Sunday, February 28, 2010

His Fierceness and His Romantic Heart Are Inseparable

Continuing on my theme of 'Desire' as I read the first five books of the Pentateuch, overwhelmingly I see these two themes intertwined in the character and nature of God. You can't escape it and You can't undestand it - if you are not aware of His wildness and His core romantic nature. The church scholars and theologians have missed it mostly.The intent of the writings here are in no way to bash the church or any of the body of Christ but to make aware 'desire' is good and is a God given. He started it with His wildness for you and me...remember the scripture says "because He loved us first" He took the first step. All the creativity you see in our universe certainly doesn't come from the evil one...the poetry, music, glorious sunsets, mountains, the oceans, the dolphins, the killer whales, the milky way, the shooting stars, and the list could go on for ever....And finally the prize of His creation....Do you ever wonder whose idea is the human form, or more precisely whose idea is the form of a woman.

Song of Solomon talks about the wedding night of the king feasting on his beloved through the course of their wedding night. He loves her hair, her smile; her lips “drop sweetness as the honeycomb,” and “milk and honey are under her tongue. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance . . . Your two breasts are like two fawns" . . . Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. (Song 4:4–6) And his wife responds by saying, “Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits” (Song 4:16).  

Christians in general will shun away from such passages, crush desires of the heart and when that happens Satan sneaks in and springs the trap especially for men in the areas of pronography, lust and going after things where his true desire of becoming the man (or the woman) he/she wants to be is lost and getting back to the real self is a far fetched idea. The chasing becomes a fantasy where you don't have to give the real - 'you'. We exchange it for an imitation without taking any true responsibility.  John Elderdege, my favorite author, quotes in Wild At Heart

"And so a man’s heart, driven into the darker regions of the soul, denied the very things he most deeply desires, comes out in darker places. As the poet George Herbert warned, “He begins to die, that quits his desires.” And you know what? We all know it. Every man knows that something’s happened, something’s gone wrong . . . we just don’t know what it is.

Recently my dear friend Bryan Greenwood, a warrior pastor now in Carolina, has been sharing his heart with me about how God is teaching him from the life of Samson a hero of faith that we relate as a strong man but with weak character.,He has been sharing with me that the desire of Samson was used by God for doing great things in Israel. Though he went through his life without the direction, protection and covering of his earthly father, yet Samson manages to destroy the enemy and finally finds a place in God's hall of fame in faith. Quoting Samson as an exmaple, I am not undermining that our behavior should be licentious or lustful but when desires are channeled in the right avenues they become opportunities for the manifestation of God's glory to shine in our lives.

Why am I relating these random ideas but my intent is to relate and express that the 'Praise' of our lives are to point to the Hero of our story who is not only wild and fierce but He is also crazy in love with you. He is Faithful, Holy, Awesome and comes in after you with 'Desire'.

I have included here a 10 minute audio clip from a poem composed and played by Gary Wines and Ruth Fazal which is titled 'You Came Again', it sums up pretty much the hearts of the ones who are intimately involved or romanced with the Fiery One of our souls.  Listen on till the end...

Blessings and Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Thursday, February 25, 2010

He Is the Lion And the Lamb

I wanted to make use of this graphic...hence this post. But amazing this depiction follows throughout in the scripture of His nature. The paradox material for my forth coming book...good stuff ...Praise You Lord.

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:17-18)

The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13-15;)

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Leadership Lessons From Yeshua...A Savior who will put Himself In the Front

The Gospels immensely bless me as they contain the red letter words directly from the source of all life itself and I am thoroughly enjoying and marveling at the words of Yeshua. Every time you read them a portion of your spirit, body and mind gets healed and renewed, it is not only miraculous in what it achieves but it gives life in abundance.

I am going through the gospel of John and boy the sweet moments with the Lord is not anything I am willing to trade for. John 14 -19 are the chapters that revolve around His last days on earth, the scene is He has just washed the feet of the disciples and his heart is troubled at not merely that assignment that He is going to finish but He is sad for He will have to leave the disciples and their company. In the most emotinal moments of His life - He entreats the special tweleve with the endearment "Dear Children" (I ponder at that expression - the weight of His emotion, sorrow and resolve even when He is all knowing)  He is sad that He is going (or has) to leave them for now, but promises them that He is not going to leave them as ophans, He promises that He has to go so that He can send the Holy Spirit of God to encourage them and lead them to the ends of the earth.

Late on again we see the defending Savior-Father in chapter 18 the scene now is in the garden and as His disciples wake up with the on coming commotion of the Roman legion (A legion at the lowest number is usally 70 soliders but can some time go up to few hundreds or a thousand)  with the temple guards led by Judas. Yeshua goes out and asks the question "Who are you looking for?" and they say "Jesus of Nazareth and He replies  "I AM He" and immediately the legion and all those who were fall flat on the ground in fear. He asks them a second time "Who are you looking for?" and they give the same reply and He tells them where verse 8 quotes

"I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."[a]
This blesses me because we see the man's man standing up in courage and his first perogative is to protect His children, His disciples, His men at firs He reveals who He is....He is the great "I AM" (the God of all ages) then He knows for the assignment to be complete, for the WAR to be won decisively He has to give the ultimate sacrifice but before that His men are to live and not to be harmed.

Usually if you introspect the the practice of the Roman legions in History you will see the roman war machinery was trained systematically to destroy, plunder and kill everything in its way be it taking down a city or arresting the eneimeis of Rome, so knowing this I wonder if the Roman legion and the temple guards had pursued to attack and kill the disciples (which they wouldn't have now clearly paralyzed with fear with the mere three words of the man they had come arrest) the demeanor of our Lord would have changed. They were only able to take Him only because, He submitted for His battle was not with men but for saving them instead from the clutches of the eternal enemy of old.

I love and marvel at the character and nature of my King, He puts Himself first before His children, He will battle for His Children and He will battle with us in the time of WAR.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Captaining the Axiom

If you have watched Pixar's award winning movie 'Wall-E' you are no stranger to what I am going to talk about. The movie captures the message effectively that the heart of the  human desire for life cannot be crushed or be put to death even if the the perfect automation or the utmost comforts of life are achieved. We are just now wired that way. I have included here a clip from youtube which is an orientation for the new captain of the ship 'Axiom'.

Notice the orientation is a pun on how everything is automated and the only thing the captain of the Axiom can do is clap is hands to get a cup of joe. Don't get me wrong I am not against automation or comforts of life but I think the makers of 'Wall-E' had a point they not only brought forth the element of love but love spurns life and the desire to live (rather than just survive) will permeate our being and we as humans will always find and seek for it even if those ways tend to be the wrong ones.

Jesus said I have come so that you may have life and not just life but life in abundance.  Again to reiterate: No amount of automation, no amount of life comforts, and no amount of stuff will satisfy the desire of our hearts to live. We need to go back to the source of all life.

Blessings and Shalom,

Sam Kurien

An Invitation To Desire

Traditional Christianity and for that matter charismatic Christianity has labeled 'Desire' as a bad attribute. Oh if you have desire you need to purge it as fast as you can, I contest this stubbornly...'Desire' is a God given gift and attribute but when misused can turn into lust and all the other manifestations we commonly know as greed, anger, scheming selfish behavior etc. How are we to control 'Desire' then? In fact the Christian life is an invitation to 'Desire' because God desired us and romanced us into the the Sacred Romance. 

This may come as a surprise to you: Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person. It is not a program for getting us in line or for reforming society. It has a powerful effect upon our lives, but when transformation comes, it is always the aftereffect of something else, something at the level of our hearts. And so at its core, Christianity begins with an invitation to desire

In my post few days back I talked about the Samaritan woman (adding few more vignettes to it) we see the woman comes to the well at mid-day to avoid other women because of her lifestyle but in turn she runs into God instead. We clearly see Is God interested in talking to her about her immorality? No but he addresses her about her thirst. He does not give her a sermon on purity, He does not even mention it, except to say that He knows what and how her life is and address's the problem of "you have searched everywhere now let us talk about your heart's real thirst, your heart's real desire , the water I give will spring forth, gushing as fountains of eternal life' (Paraphrase mine). 

The Christian Life is an Invitation To Desire. As you walk with Him you come to know His Desire and He satisfies like no other. 

Blessings and Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bible Humor!

I couldn't resist putting these up for a laugh....


The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot 's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, 'My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,' he announced triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'

      A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan.  She asked the class, 'If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?'  A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, 'I think I'd throw up.'

      A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ? ''No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'

      A Sunday school teacher said to her children, 'We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is? One child blurted out, ' Aces!'

      Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School. 'Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt .  When he got to the  Red Sea  , he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely.  Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements.  They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.'
'Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?' his Mother asked..
'Well, no, Mom.  But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!'

      A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23.   She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.  Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.
      On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said pr oudly, 'The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.'

      The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon.  One day, she asked him why.
  'Well, Honey,' he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages.  'I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.'
'How come He doesn't answer it?' she asked.

      During the minister's prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews.  Tommy's mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked, 'Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?'
  Tommy answered soberly, 'I asked God to teach me to whistle, and He did!'

       When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past).   For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, 'And all girls.'  This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing.  My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, 'Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?'
     Her response, 'Because everybody always finish their prayers by saying 'All Men'!'

      Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother' s house.  Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served.  When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.
      'Johnny!  Please wait until we say our prayer.'  said his mother...
     'I don't need to,'  the boy replied.
      'Of course, you do.'  his mother insisted.  'We always say a prayer before eating at our house.'
    'That's at our house.'  Johnny explained.  'But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook!'

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thunder Roars; Jesus Snores;

Almost two weeks back our men's prayer group huddled itself in a room at the World Prayer Center to pray against the raging issues that revolve around our lives and to stand up on the wall for each other. We love doing this and we clearly see the presence of God coming in and calming our hearts/minds with unity. During the sharing time one of my friends John Shepard brought a unique perspective about the story of the storm that rocked the boat in which the disciples were. The perspective struck me and blessed me with a new insight. Traditionally we often view the faith of the disciples as lacking, and surely it was so; but John's opinion was God loves His children running to Him in troubled times and asking for His help. If they hadn't done so we would never have had that passage in scripture. If they hadn't yelled out for help, we would never have had the testimony of Jesus's saving, His commanding the storms  to calm down. As Christians we know storms will come, there will be tempests wild and strong and most often taking all the wind out of our sails but it is in those storms we know Christ is the Rock on which we stand, it is in those storms we find ourselves relying on a Savior, it is in those rocking unstable moments we truly find what we are made up of. It is clearly in those moments  we get to show the DNA of Christ brightly displayed and reflected in our character. 

I am reading through Max Lucado's new book 'Fearless'. I love his writing style and in the very first chapter he talks about the boat in the storm story of Mathew 8. Max describes the scene: "The disciples scream; Jesus dreams; Thunder roars; Jesus Snores; He doesn't doze, catnap, or rest. He slumbers. Could you sleep at a time like this?".  What I learn from the episode here is - yes a healthy doze of physical fear is good but we are not to allow it to shape or have it stay with us forever especially in life's tough moments. Max puts it beautifully when he says "When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god. When safety becomes our god, we worship the risk-free life. Can the safety lover do anything great at all?" 

It is the hidden issues of our hearts that Jesus comes to liberate, in the story we see first Jesus address's their storm and then asks them the question "Where is your faith?" Like aren't you suppose to know who is in your boat; aren't you suppose to know who is with you. This point may be an antithesis to my first para but the point I want to make is simple  we got to know "He that is is with us..Is greater than he that is in the world". Hence Christ's  directives throughout the gospels and the scriptures "Do not fear" or "Be of Good courage". Yes -these are perilous times, and these are times to run to the safest anchor, the strongest God, the Savior of us all but these are times to know that we war with the Captain of Hosts against 'fear' and captivity that takes the freedom of men. Let us always know He handles all great quaking's with a great calming.

We are created to be fearless and the only fear we are to have is the Holy Fear of the Lord. 

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

The Woman At The Well - The First Evangelist/ Israel And her 5 husbands

The Bible is filled with stories and we often see many events happening near water wells. Water is and was a precious commodity in Israel and it is but natural that many of our stories are captured in that landscape. We see Eleazar meeting Rebekah at a well, Isaac digging up different kind of wells, Jacob meeting Rachel at a well, , Moses saving the daughters of Jethro at a well, Saul asking directions from woman at the well and the list will go on. However the most famous one of all is from the story in the gospel of John, Jesus has journeyed and come into the Samaria country. He is tired and hungry; His disciples have left him near the well to get some food, and while he waits a Samaritan woman comes to draw water. ..who were the Samaritans? and why did th Jews detest them so much so it would be almost a sin to speak to. A quick history lesson would be a appropriate here....

Second Kings Chapter 17 gives a detailed reference to the origin of Samaritans.Assyrians had conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and deported the Ten Tribes into exile in Halah and Habor by the River of Gozan in the cities of the Medes (today's Persia or modern day Iraq). The King of Assyria replenished the depopulated territory of Israel with foreigners: 'And the King of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava and from Hamath and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in the cities thereof'. So in short the King of Assyria took the children of Israel as slaves and the old people and the people that were left along their homelands were populated by foreign groups.

We hence see a land filled with foreign practices and idolatry and the disposes-ed people petitioned the Assyrian king for help. His response was to send back one of the captive priests of Israel to teach them his laws and customs. Therefore we read: 'Then the King of Assyria commanded saying, Carry one of the priests whom ye brought from thence, and let them go and dwell there, and let them teach the manner of the God of the land. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the Lord' (II Kings 17:27, 28).

When we consider that the Israelites had themselves gone into captivity for their idolatry and Sabbath breaking, that they worshipped Baal and Ashtaroth, and that the official priesthood since the days of Jeroboam had fostered the cult of the Golden Bulls at the shrines of Dan and Bethel, it is hardly surprising that the priest who returned to teach the Samaritans, succeeded only in joining a corrupted form of Israelite belief and worship to the customs which these people already held. Thus while they now paid lip service to the God of Israel, they continued to serve their own gods as well, according to the Biblical account.

The result was the evolution of a people group with various national and racial backgrounds, practicing a hybrid religion which bore certain outward similarities to the worship of the now exiled Israelites in Babylon. It was truly a multi-cultural, multi-faith society that had been created; a warning by the Lord since ages past need to be remembered do not mix with other people lest their gods, idols and ways become a snare for you. These people came to be called as Samarkans even though they did not necessarily dwell in the area of the former Israelite capital of Samaria but tended to be found mostly in the area of Shechem; so much so that both in the Apocrypha and in the writings of Josephus they are referred to as Shechemites. They had developed into a distinctive people by the Hellenistic period, when Shechem was rebuilt after years of desolation.

It was, however, during this period of Hellenization carried out by Alexander the Great and his successors, that a group of religious purists emerged in the Samaritan community, who decided to make a fresh start, and who erected the Samaritan Temple at Mount Gerezim. They developed their own distinctive religious system, including: the worship of the God of Israel, obedience to the Law of Moses, expectation of a coming Day of Judgment, belief in Mount Gerezim as the appointed place of sacrifice and in the return of Moses as the Taheb or the Restorer/Returning One.

When the exiles returned from Babylon during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, we see a large gulf between two sets of people groups specially in relation to Judah, Benjamin and Levi who regarded the Samaritans as racially inferior group, and their religion as counterfeit. We also see during the Maccabean Revolt the Samaritans sided with the Seleucid oppressors, to placate Antiochus Epiphanes, they even allowed their temple to be dedicated to Zeus Xenious!

In 128 B.C., they were conquered by the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus (the conqueror and incorporator of Edom/ldumea), who destroyed Temple on Mount Gerezim (this was the temple the Samaritans had instituted and true place to worship instead of Jerusalem). The racial tensions between the Jews and the Samaritans were always on the high especially with the Jews looking down upon their ways of worship and religion. At one particular Passover, between A.D. 6 and 9, the Samaritans defiled the Jerusalem Temple by scattering bones in it. Pilgrims travelling south from Galilee to Jerusalem for the religious festivals were afraid to go through Samaritan territory, a fear which was to be justified by the subsequent massacre of Galilean pilgrims by Samaritans at En-gannim in A.D. 52. The Samaritans rebelled against the Romans in A.D. 36. When a fanatic assembled them at Mount Gerezim, promising to reveal the sacred vessels which they had been taught were buried there by Moses, the rebels were ruthlessly massacred by order of Pontius Pilate. During the Jewish Revolt of A.D. 66-70, a group of Samaritans joined in the rebellion and were slaughtered by the Roman Commander Vettulenus Cerealis, once again at Mount Gerezim. So we see two opposing mounts among the places of worship among the Samaritans and the Jews.

In spite of our Lord's instruction to His disciples: 'Into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not' (Matthew 10:5), and the incident when the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village which refused to receive them (Luke 9:52-54), Samaritans receive fairly favorable comment from the New Testament writers Luke and John. The one leper out of the ten who returned to Jesus to give thanks for his healing was a Samaritan (Luke 17:16). The Lord Jesus asked for water from, and subsequently ministered to, a woman of Samaria (John 4:4-30 & 39- 40); while we read of a great spiritual revival accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles in Sarnaria (Acts 8:5-25). How do we account for these events? Could there have been two types of Samaritans?

Just as every Jew residing in the Roman Province of Judea, and practicing the Jewish religion at the time of Christ, was not necessarily a true Judahite, a similar situation existed in Samaria, also a Roman territory. Isaiah the prophet had made it clear that, even though the vast bulk of Ten-tribed Israel had been taken into captivity in Assyria, a tiny pathetic handful would survive the mass deportations. This is what he says: 'Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it as the shaking of an olive tree two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost branches thereof saith the God of Israel' (Isaiah 17:6).

This accounts for the presence in the Holy Temple at Christ's Presentation as a baby, of the aged prophetess Anna of the Tribe of Asher. It also accounts for the favorable reaction of some Samaritans to Christ, and to the preaching of the Gospel. Some of them, like the leper, and the woman by the well of Sychar, while they were Samaritans by religion (worshipping at Mount Gerezim), and by provincial designation (living in the Roman province of Samaria), were clearly not descended from the mixed multitude who had been sent into the area some seven hundred years earlier, but rather from the little handful of true Israelites who had escaped deportation - the grapes and berries of Isaiah's prophecy.

In her discussion with the Lord Jesus, the woman of Samaria made her racial ancestry crystal clear, for she said to Jesus: 'Art thou greater than our father Jacob which gave us the well...' (John 4:12).

She actually claimed descent from Jacob-lsrael. Furthermore, her own life was symbolic of the experience of the woman Israel, for the Lord Jesus said to her: 'Thou hast had five husbands and he whom thou hast is not thy husband' (John 4: 18)

Israel had indeed had five husbands; her first whom she married at Sinai was:

1. ALMIGHTY GOD. She then served the following succession of alien Empires spoken of in prophecy as her lovers:




5. GREECE - And the sixth whom she served in the time of Christ was:


It was to cancel their bill of divorce to redeem them and bring them again into covenant relationship by His atoning death that Jesus came.

Thus we see revealed the true identity of the various types of Samaritans; and in the ministry of our Lord and His Apostles, to them we see the fulfilrnent of the words recorded by the Old Testament prophet Amos: 'For lo I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth' (Amos 9:9).

So coming back to our story of the woman, it was surprising enough that a Rabbi of high stature would even talk to a Samaritan especially a woman. He asks for water and the surprised woman asks "You ask for a drink from a Samaritan being a Jew". Jesus replies telling her if you knew who was asking..."I am the one who can give you waters which will never make you thirst" (Paraphrase mine).

After the discourse is over she knows that the one she is speaking to is not just a prophet but the Messiah prophesied to come to save the world. She runs back to the villages and proclaims the good news (she tasted the living waters) and many Samaritans come and believe not only because of her testimony for they saw the one who had come to redeem.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Waking Up On Holy Ground

My last post brought memories of my post a few years ago about my life being like that of Jacob. One of my favorite songs "Asleep on Holy Ground" written by Michael Card captures the story of Jacob's life and the transformation of a man that took almost 20 years. Here are the words of the song and then I will talk aobut it:

Asleep On Holy Ground.

A stone for pillow, as hard as his head
He slept on holy ground,
The dreaming deceiver he dreamt of a ladder
With angels up and down
And the ladder was a way, the stairway was a sign, 
The gates of heaven opened wide,
Revealing the divne

1st Chours
Asleep on holy ground he lay,
Oblivious to the night,
Inside his head and heart were full 
Of inexpressible light,
Soon he would be confronted by the
Friend that we most fear
Asleep on holy ground he lay, deceitful blessed seer

The dream that he dreamt now,
Transformed to a nightmare
As he wrestled with a man
The unearthly power of his Beloved opponent
Made Jacob understand

That the wrestling was the way,
The struggle was the sign,
He limped away, his lesson learned 
Now Israel was defined

2nd Chorus
He limped away on holy ground
Awakened from the dream
Having learned his costly lesson from the Way of the Nazarene
That pain's the path to blessing, Love will fight us to be found
And God remains a dream to those who sleep on holy ground.

Wasn't that a beautiful summation of Jacob's life.  I love the verses which say as he lay asleep, the first dream showed him the revelation of who his God was and he wakes up saying “Mah nora hamakom hazeh, ein zeh ki im beit Elohim v’zeh shaar hashamayim,”“ “Shaken, he said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and this is the gateway to heaven". Jacob knew that God was in this place and erects a monument. He knows that as he journeys to a strange land and to a foreign people the God of Abraham and Isaac is going with him. This encourages me because that is the promise God gave me when I left my country from Joshua 1:9 "Be Bold and Be courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go". It gives me immense encouragement when Jesus says to Nathanel  John 1:51 "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." Jacob's ladder to God is clearly defined, nobody comes to the Father but through Jesus the bridge that brings us to His heart.

The second part of the song is cool because it shows the life of Jacob, escaping from Laban's house on a return journey home, but the brother he had deceived long ago stands in the way. Jacob puts the family groups in order and he himself stays back on the banks of the river Jabbok and spends the night where now he wrestles with a man till the break of dawn. The man fighting Jacob purposefully gives Jacob the chance to struggle, He seems to be having fun wrestling with one of his favorite children. I suspect here again it is the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) in his pre-incarnate form who has now come to bless and transform his chosen servant. The struggle continues for the whole night and when daylight breaks, the man merely touches the Patriarch's hip and it gets dislodged. Jacob pleads and tells Him that he will not leave his hold on his legs till He has blessed him. The Lord redefines Jacob's name to "Israel" and lays the pathway for the finest to be found. The transformation in Jacob's life was complete, he becomes Israel which interestingly also means the one who struggles with God and survives or the prince of God. The man who had crossed Jordan with just a staff had become a large family of 70 people and now he just got blessed to become a nation but at the same time paving the way for blessings over all the nations. This was only possible by God's choosing and his desperate seeking to be blessed. Friends I have a lesson to learn and so do you.


Sam Kurien

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Under the Terebinth Tree

From my very young days, as far as I can remember the life of the patriarchs has been very close to me. God has taught me through their stories, foreshadowed events (weird isn’t it?) for me and even had prophetic words from the elderly with words of confirmation of how my life was to be lived like that of the patriarchs.  You can read about that in one of my old posts here about the word I had got in Shanghai few years back. Today I reflect again into the life of Abraham, the scene is the Lord has come with his two angels to Abraham as he rested under the terebinth trees of Mamre. Abraham knows the Lord has come to hang out with him; he rushes to his tents and asks Sarah to prepare food and entreats the special guests with food and refreshments. A quick note about the Tents of Abraham, when Jewish people seek an exemplary example of openness and hospitality we learn jus three days after his circumcision, an ailing Abraham rushes from his tent in the heat of the day to welcome three passing by visitors. Abraham’s righteousness shows that his tent was open on all sides so that he would not miss a single passer-by.

This story is so cool and can be read in Genesis 18, during their conversing as Abraham waited upon them as they enjoyed their food the Bible says in verse 9  - Then they said to him “Where is Sarah your wife?” Lets pause here and see the expression “they”. Sometimes I wonder if the angels that were with God were Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Hmm..Maybe not….but again its interesting to note that the translation says “they” were the ones who inquired about his wife and had come to tell Abraham that the Lord was going to visit his barren wife Sarah again next year around this time and that she will bear the promised child.  Sarah overhears this conversation and laughs.  The Lord then asks Abraham as to “Why did Sarah laugh?” Its almost as if the question implies with the connotations of “Why do you doubt God’s promises?” or “Why do you have so little faith?” or maybe even “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Isn’t that fascinating…God knows our frailties’ and our natural reasons of our unbelief’s, as a loving God He then rebukes, corrects and still goes on to do miracles on our behalf.

Well that was the first point, the second part of that passage immensely blessed me was verse's 16 and 17  which says “The the men rose up to leave and looked toward Sodom and Abraham went with them to send them away”.  The Lord then remained with Abraham and the Bible says something so beautiful, the Lord is reasoning with Him-self and says “Shall I hide this from Abraham what I am going to do?”

First of all the fact that the Lord remains back with Abraham shows us how the God who created the universe, flung stars with words of His mouth... likes to hang out with his friend Abraham and then He reasons to himself as to He should hide from his friend Abraham as to what He was going to do with Sodom and Gomorrah. I rejoice in these words because those who are close to Him and are called friends of God, the Lord Himself  wants to hang out with them and not only that He also reveals the secrets of His heart and the actions that He is going to do be it in lives of individuals in their sphere, corporate lives or even deciding the fate of nations.

Shallu Shalom may the Lord God of heaven, Yeshua and The Holy Spirit of God commune with you closely and may our tents be tents of righteousness.

Sam Kurien

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Great "I AM"

Yeshua is the sweetest name, Your name is above all names
Your works and glory surpasses all and are known from age to age,
Your wonders and might go along with your fame,
Consuming fire, a gentle warm light, abounding in mercy, who on earth can gauge
The great “I AM” who sits enthroned on the throne; sending His spirit with a holy flame

The train of His robe fills the temple,
Seraphs singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” , before the King of all glory trembling;
Mighty angels, elders and kings of  old all now assemble;
Paying tribute, honor, glory,  worship and praise resounding,
The great “I AM” who is the way and the truth and the life.

The wonder of the King of Kings becoming man,
Under cover He entered into the world as a stranger, but yet heavens bore the signs,
Shepherds and Angels rejoiced at  Messiah’s coming and all people to Him they ran,
A humble teacher, teaching, healing and delivering; Satan’s kingdom now on decline,
The great  “I AM” who is the Great Shepherd  was here now to secure His clan.

The manna from heaven He became for the sons of men, inviting
All to taste the goodness of God, the fullness of God now revealed,
Mercy and justice He showed us, providing  food for thousands, His race uniting
Preparing a few, strengthening the faithful,  His victory now sealed,
The great “I AM” who is the bread of life was ready to give Himself against all odds overcoming.

At the cross He fulfilled His saving mission; avoiding God’s wrath on the bride He loved,
Gave it all, paid in full, every blood drop drained from His body as a ransom;
For the sins of mankind past, present and future,  King of Glory now lay trampled,
To give light and life to the bride He came to win, setting hell with a transom,
The great  “I AM” who is the light of the world, set ablaze a world now lighted.

Trouncing death, and taking captivity captive, setting free prisoners from darkness,
He ascended heaven proclaiming victory; His sheepfold now secure;
He commissioned twelve to turn the world upside down  to set everybody into freedom,
In His name rich, poor, great and small everybody to be atoned with His righteousness.
The great “I AM” who is the gate for the sheep to enter into eternal everlasting kingdom.

Eternal life and life in abundance given for all who follow His heart and commands,
Abiding in Him and He in us, the branches of His glory flowering and flourishing,
Like the trees of Zion, planted by the streams of living waters, with our names written on His armband,
Your children await, Your creation moans in eager expectation for unveiling the heirs of salvation,
Oh great “I AM” who is the resurrection and life, You will come again to take us home forever.

Sam Kurien