Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Beautiful Lamp

UV 2752/10000 The Beautiful Lamp
Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.
Leviticus 24 v 2
Believers in Jesus are to be like a beautiful lamp that burns continually. The beauty lies not in its external ornate features but in the content of the oil that fuels the lamp The oil that fuels this lamp is like pure virgin olive oil that is obtained by crushing, beating and draining olives. Through all our experiences of the Lord’s mercy, grace and power and by studying and following the life and teachings of Jesus, we shed the light of His truth in this dark world. We are the lamp that turns the world from darkness to light, from being governed by the power of satan to the power of God, the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, from death to eternal life that men may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Jesus.
It is a command to keep ourselves well stocked with pure olive oil for the lamp of life. The sparks of love, integrity, faith and excellence that we have displayed this far should be fanned into full flame as we witness for Christ. We are to be like the five wise maidens who stayed awake and trimmed their lamps and kept the wicks moist with oil and burning. We are not to be caught unawares when the Eternal Bridegroom, the Son of the Landlord of the universe, the Crown Prince of heaven arrives after the midnight hour. Our faith, our intake of the Word of God, our fellowship or communication with the Holy Spirit should never be interrupted by sin, doubt, complacency or backsliding. Like the wick in a lamp sucks the pure olive oil by capillary action or suction power, we need to suck the pure and unadulterated wisdom, knowledge and understanding from the Word.
The lamp in the Tabernacle of Israel was never extinguished but was kept burning through the night. Likewise, the anointing of the Holy Spirit should keep us burning all through our lives, through changes in circumstances, through difficulties, crisis and challenges. Sometimes, we endure crushing situations, situations when we are buffeted or beaten by hard blows of seeming misfortune. It is intended to crush, beat and drain the pure olive oil of faith, love and hope in our lives. We should not resent these events but welcome these as part of the process to refine, prune, perfect us, to build patience in us so that we will endure till our rendezvous with Jesus. We are to shine forth for the glory of God, to manifest the greatness of the Lord with full flame, day and night, all of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

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