Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Enabled, Equipped, Empowered Witnesses

UV 2285/10000 Enabled, Equipped, Empowered Witnesses
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me
Isaiah 43 v 10

The Lord has chosen and declared us to be His living witnesses. We need to know, believe and understand that Jesus is both Saviour and King of our lives. Knowledge of Jesus prepares us to be witnesses. Belief in Jesus enables us. Understanding of Jesus equips and empowers us. We are chosen, enabled, equipped and empowered witnesses. Our faith is not blind but based on our personal knowledge, experience and understanding. We need to witness to our neighbours, friends and contacts about the difference Jesus has brought to our lives. We can witness both verbally and non verbally. The Lord revealed Himself in the Bible through three individuals primarily though He gave revelations to many others: Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Even before the nation of Israel was formed, He revealed that He makes personal covenants with individual human beings by His interactions with Abraham. Moses became the witness of the Lord as the nation of Israel was being formed while still in captivity to Egypt. Jesus Himself became the witness of the Father when Israel was in subjugation to Rome. Each of them witnessed both by their words and by their actions and reactions.

God saw us when we were formed in our mothers’ wombs. He knew us before we know Him. He overhears our mere sighs and whispers. We are not just witnesses of the Lord but His chosen servants. We serve Him in all that we do. From being just creatures of God, we have become witnesses, servants, friends and children of God. Our knowledge of His word enhances our understanding of who God is and what His will for our lives is. The Lord invests or anoints us with His power and authority to fulfil our roles as witnesses, servants, friends and children.

As witnesses, we are to closely observe what the Lord has done in human history, in our personal lives and in the lives of others. As servants, we need to revere, worship and obey Him. As children, we are called to love and adore Him. As friends, we are to enjoy our fellowship with Him at all times. No one and nothing else can take the place of God in our lives. When we focus on Him as the locus of our lives, everything else, all our priorities will fall in place in the right order. As our Saviour, we depend on Him alone for our salvation. As our King, He is sovereign and rules over every dimension of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 29, 2017

Manifestations of Light

UV 2284/10000 Manifestations of Light
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5 v 16

The word light in this uni-verse implies that we should manifest love, integrity, grace, happiness and truth in and through our lives of faith. The light of the Truth that is Jesus shines in us who believe in Him in many ways: It shines forth as the light of integrity or righteousness. The followers of Jesus need to not only live by their faith, they need to live their faith. We cannot walk in darkness or by compromising the truth. If we believe God and His Son Jesus, our Redeemer are perfect, we too need to imitate their perfection as closely as we can. The Lord will fill the gaps with His grace and mercy. Our good deeds will not be dirty rags as stated in the Old Testament but these will be our flags and emblem to show Jesus dwells in and with us. Our good actions and reactions should manifest the goodness of the Lord and manifest it increasingly over the course of our lives.

The light shines in us as the flame of wisdom. We are to take decisions in accordance with our faith and our faith-defined priorities. We are not to decide out of selfish ambition or vanity or pride. Our words of wisdom should reflect the wisdom of the Word. The distance between folly and us should be like the distance between the sun and the moon. The light also shines as the spirit of excellence in us. We need to excel in all that we do for the greater glory of God. We need to exude the light of influence. People should be drawn to us as flies to the fire. White light is comprised of seven colours- VIBGYOR, each colour symbolising a different domain of blessing and being. The new covenant relationship with Jesus makes us inheritors or co-heirs of these seven types of blessings: spiritual, intellectual, familial, social, emotional, financial, physical.

We are called to be a light in our nations and in our generation. We are not to be modest or hide the gifts and blessings the Lord has given us generously. We are to share this light through our generousity, hospitality and giving. The light that is in us is of love- the unconditional or agape love of God. Finally, we are to quietly emit the light of humility. In everything, we are to know that we are zero without Christ. Like the moon, we have no light of our own and we only shine and reflect the light from the Sun of Righteousness on whom we depend for our own healing, blessing and deliverance. The moon always therefore points to the sun as its source of light even as we should do. At no point in our lives should we presume to think that we are the originators of the light. The motivation then of all of our being of light is not our own greatness, fame or glory but to ascribe all praise, glory and goodness to the Lord. This kind of motivation is what distinguishes our world view from the hedonism of existentialism. Neither is the motive of our good deeds altruism or humanitarianism. The goal is to increasingly reflect the glory, greatness and goodness of God. He should increase and we should decrease even as we shine more and more brightly.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 28, 2017


UV 2283/10000 Theography
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
Isaiah40 v 4

The Lord will alter the geography or landscape of our whole lives. I call it Theography. When we entrust our lives to Him, He will re-write in His own words that are immutable, irrecallable. The Lord will exalt the humble and God fearing to the commanding heights of the nation and of the world. Those who have built their own empires and wield great influence and power will be lowered and brought down to ground zero. Those who live without a thought of God are people who think they are smarter than their Creator, that their salvation in in their own hands. They will pursue illusions and delusions all their lives and be disappointed and dismayed at the end. But those who live in hope of the salvation of God will be lifted degree by degree to take their place. The big trees in the forest will be cut down but the small and humble trees will grow and flourish. The dry tree will become green and bear fruit to the surprise of people.

The faithful will not have any truck or link with what is crooked. They walk on the straight and narrow. The Lord will guide their steps day by day, moment by moment. Their feet will not get ensnared by the traps set by the enemy on the way. Their desires are shaped by the Spirit of God and are subjected to the principles embedded in the Word of God. They will hunger for righteousness and seek the glory of the Lord. Their lives will be blessed with many good things.

The difficulties that lie in our path are smoothened or removed by the Lord or He will endow us with strength to endure or overcome these challenges. The Lord as a good parent is more concerned with our character and inner strength than what we achieve in our lives. The resurrection power of Jesus will accomplish all these things in our lives. The Lord sees every believer as Zerubbabel or a governor of Israel, a royal descendant of the house of David. The Lord will remove the daunting obstacles or mountains that lie in our way and lay a smooth path before us to reach where He has planned and intended. When we become spokesman of the kingdom of God, He becomes the one who underwrites what we speak or the One who ensures that none of our words are vain or fall to the ground unaccomplished. Our mere thoughts, words and prayers will act like the miraculous seed of faith.

Prateep V Philip

The Law of the Kingdom

UV 2282/10000 The Law of the Kingdom
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
I Peter 5 v 6

Humbling oneself before God implies obeying the word of the Lord. Humility under God is trusting Him implicitly and obeying Him explicitly. It is an attitude of our hearts. To humble oneself under the hand of God is to realize that all that one is and has is from His hand. This enables us to rise to realize our highest potential, fulfil our highest calling from the Lord. In order to humble ourselves, we need to know that our power, talent, ability and intellect is nothing in comparison with the infinite glory, power, grace of the Lord. We need to trust that the Lord will not turn His power against us willingly. He resists the proud. It implies that He does not fight the proud. He merely ignores the proud and indifferent. As He turns His back on them, they lose His protection, His mercy, His grace and turn themselves into the merciless, ruthless hands of the enemy of their souls.

The Lord never rejects a broken and contrite heart. A broken and contrite heart is one that has realized that only the Lord’s will prevails. It surrenders one’s future and all his hope to the Lord. He finds grace and mercy in the eyes of the Lord. In contrast, a person who is full of himself, who is vain and conceited is opposed by the Lord. Such a person will be brought low by his own pride and arrogance. He thinks that might is right, that his success and pomp will justify his life. The glory that he receives in this world will surely fade. The humble and faithful in contrast believe that the purpose of life is to subject their desires to the beliefs, values, principles enshrined in the word. The infinite power of God is subjected to His infinite justice, mercy, love and grace.

This uni-verse echoes one of the fundamental laws of the kingdom of God. Humbling oneself is a conscious and willing act of the heart of man. It is committing one’s life entirely into the hands of the Lord, accepting what He sends our way and rejecting what He ask us to reject. It is the willingness to walk the way of the cross as Jesus did all the way in the expectation that the Lord will exalt us and glorify us in due time, not sooner or later. When we humble ourselves before the Lord in this manner, exaltation is certain. Only the timing is not known, whether it is in this world or in the life to come. Committing our hearts and lives to Jesus is a once in a lifetime humbling. Confessing our ongoing sins and failings are a daily necessity. Trusting God is a lifetime humbling process. We should not resist the Lord when He re-directs our steps or when He attempts to smoothen the rough patches in our character. We should lie still and yielded like moist clay in His expert hands. We should be ready to give up any treasured goal, any ingrained habit, any offending practice or any baseless belief.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 26, 2017

Born of the Spirit

UV 2281/10000 Born of the Spirit
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit
John 3 v 8

The person born of the flesh is imprisoned by its desires and cannot move freely like the wind. The person born of the Spirit of God and the word of Christ is freed spiritually from every bondage. There is of course, a struggle between the person born of the flesh and the person born of the spirit. The victorious believer is able to bring the person born of the flesh under the control and direction of the person born of the spirit. The person born of the spirit is unpredictable like the wind. Though he is unpredictable in the way he is used and in what is accomplished by the Lord through him, his character and conduct are consistent. The person who is born of the Spirit lives to satisfy the spiritual purpose with which man has been created. Like the wind, he goes to the place which pleases the Lord. He says the things that pleases the Lord. He does the things that pleases the Lord. His spirit is not of this world but is the of the Lord. He is sent by the Lord to do His bidding. His priorities are different. The person born in this world is like Esau who sold his birth right for a pot of meat. The person born of the Spirit is able to give precedence to his spiritual hunger over his physical appetite. He looks to the Lord for the satisfaction of His earthly needs.

The person born of the Spirit acknowledges Jesus as His personal Saviour and Lord. He goes where Jesus sends him. He receives His daily manna that inspires, guides, leads and encourages him. Like the wind, he drives the cloud of blessings that come with the presence of God to where he goes. He is in constant communion with the Spirit of God and is of one mind with Him. The destiny of the person born again of the Spirit is in the hands of the Lord. He determines the path on which he should tread.

To the person born of the Spirit, the Lord reveals His word and His will. The seed of the Lord is the word and it is the word that brought forth new life in the believer. He practices conscious and selective starving and dying to the old self and conscious feeding and living of the new self in Christ. The old life should pass away and the new should thrive. The old life was born of the seed of this world, of sin, of separation from God. The new life is born of the seed of truth, of Jesus who revealed Himself as the way, the truth and the life. The new life is full of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility. The new life is full of wisdom, not of this world but of the Spirit of God. The person born again of the Spirit is prepared and equipped with spiritual gifts to exercise the calling or offices of priest, king, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, ambassador, apostle of Christ.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Record of Tears

UV 2280/10000 The Record of Tears
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
Psalm 56 v 8

It is said that it is possible to cross all the oceans without wetting one’s feet but it is impossible to cross life without wetting one’s eyes. Sorrows are inevitable. We shed different kinds of tears: tears of repentance, tears of pain, tears of desperation, tears of love, tears of hope, tears of remembrance, tears of joy. The Lord keeps a record of our sorrows and our tears and cries. These are like deposits made into the heavenly bank and earn an interest over our lifetime and beyond. No single tear or sorrow is wasted. It comes back to us as the former rain and latter rain of blessings in our lives. What we sow in tears, we reap in joy, laughter, anointing, leading and blessings. He will turn our sorrows into joy. The cause of our sorrow will become the root of our joy. Our tears and cries resonate in the heart of the Lord.
The Lord is closest and most intimate with us when we are walking in sorrow and tears. He sends the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to remind us of who the Lord is and what He has done for us in the past and what He can do now to change our sorrows into joy. He gives us new strength out of our afflictions and and so turns the killer’s plots into His plan for our benefit, our growth and our salvation.
The obstacles and sorrows of our lives are opportunities for the Lord to reveal His grace, mercy and power. This is the reason we should rejoice when we are afflicted. Our sorrows and troubles are real and painful but the Lord’s grace and love are the ultimate reality. The former are temporal and temporary while the latter is eternal and valuable forever. Our testimonies or the proof and evidence of God’s love come out of our tears and sorrows. We wander through life as if there is no specific direction or purpose for our journey. But each sorrow we experience and each affliction we overcome is a milestone on our pilgrimage back to the Lord. Like the prodigal son, the pleasures of the world might attract us and draw us away from the Lord but the pains and afflictions will draw us back to our Father in heaven. He will receive us back with great mercy, grace and love. He will honour us with His best. This time round we will love Him back truly and without distraction or doubt for we know now that He loves us undeservedly when we should have fallen under His wrath and penalty.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Strength and Sensitivity

UV 2279/10000 Strength and Sensitivity
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Isaiah 59 v 1

Strength and sensitivity are the two traits of the Lord. His heart is sensitive and His arms are mighty to save. There is no place He cannot reach, no person He cannot touch, no situation He cannot change. He is sovereign and absolute in His power. His ears are always inclined to the mouths and hearts of men to hear their words and even their sighs. We often think due to our lack of faith and our conditioning that the hand of the Lord is too short to be able to do certain things. But the Lord is both willing and able to help us. Nothing is too hard or impossible for Him. We only need to impress upon Him the necessity of that which we seek in Him.

We too should try to imitate these traits of the Lord. We should try to acquire both the strength and the sensitivity to use the power vested in us aptly. In ourselves, we are weak and limited beings but through our faith in the Lord, we can attempt the impossible and difficult. He does not make what is difficult easy for us but He increases our strength, our confidence and wisdom so that we are able to accomplish that which we seek. Power is shaped by responsibility. Our responsibility again depends on our response ability. We need to analyse in any given situation what our response should be from a range of choices. Then, we should go ahead and do it.

The problems and challenges in this world are so huge and daunting that it often discourages us with the thought of its futility and vanity. The story of the humming bird that attempted to save its fellow creatures in the forest by trying to douse the forest fire with a single drop of water in its tiny beak should inspire us to develop the courage, the confidence, the hope and faith to attempt to do all that lies with us to do in any given situation, however difficult or impossible. Our faith will move the hand of the Lord to act on our behalf so that it is resolved. We need to imitate the Lord by consistently doing that which we can. When we keep doing what we can, we will end up doing what we cannot – the difficult and impossible.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Our Crying Need

UV 2278/10000 Our Crying Need
And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
Matthew 20 v 32

Two blind men cried out loudly when they heard Jesus was passing through the town of Jericho. It got the attention of Jesus who asked them, “What can I do for you?” The blind men said, “ We want our sight.” Jesus knew that the one thing the blind men needed most was their sight. They knew that Jesus could give them sight. It was for them an opportunity of a lifetime. They therefore did not ask for alms or a few coins of money as they would have to any other passerby. They asked for their sight. Immediately, Jesus had compassion on them and they received their sight and followed Him. Today, the Lord is passing near us. As we cry out to Him, He asks us, “What can I do for you?” Do we ask Him for alms or money? Or do we ask Him for the one thing we most need at the time. We need vision to follow and serve Him.

The one thing the blind men needed was also the greatest thing they needed. It was a need only God can meet. We need to ask Jesus the greatest need that only God can meet. The versatile capacity of Jesus to meet a variety of human needs in a variety of situations from providing wine in the wedding feast at Canna to raising Lazarus from the dead shows us that Jesus is able to do that which we need the most at any given time in our lives. We need to cry out to Jesus to get His attention. Jesus gave His full attention to the two blind men. When He turns to us, we should ask Him to grant us that one thing that we need the most, the one thing that only He can do. He will give His full and undivided attention. The two blind men received sight that enabled them to rise and follow Jesus. The two blind men used their hearing faculty to hear about the coming of Jesus to their vicinity. Their hearing of Jesus led to their receiving their sight. We too by hearing the word of Jesus can receive a vision. We too will receive that which will enable us to rise and follow Jesus the rest of our lives.

In the past week, I cried out to the Lord for the healing of a young wife and mother of two children. The Lord granted healing. The Lord is able to meet our every crying need. He has compassion on us and He is able to do that which we ask. The chief quality of Jesus in meeting human needs is not His ability but His compassion. He does not do miracles to prove He is God but He does it to fulfil our deepest need out of even deeper compassion. He knew the lifelong pain of the two blind men but He wanted them to exercise their own faith in spelling out their need and their faith that Jesus could heal and restore their sight. Today, Jesus is asking each one of us, “ What is it that you want me to do for you?” The gospel of Jesus asks us to “spell it out”. We need to spell out our need and the Lord will meet it so that we receive the good news of having that need met and our hearts will be overflowing with joy and gratitude like that of the two blind men who were healed.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Verbal Integrity

UV 2277/10000 Verbal Integrity
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Colossians 3 v 8

Anger is distinguished from wrath only in terms of degree. Both stem from a lack of self control which is a fruit of the Spirit indwelling in us. When we display anger or allow wrath to take control of our selves, we are both defiling our whole being and blaspheming the glorious name of Christ. We are not to harbour feelings of bitterness and malice in our hearts. When our hearts are full of such bitterness, it flows out of our mouths as anger and wrath. To express anger, one uses foul words or expressions. Such corrupt communication does not do our reputation or our testimony any good as witnesses of Jesus.

Our mouths are expected to be like a sweet spring out of which flow the words of living water that bring hope, meaning, grace, love and strength to our listeners. It is not a poison spring that gives vent to our frustrations, our disappointment, our rage, our passion. We are to allow our spirits and minds to be ruled by the Holy Spirit and not allow any part of our being like our minds or our tongues to be taken advantage of by the enemy of our souls. Anger and wrath are like temporary insanity or madness. It harms our relationships and mars our judgement. We will only have reason to regret having spoken harsh words in anger or wrath. We are to pour water on the flames of strife and not kindle it by our careless words.

The uni-verse exhorts us to put it off like one would a heavy burden or throw it off as one would dirty clothes that would stain our being. We need to practice the integrity of our mouths- to use it to build faith, to encourage, to give wise counsel, to bless others, to minister grace of God to others. If we also use it to give vent to anger, wrath, unforgiveness, rudeness, vulgarity, then we become double tongued or forked like the serpent’s tongue. We are administrators of grace to bring others in touch with the love and mercy of the Lord. Our tempers and tongues as well as our heart attitudes should be a help, a facilitator and not be a hindrance in our task as administrators of grace.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Patterns of Transformation

UV 2276/10000 Patterns of Transformation
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4 v 8

We need to be wise in how we think in order to make it better. We need to be humble in how we think in order to make life blessed. We need to be joyful in how we think in order to make life cheerful. We need to be truthful in how we think to make life sincere. We need to be gentle in how we think to make life smooth. We need to be diligent in how we think to make life successful. We need to be loving how we think to make life worthwhile.

Thinking is at the root of human spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical progress. The uni-verse urges us to be wholesome and holistic thinkers. Normally, thinking is thought of as something complex, intellectual, cold , lifeless and impractical. It is not meant for the ordinary person. But St Paul knew the importance of the sanctity and impact of human thought. We are to think of our moral standards and live by these. Our downward decline as individuals and as society begins the moment we cease to think about our need to be true, good, wise, pure, virtuous, harbingers of glory to God. Jesus is our practical guide, coach and ultimate and absolute standard bearer in living out these values. Initially, each of us is like Saul after he was blinded by the light of the Jesus vision. But as we dwell on His light, live by His word and think of its practical impact on our lives in terms of teaching us eternal truth, the scales fall off and we begin to see and experience in real terms eternal goodness, peace, piety, purity, diligence, godly ambition and all that wins us the esteem of both God and man.

Our thinking pattern should not conform to the patterns of our contemporaries or of the present world but be transformative. Our paradigm or pattern should shift from falsehood to truth, from evil and negativity to goodness and positivity, from dishonesty to honesty and integrity, from injustice to justice and righteousness, from impurity to purity, from what is sordid and ugly to what is lovely and truly beautiful, from things that spoil our testimony, our reputation, our goodwill to things that enhance these, from vice to virtue, from things that bring us condemnation and criticism to things that bring appreciation and praise to the Lord. When the pattern of our thoughts change in this manner, then the pattern of our speech, goals, priorities, actions, reactions, behaviour, emotions also change effectively and eternally.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Master's Key

UV 2275/10000 The Master Key
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open
Isaiah 22 v 22

The key of the house is a symbol of authority, power, responsibility. The house of David is a royal house. We belong by faith and grace to the royal lineage of King David and of Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the key to the house of David. A key has two parts- the holding handle which has a stem or staff that ends in slots and divisions that fit exactly into the similar shaped spaces inside the lock. The handle part is our faith in Jesus, the slots or divisions part are the specific verses or uni-verses that the Lord has spoken to us in specific situations where we need to lock certain threats or fears or open certain blessings or opportunities. It is the master key not made with human hands but gifted by the Lord. It is the key to establishing the kingdom of God on earth. It is the key to success, peace and prosperity. It is the key to opportunities and the blessings of the Lord. It is the key to locking the doors of death and hell. With this key, we lock the door of the second and spiritual death of our souls. Once locked, no one can open this door. It is the key to open the door of eternal life and of heaven.

What we pronounce in faith on earth opens or releases blessings from heaven. What we open is opened, what we bind is bound in heaven. He sends us His blessings as the early rain, the seasonal rain and the latter rain. He sends it as the dew of His compassion afresh every morning. The government of the universe rests on the shoulder of Jesus and He delegates the authority and power to administer to His faithful followers. All earthly power and authority will decline over time but the authority and power of Jesus always expands and never declines or wanes. Jesus referred to Himself as the Door. His word is the key to that Door. Many people mistakenly assume that faith is the key only to the other world but it is the key to being a better family person, a better worker, a more successful and responsible person, a better citizen, a better leader, a better human. It is the key to unlocking the chains of bad habits, negative attitudes, poor relationships. It is the key to unlocking power, unblocking blessings of heaven. It is the key to locking our destructive, sinful potential and unlocking our potential to be creative, compassionate, calm and courageous.

As long as the words of Jesus are enshrined in our hearts and minds, our thoughts, plans and words become the key of David to open and shut doors. We build our house on the rock of faith. No storm or wind can shake us. Security is our foundation. On that foundation, we build with the precious stones of love, hope, excellence. Our gates open onto salvation. Our roof or canopy is the assurance of salvation. Our walls are peace and prosperity. The windows of our lives are the worship that open continually towards heaven like the window in Daniel’s quarters. The word offers us the perfect, effective and simple solutions or keys to the complex problems and predicaments of our lives. The Lord promises us that when we knock on the door of heaven, He will open the door. In our prayers, we should persist in targeting closed doors that the Lord wants opened, open doors He wants closed. The promise in this uni-verse that no one can shut the door the Lord opens makes us faithful, assured and fearless. We only need to be strong and courageous to enter through the open door. We also need to be submissive and obedient not to attempt to open or enter a door closed by the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Determination

UV 2274/10000 The Determination
Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
Isaiah 41 v 9

The Lord ‘s determination is the reason that we are chosen of Him. He has not chosen us from the ends of the earth not as we are qualified to be chosen but purely by His grace. He has not chosen the wise of this world, the scholars, the super talented, the brilliant, the mighty, powerful and wealthy so that none can boast of their glory in His presence. He has chosen the foolish to confound the wise, the weak to confuse the strong. We are chosen from such so that it is evident to all and to us that it is nothing but a work of grace.

We are the hard won inheritance of the Father and of the Son. We have not been won easily or without paying the price. He will not give up on us. He has set His love and hope upon us. The Lord has invested all He is and has in our lives. He expects a return on His investment and it is His determination to obtain it. He has called us to be a servant as also His beloved, His precious jewel, His eternal bride, His proud possession, His kingdom of interconnected hearts beating to the love rhythms of His own heart. We are as cheap coal and mere carbon when He finds us but He turns us into multi-faceted diamonds of excellence and great beauty and power. He qualifies the called and chosen of Him by grace. Like Moses was immune from the power of Pharaoh and Pharaoh was powerless and vulnerable before the power manifested through Moses, the chosen of God are before the high and mighty of this world. Those who are not chosen are like the dust and chaff before the chosen. They might seem resplendent in the glory of this world but it will last only for a time and eventually will be reduced to dust or nothingness like all the kings and mighty men of history.

The Lord raises us up to reveal His glory, grace and power to the entire world. We serve Him by being His truthful and faithful witnesses. The word “witness” in normal parlance means one who sees a particular event or happening in his presence. But in kingdom terms, it means one who experiences the love, grace, mercy, power, victory and determination of the Lord. In some aspects, we are passive witnesses who just need to wait for the Lord to act. In some aspects, we are active witnesses who have a responsibility and a role to play in seeing that our choices as the chosen of God are aligned with His word and will. We are to follow the path of least resistance to God’s will, word and determination and maximum resistance to our own wills, the desires and demands of our own flesh and egos, the patterns, conditioning and “golden calves” imposed on us by the world, our peers, our contemporaries.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 8, 2017

Of Him, Through Him, To Him

UV 2273-10000 Of Him, Through Him, To Him

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Romans 11 v 36

Of Him, through Him, to Him are the three dimensions of our relationship with the Triune God. Origin, purpose, power and accomplishment are only of Him. The inclusion of everything good and the exclusion of everything evil is only possible by being united with God through Jesus. We are created by Him in His image with a consciousness of the divinity of our being and are therefore, Of Him. Everything we are and everything we have are of Him. We need to acknowledge Him as the genesis and the ultimate of anything good in our lives, and anything good that we can attempt with our lives. Nothing happens in our lives by mere chance or quirk of fate. It is by His sovereign will and decision. Everything we do should necessarily be of Him or blessed by Him in order to be purposeful and fruitful.

Through Him implies that we can do all things only by His power and grace at work in us and around us. He is not just the destination of our journey but the very way itself. He is both the source and the culmination. He is not just the way to the truth but the Truth Himself. He is the way to succeed. He is the way to excel. He is the way to find meaning, purpose and significance in life. It is by understanding and applying the truths taught by Jesus that we can better ourselves and improve our lives. Through Him ,we find strength to endure hardship, joy in the blessings He has given us. Through Jesus, we receive wisdom, knowledge, understanding to live our lives. Through His sacrifice on the cross, our price or penalty is paid. Through His love, we enter into a Father-child relationship with God.

To Him means that we attribute all the goodness of our lives to Jesus. We do everything for the greater glory of the Father. We are devoted, dedicated and consecrated to Him as His kings and priests on earth. We use our gifts, our talents and resources to please Him and not ourselves. Our past, present and future converges in His eternal dimension. We return to Him at the end of our lives on earth. To Him we belong and to Him belong all praise, glory, thanksgiving, dominion, salvation and all that is good and wholesome in our lives. He is the be all and end all of our lives. In all that we are, think, speak, do we try to access, avail, benefit and bring more and more glory or the consciousness of His greatness, His magnificence, His uniqueness, His virtues, His power, His mercy and grace.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Valley of Victory

UV 2272/10000 Valley of Victory
For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.
2 Kings 3 v 17

This uni-verse is a promise to the faithful children of the Lord. The Lord will cause rivers to flow in the wilderness and desert. He will cause springs to rise in the dry lands or areas of our lives as we look to Him in faith even as Elisha, the prophet looked to the Lord. The three kings of Israel, Judah and Edom had marched with their armies against Moab for seven days and were trapped in a dry and wild area with no water in sight for their armies and animals. Jehoshaphat then recalled the successor of Elijah, Elisha the prophet. Elisha called for the minstrel to play worshipful music. The Lord then gave this uni-verse as a revelation. It encouraged the hearts of the crestfallen kings and armies. It quenched the parched throats of their armies and re-invigorated them to take up the fight against the Moabites. It was a sign that victory was theirs. The Lord had done the supernatural again by providing water in abundance without a sign of wind or clouds or rain.

Our valleys or the low points in our lives will become sources of much unimagined blessings. The Lord will use these “valley times” in our lives to increase our faith as we keep praising and thanking Him like Elisha’s minstrel. The water or the answers and solutions the Lord provides for us in our difficult times will greatly strengthen our faith and enable us to overcome our foes and spiritual enemies. The underlying message is that as we hold onto our faith in Jesus, nothing is unreasonable, unimaginable or impossible for us. We have no cause for despair, hopelessness, frustration, fear or anxiety as long as we have the Lord with us. God does not need any ingredients to put us on the gradient of victory. Instead of despairing, we should rejoice that we are about to experience the supernatural, what eye has not seen or ear has not heard. For a person of faith, every dry valley has potential to put him on a new plane of spiritual challenge, elevation, growth and experience. The Lord uses our ‘low points’ to experience the high points of His power, grace and mercy.

It is not our armies or our resources, our strength, our abilities, talents, our opportunities, our connections, our wisdom, our brilliance that gives us victory. True, the Lord can use these but it is the Lord’s word and will that gives us hope in abnormal times, in times of imminent disaster, in times of overwhelming odds against us. We might worry sometimes that our current level of income and finances are not sufficient to meet our needs. This uni-verse reassures us that even if there seems no sign of a financial or professional breakthrough, the Lord will ensure that there is enough and more water in our wells. Like Jehoshaphat sought to find the Lord’s word and will in a given strategic situation, we should seek His word and will. When we look back at our lives, we find that it is in our dry valley times that we are closest and full of faith in the grace, mercy, faithfulness and power of the Lord. Physically, factually, empirically, scientifically, there may be no sign of deliverance. Yet, as long as we hold onto our belief in these dry valley times, He will give us relief. His presence with us is worth far more than all the finances, food, water, comforts, assurances of this world.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Image of the Human Leader

UV 2271/10000 The Image of The Human Leader
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1 v 27

Faith-based, scripture-based answers fill the gaps in the science-based questions that we ask like why did God create us. He created us to be like Him. We are therefore a created being who is to be like the Creator. We are not to cast Him in our image, rather He has cast or moulded us in His image. What are the characteristics of God? He is creative. We are to be creative. He is thoughtful. We are to be thoughtful. Scripture also says that God is love and so, we too are to be loving. God is Spirit and has no physical form. Hence, though we have physical form, our essential nature is spiritual. We are to seek His kingdom, His character, His righteousness and His glory. God brings order out of chaos, form out of shapelessness, light out of darkness, water out of dryness, reason out of confusion, truth out of untruth. We too are to be partners with Him and like Him in bringing order, peace, security and progress out of chaos and darkness. We are a blend of spirit, mind and body, of reason, emotion and action, of thought and imagination.

When man first fell or sinned or came short of the standards of God, the image of God in us was distorted or corrupted. The divine faculties of reason, thought, emotions, imagination, action and reaction became distorted and used for purposes other than what God had designed us for. God out of His great love sent of His own, Jesus the divine Being to be one like us in order to restore us to the fullness of the original image in which we were first created. We are to aim to be the living image of Jesus today for we were created in the image of Jesus. We should cast away every thought, word, emotion, action or reaction that distorts that image of Christ in us.

God created man and placed him in a garden. The word “garden” has hidden in it the phrase, “guard Eden.” We need to guard our inner kingdom of thoughts, feelings, desires as our paradise or Eden. We need to guard our homes, our families, our cities, villages, nations as our Eden or outer paradise lest these become the den of thieves and robbers. We should use not only our reason but our imagination or the ability to project and create images of our own as God does. We are not only to be creative or innovative leaders, we are to be caring leaders or servant leaders like Jesus who subjected the exercise of power to the rule of love. We are to be cautious and prudent leaders in the Eden entrusted to us.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Royal Priesthood

UV 2270/10000 Royal Priesthood
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 1 v 6

Our new identity in Christ is to be kings and priests before Christ and God, the Father. A priest is known for fear of God. The law of God inspires more respect and reverence in a true priest of God than the laws of man. For him the awe of God is the wow of life. He is known for his word of wisdom, his word of worship and his word of worth. A true priest is humble before and under Christ and God, the Father. A true priest leans not on his own understanding but learns from the Holy Spirit the truths of God. A true priest slays his own ego at the altar of the Father. He never takes the place of God by judging others and he does not bear a grudge against anyone. He is compassionate. He is always conscious of his own limitations and the infinite power of God. A true priest is obedient to the word of the Father and of Jesus. He desires not his own glory or benefit but the glory of God and the benefit of others. He aims to be perfect like the Father and Jesus. He tries his best to do all things well in order to bring blessing, honour, glory, power, praise to the Lord. He is not conceited or proud. He manifests the love of God or agape to all he comes in contact with as a messenger of the Lord. He is one who blesses and not one who curses others, one who appreciates and not criticises others. He is self effacing and points everyone and everything to the Lord. He relies on grace, wisdom and spirit of the Lord. He offers sacrifices of his own preferences, comforts and choices to the Lord. He is cheerful despite all circumstances. He is hopeful that things will always change for the better. He always acts out of faith that God will provide. A priest exercises influence on behalf of the kingdom of God. A true priest practices the beatitudes of Christ. He seeks to be pure in his thoughts, clear in his goals and clean in his words. He remains calm and meek and is a seeker and keeper of peace. As a priest of the Most High God, he is a counsellor, a comforter, a friend, guide, teacher and coach to those who seek his help or advice. A true priest talks the walk. He is known for his anointed words or God-enabled words.

The uni-verse places a paradox before our eyes. A believer is not only a priest who is humble but he is a true king who exercises authority over the spiritual world. When he commands, “ Let there be light”, there will be light or truth in the world of darkness. When he commands, “Let there be healing and deliverance,” there will be healing and deliverance. A king exercises power on behalf of the kingdom of God. The boundaries of the kingdom of God is marked not by territory but by the hearts of people. A king always secures his existing boundaries of authority and power while seeking to expand it further through spiritual warfare. A king’s mind is directed and led by the Lord who has anointed him. A true king is assertive without being aggressive, gracious without having his generosity being taken advantage of. A true king is proud of his lineage from the Christ, the King of Kings. He seeks to leave his mark and legacy as a tribute to Christ. A true king delights in works of perfection and excellence. A true king is merciful and faithful. A true king is not bound by mere precedent or tradition and custom. He is insightful, wise and creative. He stands for justice and integrity. He is bold as a lion even as he is gentle as a dove. Like Jesus, a true king is focussed on service and not on being served. A true king walks the talk. He is known for his anointed actions or God-enabled actions.

A true king and priest tries to honour God in all that he is, does and has. The biblical parallels for a true king and priest are the king of Salem, Melchizedek, Daniel, the slave turned administrator, Joseph, the slave turned ruler of Egypt and above all Jesus, the carpenter-turned-Rabbi turned Sacrifice turned Saviour turned Most High Priest and Prince among Kings. A true king and priest thinks as well as prays globally and acts locally. He sets an example to those he leads. He is a person of both words and actions, words when words are required, actions when actions are called for. We have not made ourselves kings and priests but Jesus has called us and anointed us as kings and priests, not bound or limited by time or space. This divine calling has several implications: all glory and thanksgiving belongs to Jesus and the Father who sent Him to us and He will equip and enable us to complete our mandate to be kings and priests forever. The territory or domain is not physical but spiritual. Miracles are expected. Angels serve us to enable us to serve the Lord. Physical manifestations of spiritual power and grace of priests and kings may not always accompany the exercise of royal priesthood.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Walking with the Wise

UV 2269/10000 Walking with The Wise
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed
Proverbs 13 v 20

To walk with the wise implies to talk with the wise. A person who perfects his tongue is wise as he passes his thoughts, words and emotions through many sieves before anything escapes from his lips. Our company can truly corrupt our minds. The kind of conversation we have with those we spend most of our time influences our lives in many ways. Our choices, our lifestyle, our habits are influenced by our companions just as iron sharpens iron.

Likewise, those who spend time in the company of the unwise end up behaving like them. Their decisions, speech and conduct would be influenced by people with a corrosive impact on values just as rusted iron passes on the rust on whatever it is rubbed on. Peer pressure compels most teenagers to make wrong choices early in life such as drinking heavily, smoking, doing drugs, having premarital sex and so on. King Rehoboam, the successor of the wisest king Solomon instead of heeding the counsel of the older and wiser chose to listen to his younger friends and thereby, made himself a wicked and unfit ruler.

Walking and talking with Jesus is the most positive of influences in our lives. He will guide us in our relationships. He will give us discernment and true spiritual wisdom to make the best decisions in every situation in life. Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we should realize that the Lord is present with us even when we do not recognize Him. We should listen intently to His voice and His word and allow it to burn the truths of life into our hearts. We should allow His word to comfort us in our moments of anguish, to encourage us and enable us to stay blessed and victorious. To walk with Jesus is to follow His example in all aspects of our lives, to discern what He would do in any given situation and then, go ahead and do it. To walk with Jesus is to also live in fellowship and unity with other believers in such a way as to build our faith and theirs in a wholesome or holistic way. Instead of being influenced by the wayward, the foolish, the godless and the wicked, we should learn to appreciate the good points of our fellow believers and try not just to appreciate it but to emulate it in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Just One More Time

UV 2268/10000 Just One More Time
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven
Matthew 18 v 22

Jesus in the words of this uni-verse is not asking us to keep a count of the number of times we have forgiven someone or that we can stop forgiving the 490th time. He is telling us that there is no limit on the number of times we are to forgive someone. Every time we forgive someone, be prepared to forgive him just one more time. Should he err in some way and again offend us, we should forgive him just one more time. Each time we can hope that he will not offend us again but knowing human nature and our own tendency to err over and over again in the same way, we should brace ourselves to forgive him just one more time.

Jesus, the Master Psychologist and expert in human relations that He is, knows that much of the bitterness in our lives comes from our inability to forgive people for real or imagined offences repeatedly and the inability of people to break character traits and habits. If we just follow this principle of “forgive just one more time”, we can avoid a lot of the personal misery , anger and bitterness we encounter in our relationships particularly with people in our close circles both at home and at work. Most marriages would be saved. Relationships between brothers and sisters would be renewed each time we forgive. Family ties would be strong and unbreakable.
Very often when we repeat the words of the Lord, “forgive us as we forgive others”, we secretly desire that we be forgiven much more than we forgive others. But the measure of the Lord’s forgiveness matches the yardstick and standard of forgiveness we practice in our daily lives. The Lord does not want us to take His mercy and forgiveness for granted. We cannot be harsh in our judgement of others while expecting kindness and compassion for ourselves. We are not practicing even double standards but multiple standards, depending on the person who we are relating to. Only when we realize the infinite compassion of the Lord and the countless times He has forgiven us, we will cease to keep a record of the wrongs, real or perceived, that others have done to us. Forgiveness releases us from the burden of carrying bad memories. Every time we relate to a person, it will be with a fresh slate. We will not hold the writing of his past misdeeds against him. Having said that, we need to always leave the impression with the other person that this would be the last time we forgive him so that we are not re-victimised in any way.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Father's Grip

UV 2267/10000 The Father’s Grip
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

John 10 v 29

Jesus always acknowledged and praised the greatness of the Father. He never tries to appropriate the glory of the Father. He attributes all goodness and greatness and power to the Father in heaven. Even all the people who believed in the word and work of Jesus were given to Him by the Father. We did not, therefore come to Jesus on our own but we were given to Him as an inheritance among mankind. We belong to Jesus according to the express will and choice of the Father.

The question arises whether our own hearts and minds play any role in being so chosen by the Father and given to the Son Jesus. It is certainly not any inherent goodness on our part but a deep sense of need of union and fellowship with the Father gets the attention and compassion of the Lord. Once we are chosen, can we be lost? Can we be separated from the Father’s love? St Paul had such sense of security in his personal relationship with Jesus and with the Father that he wrote in the epistles that neither death, nor depth nor height nor persecution nor anything else can separate us from the love of the Father.

The prodigal son in the parable of Jesus never returned to his life of separation from his father once he was welcomed back into the latter’s house. Likewise, we are firmly fastened to the Father by and through the Son Jesus. There are powerful forces at work to try to draw us away from the Father but the Lord battles for us. He becomes our wall of protection to prevent anyone from plucking us out of the Father’s hand. Picture ourselves being held in His firm and strong hand and the world and the enemy of our souls trying to prise us away but in vain. The Father’s five fingers that hold us firmly are the Word, the Holy Spirit, the fellow believers who pray and encourage us in our walk of faith, our inner assurance of salvation, our trust and hope in the many promises of God. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God that He continues to breathe into us. He communicates the love of the Father. The grip of the Father’s hand on us is not to crush us or to harm us but to hold us securely and forever in His love. We should cease to struggle or wrestle to get out of His “love grip.” Whenever we face troubles or tribulations, His grip is tighter around us. Even when we on our own accord try to move away, He never gives up on us.

Prateep V Philip