Friday, August 18, 2017

Maturity and Perfection

UV 2750/10000 Maturity and Perfection
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Colossians 1 v 28
The role of the believer or follower of Jesus is like that of a spiritual watchman to warn the contemporary generation of the consequences of sin or being unable to connect with the Creator-Redeemer. It is also to teach and build the faith and knowledge of fellow believers so that they will be established and rooted in Christ in order to bear fruit for Him. We are to teach with all wisdom and gentleness of spirit, not lording it over others but having the attitude of a servant that Christ manifested in all His dealings with people. The ultimate goal is to present every person perfect or mature in Christ.
As spiritual watchmen or teachers, we are judged by even more stricter standards than others. Hence, we should constantly check ourselves against the mirror and the plumb line of His word. If there are any attitudes that need correction, we should do so as soon as we are made aware of it by the Holy Spirit. We are to allow the Holy Spirit to examine our spiritual health every single day like a physician who checks all the parameters of our physical health. We also need to accept His diagnosis and follow diligently whatever He prescribes even as a patient is careful to do precisely what his doctor had advised him to do.
Jesus said,”Be perfect as my Father in Heaven is perfect. “ He did not say, “Pursue perfection” as if it is a distant unattainable goal. He did not say, “ Become perfect” or “Try to be perfect”. He said, “Be perfect..” In other words, by being grafted with Jesus, we are already perfect. WE are to now maintain our being in perfection and grow in perfection and maturity to the very stature of Christ. Maturity implies that we gain enough knowledge and strength in Christ that we do not allow anything to disturb this perfection in Christ that we are anointed with by faith. There are three aspects to this teaching of Jesus that encompasses the purpose of perfection, the means of perfection and the power or the grace to be perfect in Christ: one, that we need to be perfect to reflect the character of the Father in us since we are His children. Second, that we need to model our homes, our relationships, our communication, our lifestyle and our work style on what we have seen and heard of the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Third, we cannot strive to be perfect on our own. We need to constantly seek the help of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit to be perfect and mature in Christ. The Father encourages us with His word, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of godly character of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility in us, Jesus teaches us with His parables, His teachings, His commands, His miracles, His touch, His presence, His example and the institution of the communion where we partake of the manna and wine of heaven. Having learnt from Jesus and learnt of Him, we then have a duty to pass on the teachings faithfully like a runner passes on the baton to the next runner. There are a host of challenges or threats to perfection in Christ: the world and its pressures as well as pleasures, circumstances, false teachings, our own unstable emotions, a wrong order of priorities.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Daily Touch

UV 2749/10000 The Daily Touch
But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Matthew 9 v 22

In the space of three simple verses, Matthew records the only instance of a non-volitional miracle of healing being triggered by the woman touching the hem of the robe of Jesus. Her faith that by merely touching Jesus, she could be healed mixed with the words of Jesus, “ Thy faith has made thee whole”, wrought the healing of a chronic disease that had affected her for twelve years- the issue of blood. She could not approach Jesus and ask upfront that she be healed as a stigma was attached with her disease and she did not wish to make it known publicly that she had this affliction.
The woman with the chronic disease could see Jesus and try to touch Him. But since we can no longer see Him, we should ask that He touches us and so make us whole. Jesus used the word, “your faith has made you whole” and not “ well” as the touch of Jesus is enough to make our lives whole or complete in every sense, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, emotional, physical and social. If the touch of Jesus in the first century produced instant and complete healing, it can do so even today in our age and time. Like the woman, we need to have a seeking heart. She sought Jesus sincerely with all of her heart, unmindful of the pressing crowd that kept her from seeing Him face to face. She therefore, received the good news of being “made whole”. But oftentimes, a seeking heart should also be accompanied by a waiting heart in case the healing or deliverance is not instantaneous and takes time to manifest. There might be some issues in our lives that need the touch of Jesus and we have been waiting for years to receive His healing touch and His words of comfort and deliverance. We need to pray, “ Lord, give me your daily touch.” With the touch, He gives us His daily word of the good news of being made whole.
It is faith that makes our lives complete and whole. It is the “f “ in the word “life”, without which life would be a lie. The woman had come seeking Jesus in anguish but she could leave His presence with comfort, peace and joy. We cannot leave the presence of Jesus untouched or unchanged. He makes us complete even as the bridegroom completes the bride. Faith in Jesus has a holistic impact on our lives. He is concerned with our total being and our total well being. Whenever He saw people lacking something they need to complete their joy, He supplied it. When He saw them hungry, He gave them food. When He sees people without purpose, meaning or power in life, He gives them the sense of purpose, meaning and power.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

True Leadership

UV 2748/10000 True 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
Only a true follower of God can be a true leader of men. Those who follow their own wisdom, their own ambitions or other people are blinded by ignorance, pride, arrogance, vanity, folly, greed and the like. A true follower of God listens to the commands of the Lord to love the Lord with all his heart and all his mind and all his strength. He diligently studies, understands and remembers the principles embedded in the word of God. He is not guided by divisive human ideologies of the left or the right. He has a clear vision, a sense of focus and priorities. He uses all the gifts, talents and resources he has been given to accomplish his task. He occupies the strategic heights so that he can maximise his influence and impact on people and organisations. He is not deterred by difficult or tough circumstances but keeps moving on with faith and confidence in the Lord.
Headship or leadership is promised to the true follower of Christ. He is meant to lead, influence, serve. He will be listened to. He is lifted above the level of politics of nations. He is not motivated by ideas of self glory or grandeur. He puts into practice the precepts of life taught by Jesus. He emulates the example of Jesus in all things. He knows he can do nothing on his own and all things by the grace of Christ. He recognizes that His power flows from anointing and not from appointment. He is bold, brave and confident by the power of the Holy Spirit. His communication and conversation are pleasing to the Lord.
The true follower of Christ is a constant learner. He is growing in his knowledge of Christ and of His love. The wise men followed the star over the manger in Bethlehem while the wise followers of Jesus follow Him, the star of history, the star of the kingdom of God on earth and in heaven. He does not merely observe and understand what is written in the Word but He is a doer. He implicitly and explicitly obeys the Lord. He corrects his own personal flaws as he sees it in the mirror of the Word. If he lacks wisdom or strength, He asks with faith and obtains it from His leader and King. He is not interested in the loaves and fishes of office. He focuses his attention on pleasing the Lord and winning the eternal prize, the wreath of victory that will not fade with time.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Get Better or Get Worse

UV 2747/10000 Get Better or Get Worse
No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse
Matthew 9 v 16
We cannot live the new life in Christ with our old heart attitudes, traditions, habits and ways of doing things. Salvation is not a patch work- a mix of the old and new but it is a complete new set of clothes, a new set of armour. If we mix our new beliefs with old attitudes, it will amount to incongruity, inconsistency and unsustainability in our lives. There will be a gap between our beliefs, our expression of it and our practice. If we mix our old emotional patterns with our new faith in Christ, we become worse than before. We need to get rid completely of old baggage and old bondage of our past. We cannot hold onto some things from our past and add them to the new covenant faith.
The Father has given us a new set of clothes of salvation purchased with the blood of His Son. It needs to be kept as white as snow, spotless, blemishless, free from wrinkles and free from damage. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, He has cast our old clothes away in the fire and given us new robes of salvation, new authority of being His signet ring, new shoes of readiness to go places for Him. He has called us to a feast of celebration on our return to our home where new wine from new wine bags will be served. No more are we to have anything to do with the old yeast of insincerity, hypocrisy or duplicity. We cannot return to our old prodigal ways of rebelling against the Father’s authority, rejecting His love and His grace, relying on our own wisdom and attempting to seek our own fortune. We should also not patch on the attitude of the older more responsible, obedient, loyal but self righteous brother. We are to be penitent, responsible and ever humble, knowing that it is only grace that made the Father accept us back home again and not anything that we did or can do in this world.
The redemption of our destiny should be accompanied by the redemption or transformation of our character. The old self or old man should die and the new creature should live. If we do not address our old attitudes with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be like guests who come to the wedding feast of the Lamb inappropriately dressed or dressed in patchwork clothes or in rags. Our new beliefs should trigger new attitudes, new ways of thinking, behaving and acting or reacting. Our new covenant relationship with the Father should change us for the better both on the inside and on the outside. Our communication and behaviour on the outside should reflect the inner change. The uni-verse warns us that having tasted the grace and mercy of God in Christ, if we are not getting better, we are in danger of getting worse for “the rent is made worse”.

Prateep V Philip

He Should Increase

UV 2746/10000 He Should Increase
He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias
John 1 v 23
Repentance precedes salvation. John, the Baptist came ahead of Jesus to prepare people to repent of their sins. We too need to prepare for salvation by repenting of our sins. John was the forerunner to herald the Saviour Jesus. Repentance is the forerunner of salvation. Whatever we are seeking deliverance from, we need to first repent and commit to turn from that crooked way. Though salvation is a free gift, repentance and a clean break with that aspect of our past for which we repent goes ahead and follows redemption.

The way of the Lord is straight and if our way is crooked – then there is a mismatch between what we believe and what we live. We need to appropriate grace or strength from the Lord to overcome our weakness and make our paths straight. Every valley of defeat in our lives should be filled. Every rough patch made smooth. Every mountain and hill of pride and lust that we fed in the past must be eroded and brought to the level of even ground on which we can walk. We must bend our disobedient hearts to listen and obey the wisdom of the Just one – Jesus through the offices of the Holy Spirit.

Salvation therefore implies a commitment to learn, grow and change to conform to the image of Christ in us. John, the Baptist compared himself to Jesus and felt that he was unfit even to tie the sandals on the feet of Jesus. Jesus hailed John as the greatest among those born of women and yet he was lesser than the least in the kingdom of God. Where does that leave us? We should always pray and follow the precept of John, the Baptist who compared himself to the role of the best man in the wedding. He said, “ He should increase and I should decrease. It meant not just the prominence of Jesus should increase vis -a -vis John but that the character of Jesus should increase in us and our own egos, pride, desires, ambitions should decrease and eventually die, the love for Jesus and of Jesus should increase and our love for ourselves and the world should decrease. The measure of the grace and truth of Jesus increases in us to the proportion that sin, self, lust, pride, ego, conceit, ambition in us decreases. We cannot pour anything into a cup that is full. Hence, we should be constantly emptying ourselves so that the Lord fills it with the outpouring of His spirit.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 11, 2017

Manifestation - A Cause for Reflection and Celebration

UV 2745/10000 Manifestation –A Cause for Reflection and Celebration
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1 v 1
One thinker had said it is impossible to define God. But Jesus is defined or identified by John as the Word who was with God and was the same as God. The Father defined Himself as “I am who I am.” One of the implications is that God can and does manifest Himself as the need arises or in accordance with His sovereign will. He manifested Himself to the nascent Israelite nation in the desert as a cloud by day and a fire by night which implies He covers the entire range of options to manifest His being from cool to red hot, from the soft vapour of a cloud to the fiery flames of the fire. Even today, in a twenty four hour walk with God, we can experience a soft and gentle manifestation of His presence or a fierce and powerful manifestation. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune God is defined as the Comforter and Remembrancer. He is also the Enabler. He enables us to remember and understand and apply the Word in the context of our world.
Jesus also described Himself in seven different ways: the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Resurrection, the Good Shepherd, the True Vine, the Door, the Bread of Life, the Light of the world. He is certainly the most enigmatic personality of history for He is both Lamb of God and Lion, sacrificial lamb and Almighty Shepherd, Judge and Saviour, all conquering hero and gentle Messiah. He deliberately did not define that He is the way to a particular goal. He left it open ended. It implies that He is the way to God, salvation, joy, victory, service, liberty, truth, healing, deliverance, blessing, forgiveness, power, wisdom, grace and mercy. In all these much needed dimensions of life, He is the Word of truth, judgement, healing, deliverance, eternal life, wisdom, blessing, provision, promotion, protection, restoration, guidance, correction, hope, fulfilment, vindication, upliftment, enablement, conviction, empowerment, encouragement. He is the cause and source of the beginning, sustenance, continuity and fulfilment of life.

Jesus is the Word that was, that is and is to be. All time or all tenses converge in Him. History finds its focal point in Him. He is also described as the Lord Amen in the book of Revelation or the One who causes all prayers to be heard and answered. The versatile manifestations of the Lord means that our relationship with Him has many dynamics. Every day with Jesus is different, every experience and testimony or encounter of His manifestation. Every time and every way He manifests Himself in our lives, we need to genuflect, reflect and celebrate. It is our “ Emmaus moment” to discover another hitherto unknown or unrecognized aspect, another appearance or manifestation of Jesus in our lives.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Hidden Manna- the Key to Overcoming

UV 2744/10000 The Hidden Manna- the Key to Overcoming
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Revelation 2 v 17
Man is created to be the crowning glory of creation. But the crown of glory awaits us only at the end of our lives on earth. Science is gradually coming to the conclusion that the earth itself is unique in all of the universe out of zillions of planets that do not have the fifty odd conditions to support life in any form. The name “Earth” itself echoes the means by which we can realize our destiny to be the “crowning glory”- Ear plus th, meaning hear with our ear(s) and then to think, to think, to be and not to be certain things, to do and not to do what is written but hidden in the revealed Word of God and to so overcome. Manna was God-provided food for the Israelites in the desert of affliction and temptation to turn back. It spoilt overnight. The hidden manna is God –provided food for our souls in the desert that this world represents. The world is seen as a desert as though there is plenty of physical food, spiritual food is scarce. The hidden truths in the Word will keep us from chasing mirages or illusions in this desert world. It will never spoil and lasts forever. It will never be in short supply. We need to consider the word as the hidden manna that tastes like the finest of honey and makes us privy to the very imperishable wisdom of God and not that of man which is like folly that perishes. We need to eat regularly and as frequently as we can of this “hidden manna”. We derive strength, wisdom, knowledge of God and His anointed Saviour and Son, energy, power, grace, mercy and hope from the insights hidden in the word. The Word keeps us from blunders and opens our inner eyes to the wonders of the Lord.
Once we are strengthened, equipped, armed, enabled, empowered by the Word to overcome the world and its varied distractions, disturbances, opposition, discouragement, obstacles, challenges, temptations, trials, we are given the white stone, symbolising a trophy of victory given by the Lord. We are endowed with both purity as signified by ‘white’ and strength to endure signified by ‘stone’. We are given a new identity signified by the new name the Lord writes on the white stone.
Suffice it to say that we need to perk up our ears to hear the Lord, to be able to distinguish His voice from our own and that of the world and of others. We need to mine the wisdom of His Word. We need to ingest it, digest it, delight in it and assimilate it like necessary food. The new name that the Lord gives us will be our new identity as a new born creature. It will be deep, personal and known only to us and the Lord. The words “We shall overcome” in the song that by that name means that you and I can overcome with the help of the Trinitarian God, through our intimacy with Him. Our personal relationship with the Lord is our crowning glory that declares us victors and overcomers in this world and prepares us to taste of the fruit of the tree of eternal life. The hidden manna, hidden from the world but revealed to us is a foretaste of eternal life. It is both the appetiser and the main course. The world knows us by our old identity but the Lord knows us by our new, personal and secret identity.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Piece of the Re-built Temple

UV 2743/10000 A Piece of the Re-built Temple
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
John 2 v 19
Jesus allowed His own body, the very temple of God where He dwells in fullness of grace and truth to be destroyed and mutilated. He submitted Himself to this destructive act, knowing full well that by it a new and living temple would be built consisting of all who believe in the redeeming power of His act of love for all mankind. He willingly submitted Himself to all that evil can pile on Him and then proved to many eyewitnesses that He overcame death, destruction and judgement. He then began the historic mission of re-building the living Temple in place of the inanimate temple made with human hands. He did this to make each of us a piece of the living Temple, a piece of the Kingdom of God and a piece of heaven. Other earthly priests and kings need a physical paraphernalia like physical robes, rituals, ceremonies, thrones, crowns, palaces, armies to prove they are priests or kings but Jesus divested Himself of all physical manifestations. We are not confined or limited by physical location or restraints or protocols. As part of the living temple, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven, we can be natural, spontaneous and supernatural at the same time. In short, we enjoy a great deal of spiritual freedom.
As a piece of the living Temple, the believer in Jesus and His act of love experiences holiness without which no man can approach or come near the Lord. As a piece of the Kingdom of God, the believer both is ruled by the Lord and rules in His name. He experiences power and grace of the one true, glorious and perfect King sent by God. As a piece of heaven or the Kingdom of heaven, we experience righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We are a finished work in that sense but the mystery is that we are also a work in progress. Jesus is building us into the new Temple, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven. It will be completed or perfected only in eternity. He is the Capstone and cornerstone of the Temple, Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven. As long as we are continually connected with the capstone, the cornerstone – the Christ or Anointed One to save and to re-build us according to the architectural plan of the Lord, we are involved in re-building. The piece is like the whole as in a holographic structure. Individually and collectively, we are the temple, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus said that He would raise up His body, the symbol and perfection of the Temple, the Kingdom of God on earth, the Kingdom of heaven on earth, in three days. He used His spiritual authority to command His body to be resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we experience resurrection power through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our task of building the temple, the Kingdom of God on earth and the Kingdom of heaven on earth. Like Jesus, we need to die to or to destroy our old self with its lusts and ego and re-build the new self re-cast in the image of Christ and full of the fruit of the spirit of love, joy and peace. We are part of the process and being part of the process is progress. The piece is like the whole as in a holographic structure. Individually and collectively, we are the temple, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Spiritual Yardsticks to Evaluate Character

UV 2741/10000 Spiritual Yardsticks to Evaluate Character
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Psalm 86 v 15
The Lord is slow to anger and quick to forgive, slow to punish and quick to reward. This is the trait of great leadership. He is able to swiftly execute punishment or to vent His anger but He holds Himself back. He restrains Himself. Instead, He delights in showing mercy to those who truly repent and do not take His righteousness or His power to punish for granted. He is ever gracious and full of compassion. These are the precise traits that Jesus demonstrated during His walk on earth. He forgave freely the woman who was being stoned to death for immorality according to the law given through Moses. He has the power to judge her and He alone having not sinned could be her righteous judge, yet He chose to forgive her, saying , “ Go and sin no more.” In so doing He showed mercy without compromising with the truth of the need to be moral and faithful in one’s private life. Through these qualities, He proved that He is one with the Father. We too if we are to show we are one with the Father and the Son Jesus, need to be slow to anger and quick to forgive.
Personal knowledge and experience of the character of God in our lives leaves us no excuse to remain unchanged and uninfluenced by the example of Jesus. If we call God our Father, we should be like Him and His son Jesus. We ought to be gracious in all our ways and not proud, arrogant, irritable, harsh and selfish. St James exhorts us to “be slow to speak and quick to listen.” We need to consider the needs of others and be sensitive to their feelings. We should be willing to extend to them the same extent of mercy or forgiveness and compassion that the Lord has shown to us. We need to be patient and self controlled and not giving in to fits of rage.
We need to daily measure ourselves against these divine yardsticks or measuring rods- of whether we are compassionate, patient, self controlled, forgiving, gracious and truthful. As we find ourselves falling short of the standards of the Lord, we must ask Him to give us the grace to fill the gaps in our character with regard to these traits. If we can increase degree by degree, day by day in these attitudes and traits, the grace and glory of the Lord will shine through our lives.
Prateep V Philip

Friday, August 4, 2017

Zero Rejection Rate

UV 2740/10000 Zero Rejection Rate
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6 v 37

Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” It implied that many are called to have a deep and personal relationship with the Father through the Son but few respond. But those who respond to the call of Jesus are never rejected. Therefore, if we are never rejected by the Prince of Peace, the Lion of Zion, the Lamb of God, the Lord Amen, the Lord Adonai, the Mighty God, the Wonderful Counsellor, we have no reason ever to be dejected. There is a zero rejection rate for those who are so called and who obey the call. Hence, we should also have a zero dejection rate in our lives. This should also produce a deep and unshakeable sense of security, confidence, courage, reverence, wisdom, strength, hope and compassion in us.

We are chosen by the Father who weighs our hearts and discerns our longing for the most valuable thing of all- eternal life at His right hand or eternal life by His favour and grace. We are chosen and then sealed with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity so that our spirits are united and one with the Family of God. The Head of the Family, the Father provides all our need, physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual. He protects us and promotes us. The Son makes our sacrifices, praise and prayer acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. We do everything that lies with us to conform to the image of Christ in us so that the external agrees with the internal.

The total and unconditional acceptance of us by the Lord is our chief comfort, strength and security. But this should not lead us into spiritual or moral or intellectual complacency. Rather, we should cooperate more and more with the Holy Spirit in accelerating the growth of both the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in our lives. There is only one path that we can take the straight and narrow path of Jesus. We are to sustain ourselves spiritually by eating His words of eternal life and emulating His example. If we do these things, none shall be able to pluck us out of His hands for the Father with us is greater than all the opposing forces and agencies that aim for our eternal destruction.
Prateep V Philip

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Level Ground Leadership

UV 2739/10000 Level Ground Leadership
Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness
Psalm 143 v 10

The ground we walk on determines the quality of our walk. The fool treads on sinking ground, the ignorant as well as the wicked on shaking ground, the wise on high ground, the faithful on holy ground. The godly walk on level ground. Level ground leadership is what the Lord provides to His flock. Level ground is the land of uprightness, integrity and righteousness. When we declare to God that He is our God, we enter into a personal relationship with the Father. We become God-fearing and Christ-loving. His good, holy, truthful and gentle Spirit will lead us onto level ground so that we do not stumble or twist our ankles.

Level ground leadership implies that the Lord keeps us from stepping on the precipices of moral failure from which we will find it difficult to recover. He will teach us the art of decision making such that our choices and decisions are in alignment not only with our long term interest but the eternal will of the Father. Level ground leadership implies that the Lord will keep us from both pride and lust that corrupts the image and soul of leaders right through history. Level ground leadership happens when we are both able and stable. We do not act inconsistent with the beliefs and principles that we have been taught by the Lord and that we hold dearer than life itself.
The Lord directs the steps of the righteous. The Holy Spirit will whisper in our ears- take this step or go in that direction. Level ground leadership means that not only should we commit to learn what is the will of the Lord and do it but we need to be sensitive to hear His word and His voice and obey it. Even if we stumble or make mistakes at times, the Lord will restore us to our feet. Not only do we learn from the Lord, we lean on Him for strength, power and grace to follow His steps, the path that He indicates to us. Like a leech sticks to a man’s skin, we need to stick to the Lord and draw strength, wisdom and grace from Him. Like salt removes a leech from our skin, the Word must be used to remove sin and unrighteousness from our lives. Level ground leadership requires that our dependency on the Lord should be total and complete. Our obedience needs to be total and complete, not omitting even the details of what He asks us to do. If He asks us to speak to the rock, we should speak and not strike the rock. Our means are as important as the ends. The Lord justifies or sets right our means and our ends.
Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Being a God-Pleaser

UV 2738/10000 Being a God-Pleaser
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
I Thessalonians 4 v 1

We are called to be God-pleasers not man-pleasers. We please God when we think His thoughts or in other words, seek diligently God in and through the study of His word. We please God when we do His perfect will, when we yield ourselves to Him for correction. We please God when we increase in our knowledge of Him and do not allow that knowledge to be barren or fruitless. The fact that we know Him should be practically manifested in our life’s choices, our relationships, our work life, our thought life, our character, our conversation or communication. We please God when we communicate or share His love with others around us. We please God with the expansion and expression of our faith even as our knowledge of Him increases.
We please God when we prefer wisdom to wealth and fame. We please God when we obey Him and remain faithful even in the details of our lives. We please God with our attitudes of humility, thankfulness and reverence. We please God when we consciously attempt to imitate His Son and our Saviour Jesus. We please God when we do not judge others and extend grace and mercy on our part to others. We please God when we strive for excellence in all things we do. We please God by ingraining discipline, determination and dedication into all of our efforts. We please the Lord by purifying our thoughts, words, the motives for our actions and our reactions.
The uni-verse exhorts us not to stop with just what we have been this far or have been doing this far but to “abound” even more than before in our love for God, in our desire or zeal to please Him. The amazing thing is that God is not fastidious or difficult to please. He rejoices in the little aspects of the expression of our faith and our intimacy with Him. It is not all the activities or things that we have done in His name but it is the state of our hearts that pleases Him. He does not recall all the things we have done in the past that displeases Him. It is not what is done or not done that pleases Him but the spirit or attitude with which we dedicate ourselves to Him. It pleases Him when we always return to our first love for Him. He understands our excitement and passion and is excited along with us.
Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Wine In New Bottles

UV 2737/10000 New Wine in New Bottles
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever
I Peter 1 v 23
That which is born of perishable seed will perish while that which is born of the imperishable seed will live forever. We who are born of the perishable seed have the opportunity in Christ, the Seed of God, to be born again of the imperishable seed, the eternal Word. This is why St Paul describes the believer in Christ as a new born creature, the old has passed away, the new has come. The old values have passed away, the new has come. The old hopelessness is replaced by new faith and hope. The old goals have perished, the new ones have taken their place. The old attitudes have passed away, the new has come. The old actions and reactions have passed away, the new ones born out of the imperishable seed, the word of God, have come. The old emotions have passed away, the new have taken their place.
The perishable is born out of untruth while the imperishable is born out of the truth. When we believe and hold the words of eternal life spoken by Jesus, we are destined to live forever. The outer shell of our lives, our bodies and minds will perish while the spirit that is revived in us will dwell with the Lord forever. Without belief in the Word, we are but the grass that perishes and the flowers that fade. But with belief in Jesus, we are cross pollinated with the seed of eternal life and we become instead like the cedars of Lebanon, the poplar trees that grow by the streams. The Lord has breathed new life in us so that we become like new wine in new bottles, not old wine in a new bottle. We are born again by the word and by the Spirit.

The change due to belief in Jesus is not superficial but supernatural, not physical but spiritual. The first effect of being born again in Christ is the change or transformation of our perspectives and values. What is chaff to the grain? Our old values, our former thoughts and ideas are like the chaff is to the grain. This is the reason that St Paul wrote that what he thought formerly to be valuable had become virtual garbage and refuse to him. Even the things that we valued formerly, like the gold and silver of this world will fade away and perish. But the new gold is our faith, the new silver are the words we think and speak by faith. We are born again not by the will of man or by mere chance or accident but by the will of the Father. We are the first fruit of His creation. We are the new creation, begotten by faith, not made. Our focus is on the incorruptible, the eternal, the higher things of the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Lighter Yoke

UV 2736/10000 The Lighter Yoke
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Matthew 11 v 29
A heavy yoke is used for ploughing hard and dry ground. But when we give our hearts to Jesus, a light yoke is enough to plant the good seed in the smaller moist furrows of our hearts, minds and souls. The lighter yoke that Jesus offers us is the yoke of the fear of God. It is much lighter and burdensome than the yoke of the fear of man, fear of evil, fear of death, fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of the future. The yoke of Jesus is the yoke of love or a deep and personal relationship with the Lord God Himself. All our earthly burdens will feel lighter as the Lord Himself lifts our burdens from our shoulders and off our minds. The yoke that is heavy and burdensome is to try to obtain our own salvation by our own efforts. The heavy yoke of this world are the sorrows and stress of a life without the help of the Creator-Redeemer. The lighter yoke is that Jesus Himself took the heavy burden or responsibility for bearing the consequences of sin upon Himself. We need not struggle with God and ourselves hereafter. The yoke that Jesus offers His followers is the yoke of wisdom. Wisdom is supernatural decisional intelligence that enables us to avoid the wrong choices that we are prone to as the physical descendants of Adam and Eve and to make the right choices as the spiritual descendants of Jesus. The yoke that Jesus gives us is the anointing of the Holy Spirit who inspires, guides, goads, informs, corrects, encourages, comforts, gifts us, builds us, empowers and enables us. The yoke of Jesus are the godly principles He taught us for in remembering, observing and keeping these we build our lives on an unshakeable rock foundation. If the foundation is rock , the load factor or the burden of the building of our lives will never come crashing down on account of overloading. The yoke that He gives us is the fellowship we have with Him and the fellowship of fellow believers in His name.

The yoke that Jesus offers us is that of learning from a real, living and perfect person- He Himself. We do not have the wearisome task of learning from books, from theories or through trial and error that often turns out to be ‘trial and terror’. The yoke that Jesus offers us is to be fruitful or productive in terms of our character and our qualities and not in terms of external or extraneous goals like worldly goods and wealth. The primary qualities of Jesus that we need to model on and emulate are His meekness and gentleness despite having all the armies of heaven, the chariots of fire at His beck and call any time. He did not rely on power but on love and meekness to touch and transform human lives.

The rest, relief, release, healing and renewal we receive by accepting the yoke of Jesus is not just for our bodies or minds but for our souls and spirits. We experience inner strength, vision, healing, deliverance, restoration, revival, transformation of both our character, our perspectives and our destiny. We will run and not get tired as the more we run for the Lord, the more energy and strength we derive from Him. We will rise on the wings of prayer and the Word to the very throne room of heaven. We will begin to realize that no task is too difficult, no difficulty will be too unbearable, no barrier will be insurmountable.
Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Casting off the Veils

UV 2735/10000 Casting off the Veils
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3 v 18
There are many veils covering our spiritual eyes or blinding our inner vision. This is the reason that Jesus described the world as “the blind leading the blind.” These veils keep us from perceiving the presence, the power and the glory of the Lord. God the Father made man in the image of Christ at the beginning of time. But man chose to separate Himself from God by his acts of omission and commission. Man departed from the perfect model on which basis he was created. When Jesus died on the cross the veil of the Temple that separated the altar from the rest of the temple was torn from top to bottom, indicating that God Himself had torn the veil that separated mankind from Him. The veils that separate us from the Lord are our sins, our pride, our lusts, our self deception, our ignorance, our traditions, our past conditioning that limits our faith, our desire to please people, our belief in our own limited knowledge, understanding and wisdom, our lack of sincerity and willingness to compromise with the world.. We can throw off all these blinkers and enjoy full 20/20 vision that enables us to gaze into eternity. We are now being restored like works of art that have been damaged back to the pristine glory of the original- the image of Christ.

The blinded mind of man cannot know what it cannot see. With our human nature, we cannot perceive the Lord face to face but we can see His perfect image in the mirror of His word. We see the perfect image of the Father in His Son Jesus and we see the perfect image of Jesus in the word . We are not to conform to the patterns of the world but conform to the patterns of the word. We are to conform to the image of Christ. We discern His character, we understand the depth and other dimensions of His love, power and grace by studying the word and applying it to our lives. The law given through Moses subjected people to judgement and death. Yet, it was a glorious leap forward for mankind to have received the ten commandments through Moses. But it is much more glorious to perceive Christ in the word and to become like Him, degree by degree, little by little, day by day, moment by moment. Instead of the letter of the law that sears our conscience with guilt since we fall short of it by any measure, we now have the spirit of liberty that sets us free from all guilt and condemnation. The Spirit convinces us of the truth of the word and convicts us of salvation. A believer can never be set in his ways. He has to be always learning, always growing, always changing for the better.

Transformation is conforming to the perfect image of Jesus by obeying, practicing, applying the truths hidden in the word but revealed by the Holy Spirit. The transformation does not happen overnight but it is a lifelong daily process of imbibing the word and removing all the veils that hide the invisible image of Christ from our vision. We are to conform to the new patterns revealed in the word: new patterns of thinking, feelings, speech, priorities, goals, plans, actions, reactions and relationships. As we do so, with such unveiled or open vision, we experience both the liberty and the effulgent or fullness of glory of the presence and the power of the Lord at work in our life’s patterns and experiences. When we are fully restored, we become like the first born Jesus, brothers and sisters of the same family with the same spiritual, emotional and intellectual DNA.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Cost of Belief

UV 2735/10000 The Cost of Belief
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake
Philippians 1 v 29

Believers in Christ should not only enjoy the benefits or multitude of blessings of such faith but be prepared to pay the cost of belief- suffering. Jesus said, “"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” We are building a temple for the Lord with our lives. We need to know how much it will cost us and be prepared to pay it. Many believers right through the centuries from the first century of the Lord’s coming have suffered the cost of being put to death. We need not be surprised that believers in Jesus continue to be the most persecuted world-wide and through the ages though they are gentle and aim for resurrection, not insurrection.
No one is greater than their leader. When our leader Jesus Himself suffered all types of “costs”- shame, pain, agony, loneliness, betrayal, desertion, death, we too are liable to suffer. Only when we are partakers of His suffering, can we also partake in His glory- the resurrection from the dead, to be seated at the right hand of the throne of the Father, to dwell in the mansion built by the Father forever, to receive the crown of righteousness that never fades. When the mother of two disciples asked Jesus if her two sons would be seated next to Him, He asked if they are prepared to drink the cup of suffering that He was soon to drink from. This perspective does not however mean that we invite suffering or that we do nothing to alleviate or pre-empt suffering but it means a willing submission to suffering that is inevitable and God-willed or allowed. The willingness to suffer for one’s belief in Jesus is often the test of the genuineness of our faith and it is also of immense evidentiary or testimonial value to touch the hearts and lives of others who hear of our attitude and response when subjected to suffering.
The difference between the Old covenant believers and the new covenant believers are that the latter do not complain about their suffering for the cause of their faith while the former complained, grumbled, murmured, rebelled in the wilderness about their suffering in the wilderness. The difference between the stoic or the philosophical and the new covenant believer are that the stoic do not complain about earthly hardship or suffering, face it with equanimity while the believer in Jesus accept it both willingly and gladly. The vision of heaven that Stephen received at the time of his being stoned to death by a crowd, that included a man who was soon to be St Paul, filled him with an inexplicable hope and joy. It is hope that fills us with joy and not the other way round as the world sees it that joy fills us with hope.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Multicoloured Favour of the Lord

UV 2734/10000 The Multi-coloured Favour of the Lord
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Genesis 37 v 3
Joseph was the favourite of his father, Jacob. But the favour of the father imperilled his life while the favour of the Lord lifted him out of one crisis to another. The favour of his earthly father was vested in a token symbol- a multi-coloured coat while the favour of the heavenly Father put his star in the ascendant, a rainbow in the sky of seven colours as a sign of the Father’s covenant with all who trusted in Him. The rainbow is a natural sign of supernatural favour. Man’s favour can be taken away while the favour of the Lord rescues, establishes, exalts us. We should not therefore prefer the man-made multi-colour coat over the covenant relationship we have with the heavenly Father through His Son Jesus. The torn, blood soaked multi-coloured coat of Joseph's staged death is a symbol of our own robes of salvation washed in the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus.
The favour of his father almost destroyed the hope and future of Joseph while the grace of the Lord redeemed him from threats to his life, slavery, false accusation, captivity in prison, from anonymity and mediocrity. Likewise, the grace of our Father will redeem us in the many seasons and experiences of our lifetime. Joseph could fulfil the meaning of his name , “ He will add” as he was grafted onto the branch of the Saviour and Redeemer. The enemy took away his freedom, his father’s love, his home, his comforts, his rights while the Father restored him. The Father added whatever he had lost many times over in terms of his possessions, family ties, wisdom, influence. His earthly father tried to make him look different or distinguished by gifting him a multi-coloured coat that evoked insecurity and jealousy among his brothers while the heavenly Father gifted him a colourful life that inspires people with faith and hope to this day.
The Father gave up His only beloved Son Jesus for a time in order that He may share His love with all. He draws all people into the covenant relationship with Him and sets the rainbow as the multi-coloured symbol of His favour upon our lives. The enemy subtracts like Joseph’s brothers from our lives but the Lord adds and multiplies our faith, our blessings, our wisdom, our influence and impact. In nature, we usually see a rainbow after some rain but the supernatural rainbow of the love and favour of the Lord is seen in our lives in the early rain, the seasonal rain and the latter rain. The rainbow always points upwards. It implies that whatever is added or removed from our lives, we need to attribute all glory, praise and thanks upwards to the Lord. Like Job, we need to acknowledge faithfully when He gives as well as when He takes.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Best Mediator

UV 2732/10000 The Best Mediator
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Hebrews 8 v 6

Just as Moses was the mediator between God and the nation of Israel, Jesus is the mediator between God and mankind. The reason that we need a mediator or a Saviour to stand in our place is that there can be no negotiation between holiness and unholiness, between righteousness and unrighteousness. Even the most righteous of us have traces of unrighteousness in us that make us unacceptable in the presence of the Most Holy or absolutely holy God. Moses then was a freedom fighter for the Jews while Jesus is the freedom fighter for all mankind. Moses fought Egypt’s might under Pharaoh on behalf of the generationally enslaved Jews. He stood in the place of God before Pharaoh and invoked the authority and judgement of God. He stood between Israel and the anger of God when the former sinned provocatively making a golden calf to worship. Moses was an imperfect mediator for he had human failings and he himself provoked God to anger on some occasions. He had little control of his anger and as a young man, he smote an Egyptian in anger for oppressing a fellow Jew. He even hesitated to obey the call of the Lord to lead the freedom struggle of the Jews. He struck the rock for water instead of speaking to it while in the wilderness, disobeying the voice of the Lord.

Jesus is the perfect mediator in contrast to Moses. The parallels are there in their ministry right from the time of birth. Both were under the threat of death by state power at the time of their birth. Their births were accompanied by the genocide of Hebrew infants. Moses brought down the stone tablets given by the Lord from Mount Sinai. The ten commandments and the basis of human law across the globe is largely based on these commandments. But the observance and the obedience to these laws given by Jehovah was imperfect and incomplete. A greater mediator and a better one was needed. He Himself is the Word or the command and promise of the Lord. He is to write the laws of God on the tablet of our hearts and minds. He did not strike any rock for He Himself is the Rock, the source of strength, the strong unshakeable foundation of a life of faith and love. He did not strike the ground with a staff to execute miracles but He just spoke and the needed miracle of salvation, healing, deliverance happened. He ministered to all He encountered or who sought His help to overcome disease, challenges, difficulties. He forgave people and set them free from sin. In His willing submission to an unjust death, He promised salvation and resurrection to all who believed and obeyed His call. He laid His body down as a bridge across the eternal chasm separating man and God. Moses was asked to remove his sandals as he stepped on Sinai as it was holy ground, ground hallowed by the presence of God. Today, every step we take we are standing and walking on holy ground. We are set free from the ruler of this world, set free from the bondages of sin, death, disease, curses, fear, darkness, spiritual oppression.
Today, we have a ministry that is better, more excellent, more effective, purposeful and impactful than the ministry under the old covenant. Each of us can stand in the gap between God and man. We are not ourselves mediators but in the name of the Mediator Jesus we can take up the case of other people, we can intercede. For our own need of salvation, enablement, healing and deliverance, Jesus is our Advocate and Intercessor. We are no longer part of the problem but part of the solution, no longer part of the darkness but part of the light.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Marks of Maturity

UV 2731/10000 The Marks of Maturity
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
2 Timothy 3 v 10

Paul writing a letter to Timothy, bishop of the early church and his mentee, emphasizes that he had known doctrinal truth, lifestyle, purpose, extent of faith, patience, endurance and love of people as lived by Paul. These are the basic traits of a testimonial life. We should learn sound doctrinal truth not as traditions practiced by people but as taught by the Lord Himself and practiced by the early church fathers. Like St Luke and Paul, we too should have a full understanding of the basic doctrinal truths. These truths are meant to perfect us and make us mature followers of Jesus, not someone who can be pushed over easily by the enemy or deceived by his agents on earth. Our lives should mirror the truths we have learnt in the Word. We should not only be continually hearing and learning the truths but continually examining ourselves, applying and correcting ourselves in the light of these doctrinal truths.

We must be people not driven by our personal ambitions but by our sense of purpose and dedication to the Lord. We do all things for the glory of the Lord and for dispensing hope to all mankind. We need to pray globally and act locally to improve things around us. Our faith will be strengthened as we increase in our knowledge of the Lord and our application of it in the experiences we encounter in the course of our lives. We need to be prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually to endure much hardship and suffering as we live by faith.
The uni-verse also exhorts us to be full of love and compassion for others. As Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “love is patient and kind.” We need to be patient and kind to others even as we are exacting and demanding of our own selves. When all these marks of the apostle St Paul are in us, we too will be mature and effective in our faith and in the practical outworking or expression of our faith. Many of these traits are a result or fruit of the joint responsibility of the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our own response, sincere and committed to allow or welcome the change He brings in us as we follow Jesus.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The DNA of Jesus

UV 2730/10000 The DNA of Jesus
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust
2 Peter 1 v 4
We must be first partakers of the DNA(divine nature) of Jesus before we can be propagators of His divine nature. The invaluable and imagination-exceeding, need-fulfilling, awesome promises of the Lord are not meant primarily that we be blessed abundantly in this life but that we share in the divine nature of Jesus. He walked in the flesh on the earth without yielding to the lusts of the flesh or of the mind. Likewise, we too are to walk in the flesh without yielding to the lusts of the flesh or of the mind. We are in the world but of the Lord. The purpose of the ten thousand amazing wonder-working promises of the Lord are intended to keep us sailing like a ship on the surface of the sea of sin without going into or under it. We are to desalinate the sea water to make it fit for human spiritual consumption by means of the Word.
The DNA of Jesus implies that we should be saturated with the Word and the Spirit who interprets it to our spirits and minds. The DNA of Jesus implies that we should grow and be filled with the spiritual fruit of His nature of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. These nine fruit cover the entire gamut of spiritual values that constitute divine nature. Everything we think, speak and do should increasingly reflect these qualities of Jesus. Believers are experts in claiming scriptural promises to obtain healing, gifts, increase in income, solutions to marital and familial problems, deliverance from enemies, success and other benefits. But disciples of Jesus claim these very same promises primarily to obtain the DNA of Jesus. First, His nature in us, then only His benefits, His gifts, power and authority. We need to seek first His DNA and all the other things that the Lord decides we need will be added unto us, into us or onto us. In order for this to happen we need to diligently study the promises, understand its spiritual purpose and claim it to transplant the DNA of Jesus.

Our calling is to be servants not of the inherent corruption of this world but servants of righteousness. A servant obeys the commands of the master and then obtains the reward. Every promise of the Lord has a corresponding command, a principle to follow, to adopt, to practice in our lives. We need to understand these principles and follow it practically in our lives. We will then be transformed from being mere believers to faithful followers, from followers to disciples, from inconsistent disciples to consistent evangelists who live, breathe and walk the way of the Word. From partakers of the divine nature of Jesus, we become propagators of His DNA. From being consumers of blessings we become producers of blessings and blessings in ourselves. We become faith multipliers. Only when the arrow head is added to the shaft it becomes an effective and powerful arrow or it is only a shaft. When we partake of the DNA of Jesus, we become arrows in the quiver of the Lord.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 24, 2017

Being Battle Fit

UV 2729/10000 Being Battle Fit
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness
Ephesians 6 v 14

Nations are zealous to protect every square inch of their sovereign territory. We too should be zealous to guard every square inch of spiritual territory over which the Lord has given us authority. Just yesterday, I heard a telecast of a four star Chinese general saying, “ The Chinese army is not to be taken lightly and it can move even a mountain” in the context of the standoff between India and China at a border post. Coincidentally and ironically, Jesus also stated that the army of the faithful can move spiritual mountains. The uni-verse states that in order to be successful in our spiritual battles, there are some precautions and preconditions. Instead of merely belting out the truth, we are exhorted to be girded with truth. Everything should be under girded by the truth. We are to be surrounded in 360 degrees with the truths hidden in the Word of God that applies to every aspect of our belief, speech, thought, action and reaction. Not only should we be under girded and surrounded, but like a belt the truth should be worn close to our bodies. It should be visible and should be a perfect fit to hold all the parts of our spiritual armour in place like a girdle. A belt is useless unless it is used. It is not meant to whip others but to be used everyday by us for our own security. The truths learnt from the Word are meant to be applied in practical ways to guide our decisions and behaviour.

Our best defence is our faith in the righteousness of Christ with which we are covered. Death could not hold Jesus prisoner forever as He is absolutely righteous. Even the accumulated sins of humanity could not weigh Him down. As the Vicar of our souls, He has lent us His absolute righteousness. Under that impenetrable armour of righteousness, we need to wear a clean tunic, implying that we should live our lives as close to the righteous image of Christ as possible. Hence, both our faith and our actions or works count in order to be effective soldiers of Christ though faith alone is enough for salvation. The armour should fit us not too tightly or too lose but be a perfect fit for our lives. It should not be too heavy and unwieldy. We do not wear a back piece as the Lord covers our back and our past.

The breastplate is one of the most vital pieces of body armour as it covers the heart. Any injury affecting the heart could be fatal. Hence, we need to preserve our hearts with an impenetrable covering or shield of righteousness. We cannot afford to have any chinks or flaws in this part of our spiritual armour. The breastplate needs to fit in exactly into the girdle or belt. The principles we learn from the Word together hold in place our life guard – the breastplate of righteousness. We need to keep the breastplate shining, strong and rust free by the oil of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. At all times, we should realize that salvation is not earned by our righteousness but it is a righteousness shared by Christ through our faith and His grace. Below the hard, shining armour, our hearts of flesh need to continue to beat to the rhythm of the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness and self control where self control is defined as yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit. Wearing the different defensive pieces of our spiritual armour, we need to stand in battle position, alert and watchful or prayerful. Body armour will not prevent us from attacks or assaults of the enemy and his agents but it will preserve us from fatal blows and reduce the extent of our vulnerability to temptation, injury and harm.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Living in Full Favour

UV 2728/10000 Living in Full Favour
Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD
Ezekiel 39 v 29

The Lord hid His face from man since the time he first sinned. He revealed Himself from time to time through His servants, the prophets and His Word. But the full revelation of His face came in and through His Son Jesus, sent to His people Israel. But since the house of Israel rejected Jesus, the gospel spread across the globe to all nations. Today, the time has come when the Lord will pour out His spirit of grace and supplications on Israel so that the Jews will recognize what their forefathers had done in crucifying Jesus, the Messiah. They will mourn for Him as if for their own first born.
We need to pray that the revelation and conviction of the people of Israel happens in the Lord’s time. It is the ultimate blessing of Zion upon the Jewish people. Jesus spoke of tearing down the temple of Solomon as He wanted the Jews to understand that the Lord will not dwell in a man-made temple but in the bodies of people consecrated in His name to the Lord. Even the prophet Elijah could not perceive the face of the Lord in His encounter with Him on the mountains. Moses however spoke face to face with Jehovah. It did not mean that Moses saw the face of the Lord but that he was covered by the shekinah or supernatural grace and glory of the Lord. When the people of Israel recognize their king and Messiah in Jesus, they would have an even closer relationship with the Lord. Their struggles with God would end and they would truly be the people of Zion.

Jacob, who was given the name Israel by Jehovah tried to get ahead of his brother Esau from the time of his birth. He tried to deceive his brother and had to flee from his home. Jacob struggled with the Lord when all He had to do was to yield to Him. When we are only to remain still and yield, we wrestle with the Lord. Most of our struggles in life are due to our resistance to the spirit of the Lord. We try to get ahead in life by sleight, by deception, by distrusting the will of the Lord and try to take matters into our own hands. We trust our own limited knowledge and wisdom and distrust the complete knowledge and wisdom of the Lord. These are the times when the Lord hides His face from us. If we surrender to His will in trusting submission, we would be spared of much of the pain, trouble, stress and strain. The Lord will reveal His face to us in the sense, we will understand our purpose in life. We will be content to walk in accordance with the plan of the Lord for us. We will not try to get ahead by hook or by crook. Revealing His face to us is showing favour upon our lives. The ultimate sign of His favour is pouring His spirit upon us, the spirit of gentleness, wisdom, grace and power.
Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Peace Process

UV 2727/10000 The Peace Process
The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
Zephaniah 3 v 15
A man is not aware of his snoring except he wakes up before the sound dies out. Likewise, a man is not aware of sinning except he wakes up spiritually. In the course of our lifetime, we commit many wilful sins or acts that militate against the written and unwritten law placed in our hearts by the Spirit of God. But when we first believe and receive Jesus into our hearts, our slates are wiped clean, our judgements are “ taken away”, cancelled as it were. All judgements for our acts of omission and commission of all humanity, past, present and future, in spirit, mind and body were piled on the shoulders of our divine “scapegoat” or Lamb of God, Jesus on the cross. After our first confession of faith in the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Jesus, we still sin given our propensity to sin as we are creatures both of flesh and of spirit. Now, we have recourse to confession for individual sins and repentance. The first confession and repentance is generic, covering all of our past offences while the ongoing confession is for specific acts.
Freed from the consequences or the power of sin but not the presence of sin, we have a bright and blight-free future. The Lord has plans to prosper us, to cause us to succeed, to bless us with hope and a future in eternity. The enemy has plans and weapons to harm us, to rob us, to kill us, to destroy our hope and our future in eternity. Which of these plans succeed depends to a great degree on which plan we chose to implement in our lives. The enemy gets his power over our souls by reminding us of our sins that hold us in his captivity. But the Lord has cast the enemy out of our lives, he has no more power to harm us. The Lord not only has obtained victory for mankind once and for all, He continues to be with us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The king is in our midst. We need to combat the presence of sin with the presence of the king. This is why Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is in you and amongst you.”
The enemy has been dethroned from our hearts. Now it is the Lord who rules in us and rules the world through us. His kingdom has come to our hearts and lives. We need fear no evil any longer. We experience instead Shalom- the peace that passes human understanding and wisdom, the peace that surpasses anything the world can give us, the peace that signifies blessing, holistic prosperity and good success as well as continual joy. The success that the world can give us or the enemy can give people for mortgaging their souls to him is a pyrrhic victory- a victory that is disguised bitter failure and misery, a success whose cost is self destructive. It is the kind of success or glory that Jesus turned down when the enemy attempted to tempt Him in the wilderness.

Prateep v Philip

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Withered Hand

UV 2726/10000 The Withered Hand
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days
Matthew 12 v 12

This uni-verse is Jesus’s response to the insinuation of the Pharisees that He would be breaking the law by healing and restoring the withered right hand of a man on the Sabbath. Jesus compares His act of healing the man to what anyone would do to save a sheep that had fallen into a pit even on a Sabbath. It demonstrates the flexibility of Jesus on non essentials of faith. The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath implying the laws are made to facilitate man to be his better self walking in relationship with the Lord and that man was not to be rigid and unthinking or unfeeling in its application.

Jesus constantly compared the value of a man’s life with that of birds, animals and in this case, sheep. We are of far greater value in the kingdom of God than all of His other creatures. Even God’s law or His word will not stand in the way of our doing good to others. Jesus is asking us to honour the spirit of the law rather than its letter. The Word is meant to liberate us from restrictions, fears, inhibitions, limitations, artificial boundaries and man-made traditions and rites. The Word is meant to give us the abundant and eternal life and not to accuse us, to make us feel guilty, to humiliate us, to discredit us.
There is therefore, no law against spiritual, moral and personal excellence. The law is meant to define the bare minimum, the desideratum for civilized life but we are called to operate far above that level. The law tells us to avoid evil but the spirit asks us to abound with goodness. Jesus distinguished between the two and showed us that there is a vast difference between these. Man is not just a creature at the top of the food chain but a fallen angel, a heavenly being waiting to develop the wings of prayer and the word to fly back home. The restoration of the withered hand of the man by Jesus is a symbol of His grace, love and ability to restore that which is withered in our lives, to restore it to its pristine state. The hand that was restored was the right hand, signifying the restoration of that which is important and significant or that without which we cannot get on. The restored right hand of the man would enable him to work, to earn, to live with dignity. It would create the veritable and virtual ambience of a continual feast in his heart all his remaining living days as well as joy and wonder in the hearts and minds of all who knew him, his intimate circle as well as acquaintances. That act would bring much joy, praise and worship in the heart of the restored, the healed- more praise and worship than the entire ecclesiastical order of the world would ever bring to the altar of the Lord. That act of healing would bring glory to the Lord and peace and goodwill among men. Doing something of value to any one- anytime, anywhere by anybody is not going to violate any law of man or of God. Laws and rules are not to be made that would degrade human beings in comparison with other creatures. To dethrone man from the throne of the earth is to defy the One who sits on the throne of heaven.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Spirit Invested In Us

UV 2725/10000 The Spirit Invested in Us
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1 v 7

We do not accomplish anything worthwhile in our lives by human might or physical power but by the spirit that the Lord has invested in us. God has given us the spirit of faith, courage and hope. The spirit is invested or deposited in us. It is gifted or given by grace not earned or worked up. We are set free from the bondage of the fear of death in Christ, the Way, the Life and the Resurrection. The fear of death is the power by which the enemy of our souls controls mortal man. But when we are restored to a personal relationship with the Father through our faith in the Son, we receive the spirit of adoption by which we call Him, “Our Abba or Dear Father.” We are set free from the fear of “hamartia” or fear of falling short of the standards of holiness or perfection of the Father.
Our relationship with the Lord by faith and adoption or commitment fills us with power as we are now children of God with a right to the blessings of the first born. We are not lesser than anyone else in the sight of the Lord. We have the power to tread upon all the power of the enemy. We have the authority to command the powers of darkness to depart. The Holy Spirit comes upon us as a seal of approval and a guarantee of the promises of the Lord and we receive power over all that we were formerly subject to. We experience and comprehend the agape love of the Lord. To know Him more is to love Him more. To love Him more is to obey Him.
We also receive the power of self control in order to grow the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and to overcome the weeds sown in the flesh for example, pride, lust, anger, lack of contentment, anxiety and so on. The spirit of love, power and self control equips us to face and handle all situations and issues in our lives. Love, power and self control need to operate concurrently in our lives in order that we are found by the Lord to be effective, fruitful and faithful. We need to exercise power in a spirit of love and with a sound mind. A healthy spirit, a loving heart and a sound mind come together in us to create a sense of harmony and balance between all parts of our lives. If any action or word or thought of ours is not reflecting a blend of power, love and self control, it implies that we are ignoring the spirit the Lord has invested in us.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Ship Called Leadership

UV 2724/10000 The Ship Called Leadership
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
I Timothy 1 v 19
Paul draws the image of a faithful person as one who steers a ship called leadership. Faith is like holding the helm. A believer is a helmsman for the Lord as Noah was. He is to steer the ship over the ocean of life to the eternal destination, facing both good weather and stormy weather, calm seas and turbulence in the course of our lives, but always guided by the compass of the conscience. Writers like Stephen Covey refer to it as the moral compass and seeking the true North. But as believers the needle of our conscience that has been enlightened by the light of salvation and the word of truth needs to not only point us to the north but also away from the south- our negatives, our weaknesses, our temptations, our limitations, our failures.
Temptations are like the mirages that a desert traveller sees. These are the rocky shores that can break up our ship. The Word is the lighthouse that warns us of the presence of these rocky shores and helps us chart our course. We are to prefer to face trials than to yield to temptations. If we do not follow the dictates of our good conscience or a conscience informed by the Word of what is good and what is bad, what direction is to be pursued and what is to be avoided, our faith would be shipwrecked. We are to anchor in the Lord and in His word from time to time while biding our time to press forward through the waves and ups and downs of life. Like a good ship captain, we should know our maps, as to where we are at a point in time and where we are heading.
The good conscience comes from pursuing righteousness following the example of the captain of our salvation- Jesus. The good conscience comes from acting on the basis of righteous principles expounded or implied in the Word of Christ. These principles provide the high mast and sails to pick up the wind of the Lord’s favour. The message we deliver to the world is the ballast or cargo to retain in the ship’s hold to provide balance during the voyage and to be delivered at different ports of call. The chief engineer on our ship is the Holy Spirit who reveals what part of our lives are functioning well or are malfunctioning. He keeps all the parts well -oiled and adds the unction to our function.

Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fading Suffering Leads to Unfading Glory

UV 2723/10000 Fading Suffering Leads to Unfading Glory
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2 Corinthians 4 v 17

All the troubles and afflictions of our lifetime are light when compared with the eternal rewards awaiting the faithful in the life to come. Even if a person’s life is shortened by martyrdom, he is rewarded with eternal, unending life and the glorious reward of a martyr in heaven. If his life is full of tears and pain, he will one day enter a realm without tears and pain. If he is condemned, accused, scorned, punished in this world, he will be rewarded exceedingly with a crown of glory in the world to come. It was this perspective that enabled the early faith fathers to endure much suffering, trials, torment, scourging, poverty, shame and painful execution by the cruellest of methods man could devise like being torn apart by wild beasts, set on fire, crucifixion. They endured all of it like an athlete who subjects himself to discipline, knowing that his efforts will lead to his being crowned some day with a wreath or crown that perishes. But the cross of Christ leads to a crown of imperishable glory.
St Paul suffered many afflictions in the course of his ministry like being stoned, beaten with iron rods, imprisoned, shipwrecked, stripped, starved, betrayed, persecuted, accused falsely and so on. Yet he endured it all with a sense of joy, focussing his eyes on the author , the One who began his journey of faith on the road to Damascus and the finisher, the One who promised to be with him all the days of his life and receive him into eternity with a crown of unfading, undying glory. He did not wallow in self pity in the hard times he went through but imitated Christ , the glorious Son of God who embraced poverty, affliction and misery on earth to lift all mankind who believe in His promise to eternal glory which eye has not seen, neither ear heard or any mind imagined. We too need to think lightly of the afflictions we have experienced in our lives hitherto and renew our joy and faith by anticipation of the eternal, unseen crown of glory.

Afflictions test our love for Christ. Troubles are the touchstone to prove the genuineness of our faith. They also purify us and perfect us in the eyes of the Lord. They strengthen our character and remove every trace of superfluity of ego, vanity and emotions. During the trials and times of trouble, we experience a new dimension of our relationship with the Lord and His love and grace. The intensity of intimacy with the Lord increases. Our faith is purified and strengthened even as steel is wrought in fire, even as gold is purified in refining fire. Our experiences of tough times shape us and make us more patient and mature. The hope of recognition and reward by the Lord who is faithful to His promises sustains us in these times for we know that the reward would be so disproportionate to the extent of our suffering that we cannot even compare the two.

Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Law and Grace

UV 2721/10000 The Law and Grace
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success
Joshua 1 v 8
The Bible is the book that has influenced most of the laws of the contemporary world in terms of the normative values underpinning laws. But it is also the law that defines and leads us to success and prosperity. The Bible distinguishes it as “good success” and wholesome prosperity epitomised in the Hebrew word “Shalom.” Good success is not mere financial or material success or prosperity but it is wholesome or holistic. The Bible states that the presence of the Lord with us distinguishes us from the rest of mankind. In other words, the success and prosperity or otherwise of our lives is determined by our relationship with the Lord.
There is a two way traffic of communication between our mouths and our hearts, from the mouth to the heart and from the heart to the mouth. This uni-verse states that we should always have the word on the tip of our tongues, always ready to give an answer based on the word. If the tongue is the rudder of our lives as stated by St James, the word is the rudder of the tongue. We find equilibrium or perfect balance in our speech by following the guidelines and precepts of the Word. Apt and effective communication is the hallmark of the successful. The word is our constant reference point in all our communications with ourselves primarily and also, with others. We need to be asking ourselves, “ Is what I am saying in accordance with the truth and spirit of the word of the Lord?” John used the metaphor of the word to refer to Jesus, “ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus during His earthly sojourn was perfect in His communications with self, others and God, the Father. Hence, God prospered Him in His mission to be the Saviour of all mankind. His word gave wisdom, light, love and hope of eternal life to the listener.
Our communication should be based on meditation on the Word. We should be thinking all the time 24x7 about the truths revealed to us this far from the Word. When we prove ourselves diligent in this, the Holy Spirit will reveal even deeper truths that impact our lives. The enemy of our souls will not find a gap in our fencing to enter our thoughts and divert or trap us. We should then make it a point to do all that is written in the Word. Doing is obedience and obedience is love of the Lord. These things, then make us successful and prosperous: communication on the basis of the word, communication of the Word, meditation on the Word, mingling our thoughts with the Word and the Word with our thoughts all the time, acting on the basis of the Word or obeying it wholeheartedly. But the rider in the uni-verse “to do all that is written..” is the catch, the challenge. All of us may not be able to do all that is written but unlike the time Joshua first wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are now living in a period of grace. Jesus, the Word will fill the gaps in our speech, thinking and actions with His sufficient and abundant grace. We can have “hyperbole” or exceeding success and prosperity despite “hamartia” or shortcomings.

Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sanctified Imagination

UV 2720-10000 Sanctified Imagination
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1 v 27

All the beauty, nobility, power, grace and love of God is present in some form in each human since we are created in His own image. The word image comes from the word- imagination. God imagined to create the universe and all in it including man and all other creatures of the sea, land and sky. We too need to imagine in order to be like the Creator. It is the “im” in impossible that makes the impossible possible. We imagine that which is impossible for man to be possible for God. We need to imagine ourselves walking and talking with God as Adam and Eve walked with Him in the garden of Eden. We need to imagine ourselves surrounded by the angels and archangels in heaven. Faith is sanctified imagination. We need to be able to visualise with our inner eye the invisible, the immortal, glorious kingdom of God where there is no sin, no separation from God, where there is neither suffering nor death nor tears.
We need to visualise as having received the fulfilment of the promises of the Lord. This is the reason we thank Him even before it happens. We call into being by our faith that which is not as if it is. We need to imagine we are children asking our Father in heaven that which we expect or visualise or need. It is this kind of faith that pleases the Father, the kind of faith that Jesus manifested during His walk on earth. Jesus imagined that the gospel would reach the uttermost parts of the earth, give hope of salvation to all mankind despite the power of the establishment, the priestly authorities of the Jewish faith as well as the temporal authorities of the Roman empire being hell bent against Him and His message of hope. Jesus imagined that He would do it with a motley band of men He called disciples whose training, education and qualities left little to imagination. He imagined He would do it without much means or finances.
Which are the areas we need to apply our sanctified imagination? All the significant areas of our lives: our marriage, our families, our children and their future, our workplace, our colleagues, our subordinates, our friends circle, our enemies, our cities,our nations, our world. When we focus our imagination on any or all of these areas, the presence and the power of the Lord in us begins to bring into being or into reality that which we ask or expect or need or something much better than these. We need to exercise sanctified imagination in a responsible way as the very word “sanctified” would imply. It should be not to pander to our lusts or worldly desires but to magnify the name of the Lord, to augment the faith of others, to meet the needs of people including ourselves. The basis of sanctified imagination is not illusions or delusions but a verse or portion of scripture like an uni-verse. Sanctified imagination can also be used to enrich our understanding of various biblical stories, parables and incidents by envisaging oneself as part of the story or parable or incident as a contemporary witness. Imagine being present for instance, as part of the crowd as Jesus resurrected Lazarus or fed the 5000, or was Himself crucified or present with the disciples in the post resurrection incidents.

Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Sieve

UV 2719/10000 The Sieve
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12 v 27

Everything in the heavens and on earth can be shaken, changed, removed but the kingdom of God is unmovable, unshakable, constant. Every single thing that is created including the mountains, the skies, the rivers, the creatures will be removed. The word emanating from the Lord is unmovable, unshakable, incontrovertible. At the appearance of Jesus, everything that is to be dissolved and impermanent will be melted. The word of the Lord is immutable and no letter of it will change. It is our anchor, bridge and connection with Mount Zion which cannot be shaken. We therefore need to respect, revere, honour and obey the Word.

The Lord gives authority to His own to shake or change the elements that are shakeable or subject to change. This includes everything in the visible world- the political, social, cultural and economic domains. When we spend time on our knees or when we prostrate before the Lord, He will begin to move in that which we ask of Him. His kingdom will come and His will be done. But when we pray we expedite it. We become partners with the Lord in the establishment of His kingdom.

The image or world-view emerging from this uni-verse is that the whole of creation is going through a kind of sieve, wherein the things that need to be removed, the perishable parts or the parts that ought to perish will be removed while the eternal, the pure, the perfect will remain. The things that should perish will wither like the leaf of the vine or of the fig tree. The covenant of peace of the Lord with man through the process of justification, refinement and sanctification enabled by Jesus will remain. The covenant relationship of the Lord with man of loving kindness will remain. The new creation will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. This thought should cause us to live in freedom from fear as well as attachment to the perishable things of this world and fill us with reverence, grateful worship as well as joy and hope. If we lose something in this life and world, we should not grieve over it too long or too much as it is the sieve of the Lord at work who is separating the chaff from the grain. If we gain something in this life and world, we should not set too much store by it as it too will one day be removed. Our chief source of joy and hope is the Lord and His word.

Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 14, 2017

Longitude and Latitude

UV 2718/10000 Longitude and Latitude
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Proverbs 24 v 10

If we map our emotional coordinates: our attitudes, emotions and actions when the going is good is our “longitude.” Our attitudes, emotions and reactions when the going is bad is our “latitude.” The smaller the difference, the bigger, the stronger and greater we are. Faith is a great strength multiplier especially in times of adversity or crisis, when one suffers a loss, a life threatening-situation, a bereavement and so many other fiery arrows that life throws at us. The man of faith in such situations can lean on the Lord and obtain comfort from the Holy Spirit whose chief office is Comforter apart from being Remembrancer. He reminds us of the faithfulness of the Lord in good times and bad times and prompts us to be also consistent in our faith, our behaviour and our response to the crisis. He will enable us to run on and not get weary, to rise on wings like an eagle. Both faith and strength of a person is best tested in an adversity.
Joseph’s wisdom of using the “fat” years to prepare for the “lean” years is the ultimate wisdom. In the years of plenty or good times, he stocked up enough and more grain and food in a large number of barns across Egypt. So much so, in the years of famine, there was enough to feed not just the local populace but for export to surrounding famine affected areas. Joseph consistently practiced this wisdom even in the years in which he tumbled from one adversity to another. He developed his inner strength and character while he was young so that he was wise and competent when he was older. He never went overboard with either hatred or anger or self pity or revenge. He understood that the wisdom and grace of God is revealed more in our downturns than in our upturns. His longitude and latitude were at equilibrium in all seasons of his life.
Apart from faith and inner strength or resilience of a person, his passion also enables a person to rise to the occasion when faced with a big challenge. Continually pursuing a lifelong passion despite changes in circumstances or fortunes gives him a sense of focus and fortitude. He gathers all his strength and resources to focus on the task ahead, unmindful of the hardship. A person who endures with unflagging zeal endears himself to the Lord. It is of such material that the citizenry of heaven, the followers of Jesus are made, not those who will wilt like Jonah’s guard plant under the summer heat, not those who seek a life of continual ease and comfort.

Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Valley of Drought Precedes Victory

UV 2717/10000 The Valley of Drought Precedes Victory
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

We should not wait for showers of blessing in our lives. Instead, we should prepare our hearts and lives to receive the rain well before it occurs. Preparation to conquer a mountain begins in the valley. We might not see any external sign or symptom of the victories the Lord is going to bestow on us as He did with Israel. The kings of Israel, Judah and Edom had formed a military alliance and were marching against the Moabites. They were discouraged by the sign of drought all around them. The armies and their horses were starved of water. The king of Israel decided to enquire of the prophet Elisha about the outcome of the war with the Moabites. Elisha, the prophet then states this uni-verse that though they would not see any sign of wind or rain, the valley would be filled with water that they and their beasts could drink to their fill. He also said that this miracle is a small thing for the Lord to do when compared with the massive victory and deliverance they would have against the Moabite army.

We may see no natural sign of victory or abundance in our lives. But as we prepare our hearts and lives as Elisha asked the kings to receive copious water by digging ditches in the valley, the Lord will bless us abundantly. The holes or weaknesses and challenges of our lives may be the very “ditches in the valley” that He will fill with blessings of abundance, deliverance and victory. On the Moabite side, the water in the valley was blood red – a sign of imminent rout by the armies of Israel.
It is literally true for in many places in Chennai this summer, the water in the pipes have dried up, water lorries delivering water have to be ordered and paid for but in the place where the Lord has asked us to pitch our tent, His tabernacle, the ground water is copious and good. The sign of abundance of blessings is also a precursor of victory. The Lord will fight our battles and give us victory. We only need to stand on the promise of the Lord and believe. He is both Jehovah Jireh, the Provider as well as Jehovah Nissi, the One who gives victory. We might have to face many struggles and challenges in our lives but the Lord will give us strength to endure these and to emerge from life – victorious, faithful and blessed. The valley of drought often precedes victory.

Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Conductor

UV 2716/10000 The Conductor
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Exodus 14 v 21

The Lord enabled Israel led by Moses to walk on dry land through the middle of the Red Sea. The implication for believers today is that the Lord is able to do the supernatural, the miraculous, the impossible for the faithful. Like Moses we just need to stretch our hand over whatever seems overwhelming in our circumstances, the Lord will reveal His power. He will send the east wind and divide the forces against us. Even though there is a life –threatening flood around us, He will enable us to walk on foot and on dry land through it. He gives us deliverance and victory that we may praise Him and remain grateful all our lives. Moses walked so close to the Lord that his hand became the extended hand of the Lord, his mouth became the extended mouth of the Lord. His word became the word of the Lord. His eyes became the extended eyes of the Lord. When we are connected with Jesus, we become like a copper wire that conducts the power of electricity that is generated in the powerhouse.

It is the wind that the Lord sends our way that causes us to win. Heads or tails, we win for if we win, we win, if we lose, we learn. An oppressive wind or force may rise against us but the Lord will send His wind of favour to us. Sometimes, we take wrong decisions and travel in the wrong direction. Yet the Lord will protect us. Jonah disobeyed the command of the Lord to deliver a message to Nineveh. He moved in the opposite direction. The ship Jonah was travelling on was caught in a storm and was wrecked. But the Lord sent a whale to preserve Jonah’s life. Jonah learnt from his failure to obey the Lord. He made amends and then went to Nineveh. We too will experience mid-course corrections. We learn from our failures. The Lord was with Jonah on the ship as it was being torn apart by the storm. He was with him as he fell into the stormy waters. He sent the whale to swallow him. He was with him in the belly of the whale. The hand of the Lord was upon Jonah.

Like Moses, we need to communicate and relate face to face with the Lord. The more time we spend in the presence of the Lord, the more anointed, blessed and powerful we would be. The tongue, the hand and the staff of Moses was endowed with power. The staff he threw down turned into a serpent that swallowed the serpents of the magicians and priests of Pharaoh: this is a symbol that we will not be overpowered but that we will overcome the adverse circumstance as well as the adversaries. Like Moses, the radiance of the Lord should be seen on our faces as we behold Him with unveiled faces. To have unveiled faces, we need to remove our blinkers, anything that distorts our vision and our values. Like Moses, we need to daily receive the word of commandment from the Lord and enthusiastically obey Him. No worldly power can stand before us even as Pharaoh and his army could not defeat Moses. No earthly force or natural disaster or calamity or mishap can destroy us. No spiritual force can harm or touch or influence us. The hand of Moses had no power or strength on its own except what the Lord conferred on him. We too are powerless and vulnerable without the strength and defence of the Lord. We need to cling to Him and rejoice in the strength He provides, rejoice in Him, rejoice in His provision and blessings, rejoice in His word, His commands, His anointing and leading.

Prateep V Philip