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

Monday, February 12, 2018

Stable and Able Life and Leadership

UV 2902/10000 Stable and Able
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
Isaiah 54 v 10

The covenant we have with the Lord through Jesus is one of peace. It is not a happening-dependent peace. In other words, our sense of peace is not dependent on what happens or does not happens in our lives. It depends on our relationship with the Peace-Giver, the Prince of Peace, the One who rules through the dispensing of peace. His word is a sword that pierces our hearts and circumcises it, removes all unnecessary love of this world and fears of our lives. His word puts His law in our minds and writes it on the tablet of our hearts.

Our covenant with the Lord is not one dependent on what we do or do not. It is not dependent on our righteousness but on what Jesus had accomplished on the cross. It is dependent on His grace, love and mercy. His approval of us is not dependent on what we do or do not but on our faith in the sacrifice made by Him to justify us, the provision made by Him to sanctify us- the Holy Spirit and the word, the promises given by Him to enable us to be victorious in this life.
Since our relationship is based on our mutual commitment- the Lord’s and ours based not on circumstances, events, emotions, deeds but on the Lord’s infinite love and mercy and power, it is unchanging, constant, eternal, unshakable, trustworthy, dependable. It is stronger and more stable than the strongest and most prominent features of the geography of the earth- the mountains and hills, it is stronger and more enduring than our life’s challenges and situations, it is stronger and more enduring than all our relationships. Everything else may change in our personal lives but the covenant of peace, of love, of mercy, of grace will continue to be the sheet anchor and source of strength of our lives. It is our covenant relationship with Jesus that makes us both emotionally stable and intellectually able- the two hallmarks of consistent and effective leadership and management.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, February 9, 2018

Spiritual Authority to Build and to Pull Down

UV 2901/10000 Spiritual Authority to Build and to Pull Down
See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Jeremiah 1 v 10
Power is double edged. It can be creative or destructive, helpful or harmful, enabling or neutralising. The Lord has given us the power and authority over nations, to be both builders and levellers, to pull down strongholds of evil with spiritual weapons, with His word and prayer and to establish the kingdom of God, to build it, to plant it in human hearts, to nurture it, to cause it to grow to fullness, maturity and fruitfulness. Our weapons are not of the flesh or of this world but are ordained of the Lord, proceeds from His mouth and no force on earth can counter or overcome it. Believers in Christ, then are called to play a dual role – to uproot, to eradicate evil, to cause change and reform, to restructure, to innovate, to improve, to re-build the ruins as well as to build what is new. Our prayers and our wielding of the Word in the spirit causes huge upheavals in the spiritual world, reflected by changes and events in the physical world.
This uni-verse is a key verse to show us the importance and global reach of our spiritual influence and authority as leaders anointed by Christ with the Holy Spirit. We have the awesome authority that allowed Jesus to cause a fig tree to wither from its roots upwards. Our mere command with faith can cause many roots to wither. We can do the reverse too –of planting the spiritual seed in many hearts and minds. Changes for the better in different domains are presaged by much labour in the spirit and in prayer. The kingdoms referred to in the uni-verse are the kingdoms of darkness over which we can exercise spiritual authority. We cannot tear any of these with our bare hands or with physical power but by our faithful exercise of godly authority in Christ, we can bring about effective results.
The spiritual entities responsible for the kingdoms of darkness are subject to our authority and commands. But before we engage in such spiritual warfare, we should take care to wear the full armour of God, take care to see that we are producing all of the fruit of the spirit, take care to see that we are employing all the gifts of the Spirit given to us. The Lord uses His people to bring down or level mountains and to raise up what is lowly or depressed like the valleys. The process of building and pulling down is not a one time event but an ongoing lifelong process. We need to first of all cast down or overthrow all that hinders our own personal spiritual progress. Then we can set sights on different threats and targets in different domains in many nations. In all this we are fulfilling our calling as priests and kings of the Most High; kings wage war to extend their dominion, to preserve their dominion and deal with threats, priests pray, intercede, worship, thank the Lord. This is part of our high calling, it is food meant for the mature and not for the very young or new believers. It requires us to be rooted in the Lord, in His word, fully covered by His presence and spirit-filled.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

From Impulse to Pulse

UV 2900/10000 From Impulse to Pulse
And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand
Exodus 2 v 12
The irony is that Moses, the future law giver was about to break the law. He was about to kill an Egyptian who was beating up a Hebrew slave. Moses was provoked. He was moved with anger at the treatment meted out to a brother. He acted on that impulse after taking due precaution to check if anyone was watching. Eventually, Moses was given the tablet that included one of the most vital commandments- “Thou shall not kill.” One cannot kill any human whether Egyptian or Hebrew or any other linguistic or religious group as everyone is made in the image of God. Only the life giver, the Lord has the right to take back life from anyone.
Though Moses thought that no one knew about his impulsive action of killing the Egyptian and burying him in the sand, word got around and he was forced to flee from Pharaoh’s wrath. The time he spent in the wilderness as a fugitive away from his people and the Egyptian court, God used to shape the character of Moses. He was no longer the person who would act on impulse but the one who was in touch with the pulse of God. He learnt that Jehovah shared his anguish at the enslavement and oppression of the Hebrew people, children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses’ anger was being tapped to be used in a constructive and more effective way to secure the destiny and freedom of the Hebrew people from whom would eventually come the Saviour of mankind- the Law fulfiller- Jesus, the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah.
Each of us are also transformed from being persons who act on impulse to persons who are in touch with the pulse of the Lord. We feel His anguish at the sin and pain in this world and He first breaks our impulsive nature before utilising us for the deliverance of many from the ultimate oppression- the spiritual yoke of sin and guilt and fear of death. From being law breakers, He turns us into law fulfillers by grace. The agape love of Jesus transcends the external requirements of law. He works through the Holy Spirit a deep work from within us so that we live and act in accordance with the pulse of the Lord. We are no longer led neither by our varying emotions or our fallible reasoning but by the leading and grace of the Lord. We need not cast furtive glances left and right like Moses before breaking the law but we can look up to the Lord for justice and mercy.
Prateep V Philip