Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Pattern of Planning and Planting of the Lord

UV 2828/10000 The Pattern of Planning and Planting
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified
Isaiah 61 v 3

The words, “to appoint” in this wonderful uni-verse implies that the Lord plans and plants every believer to reveal His glory, His grace and mercy. The deceiver wants every human to turn into a wild vine that grows without plan or purpose, to be eventually cut and thrown into the fire. But the Lord’s plan is that no one shall mourn in Zion or His kingdom. The Lord beautifies the humble with salvation. In other words, He makes the lives beautiful of those who humble themselves to agree that they have come short of His holy and absolute standards. He first wipes their tears of repentance. He turns their godly sorrow into joy eternal, not joy temporal or worldly and temporary by anointing them with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He gives them the clothes of salvation to cover their spiritual nakedness and shame. The Lord replaces the ashes of our past defeats, failures and misery with the beauty of victory, success and fulfillment. The spirit of “hamartia” or shortcoming, failure, misery , weakness and spiritual poverty is replaced with the spirit of “hyperbole” or the spirit of fulfilment and overshooting the target or being, doing and having much more than we can ask, think or imagine.
No more do we have to cower in fear and shame behind the fig leaves of respectability and sham. The fear of the holiness of God keeps us from our past patterns of sin. We might be weighed down by many earthly sorrows but the hope of eternal life in Christ fills us with heavenly joy. Instead of complaining, murmuring or grieving or being depressed and downcast, we now have a million reasons to praise and thank the Lord every moment of our lives.
We are grafted onto the root of Jesus so that we grow spiritually , holistically and in every sense. We are nurtured with His word. A tree bears fruit only when it is mature. We grow to maturity when we bear abundantly in terms of quality as well as quantity the fruit of spirit and of a righteous Christ-like character with traits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. When we bear such fruit of character, we glorify the Lord. Even our numerous leaves or the words we speak, think, pray or write are meant for the healing and blessing of people of all nations. Nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God or His economy. We are planted by the Lord. He waters us continually with His word, the water of life. He satisfies our inner hunger and thirst for righteousness. We grow to be in size, girth, strength and beauty like cedars of Lebanon. We are the branches of righteousness from one root- Jesus. Our response is to remain deeply and firmly rooted in Him. It is not enough to be a big tree but we need to be a fruit bearing fig tree. It is indeed amazing to note that the Lord hungers for the fruit of our lives. We have before us the choice to be the fig tree that did not bear fruit to satisfy the hunger of the Lord and He was compelled to command it to wither or the fig tree that bears fruit in season and out of season or in other in tough times and good times. We stand tall and set apart from the rest of humanity in terms of our dignity and integrity. Even without the opening of our mouths, our very lives declare the glory of the Lord.
As we ascribe praise and worship to the Lord which is His due, our duty and pleasure, our spirit of gloom, of misery, of depression, of mourning will be lifted. The Holy Spirit who is the Great Comforter will comfort and heal our inner wounds and remove our inner scars. He turns the causes of our sorrow into the sources of our blessing and rejoicing.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Pattern of Governance and Peace

UV 2827/10000 The Pattern of Governance and Peace
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9 v 7

Even as the government of the Lord Jesus increases in and among us, the peace of the Saviour Jesus increases in and among us. History has shown us that even the mightiest of powers decline over time and come to an end. Empires and kingdoms rise and fall. But the throne of David is established forever in and through Jesus. The kingdom of Jesus lasts forever. The Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is at work establishing it continually. It is not a kingdom of territory or armies or treasuries but a kingdom of hearts and minds united in obedience to the King who combines the power and dignity of the lion with the gentleness and humility of a lamb. It is a kingdom not based on suppression of truth but is founded on truth and justice.

Jesus rules over death, disease, inequity, injustice, disorder and every form of darkness. All other kings surrendered to death in the end while Jesus alone submitted meekly to death but rose as king even over death. Another distinctive aspect of the government of Jesus is that obedience though expected is not compelled at the point of a sword or gun. He expects and receives the willing and joyful obedience of people who acknowledge Him as the ultimate Governor of their thoughts, emotions, desires, actions and reactions. As each of us, submit ourselves in such willing and joyful obedience, we experience His everlasting peace in greater and greater measure. Peace in Jesus or Shalom is not a feeling or the mere absence of conflict but it is wholesome and comprehensive affecting every aspect of our lives, our longevity, our quality of life, our legacy, our offspring, our families, our friends, our foes, our homes, our health, our finances, our past, present, future and eternity, our spirits, minds and bodies. We are not passive beneficiaries or observors of His rule but we are also partners with Him in His kingdom. We are co-rulers with Him on the throne inherited from David. We are to execute His righteousness and justice in all our domains of influence. The laws and principles of our covenant with Jesus are as consistent and predictable as the covenant of the Lord with the day and night, with the sun and the moon, that these appear at set times and seasons in the sky.

The litmus test whether the government of Jesus is increasing in us is the increase of His shalom or peace in us. The peace He gives, the world cannot give or take away. If His peace is not expanding or increasing in us and among us from day to day, we should ask ourselves if our obedience to His eternal rules and principles are increasing or not. We can take His help or grace to obey Him in all things for He knows we are weak and unable to do it on our own steam. We are to be possessed by the zeal of Jesus- a kind of holy energy and motivation to do all that is pleasing to our Commander-in-Chief, the Lord of the armies of heaven.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Pattern of Blood-bought Salvation

UV 2826/10000 The Pattern of Blood-bought Salvation
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12 v 13

This promise given to the Jewish slaves in Egypt before the angel of death visited the land of Egypt is relevant to the believers of Jesus to this day. The cross mark of sheep’s blood put across the threshold of the houses of the Hebrew slaves was the sign of salvation for the latter even as the houses of the Egyptians were visited with the death of the first born son of each house. The way to claim an ancient promise of the Lord is to first hear it, then believe it, receive it with thanksgiving and live in faith and free from fear as if the promise is already fulfilled. The sign of the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God protects us and preserves us from every plague, every evil that is visited on our lands. When the angel of retribution passes over our houses, he will pass over our houses as he sees the sign of the cross upon our hearts, our lives, our families and our houses and even our livestock or pets. Our faith in the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus is the token of the covenant with our God and our Lord.
The blood of sheep that marked the lintels and doorposts of the Hebrew homes were mere tokens of faith. But the blood of Jesus was nor a mere token but an outpouring of the very love of the Lord. It is our blood armour. It secures our salvation and makes it a fait accompli. The Lord needs to see that we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. A precious payment has been made for the sins and shortcomings of all mankind and it cannot go vain. This “Passover” not only protects us from the destructive wrath of God but makes us inheritors of every grace our race needs. It is reckoned as if we have wholeheartedly obeyed all the commands and precepts of the Lord. We are protected not just from the ten plagues that affected Egypt triggered by Moses but all the curses of disobedience listed in Deuteronomy chapter 28.

Faith is a reflection of the perfect love of God for it is the process through which all our fears are cast out. The Lord tests our response between the moment we believe in His promise of salvation and it becomes a “fait” or an action or a result or a fact and experience. When disease afflicts the land, we will be free from it. When disaster strikes, whether man-made or natural, we will be saved. When famine strikes the land, we will be provided what we need even as the house of Jacob was provided grain to sustain them in the land of Egypt. When darkness prevails in the land, the light of Jesus and the hope He gives will be available in our homes. We are marked or chosen for salvation by the blood of the Lamb.
Prateep V Philip

Vitamin D

UV 2829/10000 Vitamin D
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
Malachi 4 v 2

The wings of the Lord are the Word and Prayer , both of which needs to be used in synchronicity to provide flight to our souls and healing of our spirits, minds and bodies. To those of us who revere the name of the Lord, we also love His Son , Our Saviour who clothes us with His rays of righteousness. We receive our vitamin D or Devotion as we are bathed and soaked in the light of the Morning Star Jesus every single day.

In the presence of the Lord, we are no longer like grass that perishes or flowers that fade or waves that are tossed about in the sea. We become tender like young calves, full of the enthusiasm for life. We become fat or faithful, available and teachable. We are always learning and growing and rejoicing in the effulgence of the presence of the Lord. We are not in a perpetual quest for greener pastures but are content and happy with what He feeds us. All our needs are met in Him.

We are not like the frog that adjusts its temperature to the surrounding environment or conform to the world but like the mature cow that keeps chewing and ruminating, we meditate continually on His word and are transformed by the insights we gain therefrom. Like the trees that produce oxygen by day and ripen fruit as it is held out to the sun, we produce the oxygen of hope for the otherwise spiritually dying and afflicted of this world and hold forth the fruit of the spirit to ripen in the warmth of the presence and radiance of the Lord. Our root of faith in Jesus are moistened and fed by the river of the Holy Spirit. Our constant meditation and fellowship with the Lord prompt us to leap like young calves that are well fed. We jump and leap with joy and eventually leapfrog from earth to eternity.

Prateep V Philip

The Pillars of Faith

UV 2830/10000 The Pillar of Faith

To him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of My God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God, the name of the city of my God,the new Jerusalem that is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Revelation 3 v 12

The Lord Jesus exhorts us to hold onto our faith, our personal knowledge of God that gives us the edge to be leaders, visionaries and overcomers in this world. We are to overcome sin, death and the fear of death, temptation, the weaknesses of our own flesh and mind, challenges, difficulties and the enemy of our souls. We can and shall overcome if we use effectively the double edged sword of the word : one edge to cut out the dross in us and the other edge to cut the dross of the world. If we do so, the Lord promises to make us tall pillars , strong pillars, beautiful pillars, stable pillars, unshakeable pillars of the very habitation of God, the tabernacle or the temple. We become building blocks of the kingdom of God. We become the pillars to hold up the roof or the canopy of the glory of God. We are an edifice of the Lord being built up to support the greater work of His kingdom. Coincidentally, I happened to travel yesterday to see the twelve apostles which are limestone rocks carved into natural pillars by the sea and wind in a bay in the Southern Sea off the coast of Melbourne. Some of the “ apostles “ have been so eroded by the tossing waves and raging winds that these are invisible. So much so, now all that remains are six and a half “apostles”. The existing pillars are losing a centimetre a year in its various dimensions. It is indeed an admonition from nature that we are to be built up as apostles of Christ in this world and not be eroded by all that happens around us. We should have accretion and not erosion of our faith, hope and love. We should be adding not losing centimetres of length, depth, height, breadth to our faith, love, vision, knowledge and grace. A pillar needs a deep and strong foundation. Jesus lays our foundation on the rock of faith in Him and His word.

The Lord writes on us a new name or in other words, He gives us new birth, new life, new identity, new hope, a new character, new abilities, new goals and priorities, new strength and eventually, a new destiny in the eternal city , the new Jerusalem , the capital city of the Lord. The process of our transformation is similar to that of how one temperamental and emotionally unstable Simon became Peter, the rock of faith on which the church of Christ came to be established. He will strengthen us from within by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. He will make us mature and consistent in living our faith and in our obedience to the Word. He establishes us and writes our name on stone so that our work and our words are never eroded or forgotten or ignored. The metals that form a pillar are malleable when being shaped but strong and hard when it assumes its final shape. Likewise, we should be flexible and teachable and mouldable while we are learning or being discipled by the Holy Spirit. But once our character and principles are shaped, we need to be unbending and uncompromising on fundamentals.

He who is our Maker is also our Builder. Jesus is the initiator, builder, sustainer , preserver, protector, finisher of our pillar of faith. Each pillar He carved out of the rough stone of our lives is unique. No two will be exactly the same as none of the apostles were identical. Our identity in Christ my be similar but never identical. Our responsibility is just to let Him do His work without our interference or interruption. The power to overcome does not come from striving, from self efforts, from success and achievement, from wisdom or even from abstinence and piety. It comes from God. Christ is the cornerstone at the four corners of our lives. We are built by Him on the principles He teaches us. We are built not at one go or in one day but moment by moment, experience by experience, yielding by yielding to the Holy Spirit, obedience by obedience. In the end it is not whether we have become rich or famous or powerful or successful that matters but whether we have followed Jesus in overcoming the world. Each day we should ask if a brick has been added to the pillar of our faith, whether a layer of experience of His love , a layer of excellence, a layer of truth, a layer of devotion have been added to the edifice of our faith. A pillar has a beautiful crown or capital on its top. The crown of salvation is our capital and we should not do anything that will make us lose it ever. Jesus is also our capstone or capital stone. The historic Iron pillar of Mehrauli which holds the famous national lion emblem of India has been so made that it has withstood the ravages and pressures of time since several millennia since it was first cast in the Mauryan era circa 3rd century BC. We too who hold up the Lion and the Lamb should stand up to the pressures, temptations to compromise as well as the adulterous pleasures of life.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Pattern of Agreement

UV 2831/10000 The Pattern of Agreement
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Amos 3 v 3

This uni-verse is as applicable to the relationship between God and an individual human being as between two individuals in a marriage. Man should agree to walk with God even as Enoch walked with God, even as Noah walked with God. Then, God will walk in us, with us, for us as He did with Abraham. Jesus showed us all the patterns of the Lord that we need to walk in harmony with. It is an agreement or alignment of thoughts, feelings, actions, reactions, desires and decisions with the perfect will of the Lord. When we praise and worship the Lord, we are agreeing that He is both our Creator and Saviour and that He alone deserves all glory. When we pray, we are agreeing that He alone has compassion and grace to answer us in many of the issues of life. When we seek guidance, we are agreeing that He is the source of genuine wisdom and knowledge. When we confess our faults and failures, we are agreeing that He can forgive us and set us right with Him and others. The metaphor of walking is used as it is a step by step agreement with the Lord. Those of us who have been trained in the police and the army know that when we march, not one step can be a mis-step or out of sync with all others in the squad. When cattle are yoked together, too, they walk step by step in sync or in agreement with each other. This is what living in harmony with the Lord, living the purposeful life is all about. We should take care not to run ahead of the will of the Lord.

No one can be in relationship with another intelligent and sentient being except both of them agree in spirit that they walk together. Walking with the Lord implies that we need to agree to live in accordance with His ways and His word. When we take a mis-step or make a mistake, we fall for His ways and His word are the perfect template or pattern for us to follow I all our ways. He provides the solution or remedy even when we fall so that we can once again walk in agreement with Him by seeking His forgiveness.
For a marriage to be a blessing, to be fruitful, the husband and wife as well as the children need to first agree to “walk with the Lord” and then, to walk with each other. When disagreements or conflicts arise as these are bound to, we will know how to sort them out. When we walk with Him consistently and faithfully in agreement of spirit and of heart, He will lift us up in due time. He will be with us in our seasons of trial and tribulation to strengthen us from within. He will give us the grace or the enablement to endure. Just as our electronic devices need to sync to the wifi to play or view or work, our spirits need to be in sync with the Holy Spirit at all times. We will hear a voice, a whisper behind our ears, feel a prodding, a prompting to do a certain thing at a particular time. If we obey that bidding of the Spirit of God, we are walking together with Him. We should be able to discern if it is the voice of our own lusts or pride, or of the world, or of the enemy of our souls and decline to agree with any of these voices. When we know His word well enough, we will be able to distinguish the voices we hear and learn to abide by His voice.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pattern of Healing, Comfort, Change and Deliverance

UV 2822/10000 Pattern of Healing and Deliverance
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalm 34 v 18

Jesus is the Healer and Physician of the broken-hearted. He stays close to those who are depressed or downcast. When two of His disciples were so depressed about His crucifixion, one of the first things the Resurrected Jesus did was to walk incognito with them and comfort them with scriptures to show that this had to happen according to the will of God. Likewise, He walks close, often incognito and unrecognized, to those who are broken- hearted down to this day and time. One of the main missions and one of the aspects of the anointing that Jesus received and came into this broken world for is to heal the broken hearts. He extends His salvation to those who are crushed in spirit. He comforts those who mourn with a godly sorrow. If the brokenness is caused by genuine remorse at one’s own faults and willful failures to obey the commands of the Lord, Jesus gives His grace to overcome in that area of failing. When we are broken-hearted and repent, we humble ourselves before the Lord, saying, "We are helpless. We can do it only with Your help." The Lord then gives grace to the humble, as the Word promises.

Deep pain or sorrow is needed often to bring inner change. Genuine repentance brings radical change so that we do not repeat the same offence or act that offended or grieved the Holy Spirit and broke our own hearts. We need to resolve that we would do all that depends on us to avoid such acts or behaviour in the rest of our lives. We need to avoid our former corrupt communication that was driven by the lusts of this world. The Lord will give us His redeeming grace in respect of the areas of our lives where we are contrite or repentant, longing for God-induced and enabled change for the better. We need to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and identify those attitudes and actions of ours that saddens Him. The distinctive blessings that the broken-hearted need are sent our way in abundance and in a timely way.
If we are broken-hearted due to certain happenings or events in our lives, Jesus will prove in the words of Job that “Our Redeemer lives.” He not only lives but He is present right in the middle of the crises we face in life. He will apply the spiritual balm- the Balm of Gilead with His words that cause healing and deliverance from whatever affects us. In the Book of Revelation, it is seen that the mere touch of the Lamb of God that sits on the throne of Heaven is sufficient to dry the tears of the faithful.

Prateep V Philip