Monday, February 26, 2018

Sacrifices of Joy

UV 2907/10000 Sacrifices of Joy
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
Psalm 27 v 6

The Lord exalts us over our foes, opponents and enemies. He gives us victory in their presence. He causes us to rejoice even as He made Mordecai rejoice at his salvation from the evil plot of the powerful aide of the king of the realm. Once we experience such victory and salvation we should continually remember this experience of what the Lord has done in our lives and offer sacrifices of joy or praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord. David in this uni-verse makes such a commitment to continually offer such sacrifices of joy in the temple of the Lord.

Today, our bodies, minds and spirits are the tabernacle of the Lord. The doors of this tabernacle are always open. The lights on the altar of this tabernacle are always burning . The sacrifice of Jesus obviates the need for sacrifices for justification and sanctification but makes it necessary for us to offer daily sacrifices of praise, joy and thanksgiving. It will be a good exercise to recall all the experiences and happenings of our lives in which the Lord rescued us from dire consequences or situations and rejoice in His salvation.
Imagine a person who has been healed of incurable afflictions like leprosy, blindness, paralysis and so on. How great would be his or her joy! Likewise, if not physical ailments, we have been healed and delivered from spiritual leprosy, spiritual blindness and paralysis. Imagine a person surrounded by an armed garrison and the Lord delivers him as He did in the case of Elijah, the prophet. Now, we need to recall how the Lord has rescued us and lifted us up in every way and then praise and thank Him sincerely and continually with joy and gratitude overflowing from our hearts. We owe a debt of lifelong gratitude to the Lord. We thank Him and worship Him not out of a sense of weary obligation but out of joy and exuberance.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Re-purposing Our Lives

UV 3908/10000 Re-purposing Our Lives
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed
I Peter 2 v 24
Jesus being absolutely without sin was the perfect sacrifice, acceptable to God for all the accumulated sins and unrighteousness of mankind. Now that we have identified ourselves with the death and resurrection of Christ in our baptism, we are to dead to our old sinful nature and alive to righteousness of Christ. “I” becomes a new personality, a new creature, re-created in the full image of Christ- Christ-in-me. We no longer live to satisfy our old cravings and lusts and to satisfy our own egos but to please the Lord. We are to crucify or put an end to all that offends the spirit of the Lord in our lives. We are instead to bear fruits of righteousness, each of us like a tree of eternal life, planted on the banks of the river of heaven, nourished by the streams and river of the Holy Spirit, bearing a different fruit every month of the year. Even our ‘leaves’ or our thoughts and words and feelings are to heal the nations of this world of its sin and curse.
The process of re-purposing our lives makes us whole and healed. The price was paid by the wounds inflicted on the body of Jesus. Since we are now living in Him and for Him, we have access to His grace or His resurrection power to live a victorious or righteous life. A righteous life is a life of excellence. We are to excel and do all things for the glory of the Lord. The spirit of prayer and worship and thanksgiving pervades every aspect of our lives.
We no longer think and plan short term or long term but in eternal terms. Our perspective and our priorities, our beliefs and our values, our habits and practices, our actions and reactions are now to increasingly, degree by degree, to conform not to the image in which this world wants to cast us but in the image of Christ. He gives us the power or anointing from within, the enablement to be more, to do more, to have more, to give more. He heals us of “hamartia” or the shortcomings of sin. We no longer fall short of the glory of God by grace but fulfil the purpose for which we were created and redeemed. The healing the uni-verse speaks of is not just physical healing but healing of the whole human person, in spirit, mind and body. It is also a healing of our relationships and the world around us.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Secrets of Life Uncovered

UV 2907/10000 Secrets of Life Uncovered
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
Psalm 25 v 14
When we reverence or respect the Lord and are devoted to Him, He reveals His secrets to us. He reveals the details of His covenant, covering all the promises related to our deliverance, healing, blessing and salvation. The covenant is what facilitates and governs our relationship with the Lord. He does not hide anything from his friends. The Lord reveals certain secrets relating to different aspects of our lives through His word, through the prayers of others.
Scripture says that the secret things belong to the Lord but if we need to know it, He will reveals aspects of His character to us through various life situations. He will reveal the secrets of His love, His grace, His power, His mercy to us through our personal challenges and problematic situations. He does not prefer to remain an enigma but loves to relate to us as a man with his friend. This is one of the reasons He reveals secrets about even the future through dreams like those of Joseph, visions like those of Ezekiel and prophecies like those of Isaiah.
Another dimension of this uni-verse is that there is a hidden promise in that it means the Lord reveals certain secrets of creation, of invention, of nature to His chosen ones. Individuals through history have been given the secrets of science and technology, of philosophy and psychology as they persisted with faith and reverence for the word of God. The reverence of the Lord, the resultant wisdom, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the intense study and application of the word of God are the keys to reveal these hidden secrets of life, of nature, of knowledge. As we stay in constant and intimate communion with the Lord, He would open our spiritual eyes to see the secrets, unlock the doors of intuition and deeper understanding. There are secret treasures that He opens our eyes to recognize which could be a new idea, an invention or innovation. There are secrets of the past, secrets of the present, of the future and of eternity that He holds and reveals as His sovereign will decides. The Lord revealed to Abraham the fate of Sodom before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah took place. He revealed to Abraham that he would be honoured as the father of faith. There are secrets of heaven and of earth that He reveals. Some aspects of our relationship with the Lord are to be kept secret between the Lord and us even as there are secrets between a husband and a wife that they alone share. He revealed to Paul the teachings that he expounded to the early church. He revealed to John the mysteries of the book of Revelation. Whenever a secret is revealed by the Lord, it is for a specific purpose in alignment with His will or as He is pleased with the faith of an individual or as He wants to warn some person or group of persons.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Three String Cord

UV 2906/10000 The Three String Cord
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4 v 12

Marriage is not just an union at the lips and the hips but a spiritual union of two by the third person of the Trinity- the Holy Spirit. When we look at married persons, we see only two but we need to sense and be sensitive to the third person. Marriage is a sacred covenant and sacrament of two with no space for a third human but enough space and more for the Lord. He is the invisible One who binds the wounds when either partner is hurt and bonds them with peace and love. Just as the presence of Jesus at the marriage at Canna prevented a catering disaster- of shortage of wine, the presence of Jesus in a marital union ensures they do not run out of love, grace, peace. His grace is sufficient for both partners in all of life’s situations. Jesus is also the guarantor of all the promises of bountiful blessings that the Lord gives the faithful according to Deuteronomy chapter 28. He is the One who makes the barren woman to bear children, more than the one who has children. This implies that in all the challenges of married life, the Lord is with us as a problem-solver, a hope-giver, a promise-fulfiller. He is not just the Messiah of souls but Messiah of marriages and He saves us from the messes our marriages sometimes land us in.
Jesus as a Wonderful Counsellor gives us courage and wisdom to face and resolve our marital issues. He uses the strengths of one partner to complement the weakness of the other, the gifts and abilities of one to complement those of the other. There might be differences of opinion on a variety of issues but the Lord gives the husband and the wife the grace to overcome these conflicts as long as both are in a personal and intimate relationship not just with each other but with the Prince of Peace, the Eternal Bridegroom. When the two pray over whatever troubles them, a sense of peace that passes human comprehension will envelop them and keep them together as one united strand.
The enemy of the human soul is also the enemy of marriage. He brought trouble into the first marriage of Adam and Eve and turned the marital relationship into a blame game and a power struggle. He is intent on destroying marriage as a relationship, as a sacrament and as an institution. But if a couple takes a stand in faith, they will be able to withstand the temptations and pressures he brings their way. In contrast, Jesus perfects the relationship, builds and strengthens it. He is the invisible cord that makes it unbreakable, inviolable and makes it better even as He made the second wine served at the marriage of Canna better. He enables both to remain faithful to each other. He is the protective shield against the slings and arrows of misfortune, calamity, disease and sorrow. The spiritual head of the family is not the husband or the wife but the Lord Himself and the idea of an ego clash or a power struggle ceasea as both submit to His will as revealed by the Spirit or in plain terms in His word of the Covenant.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Leadership Mantle

UV 2905/10000 The Leadership Mantle
And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
Deuteronomy 28 v 13
Headship or leadership is due to what the Lord accomplishes in and through us. It comes as a blessing for our devotion to Him. Devotion to God is synonymous with diligence in reading, remembering, meditating, applying or obeying His word. The obedience is not just something that happened in our past but a daily heeding to the Word. The promise follows such daily application of the principles of the Word in our lives- we shall excel in all that we do. We will exceed expectations.
To observe His commands is to serve Him. He then pours His grace on us so that we can lead others through service. Jesus Himself came to be the head of all humanity by His diligence in knowing, understanding and obeying the Word even the hard parts that related to His allowing Himself to be put to a cruel death for the sake of all. Hence, headship or leadership does not mean a life of privilege or success as the world understands it. Our lives will not be in vain but it will fulfil the purpose for which we are created and sustained by the Lord. We may not be Very Important Persons but we will certainly be Very Significant Persons.
Diligence with the word does not mean only studying it but in doing or carrying it out in practical ways in our lives. It is not a theoretical or theological or head knowledge that we are called by this uni-verse to possess but a ‘heart knowledge’- a love for the Word since it comes from the Lord. The word transforms us from within like nothing else can. The top that the word refers to is not in terms of position or power but that we will be a “Tabernacle of Peace”(ToP), a servant of the Prince of Peace, Jesus. We will experience Shalom or multi-dimensional, comprehensive and holistic peace all the days of our lives. We may have ups and downs, highs and lows in our days and in our lives, we may go through thick and thin but through the various circumstances, such complete, incomprehensible peace will be our concomitant or constant companion.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Outpouring

UV 2904/10000 The Outpouring
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
Isaiah 44 v 3
It is only the spiritually thirsty, those who have no confidence in their flesh and total confidence in the Lord and His word who will be quenched. His word both quenches and satisfies the thirst for eternal life, for hope, for mercy, for grace, for love. He pours His anointing as a flood that rises upon dry and parched land, causing a spring of joy, a river of life to course out from there. He pours out His spirit upon those among us who long for His touch, His filling, His enabling.
Our cup is not like that of the optimist- half full or like that of the pessimist- half empty but it is overflowing with joy at His presence, joy at our personal relationship with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. We neither fight nor take to flight but remain still like dry land in pouring rain. We absorb every drop of blessing that He pours on us, thankful for everything and anything that He blesses us with, not taking anything for granted or casually. He causes our ‘seed’ or our ideas, efforts, projects, plans, offspring to grow and flourish for His glory by His grace.
In this uni-verse, He promises to send us the showers of blessing, the early spring rain as well as the seasonal rain of blessings. As we see our seed growing, our hearts will rejoice and know that it is the Lord’s doing, not our own merit or wisdom or ability that has caused it to grow, multiply and be fruitful. He turns our tears into laughter, our weeping into rejoicing, our inadequacies into the sufficiency of His grace, our weaknesses and failures into His strength and fulfilment. He replaces the natural law of as you sow, so you reap with the supernatural law of abundance, “as He sows in us, in and through our lives and our children, so we reap”. When dry souls bear hope, when the dry ground of our lives runs with streams of living water which is His words, it is not natural, it is not unnatural but it is spiritual and supernatural. We move from man’s economy of scarcity to God’s economy of abundance, from man’s polity of injustice, cruelty and hardship to the kingdom of God , the reign and rule of love, from man’s society of the superficial and unequal to God’s society of humility, equality, dignity and nobility.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Four Dimensions of the Fourth Dimension

UV 2903/10000 Four Dimensions of the Fourth Dimension
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
Jehovah is unique. He is unique even among all conceptions of mankind of god on earth. HE is unique in both His words and His works. His words are wonderful and His works are miraculous. His presence is enough for all to fall down and worship. His shadow or His influence is more powerful than a shield of steel. He is to be feared, revered, respected, held in awe and yet be loved. He is merciful to the humble. He is faithful and consistent in all He says and does. All these qualities are personified and embodied in full measure in the person of Jesus.
The Messianic prophet Isaiah in a revelation explains that the fourth dimension-the supernatural Being, the Great I Am has four dimensions- wonderful counsellor, mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. These four dimensions are wisdom, power, love and peace. When God is with us in Jesus, these four dimensions of the fourth dimension should intermingle and be manifest in our lives- wisdom, power, love and peace. These four qualities seem paradoxical or contradictory- how can a person be fearful in praise and yet be intimate and loving as a Father? How can He combine the humility of wisdom with the greatness of His infinite power? The uni-verse states that the Lord is alone in His holiness- none of us can even remotely approach His holiness or character. He is fearful or awesome in holiness. But He clothes us by His grace with His wisdom, power, love and peace. The wisdom, power, love and peace of the Lord is unique, distinct from what is understood to be wisdom, power, love and peace in this world.
The word of the Lord is the key to unlocking the wisdom, power, love and peace embedded in the fourth dimension. We learn and appreciate and imitate the wisdom of the Lord when we read, study, meditate and apply His word in this world. We are to apply it in our relationship with Him, relationship with our own family, relationship with all others. We cannot have double standards where we apply one rule in one relationship and quite another elsewhere. Our paradigm of life shifts from the love of power to the power of love. The transformation of human character is of far greater value and significance in His eyes than the turning of water into wine.
Prateep V Philip