Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pattern of the Godly and Good


UV 2805/10000 The Pattern of the Godly and Good
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Psalm 37 v 23
The steps of a man of God are directed, guided, led by the Lord. His actions and reactions are not self directed, emotion-driven or led by man-made ideas and philosophies. He delights in following the ways of the Lord. He is not a reluctant follower. He diligently studies the Word in order to conform to the patterns of the word in this world. He knows that though there is no innate goodness in him, he is only reflecting the goodness or light of the Lord in him and upon him. The templates or models set forth in the word become his guidelines. It influences the choices he makes every single day and even every thought he thinks and every word he speaks. He does not rely on his own wisdom or whims or emotions or the wisdom of the world. He does not seek or receive ungodly gain. He is conscious of the presence of the Lord all the time. He is filled with the power of love rather than the love of power. He is neither violent nor deceitful. He is not easily deceived, too. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune God, is the Director of his life even as a film director directs each step of an actor in a movie. He always goes to the Lord in prayer before taking any major decision and acknowledges the Lord all the time. He realizes that he is neither alone nor helpless in the pursuit of success, happiness or fulfilment. He is not bewildered when the situation becomes adverse for He knows whose he is and He believes and trusts the love, wisdom and power of God to save him.
In allowing the word to direct our ways, we pay a cost in this world in being different, in not being able to take short cuts but the benefit is that we will not stumble and fall. We will end up making fewer blunders that would have cost us our peace, our health, our joy or even our lives. The Lord preserves us from evil and keeps us from foolish decisions. It is not as if we do not face troubles and challenges but the Lord will be with us in our troubles and afflictions. We may sometimes fall as even a righteous person may fall seven times but each time the Lord will strengthen us and set us back on our feet.
The world is compared to a slippery pit, a miry quagmire which will easily ensnare the feet of the person who is not deeply rooted in the word of God. The Lord takes us out of this miry pit and allows none of our steps or actions to slide or cause our downfall. He establishes us in the ways of Jesus who is the Rock of life. We have a model of perfection, of goodness, of wisdom, of love in Jesus. We only need to look to Him as the author and perfector of our faith. We only need to imitate Him in all that we think, say and do. When we do so, the Lord God delights in us. He will establish us in our ways. He will prosper us in our work and in all that we do.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pattern of Faith in Our Great Struggles in Life

UV 2804/10000 Pattern of Faith in Our Great Struggles
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
2 Chronicles 20 v 12
The odds are often very heavy against God’s people. We face formidable enemies and tremendous opposition in this world. Yet, we do not rely on human strength or means to retaliate. Like Jehoshaphat who cried out to God when his kingdom faced invasion from many powerful armies, we need to appeal to the Lord. Jehoshaphat like any normal leader or king at first feared but through a process of humbling himself, preparing his heart and his people’s, he reinforced his faith in the God of his forefather Abraham. We may be at our wits end and may not know what to do. But we should be assured and confident that in all our dire situations and crises of life, the eyes of the Lord are upon us and our people. The Lord will not forsake us or leave us in our times of greatest need. He is the righteous judge. He clearly sees the justice of our cause.
The Lord fights our battles for us. Even as Jehoshaphat led the people of Judah in praise and worship, He had mercy on them. Even as they began to sing and worship, the Lord set up ambushes against the Ammonites, the Moabites and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who were intent on attacking, defeating and destroying the kingdom of Judah. The secret of Judah’s victory was the faith of the king and his people in Jehovah Nissi, the God of victory. Their only strategy was praise, worship and intercessory prayer. They were encouraged with a prophetic word. They did not cower in fear or shrink away from the sight of the enemies. They remembered past awesome victories the Lord had brought them in many struggles and battles. They did not rely on their own military prowess or resources.
In every struggle in life, we need to turn and seek the Lord, His presence and His help. We need to understand that the battle is clearly not ours but the Lord’s particularly if the odds are heavily against us. We should not run away from the battlefield or hide from our struggle but submit our fears and apprehensions to the Lord. Recalling the past victories and deliverances by the Lord and giving Him thanks and praise for the same will boost our faith and cause our fears to evaporate. Our enemies and adverse circumstances will melt in the presence of the Lord like wax before an intense fire. This is the beauty of His holiness. We only need to stand still and see. Through scriptural history, we see no instance of the Lord wielding a weapon or riding a chariot or leading a large army but His mere presence, His word is sufficient to give us grace to overcome, to win, to defeat the forces arraigned against us. As the God of heaven and earth, He has all the armies of heaven and the resources of earth at His command. He can obtain victory with many or few or with none. Our understanding and recognition of who God is, is vital to winning in the many battles of life.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Biblical Pattern of Freedom, Growth, Prosperity and Fulfilment

UV 2803/10000 The Pattern of Freedom and Prosperity
And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.
Ezekiel 34 v 27
This uni-verse promises six great blessings all of us need for a successful, meaningful, prosperous and joyful life: yield of fruit, increase, safety or security, knowledge of the Lord, the breaking of bondages that enslave us, deliverance out of the hands of erstwhile masters. The key factor which would lead to all the other five is the knowledge of the Lord or a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. We need to know the limitless love, grace, power and mercy of the Lord not in a theoretical way but at a deeply personal level. We need to attempt to get to know the Lord as well as He knows us. Knowledge of the limitless or infinite love of the Lord will enable us to break the self imposed limits we place on ourselves by our own way of thinking. Our perspective will be transformed and it will lead to a change in our choices, our priorities, our actions and reactions. Knowledge of the Lord also means knowledge of His word which contains precepts, principles, examples, testimonies, judgements, experiences of godly people who have gone before us.
The change in the way we process our thoughts, emotions and decisions will naturally lead to a change in our results or fruit of actions. As we yield our wills increasingly to the Lord, He increases our yield of spiritual and all other types of fruit or end results of our lives. Our experience and expression of the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control will keep increasing or growing in us. The fruit is meant both for sustenance and growth as food and for healing as medicine. We will enjoy Shalom or spiritual security, peace and safety as we cannot be preyed upon by spiritual predators of the dark world and their deluded human agents. The bondages of dead habit will be broken. The heavy burdens of guilt, fear, existential worries will be removed from our backs so that we can walk erect and upright. The Lord will give us a lighter load or responsibility to save others who are presently carrying a heavy load and are spiritually oppressed for the greatest oppression is spiritual and the greatest freedom is spiritual. The physical, the political, the intellectual, the social freedom only flows from the spiritual freedom.
The Lord will deliver us from our evil masters of yore: the world,love of money, lust, covetousness, the fear of death and judgement, forces of evil that exploit us. The spirit will rule the flesh and not the other way around. The Lord will teach us to be shrewd or subtly wise as the serpent so that the enemy of our souls does not any longer delude or deceive or entice us in any way. He will also teach us to be as gentle as Jesus and the Holy Spirit who is imaged as the dove. For all these blessings to flow and overflow in our lives, the root is our faith in Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pattern of Hope Fulfilment

UV 2802/10000 Pattern of Hope Fulfilment
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3 v 26
Hope makes improvements, changes, achievements possible. People place hope in a variety of things. Sometimes such hope is misplaced and leads to disappointment and bitterness. Scripture says that it is better to place hope in the Lord than in princes of people. This uni-verse asks us to place our hope in the Lord, in His word, in His promises. The Lord will then do His part- salvation. Salvation is not an end-of-life experience but an everyday experience that extends into the timeless zone of eternity. Once we place our trust in the Lord, we need to learn His word, understand His commands, obey and patiently wait on the Lord with a sense of joy, thanksgiving for blessings received and expectancy of the blessings in the offing. Waiting does not mean being inert but actively seeking the Lord’s presence, His wisdom, His grace, His mercy, His justice and all of His ways as it intersects our own paths at several points.
Hope is a natural byproduct of supernatural faith. It means that it is not faith in our own intelligence, abilities, connections, resources but a belief in the supernatural wisdom, grace and power of the Lord to save us. It is not a vague belief but a specific belief in Christ being the wisdom and power of God to save mankind. This hope in Christ as our Saviour in all real life situations, even as we take all natural precautions that our reason dictates and do all that we need to do by way of due diligence, is the hope of glory of God being revealed.
Quiet waiting indicates that we should be free from worries. Our minds should not be tossed about by doubt, fear or anxiety as we face different situations in life. Joseph waited patiently, trusting that His Lord and God, the God of his forefathers would certainly help him come out of his state of misery, of gross injustice. Every reverse in fortune did not deter him or cause him to take his eyes from the ultimate vision that the Lord would raise him up as a ruler and leader in the world. He had a rough ride to the seat of the Prime Minister of the then super power Egypt but he was buoyed up by the hope he reposed in the Lord. There are few instances in scripture of people of God taking a short cut to greatness, fame, wealth, of meteoric rise overnight but there are enough examples of people taking a “God cut” to the ultimate purpose, role and position that the Lord had in mind for them. A “God cut” is neither long nor short but it prepares the person’s character to fulfil godly responsibility. Often it means years of waiting, years of suffering and endurance, years of hoping as the etches and lines of deep character are sculpted and chiselled by the Spirit in the heart of man.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pattern of the Word at Work

UV 2801/10000 The Pattern of the Word@Work
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55 v 11

The word that has gone forth from the mouth of the Lord God is truthful, wholesome and extremely effective. It is in this world but not of this world. The origin is divine, supernatural, spiritual and yet it works in this world. The only condition for it to work is faith or belief in every word spoken by the Lord. It will accomplish the will of the Lord in this world. It will work deep inside us, at a level deeper than our bones and marrow. It will work quietly, invisibly but surely. It shall without a doubt or without delay prosper in the thing to which the Lord sends it. It is the good seed that meets our greatest need- the need for salvation, for eternal life. It will also meet our diurnal needs for wisdom in the decisions and choices we make, the work we do, the words we speak. It comes like the rain, snow and dew that softens the earth and prepares the harvest of all that we eat from herbs to fruit. It softens our hardened or inured hearts to feel again the things that are vital from the Lord and Creator and Redeemer’s perspective. It brings forth a harvest of righteousness and blessings. It will give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. It will bring forth sweetness out of the killer echoing the dead carcass of a lion that Samson had killed that became the shelter for a beehive full of honey. What the enemy of our souls plans for our destruction and defeat, it will change into a sweet testimony or evidence of the greatness, goodness and love of the Lord. The believer can trust, praise and thank the Lord on every up and down in his life, every turn and twist. All is grist to his mill- no experience is wasted, all is gain including pain and nothing is in vain.
Any human plus the word is a champion like David, a winner like Joshua, a leader like Moses. He is anointed, enabled, equipped, empowered. The word is the software of our existence. It is wholesome food. It is manna from above that does not spoil overnight. It is sweeter than honey and gives wisdom to the simple. It strengthens us from within. It educates our senses so that we are sensible. It teaches us what no earthly teacher can teach us- how best to live. It is higher, much higher than mere man-made religion, morality, philosophy, psychology and science. We need to dwell on every word and absorb its essence of meaning. We need to digest and apply it in every aspect of our lives as nothing is beyond its scope.
The word is practical, simple, applicable in all conceivable human situations. It works even in impossible situations, crises and predicaments as well as in normal fair weather. The biblical thought process “ Cling to what is good, let go of what is evil” can best be practiced by clinging to the word and letting go of what is evil in this world. It will preserve us from conforming to the patterns of this world and instead be spiritually transformed from within. We will not be clay that resists the Potter but yields to His every move. The word embodies the spirit of God and it cures the ills of our flesh. It deals with the issues of the heart out of which flows forth life. It releases the supernatural wisdom, power and resources of the Lord into our mundane situations. It is certain, precise and specific in our real life situations to offer solutions and answers to the questions and problems we confront on a day-to-day basis. The Word is guaranteed by the Lord. The warranty is everlasting.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Pattern of Gestation


UV 2800/10000 The Pattern of Gestation
Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son
Genesis 18 v 14

The word of the Lord is as good as Him. He promised Abraham and Sarah when they were long past the age of child bearing that they would have an heir- a son. Abraham and Sarah laughed disbelievingly at the very thought of them having a child in their old age. Yet, within a year, Sarah bore a son. When nothing seems to be happening in response to our prayers, the Lord is at work behind the scenes, preparing us for the miracle. During that year, the Lord revived Sarah’s body and Abraham’s so that they could indeed bear a child. The silence that follows our prayers till they are fructified or answered in real time and space is a spiritual gestation period like Sarah’s pregnancy. We are to get pregnant with hope and belief in the promises of the Lord that concerns every aspect of our lives: our health, our children, our finances, our past, present, future and eternity.

The basis of our belief in a promise is the word of the Lord. Once we receive a promise from the Lord, we should wholeheartedly believe it. The more things we move from the impossible list of our lives to the possible list, the greater is our faith and the greater our appropriation and enjoyment of the blessings of the Lord. Abraham’s and Sarah’s rational minds and experience that far caused them to laugh at the idea of their bearing a child but the Lord proved within a year that the impossible is possible. They were not asked or expected to suspend their reason or logical minds but were asked to wait and see the evidence of God’s faithfulness to His servants, His children, His faithful creatures. There is an appointed hour or time for the fulfilment of the promises or the word of the Lord. We need to wait for the appointed hour with hope, expectation, praise, thanksgiving and patience.
Many generations after Abraham and Sarah, when the Israelites who were being led by Moses back to the Promised Land complained that they did not have meat to eat, the Lord again asked Moses, who also disbelieved that meat could be procured for so many in the wilderness, “ Is the hand of the Lord too short that I cannot do what I have promised?” We live in a world of limitations but the Lord is not limited in either wisdom or might. He is the God of the Possible. He can will and do that which is seemingly impossible in human eyes. It is in seasons and situations of limitations that the Lord proves to disbelieving humans the extent of His compassion, His understanding, His wisdom, His power, His greatness.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Pattern of Fruitfulness



UV 2799/10000 The Pattern of Fruitfulness
And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
Numbers 17 v 8

This uni-verse is about the pattern of fruiting: the leader or person who is in a covenant relationship with the Lord is like the rod of Aaron that budded and brought forth buds, blossoms and yielded almonds. Only the stick of Aaron brought forth such fruit when it was kept overnight along with the sticks of eleven other leaders of the tribes of Israel. Aaron was dedicated to serve alongside Moses. He was humble, obedient and faithful. He was in constant fellowship with the Lord. Hence, his stick grew and bore fruit miraculously. The stick of Aaron bore fruit when it was kept in the tabernacle of the covenant, implying that when we dwell in covenant relationship with Jesus, our leadership will not be barren but fruitful. The fruit or results will be spiritual, miraculous, useful for the kingdom of God. The rod of Aaron producing buds, blossoms and almonds is a symbol of the different stages in which the fruit of our lives are currently found in- some are buds, some are blossoms and some are matured into fruit.

Leadership is a dry stick except it be rooted in the Lord, saturated with His presence, it springs into life, the sap of spiritual life will flow in and through it. When we are grafted onto Jesus, we too bear fruit. We will bear fruit in season and out of season, in time and out of time, in favourable conditions and in unfavourable conditions. Though apparently like the rods of Israel, we have neither root nor branches, we will give an yield that is pleasing to the Lord. Almonds are a symbol of a wholesome, nutritious and tasty produce. Our words, actions and reactions will be wholesome and gracious. Only the rod of the Levite tribe of Aaron produced miraculous fruit. Likewise, only the ones who are grafted in Jesus, constantly communicating in the spirit with Him will produce fruit miraculously. The Word which is the spiritual water that both cleanses and satisfies our thirst for answers to the questions of life and the blood of Jesus that cleanses and sanctifies, the Holy Spirit who continually waters our faith are the three agents that enable us to produce miraculous and supernatural fruit in our lives. For it to happen, we need to dwell continually in the tabernacle of the Lord or rather that the Lord should dwell in our tabernacles, our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirits, our homes, our conversation, our lives.
What is lifeless will produce life, what is hopeless will be harbingers of hope. Such a supernatural happening will inspire awe, respect, reverence, love and hope in all who witness the produce of our lives. The tabernacle of faith in Jesus will be the tabernacle of witness. It will be the evidence of the reality of Jesus in our lives. Everyday the Lord examines us to see what fruit we bear. Seeing the fruit we bear will quieten the doubting, complaining and rebelling against the Triune God of the people who so witness the buds, the blossoms and fruit on the hitherto dry stick of our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pattern of Generational Blessings

UV 2798/10000 Pattern of Generational Blessings
The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne
Psalm 132 v 11
The uni-verse states the pattern of generational blessings that flow and follow the one declared righteous by faith. The Lord promises to establish our line or generations. Just as He has a covenant with the sun and moon that they rise each day, He has sworn a covenant relationship with the one who is committed to Him. He will not turn from His promise or His word. He is faithful to His promises for a thousand generations, it is written in His word.
David was a mere shepherd when he started out in life. But he used his time and talent, while sitting in the pastures as the sheep grazed, to compose the psalms, the songs of praise and thanksgiving that express his feelings towards the Lord. The Lord anointed him as a king while he was still young. The Lord strengthened his faith so much that he was undaunted when he faced great and dangerous challenges in the wild from powerful beasts of prey like a lion and a bear. He developed his skills not just as a harpist but he practiced throwing stones accurately and lethally with his sling. He was now ready to take on the mighty Goliath- a metaphor of the giant challenges that believers face and overcome in our lives on Earth. David then faced challenges from a jealous King Saul and later from many quarters when he lived as a fugitive. In all his experiences, he held onto his faith in Jehovah, the God of his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. He knew that if God had been faithful to them, He would continue to be faithful to him and give him the grace to overcome the mighty challenges he faced almost all through his life.
The Lord promised David not just longevity but also continuity in the flow of His covenant promises to the line of David. He promised that one of his own children would be on the throne of Israel. Sure enough Solomon succeeded David as King on his throne and perpetuated as well as expanded on his legacy. It implies that the Lord will be with our children, their children and our descendants as He is with us. He will raise them up to succeed us, to carry out the will and purpose of the Lord in their lives. God’s promises have no expiry date and continue to work out in the lives of our descendants long after we are gone.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Biblical Pattern of Priorities

UV 2797/10000 The Biblical Pattern of Priorities
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you
Matthew 6 v 33
The pattern of this world is to first seek all the things they desire like wealth, power, position, fame, influence, comfort creatures, pleasure, greatness, immortality and so on. But the biblical pattern upheld to us who believe is that we seek first the kingdom of God or the rule of God in our lives through Jesus Christ. Our first and topmost priority is to know Jesus, the extent of His love and become like Him in terms of character, attitudes and integrity. He is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. When we follow Him with all our hearts, He will add all of the things that the world gives priority to. He will add it in due proportion at the apt time. Like Solomon asked of the Father, we need to seek His wisdom in the words of Christ. The word “seek “ does not mean casually engaging in some activity but with total passion, energy, commitment. It indicates a willingness to lose all else in the pursuit of one’s topmost priority which outweighs all other priorities put together. It is like the gem merchant in Jesus’s parable who sells all his possessions to obtain the most valuable pearl in all the world. Jesus and His eternal kingdom is the most valuable pearl for which we need to be ready to stake all else.
We need to seek the righteousness of Christ by obeying the precepts and principles taught and practiced by Jesus during His earthly sojourn. Our first love, implying our greatest love should be for Jesus. When we do so, all our other priorities and needs will fall in place. Solomon asked for wisdom to discern how he should judge His subjects- the people. But we need to seek the wisdom of Christ to discern His judgements in all matters and to abide by these.
The knowledge and wisdom of Christ will allow the power of Christ or the grace of Jesus to flow in our lives, leading, guiding, enabling, equipping, protecting, providing and using us for His greater glory. We need to offer the “first fruit” of our time, our talent, our treasure to the Lord. We will then become inheritors of the fourteen blessings of obedience enumerated in Deuteronomy chapter 28 and the spiritual blessings enumerated by Jesus Himself in Matthew chapter 5. Though it is a promise that “ all these things shall be added..” it will not be all added overnight or at one shot. The Lord will enlarge us measure by measure, step by step. The word “ all” in the uni-verse means that nothing good is left out of the scheme of things of God for man. Scripture says that no good thing will be withheld or denied from those who love God above all others and above all other things. The miraculous, the supernatural, the spiritual will be intertwined with a natural increase or addition to our lives. The uni-verse implies that we do not have to renounce the world or our possessions in this world. We only need to order our priorities so that we give utmost importance to the Lord, His word and His ways in our lives. As we focus on the Lord, He will bring about the abundance of blessings in our lives- spiritual, emotional, intellectual, familial, relational, social, professional, material and financial. It does not mean we neglect all our other priorities. In fact, the believer exhibits the “extra mile “ passion in all other spheres of life, much more than the unbeliever who gives top priority to his own pursuits of worldly goals.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pattern of Salvation, Blessing and Growth

UV 2796/10000 Pattern of Salvation, Blessing and Growth
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
Ezekiel 36 v 29

Mankind is constantly striving to transform our external conditions with a hope that it will lead to a change in our internal condition. But God reverses the pattern: He first works on a change in the internal condition and then that leads up to a change in the external conditions. The pattern of salvation is that the Lord first saves a person from the power of sin. He then saves a person over his lifetime from the presence of sin. The Lord is the One who transforms a person from within. He gives us a new heart and a new spirit which is continually connected with Him. The unbelieving and unfaithful heart and spirit of man becomes a believing and faithful heart and spirit. He changes the heart of man so that it is no longer stony and unfeeling and it beats in resonance with the very heart of the Lord. Scripture says that the heart of the godly is like a continual feast. We enjoy a continual feast of joy, love and fellowship with the Lord. He sends the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and cleanse us from all that stains our souls. He not only saves us from eternal condemnation but saves us from our individual pattern of sins. He calls for blessing and abundance in our lives.
The heart of the ungodly, the unsaved is inured to sin and does not feel any remorse or does not even realize that he has sinned. This separates man from the presence of the holy and righteous God. It also brings in “hamartia” or all kinds of curses or shortcomings in the lives of the ones with stony hearts. He calls the famine of blessings upon himself and it is not as if the Lord curses or punishes him. But a person who receives Jesus into his life, receives a new heart and develops a new perspective on life. He becomes sensitive to the presence and the move of the Lord in His life. Instead of curses or shortcoming or hamartia, He receives the blessings of increase from the Lord.
The uni-verse promises that the Lord will not send “no famine” upon His chosen ones. Instead, they will enjoy a flood of blessings, of “hyperbole” instead of “hamartia”. The uni-verse says, “ I will call for the corn”. The corn is a symbol of what satisfies human need. The Lord will command an increase of whatever is required to satisfy our need- spiritual, intellectual, emotional, relational, professional, financial and material. The increase of corn is also a metaphor for growth: that the believer in Christ will grow in all aspects all his life on earth. No increase in our lives happens by accident or purely by our natural efforts. It is willed by the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Biblical Pattern of Speech

UV 2795/10000 Pattern of Speech: World or Word
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Ephesians 4 v 29
Next to the thought process, one of the most vital patterns of life is our pattern of speech. The pattern of the world is that the mouth of the wicked and the ungodly are like an open sepulchre or a grave that spews the power of sin and death with every word. There is the poison of the asp under the tongue. Their words may be smooth as butter but hide sharpened knives behind it. It is used for deceit and flattery. It speaks lies and out of lust and covetousness. It spurs violence and strife. It speaks what the heart and mind is full of : evil. But the biblical template of speech is set forth in this uni-verse as well as a large number of portions of scripture ranging from the book of Proverbs to the espistle of St James. We are to conform our speech to this template.
We are not to allow any corrupt communication to leave our mouths. In order to do this, we need to be slow to speak and quick to listen. We should not give vent to filthy language, rage, vulgar jokes, insults and taunts. What we speak should always be full of grace and salted with truth. Truth will make our words tasty and wholesome to the listener. Our speech or our words should always be beneficial to the listeners. It should build up their faith, their confidence, their hope, their love. It is full of the grace of Christ. Our words are anointed as life-giving bullets that penetrate the hearts, minds and spirits of people, quickening their inner life or their souls. Our tongues are the spring of God’s love and should not be mixed with poison of lust, untruth and evil. Our positive confessions of faith please and glorify God and build the faith of the hearers. Our tongues are one of the chief instruments of ministry to humanity. It is consecrated and dedicated to the Lord and ought to be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. The tree of life that the Lord God removed from the garden of Eden is planted in the mouths of the believers. It is the tree of wisdom that enables us to speak of the righteousness of God all day, to offer praises and glory to Him and to “order our conversation aright.” Ordering our conversation aright implies doing everything we can to conform our words to the pattern of the template of the Word, not influenced, corrupted or distorted by the world. From this tree of life comes virtually all the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Our words are the fruit of our lips full of these attributes of Jesus. Out of the mouth of the believer comes forth the power of eternal life and not death. We are to use our tongues to lead many into the kingdom of God, to teach and disciples others in the patterns of the Word. Our words are to be used to bless not curse, to encourage, not humiliate or insult others, to appreciate, to comfort, to strengthen not weaken, to be thankful not to grumble, to guide not to deceive. Even many of the gifts of the Spirit of God flows through our tongues and mouths- the gift of healing, prophecy, tongues, word of knowledge and wisdom. We are also to speak the apt word at the apt time. If we are not able to speak so, we should rather learn to be silent. Learning not to speak is itself a grace of the Lord. The Word also teaches us that when words abound, sin too abounds, implying that we should not speak a word more than what is necessary in a specific situation. It requires us to be measured in our speech.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Biblical Patterns:Thought Process

UV 2794/10000 Biblical Patterns of Life : Thought Pattern
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12 v 2

This uni-verse, in the first part, exhorts us not to be conformed to this world. In the second part of this verse, we are encouraged to transform ourselves by renewing our minds with the Word. It is a clear choice between conforming to the patterns of this world or the patterns of His word. We renew ourselves when we conform to the biblical patterns or the patterns of the Book in which the Lord who became word has revealed what is good, acceptable and perfect. The biblical patterns are what are good, acceptable and perfect.
Our lives and our behaviour, our strengths and weaknesses, our successes and failures all follow a pattern that is first set in our minds. The Bible sets forth these preferred or perfect patterns – a pattern of thought, a pattern of beliefs, a pattern of attitudes, a pattern of behaviour, a pattern of emotions, a pattern of speech, a pattern of aspirations, a pattern of decision making, a pattern of efforts, a pattern of responses and reactions to the stimuli of this world as well as our experiences in this world, a pattern of prayer, praise and worship, a pattern of seeking to satisfy financial or material needs in this world, a pattern of seeking fulfilment, greatness or immortality, a pattern of relationships. All these patterns together constitute what management calls a paradigm. These patterns have the approval of the Lord. These patterns maximise our joy, our influence, our impact, our fulfilment, our potential. These patterns are God-approved, God-anointed, God-enabled, God-blessed. The patterns of this world are obviously not good, not acceptable to the Lord, not perfect. The patterns of this world are either evil or unacceptable or imperfect. It may not even be apparently evil but could be a mix of good and evil. It may even start out by appearing to be good and turn out to be evil and harmful. To give an example, Tony Robbins, the well known NLP trainer who made immense wealth teaching people to use NLP to overcome their personal issues in recent seminars uses extreme foul or “taboo” language in an attempt to break the pattern of thought of members of his audience. This “tactic” is neither good nor acceptable. Another example, is the famous book, “The Secret” which teaches the readers to think that they can be and do whatever they think. It has led to delusionary behaviour and irrational decision making by many of its readers.
To take up first, the pattern of thought. The world faces the problem of excessive negativity, of negative patterns of thinking as a result of a series of negative thoughts and experiences that put human beings on an automatic negative thought process. The negative thought pattern has a highly corrosive and debilitating effect on all of our other patterns and even our pattern of relationships in the family and in the workplace. The world and its thinkers and thought leaders have come up with partial solutions for negative thought patterns and have variously called it positive thinking, positive psychology, rational emotive therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, systems thinking, gestalt and so on. But the biblical pattern summed up by St Paul in His epistles to both the Romans and Thessalonian believers is “ Cling to what is good, let go of what is evil.” It is a dual process much like our breathing pattern or the beat of our hearts. When I first received this revelation, I called it Equilibrium Thinking or eqthinking for short. The Holy Spirit has revealed that it is the key to the human mind. It has an impact on all our other life patterns like emotions, decisions, efforts, aspirations, relationships, successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses. The biblical pattern of thought is to cling for dear life to what is true, pure, noble, good, wise, perfect, praiseworthy, beneficial and to let go, abhor, flee from, reject, eject, refuse what is negative or evil. The believer has the grace of Christ, the enabler, the One who is not only perfect but also anointed to perfect others, to adopt and consistently follow this pattern of thought. We have to take every thought captive to Christ or bring it to His examination. The Word will reveal over time what is good, God-approved, acceptable, perfect thought patterns and we only need to conform to this pattern. The daily intake of the Word and constantly measuring our thoughts against the standard pattern of the Word will renew our minds in Christ. The Holy Spirit will give both help, power and counsel to be aware of our thought patterns and cause it to conform to the biblical pattern of “clinging to what is good and letting go of what is evil.” Clinging implies being committed, persistent, consistent, obsessed with the positive thoughts while at the same time, releasing ourselves from the clutches of the pattern of negative thoughts. This holistic thought process would improve over time our decision-making, our speech pattern, our behaviour pattern, our success-failure pattern, our strength-weakness pattern, our emotional pattern, our relationship pattern. Our intellects, our emotions, our wills, our lives are being constantly renewed in the image of Christ as we adopt and practice the biblical pattern of thought.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Scarlet Thread

UV 2793/10000 The Scarlet Thread

And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
Joshua 2 v 21
Hope in Jesus is the scarlet thread that the believer ties on the window of his house. That scarlet thread transforms the cursed and condemned house of the outcast Rahab who lived on the periphery of the town into the house of salvation and blessing for all its inhabitants. Rahab the prostitute became the forebear of the Messiah Jesus. Her faith in the words of the God of Israel a justified and saved her from impending defeat and disaster. Her destiny was altered. The help she rendered in providing refuge to the Israelites messengers was greatly rewarded beyond her expectations, the expectations of her parents and family, beyond everyone’s expectations. Rahab was rewarded for risking her life in order to save the Israelite spies. Did she betray her own people among whom she lived? Was she a traitor? No, for loyalty to God is the highest loyalty that rises above loyalty to self, family, community, city, state or nation.
From Rahab’s lineage, the Lord God raised the greatest of the Hebrew King-prophets David through the stump of Jesse. From that stump of Jesse, the Lord raised the divine and eternal root- Jesus. We should tie the scarlet thread of faith in Jesus in our hearts. Grafted in Jesus, we are justified, cleansed of our uncleanness, our unrighteousness as Rahab and all of her family was justified and transformed. The scarlet thread of faith is the cord that ties our hearts, our lives and our earthly and eternal destiny with the glorious name of Jesus. As Rahab, the alien and outcast became one of Israel and the co-inheritor of the heritage of promises of Jehovah to Abraham, the one who demonstrated how faith is to be integrated with one’s life and not kept at the periphery of our lives as religion teaches people to.
Rahab believed and was in awe of the word, the testimonies and judgements of God. She unconditionally trusted the word who became flesh- Jesus. He saved her though He took flesh and blood upon Himself several centuries later in human history. Rahab’s past was not remembered nor mentioned ever again. She and all of her family began to serve the God of Israel. He is today the invisible and spiritual scarlet thread that all humanity can tie around their hearts to change their houses of strife and condemnation into a house of peace and salvation and blessing forever. He is the Lord Amen- the Root, the Cause, the Cost and the Source of hope of salvation and eternal life.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Good and Faithful Servants

UV 2792/10000 Good and Faithful Servants
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
I Corinthians 15 v 58
We are to be steadfast or consistent, dogged, determined, dedicated, devoted in our faith in Christ Jesus. Our faith should be like a strong root of a big tree, unshakeable, unmoveable. Once we are rooted in Christ in faith, our work of faith, our labour of love and patience of hope will never fail. We need to be zealous to do good works in the name of Jesus for His glory and by His grace. In other words, we are to be strong and do all the good we can in every way we can and our work will surely be rewarded both here and in the hereafter.
Ruth was an example of steadfast faith in the way she stuck with her mother-in-law even though the death of her husband had dissolved her bonds with her husband’s family and his God. We are to hold our confidence in Christ in like manner till the very end, growing even stronger in faith with time and experience. Trials and tribulations, doubts and fears should draw us closer to Jesus and not break our covenant relationship with Him, sealed with His blood and the Holy Spirit.
As our faith grows in strength and depth, grace and love of Christ should be increasingly manifest in our lives. We ought to abound in the work of the Lord. While the Word will strengthen our faith, our work for the Lord will demonstrate our love for Him. The work of the Lord involves spreading the fragrance of His name and the hope of the good news that mankind can live forever, free from judgement, by grace. The work of the Lord also implies excelling in all that we do, in doing everything as if we are doing it for Him. The work of the Lord means to conform to the character of Christ in order to produce His characteristics- or the fruit of the spirit. The more the fruit, the more blessed we are and the more pleased the Lord is. Prayer, praise, thanksgiving, fasting, worship, using our talents for the glory of God, giving to the needy and serving the poor are other important work of the Lord that we should abound in. When we abound in all these aspects, then we will be called “good and faithful servants”.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Insured Against Shame

UV 2791/10000 Insured Against Shame
Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
Psalm 119 v 6
When we respect the commandments of the Lord and esteem all of His precepts as true and worthy of following or obeying in our lives, we will not be put to shame in this life or in the hereafter. When we omit to follow even one precept, we are guilty of disrespecting the whole law of the Lord. But, as we trust and follow Jesus, we are considered righteous as if we are obeying the whole law of the Lord. Since we are blood-washed and the blood of the Lamb of God covers all of our sins, our own hearts will not condemn us. Our consciences will not prick us and we can enter the presence of the Lord with confidence and without shame. We do not have to hide like Adam and Eve from the Lord’s eyes even though our sins are much worse and more numerous than theirs at the beginning of time.
The uni-verse puts the truth in a negative way so that we understand the positive promise it holds in it: we will be honoured. Many of the early apostles were imprisoned and martyred but to this day their names are greatly honoured wherever people believe and follow Jesus or in other words, in all nations. Our objective in life is not to be famous or popular in the eyes of the world but to win the esteem of the Lord. Joseph and Daniel are biblical characters who won the esteem of the Lord. There is no short cut to winning the esteem of the Lord other than esteeming His word above our necessary food and above gold, silver and other treasure.
The Word has multiple benefits for the one who diligently studies and carefully obeys it. We gain the supernatural wisdom of Jesus that exceeds the worldly wisdom of Solomon. We are kept out of folly and the misery caused by impetuous or foolish decisions and choices. We enjoy Shalom or holistic success, health, peace and joy. We win the favour of God or in other words, we walk in the grace of the Lord. We become inheritors of multiple blessings promised in Deuteronomy chapter 28 while avoiding the even more numerous curses and failures mentioned in the same chapter. We become channels of blessings to others in our generation. The Word also promises longevity and an enduring legacy. We will develop true leadership qualities and abilities for we become the head that leads in conjunction with the heart that feels. Our fellowship with Jesus and through Him with the Triune God will be unbroken and it will brighten, broaden and deepen till we enter into the eternal realm.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Teacher of Teachers

UV 2790/10000 The Teacher of Teachers
And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan
Exodus 35 v 34
Jesus is the Teacher of teachers. He is the Tree of eternal life that was removed by the Father from the garden of Eden and planted in our hearts. He also teaches us to teach. He teaches not mere knowledge or the wisdom of this world but wisdom from above that is peaceful, gentle and joyful. The Lord puts in the heart of the believer His wisdom so that he will be able to teach. Like our physical heart pumps the oxygenated blood to all parts of our bodies, our spiritual hearts need to pump the wisdom stored therein in the form of the Word to all parts of our being so that hope and joy reaches every organ, every cell of our being. He anoints us such that we can understand His hidden wisdom. We need to first discover what is hidden in it and then hide in it. We only need to prepare our hearts like Ezra to seek the law of the Lord, to do it and then to teach it to others. Preparing our hearts require us to humble ourselves before the Lord. We need to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to correctly understand and interpret the Word. The word has an answer for every question we face in life. We need a miner’s zeal to seek out these hidden answers to all the issues of life, one by one, understand, appropriate the wisdom and then impart it to others.
The starting point of our quest for answers of life are the challenges we are facing, the temptations we need to prepare ourselves for ahead of time, the difficulties we need to endure in life. As we diligently seek out these answers, the Lord will speak to us through His word. It will enlighten our minds and fill our hearts with hope. We need to cling to the good wisdom discovered in the Word and overcome the evil in our nature and in the world. Our lips as the Psalmist wrote should recount all the laws that He has taught us. Instead of entertaining covetousness, we should delight in learning His principles and precepts that guide us on our earthly journey, keeping us out of folly, pride and misery.
The Word applied to life’s great questions are testimonies or tested truths. These tested truths are the paths of righteousness the Lord leads us on. Once we experience these tested truths, the Lord also teaches us to teach these to His sheep, both the faithful ones and the lost sheep who have strayed. Every day of our lives is an opportunity to learn, understand and experience the power and wisdom of these tested truths. It needs a special grace or anointing to be able to teach. The Word warns that the teachers of the law will be judged more severely than others. So this puts those who teach on notice to always be wary and wise not to break the tiniest part of the law or violate it in letter or spirit.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 2, 2017

Anchoring

UV 2789/10000 Anchoring
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1 v 13
We need to hold on firmly to the sound teachings and precepts of Jesus and the apostles. Holding firmly implies to memorise, meditate and apply the apt word of God in appropriate way. We need to hold onto the teachings of Jesus with faith in Him that He is able to do that which He has promised us. We need to further teach others with love and humility and not with an attitude of self righteousness. The Word being double-edged cuts on both sides- the listeners as well as the speaker or teacher. Unlike a sharp weapon that takes life, it is a life-healing, life-enhancing and life-enriching instrument of the Lord. It penetrates the core of our being, even the bone and marrow and tissue of our bodies, minds and spirits bringing healing, deliverance and anointing.
Our faith in Christ is built up by hearing the word. We are blessed and strengthened when we do what we hear. Christ being the wisdom and power of God, we become filled with His wisdom and power. His wisdom guides us in our decisions, our conversations, our thoughts, the expression of our emotions. His power enables us to implement our decisions, control our otherwise uncontrollable tongues and regulate our inner being and feelings. The Holy Spirit enables and equips us to imitate the wisdom, faith and love of Christ. We begin to live out the attributes and attitudes of the faith and love of Christ as described by St Paul in Hebrews chapter 11 and I Corinthians chapter 13. The experiences and circumstances of life keep changing according to the weather over which we have no control like the ocean or sea but Christ remains our dynamic anchor in every situation.
Faith and love are two sides of the spiritual currency. Faith is like the skeleton that is the strong foundation and structure of our bodies while love is the flesh and blood that the skeleton is clothed with. In order to be alive spiritually, both faith and love are needed. One of the ways we can grow consistently in the faith and love of Christ is to anchor every breath on Christ, to use every breath to remember Christ, every breath to praise, thank and pray to Him. As we do this on a moment to moment basis, the wisdom and power of Christ will flow through us as breath and blood carry life sustaining oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our bodies.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dimensions of the Image of God

UV 2788/10000 Dimensions of the Image of God
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10 v 31
The true image of God is not discovered by imagination but by revelation and faith. Our choices to either reject or accept the living God will determine whether it is a terrible thing or a terrific thing to fall into His hands. When we believe in a loving and living God, it is indeed a terrific thing to fall into His hands. His hands will catch us when we fall, when we stumble, when we falter. His hand will guide us on the paths of life. His hand will provide for all of our need. His hands will protect us from our foes and enemies. Eye has not seen nor ear heard not entered the thoughts or imagination of people the wonders that the Lord will do for the believing and beloved. In international relations, there is the theory of balance of power that governs relations of nations. But, in the kingdom of God there is a balance of love and power. Love is the primary mode of relationship while power is in the background.
The Bible holds up to us two views of God, -first that He is a living, all powerful, all knowing and loving person who keeps giving chances to every human being to turn to Him and second, that He is a consuming fire who destroys the unrepentant, the arrogant, the remorseless wicked. People need to fear if they believe that God is dead, that God does not exist. They need to fear even if they believe in God if they have a distorted view of Him. People need to fear when they make God in their own image instead of trusting the One who made them in His image. They need to fear when they rely on their own imagination, traditions and beliefs about God instead of getting to know the real nature of God by studying His word and experiencing its reality in their lives first hand. People need to fear Him if they reject His love and ignore Him, if they live as they please not remembering that they need to give an account for every careless word and every wicked deed. The love of God is backed up by the awesome power of God. His immense power is held in restraint by His love. The choice is made by each individual whether to believe and enter into a covenant relationship of love or remain outside the circle of His love and care and by choice become an object of wrath.
God cannot contradict His own nature, His own word. That anything that is only partially good for example human beings can be potentially absolutely evil predicates that He is also possessed of awesome avenging, judging and punishing power to maintain the balance, to ensure His sovereign will is executed in heaven and on earth. For the believer, the one who is living in covenant relationship with the Triune God through belief in Jesus Christ, He is also a refining fire who purifies, sanctifies, perfects faith as well as character and works. Since God is loving, we too need to conform to the image of Christ and increasingly reflect His qualities of love in our lives if we are not to fall under judgement for our lack of faithfulness.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Deposit

UC 2788/10000 The Deposit
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in
2 Timothy 1 v 14
Another translation of this uni-verse is “ Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” It implies that faith is like a bank deposit. The blessings, the wonders, the wisdom, the miracles that accrue from it are like the periodic interest on the deposit. We are to guard this precious deposit but we cannot do it on our own. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. The deposit does not belong to us but is committed to us by the Lord for safe keeping like the talents of gold given by the master to his five servants in the parable of talents. We are to preserve it till the Master returns.
Like the faithful servant, we should increase the deposit of faith by investing it wisely in the opportunities that our lives present. We are holding it on trust and we have a responsibility to use it in the apt manner. The more faith we have the richer we are spiritually, the more effective we are as witnesses, the more loyal and obedient we are as servants of the Lord. Faith is not an idle deposit to be buried under sand but it is to be used and multiplied. These are the riches that neither rust nor moth nor thief can destroy. It outlasts our lives on earth. It is the currency of the kingdom of heaven. With this currency, we can buy anything we need in the Kingdom of God. It is the ource of our outcomes in life and the channel by which we can bless others.
The enemy of our souls attacks our faith in a variety of ways. But we need to be alert and prepared to defend our faith. The Holy Spirit is both the radar and the rudder of our faith. He sensitises us to the direction and nature of attack on our faith. He brings the appropriate portion of scripture to our minds in different situations to increase our faith. The Holy Spirit enables our faith to be fruitful in terms of expressing itself in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility. The Holy Spirit reminds us of our commitment to the Lord at apt times. He even shapes and leads our faith in the direction it should go and grow. He gives us the enthusiasm or the energy of God to put into our efforts and actions to live out our faith in real time. He refines our faith by removing the dross or impurities that have crept in over time.
Prateep V Philip

The Six Dimensional Shalom of God

UV 2786/10000 The Six Dimensional Shalom of God
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4 v 7
The shalom of God is a wholesome peace encrypted in the letters of its spelling in an order of priority for all mankind. The first letter “S” stands for salvation. Obtaining peace with God through Christ, His chosen, anointed, sacrificed and resurrected Son is the number one priority of every believer. We need to obtain peace with God through the means made available by Him and not the imperfect means we ourselves devise in terms of religion, good works or sacrifice. Once we have peace with God, every other type of peace will follow: peace with self, relational peace with significant others, peace with enemies, peace with all fellow beings, peace with past, present and future, mental peace, spiritual peace, emotional peace. In other words, we will have perfect, complete, comprehensive and holistic peace. Once we have peace with God in Christ, we are no longer seekers but communicators of peace of God. The shalom of God cannot be obtained by reasoning as it is beyond all human understanding, beyond human discovery, beyond rationale, beyond human efforts at self amelioration. The Shalom of God being six-dimensional is beyond human perception and comprehension.
The second aspect of shalom as symbolised in the letter ‘h’ is health or healing. It was not an accident that most of the miracles of Jesus are to do with healing. He spoke these words, “ Your faith has made you whole”. In other words, our faith in the Word of Jesus gives us the shalom of God. The third aspect “a” stands for our inner fruit or our spiritual attitudes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. We are to abound in peace or shalom or be abundant in attitudinal fruit or results. The attitudes are reflected in our actions of shalom or peace. We are called to be peace-makers in this world, not peace-breakers. The fruit of love is important enough to be considered as the most important dimension of Shalom. We are to experience or taste the agape love of God and transfer or transmit as “phile” love or love for our fellow beings.
The fifth dimension to ensure Shalom of God in us is Obedience to the will and word of God. The boundaries of our behaviour and aspiration are established that protect our hearts and minds and keep us rooted in Christ. The last dimension is ‘M’ or material or monetary aspect. The Lord provides for our need abundantly, wonderfully, miraculously, sufficiently, supernaturally. All these six aspects together act like a protective wall around our hearts and minds. The shalom of God cannot be taken away or affected by earthly circumstances or supernatural forces of darkness. It is eternal peace that outlasts this life.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Wisdom of Gamaliel

UV 2785/10000 The Wisdom of Gamaliel
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God
Act 5 v 39
The wisdom of Gamaliel is a pointer to what all mankind should heed. He analysed in his little speech before the Sanhedrin, the highest council of the Jews how some earlier rebellions against the Jewish faith had failed miserably. Those movements had petered out as it was merely the efforts of man and not inspired of God. He said that if the work of the early apostles like Peter was of man, it would come to naught in due course. But that if it is of God, human authority or power could not overthrow it and they would be fighting a vain battle against God. The words of Gamaliel proved true and prophetic in history for the gospel that began with Jesus and a small band of men prevailed against empires, armies, technological, social, cultural and economic changes globally and right through history. The Greek, Roman, the Caliphate,the Spanish Empire, the British Empire and all other earthly powers have failed while the gospel outlasts these and is sustained. Those who struggle against Jesus and His message are kicking against the thorns or hurting themselves for no reason. The will of God is sovereign and it will prevail and no force on earth can withstand it.
In our earthly sojourn, we too should heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, though often only a gentle whisper and we ought not to resist the Spirit of God. We ought to align our wills with the will and purpose of the Lord. We need to surrender all our thoughts, aspirations, efforts and our struggles to the able hands of Jesus. He who transformed water in six stone jars to the finest of wine is able to transform our lives from within. The glory of God unlike that of man’s is not external glory or greatness but hidden glory or indwelling Shekinah greatness. When we struggle against the will of the Lord, we fail and suffer much needless pain, frustration, failure and agony but when we yield our wills and our desires into His hands, we cannot lose.
Gamaliel weighed the options before the Sanhedrin and heeded the counsel of the Spirit of God speaking from within him. The counsel and work of man is in vain but the counsel and work of the Spirit are fruitful and shall prevail. In all our decision making, we too should weigh the options before us and take the course or action that the Spirit of God counsels us to take. God’s side is always the winning side. We need to ensure all our actions and reactions keep us on the winning side. Instead of kicking against the thorns or doing what seems to us to be the right thing in a particular situation, we need to seek the will of the Lord and go ahead and do it.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Nourishing, Relishing and Flourishing

UV 2784/10000 Nourishing, Relishing and Flourishing
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon
Psalm 92 v 12
While Peter Drucker said that those who innovate will flourish, the Word says that those who are righteous shall flourish. Often, the wicked, the criminal do innovate but eventually, their works are destroyed. Those who are faithful to the Lord, walk in integrity, repent of the occasional follies and blunders they commit, endeavour not to repeat these in their lives. Such persons experience both flourishing and growth. These are not merely persons who walk in integrity and who take pride in their self righteousness but persons who both fear and love the Lord and walk in both humility and integrity. They are humble as they know that but for the grace and mercy of the Lord, they too would be bound for eternal destruction like any other human. They therefore find their joy in the Lord. The joy of the Lord or rejoicing in the things the Lord has taught, imparted or blessed them with, the joy of having a personal relationship with their Redeemer is the sap that rises up in them.

The joy of the Lord causes the faithful to flourish. It also causes them to grow and learn all their lives. The faithful are therefore, continual or lifelong learners. Even when they become mature apostles, they have the attitude of being a disciple or learner. They are always in awe of the wisdom and power of the Lord. They do not pretend to know everything and are content with such revelations that the Lord has led them into. The sap in them causes them to bear fruit like a date palm. Date palms are the only fruits and often the only form of nourishing food available in the desert. The world is compared in this metaphor to a desert with few righteous persons. But these few thrive in the oasis of the Lord’s grace and provide eternal hope, meaning and direction to the spiritually famished multitudes. They bear spiritual fruit for the kingdom of God. A tree that bears fruit is blessed by Jesus and flourishes even as a tree that does not bear fruit is cursed and withers. The date palm is a hardy plant. It grows where it is planted without complaining. It withstands the rigours of the desert heat and wind like believers whose faith, hope and love endures despite great adversity and hardship.
The righteous not only flourish like date palms but grow in majesty and grace and wisdom like the cedar, the giant among trees. The cedar is a symbol of strength, beauty and sweet aroma of its scented wood. The DNA of the righteous is changed so that they keep growing right through their lives. They learn from every word spoken to them and from every experience. They do not exist for their own sake but also for the sake of the nourishing, flourishing and relishing of others.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 25, 2017

Life as a Banquet

UV 2783/10000 Life as a Banquet
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Song of Solomon 2 v 4
The house of the Lord is a banqueting house- a house of rejoicing. Therefore, like people partake of food and drink several times with a sense of pleasure, we ought to rejoice again and again, every day of our lives. Our relationship or fellowship with the Lord is like a continual banquet. This is the reason Jesus said, “ Behold, I knock at the door (of your life/heart), if you open the door, I will come and sup with you and you will sup with Me.” The implication is that our fellowship and communication of praise and thanksgiving is like a banquet for the Lord and His love and care of us is like a banquet for us. A banquet has many dishes served as part of the menu. Likewise, the promises and commands of the Lord are the variety of dishes that we can feed on and while relishing it, we will be greatly strengthened. As in any banquet, there is music and dance, the Lord dances over us, rejoicing that we are His precious possession. He rejoices over every saved sinner as the father who saw his prodigal son returning. Like the repentant prodigal son, we are not relegated to the position we deserve as servants. We are not even just invited guests but c0-owners with the Lord of His house. We are the reason for the banquet. The Lord is celebrating our homecoming. It is the wedding feast of the Lord and His beloved.
The arch of the love of God stretches over our entire lives. We are surrounded by His love. His banner is one of protection, one of affirmation, one of intimacy, one of mercy, grace and generosity. We might have a variety of experiences during our lives but the overarching theme of our relationship with our Redeemer is one of love: the kind of love that is compassionate, understanding, patient, humble, not holding a record of wrongs but blotting out our past errors and blunders. It is on account of His love that He brings us to His house of banqueting and rejoicing- the house of salvation where we can dwell forever, gazing at His eternal beauty and worshipping Him in the beauty of holiness. We do not get to go to His house on our own accord. But He chooses, He invites, He takes us into His house.
God is hidden from the eyes of the world. But, the Lord does not hide Himself from us but He sees the love we have in our hearts for Him and He manifests Himself. He revealed all the infinite dimensions of His love for us in depth, width, height and intensity in His Son Jesus. He does not distance Himself from us but draws us close to Him. We rejoice in His presence much more than we rejoice in the blessings that He imparts to us. Our thoughts hang on every word He speaks to us. He delights in our ceaseless prayer, praise, worship and thanksgiving.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Overflow

UV 2782/10000 Overflow
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
Genesis 49 v 22
Joseph was the one son of Jacob who would bring greatest glory to Jehovah and do his name proud. He suffered great injustice in his youth but he prospered even in his adversity as the Lord God was with him. He is described in this uni-verse as a “fruitful bough” fed from water from a well and producing fruit that overflowed the boundaries of his life. He is a good model for every believer. We are to abound with the fruit of the Spirit of God of love, joy and peace. The Holy Spirit constantly waters our roots so that we are well nourished spiritually. The Word like living water reaches the different parts of our lives and causes it to be fruitful.
The image of Joseph painted in this description by his own father Jacob in his parting blessing before the latter’s death is echoed in the multi-fruit garden in heaven, described in the book of Revelation, that is watered by the eternal river of life. The leaves of the trees were meant for the healing of the nations. The trees produced a different fruit every month. Our thoughts and words are meant for the healing of the nations, to produce faith and salvation in our listeners or readers. Our testimonies are a blessing for the people of different national, cultural and racial backgrounds. Our actions and reactions should overflow with the sanctified emotions of love, joy and peace.
The Lord being with us is the chief criterion and determinant of our success and joy. His favour or grace is sufficient to turn around any adverse situation in life. The Holy Spirit will impart His wisdom to us. We only need to trust in the faithfulness of the Lord and wall or fence ourselves in with the commands, promises and precepts of the Lord contained in His Word. The disciplines we follow as a result will be a pointer to others where true success, happiness, power, beauty, health, pleasure, wealth and fame lies. Our lives will be like the overhanging branches of trees in an orchard from which every passer by can glean and satisfy their need of truth and wisdom. True success and joy is not a half empty glass or a half full or even a full glass but an overflowing one. Our lives will not be full of only “chronos” moments or time measured only in hours, minutes, seconds or a calendar measured only in years, months, weeks and days but “kairos” moments and events in which we have an interface or relationship as well as intervention from the One who is the lover of our souls- the mystery lover of the Song of Solomon who is none other than Jesus. The impact of our lives is measured by how much we overflow with spiritual fruit and gifts.
Prateep V Philip



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Safeguards to Secure Sound Speech


UV2781/10000 Safeguards of Speech
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proverbs 21 v 23
We eat the fruit of our words. Words are powerful. They can kill, heal, deliver, comfort, entertain, instruct, harm, destroy, re-build, strengthen, debilitate, equip, empower, enable. They can cause a person to rejoice or to drive another into deepest depression. Most of life’s troubles emanate from our spoken words: conflicts, arguments, sorrow, pain, humiliation and so on. If our words are pleasant, truthful, beneficial to the listeners, we eat the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. If our words are thoughtless, careless, negative, harmful, critical of others, proud, arrogant, conceited, we eat the fruit of anger and strife, of hatred, of bitterness, of violence, of evil, of cynicism, of disorder. A safeguard is to yield control of the unruly, restless tongue and its total use to the Holy Spirit. We should commit to ourselves and the Lord that not a word would be spoken without sending it to the Holy Spirit for approval. A gentleman is one whose tongue and mouth is controlled by the gentle and wise Holy Spirit. The untrained natural tongue is a repository of evil. It needs to be trained by the Holy Spirit so that it is consistently a sweet spring of water and not a poisonous spring or well. The tongue has to be consecrated to the Lord. The same tongue cannot be used to praise God and criticise His creatures. The same tongue cannot be used to bless and to curse our fellow beings. Over a period of time, we will evolve a pattern of speech that is sound, healthy, helpful, positive, wholesome.
Another safeguard is to pass our words through the sieve of the Word of God. Does our speech pass muster when it is measured against the instructions written in the Word on the use of our mouths and tongues? We need to weigh our every word before we utter it. Our tongues express what our hearts and minds are full of. Hence, we need to place a guard at the door or entrance to our hearts and minds. The psalmist prayed that a sentry or guard be placed at the door of his lips. We need to constantly saturate our hearts and minds with portions of scripture that deal with ordering our speech or conversation so that it is in alignment or conformity with the Lord. The Word plays the role of the bit in the horse’s mouth. It helps us control our mouths and tongues. Our minds should be captive to Christ such that every dark or negative thought is arrested and driven out before it triggers a wrong word. We should instead fill our minds with what is true, beautiful, noble, praiseworthy and whatever will be useful for the glory of the Lord, whatever is of benefit to the listener.
Teachers of the Word need to be even more careful how we handle our tongues and mouths. We will be judged more severely for any words that are amiss. If we do not have a useful or apt word for a particular occasion or situation, we should prefer to hold our tongue. Watching our tongues and mouths implies that we should be aware of the impact of our words on people. We should refrain from being talkative for where there is a multitude of words, sin abounds. The saying, “Speech is silver while silence is golden” implies that for the wise in the Lord, silence is the preferred mode of communication. It is not awkward to hold our tongues or remain silent as during the silent moments, we can use it as an opportunity for our spirits to communicate with the Lord. He will then give us the word of knowledge or wisdom to share. Continually meditating on the Word will help us restrain the urge to speak. Pausing to think before we speak, slowing down the speed of speech, developing our listening skills to understand the feelings behind words, analysing the speech patterns of others are some other effective safeguards to ensure consistently good speech.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 22, 2017

Prerequisites for Fulfillment of Promises


UV 2780/10000 Prerequisites for Promise Fulfillment
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise
Hebrews 10 v 36
This uni-verse lays down the conditions for the promises of the Lord to be fulfilled. Salvation itself is a promise. We receive the promise of salvation as well as every other promise concerning our present lives, too and need to wait with hope, faith and patience. Faith means that we should endure through times of testing and suffering. Patience has the dimension that we should persevere through much hardship. While waiting for the fulfilment of promises of the Lord, we need to do the will of God. The patriarchs of Israel who first received the promises of the Lord displayed this kind of patience, hope, obedience to the expressed will of God and perseverance through much suffering. As a runner holds a baton or a messenger hold firm to his despatch without dropping these even once, we need to hold the promise of the Lord before us at all times, through thick and thin, highs and lows till we see its fulfilment.
The Lord is like an artist who etches the edges and contours of our character and life with the help of the suffering and pain we undergo in this life. Patience in matters of faith has many aspects: the patience to wait for a long period of time, the patient hope that a phase of suffering will end, the patience to keep persevering to attain the goals we have set in obedience to the revealed will of the Lord. During the period of waiting, we need to cast aside all doubts, all fears, all burdens that weigh our conscience and our minds down. We need to be joyful and thankful as if the Lord has already fulfilled His promises to us.
When we examine the lives of our models from scripture, we find that Abraham received his promise of a son after long years of patient and faithful waiting. During this period, he held onto his hope and continued to be obedient and faithful to the Lord. Moses but for his occasional flashes of temper held onto the promise that the Lord would lead Israel into the promised land. Jesus Himself despised His suffering on this planet and His extreme suffering, pain, shame and loneliness on the cross in order to receive the crown of highest glory from the Father and to sit at His right hand forever. The preconditions then to fulfilment of a promise of the Lord as seen from these historic lives are: a spirit of positivity, an attitude of faithfulness and obedience to the details of the will of God as revealed to them directly or indirectly, patience, perseverance, confidence that the Lord is able to perform that which He has promised. All these prerequisites are based on an understanding of the character and power of the Lord God.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Death of Ego


UV 2779/10000 The Death of Ego
Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
John 12 v 28
History is a record of many individuals seeking their own glory. It is a vain attempt to gain immortality or to live on beyond death. But,the Lord God is already glorious. He does not need any glory to be added to His name. Yet Jesus prays this somewhat strange prayer. It implies that the glory of the Father is complete only when His human creations, created in His image, in His likeness are redeemed from death and judgement of the law unto eternal life. The Father loved His Son Jesus and yet, He spared Him to be like an ordinary human being, one of His many creations so that He could take the place of judgement of all mankind. Jesus did not do this to glorify His own name. He did this to glorify the name of the Father in heaven. When Jesus died on the cross to fulfil the Father’s will and then from the grave ascended to heaven, He drew men and women from all nations to the Father. The Father used Jesus to glorify His name. Jesus became a willing and powerful instrument in the hands of the Father. Likewise, we are to be used to glorify the Lord. All that is in our hands are meant for this purpose. This has a huge spiritual significance for each of us- it means the death of our human egos, our selfish wills, our desire for self gratification and aggrandisement, that we live not for ourselves but in alignment with a greater and divine purpose. The human ego dies but is resurrected as a will that is fully submitted to the Lord God. We need to suffer the death of ego in order to live the life of God, the life of Jesus.
We are to yield ourselves imitating the Saviour Jesus in order to glorify the name of the Father. To glorify Him implies we need to make His name known- Jehovah Shalom. We need to make His deeds known. We need to do and say things that will bring glory to His name. Jesus had been used to glorify the Father’s name in the miracle at the marriage at Canna, to multiply bread and fish to feed the hungry- as Jehovah Jireh- the One who provides. He had glorified the Father’s name in healing people with all types of diseases- as Jehovah Rapha- the One who heals. He had been used to defeat the plans of the enemy of all human souls – Jehovah Nisi. He had been used to cleanse the temple- Jehovah El Shaddai, the Almighty God. He had been used to resurrect Lazarus- the God of Resurrection. He had been used to manifest the righteousness of God- Jehovah Tsidkenu. He had been used to forgive the adulterous woman- the God of mercy. The greatest work of Jesus was reserved for what He accomplished on the cross: He became the veritable way, the truth and the life and brought ultimate and continuing glory to the Father. By this one act of sacrifice, He brought us into relationship with the Father as His own children. No longer are we creatures who had rebelled and continue to rebel but children who find pleasure like Jesus in glorifying His name.
As He used Jesus, the Father uses each of His children as we yield to Him to glorify His name. In the past He has used us to glorify His name. Hereafter, He will use us to glorify His name. As we pray, “Father, use us to glorify your Name,” we will hear a voice from heaven endorsing us, encouraging us, empowering us. Life is a series of finite moments and experiences lived to fulfil an infinite purpose. The infinite purpose is to glorify the name of the Father and the name of His Son Jesus. In whatever we do we do not to seek glory or greatness for ourselves but to seek the glory or greatness of the Father and of the Son. We suffer the death of ego in order to live the life of God.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Presence-Minded

UV 2779/10000 Presence-Minded
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Isaiah 43 v 18
This uni-verse is asking us to practice a selective memory to recall only the positive happenings from our past, the blessings and wonders the Lord has done in our lives and that of others in the past. We are not to remember our bondages of the past, even our own sins and offences, the pleasures of the past. We are not to be like the Israelites who remembered the food and water they were given in Egypt while in bondage to Pharaoh. We are not to look back like Lot’s wife to the influence and stakes we had in the past in the world but focus on being the salt and light here and now.
Like Paul, we should forget our sordid or sad past and focus our minds on the goals the Lord has laid on our hearts: the goal to make known Jesus, the goal to become like Him, the goal to glorify God in all that we do. We should not focus on the grudges and problems we faced in the past but let bitterness and anger be transient emotions in our lives. We should not consider the things we do not have but consider all the blessings the Lord has given us. We should not fill our lives with regrets about what we ought to have done in the past but fill it with hope with regard to the future and eternity. Even the failures, mishaps, losses that we suffered will acquire a new significance that we will see these with a new perspective that adds depth, meaning, power and strength to our lives. Whatever the enemy thought for evil, the Lord will turn to good.
We are not just present-minded but presence-minded. Presence of mind is replaced by the presence of God in the believer. We think, speak, act and react as directed by the Holy Spirit who is the warranty of the presence of the Lord with us. We are focussed on the present moment, live it fully while our eye is on the glory and grace of the Lord. We are not too preoccupied with ourselves or engaged in deep thought but live trusting the Lord from moment to moment, day to day, situation to situation, experience to experience. Our spirits, minds and bodies are in equilibrium. When we free our memories and minds of the space taken up disproportionately by negative thoughts and memories of the past, we are free to live the abundant life, the life that is marked by the abundance of the fruit of the spirit, the abundance of joy. The shackles of the past are broken. The Spirit of God is given a free run and rein in our lives. We are energised to be and do our best for the greater glory of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Legitimacy of Desire


UV 2778/10000 The Legitimacy of Desire
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Genesis 3 v 3
Gautama Buddha opined that desire is the root of evil and the cause of human suffering. But the Bible states that desires allowed by God are legitimate while desires not permitted by Him are lust. The legitimacy of desire and the illegitimacy of lust is a concept that evolves from this uni-verse. God had permitted man to eat of the fruit of all other trees (legitimate desire) except one ( illegitimate desire. There were multiple good choices and only one bad choice. Today, across the world there are multiple bad choices or choices of lust and one good choice- the tree of eternal life that is personified in the Christ of God, the Chosen One – Jesus. Therefore, we eat and drink the Word. The difference between the words, world and word is the letter “l” that stands for lust. Jesus is the Word personified- the person of God in human form devoid of lust.
The tree of the forbidden fruit occupied a central place in the garden of life. But in the believer’s life or garden, the tree of eternal life or Jesus occupies the central place. Our lust is moved to the periphery, till one by one all our illegitimate desires are moved out of the circle of our lives. We are no longer to live to gratify only our own desires. When we taste of the fruit of the tree of eternal life, we are no longer to be just consumers but producers of the good fruit of eternity-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. When people behold and taste of such eternal fruit, they will get a taste of eternity, of the kingdom of God.
Suffice it to say, what God allows is legitimate, what God disallows, prohibits, forbids is illegitimate lust. How do we know what God allows and what He prohibits? The Word of God, the counsel of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of the godly are three ways we know what is beyond the legit boundaries of our behaviour, our aspirations, our desires. We have enough freedom within these boundaries. Psychologists state that there is an embedded negative or the ingrained negatives in our human nature-the hubris. The Word helps us identify these negatives and overcome these. The Word enables us to confront, remove and overcome the negatives in us and in our environment even as the cross is a negative sign cut by a line drawn from above to turn it into a positive sign.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 18, 2017

No Condemnation


UV 2777/10000 No Condemnation
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8 v 1

As everyone has violated the law given through Moses, everyone is under condemnation. But in Christ Jesus, everyone who believes in Him and His sacrifice and resurrection are redeemed or freed from condemnation to death. We are blessed as our sins are covered by the shed blood of Jesus. It is no longer visible to the eye of the Lord. We now live not under the law but under grace. We are free from the law that binds life and death. This law states, “As one sows, so he reaps.” If we sow in the flesh, we reap in the flesh, if we sow in the spirit, we reap in the spirit. We do not live according to the dictates of the lust of our flesh but by the commandments of the Spirit.
The enemy of our souls holds us prisoner by accusing us of sin. We are weak and ineffectual when we are so accused and condemned. But Jesus sets us free from all guilt and condemnation. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. We are free from weakness, free from eternal death, free from eternal punishment. Our guilt is rolled away like the boulder at the cave of the grave of Jesus. We no longer need to condemn ourselves or punish ourselves out of a sense of guilt and repentance. Like the immoral woman caught in adultery, if Jesus, the sinless one does not accuse us, then how can anyone else accuse or condemn us.
We being no longer in bondage to sin, we are now free people, children of God. No tongue can condemn us. No finger can be pointed at us. It does not mean that we can do whatever pleases us but that we do whatever pleases the Lord. The prodigal son once he returned to his father’s house was no longer irresponsible and carefree. He was responsive, obedient, thankful and loving in his relationship with the Father. He no longer had the spirit of entitlement to ask for his share in the inheritance from the Father but was content with whatever the Father gave him. Likewise, at every step of our walk or our life hereafter, we ought to be sensitive to the Spirit, responsive to the leading of the Spirit, obedient to the Word, not taking grace for granted.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Turning Sorrow into Joy


UV 2776/10000 Turning Sorrow into Joy
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
Jeremiah 31 v 13

The young rejoice in their strength while the old rejoice in their wisdom. But we who are in a relationship with the Lord, rejoice again and again, endlessly for we rejoice in the Lord. The “virgin” is the metaphor for the individual believer as well as the collective entity of believers, the redeemed of the Lord. Just as a virgin rejoices in synchronising her every move in dance with her betrothed, we need to rejoice in synchronising and harmonising our every thought, action and word with the Lord. We rejoice as the Lord in us and with us and for us, turns our mourning into joy. The very cause of deep sorrow becomes the reason or source of everlasting joy. He can cause our sorrows to flee away just as light sends darkness scurrying away. On our part, we need to turn worrying into meditation, grumbling into thanksgiving, complaining into praise, fears into worship, regrets into positive actions to change things for the better. He is our song and dance, the reason for our celebration of life. He will comfort us and wipe every tear from our eye as no one else can. The comfort ministry of the Lord is so important that the Lord describes the third person of the Trinity as the “Comforter.” It is an acknowledgement of the reality that in life on earth there are many sorrows, regrets, pains, afflictions but in each of these, the Lord comforts us. He comforts us in such a way that we end up thanking Him for the very affliction or sorrow or pain that we suffered for a while. Our suffering brings home the reality of a caring and loving Lord and God.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” It is counter -intuitive for it is like saying, “blessed are you when you are afflicted, when you are rejected, when you are defeated, when you are suffering a loss of a loved one or a loss of face or fortune. We will be comforted either with a change in the circumstances that causes us to sorrow or a change in our attitude that causes us to rejoice despite the circumstance. The Lord also comforts us by sending us a “rhema” verse or portion of scripture that promises us help in trouble, comfort in pain and healing or deliverance in afflictions.
The Lord’s ultimate goal is that we are full of joy or overflowing with joy that expresses itself with praise, thanksgiving and worship. All the precious promises of the Lord are intended to give us the hope and sense of joy. Scripture says that He surrounds us and undergirds us with joy and gladness. His promises surrounds us like mountains surround Jerusalem. We will gain perspective and comfort when we understand, believe and claim these promises even as a mountain climber gains perspective, thrill and a sense of conquest when he climbs a mountain summit. The fulfilment of the promises of the Lord in our lives are then the high point s of our lives not our own efforts or achievements. Joy is not only our 360 degree environment but it is also our rock foundation. It is the basis or rationale of our actions and reactions. People of the world are joyful in a transient way on account of circumstances while we who believe in Jesus are joyful despite our circumstances. Jesus is described in contrasting terms as a “Man of Sorrow” as well as “Prince of Peace”. As a “ Man of Sorrow” He embraced and overcame our every sorrow in this world. He wore a robe of blood so that we will wear not sackcloth but a robe of rejoicing and salvation. As Prince of Peace, He dispenses His peace, the kind of comfort the world cannot give or take away.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dialectic Spirituality

UV 2775/10000 Dialectic Spirituality
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
Jeremiah 31 v 12

Karl Marx wrote about dialectic materialism or in short, that economic or material conditions determines all other aspects of life. The theory of dialectic materialism produced much mass misery in human history in the twentieth century and beyond as it was spiritually blind, flawed, unreal. True, the movement of history is dialectic but it is the dialectic of the Spirit. Dialectic Spirituality implies the opposition of spiritual truths with untruths,the forces of God’s absolute goodness manifested in and through the life, work and word of Christ and the forces of the anti-Christ. The truth and my experience is that dialectic spirituality is the reality of life. It is not thesis versus antithesis as propounded by Marx but Christ versus anti-Christ, absolute goodness versus relative goodness and absolute evil. Dialectic spirituality implies that our beliefs determine who we are, what we do, what we get in terms of blessings of life or those conditions needed to live the better life including the economic, monetary or material. Scripture endorses this view. When we trust in the Lord and are in a love relationship with Him, He causes us to experience the totality of His goodness in the course of our lives. He blesses our food, both the necessities and the delicacies. He blesses our means of production whether it be agricultural, pastoral, industrial, electronic or computers or ideas and skills of communication, creativity and leadership.
Our souls become well watered and well fenced gardens, watered with the Word, watered by the Holy Spirit, guarded by the Lord and His angels. That is why it is written in scripture that when the Lord makes a man wealthy, He adds no sorrow to it. We might have had many sorrows or regrets in the past but He ends it. Dialectic spirituality implies that we are contented where we are but the Lord adds challenges so that we move to the next level of faith, love and hope. Our lives are not static but constantly changing and evolving for the better.
It is not as if all these blessings will fall like manna or fly into garden like the quail that fed the Jews in the desert but we need to be doing not just “due diligence” but exceptional or unusual diligence in all aspects of our lives. What starts in the garden of our souls should well up as a fountain into every sphere of our lives- physical, intellectual, emotional, familial, marital, civic, professional, financial, social, cultural, creative. In each of these aspects, we need to do watering and fencing, pruning and planning, growing, sharing, harvesting. There is no limit to the goodness of the Lord and to the varied ways in which He manifests that goodness in our lives. Dialectic spirituality applies not just to individuals but to groups, organisations, business corporations, cities, nations.

Prateep V Philip