Friday, May 18, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Cling to What is Good

UV 2950/10000 Using Alpha Power to Cling to What is Good
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Romans 12 v 9

St Paul while writing letters to both the Roman church and the Thessalonian believers of Christ, the Saviour and Lord, emphasized that they cling to what is good and let go or repulse evil. We are to be spiritual magnets attracting or pulling to ourselves, drawing into our hearts and minds, our very DNA or divine nature what is good and repulse what is evil. But only God is absolutely good while we humans can at best be partially or relatively good. The uni-verse implies that we need to let go of what is only relatively good and partially evil and cling or cleave or stick like glue to God. We need to cleave to God and His very image sent on Earth Jesus like leeches and draw from Him our supply of what is absolutely good- His cleansing blood, His healing, His word, His precepts, His faithfulness, the fruit of His spirit. We cannot let go for a second. But just as salt causes a leech to let go of the human body on which it clings, sin causes us to let go of God. Conversely, the Word acts as salt to cause the leech of bad habits, evil attitudes, spiritual strongholds to let go of their tentacles on our lives. One cannot cling to what is good without hating what is evil and one cannot let go of what is evil without clinging to what is good. It does not happen in a single day but over one’s life, the degree to which one clings to good or loves good and the degree to which one hates evil and gets rid of evil in his life should increase from day to day.

Only God’s love is without deception, selfishness, without limit. When we cling to Him, His love is understood and assimilated by us as blood by a leech. We will remove our earthly masks and biases. In order to do so, we also need to hate evil the way the Lord does. We need to be first of all, intolerant of evil in and by us. We therefore need to be ruthless judges of ourselves, sensitive self critics, not blinded to our faults. For this we need the help and counsel of the Holy Spirit. Is there a trace of idolatry in my faith, in my life ? I need to give up any idols in my heart- there should be nothing that replaces God in my heart, my life, no other mediator other than Christ. My highest passion or love should be for the Lord and His word. I do not use lesser lights to light my path of life other than the light of the Lord- His word.

There is no mid-point between good and evil, no compromise that is acceptable to the Lord. Our hatred for evil should at least be as strong as our love for the Lord. The Lord will enable us to overcome momentary lapses, failures on our part as His grace is unlimited and adequate for all of our spiritual and holistic need. It is not an easy path for while our flesh is naturally attracted to what is evil or partially good, our spirits are attracted to what is absolutely good. It requires supernatural discipline and disciplining by the Lord to avoid the folly of being evil, doing evil, speaking or thinking evil and to stick to the wisdom of being good, doing good, speaking good and thinking good. This attitude determines one’s spiritual quotient. It affects all aspects of our lives and enhances us in 360 degrees. The cost is high but in terms of rewards or benefits, it far exceeds the cost. When we cling or cleave to good and hate what is evil, we receive the favour of the Lord, the reward of the blessings of Shalom, of eternal and enduring peace, of joy sublime, the rewards of a life lived wisely.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Be Careful

UV 2948/10000 Using Alpha Power to Be Careful
Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways
Haggai 1 v 5

We are to be careful in all our ways. We need to compare our life in all its aspects against the Word. The Word of the Lord is our benchmark, our litmus test, our standard. We need to measure how much we have fallen short of His ways reflected in His word and repent. The word “repent” means that not only we are sorry for our ways but we desire with all our hearts to make amends, to improve on our ways. The word provides many filters through which we need to send our thoughts, our words, our reactions and actions. The Word like a sharp and penetrating instrument is able to discern the motives behind our thoughts. We need to allow the Word to so destroy any false motives of lust and pride that causes us to think certain thoughts, speak certain words and do certain things.

To be careful, it does not mean that we should be anxious, paranoid or hesitant. It only implies that we should introspect and allow the Holy Spirit and the Word to guide us in our ways. To be careful is to examine ourselves every day in the light of the knowledge we have of the character and teachings of Jesus. Are we thinking, speaking and acting or reacting like Him to the various situations we face in life? We model ourselves on Jesus and try to emulate Him in our inner life as well as its external manifestations.
We need to consider our priorities. Are we giving the Lord the first place in our lives ? We need to consider our lifestyle. Are we disciplined enough? Are we using our time, resources, talents, gifts, opportunities to glorify God ? We need to consider our pattern of spending and giving? Are we giving enough for the right causes? We need to consider our speech pattern? Are we positive, encouraging, helpful to others with our words? We need to consider our relationships with family and colleagues as well as those who work under us. Are we kind, considerate, thoughtful, respectful? Are we careful to avoid arguments, fights, insults, retaliation in the flesh ? If the answer is no to any of these questions, we need to seek the grace or Alpha power of the Lord to change ourselves for the better in the days to come.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Cancel Debts

UV 2947/10000 Using Alpha Power to Cancel Debts
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt

Matthew 18 v 27

Our debts to the God Lord is forgiven or cancelled without trace by the Lord Jesus out of His great compassion. The servant in this parable narrated by Jesus Himself owed Him a great debt of ten thousand talents of gold. Each of us owe the Lord a great debt for every violation of the written code of Moses that we have committed in thought, word or deed. But Jesus cancels our debts when we receive and believe in Him as our Lord and Saviour. Likewise, we too are to cancel the smaller debts, the small hurts, the insults, the betrayals, the denials, the deception that we have suffered at the hands of others. When we have experienced such great grace that we in no measure deserve, it is right that we extend the same to others in our lives- our family members, our friends, our enemies, strangers, our neighbours, our colleagues. We need grace or the Alpha power of Jesus in order to issue a blanket cheque of forgiveness or cancellation of debts to all who owe us something this far.

Nehemiah saw God as One who is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, of great compassion and faithful. We need to ask Him for grace to emulate His nature. It wont come easily and naturally, for it is natural to remember wrongs done to us, real or imagined, to seek vengeance, to retaliate, to pay back in the same coin. We need to submit our begrudging nature to the Lord, to offer it as a sacrifice or in other words, to kill it. We should be ready to forgive our brothers or sisters seven times seventy or times without number in the same manner, the Lord God has cancelled our moral and spiritual debts. He has declared us debt-free or free men to act on free will and not in bondage to those we owe a debt. We, too should cancel the debts owed to us, to declare those who have done us harm or hurt us in any way. When we hold anything against anybody we are actually holding him in spiritual chains in our minds and hearts. When we truly cancel their debts in the same measure our debts with the Lord have been cancelled, they will be released to enjoy freedom and we are released to enjoy a relationship once more with them.

Jesus taught us that it is not a one time cancellation of debts but as often as our brothers and sisters offend us in any way, we ought to forgive them. To be able to do so, our natural egocentric hearts should be transformed by Alpha power of Jesus into hearts of compassion, full of grace, not bile or bitterness, full of mercy, not vengeance, full of kindness, not rudeness or violence of word or actions, faithful and trusting of those who have harmed us not suspicious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Be Calm

UV2946/10000 Using Alpha Power to Be Calm
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee
Isaiah 26 v 3

When our minds are focused on the focal point of history, the focal point of our personal history- Jesus, He will keep us in perfect peace. He will give us the peace that passes human reasoning, comprehension and apprehension. He can give us peace or the strength to stay calm even in the midst of a fierce storm. As long as we pay the TOLL, we can cross the bridge to eternity, to eternal peace here and now. TOLL meaning trust, obey, learn from and above all, love Him who first loved us and demonstrated His love by dying for us on the cross. He demonstrated His power by rising again from the highly secured grave, the only instance of a grave being guarded like a jail. We therefore have the confidence that nothing is impossible for Him. Whatever be our situation, He can use His Alpha power or the power of His word to change it in our favour. Whatever be the outcome, He changes it for our good.

His peace does not rise and fall like the ocean or wax and wane like the moon but keeps increasing or growing in us as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of His love and of His word. We learn to trust Him more and more. He will never disappoint or fail us. His presence in the boat in the midst of the fierce storm in the Sea of Galilee was enough to guarantee that nothing untoward would happen to the panicking disciples. He said, “ Peace, be still” and even nature obeyed its Creator. He was not violating the laws of science or physics but the natural laws themselves obey Him. Since we know the end result of our efforts, our lives, our deeds, we need not be anxious for anything. We have learnt the secret of being calm.

Peace, it is written is a great power derived from the mastery of self. Nay, it is a great power derived from His mastery of our selves. We submit our entire being, our alpha to omega to Him, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our desires, our plans, our work, our relationships, our problems, constraints, challenges, difficulties, weaknesses to Him and His grace is sufficient to fill the gaps and perfect it all. Our intellects, our emotions, our imagination, our wills are focused on the Author and Finisher, the Initiator, Sustainer and Perfecter of our lives. We obtain the wisdom, His strength, His encouragement, His guidance, His protection, His help at all times and especially, in times of trouble, crisis and challenge.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Be Cheerful

UV 2946/10000 Using Alpha Power to Be Cheerful

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast
Proverbs15 v 15

Regardless of what has happened in our lives, regardless of the circumstances, we can predispose our hearts and minds to be cheerful, to have a victor mentality and not give in to a victim mentality. Our hope is in Christ that even as He overcame sin, poverty, misery, betrayal, deepest anguish and sorrow, physical torture, humiliation and a slow and painful execution, we too can face any or all of these with equal composure and confidence that the Lord will deliver us. That hope gives us the inner joy and peace. He embraced an absolute level of sorrow to exchange it in our hearts and lives for an absolute level of joy. Knowing the assurance that this hope brings, our hearts and minds can always be kept cheerful. We need to see the bright side of things. We need to count our many blessings. Then, our hearts will be like a continual feast in which the delicious, wholesome and healthy dishes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control are being served. We need to dip into the dishes again and again for our appetite for these finer things of life will never be satiated. The Holy Spirit will make an inexhaustible supply of these dishes from the kingdom of God. We only need to ask ourselves – from which dish shall I serve myself now- should it be love or joy or peace or patience?

The joy of the Lord is my strength. What pleases the Lord is the source and cause of my sustenance. The Alpha power of the Lord embedded and confirmed in and by His word will work in our Omega situations or 360 degrees over 365 days of our years. It becomes an uninterrupted feast. The Lord is delighted when we find our delight in His company, in our personal relationship with Him made possible through Christ. He is delighted when we seek after His wisdom, rejecting our own and the world’s. He is delighted when we seek the things that are invisible and spiritual in preference to the physical and material. He is delighted when we find pleasure, strength and wisdom in His word.

Not only are our hearts cheerful when we meditate on His word but it reflects even in our faces. When our hearts are beating at the same frequency as the Lord’s, we will be aligned with His perfect will. The cheerful attitudes we cultivate and maintain also act as medicine to heal our past hurts and disappointments. Our minds are no longer to operate like an yo-yo going up and down according to whether the circumstances are good or bad. We set our minds like thermostats not to dip below a certain level of joy or cheerfulness. We move all lust and covetousness from our hearts and keep all available room therein for healthy emotions, continual rejoicing. That is why St Paul quotes King David, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say, rejoice.” The joy of Christ is continually bubbling in and from our hearts to influence and spread to others in a contagious way.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Break Bondages

UV 2945/10000 Using Alpha Power to Break Bondages

For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem
Ezra 9 v 9

Contrary to what the philosopher Rousseau wrote , all mankind are born in chains. We are born bondmen, born in sin to sin or fall short of the greatness of God but we are born again in Christ to be free. There are several bondages that afflict all mankind- it could be certain addiction or bad habit, a negative trait of character, a spiritual bondage to evil. But, the Lord extends His mercy towards us as we seek it earnestly. He revives our hope even as He revived the hope of Israelite slaves of Egypt by sending them a leader and saviour in Moses. Likewise, He revives our hope and strength by sending us the Holy Spirit whose Alpha power can break any bondage of addiction, any bondage of bad habit or any grip of evil, any bondage of weakness, shame or stigma on our lives. The Lord God sets up His spiritual house in and with us. He repairs the broken walls of our lives, He restores our fallen defences.

As we worship and praise Him as the people of Judah under King Jehoshaphat facing war against a formidable army of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, He causes spiritual strongholds of darkness in our lives to fall or cease. As we relate to Him in all the details of our lives and give our hearts or the very core of our existence to Him, He makes us Jerusalem- a house of peace or Shalom. The Lord becomes our hedge, our wall of fire and works out things in our lives for His greater glory.

Instead of our former bondage, we are now free for whom the Lord Jesus sets free is free indeed. No bondage of this world no longer has a hold on us. The enemy of our souls have no claim on our lives since we are vessels consecrated to the Lord. Unlike bondmen, our freedom to think, to speak, to express ourselves creatively, to move around freely are not hindered. Our sagging spirits are revived. Our souls are refreshed constantly by the fellowship of the Spirit of God. No fear or threat of our former master has any hold on us.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Using Alpha Power to Be a Living Sacrifice

UV 2944/10000 Using Alpha Power to Be A Living Sacrifice
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12 v 1

If we read or study the rules of sacrifice explained in the books of Leviticus, Numbers under the old covenant God instituted with Israel, people were required to offer sacrifices of the good parts of dead animals while under the New Covenant relationship instituted through Jesus, we are now required to sacrifice the bad parts of our own lives or the bad use of the good parts of our lives, the animal in us. We are to put to death our old sinful nature. As priests of the Most High God, we are to offer our own egos to the Lord. We are to offer the members of our bodies- our tongues, our hands, our legs, our minds, our mouths, our appetite, our tastes, our emotions, our decisions or our wills to the Lord as part of the living sacrifice this uni-verse calls us to do.

The apostle Paul who had sacrificed the old Saul, his pride, his arrogance, his predilection for vengeance and violence, his misguided zeal to Jesus after his encounter on the road to Damascus pleads in this uni-verse with the body of believers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices. In short, our whole lives are to be consecrated to the Lord God not out of our own sense of self righteousness or pride in our own goodness but out of repentance, having received and benefitted and continuing to benefit from the rich mercies of the Lord. We are to abstain hereafter from the illicit or illegitimate desires or lusts of the bodies, minds and egos. We are to offer our minds or our intellects, our imagination, our emotions and our wills to the Lord Jesus who will make it acceptable, good and perfect to be offered as sacrifices to the Lord God. As priests, we sacrifice the very heart of our being to the Lord. We offer praise and thanksgiving continually to the Lord. We make positive confessions or declarations of faith in all practical aspects of life for these then become our spiritual sacrifices to the Lord. As kings by appointment and anointing of the Lord, we offer our crowns, our joys, our victories, our trophies, our claims to greatness, fame and power to the Lord for His use and enjoyment. When we fail, we offer a broken and contrite spirit for repentance is also a living sacrifice acceptable to the Lord for it shows that we have not received His grace in vain or that we despise it. Obeying the Word or fulfilling a vision is also a form of living sacrifice.

We use the double edges of the Alpha, the sword of the Word to kill or cut our own over-sized egos so that we do not consider ourselves better or more entitled than any other person. We curtail our selfishness by considering the needs and well being of others in whatever we say or do. Whatever we offer in thought, word or deed, the Holy Spirit sanctifies or perfects that which is imperfect in our lives. Our lives and every part thereof, then become sweet smelling sacrifices to the Lord, wholly acceptable, pleasing and perfect in His sight. Jesus in His role as High Priest in heaven presents us daily to the Lord God as the living sacrifices He has prepared unto the Most High on earth. Our homes are the tabernacle of sacrifice, our workplaces, the altars of living sacrifice. Every day takes on the shade of the Sabbath for we enjoy His rest or peace even in our workaday lives, while we are up and about. Our meditation and our communication on godly lines are a living sacrifice. Living a life worthy of the high calling we have received is a living sacrifice. Living a life of excellence or continual improvement in all aspects is a worthy and pleasing sacrifice. Choosing to think thoughts that are good, positive, beautiful, noble, edifying is a living sacrifice that take place in the sanctum sanctorum of our lives- our minds. Incremental as well as radical change for the better in our lives is a living sacrifice. Enduring suffering that one does not deserve patiently, faithfully, without complaining if not joyfully, is sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord. Using our natural talents and spiritual gifts for His glory is living sacrifice. Stretching oneself to face enormous challenges with a victor mentality instead of a victim mentality is a spiritual sacrifice. Speaking in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is a spiritual sacrifice that both the sacrifice and the One sacrificed to enjoys equally.