Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Two Level Meditation

UV 2189/10000 Two Level Meditation
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalm 19 v 14

A supercomputer even working for a million years cannot write a meditation on a single verse. Meditation is the unique capacity and gift of mankind. Meditation is medicine for the whole being of man- spirit, mind and body. As a testimony, I can tell you that in the seven plus years I have been writing the uni-verse series of meditations day after day, I have not fallen even slightly ill in all these days, weeks, months and years. Our souls have been created in order to meditate on the words of God. When we meditate, we fulfil the purpose of our lives. We cease all other thought, all other communication, all other activities and concerns in order to focus on the Lord and what He says in His word. Meditation on His word releases its goodness as food, medicine , a means of strength, a weapon of power and a source of redemption and blessing in our lives. The essence of life is contained in the word itself –Love, Integrity, Faith, Excellence. Meditation will equip us in each of these four aspects. When we fill our hearts with His word, saturate our thoughts with it, it will overflow into our mouth and make our communication wholesome and beneficial to ourselves and others. Meditation is the virtual process that transforms us from being mere hearers into doers.

Meditation is a two level process. Meditation is a lot similar to the way we use our mouth and teeth to bite into food and break it into tiny pieces that can be swallowed, digested in the stomach. The first part of the digestion begins in the mouth itself when food particles mix with the saliva. The second part of digestion takes place in the stomach when the stomach lining secretes the digestive juices that further break down the food ingested. Likewise, we need to meditate on the words of His mouth. It will show us clearly the differences between His ways and our present ways of perception, communication and action or reaction. His ways are much higher than our ways. We cannot find it by imagination or creativity. We can discern His ways only by meditating on His word. While our day to day life is more about ‘number crunching” – concerns like how much can I earn, how much should I spend or save- meditation is about “word crunching.” We need to run the words of each verse in scripture over and over in our minds even as a cow ruminates over its cud over and over again. Each time we do so, we should extract the inner meaning of each word, the root of each word, each phrase and sentence. This first phase of meditation is more mental or intellectual. We should then see how it applies to what we think, speak and do. This is meditation of the heart- applying things we learn by the mental crunching to all that we are, do and aim for. It will be a good practice to hold one verse every day of our lives in our minds and run it over and over again, crunching it, chewing it, mixing it with all parts of our lives, applying it to our entire being.

When we meditate in this manner on the Word, it is pleasing and acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. The Lord is the only One who is able to listen to our every thought. He is pleased when we delight in His word as we delight in delicious food. We draw our strength and energy from the food we consume. So also, we draw on the immense spiritual strength, blessings. power and energy of the Lord when we meditate. Moreover, we learn the truth about the Redeemer. We come to know that Jesus is the Redeemer of our lives. Truth abides not in a concept but in the very person of God. Jesus is Truth with a capital T. The two level meditation described herein will deepen and reinforce our faith in Jesus. The words of His mouth become the constant meditation of our hearts.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Believe to Receive, Disbelieve to Deceive

UV 2188/10000 Believe to Receive, Disbelieve to Deceive
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Mark 11 v 24

The fulfilment of a promise depends on the character , ability and decision of the person making the promise. When Jesus makes a promise, the promise is guaranteed to be fulfilled for He is truthful, faithful and able to fulfil the promises He makes to the believer. Unlike Gautama Buddha, Jesus did not teach that all desire is evil and that cessation of desire is nirvana or salvation. Rather, He taught that desire is natural and legitimate. He does not set a limit on the kind of things we can desire. He taught that His Father in heaven desires to give good things to His children. The only condition He spoke of is that one needs to pray with belief or faith. The intention of Jesus is the expansion of faith. We need to see ourselves receiving that which we ask of the Lord in prayer. Seeing in faith is believing. Our physical eyes may not perceive that which we pray for . But the inner eye, the eye of the heart, the eye of faith, the spirit will discern it even before we receive it in reality.

Faith is the way God sees things. He saw a tiny, vulnerable nameless baby in a basket of reeds floating dangerously down the river Nile as the future leader, deliverer of the enslaved nation Israel. The slavery of Israel in Egypt is a metaphor for the slavery to sin, disease, death that every human is born into to this day. Everyone needs redemption and a redeemer. We cannot save ourselves. Hence, the baby was given a name Moses. He was raised in the house of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt to lead, serve, deliver the enslaved people of the house of Jacob- Israel. The Lord wants to teach every manger leader or manager how to look into the future- future perfect. Promises of God are not intended to gratify our every desire but to satisfy our every need. The promises are aimed not to enjoy our lives on earth and drive in deeper stakes but it is aimed at the redemption of our souls. He desires that we develop the character and patience to wait till we receive the answer to our prayers, no matter how long it takes. When we disbelieve the promises of the Lord or His word, we are making Him out to be a liar. When we disbelieve the words of Jesus, we deceive ourselves more than anybody else. Every miracle performed by Jesus as recorded in the gospels is intended to expand our faith to enable us to believe that He is able to do that which He promises. Nothing is impossible or impractical for Him.

It does not however mean that we have God’s permission to ask whatever hits our mind. The word “desire” in this context means what we need. The Lord is not to be tested. He does not pander to our every whim and fancy. We need to ask in the name of Jesus, implying that we have not earned the right to ask by our own merit but as we are children of God by faith in Jesus. We need to model our prayers on Jesus, the way He asked the Father: “yet not my will but Yours be done.”

Prateep V Philip

A Spokesman for God

UV 2187/10000 A Spokesman for God
And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
Exodus 4 v 16

Moses was anointed as God’s spokesman to Israel and to Israel’s enslaver Egypt. To this day, He calls and anoints spokesmen who speak His word to His people as well as to their persecutors and foes. God is with the mouth of the manger leader or manager. He puts words in their mouths. He teaches them what to speak even as He taught Moses and Aaron. Moses was trying to evade his responsibility on the excuse that he was not a powerful communicator and he had a stammer. His persistence on holding onto his excuse provoked the anger of the Lord. But the Lord withheld his anger and asked Moses to take the assistance of Aaron, his brother whom he knew to be a good speaker.

God allowed Moses to take his place as the leader and teacher of His people. Moses did not grab it by force. Instead, he was reluctant to take up such a great responsibility. Today, leaders blinded by their lust for power, wealth, pleasure and aggrandisement rush to assume high offices of influence and responsibility, jostling and outmanoeuvring rivals. But Moses had no pretensions about his leadership potential. When he was driven into the wilderness, his pride as a member of the Egyptian royal family was broken. It destroyed his self confidence and brashness that he had as a young man. For forty years, the Lord watched him closely even as Moses did the humble task of looking after his father-in-law Jethro’s flock.

The Lord used Moses to speak to Pharaoh to let His people go. He uses us to speak to the enemy of our souls, the foremost enemy of humanity as a whole, the thief, the robber and the killer of our souls. He asks us to speak to him to let His people go. He uses us to free His people of the chains of sin, disease, curses and death. Instead of Aaron, we have the resurrected Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be with us, to guide us, to counsel us, to teach us and to be with our mouths. Instead of the rod, we have God with us to speak for us, to speak to us and speak through us. We as manger leaders and managers have an immense responsibility to represent God to our people, to our nations and to the enemy and persecutor. When we speak, plagues as well as rivers of blessing will be released upon people. What we sow on earth will be reaped in heaven. Since as teachers, priests, princes of His people, we have great responsibility, influence and power, we need to be humble like Moses even as we need to be assertive like him. God will be with our mouths and will not let our words fall to the ground in vain. We should measure or perfect our words before we speak anything. Our words will break chains and open gates, remove barriers and release the floodgates of blessing, healing and deliverance. We will be the signet ring to seal the covenant that the Lord makes with His people. The Lord will reveal His power, mercy, grace and glory in seven different colours or ways- spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, social, financial and familial.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 27, 2017

Practicing the Godly Pause

UV 2186/10000 Practising the Godly Pause
And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
Exodus 4 v 10

God’s ways of communication is not only be means of voice. He does not rely on human eloquence to convey His message to His people. In fact, Moses’ avowed and self confessed slowness of speech and tongue was an asset to the kingdom of God. The simple rod in his hand proved more effective than the human tongue. The Lord can use whatever we have in our possession to impact in a given situation provided we surrender it to His use. Our handicaps and weaknesses can be turned into assets by the grace of the Lord. St Paul was said to be weak of speech and yet he proved to be one of most effective communicators of the good news of Jesus. If we can practice a deliberate slowness of speech and if we are slow to display negative emotions like anger and annoyance, it would in fact be beneficial to all. More thought would go into our words and our actions. We would be allowing time for the Holy Spirit to counsel us before, we speak, act or react. Scripture says that when words multiply, sin abounds. Manger leaders or managers need to practice the godly pause. It is not inaction or inertness but a silence pregnant with prayer, seeking, searching, counsel and wisdom.

In the past few years, the world witnessed the eloquence of Barack Obama. His glib tongue, quickness of thinking deceptive eloquence catapulted him to the most powerful office in the world. He used his eloquence to mask or cloak his true self and real convictions in matters of faith, doctrinal truths and policy actions. He did not use his gift to fulfil the promises that he made with the simple evocative chant of “Yes, We can.” Yes, we can be eloquent and violate the laws of God in dishonouring the institution of God-instituted marriage and family. He violated many of the mandates of the Lord and denied Jesus in his inaction against radical extremism, his actions to isolate and weaken Israel, his support of extreme liberalism that went against the tenets of the Bible.

If we can practice the pause before speaking or reacting or responding to any stimuli, it will help us factor in the word of wisdom, knowledge and understanding in all our communications, actions and reactions. If we slow down, we will allow the Lord to catch up with us as we walk and talk as Jesus caught up with the two perturbed disciples on the road to Emmaus. We need to ask, “ Lord, what is it that You want me to say or do in this particular or specific situation?’ We not only need to ask this question but we should wait for the answer, no matter how short or long it takes.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Perfection of Our Faculties

UV 2185/10000 The Perfection of Our Faculties
And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

Exodus 4 v 11

Human presumption makes us think that only we can see, only we can hear, only we can feel or think. But it is the Lord who endowed us with these faculties. We assume that because we cannot see or hear or feel Him, He either does not exist or that He cannot see, hear or feel us. Such an assumption gives us the apparent freedom to do what we want, think what we want, see what we want, think what we want and speak whatever we want. Many people are embarrassed to use their mouths to affirm the presence, the power and grace of God towards them. The eyes and ears are input faculties while the tongue is an output faculty. These powerful faculties like the amazing brain of man, the wonderful vision, the sensitive ears, the versatile hands, the strong legs need grace or divine enablement and anointing. Each faculty works so simply but it is in fact so complex that specialists spending a whole lifetime studying the eye, the ear, the mouth, the limbs or the brain do not understand all aspects of its working.

This uni-verse tells us that it is the Lord who gives us our mouth to speak, our ears to hear, our eyes to see, our minds to think, our hands to do and our limbs to walk or run. He teaches us to see, to listen, to speak, to think, to do and to walk according to His word. Jesus during His earthly sojourn healed the blind that they could see, healed the deaf and mute that they could hear and speak, healed the crippled that they could walk. He did it to prove that not only does the Lord create these powerful abilities but He also mends.

We often misuse or abuse our faculties in seeing what is inappropriate or harmful to us in the long run, or in listening to things we should not be listening to or in speaking things we ought not to speak or in doing things we should not be doing, in going to places where we should not be going. However great our faculties, each faculty has its limitations. There are things that our eyes cannot perceive, our hearts cannot believe, our minds cannot comprehend or our mouths cannot explain. As manger leaders or managers we cannot lead ourselves. We need the counsel, prompting, guidance, coaching, correction, help, empowerment, anointing of the Holy Spirit. The good and faithful leader is the one who develops and utilises each faculty for the benefit of all creatures and for the greater glory of the Creator. We need to daily work towards the sanctification or perfection of each faculty with the help of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 23, 2017

Five Dimensions of Balanced and Effective Leadership

UV 2184/10000 Five Dimensions of Effective and Balanced Leadership
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9 v 6

Most so called secular leaders or managers fail as they do not know how to manage their invisibles or their inner being. They do not have a model to emulate. They do not have the wisdom or knowledge to deal with the uncertainties of life, business and industry. They do not have a guide or coach or even laid down ground rules to follow in various circumstances. These shortcomings are met in the five titles and attributes of Jesus as specified in this uni-verse. Government or leadership and management challenges are met in Jesus. Life and leadership rests on His able shoulders for He is shaped as a cornerstone that holds the whole edifice in place. This uni-verse gives us the five dimensions of God governance manifested in Jesus: Jesus is a Wonderful Governor. This is the supernatural dimension. He is both human and divine, natural and supernatural, miraculous and amazing. He best represents the perfect blending of the natural and the supernatural that the manger leader or manager should model on. He is a Counsellor- one who advices, guides, understands and comforts. This is the dimension of wisdom and understanding.

Jesus is the Mighty God: this is the power dimension as well as the justice dimension. He holds the universe in place and ensures that justice and righteousness of God is met in earth as in heaven. This dimension sees Him intervening on our behalf against powerful foes and enemies. He vindicates the righteous by faith. Jesus is also the Everlasting Father. This is the personal and love dimension. This attribute sees Jesus caring for us as a loving Father, rebuking and correcting us when we go wrong or disobey the will of God, providing for us according to His riches in glory, protecting and covering us as a hen covers its chicks with His wings of prayer and the Word. As everlasting Father, He has compassion on us. HE intercedes with His Father in heaven on our behalf.

The fifth dimension of manger leadership is peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He purchases in His death the potential of peace with God for all. He destroys the works of darkness of the prince of darkness. He replaces the ruler of darkness in our hearts and gives us peace with our past, peace in the present, peace in the future and eternal peace. He brings order and peace out of darkness, violence, chaos, sin, grief and sorrows. He commands the waves of every storm in our lives to be calm and these will obey His voice and word. He restored and maintains peace in our inner being regardless of the circumstances. Jesus rules us as a Wise and Wonderful Leader, as a Sovereign and all powerful God, as a loving, gracious, generous and redeeming Father, as a Prince who rules us not with fear or making us feel insecure and vulnerable but through peace and security. As manger leaders or managers, we too need to be aware of , possess and utilise these five dimensions of a sense of wonder, of seeking and using wise counsel, of using strength and power in the right way to accomplish what is just, of being like a gracious, merciful, generous, caring, protective father, of ruling to establish and enhance peace in our homes, offices, streets and nations.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Speaking Life into Dead Situations

UV 2183/10000 Speaking Life into Dead Situations
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
The bones are the strongest parts of the human body that give us shape and vigour. We can stand or move or lie down on account of the bones. But the bones in order to be useful and living need to be connected with ligaments and tendons to muscles. Likewise our beliefs, actions and words need to be connected. We need to be connected with the Lord continually as bone with ligament, tissue and muscle. The word plays the role of connecting all things so that it is strong and purposive and not parts of a fragmented reality. Without faith, our lives would become so brittle that it would break into pieces and fragment. The bones or the strong frame of our lives need the sunlight of His righteousness if it is to be strong, life supporting and be able to produce and replenish the red blood corpuscles of the blood.
Without the word of God our lives are like dry bones. We do not have any hope of eternal life or of salvation. The Word fills our world with the oxygen of hope, with the gentle power of wisdom. The world without the word is a void, empty and without meaning or purpose. The word explains clearly why the world is created, how it was created by the Word of God who is Jesus. Without Jesus, the world would be a valley of dry bones. Faith in Him revives us, connects all the hitherto disjointed parts of our lives. He makes our lives wholesome, complete , strong and impactful.

When we speak the Word to the dried up parts of our lives, it will come alive again. The Word is the means by which the prophecy of Isaiah will come true that the mountains shall be brought low and the valleys shall be raised up, the rough patches will be smoothened. While sin, death and its consequences rule in this world, the Word restores the kingdom of God or the rule of the Lord in our lives. When we hear the Word, we begin to see the big picture and all the parts fall into place.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Judgement

UV 2181/10000 The Judgement
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God
I Corinthians 4 v 5

It is God’s prerogative to judge all things. We cannot usurp that power since all of us come under the purview of his judgement. Nothing is hidden from the eye of the Lord. Everything that is unknown or secret will be revealed or made manifest on the Day when Jesus comes again as Judge and King. He will even reveal the secrets and motives of the hearts of all mankind. A manger leader or manager is a shepherd-leader. He will not judge the servants of God or condemn them for he knows he has no right to do so. It is the right and power of the Chief Shepherd or Chief Manger Leader – Jesus. If we go ahead and judge others, then we too will be measured with the same yardstick or standard.

God in His mercy and judgement can choose whom He wants to choose and whom He wants to judge, whosoever He wants to reward. By grace we have escaped the judgement for punishment. By faith, we are to await the judgement of deeds and words for rewards. Our role and responsibility is to use our God-given abilities, talents, opportunities and resources to the maximum extent possible for the greater glory, honour of God and for immortality of our own souls and eternal life and eternal rewards in the life here and now as well as in the life hereafter. We need to do all the sowing of righteousness and hope that we can and wait patiently like a farmer for the harvest or reward of the crop or fruit of our lives.

We are to do nothing for the mere approval or popularity ratings of man but for the pleasure, commendation and approval of the Lord. The joy of the Lord is the ultimate as well as immediate strength of the manger leader or manager. He revels or delights in doing the will of God in which He finds His pleasure and delights in. While we are obeying the word which is the revealed will of God in all things, He releases His grace, power, blessings, wisdom, riches upon us, in us and through us . We become channels and recipients of the mercy, power, strength and hope in Christ. Strength of faith cannot be tested except through trials and tribulations just as the strength of a man’s body or muscles cannot be tested except by pulling or lifting heavy weights.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Security of Integrity

UV 2180/10000 Security of Integrity
He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
Proverbs 10 v 9

It is said that if one has integrity, nothing else is needed. If one does not have it, nothing else is of any use. Integrity of a person is a source of security. It is also a source of much blessing of the Lord. The manger leader or manager is a person of integrity. He does not stretch his hand for dishonest gain. He does not speak untruth. He does not indulge in violence or wickedness of any kind. He walks in the ways that please God and not man. A train or a monorail has to run on the tracks or it will get derailed. The eyepieces of a horse’s bridle and reins keep the horse focussed on the path or road ahead, unmindful of the distractions on the wayside. Similarly, a person of integrity shuts his eyes to the allurements of the world and sticks to the tracks set before him in the word or the law of the Lord. The manger leader does not seek the approval of others. He seeks and obtains the approval of the Lord who knows his every thought, emotion, desire, need, strength, weakness, opportunity and threat. His confidence however is not on his own righteousness or integrity but on the guidance and faithfulness of the Lord.

Integrity is aligning one’s beliefs, desires, thoughts, words, actions and reactions with the revealed truths of God’s word. The person who walks in integrity or in alignment with his conscience as instructed by the word of God cannot fail. He is like an arrow fired from the bow of the Lord. There is agreement between his thoughts, words and actions. He is not afraid of people for fear of God fills him with wisdom and counsel. He takes appropriate decisions and acts accordingly. The person who does not walk in integrity distorts the truths to suit him. He compromises on matters of principle and truth. He is one person in public and quite another in private.

The word states that the blessings of the person of integrity is that his needs would be met. The Lord will not deny any good thing that he needs. The Lord will bless his food and water, implying that the inputs into all that he does will be blessed. The word of his mouth and the work of his hands will be established and be blessed. The progeny of the person of integrity are greatly blessed. Even if he falls or fails or suffers a setback in anything, he will recover quickly like both Job and David. The person who is wicked and without integrity will fall suddenly and not be able to recover what he has lost. He will suffer the consequences, shortcomings, curses that are enumerated in Deuteronomy chapter 28.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

True Empowerment, Continual Renewal and Faithful Response

UV 2179/10000 True Empowerment, Continual Renewal and Faithful Response
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21 v 5

Jesus is the Innovator par perfection, the pioneer and author of faith. He did the unthinkable by giving up what He is entitled to forever for a time in order to empower others or share power with all. The One who sat on the throne, Jesus embraced the thorns in order that the throng sit on the very same throne. The Lord promises in this uni-verse to make all things new. He makes the people who are ruled or subjected to the laws of sin and decay to be the rulers- the ones who administer the laws of grace and renewal. He transforms us, our situations, our character and our destiny. From being just one of the fish in a huge fish tank, we become like the shark in the fish tank in the sense, we generate enthusiasm or the energy of God through our belief in the impossible, the miraculous, the supernatural possibilities. The manger leader like Jesus shares power and rights with others, the more he does so, the greater leader he is. As God is faithful, He responds to our faith in like manner and causes the impossible and the improbable to happen: rivers of hope, love and grace to flow in the deserts of disappointment, prejudice, hatred and evil. He creates or clears a way where no road or path exists. The change emanates from the deep internal to impact the external.

We need to behold the work of the Lord through the agency of His word. “To behold” is an unique biblical term or expression that means a combination of all senses, hearing, visual, tactile, taste, smell and the intellect refined and reinforced by belief or faith in the word. Faith comes by hearing the word, not merely reading it. The visual sense that normally dominates our hearing should be subordinated to the auditory in the manger leader or manager. The sound and meaning of the word penetrates our inmost being, our hearts and from that locus begins to create change for the better within us first and all around us, too in 360 plus degrees. We need to believe and hold as true and faithful the words of the Lord.

A word that is true when we respond with all our senses and with faith becomes our new reality. We do not believe what we see or hear with our eyes and ears but believe what is written by the Spirit of the Lord through many godly scribes. The One who writes is the author, or the person who has authority or mastery of life. The manger leader recognizes that the Lord is the author of life as well as all that is absolutely true. The process of renewal or transformation of our lives, our real life situations happens as we behold or respond with complete faith in the Word- Jesus, His mission impossible, His vision eternal.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Being Godmatic

UV 2178/10000 Being Godmatic
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Titus 3 v 9

This uni-verse directs us to avoid raising foolish questions for it will lead to arguments and needless strife. The Lord has given the manger leader or manager not a spirit of contention but a spirit of love, power and self control. We ought not therefore to get involved in controversies over trifles and matters of no importance. Such quarrels and arguments grieve the Holy Spirit and does not benefit anyone. These are tools and weapons for the enemy of our souls to keep us discouraged, to steal or rob our joy in the presence of the Lord and to block our blessings.

We should instead of arguing over inanities pray, meditate on the Word and seek the wise counsel of the Lord. Our focus should be to win people and not to win arguments. The book of Proverbs says that the best place to stop a quarrel or argument is at the very start just as the first breach in a dam should be plugged or it gets wider and wider. We should seek the grace of the Lord so that we maintain our poise even when others try to provoke us into getting into an argument with them. We are expected to be “godmatic” or wise like God and not dogmatic about our views. It is often pride, ego and bitterness that leads people to get dragged into such quarrels and dog fights where we are barking at each other without any understanding of what is said or intended. Being ‘godmatic’ implies that we are willing to learn and perform like God in the matter of our communications. God speaks to be heard effectively. His word penetrates to the point where bone meets marrow. Our communication including our body language, our tone and words should be effective, appealing and wholesome to the listeners. We should be persuasive and open minded to change our views if we are proved wrong, rather than taking a rigid stand on non-issues or minor matters.

The manger leader or manager’s model of communication is Jesus who is full of grace and truth. Being ‘godmatic’ would mean that our communication should be full of grace and truth. Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of knowledge, the word of wisdom or counsel and discernment are the gifts we need to perfect our communication. Discernment will enable us to know when to speak, to whom to speak, how to speak and what to speak. The word of knowledge of scripture will bring to our instant attention the appropriate portion of scripture we should meditate in a given situation. The word of wisdom will teach us how to respond or react to different stimuli or provocations. We should not just learn not just how not to mince our words but to mint our words for words are the gold coins of human as well as divine communication. Jesus is described by John as the Word. Every word we speak like a coin which is issued from the mint cannot be withdrawn or unsaid once spoken. Like coins and currency, words get passed on from person to person. Once spoken it should help people, enrich them, not hurt or harm them or us. Words should be used not as a weapon to cut people up but as ‘life- giving and life-enhancing’ bullets that penetrate human hearts and give hope, wisdom, strength and meaning.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Lifelong Process of Perfection

UV 2177/10000 The Lifelong Process of Perfection
The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
Deuteronomy 28 v 9

The real time perfecting of His people is the work of the Lord. He has already declared us justified and perfect in Christ by faith and by grace. But He also desires a real time perfection, a ‘down-to-earth’ sanctification or purification of all our vessels or faculties- our thoughts, our emotions, our will, our habits, our desires, our responses and reactions, our relationships. He works patiently on us as a jeweller works on his most precious stones, as a metallurgist purifies the ores, as a refiner refines the oil. He sends the Counsellor, the Helper, the Comforter, the Remembrancer, the Holy Spirit to each of us. The manger leader or manager as such is never alone in facing the challenges and difficulties of life and leadership or management. He has divine help from above and from around and from within as He draws strength, power, wisdom and grace from the presence of the Lord. To him, the word “holy” does not being distanced from the world but only a distancing from the evil in his own flesh and in the world and walking in close proximity to the Lord.

Walking with and in the Lord implies talking with Him at all times and in all our ways, seeking His grace, His help and His counsel in all issues of life, big or small. His guideposts, milestones, signboards on his life and leadership path are the commands, precepts and principles of the Lord. He does not walk in the light of his own understanding and knowledge but leans heavily on the Lord for leading and counsel. He implicitly and explicitly obeys the Word.

The first step of our walk with God is trusting in Jesus. Thereafter, He has sworn to help us take each step in this thousand mile journey called life and leadership. We sink in the miry waters the moment we take our eyes off Him and put our confidence in our own mind or strength of flesh as it happened to Peter on the water of the Sea of Galilee when he took his eyes off Jesus. Life and leadership is like walking on water. No clear path is seen except the commands the Lord has given us. The destination is also not visible. We also do not know what awaits us along the way. The only rudder of comfort is that the Lord promises to “be with” us. It is the presence of God with the manger leader that distinguishes him from all other leadership types and styles. The life and leadership of a manger leader is naturally fraught with many risks, dangers and adventures. Manger leadership is life and leadership with no frills or trappings of power and prestige but many thrills. In the process of being “established” or confirmed or perfected by the Lord, he experiences what the natural human eye cannot see or the human ear hear or the human mind conceive or perceive.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Pre-condition for Blessings

UV 2176/10000 The Pre-condition for Blessings
And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
Deuteronomy 30 v 9

The love of God is unconditional in that it is available to anyone and everyone who choose to believe in Him and His word, irrespective of their past, background, race, religion, culture, community. But the blessings or rewards of the Lord are conditional. It is conditional on whether we love His word, meditate on it day and night, listen to His voice and obey wholeheartedly. When we obey wholeheartedly, our hearts are circumcised or the outer layers of sin, lust, folly and deceit are stripped off. Our hearts or our attitudes will now be pleasing and acceptable to the Lord, our whole being a living sacrifice to the Lord. He will then revel or delight in us. He will bless and prosper every work of our hands, our children, even our plants and animals.

The Lord has set before us a choice between life and death, blessings or curses. The manger leader or manager is invested with this choice-making ability or wisdom. Wisdom is decisional intelligence. Once he takes a decision to follow Jesus, he does not flinch or hesitate. He obeys the precepts and principles of Jesus. He evolves concepts that are based on the time tested and blessed principles and precepts of Jesus who is the Word. Jesus broke the power of wrong choices we made in the past that brought curses on ourselves, our families and our possessions. He now gives us the grace and wisdom or supernatural decisional intelligence. We cannot develop an obedient heart in place of our rebellious heart until we have the spirit of diligence. The spirit of diligence will enable us to study, meditate and translate into life the Word. When we meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit, God’s Translator will translate or interpret it in such a way we can understand it, implement or practice it. This is obedience from the heart and not due to fear or compulsion or coercion.

God delights in obedience much more than in sacrifice. An obedient spirit pleases Him more than anything else. He delighted in the obedience of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He delighted above all in the obedience to the point of a cruel and unjust death by execution on the cross of His beloved and only Son Jesus. The death and resurrection of Jesus is not in vain but to make us co-inheritors and co-heirs with Jesus. He paid the price that none of us can pay individually or collectively so that we enjoy the blessings and we are insured against the curses.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Call to Overcome

UV 2175/10000 The Call to Overcome
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Revelation 3 v 12

The Lord establishes the called, the chosen and faithful as a pillar of His temple. A pillar or tower has functional and aesthetic roles. It is a source of both strength and beauty. It is part of a larger architectural structure. It is weight- bearing and plays a supportive role in the larger structure. It is not a mere ornament but has a critical function to provide stability, too. We are called to be living temples or a place where the Lord is constantly worshipped, thanked and prayed to. We are called to be overcomers. Our faith will be tested in a variety of ways. We are to overcome the wicked one. We are to overcome the temptations that he throws our way like a bird hunter throws the ensnaring net. The Lord will enhance our strength and beauty of our lives. We are destined to be victorious and not to be successful through compromise with the enemy of our souls. We will be subjected to many pressures just like iron is turned into steel in temperatures ranging up to 2000 degrees centigrade. But we are to endure and overcome discouragement and persecution. The secret to overcoming and enduring till the end is continuing or constant worship, thanksgiving and prayer. Like a pillar in a temple, we will cleave to God and never leave His presence. Our minds will always be anchored in Him, focussed on the author and finisher of our faith. All the beauty, riches, glory of the Lord is accessible and available to us.

The Lord will reveal Himself to us in our various situations, tests and trials in life. Through these we will discover the inner meaning and relevance of each name of Jehovah- Jireh, the Provider, Rapha, the Healer, Nisi, the Victorious One, El Shadda, the Almighty One, Shalom, the Prince of Peace. He will give a new sense of identity to the manger leader or manager. A new name or identity implies changes in our personalities, psyche, emotional pattern, speech pattern, activities, perspectives, priorities, goals, abilities and lifestyle. Since the Lord is the one who gives us the new name or identity, He will equip, enable and empower to fulfil the meaning and purpose of our lives.

The manger leader or manager does not regard himself as a permanent citizen of this world but as a citizen of heaven who is temporarily passing through this world like a traveller moves through wilderness to reach an amazing city. The utter or sheer contrast between heaven and earth enables him to bear the hardships of this life with a sense of peace and hope. His destiny and his destination are the city of God, the new Jerusalem where there is neither sorrow, trouble, trial, temptation, death, sin or defeat. He does not merely comfort himself like the rest of the world that “this too shall pass away” but that it will be replaced by a new hope, a new life, eternal bliss, joy forever. Such hope and faith becomes a source of added strength, security, stability, rejoicing and reassurance to the manger leader.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Way to Grasp Personal Knowledge

UV 2174/10000 The Way to Grasp Unattainable Personal Knowledge
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Psalm 139 v 6

God has made us awesome but unless we are in awe of Him, we loose the plot. We are made “fearfully and wonderfully,” implying that we are created to be fragile, sensitive and vulnerable while at the same time, we are created to enjoy the wonders of nature, human nature and God’s nature. Knowledge is what gives a leader the edge. The sciences and human knowledge without the knowledge of God is incomplete, dangerous, fearful and forbidden. Science and education have left so many blanks and empty spaces that only God can fill. For only He knows us personally and completely, more than we ourselves can ever know. He knows every thought, desire, challenge, every circumstance of our lives, our strengths, our weaknesses, opportunities, threats each of us face. Such complete knowledge of ourselves is not attainable by us.

The Greek philosophers like Socrates rightly said that the secret of true knowledge is knowing oneself. But they did not realize that in order to know ourselves, we need to relate or know the Creator personally. The Creator revealed Himself partly through many prophets but fully in His Son Jesus, the Christ or the chosen one to redeem all mankind through His sacrificial life, death and glorious resurrection. This is knowledge by revelation. The manger leader or manager through a personal relationship with the Father in heaven through His Son Jesus comes to know himself better and better. He gets to realize the purpose of his life and how best to fulfill it. The Holy Spirit will shine His torchlight on different aspects of our inner being- our godly and ungodly desires, our godly thoughts and our darkened imagination and thoughts, our unique strengths and equally unique as well as common weaknesses, the God-ordained opportunities or open doors and the ones not ordained by Him- the closed doors. True enjoyment of the abundant life implies that we consistently choose the God-approved thoughts, emotions, desires, strengths and opportunities. The enjoyment of the choices that are not approved by the Lord extract a very heavy price. The Lord leads us without attempting to control us or restrict us or dictate to us.

Whoever we are, whatever we have, wherever we go, we cannot escape from the Lord. He hems us in on all sides. He presents us a Hobson’s choice- choose either life or death, choose either Him or the enemy of our souls, a godly knowledge or worldly knowledge. We need to choose between the power of human knowledge and the liberty of spiritual wisdom that comes from the personal knowledge of the Lord. There is no neutral ground between the Lord and the enemy of our souls. Either we are with and for Him or against Him. We need to cling to what is good, true, positive, noble, praiseworthy, encouraging, faith-building and let go of what is evil, negative, false, depressing, unworthy, condemnable, discouraging, faith-weakening. The personal knowledge of the Lord increases with our study and intake of the Word. The Word mirrors our inner being accurately and effectively.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Celebrating the Day Star

UV 2173/10000 Celebrating The Day 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 sun is the day star, the only star that is seen by day, a mighty symbol of the power of the Creator. Jesus is described in the book of Revelation as the Daystar, the Morning Star. His position, His titles, His authority, His kingdom, His character, His place in human history, His wisdom, His work are unique and nonpareil or without equal. The effulgence of the glory of Jesus is similar to that of the sun and it will outlast the sun. Just as the sun travels in a majestic arc across the day sky, shining brightly as it seems to travel, the presence of Jesus travels with us and above us, casting away all shadows of sin, its consequences, curses and eternal death. Unlike the sun, no cloud of fear or doubt or negativity can obscure the face of Jesus from us. The radiance of His presence is seen in all aspects of our lives: our families, our children, our work, our network, our finances, our relationships, our contributions.

The British Empire was called the empire on which the sun never sets. But the sun did set on that empire like all others mighty kingdoms and empires of the past. But the name of Jesus shines brightly in all nations. It brings hope and meaning to the lives of countless numbers of people. The sun fills the entire earth with its light even as Jesus fills the entire world with His love, grace and truth. The manger leader or manager acknowledges his debt to Jesus on whom he models his entire life by offering praise and thanksgiving. We do not worship the Lord for His sake but for our sake for as we praise and adore Him with our souls, we are like travellers from cold places who bask in the tropical sunlight, absorb energy and produce enough Vitamin D to last the rest of the year. We get enough Vitamin D as we bask in the presence of Jesus, where D stands for the five determinants of an effective, meaningful, impactful life: devotion, dedication, determination, discipline and diligence.

The sun appears to move degree by degree. In truth, it is the earth that is moving. The sun never rises or sets. Jesus never rises nor sets in our lives. He is always there for us, shining with the warmth and light of His great love. That light drives out the darkness, the anger, the bitterness, the folly, the pride, the lusts that lies in each of us. We are progressively being transformed into the image of Christ, degree by degree, day by day, moment by moment. We need to be like solar panels constantly absorbing the energy of Jesus and transmitting it to others. We need to offer our lives, our lips, our work, our talents, time and treasure increasingly, degree by degree to the Lord each day. In the city of Las Vegas, every casino has a show every hour, on the hour, that celebrates some legendary theme like Treasure Island or Pirates of the Caribbean and so on. Jesus is no legend or make believe fairy tale. He is as real, powerful and majestic as the sun in its geography. It will be a good and blessed practice if we take a moment to pray, praise and thank Jesus every hour, on the hour as far it is feasible, from the rising of the sun to its going down. One minute exclusively with Jesus per hour would greatly bless the other 59 minutes of every waking hour and beyond that He sets His angels to guard us as we slumber for He does not slumber or sleep.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Believe and Flourish

UV 2172/10000 Believe and Flourish
And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs.
Ezekiel 17 v 6

The vine of low status and stature grows and flourishes while the vine of high status and stature perishes. The Lord is the One who decides the destiny of individuals as of nations. This is the reason why one nation rises even as another declines in history. Arnold Toynbee, the eminent historian who studied the rise and fall of nations could not fathom this and hence, attributed it to the X Factor. This is the reason why one business thrives while another fails. This is the reason why one individual flourishes and fulfils the purpose of his life while another fails. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management said, “Innovate or Perish.” But, the word says, “ Believe and Flourish.” Humility is acknowledging the Lord as the source of all our success, prosperity and happiness. Pride is thinking that one can do it all on one’s own steam. The manger leader or manager knows that humbling oneself before the Lord goes before honour, success and advancement in this world and the life to come. The secret of all growth lies in the roots. The roots though they lie under need to grow towards the source of water and nourishment- the Lord Himself.

The roots of the manger leader consists of humility under the Lord , fear of God and its accompanying restraints and wisdom, faith and hope in his future, reliance on the Lord for strength and guidance, an uncompromising sense of integrity and commitment to truth and the adoption of right means to achieve any end. Such roots growing under ground in his soul are planted in the fertile soil of His word. The powerful eagle that Ezekiel speaks about that planted him is Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus described Himself as the “true Vine”. The manger leader is planted by Jesus besides streams of water that never dry up. This is apparently a cross reference to what Jesus said, “ The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and there shall be rivers of life-giving water flowing from your hearts.” Indeed, we must listen to our hearts to check if we hear the bubbling brooks, the gush of the meandering river, the gentle flow of the eternal springs that lie deep in our souls.

The vine will shoot forth a shoot. From the shoot and stem, shall come the branches. Our branches too need to turn toward Jesus just as all trees turn their branches towards the sun. The branches so turned will be strong, grow steadily and bear a lot of foliage that will be a shade or comfort to many people in their hardships. On each branch, we will find leaves or words and actions that are meant for the encouragement, edification and enlightenment of people of all nations. On each branch, we will find different spiritual fruit. On one branch, there will be the most excellent fruit of all – love. On another, the delicious fruit of joy. On yet another, the healthy fruit of peace. The vine will have a branch that will bear the fruit of patience, endurance, the ability to wait out with faith times of trouble, times of famine, times of testing. From time to time, the Lord will prune the branches in order that each bear more and better fruit.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Way to Be Wise and Avoid Arguments

UV 2171/10000 The Way to Be Wise and Worthy
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue
Psalm 39 v 3

Even in our homes apart from our workspaces, relationships are affected by arguments, contentions, disputes and friction. It affects the atmosphere, productivity and choices. We need to pay attention to the quality of our communications, our ways of interacting and relating with those in our inner circle. The way to guard our mouths is to first fill our hearts with the Word. The Word in our hearts is the “coal of heaven” with which the tongue of the anointed is touched even as the prophet Isaiah’s tongue was touched and anointed to speak the prophetic word to Israel. It burns, refines, purifies and cures the tongue. As St James, the biblical specialist on the tongue, wrote: “Both sweet and bitter water ought not to flow from the same spring.” Our tongues are to be springs of healing, deliverance, instruments and media to spread the good news that Jesus is waiting to come into our lives to give us the high quality, abundant and eternal life. Being convinced and convicted of all this, the manger leader remains still in the face of disputes, conflicts, arguments. As sorrows and other provocative issues stir up, he first quietens himself. Then, he meditates on the word. As he meditates, the word will begin to burn the negative thoughts, words, attitudes and actions. As he meditates, his heart will be filled with fire and wise counsel. He will then seek the counsel of the Lord as to what he should do or speak. Thereafter, he will speak or act or react.

This uni-verse explains why the hearts of the two followers of Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus burnt as they listened to His words. We too need to give primacy or utmost attention to listening to Jesus in any given situation. He is the Wonderful Counsellor. He is the peace giver. Jesus said, “Be perfect because your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” St James wrote that the man who does not err with his tongue or in the words he speaks is perfect. We need to yield our tongues to the control of the Holy Spirit. The tongue that is not under His control is full of ceaseless striving, restless and uncontrollable. It is a deadly evil. It is a spark that can set our whole lives on fire just as a small match lights a fire that can destroy an entire stretch of forest. The antidote is the Word.

If we just think only in human terms about our various situations, we will end up either stressed or depressed. But as we allow the Lord and His word to guide our thoughts, we will feel the sense of upliftment. The human tongue is a source of both life and death. From it we can eat the fruit of life or of death. The fruit of life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility. The fruit of death is hurt, strife, conflicts, arguments, bitterness, unforgiveness, misery, sadness, violence, envy, pride, vengeance, destruction, broken relationships.The words we speak are either the seed of the fruit of life or of death. We see the importance the Lord attaches to the human tongue in the fact that the Holy Spirit manifested Himself to the apostles and early believers as tongues of fire.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 9, 2017

Consistency and Change in the Manger Leader

UV 2170/10000 Consistency and Change in the Manger Leader
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews 13 v 8
A manger leader or manager should strive to be consistent in his thoughts, words and actions. He should imitate Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and for ever. Consistency cannot be contrived but it comes from deep faith, understanding of the Word and the spirit of obedience. Someone recently wrote to me that Jesus is the Alpha male in terms of His strength and power to which I replied that He is the Alpha to Omega male. He encompasses in His Person all the qualities, attitude and attributes of the ideal manger leader or manager.
Other people change according to the circumstances, possessions and position. They change their word. They contradict themselves in their words and actions. But the manger leader acts in consistency with his faith or beliefs. In Jesus, His word and example, we have access to the greatest wisdom of the past and present as well as the greatest hope for the future. Since we are not perfect but working towards perfection by grace even though we are declared perfect by faith and grace of the Lord. We need to develop ourselves in all aspects towards being better today than we were yesterday. Degree by degree, day by day, we need to change so that we will be the visible image of Christ in the future.

Change in ourselves implies that we should cling to what is good and let go of what is evil, what is negative, unprofitable, unwise, unworthy. Change begins in the way we think and in the way we handle our emotions and react to the emotions of others. Our lives should be a steady progression towards the goal of perfection that Christ sets for us. It should not be a case of three steps forward and four steps backward. As far as the world is considered, we should aim to be the change that Jesus wants us to be. He will counsel us in the actions we should take and through the gifting of the Holy Spirit give us the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. As far as the enemy of our soul is concerned, he wants us to hinder our faith, create obstacles to block our spiritual and holistic progress, destroy our peace, rob our health, spoil our testimony, discourage us, weaken us. But, as we go forth into each day as a soldier into the thick of battle, we need to fill ourselves with the unchanging, unebbing yet dynamic power, wisdom and might of Jesus. We should wear the full armour of God and not allow the enemy to exploit or penetrate the chinks in our personal armour. We should make our lives temptation-proof, discouragement-proof, bitterness-proof, lust-proof and folly-proof. We should set our faces like flint, unflinching, unwavering, not swerving to the right or to the left, as Jesus did as He marched towards the cross to fulfil the purpose of His coming into this world to be our salvation, our help, our Redeemer, our shield.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Being Dead, Yet Speak

UV 2169/10000 Being Dead, Yet Speak
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Hebrews 11 v 4

The manger leader or manager always offer the better sacrifice. Everything we think, feel, speak and do should be in the manner of an offering of an excellent sacrifice to God. It is not to gratify ourselves, our egos, our appetite but to please the Creator. In order that it is pleasing like Abel’s, we need to be whole-hearted in our dedication, not withholding anything from the Lord. We are only giving back to the Lord what rightly belongs to Him. The greatest sacrifice we can make is dedicating our hearts to the Lord for in it are all the issues of life. Abel dedicated his heart to the Lord while Cain held bitterness and envy in his heart and could not offer his heart to the Lord. Cain could only make a namesake sacrifice. He only went through the religious motions. It did not really matter to the Lord whether He is offered a dead animal or grain. What matters to Him is the heart with which we approach Him and the attitude with which we do anything.

Abel offered a blemishless lamb, the first fruit of his flock, the best- the forerunner of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, the best. God always wants us to put our best foot forward first and always. It pleases God when we are diligent and consistently aim to do our best in all things. The Lord is not a passive witness of our lives but He watches what we do and responds to us, either with acceptance or rejection of our offering. He commends us while we are doing our best. The Lord will give testimony to others about our faith. Abel’s faith was that whatever He attempted for God was all that matters. He knew that it will bring him the greatest blessing, the greatest eternal reward. He was not comparing himself with anyone including his brother Cain. He was just thankful to the Lord for life, provision and blessing upon the work of his hands. In offering the best of his flock, he was acknowledging his faith that it was the Lord who had prospered his flock, made it grow and multiply.

Abel “ being dead, yet speaks” is a wonderful and amazing testimony about the sacrifice of Abel. Though it led to his slaying by his envious and angry brother Cain, he was not silenced for all time. His faith and his desire to do his very best for the Lord, to bring his best to the altar of the Creator makes him outstanding in human history. Eventually, when we keep doing our best for the Lord, we too when we die, will “yet speak.” It is my hope that ‘uni-verse’ will continue to speak to people around the world long after I am gone. The manger leader or manager is not aiming to communicate for temporary or temporal impact, for earthly power or influence but for eternal impact.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Key to Producing Lasting Results

UV 2168/10000 The Key to Producing Lasting Results
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
John 15 v 16

The manger leader or manager is chosen by Jesus to be His representatives on earth. Jesus holds the “ key of David”- the key to the kingdom of God is given to those He chooses As Jesus said about the kingdom of God, “ Many are called but few are chosen.” If we choose, then we could claim the credit of being followers of Jesus. But, the fact is that we are chosen by grace, the grace of Jesus. Does it mean that the believer has no part in his being chosen? It is certainly not his good deeds or his wisdom that leads him to be chosen by Jesus. But, Jesus sees our faith, the inclination of our hearts, our orientation or the extent we desire to be part of the kingdom of God. It is His sovereign choice. Our faith enables us to recognize that we are chosen and we heed the call. Faith like reasoning, imagination, creativity is a faculty or gift- the ability to see into the unseen. Scripture says that He has compassion on whom He chooses to have compassion on, mercy on whom He chooses to have mercy on.

Regardless of our past record, our failures and misdeeds or good deeds, we are chosen. But after being chosen, we are “ ordained”. Synonyms for ordained are appointed, anointed, consecrated, installed, established or invested. After we are chosen by Jesus like the first disciples or the twelve were chosen, we are prepared or trained by the Spirit of God even as Jesus trained the twelve. We are prepared to “bring forth fruit”- or in other words to produce results. The results must be seen both in our own inner transformation as well as in the transformation of the lives of others. Even among the twelve, one namely, Judas turned against Jesus and betrayed Him at the garden of Gethsemane. It was not as if it was predetermined or that Judas was chosen in order that he betrayed Jesus. Jesus would have been identified even if Judas had not betrayed him by kissing Him. But Judas surrendered his free choice to the enemy of his soul. This implies that even after being chosen and trained or discipled by and for Jesus, we can fall away. The manger leader or manager needs to be vigilant at all times and guard his heart and his salvation.

The uni-verse states that our fruit should remain. We should leave a spiritual legacy of our faith, our words and our works. One leader who died recently in a plane crash said that “ success is not what we do when we live but what succeeds or follows us after our lives on earth.” The fruit or results of our lives should outlast it and remain to inspire faith, hope and love in others. The uni-verse ends with a promise of provision. Whatever we lack in order to produce results, the Lord will provide so that there is no ‘hamartia’ or shortcoming in our lives. Resources or its absence or shortage will never be the cause of our failure to produce results but our lack of wholehearted faith. We ask in Jesus’s name as it is not on our own merits but by grace from beginning to end that we approach the Father.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Multi-Fruit Tree

UV 2167/10000 The Multi-fruit Tree
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15 v 5

As long as a person confines himself to “ I”, he can do little or nothing for whatever he does, thinks or says is in vain and will end in naught. He will be like grass that flourished today and is gone in a short while. Everything he does is in vain. He is a barren tree that cannot produce any good fruit. But, when a person re-defines himself as “ I-in-Him”, there is nothing that he cannot do for the very substance of God- Jesus dwells in and with him. Everything he does and experiences, both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant, the easy and the difficult, is meaningful, effective and is gain. He becomes a part or branch of an oxygenal banyan tree who can set down roots, develop branches and bear much spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility. The sap of God's love rises from Christ-in-us to become the sap ( spiritual attitudes/ attribute of power) that turns into these fruit.

Every tree is not a fruit bearing tree. Every fruit tree does not bear fruit. Every fruit tree does not bear good fruit. Every fruit tree does not bear much good fruit. Every branch of a good fruit tree does not bear fruit equally. When a tree bears fruit and much good fruit, it fulfills the purpose for which it was planted. It satisfies the planter, the gardener, the owner. Fulfilling our individual and collective purpose makes our lives meaningful and fruitful. Jesus is a plan and a plant of the Lord to unite all believers as part of one body or tree. Without Jesus, the manger leader or manager recognizes that he can do nothing that is lasting. The happiness we seek in this world is a perishable process. We can do nothing with true love without Jesus residing in our hearts and we residing in His love. We can do nothing with true joy unless we know that He owns us, cares for us and upholds us. We cannot enjoy holistic peace or shalom. We cannot control our own impatience and will seek instant gratification of our desires and passions. Jesus counsels us through the Holy Spirit and gives us patience. He teaches us kindness and goodness. He models faithfulness to the point of death. He imparts to us the spirit of a servant or the attitude of humility. In the eternal, imperishable process of following Jesus we put to death our own ego, our own flesh and its lusts. We learn and practice self control. The essence or common thread running through all these godly character traits is wisdom- the balance of truth and reality, the balance of virtue and practicality, the balance of the requirements of spirituality with the mundane requirements of continuing to exist on earth.

The paradigm of thought of the manger leader shifts from “ I can do nothing without Christ in me” to the other side of the coin, “ I can do all things, even the difficult and impossible with Jesus in me.” A vine or a branch of tree does not connect off and on with the parent tree but continually. Likewise, we need to remain connected with Jesus all the time, night and day, through the fellowship of the Spirit, prayer, reading, studying and meditating on the Word, fellowship with other believers, worship, witnessing, working as for Christ, doing all things for the glory of God and by His grace. Life according to this uni-verse is a multi-fruit tree to produce different fruit in different months and seasons. We are both co-producers with Christ of these fruit as well as consumers.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Litmus Test of Fragrance

UV 2166/10000 The Litmus Test of Fragrance
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour
Ephesians 5 v 2

Every step the manger leader or manager takes, he takes in love just as Jesus poured out His whole life on earth from beginning to end and beyond as an offering of love, an evidence of the love of the Father. When Christ dwells in our hearts by faith as King, Lord, Master, Saviour, Redeemer, Protector, Advocate, Intercessor, Helper, Wise Counsellor, Mighty God, we ought to be rooted and grounded in love. The roots as well as the soil around our faith grows best in a soul of love. The uni-verse talks about the kind of love that “bears all things, endures all things and rejoices in the truth.” The kind of love that is patient, kind, forbearing, hopeful. The kind of love that holds no bitterness that comes from a record of past wrongs and hurts.

“Love,” St Paul wrote in his famous chapter on love,” is not conceited, or proud or envious.” Love is a commitment to the well being of others and doing all one can to enhance their well being. Love is about sacrificing oneself, one’s ego, one’s time, efforts and resources to bless others as Christ sacrificed His life, once for all and made Himself a sweet smelling sacrifice to God. Love is not about self gratification but dying to oneself so that the savour or fragrance of our lives and deeds reaches the nostrils of God.

We need to constantly imitate Christ in His attitude, actions and words of love. The love of Christ is agape or in other words, His love is unconditional, unreserved and without expectations or demands on us. We should show our love without any hidden motive or agenda. The litmus test is to ask ourselves on every thought we think, every word we speak, every action we do, “ Is it pleasing and sweet smelling to God, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit?” If the answer is “ No”, we should make amends and avoid that attitude or behaviour thereafter. Under the old covenant with Jehovah, the sacrifices of some people became a sweet savour to the Father. It was more the attitude of heart of the one who offered the sacrifice rather than what was sacrificed that created the fragrance. Abel’s sacrifice of a blemishless lamb was sweet smelling to God while his brother Cain’s sacrifice of sheafs of wheat was not. Many of our thoughts, words and actions set off a stench. We should be careful to avoid these. The fragrance of our thoughts, words and actions should spread like that of the perfume of Mary Magdalene as she emptied the alabaster jar of nard to anoint Jesus. She grabbed the opportunity of anointing God’s anointed one and got the recognition from Jesus as the one who prepared Him for sacrifice, as the one who had done a beautiful deed for Him that will be remembered in all generations of the faithful thereafter. We are to be both a living and a loving sacrifice to God.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Source of True Riches

UV 2165/10000 Source of True Riches
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent
Proverbs 28 v 20

Faithfulness is the source of all blessings even as faithlessness is the source of all curses. The uni-verse promises that the faithful will flourish with all manner of blessings, physical, intellectual, familial, social, financial, emotional and spiritual. Faithfulness implies that the person fears and respects the Lord God above all other persons and desires His presence and relationship more than anything else. Shalom or wholesome peace and prosperity is a balance of all the blessings that make for a life in which all blessings are enjoyed in balance and harmony. The manger leader or manager is distinguished by his faithfulness.

The eyes of the Lord are upon the faithful in every land. The faithful person tries to be perfect in all his or her ways. The manger leader or manager is gracious, compassionate and walks in integrity. He translates his wishes into prayers, his belief into principles, his principles into practices or habits, his thoughts into words and actions, his intentions into plans, his plans into reality. The Lord sees his faithfulness in all things and blesses the work of his hands and all that he sets his hand to. The manger leader or manager is full of heavenly or spiritual wisdom and conducts all his affairs with discretion. He is generous and helpful to those in need. He is not obsessed with material or financial wealth. The lines of scripture are more vital to him than any bottom line or profits in business. He knows that the best things in life do not have a price tag and cannot be bought or sold. At the same time, he is practical and wise and takes diligent steps to avoid falling into debt and to provide for his family as best he can. He is able to blend idealism and pragmatism without compromising on biblical principles.

The worldly leader or manager tries to become wealthy in a hurry. He becomes ensnared by many hidden lusts and deceit. He is more keen that his greed and not just his need is satisfied. He believes in acquiring wealth by stealth. Such haste to become wealthy by any means brings a curse upon whatever he gathers. He begins to rely on his wealth as his source of respectability, security and strength and thereby, loses his sense of fear of God and balance in his life. His heart gets pierced with many sorrows which money cannot comfort or resolve. He makes many foolish decisions that leads him into loss or folly or disaster. This is how the Lord deals with the nouveau riche. But the man who is faithful and blessed, He raises up step by step, measure by measure. Jesus said, “ He who has fear of God will be given even more but He who has no fear of God, even what he has will be taken away.” It could be taken away either during his lifetime through debacles and setbacks or at the time of death. The manger leader or manager can look forward to an extension of all his blessings in the kingdom of God in eternity as on earth. The manger leader, since his source of strength and comfort is the Lord, is neither proud of his wealth nor distressed by his lack of it. He finds his security, contentment and satisfaction in the eternal promises of the Lord. The source of true and lasting riches is Christ Himself.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Ensnaring Nets

UV 2164/10000 The Ensnaring Nets
Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalm 25 v 15

The manger leader or manager always focuses his attention on the Lord. He knows that He is the locus of life around which he can draw a perfect circle. Any other locus would make our lives shapeless, purposeless, meaningless. The reason the Lord is the locus is that He is the only One who cared so much for us, He sent Jesus to deliver us from all of life’s ills. He is the only One who knows our past, present and future. He is the only One who knows the future of the entire world. He is the Only One who knows our hearts thoroughly and searches it frequently.
When we lift up our hearts to the Lord, He sees the burdens that the world and the enemy of our souls have loaded on us. He sees the traps, the snares that the enemy has planned and set against us. When we lift our hearts to the powerful, rich, influential in the world, they would surely let us down. These too are in similar predicaments and are not able to discern their own fate or future. People are too busy trying to improve their net worth without realizing that they may be trapped in the very same net of their pursuits. The enemy is subtle as a bird hunter and tries to get our liberating wings of prayer and the Word caught in the loops of his net. Often, we get ensnared by our own lusts, our own attitudes, our own thoughts, words, actions and desires. But, as we lift our hearts to the Lord, He has compassion on us for we are His creatures, we are His children purchased or redeemed with the blood of His precious Son. The worldly leader or manager gets no reliable help from any other person for all are blind like him but the manger leader or manager gets the help of the Lord. Our eyes need to be completely focussed on the Lord. As Peter began to walk on the water, he took his eyes off Jesus for a split second and he was overcome by fear of drowning and began to sink. Jesus extended his hand while walking on the water and rescued Peter. Likewise, when the disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, they panicked and cried out to Jesus who was sleeping peacefully in a corner of the boat. Jesus rose and spoke to the storm, “Be calm” and the winds and the waves obeyed Him and became peaceful. Often, we are caught in a net of fears. The Lord calms our fears and sets us free.

I just saw a video of a man in a boat who sees a sea turtle desperately struggling against a portion of a net that had entangled its limbs. The man reached out to the turtle, took it in his lap, cut through the net, freed the turtle, kissed it on the nostril before releasing it back into the open sea. The enemy of our souls has a variety of devices to ensnare us. The Lord is able to deliver us from every one of these. He either cuts through the ensnaring net or He pulls us out of the net. He kisses us as a sign of His great love and then sets us free.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 2, 2017

Skilling Us Softly

UV 2163/10000 Skilling Us Softly
And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
Exodus 31 v 3

The manger leader or manager is supernaturally gifted. In this uni-verse, God says emphatically, “ I have filled him..” The filling is not an accident or a natural event but a conscious, volitional act of God. Being invested with the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity who is sent by the Father and the Son to those who entrust their lives to Him, the manger leader or manager is filled and overshadowed by the Spirit. One such was Bezalel, the skilled craftsman who carried out the work of building the Tabernacle as per the design of God given to Moses. The name “Bezalel” means overshadowed by God. When Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, the God child Jesus was conceived in her womb. When Samson was overshadowed, he was filled with awesome physical strength. When Solomon was anointed by the Spirit, he was filled with amazing wisdom to discern good from evil, truth from untruth. Whenever a person is overshadowed by God, the Holy Spirit, he or she is transformed. They are prepared or made competent to fulfil God’s will on earth. The gifting of the Holy Spirit is versatile. Spirit-filled or overshadowed leaders are by definition versatile. They reflect and manifest the unparalleled genius of God. A relentless, persistent, enthusiastic seeking and soaking in the presence of God leads to the filling and the spiritual gifting.

Under the new covenant signed with the blood of the Lamb Jesus, the Holy Spirit imparts diverse gifts: the word of wisdom or counsel, the word of knowledge of the Word, the word of prophecy, healing, the exercise of faith in specific real life situations is itself a gift, working miracles, gift of tongues –unknown as well as heavenly. In the early church setting, the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire that rested on the gathered apostles in fulfilment of the promise of Jesus that they shall receive power from above. The appearance as tongues of fire is an indication that the mouths or communication of the manger leader or manager is most vital. No longer was the tongue to be filled with wickedness, an unruly member of the body that cannot be tamed but a rudder to give direction and balance to the ship called leadership. It was no longer the tiny spark that will set forests on fire but the source of inspiration of faith and good works in the name of Jesus. It was no longer the source of the power of life and death but of life eternal. The gifting of the anointing or filling of the Spirit of God and the consequent impartation of the super soft skills are meant for the perfection, edification, sanctification and enablement of man to fulfil the purpose of God. The Holy Spirit knows our internal wiring and inner being and does the work of building, development and maintenance from deep within our souls. Our weaknesses and blind spots are not challenges for Him but opportunities to manifest His grace and power.

The manger leader is never short of ability or competence as he believes that like St Paul, he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens him” through the overshadowing and the filling of the Holy Spirit. He is omni-competent by grace. He can be all things to all people so that he may win some for Christ and save them for eternity. A friend of mine humourously summed up the gifts as PhD or Preaching, healing and Deliverance. The gifts are to be administered and operated in close conjunction with the nine fruit of the spirit, chiefly in humility, self control, love, joy, peace, patience. A failure to do so would lead to non use, misuse, abuse, human pride, selfishness, jealousy, rivalry and such other divisive spirits, actions and attitudes. A person may not receive, exercise or manifest all the gifts of the Spirit but need to exercise and manifest increasingly all the fruit of the Spirit as adornments and clothing of character. The intuitive, problem solving and creative abilities of the manger leader are of a far higher order than can be naturally explained or understood. The manger leader or manager gives priority and precedence to consideration of character over ability for he knows that when a person is available to God, He can make him able but if he loses these spiritual qualities, he will be like salt that has lost its saltiness, that needs to be thrown on the rubbish heap and cannot be of use to the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Discerning the Times

UV 2162/10000 Discerning the Times
My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
Psalm 31 v 15

It is not for us to decide the time set for different events and milestones in our own lives, let alone in the world. It is the Lord who decides the times and seasons. It is His sovereign power and domain. Jesus had a clear sense of the timing of the Father. At times, He said, “ my hour has not yet come.” Then, when He discerned the time for His arrest, mock trial and crucifixion had come, He said, “ The hour for my departure has come.” Just before His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “ Father, the hour is come: glorify your Son, even as your Son glorifies You.” The manger leader or manager develops this sense of divine timing- the clock and calendar according to which the Lord works in this world. He tries to synchronise his activities and mind to this clock. He develops godly patience or the patience of Jesus. He knows that there are times and seasons of great pain in life which he has to endure and that there are times of joy and pleasure in life that he can enjoy. He also knows that there are eternal and timeless pleasures in the presence of the Lord. The presence of the Lord acts as an anaesthesia or balm of Gilead to either cure the pain or help him endure it.

We need to discern the times and seasons: the time set for sowing the Word of hope, the word of gladness, the word of encouragement, the word of discipline, the word of gratitude, the word of blessing. The time set for reaping hope, gladness, encouragement, discipline, gratitude and blessing. The time set for building and the time set for breaking down. The time set for joy and the time set for repentance and godly sorrow. The time set for celebration and the time set for labour and sacrifice. The time set for receiving and the time set for giving. The prophet Elijah admonished his manager, Gehazi who went secretly to collect a reward from the Syrian general Namaan, : “ Is this the time to receive a reward?” There is a time for speaking and a time to remain silent.

There are also times in life when the manger leader or manager faces troubles and difficulties placed deliberately by those who oppose his values and beliefs. During these troubled times, the Lord promises to deliver him from the unjust and devious who are more powerful or stronger than him. He would do it sometimes by extricating him from the situation as He did in the life of St Paul or at times by turning the tables as He did in the case of Mordecai vs Haman. Mordecai took the place of honour and authority next to the king in place of Haman and Haman took the place of Mordecai in having his head place in th

e hangman’s noose that he had prepared for Mordecai. The question may arise : Did the Father save His Son from His persecutors? Behind the jesting and vacillating Pilate and the scheming Pharisees and fickle mob that bayed for Jesus’ life stood the evil one. The evil one instigated these agents to conspire to have Jesus killed unjustly. Jesus was given over for a one time separation from the Father’s presence and glory, tremendous suffering, seeming shame and great pain by His death on the cross. But the Lord delivered Jesus from death and the grave and glorified His name by His resurrection. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus delivers all mankind from the possibility of eternal death. This is the ultimate deliverance, the greatest victory any man can hope forever to be able to live in God’s glory and presence forever.

Prateep V Philip