Monday, July 31, 2017

The Lighter Yoke

UV 2736/10000 The Lighter Yoke
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Matthew 11 v 29
A heavy yoke is used for ploughing hard and dry ground. But when we give our hearts to Jesus, a light yoke is enough to plant the good seed in the smaller moist furrows of our hearts, minds and souls. The lighter yoke that Jesus offers us is the yoke of the fear of God. It is much lighter and burdensome than the yoke of the fear of man, fear of evil, fear of death, fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of the future. The yoke of Jesus is the yoke of love or a deep and personal relationship with the Lord God Himself. All our earthly burdens will feel lighter as the Lord Himself lifts our burdens from our shoulders and off our minds. The yoke that is heavy and burdensome is to try to obtain our own salvation by our own efforts. The heavy yoke of this world are the sorrows and stress of a life without the help of the Creator-Redeemer. The lighter yoke is that Jesus Himself took the heavy burden or responsibility for bearing the consequences of sin upon Himself. We need not struggle with God and ourselves hereafter. The yoke that Jesus offers His followers is the yoke of wisdom. Wisdom is supernatural decisional intelligence that enables us to avoid the wrong choices that we are prone to as the physical descendants of Adam and Eve and to make the right choices as the spiritual descendants of Jesus. The yoke that Jesus gives us is the anointing of the Holy Spirit who inspires, guides, goads, informs, corrects, encourages, comforts, gifts us, builds us, empowers and enables us. The yoke of Jesus are the godly principles He taught us for in remembering, observing and keeping these we build our lives on an unshakeable rock foundation. If the foundation is rock , the load factor or the burden of the building of our lives will never come crashing down on account of overloading. The yoke that He gives us is the fellowship we have with Him and the fellowship of fellow believers in His name.

The yoke that Jesus offers us is that of learning from a real, living and perfect person- He Himself. We do not have the wearisome task of learning from books, from theories or through trial and error that often turns out to be ‘trial and terror’. The yoke that Jesus offers us is to be fruitful or productive in terms of our character and our qualities and not in terms of external or extraneous goals like worldly goods and wealth. The primary qualities of Jesus that we need to model on and emulate are His meekness and gentleness despite having all the armies of heaven, the chariots of fire at His beck and call any time. He did not rely on power but on love and meekness to touch and transform human lives.

The rest, relief, release, healing and renewal we receive by accepting the yoke of Jesus is not just for our bodies or minds but for our souls and spirits. We experience inner strength, vision, healing, deliverance, restoration, revival, transformation of both our character, our perspectives and our destiny. We will run and not get tired as the more we run for the Lord, the more energy and strength we derive from Him. We will rise on the wings of prayer and the Word to the very throne room of heaven. We will begin to realize that no task is too difficult, no difficulty will be too unbearable, no barrier will be insurmountable.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Casting off the Veils

UV 2735/10000 Casting off the Veils
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3 v 18
There are many veils covering our spiritual eyes or blinding our inner vision. This is the reason that Jesus described the world as “the blind leading the blind.” These veils keep us from perceiving the presence, the power and the glory of the Lord. God the Father made man in the image of Christ at the beginning of time. But man chose to separate Himself from God by his acts of omission and commission. Man departed from the perfect model on which basis he was created. When Jesus died on the cross the veil of the Temple that separated the altar from the rest of the temple was torn from top to bottom, indicating that God Himself had torn the veil that separated mankind from Him. The veils that separate us from the Lord are our sins, our pride, our lusts, our self deception, our ignorance, our traditions, our past conditioning that limits our faith, our desire to please people, our belief in our own limited knowledge, understanding and wisdom, our lack of sincerity and willingness to compromise with the world.. We can throw off all these blinkers and enjoy full 20/20 vision that enables us to gaze into eternity. We are now being restored like works of art that have been damaged back to the pristine glory of the original- the image of Christ.

The blinded mind of man cannot know what it cannot see. With our human nature, we cannot perceive the Lord face to face but we can see His perfect image in the mirror of His word. We see the perfect image of the Father in His Son Jesus and we see the perfect image of Jesus in the word . We are not to conform to the patterns of the world but conform to the patterns of the word. We are to conform to the image of Christ. We discern His character, we understand the depth and other dimensions of His love, power and grace by studying the word and applying it to our lives. The law given through Moses subjected people to judgement and death. Yet, it was a glorious leap forward for mankind to have received the ten commandments through Moses. But it is much more glorious to perceive Christ in the word and to become like Him, degree by degree, little by little, day by day, moment by moment. Instead of the letter of the law that sears our conscience with guilt since we fall short of it by any measure, we now have the spirit of liberty that sets us free from all guilt and condemnation. The Spirit convinces us of the truth of the word and convicts us of salvation. A believer can never be set in his ways. He has to be always learning, always growing, always changing for the better.

Transformation is conforming to the perfect image of Jesus by obeying, practicing, applying the truths hidden in the word but revealed by the Holy Spirit. The transformation does not happen overnight but it is a lifelong daily process of imbibing the word and removing all the veils that hide the invisible image of Christ from our vision. We are to conform to the new patterns revealed in the word: new patterns of thinking, feelings, speech, priorities, goals, plans, actions, reactions and relationships. As we do so, with such unveiled or open vision, we experience both the liberty and the effulgent or fullness of glory of the presence and the power of the Lord at work in our life’s patterns and experiences. When we are fully restored, we become like the first born Jesus, brothers and sisters of the same family with the same spiritual, emotional and intellectual DNA.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Cost of Belief

UV 2735/10000 The Cost of Belief
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake
Philippians 1 v 29

Believers in Christ should not only enjoy the benefits or multitude of blessings of such faith but be prepared to pay the cost of belief- suffering. Jesus said, “"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” We are building a temple for the Lord with our lives. We need to know how much it will cost us and be prepared to pay it. Many believers right through the centuries from the first century of the Lord’s coming have suffered the cost of being put to death. We need not be surprised that believers in Jesus continue to be the most persecuted world-wide and through the ages though they are gentle and aim for resurrection, not insurrection.
No one is greater than their leader. When our leader Jesus Himself suffered all types of “costs”- shame, pain, agony, loneliness, betrayal, desertion, death, we too are liable to suffer. Only when we are partakers of His suffering, can we also partake in His glory- the resurrection from the dead, to be seated at the right hand of the throne of the Father, to dwell in the mansion built by the Father forever, to receive the crown of righteousness that never fades. When the mother of two disciples asked Jesus if her two sons would be seated next to Him, He asked if they are prepared to drink the cup of suffering that He was soon to drink from. This perspective does not however mean that we invite suffering or that we do nothing to alleviate or pre-empt suffering but it means a willing submission to suffering that is inevitable and God-willed or allowed. The willingness to suffer for one’s belief in Jesus is often the test of the genuineness of our faith and it is also of immense evidentiary or testimonial value to touch the hearts and lives of others who hear of our attitude and response when subjected to suffering.
The difference between the Old covenant believers and the new covenant believers are that the latter do not complain about their suffering for the cause of their faith while the former complained, grumbled, murmured, rebelled in the wilderness about their suffering in the wilderness. The difference between the stoic or the philosophical and the new covenant believer are that the stoic do not complain about earthly hardship or suffering, face it with equanimity while the believer in Jesus accept it both willingly and gladly. The vision of heaven that Stephen received at the time of his being stoned to death by a crowd, that included a man who was soon to be St Paul, filled him with an inexplicable hope and joy. It is hope that fills us with joy and not the other way round as the world sees it that joy fills us with hope.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Multicoloured Favour of the Lord

UV 2734/10000 The Multi-coloured Favour of the Lord
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Genesis 37 v 3
Joseph was the favourite of his father, Jacob. But the favour of the father imperilled his life while the favour of the Lord lifted him out of one crisis to another. The favour of his earthly father was vested in a token symbol- a multi-coloured coat while the favour of the heavenly Father put his star in the ascendant, a rainbow in the sky of seven colours as a sign of the Father’s covenant with all who trusted in Him. The rainbow is a natural sign of supernatural favour. Man’s favour can be taken away while the favour of the Lord rescues, establishes, exalts us. We should not therefore prefer the man-made multi-colour coat over the covenant relationship we have with the heavenly Father through His Son Jesus. The torn, blood soaked multi-coloured coat of Joseph's staged death is a symbol of our own robes of salvation washed in the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus.
The favour of his father almost destroyed the hope and future of Joseph while the grace of the Lord redeemed him from threats to his life, slavery, false accusation, captivity in prison, from anonymity and mediocrity. Likewise, the grace of our Father will redeem us in the many seasons and experiences of our lifetime. Joseph could fulfil the meaning of his name , “ He will add” as he was grafted onto the branch of the Saviour and Redeemer. The enemy took away his freedom, his father’s love, his home, his comforts, his rights while the Father restored him. The Father added whatever he had lost many times over in terms of his possessions, family ties, wisdom, influence. His earthly father tried to make him look different or distinguished by gifting him a multi-coloured coat that evoked insecurity and jealousy among his brothers while the heavenly Father gifted him a colourful life that inspires people with faith and hope to this day.
The Father gave up His only beloved Son Jesus for a time in order that He may share His love with all. He draws all people into the covenant relationship with Him and sets the rainbow as the multi-coloured symbol of His favour upon our lives. The enemy subtracts like Joseph’s brothers from our lives but the Lord adds and multiplies our faith, our blessings, our wisdom, our influence and impact. In nature, we usually see a rainbow after some rain but the supernatural rainbow of the love and favour of the Lord is seen in our lives in the early rain, the seasonal rain and the latter rain. The rainbow always points upwards. It implies that whatever is added or removed from our lives, we need to attribute all glory, praise and thanks upwards to the Lord. Like Job, we need to acknowledge faithfully when He gives as well as when He takes.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Best Mediator

UV 2732/10000 The Best Mediator
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Hebrews 8 v 6

Just as Moses was the mediator between God and the nation of Israel, Jesus is the mediator between God and mankind. The reason that we need a mediator or a Saviour to stand in our place is that there can be no negotiation between holiness and unholiness, between righteousness and unrighteousness. Even the most righteous of us have traces of unrighteousness in us that make us unacceptable in the presence of the Most Holy or absolutely holy God. Moses then was a freedom fighter for the Jews while Jesus is the freedom fighter for all mankind. Moses fought Egypt’s might under Pharaoh on behalf of the generationally enslaved Jews. He stood in the place of God before Pharaoh and invoked the authority and judgement of God. He stood between Israel and the anger of God when the former sinned provocatively making a golden calf to worship. Moses was an imperfect mediator for he had human failings and he himself provoked God to anger on some occasions. He had little control of his anger and as a young man, he smote an Egyptian in anger for oppressing a fellow Jew. He even hesitated to obey the call of the Lord to lead the freedom struggle of the Jews. He struck the rock for water instead of speaking to it while in the wilderness, disobeying the voice of the Lord.

Jesus is the perfect mediator in contrast to Moses. The parallels are there in their ministry right from the time of birth. Both were under the threat of death by state power at the time of their birth. Their births were accompanied by the genocide of Hebrew infants. Moses brought down the stone tablets given by the Lord from Mount Sinai. The ten commandments and the basis of human law across the globe is largely based on these commandments. But the observance and the obedience to these laws given by Jehovah was imperfect and incomplete. A greater mediator and a better one was needed. He Himself is the Word or the command and promise of the Lord. He is to write the laws of God on the tablet of our hearts and minds. He did not strike any rock for He Himself is the Rock, the source of strength, the strong unshakeable foundation of a life of faith and love. He did not strike the ground with a staff to execute miracles but He just spoke and the needed miracle of salvation, healing, deliverance happened. He ministered to all He encountered or who sought His help to overcome disease, challenges, difficulties. He forgave people and set them free from sin. In His willing submission to an unjust death, He promised salvation and resurrection to all who believed and obeyed His call. He laid His body down as a bridge across the eternal chasm separating man and God. Moses was asked to remove his sandals as he stepped on Sinai as it was holy ground, ground hallowed by the presence of God. Today, every step we take we are standing and walking on holy ground. We are set free from the ruler of this world, set free from the bondages of sin, death, disease, curses, fear, darkness, spiritual oppression.
Today, we have a ministry that is better, more excellent, more effective, purposeful and impactful than the ministry under the old covenant. Each of us can stand in the gap between God and man. We are not ourselves mediators but in the name of the Mediator Jesus we can take up the case of other people, we can intercede. For our own need of salvation, enablement, healing and deliverance, Jesus is our Advocate and Intercessor. We are no longer part of the problem but part of the solution, no longer part of the darkness but part of the light.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Marks of Maturity

UV 2731/10000 The Marks of Maturity
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
2 Timothy 3 v 10

Paul writing a letter to Timothy, bishop of the early church and his mentee, emphasizes that he had known doctrinal truth, lifestyle, purpose, extent of faith, patience, endurance and love of people as lived by Paul. These are the basic traits of a testimonial life. We should learn sound doctrinal truth not as traditions practiced by people but as taught by the Lord Himself and practiced by the early church fathers. Like St Luke and Paul, we too should have a full understanding of the basic doctrinal truths. These truths are meant to perfect us and make us mature followers of Jesus, not someone who can be pushed over easily by the enemy or deceived by his agents on earth. Our lives should mirror the truths we have learnt in the Word. We should not only be continually hearing and learning the truths but continually examining ourselves, applying and correcting ourselves in the light of these doctrinal truths.

We must be people not driven by our personal ambitions but by our sense of purpose and dedication to the Lord. We do all things for the glory of the Lord and for dispensing hope to all mankind. We need to pray globally and act locally to improve things around us. Our faith will be strengthened as we increase in our knowledge of the Lord and our application of it in the experiences we encounter in the course of our lives. We need to be prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually to endure much hardship and suffering as we live by faith.
The uni-verse also exhorts us to be full of love and compassion for others. As Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “love is patient and kind.” We need to be patient and kind to others even as we are exacting and demanding of our own selves. When all these marks of the apostle St Paul are in us, we too will be mature and effective in our faith and in the practical outworking or expression of our faith. Many of these traits are a result or fruit of the joint responsibility of the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our own response, sincere and committed to allow or welcome the change He brings in us as we follow Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The DNA of Jesus

UV 2730/10000 The DNA of Jesus
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust
2 Peter 1 v 4
We must be first partakers of the DNA(divine nature) of Jesus before we can be propagators of His divine nature. The invaluable and imagination-exceeding, need-fulfilling, awesome promises of the Lord are not meant primarily that we be blessed abundantly in this life but that we share in the divine nature of Jesus. He walked in the flesh on the earth without yielding to the lusts of the flesh or of the mind. Likewise, we too are to walk in the flesh without yielding to the lusts of the flesh or of the mind. We are in the world but of the Lord. The purpose of the ten thousand amazing wonder-working promises of the Lord are intended to keep us sailing like a ship on the surface of the sea of sin without going into or under it. We are to desalinate the sea water to make it fit for human spiritual consumption by means of the Word.
The DNA of Jesus implies that we should be saturated with the Word and the Spirit who interprets it to our spirits and minds. The DNA of Jesus implies that we should grow and be filled with the spiritual fruit of His nature of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. These nine fruit cover the entire gamut of spiritual values that constitute divine nature. Everything we think, speak and do should increasingly reflect these qualities of Jesus. Believers are experts in claiming scriptural promises to obtain healing, gifts, increase in income, solutions to marital and familial problems, deliverance from enemies, success and other benefits. But disciples of Jesus claim these very same promises primarily to obtain the DNA of Jesus. First, His nature in us, then only His benefits, His gifts, power and authority. We need to seek first His DNA and all the other things that the Lord decides we need will be added unto us, into us or onto us. In order for this to happen we need to diligently study the promises, understand its spiritual purpose and claim it to transplant the DNA of Jesus.

Our calling is to be servants not of the inherent corruption of this world but servants of righteousness. A servant obeys the commands of the master and then obtains the reward. Every promise of the Lord has a corresponding command, a principle to follow, to adopt, to practice in our lives. We need to understand these principles and follow it practically in our lives. We will then be transformed from being mere believers to faithful followers, from followers to disciples, from inconsistent disciples to consistent evangelists who live, breathe and walk the way of the Word. From partakers of the divine nature of Jesus, we become propagators of His DNA. From being consumers of blessings we become producers of blessings and blessings in ourselves. We become faith multipliers. Only when the arrow head is added to the shaft it becomes an effective and powerful arrow or it is only a shaft. When we partake of the DNA of Jesus, we become arrows in the quiver of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 24, 2017

Being Battle Fit

UV 2729/10000 Being Battle Fit
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness
Ephesians 6 v 14

Nations are zealous to protect every square inch of their sovereign territory. We too should be zealous to guard every square inch of spiritual territory over which the Lord has given us authority. Just yesterday, I heard a telecast of a four star Chinese general saying, “ The Chinese army is not to be taken lightly and it can move even a mountain” in the context of the standoff between India and China at a border post. Coincidentally and ironically, Jesus also stated that the army of the faithful can move spiritual mountains. The uni-verse states that in order to be successful in our spiritual battles, there are some precautions and preconditions. Instead of merely belting out the truth, we are exhorted to be girded with truth. Everything should be under girded by the truth. We are to be surrounded in 360 degrees with the truths hidden in the Word of God that applies to every aspect of our belief, speech, thought, action and reaction. Not only should we be under girded and surrounded, but like a belt the truth should be worn close to our bodies. It should be visible and should be a perfect fit to hold all the parts of our spiritual armour in place like a girdle. A belt is useless unless it is used. It is not meant to whip others but to be used everyday by us for our own security. The truths learnt from the Word are meant to be applied in practical ways to guide our decisions and behaviour.

Our best defence is our faith in the righteousness of Christ with which we are covered. Death could not hold Jesus prisoner forever as He is absolutely righteous. Even the accumulated sins of humanity could not weigh Him down. As the Vicar of our souls, He has lent us His absolute righteousness. Under that impenetrable armour of righteousness, we need to wear a clean tunic, implying that we should live our lives as close to the righteous image of Christ as possible. Hence, both our faith and our actions or works count in order to be effective soldiers of Christ though faith alone is enough for salvation. The armour should fit us not too tightly or too lose but be a perfect fit for our lives. It should not be too heavy and unwieldy. We do not wear a back piece as the Lord covers our back and our past.

The breastplate is one of the most vital pieces of body armour as it covers the heart. Any injury affecting the heart could be fatal. Hence, we need to preserve our hearts with an impenetrable covering or shield of righteousness. We cannot afford to have any chinks or flaws in this part of our spiritual armour. The breastplate needs to fit in exactly into the girdle or belt. The principles we learn from the Word together hold in place our life guard – the breastplate of righteousness. We need to keep the breastplate shining, strong and rust free by the oil of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. At all times, we should realize that salvation is not earned by our righteousness but it is a righteousness shared by Christ through our faith and His grace. Below the hard, shining armour, our hearts of flesh need to continue to beat to the rhythm of the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness and self control where self control is defined as yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit. Wearing the different defensive pieces of our spiritual armour, we need to stand in battle position, alert and watchful or prayerful. Body armour will not prevent us from attacks or assaults of the enemy and his agents but it will preserve us from fatal blows and reduce the extent of our vulnerability to temptation, injury and harm.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Living in Full Favour

UV 2728/10000 Living in Full Favour
Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD
Ezekiel 39 v 29

The Lord hid His face from man since the time he first sinned. He revealed Himself from time to time through His servants, the prophets and His Word. But the full revelation of His face came in and through His Son Jesus, sent to His people Israel. But since the house of Israel rejected Jesus, the gospel spread across the globe to all nations. Today, the time has come when the Lord will pour out His spirit of grace and supplications on Israel so that the Jews will recognize what their forefathers had done in crucifying Jesus, the Messiah. They will mourn for Him as if for their own first born.
We need to pray that the revelation and conviction of the people of Israel happens in the Lord’s time. It is the ultimate blessing of Zion upon the Jewish people. Jesus spoke of tearing down the temple of Solomon as He wanted the Jews to understand that the Lord will not dwell in a man-made temple but in the bodies of people consecrated in His name to the Lord. Even the prophet Elijah could not perceive the face of the Lord in His encounter with Him on the mountains. Moses however spoke face to face with Jehovah. It did not mean that Moses saw the face of the Lord but that he was covered by the shekinah or supernatural grace and glory of the Lord. When the people of Israel recognize their king and Messiah in Jesus, they would have an even closer relationship with the Lord. Their struggles with God would end and they would truly be the people of Zion.

Jacob, who was given the name Israel by Jehovah tried to get ahead of his brother Esau from the time of his birth. He tried to deceive his brother and had to flee from his home. Jacob struggled with the Lord when all He had to do was to yield to Him. When we are only to remain still and yield, we wrestle with the Lord. Most of our struggles in life are due to our resistance to the spirit of the Lord. We try to get ahead in life by sleight, by deception, by distrusting the will of the Lord and try to take matters into our own hands. We trust our own limited knowledge and wisdom and distrust the complete knowledge and wisdom of the Lord. These are the times when the Lord hides His face from us. If we surrender to His will in trusting submission, we would be spared of much of the pain, trouble, stress and strain. The Lord will reveal His face to us in the sense, we will understand our purpose in life. We will be content to walk in accordance with the plan of the Lord for us. We will not try to get ahead by hook or by crook. Revealing His face to us is showing favour upon our lives. The ultimate sign of His favour is pouring His spirit upon us, the spirit of gentleness, wisdom, grace and power.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Peace Process

UV 2727/10000 The Peace Process
The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
Zephaniah 3 v 15
A man is not aware of his snoring except he wakes up before the sound dies out. Likewise, a man is not aware of sinning except he wakes up spiritually. In the course of our lifetime, we commit many wilful sins or acts that militate against the written and unwritten law placed in our hearts by the Spirit of God. But when we first believe and receive Jesus into our hearts, our slates are wiped clean, our judgements are “ taken away”, cancelled as it were. All judgements for our acts of omission and commission of all humanity, past, present and future, in spirit, mind and body were piled on the shoulders of our divine “scapegoat” or Lamb of God, Jesus on the cross. After our first confession of faith in the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Jesus, we still sin given our propensity to sin as we are creatures both of flesh and of spirit. Now, we have recourse to confession for individual sins and repentance. The first confession and repentance is generic, covering all of our past offences while the ongoing confession is for specific acts.
Freed from the consequences or the power of sin but not the presence of sin, we have a bright and blight-free future. The Lord has plans to prosper us, to cause us to succeed, to bless us with hope and a future in eternity. The enemy has plans and weapons to harm us, to rob us, to kill us, to destroy our hope and our future in eternity. Which of these plans succeed depends to a great degree on which plan we chose to implement in our lives. The enemy gets his power over our souls by reminding us of our sins that hold us in his captivity. But the Lord has cast the enemy out of our lives, he has no more power to harm us. The Lord not only has obtained victory for mankind once and for all, He continues to be with us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The king is in our midst. We need to combat the presence of sin with the presence of the king. This is why Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is in you and amongst you.”
The enemy has been dethroned from our hearts. Now it is the Lord who rules in us and rules the world through us. His kingdom has come to our hearts and lives. We need fear no evil any longer. We experience instead Shalom- the peace that passes human understanding and wisdom, the peace that surpasses anything the world can give us, the peace that signifies blessing, holistic prosperity and good success as well as continual joy. The success that the world can give us or the enemy can give people for mortgaging their souls to him is a pyrrhic victory- a victory that is disguised bitter failure and misery, a success whose cost is self destructive. It is the kind of success or glory that Jesus turned down when the enemy attempted to tempt Him in the wilderness.

Prateep v Philip

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Withered Hand

UV 2726/10000 The Withered Hand
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days
Matthew 12 v 12

This uni-verse is Jesus’s response to the insinuation of the Pharisees that He would be breaking the law by healing and restoring the withered right hand of a man on the Sabbath. Jesus compares His act of healing the man to what anyone would do to save a sheep that had fallen into a pit even on a Sabbath. It demonstrates the flexibility of Jesus on non essentials of faith. The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath implying the laws are made to facilitate man to be his better self walking in relationship with the Lord and that man was not to be rigid and unthinking or unfeeling in its application.

Jesus constantly compared the value of a man’s life with that of birds, animals and in this case, sheep. We are of far greater value in the kingdom of God than all of His other creatures. Even God’s law or His word will not stand in the way of our doing good to others. Jesus is asking us to honour the spirit of the law rather than its letter. The Word is meant to liberate us from restrictions, fears, inhibitions, limitations, artificial boundaries and man-made traditions and rites. The Word is meant to give us the abundant and eternal life and not to accuse us, to make us feel guilty, to humiliate us, to discredit us.
There is therefore, no law against spiritual, moral and personal excellence. The law is meant to define the bare minimum, the desideratum for civilized life but we are called to operate far above that level. The law tells us to avoid evil but the spirit asks us to abound with goodness. Jesus distinguished between the two and showed us that there is a vast difference between these. Man is not just a creature at the top of the food chain but a fallen angel, a heavenly being waiting to develop the wings of prayer and the word to fly back home. The restoration of the withered hand of the man by Jesus is a symbol of His grace, love and ability to restore that which is withered in our lives, to restore it to its pristine state. The hand that was restored was the right hand, signifying the restoration of that which is important and significant or that without which we cannot get on. The restored right hand of the man would enable him to work, to earn, to live with dignity. It would create the veritable and virtual ambience of a continual feast in his heart all his remaining living days as well as joy and wonder in the hearts and minds of all who knew him, his intimate circle as well as acquaintances. That act would bring much joy, praise and worship in the heart of the restored, the healed- more praise and worship than the entire ecclesiastical order of the world would ever bring to the altar of the Lord. That act of healing would bring glory to the Lord and peace and goodwill among men. Doing something of value to any one- anytime, anywhere by anybody is not going to violate any law of man or of God. Laws and rules are not to be made that would degrade human beings in comparison with other creatures. To dethrone man from the throne of the earth is to defy the One who sits on the throne of heaven.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Spirit Invested In Us

UV 2725/10000 The Spirit Invested in Us
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1 v 7

We do not accomplish anything worthwhile in our lives by human might or physical power but by the spirit that the Lord has invested in us. God has given us the spirit of faith, courage and hope. The spirit is invested or deposited in us. It is gifted or given by grace not earned or worked up. We are set free from the bondage of the fear of death in Christ, the Way, the Life and the Resurrection. The fear of death is the power by which the enemy of our souls controls mortal man. But when we are restored to a personal relationship with the Father through our faith in the Son, we receive the spirit of adoption by which we call Him, “Our Abba or Dear Father.” We are set free from the fear of “hamartia” or fear of falling short of the standards of holiness or perfection of the Father.
Our relationship with the Lord by faith and adoption or commitment fills us with power as we are now children of God with a right to the blessings of the first born. We are not lesser than anyone else in the sight of the Lord. We have the power to tread upon all the power of the enemy. We have the authority to command the powers of darkness to depart. The Holy Spirit comes upon us as a seal of approval and a guarantee of the promises of the Lord and we receive power over all that we were formerly subject to. We experience and comprehend the agape love of the Lord. To know Him more is to love Him more. To love Him more is to obey Him.
We also receive the power of self control in order to grow the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and to overcome the weeds sown in the flesh for example, pride, lust, anger, lack of contentment, anxiety and so on. The spirit of love, power and self control equips us to face and handle all situations and issues in our lives. Love, power and self control need to operate concurrently in our lives in order that we are found by the Lord to be effective, fruitful and faithful. We need to exercise power in a spirit of love and with a sound mind. A healthy spirit, a loving heart and a sound mind come together in us to create a sense of harmony and balance between all parts of our lives. If any action or word or thought of ours is not reflecting a blend of power, love and self control, it implies that we are ignoring the spirit the Lord has invested in us.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Ship Called Leadership

UV 2724/10000 The Ship Called Leadership
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
I Timothy 1 v 19
Paul draws the image of a faithful person as one who steers a ship called leadership. Faith is like holding the helm. A believer is a helmsman for the Lord as Noah was. He is to steer the ship over the ocean of life to the eternal destination, facing both good weather and stormy weather, calm seas and turbulence in the course of our lives, but always guided by the compass of the conscience. Writers like Stephen Covey refer to it as the moral compass and seeking the true North. But as believers the needle of our conscience that has been enlightened by the light of salvation and the word of truth needs to not only point us to the north but also away from the south- our negatives, our weaknesses, our temptations, our limitations, our failures.
Temptations are like the mirages that a desert traveller sees. These are the rocky shores that can break up our ship. The Word is the lighthouse that warns us of the presence of these rocky shores and helps us chart our course. We are to prefer to face trials than to yield to temptations. If we do not follow the dictates of our good conscience or a conscience informed by the Word of what is good and what is bad, what direction is to be pursued and what is to be avoided, our faith would be shipwrecked. We are to anchor in the Lord and in His word from time to time while biding our time to press forward through the waves and ups and downs of life. Like a good ship captain, we should know our maps, as to where we are at a point in time and where we are heading.
The good conscience comes from pursuing righteousness following the example of the captain of our salvation- Jesus. The good conscience comes from acting on the basis of righteous principles expounded or implied in the Word of Christ. These principles provide the high mast and sails to pick up the wind of the Lord’s favour. The message we deliver to the world is the ballast or cargo to retain in the ship’s hold to provide balance during the voyage and to be delivered at different ports of call. The chief engineer on our ship is the Holy Spirit who reveals what part of our lives are functioning well or are malfunctioning. He keeps all the parts well -oiled and adds the unction to our function.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fading Suffering Leads to Unfading Glory

UV 2723/10000 Fading Suffering Leads to Unfading Glory
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2 Corinthians 4 v 17

All the troubles and afflictions of our lifetime are light when compared with the eternal rewards awaiting the faithful in the life to come. Even if a person’s life is shortened by martyrdom, he is rewarded with eternal, unending life and the glorious reward of a martyr in heaven. If his life is full of tears and pain, he will one day enter a realm without tears and pain. If he is condemned, accused, scorned, punished in this world, he will be rewarded exceedingly with a crown of glory in the world to come. It was this perspective that enabled the early faith fathers to endure much suffering, trials, torment, scourging, poverty, shame and painful execution by the cruellest of methods man could devise like being torn apart by wild beasts, set on fire, crucifixion. They endured all of it like an athlete who subjects himself to discipline, knowing that his efforts will lead to his being crowned some day with a wreath or crown that perishes. But the cross of Christ leads to a crown of imperishable glory.
St Paul suffered many afflictions in the course of his ministry like being stoned, beaten with iron rods, imprisoned, shipwrecked, stripped, starved, betrayed, persecuted, accused falsely and so on. Yet he endured it all with a sense of joy, focussing his eyes on the author , the One who began his journey of faith on the road to Damascus and the finisher, the One who promised to be with him all the days of his life and receive him into eternity with a crown of unfading, undying glory. He did not wallow in self pity in the hard times he went through but imitated Christ , the glorious Son of God who embraced poverty, affliction and misery on earth to lift all mankind who believe in His promise to eternal glory which eye has not seen, neither ear heard or any mind imagined. We too need to think lightly of the afflictions we have experienced in our lives hitherto and renew our joy and faith by anticipation of the eternal, unseen crown of glory.

Afflictions test our love for Christ. Troubles are the touchstone to prove the genuineness of our faith. They also purify us and perfect us in the eyes of the Lord. They strengthen our character and remove every trace of superfluity of ego, vanity and emotions. During the trials and times of trouble, we experience a new dimension of our relationship with the Lord and His love and grace. The intensity of intimacy with the Lord increases. Our faith is purified and strengthened even as steel is wrought in fire, even as gold is purified in refining fire. Our experiences of tough times shape us and make us more patient and mature. The hope of recognition and reward by the Lord who is faithful to His promises sustains us in these times for we know that the reward would be so disproportionate to the extent of our suffering that we cannot even compare the two.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Law and Grace

UV 2721/10000 The Law and Grace
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success
Joshua 1 v 8
The Bible is the book that has influenced most of the laws of the contemporary world in terms of the normative values underpinning laws. But it is also the law that defines and leads us to success and prosperity. The Bible distinguishes it as “good success” and wholesome prosperity epitomised in the Hebrew word “Shalom.” Good success is not mere financial or material success or prosperity but it is wholesome or holistic. The Bible states that the presence of the Lord with us distinguishes us from the rest of mankind. In other words, the success and prosperity or otherwise of our lives is determined by our relationship with the Lord.
There is a two way traffic of communication between our mouths and our hearts, from the mouth to the heart and from the heart to the mouth. This uni-verse states that we should always have the word on the tip of our tongues, always ready to give an answer based on the word. If the tongue is the rudder of our lives as stated by St James, the word is the rudder of the tongue. We find equilibrium or perfect balance in our speech by following the guidelines and precepts of the Word. Apt and effective communication is the hallmark of the successful. The word is our constant reference point in all our communications with ourselves primarily and also, with others. We need to be asking ourselves, “ Is what I am saying in accordance with the truth and spirit of the word of the Lord?” John used the metaphor of the word to refer to Jesus, “ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus during His earthly sojourn was perfect in His communications with self, others and God, the Father. Hence, God prospered Him in His mission to be the Saviour of all mankind. His word gave wisdom, light, love and hope of eternal life to the listener.
Our communication should be based on meditation on the Word. We should be thinking all the time 24x7 about the truths revealed to us this far from the Word. When we prove ourselves diligent in this, the Holy Spirit will reveal even deeper truths that impact our lives. The enemy of our souls will not find a gap in our fencing to enter our thoughts and divert or trap us. We should then make it a point to do all that is written in the Word. Doing is obedience and obedience is love of the Lord. These things, then make us successful and prosperous: communication on the basis of the word, communication of the Word, meditation on the Word, mingling our thoughts with the Word and the Word with our thoughts all the time, acting on the basis of the Word or obeying it wholeheartedly. But the rider in the uni-verse “to do all that is written..” is the catch, the challenge. All of us may not be able to do all that is written but unlike the time Joshua first wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are now living in a period of grace. Jesus, the Word will fill the gaps in our speech, thinking and actions with His sufficient and abundant grace. We can have “hyperbole” or exceeding success and prosperity despite “hamartia” or shortcomings.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sanctified Imagination

UV 2720-10000 Sanctified Imagination
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

All the beauty, nobility, power, grace and love of God is present in some form in each human since we are created in His own image. The word image comes from the word- imagination. God imagined to create the universe and all in it including man and all other creatures of the sea, land and sky. We too need to imagine in order to be like the Creator. It is the “im” in impossible that makes the impossible possible. We imagine that which is impossible for man to be possible for God. We need to imagine ourselves walking and talking with God as Adam and Eve walked with Him in the garden of Eden. We need to imagine ourselves surrounded by the angels and archangels in heaven. Faith is sanctified imagination. We need to be able to visualise with our inner eye the invisible, the immortal, glorious kingdom of God where there is no sin, no separation from God, where there is neither suffering nor death nor tears.
We need to visualise as having received the fulfilment of the promises of the Lord. This is the reason we thank Him even before it happens. We call into being by our faith that which is not as if it is. We need to imagine we are children asking our Father in heaven that which we expect or visualise or need. It is this kind of faith that pleases the Father, the kind of faith that Jesus manifested during His walk on earth. Jesus imagined that the gospel would reach the uttermost parts of the earth, give hope of salvation to all mankind despite the power of the establishment, the priestly authorities of the Jewish faith as well as the temporal authorities of the Roman empire being hell bent against Him and His message of hope. Jesus imagined that He would do it with a motley band of men He called disciples whose training, education and qualities left little to imagination. He imagined He would do it without much means or finances.
Which are the areas we need to apply our sanctified imagination? All the significant areas of our lives: our marriage, our families, our children and their future, our workplace, our colleagues, our subordinates, our friends circle, our enemies, our cities,our nations, our world. When we focus our imagination on any or all of these areas, the presence and the power of the Lord in us begins to bring into being or into reality that which we ask or expect or need or something much better than these. We need to exercise sanctified imagination in a responsible way as the very word “sanctified” would imply. It should be not to pander to our lusts or worldly desires but to magnify the name of the Lord, to augment the faith of others, to meet the needs of people including ourselves. The basis of sanctified imagination is not illusions or delusions but a verse or portion of scripture like an uni-verse. Sanctified imagination can also be used to enrich our understanding of various biblical stories, parables and incidents by envisaging oneself as part of the story or parable or incident as a contemporary witness. Imagine being present for instance, as part of the crowd as Jesus resurrected Lazarus or fed the 5000, or was Himself crucified or present with the disciples in the post resurrection incidents.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Sieve

UV 2719/10000 The Sieve
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12 v 27

Everything in the heavens and on earth can be shaken, changed, removed but the kingdom of God is unmovable, unshakable, constant. Every single thing that is created including the mountains, the skies, the rivers, the creatures will be removed. The word emanating from the Lord is unmovable, unshakable, incontrovertible. At the appearance of Jesus, everything that is to be dissolved and impermanent will be melted. The word of the Lord is immutable and no letter of it will change. It is our anchor, bridge and connection with Mount Zion which cannot be shaken. We therefore need to respect, revere, honour and obey the Word.

The Lord gives authority to His own to shake or change the elements that are shakeable or subject to change. This includes everything in the visible world- the political, social, cultural and economic domains. When we spend time on our knees or when we prostrate before the Lord, He will begin to move in that which we ask of Him. His kingdom will come and His will be done. But when we pray we expedite it. We become partners with the Lord in the establishment of His kingdom.

The image or world-view emerging from this uni-verse is that the whole of creation is going through a kind of sieve, wherein the things that need to be removed, the perishable parts or the parts that ought to perish will be removed while the eternal, the pure, the perfect will remain. The things that should perish will wither like the leaf of the vine or of the fig tree. The covenant of peace of the Lord with man through the process of justification, refinement and sanctification enabled by Jesus will remain. The covenant relationship of the Lord with man of loving kindness will remain. The new creation will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. This thought should cause us to live in freedom from fear as well as attachment to the perishable things of this world and fill us with reverence, grateful worship as well as joy and hope. If we lose something in this life and world, we should not grieve over it too long or too much as it is the sieve of the Lord at work who is separating the chaff from the grain. If we gain something in this life and world, we should not set too much store by it as it too will one day be removed. Our chief source of joy and hope is the Lord and His word.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 14, 2017

Longitude and Latitude

UV 2718/10000 Longitude and Latitude
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Proverbs 24 v 10

If we map our emotional coordinates: our attitudes, emotions and actions when the going is good is our “longitude.” Our attitudes, emotions and reactions when the going is bad is our “latitude.” The smaller the difference, the bigger, the stronger and greater we are. Faith is a great strength multiplier especially in times of adversity or crisis, when one suffers a loss, a life threatening-situation, a bereavement and so many other fiery arrows that life throws at us. The man of faith in such situations can lean on the Lord and obtain comfort from the Holy Spirit whose chief office is Comforter apart from being Remembrancer. He reminds us of the faithfulness of the Lord in good times and bad times and prompts us to be also consistent in our faith, our behaviour and our response to the crisis. He will enable us to run on and not get weary, to rise on wings like an eagle. Both faith and strength of a person is best tested in an adversity.
Joseph’s wisdom of using the “fat” years to prepare for the “lean” years is the ultimate wisdom. In the years of plenty or good times, he stocked up enough and more grain and food in a large number of barns across Egypt. So much so, in the years of famine, there was enough to feed not just the local populace but for export to surrounding famine affected areas. Joseph consistently practiced this wisdom even in the years in which he tumbled from one adversity to another. He developed his inner strength and character while he was young so that he was wise and competent when he was older. He never went overboard with either hatred or anger or self pity or revenge. He understood that the wisdom and grace of God is revealed more in our downturns than in our upturns. His longitude and latitude were at equilibrium in all seasons of his life.
Apart from faith and inner strength or resilience of a person, his passion also enables a person to rise to the occasion when faced with a big challenge. Continually pursuing a lifelong passion despite changes in circumstances or fortunes gives him a sense of focus and fortitude. He gathers all his strength and resources to focus on the task ahead, unmindful of the hardship. A person who endures with unflagging zeal endears himself to the Lord. It is of such material that the citizenry of heaven, the followers of Jesus are made, not those who will wilt like Jonah’s guard plant under the summer heat, not those who seek a life of continual ease and comfort.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Valley of Drought Precedes Victory

UV 2717/10000 The Valley of Drought Precedes 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

We should not wait for showers of blessing in our lives. Instead, we should prepare our hearts and lives to receive the rain well before it occurs. Preparation to conquer a mountain begins in the valley. We might not see any external sign or symptom of the victories the Lord is going to bestow on us as He did with Israel. The kings of Israel, Judah and Edom had formed a military alliance and were marching against the Moabites. They were discouraged by the sign of drought all around them. The armies and their horses were starved of water. The king of Israel decided to enquire of the prophet Elisha about the outcome of the war with the Moabites. Elisha, the prophet then states this uni-verse that though they would not see any sign of wind or rain, the valley would be filled with water that they and their beasts could drink to their fill. He also said that this miracle is a small thing for the Lord to do when compared with the massive victory and deliverance they would have against the Moabite army.

We may see no natural sign of victory or abundance in our lives. But as we prepare our hearts and lives as Elisha asked the kings to receive copious water by digging ditches in the valley, the Lord will bless us abundantly. The holes or weaknesses and challenges of our lives may be the very “ditches in the valley” that He will fill with blessings of abundance, deliverance and victory. On the Moabite side, the water in the valley was blood red – a sign of imminent rout by the armies of Israel.
It is literally true for in many places in Chennai this summer, the water in the pipes have dried up, water lorries delivering water have to be ordered and paid for but in the place where the Lord has asked us to pitch our tent, His tabernacle, the ground water is copious and good. The sign of abundance of blessings is also a precursor of victory. The Lord will fight our battles and give us victory. We only need to stand on the promise of the Lord and believe. He is both Jehovah Jireh, the Provider as well as Jehovah Nissi, the One who gives victory. We might have to face many struggles and challenges in our lives but the Lord will give us strength to endure these and to emerge from life – victorious, faithful and blessed. The valley of drought often precedes victory.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Conductor

UV 2716/10000 The Conductor
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Exodus 14 v 21

The Lord enabled Israel led by Moses to walk on dry land through the middle of the Red Sea. The implication for believers today is that the Lord is able to do the supernatural, the miraculous, the impossible for the faithful. Like Moses we just need to stretch our hand over whatever seems overwhelming in our circumstances, the Lord will reveal His power. He will send the east wind and divide the forces against us. Even though there is a life –threatening flood around us, He will enable us to walk on foot and on dry land through it. He gives us deliverance and victory that we may praise Him and remain grateful all our lives. Moses walked so close to the Lord that his hand became the extended hand of the Lord, his mouth became the extended mouth of the Lord. His word became the word of the Lord. His eyes became the extended eyes of the Lord. When we are connected with Jesus, we become like a copper wire that conducts the power of electricity that is generated in the powerhouse.

It is the wind that the Lord sends our way that causes us to win. Heads or tails, we win for if we win, we win, if we lose, we learn. An oppressive wind or force may rise against us but the Lord will send His wind of favour to us. Sometimes, we take wrong decisions and travel in the wrong direction. Yet the Lord will protect us. Jonah disobeyed the command of the Lord to deliver a message to Nineveh. He moved in the opposite direction. The ship Jonah was travelling on was caught in a storm and was wrecked. But the Lord sent a whale to preserve Jonah’s life. Jonah learnt from his failure to obey the Lord. He made amends and then went to Nineveh. We too will experience mid-course corrections. We learn from our failures. The Lord was with Jonah on the ship as it was being torn apart by the storm. He was with him as he fell into the stormy waters. He sent the whale to swallow him. He was with him in the belly of the whale. The hand of the Lord was upon Jonah.

Like Moses, we need to communicate and relate face to face with the Lord. The more time we spend in the presence of the Lord, the more anointed, blessed and powerful we would be. The tongue, the hand and the staff of Moses was endowed with power. The staff he threw down turned into a serpent that swallowed the serpents of the magicians and priests of Pharaoh: this is a symbol that we will not be overpowered but that we will overcome the adverse circumstance as well as the adversaries. Like Moses, the radiance of the Lord should be seen on our faces as we behold Him with unveiled faces. To have unveiled faces, we need to remove our blinkers, anything that distorts our vision and our values. Like Moses, we need to daily receive the word of commandment from the Lord and enthusiastically obey Him. No worldly power can stand before us even as Pharaoh and his army could not defeat Moses. No earthly force or natural disaster or calamity or mishap can destroy us. No spiritual force can harm or touch or influence us. The hand of Moses had no power or strength on its own except what the Lord conferred on him. We too are powerless and vulnerable without the strength and defence of the Lord. We need to cling to Him and rejoice in the strength He provides, rejoice in Him, rejoice in His provision and blessings, rejoice in His word, His commands, His anointing and leading.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In His Majesty's Service

UV 2715/10000 In His Majesty’s Service
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
Isaiah 49 v 23

The longest serving monarch of the contemporary times Queen Elizabeth II has written her memoir in which she says, “ I too serve the King of Kings.” Jesus though in His lifetime on earth was despised and condemned by the high and mighty has many followers and servants among even the royalty and elite today. Many Presidents and Prime Ministers too have testified to their commitment to Jesus. They bow down along with common people to the Lord. John the Baptist was one of the greatest of prophets for he not only preached the need for human repentance but he was the forerunner of the Messiah. Yet, he said that he was not worthy to untie the sandals of Jesus. Believers among rulers as well as among the common people regard themselves to this day that they are not worthy to lick the dust of the feet of Jesus. Yet the Lord does not want us to grovel at His feet. He lifts us to our feet, out of the miry clay, the sink hole of our life and places us among princes of His people. We do not have a license to kill like James Bond but we do have a license to be thrilled or excited about what the Lord is doing, has done and will do in us and for us.

On May 21st 1991, I was literally lying in my own blood-soaked dust at Sriperumbudur, the assassination spot of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. People and my colleagues thought that my career was finished. Yet, within a little over six years, the Lord literally placed me in front of Queen Elizabeth II when I was presented to her as an honour on winning the British Gurukul Scholarship for excellence and leadership. I used the occasion to gift her a Bible for Busy People with my handwritten note acknowledging the unchanging grace of the King of Kings Jesus. To let me know that He is Lord, long after I had forgotten this high point of my life, the Lord stimulated the British Government to institute a new Commonwealth-wide competition for projects with prize money to be used for the project. In 2002, July , 23 years after I believed the words spoken by a friend and the corroborating word of God, I won Her Majesty, the Queen’s Award. All praise, glory, honour and thanksgiving to His name and His name alone for it is His power working in us is able to do far more than we can ask for, think or even imagine. This is an individual’s testimony or story. The story of Israel as well as of humanity also reflect the truth, the sovereignty, the character and faithfulness of the Lord. Many powers and heads of state right through history have shown favour triggered by supernatural grace towards Israel, when there was no earthly need or strategic requirement that they do so like Cyrus, Alexander the Great and so on.

It takes time and season for the fruition of the promises of the Lord. But as this uni-verse states He does not disappoint. We will not be ashamed or dismayed as we wait for Him to bless, to deliver, to exalt, to fulfil, to answer. Our waiting should be marked by diligence, patience, strong faith, thanksgiving, worship, praise and constant expectation. The Lord will show us supernatural favour in our hour of need. He will give us evidence that He is Lord and that He is with us as Emmanuel, the indwelling God and as Ebenezer,the Divine Helper, as the Messiah, the Saviour of all humanity.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wholehearted Seeking

UV 2314/10000 Wholehearted Seeking
When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel
Nehemiah 2 v 10
There is a difference between wishful seeking and wilful seeking. Wilful seeking is seeking wholeheartedly. It is setting our minds and our faces like flint towards the goal we want to achieve. Wishful seeking fails even before we start. Whatever we seek wholeheartedly, we can and will accomplish. The planning process is thorough and uncompromising. The execution likewise is thorough and uncompromising. Principles undergird the planning process as well as the execution process. Wholehearted seeking implies that we believe no half truths, adopt no half measures but go the whole hog, leaving no stone unturned to accomplish the task we set for ourselves. Nehemiah was a man whom God had raised up as a cupbearer to the emperor Xerxes. He had the favour of the king. He could have just stayed in his comfort zone enjoying the perks of office. But, he moved into a challenge zone- that of seeking the welfare of Jerusalem and that of the children of Israel. We too need to seek the welfare of the people, the city and the country we are called to serve. Nehemiah surveyed the ruins of the walls of Jerusalem to find out what needs to be done. We too need to survey the spiritual walls or boundaries of the city and the country we serve and then resolve to communicate to the people what needs to be done as Nehemiah did. He was willing to face any threat, pay any cost, do all that was needed to achieve his objective. In one word, the difference between Nehemiah and other nobles or leaders of the Jews of the time was commitment.
The hand of the Lord was upon Nehemiah to prosper him in the task he undertook on behalf of the welfare of the people. The hand of the Lord will be upon us, too as we undertake to do what the Lord has called us to do. Nehemiah’s intention and actions did antagonise certain persons and forces who combined against him for example, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah, the Ammonite. They mocked his plans and laughed at him. They attributed motives to his actions. But Nehemiah was confident of the mission he had set out to do. He did not worry about the innuendos and insults, the barbed comments and criticisms, the threats and intimidation but just went ahead and did. He was undeterred and went ahead to execute his plan with energy, alacrity and due diligence and caution. The letters of support from the king gave his intention and actions legitimacy. But he knew at the bottom of his heart that it was the Lord who had caused the king to look upon his petition with favour. He gave all credit and thanksgiving to the Lord God of Israel. He rallied the people around his goal of re-building the walls of Jerusalem.

We need to be burdened about the falling down of the spiritual boundaries of the people we are called to serve. Nehemiah felt it so deeply that he wept as he prayed over his concern for Israel and Jerusalem. Love for people, compassion, true patriotism should move us to such a sense of empathy with the pain of our people. We need to survey the task area and take pragmatic steps to undo the damage, to re-build the ruins. The task area may be false or wrong doctrine or practices or persecution and attacks by hostile elements. As we pray, the Lord can even turn our persecutors into our chief benefactors and supporters as it happened with Moses where the nearest kin of the one issuing an edict to kill all Hebrew male babies adopted him and brought him up in the palace of Pharaoh. We need to only seek the welfare of people wholeheartedly and earnestly and we will find the way we can serve them as well as the wherewithal to do so.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Well Doing-the Key to Well Being

UV 2313/10000 Well Doing-The Key to Well Being
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Romans 2 v 7

Patience and persistence in “well doing” is the key to our well being. The hope of an abounding reward is the motivation of the faith worker. Even St Paul had his eye fixed on the incorruptible crown of glory that Jesus would place on his head as he finished running the good race and touched the finishing line. That hope gave him strength to endure all types of suffering for he knew that all the suffering in our lifetime is far outweighed by the glorious reward that awaits us in heaven.
The believer in Jesus seeks glory, honour, immortality and eternal life in Christ. Christ in us is the hope of salvation as well as glory. Whatever events overtake him, it is that hope that sustains him and makes him surge forward from moment to moment, day to day. We need to wait for the Lord patiently, work patiently in doing all the good we can in every way we can and trust in Him. As we wait for Him patiently, diligently doing the work entrusted to us, as we seek Him in our daily walk, we will have “Jesus moments”, moments when we are inspired by His presence, His word and His spirit. We will be strengthened in our inner man by His touch. The parts of our lives that are weak will be strengthened, the parts that are crooked will be straightened.

Our goals and priorities reflect our values. When we seek the Lord and His will in all that we do, we are on the path of glory, immortality, honour and eternal life. Every step takes us closer. Christ in us causes us to excel and shine for Him in this world of darkness. Like the farmer who is patient after planting the seed and waits for the harvest after many months of hard labour of ploughing, watering, fencing, trimming and transplanting, we need to be busy with the processes of well doing, expecting that it will bring forth good to great crop or fruit fit to serve the King. If we endure to the very end, our last breath of life on this earth, He will receive us with a smile and the words, “ Well done, you good and faithful servant.”

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 7, 2017


UV 2312/10000 B2B: Blessed to Bless
The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
Deuteronomy 28 v 12

The covenant we have with the Lord is a seven-domain blessing covenant. The Lord’s reserves of blessings that He stores up for His children are infinite and comprehensive to meet every need in seven segments as symbolised in the seven colours of the covenant rainbow- spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, social, material and financial. In each of these domains, the Lord has reserved a variety of blessings. He sends these showers of blessing in due time upon each of us, not late not early but just in time, not once but repeatedly He tops up our blessings in each domain. It is the seven fold blessing of the Lord that makes a person truly rich in a holistic sense. As in the rainbow, each band of colour is proportionate to the others but for some, the yellow or red or violet colour as the case may be might be brighter and broader. But human beings with our short sighted vision and inadequate knowledge think only of measuring riches in terms of the material and the financial. Most humans run miserable lives using only these limited parameters to achieve and judge success. Success or wealth that causes the soul to be poor, anaemic, weak and listless is not success or wealth.

The Lord promises in this remarkable uni-verse to bless all the work of our hands. It implies that He will enable us to use all our talents and abilities and to even make up for the abilities and talents we lack. As the Psalmist David wrote, “He will establish the work of our hands.” In other words, He will enable us to do our best, take our wisest and timely decisions, give us counsel at every step and stage, inspire us with strength and give us help in times of need, bless our efforts with either success or learning to be better.

The experiences and wisdom we gain from these will enable us to be a real blessing to all nations. We will lend them wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We will be able to be a source of blessing to others instead of expecting anything from them. He will give us a dominant or leadership position – we dominate the world to serve, to make it better, to make it part of the kingdom of God and not to exploit it. We are blessed to bless or B2B.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Ultimate Good

UV 2311/10000 The Ultimate Good
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
Psalm 4 v 7
Happiness that increases and decreases like the Sensex with increase or decrease of income or wealth or pleasure is not joy but an emotional yoyo. Joy is an anchor that holds in still waters and stormy, in the shallows and on the high seas of life. It is the sail that catches the fair wind of the grace of God that the human race most needs, the mark of the helmsman, the visionary leader. Joy is the gladness of the heart that is dependent not on any human or earthly circumstance but hinges on our intimate covenant relationship with the Lord. Corn and wine in the uni-verse are metaphors for increase in worldly goods. These might satisfy our need for food and pleasure but do not satisfy the longing of the soul to be connected at the deepest level with our Creator and Redeemer.

The joy of our hearts is put there by the Lord. It is the sense of assurance, security, hope and compassion that grows in us as we grow in our knowledge of the love of Jesus, the length, the depth, the width of His agape or unconditional love. This sense of joy makes us want to always return to His presence, to spend more time learning and loving at His feet. The gladness of our hearts should never cease or decline. It fills us with Shalom or holistic peace, well being and confidence.

Our joy remains constant like a thermostat while our happiness might increase and decrease with changes in our environment much like the mercury levels in a thermometer. One of the ways to maintain our joy at optimum or maximum level is to continually thank and praise the Lord for what we know of Him, recalling all our blessings and His love, mercy and grace towards us all our lives. Such a habit will enable us to discipline our unruly emotions that make our faith wavering and toss it about like flotsam on the sea surface. Our success is not determined by the external goals we set for ourselves but the knowledge that the Lord is with us, in us and for us. This is the “summom bonum” or the ultimate good of our lives in which all other subsidiary goals and objectives cohere or get included.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Celebrating Uniqueness

UV 2310/10000 Celebrating Uniqueness
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Exodus 15 v 11
The Lord God is our habitation. He does not need a man-made habitation like a temple or church or mosque to dwell in. When we move, He moves with us. He is our vehicle. He is unique in His character, power and status. No being in the spiritual realm or on earth are exactly like Him. We have the privilege of being made in His image or in His likeness. Though He is invisible, we can perceive Him, experience Him, taste Him. His visible image in all its fullness is Jesus. No human in history or even in the realm of fiction or imagination had done any of the things He did:He turned water into the best of wine. At the marriage feast at Canna where there was physical deficiency reported to Him, He solved it and brought a qualitative difference. He brought the dead to life, He healed the incurable, He restored the strength of limbs of the crippled, He restored sight to the blind, He healed leprosy, He commanded the stormy waves and winds of the Sea of Galilee to be still, He multiplied a small portion of food to feed a multitude. He spoke the greatest wisdom that mankind had ever known. He proved Himself wise beyond human knowledge and understanding. He rose from death. He ministered to many followers after His resurrection. He appeared in visions and dreams to many till the present generation.

Jesus demonstrated to the world that God is unique. He is glorious in holiness. He is fearful in praises. He is doing wonders. In one word, He is awesome. A sense of awe and reverence leads us into worship and wisdom. Jesus is the true and real life superman, super human being who shares His power and attributes with ordinary people like you and me. Salvation, glory, power, honour and blessing belong to Him and comes to us from Him alone. We are to be fearful of His righteous judgements. We are to be always conscious of His holiness, justice and mercy. That kind of consciousness will fill our hearts with a sense of His glory and grace.

We are to constantly walk in the ways of the Lord. We need to study the word and be steady. The Lord will do wonders that eye has not seen nor ear heard. The Lord is not only unique in power and nature but He likes to do what is unique in our lives. We will be recipients of miracles of provision, healing, deliverance, transformation, restoration, vindication, elevation or promotion. This uni-verse is extracted from the song that Moses sang after the remarkable deliverance the Lord gave the Israelites led by Moses, the amazing promise that He fulfilled of leading them into their own land, the land promised to Abraham. The testimony of the Jewish nation is that the Lord is faithful to His covenant to a thousand generations.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Supreme Choice

UV 2309/10000 Supreme Choice
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
Deuteronomy 11 v 26
Every day we have a choice before us to make it a blessing or a curse. God does not curse, He only blesses. Absence of light is the darkness that limits, confounds and confines us. His presence is blessing. His absence is curse. A blessing expands, multiplies, magnifies us. A curse limits, weakens, divides us. We are blessed if we cling to the Lord, cleave or inextricably mingled in our thoughts, words and decision-actions as well as feeling-reactions with the Word or the commandments of the Lord. We are blessed as we read, meditate, do the commandments of the Lord, believe His promises and His character, willingness to act on our behalf, trust in the salvation He provides in Jesus and in His might and grace. We choose a curse when we disregard His word, His salvation, His commandments and His promises and disbelieve His character. It is therefore, within each man’s reach to be blessed.

The same word of God when ignored and disrespected becomes the book of the law that condemns us before God, a stumbling block on which we fall and get cut. It also contains the promise of the Spirit which when believed in faith becomes the source of freedom, wisdom and blessing. It becomes Jacob’s ladder- a metaphor for the two way personal communication between the Lord and us. Even though the choice of blessing is apparently the better and greater one, why is it so few or fewer choose it? Why is it the default mode of human beings to choose darkness, to choose to be cursed? The answer lies in the lack of faith or the inability to perceive the invisible, immortal, eternal, sovereign God who rules over all things.
The path of blessing is the road less travelled. It is not as if that if one day we have chosen the path of blessing, the next day automatically we would be travelling on the same. Our decisions and choices every day affect the path we choose. Our relationship and communication every day with the Lord matters. We need to cleave to Him for dear life for He is both life in all its abundance and eternal. Nothing in life and no one compares with Him. We do not see Him but we experience and sense His presence. We enjoy His love that the word describes and offers. His love is the light that blesses us in both the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of life. Once we make the supreme choice set before us every day of our lives, all other lesser choices will fall in place. The light we receive from our faith will illuminate our paths. Any other choice might even have the appearance of light but we would find at the end of the day that we have been deceived.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 3, 2017

Loving Cover

UV 2308/10000 Loving Cover
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 4 v 18

The Lord Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” This uni-verse gives the testimony of St Paul that the Lord delivered him from every evil attack. The first evil that the Lord delivered Paul from was his hostility to Jesus and misguided dedication in eradicating the followers of Jesus and every vestige of their faith. We too need to pray for those who wrongly, unjustly or wickedly attack us, that the Lord deliver them from such evil. Jesus went on to glorify His name in and through the life and work of St Paul- he became the most avid of followers and conveyor of the good news that man can hereafter live forever if he reposes faith in the name and work of Jesus. Not only had Jesus delivered Paul from evil but turned him into a source of good for many generations including his contemporary world. In addition to being an ambassador of Christ in many nations of the then known world, he laid the doctrinal foundations of the faith in his many epistles or letters that he wrote to those he had ministered to.

The Lord had delivered Paul also from the mouth of the lion: from dangers to his life in captivity to Jews, Romans and others, from natural calamities, shipwreck, earthquakes, prison, mobs and so on. Likewise to this day, the Lord delivers us from the mouth of the lion while we travel, while we carry on our day to day activities. He stands beside us and strengthens us while we face hardships, obstacles, crisis in our lives. He sends his angel to strengthen us, to preserve our lives as he did with Jacob, with Daniel, with Peter and Paul. The Lord preserves us from falling into temptations of the flesh or of the mind: lusts as well as pride or ego. He sensitises us and keeps us continually humble so that we can be continually receiving grace or help from Him in all situations of our lives. The enemy does proxy boxing through some human agents by instigating them against us but the Lord will shield us as we yield to Him and enable us to have victory. He will turn the evil they planned against us to our own good.

Sometimes, we may be knocked down to our feet by the hard punch of the enemy but the Lord enables us to rise again, to walk and not be deterred. The Lord has committed that He will preserve us till we reach His heavenly kingdom. He will not fail or forsake any of us as long as we hold on to our faith. He longs to cover us as a mother hen covers her chicken under her wings. We can and do run for such loving cover to Him whenever we come under enemy fire.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Faith, Courage, Strength and Hope

UV 2306/10000 Faith, Courage, Strength and Hope
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Psalm 31 v 24

Our heart is the focal point of our lives. More than the strength of our minds, bodies or limbs it is the strength of our hearts that fill us with courage to face the slings and arrows that the enemy throws at us. If our hearts are filled with hope of receiving the help of the Lord, we will be encouraged or filled with courage and faith. Hope is the oxygen of our souls by means of which our spirits live. Every time we read or receive a promise of the Lord, it releases oxygen into our innermost being. All the time we retain, remember, meditate, claim and thank the Lord for a specific promise, our spirits are breathing the spiritual oxygen and we are energised to act.

When our hearts are filled with hope, we are prepared to wait for the Lord to act to fulfil His word or promise to us. We wait with an attitude of expectancy and thanksgiving. We do not complain or fret. We do not become anxious to hasten the needles of the clock. We will not act in haste and repent at leisure. We will be at peace with ourselves and we will await the leading of the Spirit. There may not be any outward or physical or visible sign of the fulfilment of the promise but we rejoice as if we have already received or experienced that which was promised or that which we hope for.

Our faith in Jesus produces hope, our hope produces patience and courage, our courage produces inner strength. Our inner strength further reinforces our faith and deepens our dependence and intimacy with the Lord. This is the cycle of blessing that flows in our lives. Sometimes, even in the event of the extreme opposite of that which we hope for happens in real time, we do not give up hope but rejoice that we have done the will of the Lord. When we demonstrate or manifest this kind of faith, hope and joy in the Lord, we become witnesses in flesh and blood of the grace of the Lord. The uni-verse states that the Lord shall strengthen to a certainty our hearts as we wait with hope in His salvation. Sometimes, the Lord takes away the things we cherish in life or in this world as He wants us to experience that Christ in us and Christ alone is the hope of glory. Our greatness or fulfilment of hope is realized only with Christ in us and we being rooted and growing in Him.

Prateep V Philip