Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seeking Mercy, Finding Shalom

UV 2850/10000 Seeking Mercy, Finding Shalom
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need
Hebrews 4 v 16
Earthly powers and rulers make strict rules and arrangements for access control but the Lord God facilitates our easy access to Him through Jesus. The more the distance, the greater the awe, the sense of power and security for the ones in seats or positions of authority in this world. But, the Lord God in contrast revels in giving us easy and full access to His throne and presence. Since we have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit sent to us by the Son Jesus, we can enter the awesome presence of the Living God. He sits not on a throne of judgement and condemnation but the throne of grace. We cannot so enter boldly on the basis of our own righteousness but the borrowed glory and righteousness of Jesus. Jesus as a human on earth and as our High Priest and Advocate before the throne of Heaven gives us the confidence and trust to enter the presence of the Absolutely holy and absolutely powerful Almighty Father. The veil of flesh no longer bars our vision of the Father. We are able to commune with the Father and experience His mercy, love and grace.

Though our eyes do not perceive the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit, our spirit senses the Triune God the moment we bow our heads in prayer, the times we listen and meditate on His word. We need to set aside a time for such daily communion and obtain mercy for our present shortcomings or failures and weaknesses. We glory in our weaknesses or infirmities where formerly we felt guilty and ashamed as the grace of the Lord will be at work in the areas and times of our greatest weakness. The Lord knows our need even before we have uttered or prayed a single word. But He needs a confession of our faith in Him to set in motion the forces and resources that are at His command.

Once we are in the presence of the Lord, first we obtain mercy for our shortcomings, wilful and unintended. Having obtained mercy by claiming the washing in the blood of Jesus for Jesus unlike other High Priests did not make a sacrifice of another creature but of Himself, we have peace or Shalom with the Father through the Holy Spirit. Shalom is a two sided coin with each side having many facets: peace on one side- peace with God, peace with self, peace with others and prosperity on the other- prosperity or well being of spirit, mind and body. Having obtained mercy, we can seek and find grace or His help and enablement in our area and time of need. Every deficit in our lives is an opportunity to obtain the amazing grace of the Lord, to experience the reality of God in real time and space.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Physical Vision Not Needed for Spiritual Provision

UV 2849/10000 Physical Vision Not Needed for Spiritual Provision
For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts
2 Kings 3 v 17

Physical vision is not needed for spiritual provision. Often, our overly emphasis on the need for physical evidences precludes the sighting and enjoyment of the spiritual provision. No wonder, Jesus told the doubting Apostle Thomas, “ You believe because you see Me. But, blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.” Water and consequently rain are the dire need of every creature and every human being that ever existed. Even if we do not see physical evidence or symptoms of the Lord’s power and grace, we can be sure that the Lord will provide for our deepest and dire need. In our valleys or depressions or famine of need, the Lord promises to provide to satisfy our greatest need. We should not rely on the weather report if we are expecting a miracle of abundance in the deep valleys of our need. We should wait with patient and praising expectation for the hand of the Lord to act. It is not a difficult thing for the Lord to enact a miracle, to command the elements of nature, the clouds to deliver abundantly that which we expect or need. In fact, He enacted a parallel miracle by filling the empty dry pits ordered to be dug out by the prophet Elijah and be filled with water. When Elijah looked to the Lord after making a sacrifice of meat, fire from heaven descended and consumed the meat, quenching or drying the water. Likewise, the sacrifice of Jesus was an absolute sacrifice for the absolution and to provide a basis for every solution that mankind needs in all of our valley days and experiences. No longer would the natural order or the laws of nature or even the laws of God or man predominate over the love of God, the mercy of the Lord manifested in the abundant provision of salvation for every individual who ever lived and will live.

The Lord can level out mighty mountains or obstacles and raise up deep valleys in our lives. In the high points or moments of our lives, we should be lowly or humble and dependent on the Lord and in the low points or moments of our lives, we should not be forlorn or feel helpless. The Word is the ultimate water the Lord provides for our deepest valley moments and experiences. It can take us from the miry pits of depression to the high points of eternal life in Christ and joy everlasting. The Lord’s Word is the chief causative factor in all that happens in our lives.

The Lord derives great satisfaction in seeing His children, His servants drink from the Water of life. The Water of Life that Jesus provides does not just satisfy our thirst in respect of every aspect of life but also refreshes and cleanses. He seeds the storm clouds as well as the barren clouds of our lives. We might not sense anything happening but from the background of the heavenly kingdom, He commands different seeded clouds to come our way. Our eyes should not be fixed on the clouds of blessings but on the Lord Jesus. He is so caring and compassionate that He provides not just for us but for our pets and animals, too.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Being a God Pleaser

UV 2848/10000 Being a God-Pleaser
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Galatians 1 v 10

We are called to be God-pleasers not man-pleasers. With that in mind, we are to always work and live for the approval of the Lord and not try to be liked or popular with people. We can please God only if we obey Him sincerely from our hearts. He is the only one who knows and tests our hearts. He knows the motive behind every thought and intent of ours. If we are friends of the world, we become enemies of God and vice versa. Hence, being a servant of Christ does not improve our approval ratings. Rather, it would displease the people who are entrenched in this world for oil and water cannot mix. A servant of Christ is often mocked, ill treasted, oppressed even though he poses no threat to anybody and is endeavouring to be a blessing to this world in different ways.

If we win the favour of the Lord, we need not be overly concerned about whether peole like us or not. In fact, scripture promises that if we please the Lord, He wil eventually turn our enemies into friends. Having said that, we should be ready to face resistance, hostility and antagonism from the people of this world. As servants of Christ, we should be prepared to face such rejection even as the Lord Himself was rejected by His own people. Our focus is an Audience of One- the Lord. If He is with us and for us, no one can be permanently against us. He will deliver us from hostile situations and the weapons of those who are displeased with us. Contrarily, if He is not for us and with us, no one can deliver us.

The uni-verse implies that we should endeavour with all our hearts and all our strength to seek the perfect will of the Lord, not His permissive one and then go forth and do it. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand what is His perfect will in specific situations especially when we have more than one or two choices. We need to please Him not only with our decisions or choices but with our lifestyle, our speech or conversation, our actions, our behaviour. Indeed, “Who so offereth praise glorifieth God and to him who ordereth his conversation (and conduct) aright, will I show the salvation of God..” When we praise and worship the Lord in spirit and truth and in the beauty of a righteous life, He is pleased and He will endorse us by sending the dove-like presence of the Holy Spirit upon us, saying, “This is my beloved son or daughter.” When we order our conversation and conduct on the lines and according to the principles and precepts enshrined in the Word of God, we please Him and He will “show His salvation” implying that He will make manifest His saving power and grace in awesome ways in our lives. The more we resemble Jesus in all aspects of our lives, the more we please the Lord Almighty.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pattern of Afflictions and Beautification of Lives

UV 2847/10000 Pattern of Afflictions and Beautification of Lives
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires
Isaiah 54 v 11

The key words in this uni-verse are afflicted, tempest, stones, foundations, sapphires. The key action words or verbs are tossed, comforted, lay. The uni-verse implies that afflictions are the way and methodology of the Lord from ancient times to now to shape each believer into precious stones like jasper, sapphires, onyx, topaz. All these stones were once ordinary stones but with the pressure, heat, cold, ravages of time, the ordinary rough stones are through a process of metamorphosis turned into amazingly beautiful and precious stones. It is the wisdom of God which is more precious than rubies and pure gold that makes possible this kind of remarkable personal transformation.

The echo verse of this uni-verse is in Revelation 21 v 19:” And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;” The afflictions and the working of the Holy Spirit in the depth of our being affects the foundations of our lives. The twelve types of precious stones enumerated in Revelation that constitute the foundations of the walls of the Eternal City are metaphors for the twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve disciples of Jesus including Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Every believer should allow the Lord to work on our hidden and deep foundations. Often, it involves a process of going through a furnace of afflictions to purify us of the dross of the world and of our own flesh or DNA or natural hubris. But in the end, the Lord promises to make all beautiful in His time that includes all of eternity.

When we are so “tossed with tempest”, we should hold onto our Rock –Jesus and we will be comforted by the Comforter, the Wonderful Counsellor and lifted up above the storms of life by Almighty God. Each of the twelve precious stones of Revelation chapter 21 has its unique traits and qualities symbolising the unique qualities of the image of God manifested in different believers and followers of Jesus. Through each the grace and wisdom of the Lord is manifested uniquely to produce different life histories and testimonies. But It is gratifying to note that the Lord choses to build the walls of the Eternal City on the lives and contributions of the believers. He so delights in us as a collector of precious stones would on seeing, feeling and experiencing the beauty of his stones. But unlike the collector’s pieces or stones, we are designed not just to be an ornament of the Lord but to play functional roles of strength and serve as foundations of the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Lamp of God

UV 2123/10000 The Lamp of God
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof
Revelation 21 v 23

The Lamb is the Lamp of God. Jesus being full of grace and truth Jesus, the Lamb of God outshines the sun and moon in His glory and holiness. He lights up the darkened minds, hearts and lives of all who believe in Him, trust and obey Him. The birth of Jesus marked a civilizational shift for humanity, great leap forward from darkness into ever increasing light till we find ourselves surrounded by the effulgence of His presence in heaven. It is true that men in all nations have sought and found meaning in lesser lights and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

The moment a person enters into a personal relationship with the Father, the Almighty through the agency of the blood of the Lamb that justifies or straightens our relationship with Him, he experiences the agape love of God. That becomes the starting point of his spiritual journey into truth, grace and the power of the Lord. The draw of the natural world keeps decreasing in its power to attract him. He begins to see everything in the light of the Lamb. He develops an entirely new and eternal perspective on all that happens to him. He recognizes that the sun and moon in their diurnal appearances and disappearances are only a reflection of the laws of the kingdom of God wherein the Lord Almighty has caused these mighty bodies to function in obedience to His covenant to rise and and set every single day as long as the planet exists. Likewise, the believer too needs to subject himself to the daily spiritual disciplines of the covenant- to pray, to worship, to meditate on His word, to fellowship with the Triune God and fellow beings united in faith.

The word “light” has in it the ingredients of our new life lit up by the Lamp of God- love, integrity, grace, happiness/holiness and truth. The love of Christ, the integrity or righteousness or a life based on biblical principles and precepts, grace or experiencing the power and enablement of the Lord in life’s most difficult and impossible situations as well as in daily routine, happiness/ holiness or pure joy of Christ that comes from being right with God and doing the right thing and a life of commitment to the truth. When our lives are ruled by these aspects or eternal rays of the Lamp of God, we are qualified to reign with Him. Our bodies become His living temple, His light fills our lives with power, strength and glory. Where we fall short of His glory, His love and grace fills the gaps.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pattern of Change of Motive, Behaviour and Single-Mindedness

UV 2845/10000 Pattern of Change of Motive and Single-Mindedness
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Acts 9 v 3
The story of Saul, the killer and chief persecutor being transformed into St Paul, the chief of the post-Resurrection apostles gives us an idea how when a person’s motive changes, his thoughts,his goals, his behaviour, his communication changes. The light from heaven – Jesus shone more brightly than the sun upon and around him, first blinding him, then leading to the dropping of the scales that blinded him to the Way, the Truth and the Life that is Jesus. His purpose and mission in coming to Damascus had changed. He now became a deliberately chosen instrument of God to make known the good news of salvation to Israel and to the Gentiles. The change of the first letter of his name signified this total transformation of his purpose, his motive, his mission, his vision, his character and conduct. Instead of hatred, love for the believers in Christ and indeed for all mankind filled his heart.
St Paul’s former Jewish bigotry changed to complete faith in Jesus. So much so, he could correct the compromising trend of senior apostles like Peter who continued to insist on circumcision as a concession to the Jewish faith. His zeal for the Jewish faith turned to passion for Christ and His message of hope for all mankind. St Paul in contrition for his past referred to himself as the chiefest of sinners while he had actually become one of the foremost influencers for the gospel in the then known world as now. We too need to experience this kind of Pauline metamorphosis so that we are blinded to the world and our eyes open to behold the wonders of “the light from heaven.” Our motive to work,live and exist has to change and everything else will follow and flow from that.
The chief virtue of St Paul was his single-mindedness and his wholeheartedness. When he persecuted the early disciples and followers of Jesus, he was single-minded and when he became a disciple of Jesus, he showed the same single-mindedness in living, teaching, leading and discipling people from different nations. While earlier he travelled only as far as hatred could take him to nearby Damascus, he now took to extensive travels and tours to European continent, the Greek isles and Asia Minor. While earlier he travelled and did things on the authority of the priests of the Jewish faith, now he was commissioned and anointed with the Holy Spirit by the Lord Himself. Even in our lives, if our motives change by the grace and light of Jesus, our lives, our impact and our results will dramatically change.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pattern of Consistency of Character, Conduct and Conversation

UV 2844/10000 Pattern of Consistency of Character and Conversation
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel
Philippians 1 v 27
The key words and phrases in this uni-verse are conversation, gospel, stand fast, striving together, one mind, faith. The actionable words are “stand fast.” We are as believers in Christ called to live a life worthy of the gospel. We are to “ go spell it out in the way we live.” Our conversation should be truthful, wholesome, edifying or benefitting the listeners. Our character and conduct should be a reflection of the love of Christ. The echo verse of this uni-verse is Colossians 1 v 10: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of the Lord.” Every step we take, every word we speak should not be unworthy of the Lord, rather it should bring honour and glory to His name. As we increase in our knowledge of the Lord and His word, we should be spiritually more mature and bear more of the fruit of the spirit- of love, joy and peace.
Word of our character and conduct is bound to spread to the world either as a stench or as a fragrance. We should be careful it is not a stench but that it spreads the fragrance of the gospel. The gospel is otherwise called good news, not without reason – it implies that good should come from all directions, good thoughts, good feelings, good motives, good experiences- from inside us, from above us, from around us. Our reputation is our non verbal testimony which is evidence of the truth and power of the gospel to change human lives.
We are to be firm in our faith and united in our spirit. We are yoked to the Spirit of God and to each other as we strive or do our best to present the gospel of Christ to the world. It is a light plough He has placed on our shoulders to pull. As a plough softens and tears the soil in order to plant the seed, our lives and words are to soften the souls. hearts and minds of our listeners to hear and believe the truths that we speak and that we live by. Contradictions and gaps between our beliefs and our words and our conduct or character as well as conflicts among us will make our listeners and observors question our faith and harden their hearts and minds against the hope we try to bring into the lives of people we share our faith with. Consistency in character and conversation, sensitivity to feelings and creativity in methods add to the efficacy of our communication of the love of Christ to the world.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pattern of Headship and Tailship in Leadership

UV 2842/10000Pattern of Headship and Tailship in Leadership
And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
Deuteronomy 28 v 13
The key words and phrases in this uni-verse are:the head, the tail, above ..not beneath. The key actionable words or verbs are “ make, to observe, to do”. In a co-related verse in concordance to this verse, it is written that “ the ancient and honourable will be the head and the prophet that tells lies will be the tail.” The Lord promises leadership or headship to those who believe Him, study and delight in His word and obey Him in the world. The connection between belief in God, diligence in study and preparation and actions leads to leadership. Belief in God distinguishes the wise from the fool, the leader from the follower, the sighted or the visionary from the short sighted or blind.
Stephen Covey wrote about Principle-centered leadership and it was widely acclaimed. But, in the light of this uni-verse, if a person is not principle-centered or Word-centered, he or she cannot be classified as a head or leader. Even a prophet or a man of God who lies is considered only a tail or a follower at the fag end of the totem pole of leadership. Principles that we need to follow in life flow from the Word of God. There is no other earthly or heavenly source. Power, authority, influence, wisdom and security flows from these godly principles extracted like gold from its ore. For the past several years, day after day, I have attempted to extract these godly principles of life and leadership and share it with the world and my readers.
If we pay attention to what God says, we will have no tension. He will guide us precisely on the paths we have to take. He will not lead us down a path of red herrings as the enemy of our souls does right from the beginning of time. Once we hear or read what God says, we need to study, analyse, understand it. Once we understand it, we need to apply it or commit it to our hearts to obey or do it. Mere ‘head knowledge’ or theoretical and unapplied knowledge does not make one a leader. Leadership requires a transfer from head to heart- a distance of about twelve inches. These twelve inches make all the difference to our lives and to the lives of those who follow us. The uni-verse promises headship or leadership to the ones who faithfully follow this process all their lives. I was anguished to hear that some of the top leaders in the modern world whom I greatly admired have been exposed on some failings and flaws in their leadership pattern. This again underlines the need for godly leaders and leaders of this world to be trained equally in using or leveraging on their strengths and overcoming weaknesses, threats and temptations. There are some qualities of the tail in all of us. Only the kangaroo’s tail is strong enough to support it when it stands and propel it in motion. We need to turn our weaknesses using the grace of the Lord to strengthen our tails or in other words- turn the leaderhip potential destroying power of weaknesses into a source of strength. It is possible when we carefully observe and do the cautions and precautions and counsel of the Lord contained in His word. Scripture is written on this binary pattern: “cling to what is good, let go of what is evil.” It implies that we should cling to what is held up as good in the Word and let go of what is evil as held up in the word.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 1, 2017

Pattern of Eternal Justification, Daily Sanctification and Lifelong Edification

UV 2842/10000 Pattern of Eternal Justification, Daily Sanctification and Lifelong Edification
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10 v 22
We should desire to draw close to the Lord, willingly, enthusiastically and whole heartedly. Our faith should be unwavering and unshakable. Our hearts should be sincere and free from both doubt and deceit. We should be fully assured in our hearts that God exists for sure and that Jesus is His Son and provision for our salvation and redemption. His blood is metaphorically speaking sprinkled upon us to cleanse us of our all our past misdeeds and guilt even of hidden sin of which we are not even conscious. His blood is sprinkled as foreshadowed in the dipping of hyssop branches in the blood of the sacrificial lamb under the old covenant and then sprinkling drops of blood on both people and material objects to cleanse or sanctify these. We obtain a one time justification in this manner that holds good or is valid for all time and all eternity. This becomes the foundation or cornerstone for the whole structure or edifice of our lives. Jesus becomes the cornerstone at every corner of our lives. On that cornerstone, we do not rest and stay idle but keep building till the whole superstructure is complete, finished, perfected.

Having been justified by our faith in the redeeming power of the sprinkled blood of the sinless Jesus upon our hearts and lives, we have a duty to wash ourselves in the Word of God every single day just as we bathe ourselves every day in order to stay clean in the eyes of the Lord. The Word is living water that satisfies our thirst as well as is useful to wash and cleanse every aspect of our lives. It is both our daily bread as well as our daily bath. Every day in my life begins by washing my heart and mind with the pure living water of His word. Once we wash ourselves in this manner we are disinfected and protected from every spiritual illness and affliction. My own testimony is that after I started this series of uni-verse meditations I have never fallen ill even for a single day in the past seven plus years. The “ daily bath” becomes the solid foundation for the whole day.
Washing ourselves with the truths of the Word implies that we need to be immersed in the hope of the promises of the Lord, fully committed to obey the instructions or commands and precepts of the Lord that are stored in His word. Hence, faith is not merely belief but it is obedience to the commands of the Lord and unwavering faith in His promises. We need to avail of all the spiritual blessings contained in the promises of the Lord even as we apply all the truths we learn of Him and from Him. Once we are justified and sanctified in this manner, we are ready to be anointed or empowered by the Holy Spirit to be an instrument of the Lord in this world. The Lord will equip and enable us to fulfil His purpose for our lives. If we are truly sincere and whole hearted in our obedience to the Lord, our practice, obedience, implementation, improvement will keep progressing over time. Over time, we will mature spiritually, be built up or edified. Our focus is not on elevation but edification. If our dedication is complete and true, our edification is inevitable. Justification then, is immediate and eternal, sanctification is daily while edification is lifelong.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pattern of Continuation, Change and Challenge

UV 2841/10000 Pattern of Continuation, Change and Challenge
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
2 Timothy 3 v 14

The Bible, it is said, is the only book one reads for the sake of knowing the Author- the Creator and Fulfiller of the Universe, the Alpha and the Omega. St Paul in this uni-verse is exhorting his mentee Timothy, one of the early leaders of the church, to remain steadfast in keeping the things that he had learnt and be fully assured of the hope that came from the knowledge of Jesus. Likewise, we in this age and time are to stick or adhere faithfully to what we have learnt of the mystery of the Triune God of the Bible. The word ‘continue’ or abide in the uni-verse implies that we need to commit to habit certain applictions of the truths and precepts we have learnt to develop some disciplines of the spirit, mind and body or spiritual habits, mental habits and physical habits that flow from our knowledge of Jesus. There are different types of knowledge but the knowledge of the Lord is what makes the greatest difference to the quality of our lives and our eternal destiny is found therein. We just cannot remain passive, inert, dormant or unchanging once we personally know of Him. We got to change and we got to create change. We are change makers or change agents of the Lord in this world. His teachings give us the strength to face the many challenges of change.

The teachings of Jesus passed on to us through the apostles are meant to establish our faith and enable us to reflect His qualities in our daily lives. It is bread and manna that does not spoil overnight and lasts forever, that our spirits and minds can munch on all the days of our lives. We learn things line by line, verse by verse, precept by precept, principle by principle, experience by experience, moment by moment. Our personal knowledge of Him and our time intersects all the time, producing refining and defining moments all our waking hours.

This uni-verse implies that we are committed to believers to lifelong learning, lifelong improvement towards the perfection of Christ and lifelong leaning on the Lord, that with each new truth we learn and apply, we grow in terms of spiritual excellence. Abiding in Jesus is allowing His word to abide I us. Whatever we have learn from Jesus and of Jesus is not meant for our “head knowledge” or theoretical understanding but to be applied, obeyed, practiced. It creates change for the better at a very deep level- the spiritual and emotional heart or core of our being. We need to be at the feet of Jesus to learn from Him and of Him like Mary in order to beat the lusts of this world. For in so being is both the love, power and grace of Jesus increasingly revealed in our lives and through us to others who are in need of such knowledge of Him.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pattern of Training In Righteousness

UV 2840/10000 Pattern of Training in Righteousness
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
2 Timothy 3 v 16
The default condition of the human being is unrighteousness. It cannot be taken for granted that a man can become righteous and stay righteous on his own strength. Human beings who are unrighteous cannot give training to fellow beings in righteousness. The inspiration or the source of training in righteousness is the Lord Himself. A believer is declared righteous in the sight of God not on account of his own character and deeds but by grace and on account of his faith in the finished as well as ongoing work of Christ on and off the cross. Once declared righteous by faith and grace, it then behoves us to take training in righteousness by imbibing all the counsel of God as written in scripture. Scripture is to be employed to turn it into our life scripts. Scripture directs and shapes our thoughts, our world view, our decisions, our actions and reactions, our speech, our desires and our emotions.
We are to be trained in righteousness of thoughts so that we take every thought captive to Christ. We are to be trained in righteousness of speech so that every word we speak passes through scriptural filters and comes out like pure silver. We are trained in righteousness of emotions so that our emotions of anger or joy or fear are subjected to the control and regulation of the Holy Spirit. We are trained in righteousness of decisions so that our motives and intentions of every action are measured against the Word and we take those decisions that pass muster of the scriptural standards.
Scripture has many uses for such training in righteousness. It can be used to warn us when we go wrong or fall short of the standards of Jesus, the standards of God. It can be used to teach us how to rectify things when we go wrong. Doctrinal truths in scripture act as a plumbline to check if our beliefs are in perfect alignment with the Lord and the revelations He has imparted to us. Scripture gives us a framework to clarify our values, to extract principles to guide our actions and reactions to life’s various situations. It disciplines us and helps us to become spiritually strong, balanced, mature and effective instruments or vessels of the Lord. It buoys us our hope in distressing or critical situations of life, guards us against the temptations and weaknesses of our bodies and minds. It is comprehensive, holistic, realistic and practical, impacting our whole lives positively. Scripture is the training material or Immanuel’s manual for man while the Lord is the ever present, ever leading, ever guiding, coaching, warning, equipping, empowering, enabling and helping trainer with us.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Pattern of Inheritance

UV 2839/10000 The Pattern of Inheritance
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Isaiah 64 v 4

Through a merely physical or intellectual process, it is impossible right through human history to perceive the great inheritance the Lord has prepared for those who love Him and wait with faith for coming into that inheritance. Such knowledge is even beyond the wildest imagination of human beings. We can come into such knowledge only by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, such terrific knowledge would elude the wise, the learned, the imaginative people of this world. No matter how much science and technology advances, it can never reveal the wonders of the kingdom of God. Neither can the creative writers and poets ever describe the greatness of the kingdom of God.
The echo verse for this uni-verse quoted by St Paul is the oft-quoted I Corinthians 2 v 9. While Isaiah says “ for him that wait for Him,” the latter portion states “for them that love Him.” It is not that God is partial to some human beings but it is required that we be both personal and passionate for the Lord. Once He revealed the full extent of His love by giving up His Son Jesus to save mankind, the requirement to come into that inheritance changed from merely ‘waiting’ with faith to a passionate attachment with the Lord. We are to become so passionate that every other relationship and every other pursuit and every other thing in our lives are subordinated to our relationship with the Lord and His word. Jesus is the most valuable pearl for which we are ready to give up everything in order to obtain the riches of the knowledge of the mystery hidden in God. He is the key not to open a Pandora’s box but the key of David to unlock the pearly gates of heaven. The mystery hidden from all eyes, all ears and all imagination is revealed in the hope we have in Christ. Christ in us, indeed is the hope of a glorious eternity, regardless of how our time and experience on earth is or was.
Even those who believe and love Jesus do not come into an instantaneous knowledge of the love and power of the Lord. But, through diligent study, revelations and many personal experiences, we come to a realization of the infinite love and power of the Lord. We only need to know that the inheritance we have in Jesus is awesome and amazing, beyond description and beyond reasoning and imagination. We will, of course, have a foretaste of what is to come in the experiences we have while still on earth but these are just like an appetiser that whets our appetite and prepares us for the main course or feast to follow.
Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pattern of Blessings of the Lord

UV 2838/10000 Pattern of Blessings of the Lord
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Genesis 12 v 2

The Lord desires that we who are His creations and new creations in Christ do not hanker after success, wealth, fame, pleasure and power. Rather, He wants us to be zealous for His blessings. From the loins of one man, Abraham, the Lord God demonstrated to the world that He can draw forth a nation. No other nation in history can be traced back biologically to one man as Israel is traced back to the seed of Abraham. The Lord blessed Abraham in his lifetime but also turned his faith into an inspiration and confidence for generations of his family. Therein, He fulfilled His promise to Abraham to bless him and make his name great as well as to make him a blessing. The Lord also promised to make him a father of many nations and all Arab nations trace their ancestry to him through Ishmael. Most other persons who are called “Father” of their nations like Kemal Ataturk of Turkey are only metaphorical fathers or persons who contributed to building a particular nation.

Jacob, a grandson of Abraham was initially zealous to get his earthly father, Isaac’s blessings but his stratagem to outwit his older twin( older by a few seconds or minutes but yet older),Esau got him into much trouble and drove him out of his house and away from his family. During his sojourn, thereafter, he too learnt to be zealous for the blessing of the God of his grandfather, Abraham. The Lord in the coming generations drew many kings and rulers out of the lineage of Abraham. One such king was David but the greatest of the descendants of Abraham, far greater than him is Jesus, the one ordained to be both Messiah and King of Kings. Through the spiritual and faith lineage of Jesus, the Lord has raised many children of faith in all nations in the past two thousand years plus. Now, each of us is an inheritor by faith, by grace and not by law or entitlement, of the very same Abrahamic blessing.
The Lord promises to make of us a great nation. He promises to bless us and make us a channel of blessing. He will make our names great or in other words, He will enlarge our influence, our impact, our legacy to the generations. Like Abraham, we need to hold onto these promises and wait with patient expectation for the fulfilment in His time. When we are zealous for the blessings of the Lord, He adds unto us all that which we need. Our attitude should be like that of the chastened Jacob, to wrestle with the Lord in prayer till He blesses us. The simple blessing given to Abraham is elaborated in much detail in the first fourteen verses of Deuteronomy chapter 28. It is echoed in Matthew chapter 28 verse 33 which can be paraphrased in the context of the above uni-verse as: “Seek first His rule and His directions and all these blessings will be added unto you.” Abraham had obeyed the directions of the Lord in leaving the comfort and familiarity of his father’s land to move to a foreign land- Canaan. The Lord wanted to birth a new nation there to bless the whole world. Likewise, when we implicitly and enthusiastically obey the directions we receive from the Lord and believe His promises, we are greatly blessed. We manifest our zeal for the blessings of the Lord in obeying Him willingly, enthusiastically and implicitly even if it means giving up what is comfortable and familiar to us. Ultimately, faith is not just mental belief but belief from the heart that leads to an action in obedience or compliance with who or what we believe. The blessings of the Lord that follow such zeal and obedience, unlike earthly good fortune, are comprehensive, balanced, holistic, unpredictable and awesome.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pattern of Contamination and Effective Counter Measures

UV 2837/10000 Pattern of Contamination of Faith
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Galatians 5 v 9

This proverb spoken by Jesus and quoted by the apostles in their writings has a deep as well as practical meaning. Yeast changes the nature of the bread from being solid into something full of holes and pores and hot gas as it is baked. Likewise, a variety of factors in life change our character and faith to be full of holes, pores and hot air. A little pride can cause a person to swell up like a loaf of bread to be several times the size of the original unleavened bread. A little untruth similarly distorts a person’s perceptions, decisions, actions and behaviour. A little deceit has huge consequences and can take a person off course like even a tiny shift in an aircraft’s direction take it to a completely new destination. A little anger expressed inappropriately can damage a relationship. Scripture states that "evil communications corrupt good manners. " Small compromises can affect our faith and our relationship with the Lord in more ways that we can guess as we learn from the tragedy of Ananias and Saphira in the book of Acts as a little lie involving hiding a part of the proceeds of the sale of their own house led to their instantaneous judgement and deaths.
Jesus warned his followers of the leaven or yeast of the Pharisees , the Sadducees and of Herod. The yeast of the Pharisees that robbed them of their priestly anointing and grace in the sight of the Lord was hypocrisy. They liked to look good on the outside with their ceremonial robes and ritual practices but their hearts were full of covetousness, pride and selfishness. The yeast of the Sadducees was their wrong doctrine that there was no resurrection of the dead. The yeast of Herod was his lust for power and the consequent erratic actions and aberrations that led him to order the massacre of innocents and the beheading of John the Baptist to satisfy the vindictive whim of Herodia, his wife.
We need to guard against all these types of contamination of our pure faith. We require not a one time cleansing but a thorough ongoing cleansing by the mighty Holy Spirit. He will purify and sanctify us from deep inside our hearts. We need to have any traces of the old leaven or the old creature from our lives so that we are new creatures in Christ and we keep renewing ourselves in the spirit. Any old beliefs or attitudes or practices that we are prone to should be pruned at its roots and given no opportunity to grow like weeds to outgrow the seed of truth planted in us. A little duplicity or double mindedness can deprive us of the grace or favour of the Lord. Our faith should be authentic, genuine, strong, without any mixed motives or feelings for it to be fruitful and effective. Any hidden sin or unconfessed wanton sin can block our prayers from reaching the Lord and from being answered. A good protection against such contamination is the continual intake of the Word. The Word gives us what doctors call endoscopy or a view from inside us.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Pattern of Liberty and Bondage

UV 2836/10000 Pattern of Liberty and Bondage
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5 v 1
There are different types of freedom: political freedom or self rule, economic freedom, social freedom and spiritual freedom. The highest form of freedom is spiritual freedom. Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin and death. He being the personification of Truth and the fulfilment of all the laws of God is able and willing to lift the heavy yoke of bondage that lies on the shoulders of all mankind. We are no longer servants of sin but servants of righteousness. We were once sold out to the enemy of our souls. Now, we are sold out to Christ.
We are set free from such bondage, the responsibility is ours not to yearn for such slavery to sin even as the Israelites longed for the bondage of Egypt while they sojourned in the desert. We should not entertain the thought or attempt to sell ourselves again to the enemy. We do so by holding firm to the hope and confidence we have in Christ and the salvation He provides for all who believe in Him.
St Paul uses the metaphor of a soldier not getting entangled in civilian affairs but subjects himself continually to training and discipline so that he is victorious as an individual fighter and also contributes to the overall victory of the army or the kingdom to which he belongs. Many of us tie ourselves up in knots by not heeding the voice of our divine Trainer- the Holy Spirit. We do not study the manual of training- the Bible. We do not apply biblical principles to daily living, consequently, we get entangled in sin. We rush into situations where a heavy yoke is placed again on our shoulders. We have to defend our hard won freedom from sin and death by wearing the full armour of God. We have to use and enjoy our freedom and not abuse it. We need to discipline our appetite for the privileges and pleasures of this world unlike the ancient Israelites who cried for the meat that was served to them while they were slaves in Egypt. They invited the displeasure of God and consequently, curses of disease and death upon themselves though they were set free from slavery in Egypt. We need to emulate Daniel who though a slave in Babylon, spurned the meat from the king’s table. We need to limit our scope of desires and actions and attitudes to those which please the Lord. In this sense, we are servants of righteousness though we have been declared by Jesus to be His friends and brothers.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Pattern of the Perfection of Hearts

UV 2835/10000 Pattern of the Perfection of Hearts
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
I Peter 3 v 15

In the book of Proverbs, it is written that we should guard our hearts diligently for out of it are the issues of life. When we correlate that key verse with this uni-verse, we discover how to guard our own hearts. Just as any human creation or invention cannot repair itself, our hearts can be mended only by the Creator and Redeemer Lord. Our hearts are the workshop of the Lord. He is constantly at work in our hearts through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We can guard our hearts diligently only with the help of the Lord, with the power of the Holy Spirit. Diligently, implies a diligent study of the word precedes and accompanies the daily and moment to moment surrender of our hearts or our attitudes, desires and basic emotions to the Holy Spirit who is the Sanctifier. He perfects our attitudes, our desires, our emotions to make it pleasing and worthy of the Lord Jesus.

Once our hearts are guarded, strengthened, purified and perfected in, by and for the Lord, our lives will be silent but eloquent and compelling testimonies or evidence of the power of the Lord at work in us. Now, when we are asked about what makes us strong in faith, we will be able to answer with grace and humility the questions people with seeking hearts ask of us. There will be a certain ring of conviction and power behind our words as we defend our faith. Our hope in Christ is reasonable since it is based on our personal and practical experience of His grace at a deep level- our hearts. Lives lived with such faith only makes the gospel tasty and attractive to those who are struggling without hope and meaning or power in this world.

We can never ever say that our hearts or lives are perfect but we are “always getting there” as we do our best to listen to the move of the Holy Spirit deep inside our hearts. We need to always come before the Lord with a broken heart of genuine repentance at even our smallest errors and wilful acts of defiance of the will and word of the Lord. We need to pray for the healing touch of the Lord inside our hearts and His help to sanctify our hearts so that we no longer commit the same error or offence. Even as this sanctifying process is going on, we must always be ready with a word-based answer to the queries and searching questions of those we work with or come in contact with in the course of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Pattern of Authority and Power

UV 2834/10000 The Pattern of Authority and Power
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth
Matthew 28 v 18

Jesus was in a position of some power while He was ministering to people and healed many of all kinds of diseases affecting the mind, the eyes, the ears, the skin, the nerves, the blood, the heart. He also demonstrated power over nature when He commanded nature over the stormy Sea of Galilee. Even when He was arrested He demonstrated His power by restoring the severed ear of the servant of the High Priest that had been cut off in anger by one of his disciples. In the days that followed and on the cross as He was dying, He submitted Himself willingly to a position of no power like a lamb that is about to be slaughtered. But, after His resurrection, He confirmed that all power of heaven and earth was given to Him. Jesus, the Christ or the anointed One to first __do_ the good news of salvation and then announce it, had become Jesus Christ, the Lord and King of Kings. Jesus is sovereign over all the earth, the heavens and Heaven itself. He had come into His own as the Lion of Judah. He has power and authority over the living and the dead. He is raised to the right hand of the throne of the Father and He is exalted far above every principality, power, might, dominion, authority and far above every person or creature named in this world and in the world to come. His power and authority vests in His very name and when we invoke His name, that power and authority is released. All power and authority of Jesus vests in the Holy Spirit who is now God on earth administering, guiding, leading on His behalf.

Jesus today has power over life and death, over all diseases, over all mishaps, over all contests and competition, over all struggles and conflicts, over all creatures and all people, over all angels and demons, over all spirits, over the past, present and future. All things in heaven and earth were delivered to Him to administer and rule. It lies in His province to decide whom to save and whom not to show mercy to. It is His discretion to delegate His authority and power to whom He choses. He spoke this uni-verse to His disciples to begin the process of transforming them from mere disciples or learners to being apostles. No longer did they have to fear what humans can do to them. No longer were they to fear their persecutors however high and mighty for the One who sat over them had commissioned them and given them His authority and power.

Jesus as the first born of God, the Father has authority to execute judgement on earth and in heaven on behalf of the Father. He has power over all flesh and has authority to give eternal life to whomever He choses. Jesus fulfils the prophetic word that came from Daniel of a stone that is not cut with human hands that destroys the power, authority and grandeur of successive kingdoms and empires of the earth and fills the earth with Zion- the mountain of the Lord. The significance of this uni-verse for believers is that we who are powerless have derived authority and power from Jesus’s impartation. He has imparted the anointing of His authority and power upon us to execute judgement on earth, to preach the good news of deliverance and eternal life to the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to spiritual captives, breaking every bondage and setting them free by the Truth that is Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pattern of Increase and Decrease

UV 2833/10000 Pattern of Proportionate Increase and Decrease
He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3 v 30

At the start of Jesus’s ministry on earth, His cousin and forerunner who came just before him had a much larger following and was more well known. John, the Baptist recognized that he was just the servant, the herald, the precursor of the promised Messiah- Jesus. He therefore, humbled himself to say that even as he decreased, Jesus must increase. It was not just a mark of the humility of John but the will of God. We too as believers and followers of Jesus, should have this attitude that Jesus should increase in our lives even as we decrease. It implies that we obey the will of the Lord implicitly and explicitly, that we give all praise, honour and glory to the Lord for every good thing that happens in our lives, that we give primacy to the Word over our own desires and whims.

Each of us is a John, the Baptist in the making as we are anointed to be forerunners of the second coming of the Lord Jesus. John was only a cousin of Jesus while we are brothers by faith with Jesus. We are called to do greater things than John in the name of Jesus. John did no miracles and he confined himself to the task given to him to prepare the way of the Lord, to call people of Israel to repentance. Every miracle and every answer to prayer we receive should be attributed to the grace of Jesus. Our own agenda, our egos, our pride and our desire to satisfy our own ambitions should decline over time and the rule and reign of Jesus in our lives should keep increasing. The character and attitudes of Jesus should increase in us even as our own character and attitudes decline from day to day. People around us including our own near and dear as well as others should see more of Jesus in us and less and less of our old selves.

An implication of this uni-verse is that we never become set in our ways but keep changing to reflect the grace and glory of the Lord. The government, the grace and the glory of Jesus should keep increasing in our hearts and lives and proportionately, our own wills, lusts, pride should keep declining. Spiritual growth and maturity is about living for, to and in Christ and dying to our selves, the world and its approval or disapproval of us. As our own strength declines, the joy of doing the Lord’s will keeps increasing in us. We should not resist the spirit but yield increasingly to the Holy Spirit in all that we think, speak and do. Like John, once we have done the will of the Lord, we should be willing to disappear from this world to appear again with the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Pattern of Cleansing of the Inner Temple

UV 2832/10000 The Pattern of Cleansing of the Inner Temple
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves
Matthew 21 v 13

Our bodies and minds and spirits are the veritable temple of the Lord. Our bodies are meant to be dedicated to the Lord for we are created to be a “house of prayer”. Eden was a pleasant place that knew no sin where the two way communication between God and man and between man and woman were meant to be pure and holy, undefiled. But Eden turned into a den when Adam heard and succumbed to the subtle and devious suggestions of the enemy- the fallen angel Lucifer. Stealing or robbing involves taking what does not belong to one and make it his own. Man tried to rob and steal the glory that belonged to God by trying to be what the Lord had not intended. Likewise, we have made our bodies a den of thieves- the enemy of our souls who is a thief, robber and murderer hides in us. Jesus as Redeemer came to cleanse our living temples and take it back for the Father, His Father and our Father and Creator.
When we allow our minds to be obsessed with the things of this world, lust for money, lust for pleasures of the flesh, status, power, competition and struggle for position, we are unwittingly but certainly turned over our bodies and minds to be the den of ‘robbers and thieves.’ Like Jesus, we should be filled with a zeal for the Father’s house- our bodies, our homes, our lives in its entirety. The words of Christ act like a whip driving out the merchants who seek to sell and buy our souls. We are to be filled with godly sorrow, holy anger and the desire to restore our bodies as living temples for the Lord. Unlike the cleansing of the Temple at Jerusalem, our cleansing is not a physical purging but a deep and ongoing sanctification till we get rid of every vestige of commercialisation of our lives, our banal attitudes and feelings that do not belong or behoove those who are the tabernacle or temple of the living God.

The Holy Spirit is the agent who cleanses our inner temple as we submit every aspect of our lives to His examination and purification. Once we are so cleansed, our every communication will become an act of declaration of the glory and grace of the Lord, an act of worship, an act of gratitude, of continual prayer and praise. The den of thieves is restored by the grace of Jesus to being the Eden it was designed to be: we have a face to face communication with the Lord, an ongoing personal and intimate relationship with the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pattern of Strength and Courage

UV 2831/10000 Pattern of Strength and Courage
And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31 v 8

In this uni-verse, Moses commissions Joshua to assume his mantle of leadership and to lead the Israelites to the promised land. Things had dramatically changed since the time Abraham dwelt in the land for mighty tribes and nations had developed and occupied the lands en route to Canaan as well as all of the land they hoped to settle in. Yet, the Lord enabled Joshua to defeat 31 powerful kings. The Lord promises to go ahead of us even as He went ahead of Joshua. As it is the Lord who is going before us, we are assured of our security, our prosperity, our success, our victory over any and every type of obstacle we might face on our earthly journey. It is a mark of the humility and faithfulness of the Lord that He goes before His people for normally, it is a herald or a servant that goes before a person to prepare the way ahead of the more important or significant person. At the same time, the Lord promises to be with us wherever we are and wherever we go. His presence and His power accompanies us. He walks beside us and watches our steps. He surrounds us and fences us in all sides not as a prison but as a place where we can be truly free from fears, regrets, disappointments, discouragements. He will enable us to confront and defeat the 31 powerful kings or strongholds of darkness en route to our promised land in the kingdom of God. It is almost as if we are empowered to defeat a different ‘king’ every single day of the month. One day, it could be a stronghold called sickness, another day, temptation, yet another day, conflict at home and on other days, conflict at workplace, one’s fear of mortality, fear of failure, fear of success, hidden conspiracies by rivals and opponents, anger and so on.
This uni-verse is significant as Paul repeats this promise in Hebrews Chapter 13 verse 5 in the context of being content with what we have and not loving money. It implies that there is a temptation for us to replace our faith in God with love of money. People tend to love money as they have a fear that God will leave them and forsake them in a time of trouble or need. Instead, the faith and confidence we have in the Lord should make us think, “As God is with me, what more do I need? He will satisfy all of my need- physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual.” The uni-verse is a guarantee that we need never fear anything, that we should never be discouraged, that we should never be disappointed regardless of what happens. The Lord Himself will encourage us. He will deal with all our fears and insecurities. He will satisfy our needs and fulfil our purpose in life as long we put our whole-hearted trust and complete confidence in Him and in Him alone.

When the Lord is with us, we cannot fail permanently. We will keep learning and improving till we have final victory in Him and through Him. The Lord will not let us fall or fail or flail in weakness as long as we avail of His strength, His grace, His promise of help in all circumstances. He is both Immanuel, the God who dwells with Us and Ebenezer, the One who helps. He will more than fulfil our expectations. Instead of regret and pain, He will fill our hearts with joy. He will never give up on us even when we are back sliding, when we are vacillating and weak. He will never leave us alone or helpless as we cling to Him. He will redeem us in difficult and even impossible situations. He will manifest His presence, power, love, mercy and grace in accordance with His various names that are indicative of the different types of grace we obtain from Him: Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shalom, Adonai, Lion of Judah, Daystar and so on. IF we believe this amazing uni-verse, we will be imbued with both strength and courage all the days of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pattern of Faith and Love

UV 2830/10000 Pattern of Faith and Love
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Galatians 5 v 6

Religious traditions and practices do not count for anything in bringing salvation to mankind. But faith in Jesus Christ that operates in love can bring salvation to all mankind. Love is the fruit or result of faith. God’s love for mankind is expressed chiefly through the forgiveness we receive when we believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Love is expressed not merely in words or in speech but in deeds. Without love, our faith is dead, ineffective and empty. Faith in Christ is the root while love is the fruit. The pattern of our lives should be an intertwining of faith and love at all times.
Having experienced the forgiveness and love of God in Chriist, we cannot remain inert and unchanged. Faith sows the seed of the agape love of God in us and we are to water and nourish this seed by our actions and reactions over our lifetime. Love is the essence of the character of Christ and it should also be the essence of our own character. Love has two dimensions: love of God and love of our fellow beings, including our own family, kith and kin, friends, strangers, neighbours, enemies.
The first fruit of the spirit that St Paul mentions is love. In fact, the other eight fruit are the dimensions of love. If we are loving, we should be patient in our attitudes, actions and reactions with all. If we are loving, we will be joyful, peaceful, kind, humble. If we are loving, we will control our anger and the words we speak. We will speak with self restraint and exercise self control. Self control requires us to actually yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Our different parts or organs and compartments of life should be submitted at all times to the supervision of the Holy Spirit so that we do not err or fall from the grace or favour of the Lord.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Pattern of Covenant Making Behaviour

UV 2829/10000 Covenant Making Behaviour
And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
Genesis 9 v 9

This uni-verse reflects the amazing covenant-making nature of the Lord. We too can make great progress in all aspects of our lives by imitating the covenant-making nature of the Lord. God made seven covenants : the covenant with Adam, the covenant with Noah, the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Moses, the covenant with David and the covenant with Jesus. Covenants have a life changing and destiny shaping impact. It does not rely on human will power but the grace of God to fulfil it. As long as we are sincere when we make it and try to keep it to the very best of our ability, the Lord will help us. Amazing blessings flow from covenants not just to the one making it but to the succeeding generations. These covenants are sacred agreements that are inviolable. Each covenant has many clauses and sub clauses. God bound Himself to fulfilling whatever He promised under these covenants. These were covenants with human beings but God also made covenants with the heavenly bodies like the sun and the moon, that these would rise at set times every single day since creation. We too need to imitate God’s covenants with the sun and the moon when we promise to obey the Lord. For instance, if we make a covenant with God that we would not sin against Him by storing His word in our hearts, we should ensure that we are memorising, meditating and implicitly obeying the promise to obey Him every single day even as the sun and moon rise every single day. If we make a covenant that we will not speak ill of others, we should abide by this promise in all circumstances. Suffice it to say, covenants are the foundations of godly habits. A covenant is distinct from a vow for a vow is a promise of a one off action. A vow unlike a covenant does not set in motion a pattern of actions and behaviour. A covenant is a decision and act of the heart and not so much of the mind or the cognitive or reasoning faculties of man.
It is true that God is the stronger partner in our covenants. We need His help to carry out our promises to Him. We need the reminder of the Holy Spirit, the power or grace of the Spirit of God to establish or fulfil our promises. Nothing is too difficult or impossible for the Lord. If we make a covenant with God to kick a particular habit or to do a certain thing, the Lord will give us grace to do it. In this uni-verse, Jehovah makes a promise not just to Noah but to his children and their descendants. The covenants the Lord makes with us outlast our lifetime. They affect our posterity, our legacy and our eternity as nothing else can.
Jacob made a covenant with Jehovah to give a tenth of all his produce as the Lord prospered him. Each of us can make unique covenants with the Lord: to enter His courts with praise and thanksgiving, never to murmur against Him despite the circumstances, not to look on the opposite sex with lust in one’s eyes, to keep the Sabbath holy, to speak wholesome and not harmful words, to be generous and hospitable, to give and help the needy, never to get angry. The Lord is both our witness and our enabler when we make such covenants in our hearts. We should endeavour to imitate the sun and the moon in their faithfulness in rising and shining day after day. I made a covenant once with the Lord that whatever He tells me to do, I would do. That if He sends me a warning like even my toe striking against a leg of a table or I suffer a minor ailment, I would realize that I am erring in some matter that the Lord had asked me to do.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Pattern of Planning and Planting of the Lord

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

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

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Pattern of Governance and Peace

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

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

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

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

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Pattern of Blood-bought Salvation

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

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

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

Vitamin D

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

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

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

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

Prateep V Philip

The Pillars of Faith

UV 2830/10000 The Pillar of Faith

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

Revelation 3 v 12

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

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

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

Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Pattern of Agreement

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

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

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pattern of Healing, Comfort, Change and Deliverance

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

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

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

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Pattern of Anger Management

UV 2822/10000 Pattern of Anger Management
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Ephesians 4 v 26

This uni-verse is full of the wisdom of the Lord. It does not say, “Do not get angry” but says, firstly, “ When you are angry do not sin.” Secondly, it says, “Do not let the sun set on your anger.” It implies that we should not end the day on a note of anger. We should allow ourselves to calm down and settle issues one way or the other with the person or persons with whom we are angry. We cannot allow anger to have a free run and take control of our lives, damage our relationships and affect our peace of mind.
Jesus Himself out of zeal for His Father’s house became angry. His anger was a righteous or holy anger. We can channelize our anger to serve just and righteous causes like supporting campaigns against violence, terrorism, gender bias and crimes against women. Our anger should not be due to hurt pride or a wounded ego. Anger, scripture states, rests in the bosom of fools. We can become angry as it is natural but we should not remain angry or do something foolish or evil in a state of anger. Even if we get angry for petty reasons, we should allow the anger to evaporate before the day is done. We should as a rule or principle not carry the previous day’s crap into the coming day just as cashiers carry their previous day’s balance forward.
Scripture states that God is slow to anger and quick to forgive. We need to imitate this kind of divine temperament manifested in Jesus. We should not be hasty in making decisions in a huff while angry or it could make the situation even worse. We ought not to speak words of abuse in anger as we will regret it later and it puts us in danger of the judgement of the Lord and of the fires of hell. We should do all we can to return to equilibrium – our natural state of being kind, loving and gentle led and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The ultimate remedy for anger is found in love and forgiveness. We need to forgive others and not be bitter or resentful. We need to extend the same forgiveness that the Lord gave us in and through His Son Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Nine Seed, Nine Roots and Nine Fruit

UV 2821/10000 Nine Seed, Nine Roots and Nine Fruit
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
I Corinthians 13 v 4

The characteristics of love described in this uni-verse and in the rest of the famous chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians contains in it all the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Love is patient, kind, good, faithful, peaceful, patient, joyful and marked by self restraint. Love endures and is not capricious, flippant or whimsical. It is not moody or emotion-driven. It is not envious but glad about the well being and advancement of others. Since all the fruit of the spirit is subsumed or contained in love, all believers need to do is to grow in the love of Christ. Love is the hallmark of maturity that distinguishes a spiritually immature person and a mature believer.
If faith is the first step in the ten thousand mile journey that is life, then love is the sum of the remaining steps in our journey back home, back to the Lord. Love covers a multitude of sins with the forgiveness that we first received from Jesus. Love is the wisdom from above that is peaceful, gentle, full of mercy, without insincerity, partiality or hypocrisy. Love is synonymous with spiritual excellence. Love is the essence of God and of Christ and of the Holy Spirit.

The uni-verse is not only directly related and parallel to the nine fruit of the spirit but also to the nine beatitudes of Jesus. Jesus not only preached these atttitudes but lived it, manifested it, practiced it. These attitudes are one of dependency on the grace of the Lord, one of godly sorrow or healthy repentance that leads to radical change, meekness or humility despite being a co –heir with Christ, a hunger, thirst and zeal for spiritual food, purity of thought and emotions, peace loving nature, endurance of troubles that one has to undergo in this world for the sake of our faith, permanent, unflagging joy at the hope of receiving our eternal reward. We need to continually and daily renew these Christ-blessed attitudes in order to bear the nine fruit and the nine characteristics of love.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Pattern of the Battles of Life

UV 2820/10000 The Pattern of the Battles of Life
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.

2 Chronicles 20 v 17

The believer in Jesus and His finished work on the cross fights his battle on his knees or lying down prostrate with face on the ground. Jesus, the Commander –in –Chief of the armies of angels of heaven Himself fought and won the greatest battle in human and spiritual history nailed between two thieves on a cross. He surrendered His soul to the Father in heaven. Surrender to the Lord in stillness births victory in our battles. In this uni-verse, Jehoshaphat, the embattled king first sought the Lord’s help to face the heavy odds of the combined forces of many hostile kingdoms. He recalled the past testimonies of victory the Lord gave Israel over mighty Egypt. He genuinely thanked, praised and worshiped the Lord and led the nation in worship. Thereafter, He led the people in supplication and intercession before prostrating in silence and on their faces. Our battle positions are anticipatory thanksgiving, praise and worship knowing that the odds against us, the forces that oppose us can never be greater than God, stillness or quiet assurance knowing that He is in control whatever happens, surrender, supplication and intercession are our battle postions when we are confronted by the threats of violence, persecution, problems, challenges, difficulties, ill health, crisis, loss or disaster. We have eternal and internal peace not at the end of the battles we face but right through these battles as the Lord of Shalom or wholesome and comprehensive peace is with us. He leads us not to a Pyrrhic victory but to a wholesome and lasting victory.

We should not cower in fear but face or confront our fears with the shield of our personal faith. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of darkness. When Jesus, the King of Kings and the Light of the world comes, darkness in all its forms has to flee. He will fight our battles. We are bound to see the 360 degree salvation of the Lord in all aspects of our lives- our struggles against our own flesh, against our own blood, against strangers and foes, against the powers that be, against overwhelming odds. We are not to be disappointed by temporary reverses and setbacks but hold onto our faith. The Lord has called every believer to be an overcomer.
The words “tomorrow, go out against them” means that though we stay still in the presence of the Lord and in earnest prayer, it does not mean we are to be passive. We are not to run away from the battles. We are not to fight it on our own strength but face it boldly, declaring our faith in the Lord, that He is with us, that He will give us immediate strength to face it and eventual victory. We are to take practical steps in time and space to confront that which we battle with. The reason we have victory is not these steps in itself but the Lord is with us. He turns the tide of the battle in our favour. He is the source of our victory. He is Jehovah Nissi, the God of Victory. No one and nothing can defeat His plan and purpose. He makes available His infinite power and grace to us in all of our struggles in life. We do not rely on our horses or chariots or our physical strength or prowess or resources or abilities to fight and wrest victory. Our reliance is on the Lord who we acknowledge as the Alpha and the Omega of Victory. He is with us from the beginning, through the thick of the struggle and till the very end and beyond. The word tells us that our lives in itself are a series of battles or great struggles but the Lord is with us in the midst of these struggles. The battles or struggles we face are intended to give us testimonies or evidences of the love, faithfulness and mercy of the Lord. The bigger the struggle, the greater our faith should be. The bigger the enemy, the greater the victory and the glory to the Lord. At the end of each battle we face boldly and faithfully, we draw closer to the Lord and realize that He is with us all the time. At the end of the war, we receive the eternal and unfading crown of victory from the Lord. Our stand now determines whether we will be on that victory stand of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip