Thursday, February 28, 2013

Freedom from Depression

UV 679/10,000 Freedom from Depression “But as for you, O Jacob My servant, do not fear, nor be dismayed, O Israel! For, see , I am going to save you from afar, and your descendants from the land of their captivity; and Jacob will return and be undisturbed and secure, with no one making him tremble.” Jeremiah 46 v 27 “Jacob” in this context means any believer in the God of Israel. In whatever we do and say, we are serving the Lord. He gives us the servant’s wages: we need not be afraid for there is no power greater than God on Earth or in Heaven and hence, we need not fear any one, neither the wicked and powerful on earth nor the powers of darkness. He will redeem us from all our captivities. The greatest captivity that mankind faces through the generations is the captivity of sin and eternal death. The Lord our Redeemer God saves us from the captivity of sin and death forever. He promises to save not just us but our descendants as long as they too serve and obey the Lord. He is our proximate help and shield 24x7x365x360 degrees. The Lord protects us not just from our fears. He frees us from the spirit of disappointment and depression. The spirit of despondency is replaced with the spirit of dependency. We find our fulfillment in the Lord, not in chasing our dreams and goals. There is no disappointment whether our goals and dreams are realized or not. We need not regret the mistakes and blunders we have made in our past. The Lord will turn it to something of profit for our eternal destiny. We need not be depressed about our failures or about the opportunities we have missed in life. The Lord will take the sting out of failure and cause our souls to prosper on account of these setbacks in our lives. The word dismay means things that can cause us to break down. We will be broken before the Lord but yet we will not be broken-hearted. His grace will quickly fill the gaps and cracks in the broken jar of life. On account of the above two blessings: freedom from fear and freedom from disappointment, He gives us a sense of absolute security where we no one can intimidate or threaten us. When we tremble at God’s Word and His presence, no one can make us tremble. We are not scared at the prospect of either death or defeat or failure. We are not overwhelmed by circumstances. We should always walk so close to the Lord that nothing disturbs our minds or spirits. Satan aims to disturb us by bringing all kinds of negative thoughts and worries but the Lord defends us and neutralizes these anxiety and panic attacks. When the Word of God pierces like a double-edged sword our hearts and minds, our thought patterns change leading to change in our life patterns too. Faith that is used as a life-encompassing shield is exercised or used through our breathing prayer constantly. The Lord has given us each all the armament and equipment to lead a victorious life. A victorious life is a life free from sin, a life free from fear and regret, a life free from guilt, a life free from fear of death and defeat, a life free from worry and anxiety, a life free from sadness and depression. A couple of weeks ago, a colleague’s daughter took her own life due to depression. By the year 2020, the World Health Organization has predicted based on surveys that 40 per cent of the world’s population would suffer from depression. That prediction came before the current world-wide recession. Imagine the rate of depression after its onset. Depression causes crime rates to rise and suicide rate to increase tremendously. Health and productivity would be adversely affected. The Word of God has already revealed the antidote for depression. It is the lack of hope that things will improve which causes depression. The Word of God restores that hope. In fact, as we believe in the Word, things will not only improve- they are already declared good by the Lord. Our belief will now give birth to the new reality. Prateep V Philip

The Acts of Greatness

UV 677/10,000 “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126 v 3 We are filled with joy when we recognize the great things the Lord has done for us. He has given us life and eternal life. He has given us a body and mind, free from handicap. He has given us our talents. He has delivered us from powerful foes. He has provided abundantly for us. He has strengthened us from within. He has comforted us in our losses. Israel as a nation rejoiced in the great deliverance they were given from slavery in Egypt. Hannah rejoiced on being given a son even as Sarah rejoiced in Isaac. Jacob rejoiced in seeing his lost son, Joseph. He saved Moses from death as an infant. He delivered him to be raised by the very family, Pharaoh’s that had ordered the slaughter of all Hebrew infants. Mary rejoiced when the angel confirmed that the child she was going to bear is the Son of God, the Messiah sent to save all mankind. The Lord desires that our joy shall be full. Therefore, He undertakes to do great things for us. He cannot do an ordinary or commonplace act. Acts of greatness reveal His might, His love, His grace and His mercy. Creation and redemption are the two great acts of God in our lives. In addition to these two, He does innumerable acts in our lives that fill us with thanksgiving not just at the time it happens but all through our lives. Three short sentences sum up the great acts the Lord has done in my life so far:He saved me. He delivered me from death. He lifted me up. Indeed, salvation of our souls is the greatest thing the Lord has accomplished for us. It pleases God when we constantly remember the great moments and events of our lives and give praise and thanksgiving to Him. It is said that the great moments in our lives are few but the small moments run into millions. We need to use all the small moments to remember with joy and thanksgiving the great moments. Prateep V Philip

The Esteem of God

UV 677/10,000 The Esteem of God “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being? declares the Lord. “ This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my Word.” Isaiah 66 v 2 The Lord has made the entire universe in its awesome array, diversity and magnificent spread. He placed man on one humble planet, the Earth –beautiful but as small as a dot in comparison to the whole universe. Out of all the rhythms He set in motion in the universe, He desires that the heart of every man beats in sync with His own. He made all other things after His own imagination but when it came to man, He made us in His own image. He desires to speak with us, feel with us, relate to us, enjoy with us in our good times, empathise with us in our suffering, protect us, provide for us, comfort us and uplift us. But, He can relate to us not on our terms but on His. His terms are humility or reverence, contrition or repentance and diligence or obedience to His every word. As we meditate on the splendour of all that God has created, it will fill us with reverence, awe and humility. As we reflect on the character of God, we will be filled with contrition or repentance. As we feed on the Word of God, we will be endowed with the spirit of obedience. The Lord declares that He holds in esteem or respect the individual human who is humble before Him, acknowledging Him first as Creator of the universe and Father of all mankind. That is the first connection with God. Next we realize His holiness and love and we are filled with a spirit of reverence, repentance and gratitude. This recognition and realization leads us to seek salvation. Salvation is a loving and honest relationship with God. We stop playing hide and seek with God as Adam and Eve did after they sinned. The words, “ trembles at my Word” implies that we need to believe and obey the Word of God that reveals the character, purpose and plan of God for each of us. The Word of God is the blueprint that shows us how to live from day to day, fulfilling the eternal purpose of God even as we live on a practical, temporal and mundane plane. The use of the word ‘ tremble’ implies the attention we pay to every word that God has spoken in our lives, the care we take to carry the Word in our hearts and carry it out in our lives. Some fifteen years ago, a person with a gift of prophecy. whom I had never met before, was praying for a group of people individually, one by one. When my turn came, the word of prophecy came, saying, “ You are esteemed by God.” At that time I wondered what I had done to win the esteem of God. Most of our lives we spend our time vying for the esteem of men. But, it is mind-boggling that we can even think of winning the esteem of God. His glory is so great and we have fallen so short of it. We cannot win or earn the esteem of God by any thing we say, do or don’t do. We receive the esteem of God by consistently following three steps described in the uni-verse above: humility, repentance and obedience. The first two are attitudes of heart and mind while the third is about action. It is a combination of thoughts, emotions and actions that enable us to enter the esteem of God. Yes, the Lord declares to every one without partiality, “ If you humble yourself, repent , believe my Word and accept my provision for your salvation, I esteem you.” Prateep V Philip

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Seen Versus the Unseen

UV 676/10,000 The Seen versus the Unseen “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11 v 1 Faith is seeing the unseen with such clarity that the things that are seen either loose their significance in our eyes or acquire a new meaning and significance in the light of it. It is the power of conviction. It is choosing to live on an eternal plane and not on a temporal one. There are two kinds of people: people of faith and people of fate- the latter rely only on what they can see and touch while the former rely only on what they cannot see and physically touch. Fate is self-limiting while faith is always expanding and growing. First, we start with a little faith even as small as a mustard seed but since our faith is organic or living, it begins to grow with each experience of God’s grace. God created the entire universe out of what is unseen. Faith is therefore both the founding principle of the universe and the ruling principle of history. We cannot gain the approval of God without faith. All the patriarchs of faith like Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph gained the approval of God through their faith. But, the capstone of faith is Jesus Christ who manifested Himself in human history. When we believe in His Name, His words, His acts of grace, our faith is complete and perfected. Our divine destiny is fulfilled, our earthly purpose is met. There is nothing more we need in heaven or earth. All the promises of God are fulfilled in and through Him. True, there are uncertainties but we can combat a legion of uncertainties with the one certainty that Christ died for us and rose again and is alive in us by faith. Our belief is the driving force of life. The first part of the word “ belief” is ‘be’ and it means all that we are, all that we do and all that we stand for. It determines our hope, our joy or our positive emotions, our strength, our ability to endure hardship. It gives us an eternal perspective to see all things in the light of a truth we believe in. If that truth was amenable to proof, it would not be faith. But, the truth can be experienced. We cannot experiment with the truth but we can experience the truth. Faith presupposes character as we need to wait with patience for our hope to be realized. Faith includes seven types of assurances: assurance of salvation that we will live for eternity, assurance of answered prayer that God, the Unseen Creator hears and answers our prayers, the assurance of provision that He provides for our need, the assurance of protection that He cares for us, the assurance of victory that He will help us overcome the obstacles and difficulties that come our way to test our faith, the assurance of guidance that He will guide us step by step as we rely on Him and His Word. Faith expresses itself initially in reverence or fear of God. It then expresses itself in obedience. Faith when full grown expresses itself in love for God, love for man- the two axes on which God measures our faith. Prateep V Philip Pic of a Miracle Cross a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-LJlAlua4ZJs/USwmpuP70dI/AAAAAAAAAnQ/YlOVCCUp6lk/s1600/IMG-20120921-00086+(1).JPG" imageanchor="1" >

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Mind of Christ

UV 675/10,000 The mind of Christ Your attitude should be same as`that of Christ Jesus Phillipian 2 v 5 As followers of Jesus, we are exhorted to have the mind of Christ. Mind consists of thoughts, emotions and will. The product of thoughts,emotions and will are our words, actions and reaction. Our attitude is our mental address, our id that determines our identity. God is interested in our attitude. He was`pleased with the`attitude of David. He was`delighted with the`attitude of Christ. Jesus’s attitude of humility and obedience led`God to commend Him as His beloved Son. Attitude is a mix of thought, emotion and commitment to decide and act. The quickest, surest and most effective way of transforming human lives is to work on attitudes. It is transformation from within the individual. Jesus in the`sermon on the Mount enumerated`ten beautiful attitudes that constitute what we can call the mind of Christ: repentance in spirit or a recognition of spiritual poverty, a sense of compassion for the lost, helpless and unsaved, meekness that will keep us from repaying others in the same coin, an intense desire for righteousness, a merciful attitude , purity of thought, words and desires, desire for peace, an endurance of persecution, desire to do good to others and so reflect the goodness of God, an attitude of generosity and love for enemies. When we practice constantly these ten attitudes, we aim to imitate the perfection of God. When we practice these attitudes, we are like the wise man who built his house on rock and the storms of life will not affect us adversely. None of us can possibly be perfect like God or have the same attitude of Christ all through our lives. But, when we sincerely attempt to do so, the Lord adds His grace and makes our thoughts, emotions and actions perfect in the sight of God. One practical way of practising these ten beautiful attitudes is to tie or identify each of the ten attitudes with each finger of the hand and from time to time during the day check our attitudes in that area. Cultivating beautiful attitudes will result in an inner beauty and a beautiful life. As someone said, " The only true beauty is the inner beauty of the soul." Prateep V Philip

Friday, February 22, 2013

Re-creation

UV 704/10,000 Re-creation “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11 v 29 The word “ yoke” means a responsibility or a burden or a position of servitude. We humble ourselves before God as His servants when we believe and receive Christ into our hearts and lives. Jesus says, “ take my yoke” meaning share His compassion for human beings and share His desire to save lost and perishing souls. When two bullocks are yoked together to pull the plough on the fields, the weight rests evenly on both. But, when we are yoked to Jesus for the rest of our lives, He bears the major part of the burden and only a small portion due to us rests on our shoulders. He has removed the weight of dos and don’ts of traditional religion to introduce us to a direct, personal, hassle-free and barrier-free relationship with God. There is no pilgrimage that we have to undertake, no painful ritual to do, no person to be satisfied in order to certify us worthy to be redeemed. Our focus in much of our lives is earning and not learning. Jesus said through this uni-verse to focus first on learning and learning from Him. Apart from being yoked with God through Christ, we need to learn from Him. This is the lifelong process of discipleship or godly training. He will teach us gentleness, humility and meekness. Though the Son of God, the Prince of Heaven, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, He lowered His status to be not just one of us but among the least of all human beings. We will learn as we meditate on His character and qualities, on His teachings and His actions. He never reviled or hated when He was reviled. He never threatened when He was subjected to cruelty. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “ He never broke a bruised reed or put out a smouldering wick”, in the sense He did not condemn or look down upon any one. He did not shout or raise His voice in aggression. He surrendered His ego to God. He did not resist the cup of suffering He was given to drink. Once we have gone through step one- being yoked or personally bonded with God through Christ and step two- being discipled by Him and learning from Him, practicing His attitudes and imitating His actions and reactions, we will have rest. Another word for rest is “ recreation” or renewal. We will be re-created. The first time we were created we became mere creatures of God. This second time we are re-created to be children of God. Rest implies the absence of fear of death, fear of failure, anxiety about meeting our needs, insecurity about the future. It also means the presence of joy, peace, gladness, assurance, comfort, deliverance and hope. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Epistle of Christ

UV 703/10,000 The Epistle of Christ “Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3 v 3 We are the fifth gospel of Christ or the continuing epistle that the Lord writes. Each of our lives is a gospel pronouncing the goodness of God in our lives. The ten commandments were written on stone by the finger of God but the gospel which is nothing but the saving act of God in our lives is written in our hearts and minds by the Spirit of God. The Word is internalized by us. It is hidden in our hearts. It is a precious and valuable central part of our lives. It leads us. It guides us. It motivates us. It writes out the message of our lives. Our flesh becomes an envelope for that message to be carried. Once the message is delivered to whom it is meant, the envelope is no longer needed. Once the love of God is manifest in our lives, our life’s manifesto is to publish the good news about Him. We are like a letter written by God to all mankind. People see the things we speak and do and realize how God has made a difference in our lives. We are writing our version of the epistle to the church and to the world day by day and hour by hour. Just as the Holy Spirit inspired and guided the early believers and apostles to write the epistles to the churches in various places where they had ministered, He guides and inspires living words in our hearts that will bring hope and meaning into the lives of the readers. People are constantly but silently reading our minds, our motives, our emotions and our actions. They derive meaning and hope from what they read in our lives. Particularly, the people we are ministering to read and adhere to every word we write. Our hearts must be sensitive and not stony or unresponsive to their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical needs. We are not apostles but epistles of Christ. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Run the Course

UV 702/10,000 Run the Course “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.” Psalm 119 v 32 God has given us ten commandments, mostly stated in terms of the negative –of what we ought not to do. Those ten commandments are the root of all laws now in force across the nations of the world. Jesus summed up the Father’s commandments in two verses and three positive commands : -love God, love man, love yourself. These three precepts together keep us from doing the things we should not be doing and keep us doing the things we ought to be doing as creatures first, and children next of God. If we love ourselves for instance, we will not contemplate suicide or harm ourselves, however difficult the situation is. If we love ourselves, we will develop ourselves to our fullest potential. If we love God, we will obey Him and when we obey Him, we are blessed to receive His promises. He has given us ten commandments but He has also given us ten thousand promises as the blessings of obedience. If we love man, we will not just think of ourselves but think of ways to serve man in practical ways. In the above uni-verse, the Psalmist commits to running the full course of God’s commandments: love God, love man and love yourself. Life is like a ten thousand mile race in which we keep changing tracks from track one: love God to track two: love man and track three: love self. The ten thousand promises of God contained in His Word are the energizer or glucose provided to run each mile. In order to love God, our understanding and personal knowledge of His nature and His love needs to expand. His love is fully revealed in the nature and work of Jesus Christ, His Son. Through our faith in Jesus, the love for God in our hearts will expand or grow degree by degree, from day to day and experience to experience. God is not a religious person and He delights in relating to us personally. In order to love our fellow men, we need to expand in our insight and empathy with the suffering and need of those around us. In order to love ourselves, we need to know ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, our hopes and desires. We need to use our talents, gifts and abilities to the limit of our potential. We need to grow in spirit, mind and body. The image drawn in the above uni-verse is that of a long distance runner. The three tracks before us that we need to run life-long are: love God, love man, love self. Even as the lung capacity and the capacity of the heart to pump blood in greater quantity and speed needs to expand as the runner runs longer and longer distances, our passion for God, our compassion for man and our desire to fulfill our God –given, God –implanted potential needs to grow. We need to pray , “ Lord, expand my heart to love you more, love people more and love my self more truly.” And He shall enlarge our hearts to run faster, longer and more productively on all three tracks. The imperishable crown of eternal life awaits us at the end of the course. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Caleb-like Spirit

UV 701/10,000 Cultivate a Caleb-like Spirit “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit, and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.” Numbers 14 v 24 Caleb followed the Lord God of Israel fully. The uni-verse testifies that he had a different spirit- a spirit that pleased God. He had the spirit of courage, generousity, faith in God, an uncompromising spirit, a spirit of nobility and visionary leadership. While the other ten spies were deterred by the size of their enemies and saw giants, Caleb too perceived their size but thought they were as small as ants before Jehovah El Shaddai, Almighty God. He was not basing his conviction on myths but on their collective experience and witness of God ‘s power in delivering them from the bondage of mighty Egypt of the day. Freedom struggles of other nations were led by men but the freedom struggle of Israel was led by God Himself. Caleb had the spirit of excellence, an attitude that with the “God of exceeding expectations” on their side, nothing was impossible, no odds were too great, no foe too big, no obstacle insurmountable. The other ten spies sent by Moses saw themselves as grasshoppers before the giants of Canaan. Their God faith and their self belief were found wanting by God. Today, many people teach about the power of self belief. But, self belief to have solid foundations must be based on complete faith in God. As Caleb fully obeyed God, he along with Joshua were given the singular blessing to enter the land promised to them. Those blessings were inherited later by his descendants. Similarly, when we wholeheartedly obey the Lord, we are opening channels of blessing for succeeding generations. The word ‘wholeheartedly’ implies an attitude without fear, doubt, hesitation and with willingness to take risks, to take the lead and to be adventurous for God. Every wholesome attitude has a positive component and a ‘negative negative component.’ For example, a calm attitude involves a positive component of being cool and a negative negative component of beating tension, anger, fear and stress. Courage has a positive component of being brave and mustering all our inner resources and reserves as well as a negative negative component of overcoming fear. Success has a positive component of achieving one’s targets and a negative negative component of overcoming huge obstacles, constraints, difficulties and circumstances. More than the external battle in the battlefield of reality, the Lord is watching our inner battle of the struggle between the positive and the negatives within us. It was not as if Caleb was living in denial of the challenge the Israelites were going to face in battling the giant Anakim. It was not as if he did not experience the beginnings of fear and hesitation. But, he overcame these fears by not feeding them with his thoughts and words and by affirming his faith in the power and might of God.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Power of Prophecy

UV 700/10,000 The Power of Prophecy “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18 v 22 The Scripture says, “ Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast that which is good.” The test of true prophecy according to the above uni-verse is- that which is spoken of will happen. If it does not happen, the prophet has spoken without hearing from the Lord. While we should respect true prophets and their prophecies as a word from the Lord, we need not be reverential to the presumptuous ones who tend to speak out of their own minds. Once a word is spoken concerning us and it is proven to be true in the course of time, we must not treat it lightly but remember it or hold fast to it. Prophecy that is true is often accompanied by the Word. It is spoken not as foretelling about the future or as soothsaying to comfort us or as fortune telling about the good things or misfortunes about to happen. But, it is a Word from the Lord to encourage us, to exhort us or to admonish us. Over the past several years, we as a family have come across many presumptuous prophets as well as a few true ones. The latter have encouraged us with a word from the Lord about what He thinks about us, our character and our work. Sometimes prophecies come as a word of warning or guidance to avoid or to take a particular decision. Many people think that prophecies belong to a bygone age and that prophecy is a gift that no longer operates. But, the Holy Spirit is active and one of His important gifts and functions is prophetic intervention in the lives of human beings. However, prophecy is in no way a substitute for the Word or a personal daily two way communication with the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Passover Experience

UV 669/10,000 The Passover Experience Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. Psalm 57 v 1 It is on account of God’s abounding and abundant mercy to us that we are able to approach His awesome presence. God is not religious. He is relational. Hence, He shows mercy to us and relates to us as a hen would with its chicken-hiding the chicken under its wings to protect from any predator. The wings that God provides for our protection and sustenance all through our lives are prayer and the Word. Whenever a calamity is threatening us, whenever we face a threat we must search scripture for a word of encouragement. Then, with believing and trusting hearts, we must make that portion an article of faith in our lives. With prayer, we must appropriate it or make it part of our daily lives. With praise and thanksgiving, we must rejoice in the shadow of His mighty wings. Once the threat or calamity has passed, we must not forget but constantly thank the Lord and draw even closer to Him and be a testimony to others of His faithfulness and mercy. We must not however remain chicken all the time, but grow in size and weight to be mature hens. The hen by reason of sheer size and weight is not threatened by the eagle. When we are mature, the threat is no longer from the eagle but from foxes and other larger predators. Even when we have grown and face a different order of threats, the source of protection is more Word and more prayer. As the size of the threat grows, the size of God’s wings of protection over our lives also grows. On account of my little faith, I was saved from some huge calamities in life- an assassination with a human bomb, a drowning to death in the sea, a tsunami, a flood and many other threats, some of which I am aware of and some I may not even be aware of. At these times, as I hid in His Word by prayer, His presence covered me as with feathers. It was not because I deserved to be saved but it was because He is merciful and gracious to those who cling to Him. Every one of us need a “ Passover” experience in order to realize the reality, power, grace and mercy of God such that we will not forget for even a moment in the rest of our lives. The difference from the Jewish Passover is that instead of just the walls of our homes, our bodies, spirits and minds are marked in the shape of a cross with the blood of the Lamb provided by God-Jesus the Christ. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, February 16, 2013

His Complete Knowledge

UV 668/10,000 His Complete Knowledge “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10 v 30 This uni-verse is a mind-boggling promise of complete protection. The Lord loves His children so much that He does what is impossible for any earthly parent- to number the hair on the heads of their children. We do not know what our child is doing in the very next room. Though it is meant figuratively, it indicates that nothing happens to us without the complete knowledge and permission of God. Nothing escapes His accounting system. Those who died as martyrs died not due to want of protection but as it was the will of God that their lives be taken for the cause of their faith. By implication, the Lord knows the state of our health, our finances, our family, our emotions , our burdens and our hopes as well as fears. He knows the state of every cell and tissue and organ in our bodies. He knows every thought in our minds. He cares about the minor details of our lives. He knows when even a sparrow dies on earth. He knows about all the events and circumstances of our lives. This uni-verse underlines the sovereign will of God. Nothing happens except by His sovereign will and purpose. One of the silly prayers I made as a youth was that the Lord preserve my crown of hair and even today many people are amazed at the crop of hair always standing on my head. One cousin’s wife, not knowing my secret attributed it to good “hair genes”. How do we respond to such awesome and amazing knowledge,such infinite care and love? We need to reciprocate with complete trust and confidence. We are called to be fearless and not allow any anxiety whatsoever to rule over our hearts and minds. Our level of trust needs to keep growing till it reaches an absolute level. Calmness, composure and assurance should mark our attitudes and behaviour since we can rest in the knowledge that God knows what is best for us. Prateep V Philip

Friday, February 15, 2013

Attitudes towards Authorities

UV 667/10,000 Attitudes towards Authorities For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness 1 Timothy 2 v2 Every person in a position of power and authority, whether elected or selected is placed there by the will and purpose of God. Hence, the Word consistently asks us to respect and obey their ordinances or orders for the sake of orderliness, peace and progress in our lives. Grace and peace come from God but civil peace and progress are facilitated by the actions and policies of persons in authority. God has authorized the authorities. We are exhorted not just to obey the authorities but to pray and thank God for them. We need to pray for justice and peace in our land, for wisdom and insight to be given in ever greater measure to such persons so that they will administer according to the will of God and not according to their whim and pleasure. St Paul calls them “ ministers” or servants of God. We need to pay all our dues to the authorities. It is a double blessing or anointing when the authorities themselves are godly and eager to serve God. Those of us who believe in the Lord and serve in government are called the elect of God. We need to pray that more and more the elect of God replace the ruling elite of the world. Plato and the Greek thinkers wrote that the state came into existence for the sake of good life for citizens. But, the Word says that the state and its authorities exist so that people may pursue holiness and godliness. There is a small difference of the letter “a” between beast and best and the “a” stands for attitudes. The human spectrum moves from the beast or human beings who imitate beasts and have no sense of fear of God or conscience to the Best- Jesus Christ. The laws and authorities are intended to control those whose attitudes, behaviour and conduct edge towards the beastliness and prevent them from harming or hindering those whose sole desire is to move towards the best. Only the former need to fear the authorities who can punish them while the latter can work on their godly attitudes so that they move closer and closer towards being the Best. We need to pray that the Lord will change the minds of rulers and authorities as easily as He changes the course of rivers so that they serve everyone in accordance with His will. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breathing God

UV 666/10,000 Breathing God “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2 v 7 The Lord God formed us. He is the potter and we are the pots. We are the earthen vessels formed to hold the excellence of His power and grace in us. Yet, many people act as if they are the potter and God is the clay. They speculate and even try to wish Him out of existence, saying He does not exist, that He is the figment of our imagination. He formed us and then He transformed us by breathing into our nostrils. As long as the breath of life is in us, the spirit of God is in us. The spirit of God searches our inward parts and knows us from inside out. When we plan for change, we must do it the ‘God way’, from the inside to the out. Since God made our inner and out outer selves, we owe it to Him and to ourselves to live a life that is dependent on Him. With every breath, we must acknowledge and be grateful to Him. The Lord allows many events and circumstances in our lives to break our dependencies on things or persons other than Him. Scripture records that when Jesus breathed on His disciples after His resurrection, they received the Holy Spirit. Our normal spirits are dormant or spiritually asleep but the moment Jesus breathes on us, our spirits are quickened or awakened. We can ask God the Father to breathe into us, the Lord Jesus to breathe upon us and the Holy Spirit to breathe through us. When the Triune God breathes upon, into and through us, we become fully human and fully alive spiritually. Breathing God all the time means we are continually anchored and focused on Him. Our spirits fellowship with His Spirit. The carbon that our bodies are made of will be transformed into the diamond that will reflect the glory of God in our lives. Supernatural power and grace will begin to flow into and out of our lives like water from the spouts of an earthen jar. Understanding and applying this single simple uni-verse will transform our lives and its impact. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Unshakable Grace

UV 665/10,000 Unshakeable Grace Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12 v 28 The kingdom of God cannot be de-stabilised or shaken. All other kingdoms of man can be shaken and have been shaken. All other kingdoms will be destroyed. The kingdom of God alone will endure. Hence, as citizens of the kingdom of God, we too cannot be shaken or unnerved. The image is one of God holding a sieve in His hand and shaking all the people of all nations. The chaff will be blown away and only the wheat will remain in the sieve. People who do not serve the Lord, regardless of their status, position, talent or wealth are living meaningless, purposeless and powerless lives-hence, they are compared with chaff. The people of the kingdom of God are compared to wheat as they satisfy their spiritual hunger and thirst and they satisfy the hunger and thirst of others too. We can always exercise grace that is seen in the hope we have, the love we show to others, the confidence we have in God, the trust we place in His Word, the zeal we have for His work. Grace is a supernatural outflow of faith. We are called to serve God in every way we can. Our service must be acceptable and pleasing to Him. We begin our spiritual lives with fear and reverence of God and we conclude or complete it with love of God. Reverence for the awesomeness of God will produce a constant sense of grace and wisdom in our lives. We will cling to what is good and let go of what is evil. The uni-verse puts the act of receiving the kingdom in the present continuous, implying that the receiving has begun in this lifetime when we believe but is confirmed or completed or consummated in heaven. The kingdom of God implies that God rules over each of our hearts as a mighty and benevolent King. All our thoughts, emotions and decisions must be focused on pleasing Him. The Word of God is the edict or written instructions of the King. The Earth is a vineyard He has given to us to care for some time. We are like the tenants who cultivate the farm. When we follow His written instructions not just in letter but in spirit, meaning wholeheartedly we please the Lord. By imputation from our faith in Jesus, we have fulfilled every jot and letter of the Word by grace. To the others, He is a consuming fire or a fire that can judge, chastise and punish but to us, He is a consummate fire, meaning that He places walls of fire on all sides of our fields to prevent any foe or adversary from entering. While others are caught up in a race or a competition for perishable rewards, we are living in grace for eternal and enduring rewards. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The New Engine

UV 664/10,000 The New Engine “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. Deuteronomy 30 v 6 The Lord our God uses circumstances of our lives to tear off the foreskin of our spiritual heart or to circumcise it. Like an expert surgeon, He will remove the unnecessary tissue that blinds us spiritually, making us incapable of knowing and loving God above all things. He promises to do so not only for us but for our descendants. The foreskin symbolizes the sin that so easily clings to us. It represents the love of the world. There must be a constant pining in our hearts like the heart of a pilgrim longs for the promised land. The wonderful promises of God are the milestones in our journey. But, the love of the world and all it stands for is like a millstone round our necks. It will only drive us down and not forward or upward. When our hearts are circumcised, the love of the world is replaced by the love of God. The love of God implies that we rejoice in keeping the commandments of God. The love of the world implies that our chief desire is to satisfy the longings of our flesh and minds. Our minds become blinded to the eternal world that co-exists with the natural but is unseen and unknown. It can be seen, known and experienced only when the eyes of our heart or the eyes of faith are opened. When we and our descendants commit to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds, we will live fully in the present world and live forever in the hereafter. This is the promise contained in the last two words of the above uni-verse: “ and live.” This is the precious diamond of life for which it is worth selling all of our possessions in order to invest in it. Our hearts will rejoice in the present moment and our souls will live forever. Our past sin is obliterated as if it never existed in the circumcision that the Holy Spirit performs in our hearts. Our minds however are our own responsibility- to employ in conformity with the new creation calling. We need to use our intellect, imagination and wills or decision-making capacity taking full advantage of the renewed and re-created heart that God has given us in Jesus. We should now run like an old car that has been fitted with a new engine. Prateep V Philip

The Power of Commitment

UV 663/10,000 The Power of Commitment “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” Matthew 11 v 27 All power and authority as well as all things have been committed to Jesus by our Father in heaven. Jesus did not monopolise this authority in Himself but He distributed and delegated that power and authority to those who are committed to Him. When we are committed to Him, Jesus reveals all of the glory of the Father to us. He chooses to quicken or bring alive spiritually all those He chooses to. To commit means to completely trust another person and to surrender our lives into his or her hands. When we surrender our lives to Christ, He releases His anointing, strength, power, authority and blessing on every aspect of our lives. We have authority and power that we share with Christ in the natural as well as the supernatural world. Secondly, such commitment brings the spirit of excellence or the desire to do things beyond the ordinary or commonplace in our lives. We are empowered with the personal knowledge of the God of excellence. With one hand we hold the shield of faith to preserve our lives and with the other we hold the sword of excellence. With one we defend our position and with the other we advance towards the finishing line. Without commitment, people merely float around all their lives like flotsam and jetsam. This uni-verse reveals the secrets of the power of commitment. We may ask the question that why some receive the saving knowledge of Christ and God but others do not. It is the prerogative or sovereign right of Jesus as to whom He shall reveal Himself and the Father. When we receive Christ into our hearts, the Triune God resides in our triune being-spirit, mind and body. In one way or other,we should begin to see the power of the extraordinary in our lives. Grace is the power of the extraordinary. The words, “ no one knows the Father except the Son” shows there is no alternative to faith in Christ. It is the only doorway to eternal life. The conviction that Jesus is the answer to all life’s questions can come only by revelation. On account of this revelation, we are given all power and authority of the kingdom of God on earth. The earth is God’s footstool and we are His footsoldiers. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Be the Wick, not the Wicked

UV 662/10,000 Be the Wick, not the Wicked “ But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming.” The Lord says, “ Be the wick that lights up, not the wicked who try to put it out.” The wicked of the world are allergic to light and truth and will do all they can to put it out. They walk according to their own lights- their own limited thoughts and ideas. They have their own wicked schemes. They plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth in silent, bottled up anger and hatred against them. They will attempt to slay the reputation of the righteous by assassinating their character to rob them of their influence and leadership. But, the Lord will enable the righteous and the meek to have the last laugh. The wicked will perish in their ways. They will vanish like smoke and like the beauty of fields that disappear in the harvesting season, they will be cut off by the hand of the Lord. The Psalmist says, “ Their swords will pierce their own hearts and their bows will be broken.” The Lord will uphold the meek and righteous. They will inherit the land and the blessings of the Lord. They will endure. They will wait for the justice of the Lord to vindicate them and not seek to avenge themselves, knowing that vengeance is from the Lord. The USP or “unique saving proposition” of the righteous is that the law of the Lord is in their heart. Therefore, their feet do not slip. They do not fret or worry when the wicked seem to be succeeding in their evil plans and when they seem to flourish like a green tree. Somebody said, “ if you plant a green tree in your heart, the birds will automatically come to nest.” If we plant the green tree of the gospel in our hearts, the birds of justice, of reward, of protection, of provision and of salvation will automatically come to rest in us. Indeed, “the salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord, He is their stronghold in time of trouble.” The righteous hope in the Lord and know for sure that though today might be the day of the wicked, the day of the Lord or the day of judgment will soon overtake them. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The River of Healing

UV 661/10,000 The River of Healing Elisha sent a messenger to him, “ Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 2 Kings 5 v 10 Naaman was perhaps one of the few lepers in history to be the commander in chief of a whole army. The Jewish servant of his wife proved to be the signboard to point him to the Lord God of Israel to meet his need. When we see people around us with all kinds of needs, of healing and restoration, of sorrow and pain, of helplessness, we too can play the role of a signboard to them to point them in the direction of the One who can meet all needs. Why did leprosy cling to Naaman? Was it a generational curse or the consequence of individual sin? We do not know but we know that the waters of God’s Word washes us, cleanses us of all sin and its consequences and finally, heals and restores us to the pink of the health of a young boy. Naaman accepted the suggestion of his wife’s servant and went to Israel. The king of Israel tore his robes in frustration on hearing of the request of the king of Aram that he heal his servant Naaman. The king of Israel asked, “ Am I God?” He was not but he should have known the God of Israel who can slay and bring back to life as He did much later with His Son Jesus. Elisha the prophet on hearing that the king of Israel had rent his robes, offered to heal Naaman. When Naaman reached the door of Elisha’s house, the latter merely asked him to go and wash himself seven times in the waters of the Jordan river. Naaman felt slighted and was about to return to Aram in a huff but again his servants persuaded him that he should just do this simple act of faith. We too need to listen to those who are below us in rank or position- sometimes the Lord will have a word for us through them. The river Jordan is a symbol of the ever flowing healing power of Jehovah Rapha. All who touch this bank even an unbeliever like Naaman would get healed. We need to dip in this river seven times a day. The Lord reminded us recently that the whole of last year “ No one in your family fell sick but were healthy all through the year. It is my grace.” As we dip in the river of the Lord’s healing repeatedly, we will be healed and restored. The number seven denotes completeness or wholeness. The Lord made seven continents, seven oceans, seven days of the week, seven colours of the rainbow. The healing of the Lord is meant for the people of all continents, backgrounds and classes. As we dip in Him and His Word seven times a day as King David did, we will be strengthened, healed and restored to wholeness in spirit, mind and body. A dip in a river takes a few seconds. A dip does not mean we interrupt what we are doing but while we are at our work, we remember the Lord and wash and cleanse ourselves in that remembrance. We must never let our spirit to be dry for too long but we should dip ourselves seven times in the river of cleansing and healing of the Holy Spirit. Prateep V Philip

Prime Factor of Life

UV 660/10,000 Prime Factor “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” Job 29 v 4 Many people talk about the secrets of success and happiness without realizing that these are not secrets but what everyone knows but few apply. But, the secret of being blessed is an intimate friendship with God. To be blessed is to be happy. The internal attributes of what it means to be blessed are enumerated in Mathew chapter 5, in the Sermon on the Mount while the external attributes are enumerated in the first fourteen verses of Deuteronomy chapter 28. Job pined for the time when his intimacy with the Lord had prospered him and his household. The Lord had put a hedge about him and all that he had on all sides. He blessed the work of his hands and his substance increased. Job was at the prime of his life. Indeed, when we live in intimacy with God, we will be in our prime all our lives. It is said that in heaven, all people are no older than at the prime of their lives. Jesus was crucified at the prime of His life, 33 years in order that the Lord will put a hedge around our lives in all directions and He could bless the work of our hands and increase us in every way, physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual.. In the Lord’s prayer, when we pray, “ deliver us from evil”, we are asking the Lord to remain intimate with us all the time as in the prime of our lives. This is what is meant by “ first love”. Our first love should not become stale. We should increase and not decrease in our intimacy with God. We must teach our generations too to remain best friends with God and warn them that the blessings would leave our house if we fail to do so. A certain family forgot God during the days of their prime. As a result God blew against them in later years at the time of ‘ harvest’, the son kept failing in his examinations, the father lives in adultery and the rest of the family remain in misery. Taking heed, we must pray, “ Lord, do not blow against us but blow your breath of blessing upon us. Be the Light and Lamp upon our head and inside our tabernacle.” Prateep V Philip

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Breath-Taking Experience

UV 659/10,000 The Breath-taking Vision, The Strength-Giving Touch “Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,” he said. “ Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “ Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” Daniel 10 v 19 When the Lord appears in physical form before us, we too will be dumb-struck and breathless and almost paralysed with fear and awe like Daniel. The person that appeared before Daniel as he was with others on the bank of the Tigris after 21 days or three weeks of fasting, praying and mourning was none other than a Christophany or an appearance of Christ in His glorious form before He assumed birth and a physical body on earth. The description of the person is similar if not identical with the description by St John in the book of Revelation. He was dressed in white linen with a belt of pure gold symbolizing royalty, purity and righteousness. His body was like chrysolite symbolizing the infinite glory of God, His face like lightning reflecting His power and might, His eyes like flaming torches symbolizing His deep insight into our hearts and minds, His arms and legs like burnished bronze reflecting His immaculate perfection and His voice like the sound of a multitude symbolizing His authority in the whole universe. The vision took away not just Daniel’s strength but also his breath. He was overcome with fear and became speechless. But, the Lord re-assured Daniel and spoke highly of him as one beloved or esteemed not just by men but by God Himself. Truly, when we humble ourselves before God on a daily basis and serve Him, we too will be esteemed and loved by God. He will look upon us and say, “ My good and faithful servant(s).” Daniel was a “part time” government servant and a full time servant of God. He set aside special times and seasons to be with the Lord. The Lord saw and heard him from the first day he humbled himself before Him. His reverence for God filled him with wisdom, knowledge, understanding and abilities beyond the ordinary. But, even he was not prepared for the glorious vision of God. This is, perhaps, the reason why God hides Himself from weak, sinful and corrupt mankind when such a man of integrity and faith himself could not stand before Him. But, the Lord touched Daniel and restored his strength. He touched his lips and he could speak. He then said as He spoke many years later to the raging storm waters of the Sea of Galilee, “ Peace, be still.” He commanded Daniel to be strong. Today, He commands and exhorts us with the same words, “ Be strong as you face the storms of life.” The essence of peace and strength is contained in the Hebrew word, Shalom that means a combination of peace, joy, blessing, prosperity, success, wholesomeness, abundance, grace, health, happiness, well being, victory. We need to approach the presence of the Lord every day with such reverence as Daniel. We must see the vision of the glorified Christ in our spiritual eyes. Then, we must await His touch and His words of encouragement that will enable us to stand and to be strong. The fears and tears of all our years will disappear and new courage, hope and faith will rise from within us. We need to be strengthened with the Word of God before we receive a vision. Once we receive the vision, we will be empowered to serve God even more. Therefore, we must desire a vision, a touch and the Word from the Lord. Our perception, our feeling, our hearing , understanding and belief are involved in our daily walk with God. We cannot experiment with the Truth or God but we can encounter and experience Him. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Deep Seeking

UV 658/10,000 A Deep Seeking “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29 v 13 It takes a deep seeking to see the King. When we believe without doubting- that is equivalent to seeking with all our heart. When we repent sincerely – that too is seeking God with all our heart. When we obey willingly the Word of God- this is seeking the Lord with all our heart. When we humble ourselves before the Lord and trust Him- this is seeking the Lord with all our heart. When we worship with devotion- this too is a deep seeking. Seeking the Lord with all our heart is to align all our emotions and thoughts in such a way as to please Him. The word “ all” implies that there is no space left in our hearts for any other desire other than to find God. He is the missing link in the puzzle of life with all the other pieces found. When we find this missing link, all other links of life will fall into its due place. When we seek the Lord in every aspect of our lives, when we rejoice in doing His will and not our own, He will be found by us. His glory will be revealed or His goodness will happen to us in a way that it is perceived by all of our being. Wherever a man regardless of his status, his nationality, colour or background set his mind like flint to find the Lord, He has not hidden Himself but revealed Himself. The Lord only measures the extent of our longing to know Him. Cultural or religious background is not relevant to Him. When Cornelius the Roman centurion sought the Lord with all his heart as it was apparent in his life of piety and charity, the Lord sent the chief apostle Peter after one more object lesson for the latter in a vision that all people are declared sacred to the Lord. History is replete with examples of people from diverse backgrounds who encountered God when they sought Him with all their heart. In the case of St Paul, he was seeking God passionately by doing the opposite of God’s will. The Lord seeing his misguided passion was compelled to appear to Him in a blinding vision and voice re-directing Him on the road to Damascus. Sadhu Sundar Singh, the Indian mystic born in a Sikh family challenged the Lord to appear before him before he took his own life. Seeking with all our heart would mean that we are persistent and diligent in our pursuit of God. Seeking with all our heart implies that we will not either give up easily or be deluded by our own thinking or by what others say about God. We seek a direct first hand, experience of the Lord. We are not conditioned by our religious doctrines and previous training to limit God to our own notion of who God is. It is the most important quest of life to find the Lord as without a true experience of God, without an ongoing personal relationship with Him, we are but depraved creatures, without hope, purpose or meaning. With Him, we are fulfilled, transformed, blessed. The words, ‘ you will find Me” implies that our finding the Lord will not be a mere imaginary or ethereal experience but a tangible, experential and practical encounter with God in real time. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Capture the Little Foxes

UV 657/10,000 Capture the Little Foxes “ Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2 v 15 There are many little foxes running into hundreds that nibble at our peace and joy. Peace and joy are key to our fruitfulness in life. But, the foxes subtly run around and damage the tender roots of our faith and the tender fruits of our lives. The Lord’s purpose is that human life be fruitful like a vineyard and that every vine grow well and bear fruit on every branch of life-physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creative and social or relational. But, the enemy of our souls-satan attempts to thwart and hinder us in fulfilling the will of God in our lives. The foxes are described as “ little” as they are so small that they are not easily noticed. They can manifest in diverse ways: in a small difference of opinion between a husband and a wife, a belief that is not true or wholesome, a stray word that causes hurt and insult in order to damage a relationship, a little lie or deception that can damage a person’s peace of mind, a clandestine affection , an erroneous opinion that hardens into a prejudice, a small weakness that one has ignored, the tendency to gossip about others, the spirit of disunity and discord, a tiny bitterness about a past offence and so on. Satan operates on the principle, “ a little compromise can destroy a big promise.” Apart from the traps or early warning systems that we ourselves set up to catch the little foxes, we need to pray and ask for the Lord’s help in catching the foxes. We must strengthen the fencing around different fields in our lives. The Lord will place firewalls around those areas. We need to be ruthless in dealing with these little foxes. Like Samson, we need to set their tails on fire and sent them into the enemy’s or satan’s fields to plunder these areas. Setting their tales on fire implies that we turn these weaknesses into sources of strength and power for us. It implies that we hand over these areas of weakness to the Holy Spirit to sanctify and free us. Prateep V Philip

Monday, February 4, 2013

Restoration of our Lost Axe-Head

UV 657/10,000 Restoration of Our Lost Axe-head “The man of God asked, “ Where did it fall? When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float.” 2 Kings 6 v 6 One of Elisha’s followers bemoaned the loss of an iron axhead that had fallen into the river Jordan. The sunken axe-head symbolizes the losses that we face in life. What caused further distress to him was that it was a borrowed axe. He would have been worried as to what explanation he could give to the owner. Similarly, when we have debts or borrowed something with an intent to return it and unfortunately lose it, we have only one recourse and that is to pray. When we pray and believe the Lord will do the impossible and restore it to us. Elisha ‘s follower showed him where it had fallen. We too should precisely locate what we have lost. We should pray and ask other men of God to pray too. Elisha threw a stick that he cut into the area where the axhead had fallen. This is a symbol of using the Word or relying on a promise of God to claim recovery from unexpected and unbearable losses. When prayer and the Word is combined, the impossible happens: even the axe-head will swim and float. The inanimate or dead became animate or alive. When prayer and the Word is combined, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit will be present and He will do the impossible for us. He will restore what is lost, irrecoverable and irreparable. The gravity of our challenges and problems should not pull us downward. This uni-verse was given to us in a time of prayer to affirm that certain losses that we had suffered will be overcome. That which we lost will be restored to us. We only need to cast a promise verse in faith and prayer over the area proximate to where we lost it. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Integrity of Heart, Purity of Mouth

UV 656/10,000 Integrity of Hearts and Mouths “You have tested my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” Proverbs 17 v 3 David’ s central focus in life was not power or position or wealth but His relationship and intimacy with the Lord. The Lord tested his heart in the furnace of afflictions and his heart came forth as gold despite the fact that he had fallen into adulterous sin with Bathsheba. He found no iniquity or shortcoming in his attitudes towards Him. That is why the Lord certified like a master goldsmith that David had a heart after His own. Likewise the Lord examines the heart of everyone who claims to be His. He proves their hearts. He tries them. He refines and purifies our hearts through adversity. He visits us during these times to check our heart attitudes: are we complaining and resentful? Or are we faithful and hopeful? Without this test, we cannot be the best. David purposed in his heart that he would not sin with his mouth. In other words, he made a deep and sincere commitment not to err with his tongue. In short, he was aiming at perfection for as St James wrote, “ The man who bridles his tongue is perfect and can bring his whole body under control.” Every word spoken must be thought through, measured and used with precision. The Word provides us the reins to control our mind, mouth and tongue. We too need to vow to ourselves that we will not offend or sin with our mouths. Next to the integrity of the human heart and mind, the Lord looks for discipline of our mouths and tongues. We must not utter a word to hurt or harm or discourage or malign others. We must not speak falsehood or untruth. In this same uni-verse, there is a reference to heart and mouth. If we want to work on our mouths, we need to start with our hearts. For as Jesus said, “ The mouth will speak what the heart is full of.” We need to constantly clear our hearts of the debris of the past- bitterness, envy, jealousy, bitterness, hatred, fear, greed, lust, ingratitude and evil. We need to fill it with the fruit of the Holy Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,humility,self control and wisdom. We must not only not sin with our mouths, we must also use it to edify, encourage, build others for the Kingdom of God. This is not a easy discipline- it is something I have failed consistently in, over the past many years. The tongue without discipline is like a wildly galloping horse, now running this way and now running that way, unmindful of the damage caused to anything and anyone in the way. But, we must hide His Word in our hearts and under our tongues. The Word constitutes the saddle and bridle and reins. We must then ask the Holy Spirit to ride on our tongues and to crack the whip when we go wrong. When we do this consistently day after day, we will go places for God. Therefore, let us purpose in our hearts that we will not transgress with our mouths hereafter. Prateep V Philip

Power to Change

UV 655/10,000 Power to Change “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Ephesians 1 v 13 The gospel is not just good news, it is great news that we are forgiven forever for all sin, past, present and future and that therefore, we will live fully in the present life and live forever in the hereafter. When we hear, understand, believe and trust this word and accept it as truth, our salvation is guaranteed. Nothing we do or do not do can take it away from us. Nobody else can take it away from us. “ Included in Christ” means that whatever Christ is and whatever He has inherited as the beloved Son of the Father in heaven, we too have a claim to. We receive every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. If Christ is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given – then, we too are above all such. Instead of being marked 666 or the temporal and materialistic pursuits of this life, we will be marked with a spiritual seal, the Holy Spirit. The moment we receive Christ by faith into our hearts, we are sealed as a symbol of ownership of the Lord. Once a message is put into an envelope, the envelope is sealed. It implies that the message is ready to be delivered. Similarly, when we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, it is a sign that the work of placing the message of salvation inside the envelope of our bodies, hearts and minds is finished. We are now ready to be “ sent” to others to induce hope, meaning and blessing in their lives too. While God the Father is the giver, Jesus is the gift – the absolute sacrifice for absolute sin and the Holy Spirit is the Teacher, the Comforter,the Sanctifier, the Remembrancer of the Word and promises of God. When we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, we too can teach others the message of truth and hope. We can comfort others. We can lead others into purity and a life of sanctity. We can help others understand, claim and appropriate the promises of God that are our daily manna. Fish cannot live without water. So also man cannot live without this manna. The gospel is the power of God revealed in human history to change individuals, families, nations and the world at large. I once wrote these lines, “ Gospel- go spell it out, In the way you live, Don’t talk of hell, No need to yell.” Faith or trust in the gospel or the simple truth that Christ died for our sins changes our destiny. The sealing of the Holy Spirit changes our lives. The promises of God contained in the Word changes our days by giving us hope in hopeless situations, by giving us practical wisdom for daily use. The faith gives us value, the value produces hope, the hope produces a vision, the vision generates passion or enthusiasm. The passion produces results or fruits. What is the fruit we produce? As one faithful lady wrote, “ It is FIG- forgiveness, inventiveness and glory(of God).” Since we have received much forgiveness, we need to show much forgiveness. Since our hearts and minds and goals have changed, we must be innovative or inventive to bring about change in this world. We must give glory to God for whatever we succeed in. Prateep V Philip

Friday, February 1, 2013

Getting Hep

UV 654/10,000 Getting Hep “No longer will they call you Forsaken, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah for the Lord will delight in you and your land will be married.” Isaiah 62 v 4 Somebody I know was planning to call his new home, “ Timbuktu”, the capital of Mali where currently a civil war is on between some warring tribes, Al Queda and French forces. Timbuktu has become an euphemism for “ God –forsaken” place. But, God never forsakes any place or any person or any nation. It is we who by our acts of omission and commission forsake God and invite such trouble in our lives that comes from the absence of God. It is an axiom of this moral universe that the presence of God brings peace, prosperity, joy and blessings. The corollary is that the absence of God brings conflict, violence and bloodshed. Hence, I advised that believer not to name his house Timbuktu. Jesus says, “ I do not forsake anyone. Instead, I came, died and am resurrected for your sake.” Hence, our land and our hand will be blessed. We will be fruitful or “ Hepzibah.” The Lord commands us ‘ to get hep’ to use the slang of the youth. In order to be fruitful or productive, we need to be “ married” or wedded to the Lord’s faithfulness, righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and mercies. We need to be one with God as a husband is united with his wife. When we believe, cherish, relish and practice such oneness, He will continually rejoice over us as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. We get the traction or momentum when we develop our inner attraction. Unlike earthly bridegrooms and brides, His joy will last beyond the honeymoon, far beyond our lifetime. When He delights in us, He does good to us. Revealing His goodness to us is the meaning of revealing His glory. We do not have to look behind us for the best man for He is the Best man. It is unfortunate that the West is redefining marriage in these days to cover same sex marriage. It is certainly anti-Christ and satanic. It is time the Rest of us attempt to re-educate the West on the sanctity of marriage as a sacrament and as a foreshadow of the marriage of Christ and the Church. In an eye-opening revelation, the Lord spoke through Proverbs 31 v 30 “ Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” He said that besides Him there is no other bridegroom, no other male. Every believer who fears the Lord is part of the Bride, the church and is to be honoured, praised or lifted up. The whole Bible is God’s love letter written to the Bride Beulah. Therefore, we need to “get hep” or stylish or attractive to the Lord in our character and lifestyle. Then we need to get wedded and finally, we will be fruitful, blessed and productive in our lives. Prateep V Philip