Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yeshua Is Our Kinsman-Redeemer

I just finished reading the book of Ruth, and I should say that I love this book in the Bible. It is true a story of strength, honor, respect, sacrifice, beauty and most importantly redemption. And if you are following the theme of my posts, it is always pointing and centered around the central character of all stories - 'Yeshua' Himself...who is our kinsman redeemer.

Ruth is a foreigner, to be precise a moabitess married into a family of Israel. A series of unfortunate events leads to the deaths of her husband, father-in-law and her brother-in-law and a famine that ravages the land. She is left alone with Naomi her mother-in-law who has urged her daughter-in-laws to return to their respective families and not follow her misfortune. Naomi calls herself 'mara' for her life had become bitter. However Ruth sticks around, purposes herself to follow Naomi wherever she would go. She tells her in the famous words of the story "Where You Go, I will go, Your people will be my people and your God will be my God".

The story unfolds as the two women return to Bethlehem. Ruth is gleaning after the harvesters in the fields of Boaz and faithfully brings food back on the table for her mother-in-law. As I read this I see the picture of a beautiful woman, sweating in the fields, working hard to provide for the only family she has. She is in a distant land far away from home called to faithfulness, fulfilling her calling and following the God of Israel.

Incidentally Boaz the landlord happens to be a distant relative of Naomi on her husband's side and hence a kin. He sees Ruth working in his fields and enquires about her. Boaz instructs his servants to leave stalks of grains for her to pick, he has instructed his men servants that no one should touch her or embarass her for picking the gleanings. What a picture of Christ himself, without her knowing, he has ensured her protection and is secretly providing for her.

Naomi on the other hand is worred for Ruth and wants Ruth to settle down (have a home) and instructs her to pursue Boaz during the harvest festival. She instructs her to adorn and perfume herself and to go into the fields and lie down at the feet of Boaz when he has celebrated and has drunk himself to sleep. She instructs her to uncover his feet and ask for his shelter. She obeys all the instructions that her mother-in-law gives. This again is a beautiful picture of submission and obedience. The story continues...Ruth is in the fields as Boaz is sleeping, she unovers his feet and lies at his feet. Startled in the night by something, Boaz wakes up and looks at Ruth and address's her as "Daughter who are you?" at which Ruth replies "I am your servant Ruth," and asked him to spread the corner of his garment over her and tells him "You are my kinsman-redeemer".

The scripture aptly quotes Boaz who replies in this beautiful verses in chapter 3:10 saying:

"The LORD bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning."

Again what a picture of honor and strength!! Boaz doesn't take advantage of the situation, he remembers who he is and is secure in his own calling. Ah! what a picture of strength and honor...though being a rich landlord he is thankful and humbled that Ruth has considered him as her kinsman-redeemer instead of choosing a younger man for herself. I see here again the beautiful expression of "submission" in the dynamics of their relationships, I strength of character, strength of honor, lifting up of each other and most importanlty an aspect that mixes this all up which makes up to be foundational core in our relationship with our savior.

The story continues to reveal the next day Boaz invites the elders of the land to be witness's and give the first opportunity to redeem Naomi's family to a closer relative than himself., That man declines (as it was not profitable for him to do so) and in stead Boaz becomes the kinsman-redeemer and the husband of Ruth. The elders at the gate bless Boaz saying "May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built the house of Israel. May you have a standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem."

Ruth bears a child through Boaz and the women of Israel now say to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughtout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons has given him birth." God had turned back the bitterness 'Mara' in the life of Naomi to a blessing, and to something very sweet.

Wow!! what a story of redemption indeed! Ruth and Boaz are in the genealogy tree of Yeshua himself. Their faithfulness, submission and obedience was a picture to us to point to our own kinsman-redeemer who came to redeem us and He paid the price in full. Scripture says He was the first born and has become our elder brother though He is the King of Kings. What I just mentioned is another subject in itself and too much to unpack here....but maybe for some other time...till then keep enjoying your redemption and keep enjoying Him.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Lion of Judah Roars

My family and I love the Narnia movies and especially the 'Chronicles of Narnia' books by C.S. Lewis because it is such a revelation of the story of Yeshua.  Aslan the Lion is a reflection that Lewis wanted to portray about Jesus of Nazareth or I should more aptly quote 'Jesus the Lion of Judah'.  I am glad the movies were able to bring out the fierceness and nature of the lion through Aslan as revealed in the books. I have put a clip from the movie "Prince Caspian"  which shows Lucy is on her way to get Aslan to come and save them from the battle against the Telmarines. The soldiers are pursuing Lucy, and deep in the forest Aslan appears and at first sends out his thundering roar, which throws off Lucy and debilitates the horses with fear. Aslan then jumps over her and attacks the marauding riders.

The scene then shows how Lucy wrestles with the dangerous lion and the book mentions for a moment Lucy didn't know if she was playing with a kitten or a thunderstorm. The Bible and the Gospels through its various historical stories and events reveal the same nature of God. Yeshua is fierce, awesome and a consuming fire and at the same time a gentle, caring and a loving God. Isn't this such a lovely paradox of our God.

As I read through the scriptures the Lion of Judah is always showing His fierceness in love and even in His justice and battles fought His actions are motivated by His love. When He roars, the world is paralyzed in fear, but for those who are His, though struck by His awesomeness  are bowing at His feet in His magnificence, loving every moment of His glory. Our response is to seek Him, wrestle with Him, to come into the intimacy He is calling us to.

Paul Wilbur sings 'The Shout of El Shaddai' , this song is very appropriate here and the clip is down below....Can you hear it ...when we worship, the Lion of Judah roars, strongholds crumble all around us and there is victory in the camp.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Our family celebrated the passover sedar meal yesterday. Truly an emotional and spiritual moments at its zenith of the reminder what God did for us and what God did for me. For those not aware of the Jewish traditions the passover in short is defined below an excerpt copied from Wiki entry for quick reference. You can click here to read the entire wiki entry.

The verb "pasàch" (Hebrew: פָּסַח‎) is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23), and there is some debate about its exact meaning: the commonly held assumption that it means "He passed over", in reference to God "passing over" the houses of the Hebrews during the final of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, stems from the translation provided in the Septuagint (παρελευσεται in Exodus 12:23, and εσκεπασεν in Exodus 12:27). Judging from other instances of the verb, and instances of parallelism, a more faithful translation may be "he hovered over, guarding." Indeed, this is the image used by Isaiah by his use of this verb in Isaiah. 31:5: "As birds hovering, so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He protecteth it, He will rescue it as He passeth over" (כְּצִפֳּרִים עָפוֹת—כֵּן יָגֵן יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, עַל-יְרוּשָׁלִָם; גָּנוֹן וְהִצִּיל, פָּסֹחַ וְהִמְלִיט.) (Isaiah 31:5)

The historical events that started the celebration of the Passover thus revolve around the night when the children of Israel huddled around their houses in the night, their doorposts marked by the blood of the lamb so when the Angel of death came down he would pass over if he saw the blood on the doorposts. The Lord send the angel of death as the last plague bringing death in egyptian households and that led Pharaoh to free the children of Israel from slavery. Yehovah had brought a mighty deliverance for His people by destroying Egypt.

The passover is thus a celebration of the four main purposes of remembrance and they are:

1. Sanctification
2. Deliverance
3. Redemption
3. Praise

In the Jewish household usually the youngest child is encouraged to ask the four important questions during the meal.

1. Why is this night different from all other nights?
2. On all other nights, we eat either unleavened or leavened bread, but tonight we eat only unleavened bread?
3. On all other nights, we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight, we eat only bitter herbs?
4. On all other nights, we do not dip [our food] even once, but tonight we dip twice?
On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but tonight we only recline?

The answers point to the four purposes that I mentioned above. This night is different from all the other nights because God spared us from death, He separated us from the Egyptians sanctified us by his blood, delivered us, redeemed us and we are here to praise Him. We eat unleavened bread because the symbolism of yeast that puffs up is like sin puffing up. So all leaven is cleaned out of the house. We eat the bitter herbs to remember we were slaves and aliens in a foreign land. The celebration of the Passover was a foreshadow of the cross, the ultimate sacrifice was given by lamb of God, by his blood we are sanctified, delivered and redeemed.

The best part of the passover meal is the special chair at the dinner table that is kept empty and the special cup of wine from which no one at the table can drink. The Jewish traditions tell us this special chair is kept empty so that the spirit of Elijah can come and sit with them at the dinner table. There has been an interchangeable confusion between the spirit of Elijah and the place of Messiah, that's whey the Jews asked Yeshua the question are you Elijah? Are you the messiah. It is interesting note so when Yeshua celebrated the Passover at the last supper with His disciples, He sat in that special place and more radically He lifted the cup from which no one could drink...that special cup...because the one worthy to lift that cup had come, He drinks from it and then passes it to His disciples for them to partake in the blood of His body.

Jesus drank the cup of suffering for us for our redemption, He shed His blood as an atonement so God's wrath on us sinners would Passover. Isn't this a beautiful pictures of Love. Let this passover season be a reminder of God's great love that He has overlooked our sins, and He himself provided the justification, redemption and deliverance for us.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tether Your Heart & Tighten The Knot

Continuing my thoughts and lessons learnt deep within, I am trying to come to the point that resolving in your heart early on about the fundamental principles solidifies your core. People who are blessed and graced to have this laid early on as a strong foundation in their young age by parents or mentors have it easy (or easier) when the storms of life come. They know inherently that their lives are built on the solid rock. That's why a biblical world-view is important, though it may sound fanatical to the lay reader (and to even some Christians some times), the idea is much more bigger than that. It is in not just knowing or blindly believing in those ideas of faith, ideas of trusting Yeshua completely but it is so much more larger and deeper. It is about being intimately involved with Him, intimately involved with your creator. And like any relationship that grows over a period of time there are times of separation, times of loneliness, times of utmost joy, times of mountain-top moments and times of despair and not to forget the long seasons of waiting.

So in the "meantime" what do we do? I talked about 'response' in the last post, now its about 'RESOLVE'. The scriptures state "Jesus resolved in His heart and set out to Jerusalem". He was bent on saving the world, He was on the mission of rescue in giving the ultimate sacrifice of His life and that needed a strong "resolve". But we may argue terrorists blowing up planes also have a similar kinds of resolve, a similar kind of fanatical take of blind faith. But the answer lies in the question "Does that resolve account on the basis of the foundation of love?" Or "Does that resolve account in the motivation of love?". If so, then resolve is where you tether your heart and tighten the knot. Casting no shadow of doubt and to be marching onward to the battlefields of big wars that lay ahead. It will be foreign to many when I say that sometimes physical battles and wars in the natural can be an outcome or be motivated by love or about pursuing someone because of love; for example saving of an oppressed people being one among the many reasons. We know from the greatest generation of all the time the 101st Airborne division that fought the second world war ran out on the beaches of Normandy in the face of fire and death to stop the raging armies of Hitler from over-running earth. Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation to end slavery turned into a long civil war that ensued for eight long years; and boy...the resolve Lincoln needed to bind his heart and take the risk of a country being divided to wage a war to free oppressed men.

Life is a War, and wars cannot be fought without strong resolve. So tether your heart and tighten the knot, be motivated and be centered by love and above all else FIGHT!. So when you make a decision to follow the Captain of the Hosts, the commander of the armies of Israel, tighten the knot and follow Him wherever He may lead.

The song "Shepherd of my soul" comes to mind, which says:

Shepherd of my soul I give you full control,
Wherever You may lead I will foll-ow.
I have made the choice to listen for Your vo-vo-ice,
Wherever You may lead I will go.

Be it in a quiet pasture or by a gentle stream,
The Shepherd of my soul is by my side.
Should I face a mighty mountain or a valley dark and deep,
The Shepherd of my soul will be my guide.

Shepherd of my soul Oh You have made me whole,
Where’er I hear You call how my tea-ars flow.
How I feel your love how I want to se-rve
I gladly give my heart to You O – Lord.

Be it in the flowing river or in the quiet night,
The Shepherd of my soul is by my side.
Should I face the stormy weather or the dangers of this world.
The Shepherd of my soul will be my guide.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No More Will I Run

My last post though hard for me to learn and understand has made me come to the conclusion that promises given by the Lord do not always come to a fruitition in the ways we planned or hoped for. In fact they may not come even true in our life time, but we are nevertheless shaken at times like this especially as how to respond to Him. The Lord tests our hearts and waits to see what our response will be like in times like this. I suspect those who have learnt His intimate ways know how to respond, but some times life's beating on us leave us wondering, leave us thinking "Has He disappeared? Will He come through? Hebrews Chapter 11 echoes to us the acts of heroes of our faith, who were given incredible promises and miracles, yet the chapter end with Hebrews 11:39 saying thus:

39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

What shall we say then? What shall my response to the one who gives life and abundance be? I am convinced my response should be that of surrender and acknowledgement of Who He Is? casting no doubt on His goodness, casting no question on His greatness and casting no accusation on of His plans because He is the one who knows better than anyone.

The answers may not be comforting, but I have found, it is in those times that Yeshua comes and ministers to the deepest of our heart, it is in those times that Yeshua restrains heaven and earth from bestwoing the goods, instead He bestows Himself and His presence. He causes growth and growth causes good fruit to bear. And growth is not pleasant all the time, it becomes pleasant when our response is looking on to the power of His name.

One of my favortie messianic singing group called 'Zemer Levav' (a family of seven with 5 daughters) sing the song "Your Name". I was lucky to find this on You Tube so I share it with you hear. Below the video are the lyrics to the song and they have immensely blessed and ministered to me when my response to Him is tested. But every time Yeshua comes, He has spoken and rescued me by the power of His name.

No more will I run from You
I will be wise accepting Your shelter
No more will I have to fear
I will be here in Your arms

Your Name, is above all powers above all kings
Your Name, You are the blessed Prince of Peace


No one else will ever let me live
This life I live in You
And no one else will ever take the place
That I have made for You
And no one else could ever fit the mold
That You have cast for me
You are my God I will bow down before You
You are my God I will lift up Your Name

Shimcha, Anu Ohavim Otcha
(Your Name, We love You)

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Center Stage In The Drama Of Cosmic Proportions

Every human being is of great significance to God, but those whom God has drawn to believe in Him are at the center stage in a drama of cosmic proportions. The life of Job mentioned in the Bible is a fascinating book and often one that I run away from reading, but some of the most precious philosophies, answers to tough questions, as well as unanswered questions linger in those chapters.

Job was a God-fearing man and yet something in him suspected that faith in God did not necessarily translate into peace and safety. We read in the scriptures that after every feasting party his children had, Job goes out to sacrifice before the Lord just in case somebody in his family had committed a sin. Of course, Job had no inkling of the discussion going on in heaven between God and Satan. It was a debate over whether the foundation of God’s kingdom was based on genuine love or power. And astonishingly, God was placing the perception of his own integrity as well as the reputation of his whole kingdom on the genuineness of Job’s heart. (See Job 1:6–12; 2:1–10.).  We also read that  Job was a man of integrity and when disaster strikes he exclaims "What I dreaded has happened to me". Job endured the accusations of his friends as he sat in ashes and sackcloth mourning for his misfortunes, the wind had taken away his family, his wealth carried away by a warring party and a fire, everything is lost in the blink of an eye, and yet in all this heaven remained silent. God does not once reveal that Satan had questioned the motives of Job's heart.

Friends, those who are called according to His righteousness are in the midst of a cosmic battle, turmoil, tests, temptations, heart wrenching events, wars, injustice, intrigues of men and the raging kingdom of evil set against his children. Yet!  we have this amazing promise in all things we will prevail, in all things God will turn it for our good and in all things the purposes of God and His kingdom will advance. It was this kind of hope that Job clung onto and yet there were nagging questions and to summarize them into one it was "Why me?"

In the final chapters of the book of Job, God comes with the answers and as I read it, I don't see any direct answers to any of Job's questions, instead what I do find is the Lord asking more questions. The Lord talks about His marvelous creation, His ways and things like ..."where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?", the stars that I threw in the heavens, the turning of seasons, the mountain goats that give birth, young lions on the hunt, the flight of the eagle, strength of the ox,  stride of the horse, the leviathan frolicking in the oceans, and the patterns of the wind. And yet somehow Job is satisfied that His creator has heard, that His creator has answered and realizes that he is in the will and purposes of God. He knows that God is proud of him and that his life was used to uphold the very thing God was willing to stake. My friend and pastor at New life church Glenn Packiam uses Job as his central example in his book "Secondhand Jesus" quoting from the book of Job, he remarks one needs to trade rumors of God and experience Him firsthand. When God answers Job, exclaims "I have not heard rumors but a first hand account from my creator" (paraphrase mine). God is Love and in His love and  pursuing we stand redeemed; we stand secure.

Blessings & Shalom

Sam Kurien

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Battle of 'Ai'

The Lord has been inspiring me to write a post on the battle of Ai. So here it is. I am recording this as not only to learn battle and leadership strategies but to remember things that God is teaching me in this time.  Joshua's life is a life full of battles, battles against Hittities, Jebusites, Amorites, Anakites, Girgashites etc (all the 'ites' you can think of in the people groups that occupied Canan). Among these were the children of giants. We read their cities were urban civilizations with fortified cities and superior weapons and superior methods of warfare.  Yet Joshua and the children of Israel are given the chrage to take these cities down, conquer, destroy and annihilate the memory of these races from the face of the earth. A nomadic group of priests and sheperds are now warriors on an assignment from God, promised by God that their God is going before them as a devouring fire and yet they are given the mandate to STAND & FIGHT!.

The batte of Ai is interesting to me because just before this there is an interesting story of Achan's sin being dealt with and sin being removed from the camp. You can read an account of it in Joshua chapter 7. In the account Joshua is on his face asking Yehovah the reason for their defeat on which God answers him saying "Stand Up! What are you doing down on your face?" (Joshua 7:6). Basically the story reveals later..God was asking him to get up and address the sin, purge it and be prepared to take down Ai, the resulting battle which is mentioned in Chapter 8.

Just before the battle The Lord gives Joshua the strategy to set an ambush behind the city and draw out the army in Ai from the front. The battle enuses Joshua's troops draw out the army out of the city and are being pursued by the enemy, the fight deepens and Joshua raises his javelin as the signal and the army on the hills descend and burn down the city. The army of AI that is outside the city fighting look back and see the ruins and smoke rising up in the city, they are terrified and are defeated. The account reveals that Joshua doesn't lower his javelin till the enemy is completely destoryed.

Why am I sharing this with you? The morning I read this in my quiet time, an hour later I get an email from a prayer warrior who covers me in prayers and in the email he mentioned signal the armies on the hills to descend, he didn't know that I had read this but God was confirming in spiritual light that it was time to signal the armies to descend from the hills and annihilate the enemies that stand before us. Let me remember this for the days to come:

So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.

1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city." (Joshua 8)

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Monday, March 08, 2010

And The Chief Priests were mad...

Jesus's journey to the cross was a single minded rescue mission God had conceived even before the fall of man/world to save us from the clutches of the evil one. The roman procurator Pontius Pilate had engraved the title of Jesus on the cross. The titles were written in three languages Aramaic, Greek and Latin (remember here Greek and Latin were roman languages and Aramaic was the local Hebrew tongue in Palestine) and it read "Yeshua The King of Jews" or in Latin it said ESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum). 

A little research reveals: When the Jewish children who are taught the Hebrew letters from a young age are trained in their minds to automatically see the first letters of each word in the sentence. They are encouraged to see forms of new words from those first letters in statements or sentences. Interestingly, the chief priests when they read the sign on the cross in Aramaic were not comfortable at what it said and they were not just a little upset by it;  The gospel of John is the only gospel that gives us an account of this incident.

"9Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read:|sc JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
You begin to wonder what made them so upset. Well God was making a point on that Cross.

The  four Hebrew letters (Yod, He, Waw and He) called the "Tetragramaton" are the four characters that correspond to the four Hebrew letters YHWH and are transliterated IAUE or Yahweh. Yahweh is the name of the Almighty Father in Heaven that people commonly call "The LORD" or "God". The reason we see "LORD" and "God" in our bibles is because of a Jewish tradition is that the name Yahweh was not to be spoken or written for fear that it may be blasphemed. The name of God is so precious that the Rabbis of old printed or wrote the short hand form of the name. So when the average Jew and especially the Pharisees who passed by the cross saw the title of Yahweh and that Yahweh was hanging on the cross for all mankind really irked them. What Pilate had written was no coincidence, but a revelation from God that Yahweh was indeed on the cross making the ultimate sacrifice to redeem His bride.

This blesses my heart and so let it be a lesson deep for us, the price was paid by Yahweh Himself
Praise to my glorious Yehovah - King of the Universe whose mercies are numerous and His ways are wonderful.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Promises - Crossing the Jordan

Last two days have been a struggle. I have been reading the book of Joshua and God reminded me again of the promises that He had given me when I left my country. I have repeated this elsewhere in my blogs but it was sweet as I had forgotten the first part of those promises and just clung on Joshua 1:9 which says " Be Bold and Be Courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will go with you wherever you go."

The Lord said it is time for me to remember the first half and I quote and record here for my journey:

5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua stands at the cusp of taking the promised land, but there are huge battles to fight, there are wars to wins and the opponents are not small, they are big in fact giants stand in the way, strong with fortified cities and powerful armies with wealth and power. But God promises his children let your hearts not faint when you see this for the Lord God who goes before you is a devouring fire.

Time and again I have to be reminded by God, though I have to fight, though I have stand in battle, the God who goes before me is a devouring fire. I am reminded that the promise on my life is "No Man will be able to stand up against me" - I have the experience of laying siege to a city, I have a past that is a testimony that a thousand pagans gathered against me and I put them to flight, may I remember the salvation of God and this time it will not be any different. I will set up stones of remembrance when we have crossed Jordan, stones of remembrance for my family and my children and their children to let them know what God did for me in this land. The waters of Jordan will recede and the His children as promised will walk on dry land.

Thank you Lord for the silent reminders before the battle. Last night again I was promised what I face is not even microscopic, not even thistles and thorns even if they were the Lord my God is going to crush them.

I will say to the mountains "Be removed and be cast in the seas"

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

'Glory ' - Leadership Requires Inspiring; Leadership Requires Sheperding.

True leadership among men is not just a skill but a vital character trait that needs to be developed and nurtured over a long period of time. This is a trait I observe that is lacking in men these days. We have leaders in positions that can't do their dirty jobs and let others do it for them while they take vacation days and hide or go up the mountains to ski ( a.k.a: Security chief when he heard about the underwear bomber was still vacationing on the ski slopes). These are men that are swayed by the wind wherever it blows, swayed by whims of people who manipulate them easily; hence leading them to actions of folly, actions without any rationale or sound thinking. Deceitful men sugar coat their words and display a different set of behaviors instead of taking responsibility for their actions, these dangerous leaders play with lives of many. These are men that do not have the spine, guts or courage. The sad part is today's landscape in business's, institutions and authorities over nations is that they are led by these kind of spineless men. When God brings His judgement on a nation or an organization it is not surprising that it is the direct result of men in power who misuse their authority and think they can do or get away with anything. Another reason as I observe and read history is judgement comes over a nation when children and people are abused, and men (not only women) prostitute themselves in the land.

The scene below is from the movie 'Glory' an antithesis to something described above. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it as some cool leadership lessons can be learnt  Colonel Shaw a young man becomes a officer in the Union Army and is assigned to lead the Masschusetts 54th regiment to war and more importantly the mission of their entire training and preparation is the assault on Fort Wagner. Colonel Shaw though young has to exercise strict discipline, nor waver in partiality between the black or white soldiers, and finally build in his troops a level of character. It is this character of courage that matters on the battle field. Great leaders are made this way. Great leaders will put their lives before others and are willing to lead by example and what happens is the followers are going to follow till the end, they know their Captain has treated them as professionals, commarades in arms and prepared them to give everything when it really matters.

Jesus lead that way, and the Captain of the Hosts calls men to leadership positions. He calls warriors, He calls soldiers to set people free, the call is to freedom. The question is will you lead well, will you lay down your lives for Him and others, finally will you fight well the battles that are ahead of you.

And Oh let your and my counsel may not be among the wicked leaders of our day. We may not be able to escape it, but it is the times and opportunity like this that God raises Daniel's and Joseph's in the courts of wicked kings -  to shine the light, girded by the armor of God, and unleashing words of authority to fight for the weak and defenseless.

Blessings and Shalom,

Sam Kurien.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Worship With Abandon

I love worshipping Yeshua and I love worshipping Him at our church. Time and again as I lift my eyes, there are young people dancing in jubilation and I should say worshiping with abandon. Sometimes coming from a traditional background this can cause quite a stumbling block if I were to reason as to why are they doing this? Why are they not showing any reverence? etc ...those kind of Pharasietical (I just made that word up) questions. A question a judge/teacher who knows things about God like the order, the ritual, the proper way, etc in worshipping the Holy One should be OR  in short the right way.

I have to catch and remind myself that true worshippers will worship Him in spirit and in truth and true worshippers will worship Him in 'abandon' because of the intimacy they enjoy in Him. True worship shows revernece and holy fear along with intimacy and outwardly may or may not translate to a gentle pious posture always, sometimes  it may be leaping with all your might, shouting with all your strength, and dancing in joy to praise our savior and at times it may be the "Be Still" position of solitude or meditation. Worshiping God  is not only for a set time in the day or set time in the night, though it is good to have that, it is more than than just that. It is more than just the attitude or posture of the heart, it is the abandonment of our 'self', a complete surrender to His ways, His love and constant renewing of our mind for the transformation of heart as we grow each day in Him. I am not saying one needs to go out and renounce the world but as you begin to worship and love Him with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength you begin to do everything that is in the heart and mind of God to please Him. His ways become your ways and this way becomes the way you live and this is true worship.

King David was not a perfect man, but he had a surrendered heart, he made mistakes but we witness a man who renewed his mind for constrant transofrmation of his heart, so much so that God Himself calls David "a man after my own heart".

2nd Samuel Chapter 6 gives us the account of King David dressed in priest's linen ephod (basically the High Priest's undergarments) and dancing in great abandon before God. After David comes home to bless his family Michal his wife disdains him by saying "How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his maid servants as one of the foolsh ones shamlessly uncovers himself!" verse 21-22 says So David said to Michal,

"(AA)It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the LORD. I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished."

Ha..what a response...I would rather celebrate before the God appear before man as a humilation but I will jubilate before God. I like the way "The Message" version of the Bible expresses in Acts 13:22 concerning the Lords testimony about King David:

20-22 "Up to the time of Samuel the prophet, God provided judges to lead them. But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: 'I've searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He's a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him."

Worshiping is a constant transformation of our heart, knowing His presence is in you and submitting to His Holy ways. Worshipping is living in Him and For Him and worshiping is what we are created for Worship Him like no one is watching but He will take notice of you... .. worship the Lord of Lords with abandon.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien