pay the price upfront.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Eternal Stars

UV 1214/10000 Eternal Stars
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever
Daniel 12 v 3

The book of Proverbs states that he who wins souls for the kingdom of God is wise. They shall bright as stars in an otherwise dark sky. They are the ones who understand the message of Jesus and conveys it without addition or distortion to others. These are the ones who are considered leaders and teachers by the Lord. They train and mentor many in righteousness. The choice we have in life is to be either a black hole of self absorption or a lodestar of illumination, influence and righteousness. Paul mentored Timothy as a leader and prepared him to teach by asking him to accompany him on his many travels. He also detailed letters of instruction and explanation of teaching to Timothy.

A teacher should have a storehouse of stories and parables to illustrate his sayings so that people can easily understand and relate to the truth. The stories of Jesus made people, even the unlearnt and illiterate, learned and wise. It made them para-able or above the levels of natural ability. A leader should have the qualities of ability as well as stability. But when we become godly leaders, we will have ability and stability far above the natural. Being a carrier of the good news of what God has done for each and every human being so that he or she does not need to live in eternal shame but in everlasting honour and clothed with the greatness of the kingdom of God is a privilege and an honour. It puts one on the trajectory of moving out of our ordinary humdrum mortal and vain existence to being a harbinger of hope, healing, comfort and deliverance to many seekers of God and righteousness. It puts one in the trajectory of being a star for God- the stars individually and collectively reflect the glory of God. No human craft can ever take us to anywhere near even the closest star- the Sun. Yet following the teachings of Jesus places us in the orbit of a star that emits light for millennia, that radiates the power, majesty, glory and grace of the Creator.

Even the greatest of men and women die and are soon forgotten by even their closest followers. But this uni-verse promises greatness forever to those who are faithful teachers of the truth. We enter into a realm or state where there is no more death, no more tears, no more fears, no more pain, no more shame. The Word lays out the tracks of our orbits. We only need to teach others the details of these tracks while following these ourselves. Daniel is today more revered and respected and remembered than any of the great kings of Babylon under whom he served. Though he was just an exile and a slave, the Lord raised him up as a star, a prophet, a priest, a spiritual king for all the generations of believers since his time.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Sacrifice of the Bad Parts

UV 2113/10000 The Sacrifice of the Bad Parts
And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering;

Leviticus 9 v 3

Under the old order or the old covenant, the people of Israel was required to sacrifice a blemishless animal, remove its bad or unclean parts and offer its meat as a penance or atoning for sin. In the new order ushered in with the ultimate sacrifice that abolished all animal sacrifices, fulfilled the requirement of every type of sin of every person who believed or received Jesus, all members of humanity are required not to offer the good parts of animals as a sacrifice but to present themselves as a living sacrifice. To be a living sacrifice, we need to put to death the bad parts of our lives, the bad habits, the bad attitudes, the bad words, the bad decisions, the bad thoughts and actions. We need to sacrifice the negative continually and enjoy, enable, empower the good, the positive aspects of our lives.

Jesus the blemishless Lamb of God and Lamb sent from God is the final offering of the good, the absolutely good to satisfy the requirements of the law. We are no longer under the shadow of legal requirements to gain acceptability or favour with God. We are under the shadow of grace. We are liberated from the many legalistic demands and empowered to sacrifice all that offends the Lord, to give up, to put to death, to overcome the negative aspects of our lives. This frees us physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually to live fully and joyfully. No longer do we have to don the sackcloth of mourning to accompany the act of sacrifice. No more is a season or a time set apart for sacrifice but it is a daily dying to our worse off selves and living in full to the call of our better selves. In other words, living sacrificially implies that we continually disable our sinful selves and enable, empower, equip, enjoy our redeemed selves.

A life of grace then is one of continually giving up certain things and a continual gaining of the noble, the wholesome, the blessed, the worthy, the God-honouring parts. The breaking down process should be concurrently running along with the building up process. It is a constant movement towards perfection, towards completion, towards fulfilment. Everything we attempt and do is for His glory and by His grace. Every part of our lives needs constant cleansing, constant purification and refinement. Sacrifice is no longer an act but a process, a lifelong process without interruption. It is self initiated and sustained by the indwelling fire of the Holy Spirit. It is extremely pleasing to the Lord and shows that we are not taking our salvation or His sacrifice lightly or for granted.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Perspective On Riches

UV 2112/10000 A Perspective on Riches
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
I Timothy 6 v 17

This uni-verse warns those who are wealthy not to think themselves superior to others. Neither are they to place their trust in their wealth as the riches of this world are uncertain in how long these will last and how it will end. Instead, our trust ought to be in the living God who supplies all our need- spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, physical – according to His abundant generousity and grace. This scripture warns us of the dangers of our shifting our faith from the presence of God to His presents. The love of riches can ensnare our hearts and keep us from growing in faith and in the fruit of the spirit. We begin to think that riches of this world insure us against bad times. It can purchase us whatever we require for our advancement. Our reliance on the grace of the Lord reduces to the point we cease to trust God in our lives.

Our focus should not be on the blessings the Lord has given us but on the Giver. Many men and women of God who in their early life trusted the Lord begin to unknowingly place their entire confidence in their stature, their connections, their possessions as they are inevitably blessed over time. This lead to a sense of pride if not arrogance and accompanying errors, follies and wilful acts that spoil their testimonies and their relationship with God and people. Their dependence on the Lord will correspondingly come down. The Lord gives us all things richly so that we enjoy them but He does not want us to give priority in our lives to these things.

There is much wisdom in the prayer mentioned in the book of Proverbs, “Lord, do not make me so rich that I forget you and do not need you. Do not make me so poor that I curse my life. “ The golden mean is finding our sufficiency in the Lord, to be contented with whatever He has given us. We do not have to stretch out our hands to others in our need. At the same time, we have enough to extend help to others after meeting our own need.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Our God View

UV 2111/10000 God View
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he
Deuteronomy 32 v 4

Our God view or our image of who God truly is has a powerful shaping effect on our minds and lives. Moses had discovered who God is through his amazing encounters with Jehovah on Mount Sinai, during his mission to free the Jews from slavery in Egypt and during their long sojourn to the promised land through the desert and wilderness and the sea. He affirmed that God is the Rock or the source of all strength, that He is stable and able, that all His work is perfect, that all His ways are just. He declared God to be One who cherishes truth, who is without any trace of falsehood or untruth or unrighteousness.
Our world view is subordinated to our God view. From our experiences so far, what is our view of God. Is He absolutely just and fair? Is He absolutely faithful and does He keep His word every time? Is He our source of strength, comfort, wisdom, guidance and security? Having discovered and declared who God is to us, we need to build our lives in such a way to conform to the character and principles He teaches us. We need to aim to be rock-like in our faith, excellent in our work, just and fair in all our ways. We should not be swayed by our emotions or by opinions of others. Even as our goals and aims keep changing from time to time, our values need to be anchored deeply in what we have learnt to be the very character of God.
Our decision making should not be governed by only our desires but by our commitment to always use legitimate and ethical means. We are called or challenged by the example of Moses to think not just long term but think in terms of the eternal. Moses’s God view enabled him to stay humble despite the amazing experiences he went through and the awesome power of God revealed through him. Our God view teaches us to stay humble even as we partner with Him to achieve the miraculous, the awesome and the impossible. This uni-verse is part of the song of Moses that the Holy Spirit inspired him to compose and sing though he was not known to be a musician or singer like David. The Lord promises to put a song in our hearts as we live in accordance with our God view.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Life as the Promised Land

UV 2110/10000 Life as the Promised Land
For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills
Deuteronomy 8 v 7
The Lord likens our lives to a good land, full of brooks of water, of fountains, of valleys and hills. Our lives are bound to be full of ups and downs, problems, challenges, victories, solutions, answers. We will find fountains of joy and peace whether we are in the valleys or on the hills and mountains of our lives if we depend on the Lord to bring us into the good land. He allows mountains and hills or difficult times in our lives so that we will discover the depth of our faith and the height of His love extended to us. We will rejoice like a fountain as we experience His grace and wisdom in our valley moments. The word is the GPS that leads us to and through the good land. Obviously, without a sense of direction we would end up in the bad lands – spiritual deserts without hope, peace, love or joy.

The brooks of water from heaven that nourish our faith are the inspiration we receive from the Word and from the Lord. Rivers of life-giving water spring forth from our hearts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. These attributes of the Lord are poured into our lives in the midst of our hills and valleys, our successes and failures, our victories and defeats, our troubles and pleasures. These spiritual streams quench our thirst for meaning, purpose, power and grace. We will physically thirst again but spiritually we will never thirst again as we find all our answers in Jesus and the word.

Apart from the supernatural internal sources of refreshment and renewal from the Holy Spirit, we receive the rain of the water of heaven- the blessings of living a faithful life, trusting Jesus at all times, in good times and bad times, in easy, leisure- filled seasons and in difficult and stressful seasons. The uni-verse states that “ the Lord brings”, implying that many of the things that happen in our lives, our circumstances are not of our own choosing. It might not even appear to be remotely good but we need to trust the Lord that eventually He will bring us into the good land He has promised us.

Prateep V Philip