Monday, April 26, 2010

Shall We Journey or Live In The Smaller Stories?

Every epic story we have known has a grand quest involved in it. In J.R.R. Tolkein's 'The Lord of the Rings', the fellowship of the ring sets out on the journey to save middle earth from destruction, in the 'The Hobbit', Bilbo Baggins runs from the door without even a pocket handkerchief and launched a adventure that would change his life forever; Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter stumble into Narnia to save Prince Caspian from the Telmarines; In the mythical greek legend Perseus and his band set out to save Argos and Andromeda; The stories go on with these incredible journey's. Thousands of years ago the patriarch Abraham left his country, his people, and his father's houselhold (safety net) to follow outlandish promises from God, he never came back. Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt for a few groceries and four hundred years later Israel embarks on an epic journey that sees the wonders and miraculous provisions from God. The journey of our lives however is still a choice that we make, the sacred romance involves every soul to go through a journey of heroic proportions and while it may require some to change geography, it is ultimately the journey of our hearts.

I say its a choice because there is a parallel here and every choice has at least two options. Remember Daniel Defoe's  famous story 'Robinson Crusoe'; Crusoe was not a pilgrim but was stranded on an island, he was a survivor, lost and living in a very small world where he alone was the lead character. In fact the only character with everything focussed on himself ; he was living in a story of survival. In the contrary we have been rescued with the blood of Christ and infused with the life of the Holy One of Israel. He has beckoned us on a journey not for mere survival but to thrive in life and undertake those journey's. So the choice is really ours shall we then take that quest or choose to clutch our household gods and false lovers and not run towards significance of life fully lived.

My thoughts for the day!

Blessings & Wholeness In Him,

Sam Kurien.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Learning From The Nature of Eagles

Experiencing the amazing wonders of God's creation is indeed a special privilege given to us by our Creator. I happend to see a bald eagle recently soaring up falling into space and then rising again and again. Eagles are fascinating birds of prey, strong, majestic and soaring up in the sky spreading their wings in all glory. Truly the king of birds display interesting character traits in nature and occupies parallels in the scriptures to teach us how we are to emulate these characters in our personal walk with God. The famous passage from Isaiah 40:31 says:

"But those who hope on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint"

Recently a friend of mine at work was relating about the nature of eagles molting their feathers from time to time. When eagles get old their feathers molt and shed so much that they perch themselves on rocks and crags awaiting to die. During these times the predator of the skies  becomes a vulnerable prey for animals or starve itself to death as they cannot fly or hunt. Interestingly the older eagles who have gone through this process themselves fly above these wretched looking birds and drop meat for them to eat, and help them out to survive. Slowly after about 150 days of waiting, new feathers start growing, the eagles that have survived with the help of the older eagles renew their strength and as the sun shines they stretch out their wings for the heavens with new life and vigor.This reminds me of the process sometimes God takes us through, wilting, waiting and loosing our strength and in some cases even our hope.  We come to the place of surrender, telling God, that we cannot do it by our own, without His strength we will wither away and die, it is at this time God in His love, mercy and for His glory looks upon those who wait upon Him and renews their strength enabling them to mount up with new wings as the eagles do.

Eagles are interesting birds they mate for life and are fiercely protective of their young ones. It is interesting to note when their young one's are ready for flight, the parents literally push them out of the nest and throw them off the mountain tops. When the young eaglets are unable to fly and fall rapidly the father eagle swoops under at incredible speeds and carries them on his back up to the mountain top only to throw them down again. They repeat this process till the young eaglets flap desperately and learn to fly. Again what a reminder of freedom and love, sometimes learning to fly can be a dangerous proposition, venturing out to a new place, uprooting and moving when He tells you to go may seem risky and the future seems to be unknown. It is at those times we should be willing to take those bold steps and walk in faith because our Lord swoops down under and puts us back to the task or the battle at hand. Deuteronomy 32:11-12 says:

11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions.

12 The LORD alone led him;
no foreign god was with him

Ultimately we reflect the nature of our heavenly father, the same nature will come out.  I am reminded of the eagle and the chicken story one last one as I wrap up this article:

An ornithologist was visiting a farmer friend in the country side. At the farmer's place he was surprised to see a eagle pecking the ground with the farmer's chickens. The farmer explained that he had found the majestic bird as a baby in the mountains fallen from its nest and brought it home and put it along with the chickens in the coop and that it had grown up over the years among the chickens and thinks himself to be one. The visiting ornithologist puzzled at the nature of the eagle knew there was more to this noble bird and his rightful place belonged in the skies not with the chickens. He took permission from the farmer to teach the bird to fly. He took the eagle and said "Eagle, you are an eagle, king of birds, stretch out your wings and fly." The eagle looked blankly at the man and clucked. This time the ornithologist balanced himself on the fence and repeated the same command. The eagle jumped off from his hands and began pecking like the other chickens. The farmer said "I told you- he thinks he's a chicken".  The next day the ornithologist took the eagle  and carried him on the top of the farmhouse  and repeated the same command but for no avail the eagle didn't fly. After another restless night, he took the eagle up on a mountain, they could not see the farm or the chicken coop (the eagle's safety net). The man lifted the eagle on his outstretched arm and pointed high into the sky and spoke "Eagle, you are an Eagle! You therefore belong to the sky and not the earth. Stretch out your wings and fly." This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings. His wings moved, slowly first, then surely and powerfully, with a mighty screech, he started climbing up into the air for his first flight and the eagle flew away. 

Understanding the foundational application of the story - those who are born again imitate His nature. They are the ones who wait on Him knowing, trusting and waiting on Him that He will bring us to new heights daily. 

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweet Time -'Pursue, Overtake & Recover All'

Renewing myself in strength before the Lord are the sweetest times I have as I walk this journey. And today I had that time going up to the WPC, facing the majestic rocky mountains and spending few hours in worship before the Lord. King David did that time and again, he rested in the sovereignty of his God. Reading through 1 Samuel we find David is running from his enemy Saul and is hiding in the Philistine territories. During his stay in those territories the Amalekites an age old enemy of Israel raids David's camp at Ziklag (while he and his mighty men are away) and take captive the women, children and all their cattle as plunder. When king David and his men return 1 Samuel 29 says:

4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

The strength of king David's mighty men had failed so much so that they wanted to stone their leader for failing them and blaming him for losing everything they had. However the last part of verse six is so inspiring and so awesome. Its an expression that we see multiple times in stories of his life and especially the psalms he has written - "And David encouraged himself and strengthened himself in God". After that David inquires of the Lord asking him "Shall I pursue the Amalekite troops?" and the Lord answers "Pursue, Overtake and without fail Recover all".

I know the word is for me and as I walked around WPC campus the Lord led me to look at the scripture stones that lay on the grounds and told me I have a word for you and I saw a stone that had the following verse:

Joshua 10:25 "Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight"

It is amazing how the word of the Lord can speak to the very circumstances of your life and spending time with the Lord reveals to us the hearts of our enemies and the battle plan to emerge victorious.Other sweet words that I had were from Psalm 86 and Psalm 89 and some of the promises I record here as stones of remembrance for my life.

Psalm 86:13- 14 & 17 "For Great is your mercy toward me, And You have delivered me sound from the depths of Sheol. O God, the proud have risen against me And a mob of vilent men have sought my life. And have not set You before them. 17 Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

The verses that came from God's heart for me from Psalm 89: 19-26 were:

Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one. And said "I have given help to one who is mighty, I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand shall be established; Also My arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him. Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will beat down his foes before his face. And plague those who hate him. But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him. And in my name his horn shall be exalted. Also I will set his hand over the sea, And his right hand over the rivers. He shall cry to Me 'You are My Father My God and the rock of my salvation.'

I am encouraged and strengthened in the Lord.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ten Times David's heart

One of my all time favorite characters in the word of God apart from Yeshua has always been King David for me. Though many of us identify ourselves with the struggles he went through, I have always prayed asking God to give me ten times David's heart. You remember in the story of Elisha's life he asks Elijah before taking on the mantle and office of prophet hood double portion of his spirit and it was granted to him. We thereafter see how Elisha's ministry was transformed with the power of works and miracles throughout his life.

You know now why I want ten times David's heart, the scriptures reveal not once but many times that David was a man after God's own heart, primarily because of his  intimate relationship with the Lord and readiness  to do everything that was in the heart and mind of God.

Yesterday  I re-read the all time favorite story of faith from 1 Samuel Chapter 17, the scene is the huge philistine army and the armies of Israel are lined up against each other for battle. And adding to the terror of the scene for forty days the Philistine giant Goliath has come out to hurl insults, threats and challenges at the armies of God. A shepherd boy from the fields of bethlehem has come to the battle scene to run errands for his father bringing food supplies for his brothers who are enlisted in King Saul's army.  And as usual the Goliath the Philistine war champion is hurling insults at the Lord God of Israel and the armies of Israel. Thousands of warriors are shaking in their armors at the very sight of this giant except for this shepherd boy, David who is rather surprised. He enquires as to what will be done to warrior who challenges and brings down the giant. The pivotal points I want to emphasize here is he specifically is inquiring asking "Who is this uncircumcised gentile who dares defy the armies of the living God of Israel?" (Paraphrase mine).

David takes up the challenge even foregoing the warning from king Saul. David knows who is on his side and who goes with him. He runs out to meet his foe with five stones and a sling. At the sight of the ruddy handsome kid, Goliath the giant laughs and retorts, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" Cursing David he said "Come here, and I will give your flesh to birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"

We know how the story ends, David slings his stone right on target and brings the giant down, cuts off his head with Goliath's own sword and saves Israel and its armies, but that is not the clincher of the story. The nailing point of the story comes in the reply that David gives to Goliath, a answer that gives goosebumps to many to this day, an answer that inspires towering faith and that was:

45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

The shepherd boy becomes a warrior because he knows who his God is, he knows who he is and he knows this giant is nothing but a puny little stumbling block that he can bring down with a tiny stone. The shepherd boy was fully devoted in intimacy with the God of Israel and he was not going to an opportunity go by to LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT THERE IS GOD IN ISRAEL and it is for His Glory that he will stand and fight.

Blessings and Shalom

Sam Kurien

P.S: Today in my quiet time the Lord spoke to me from Hosea 2:19-20 I share it here and I pray may it be so too for your life:

19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in [d] righteousness and justice,
in [e] love and compassion.

20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.

That my friends is the promise of intimacy with the Lord.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Happy Easter everybody! He is Risen indeed!. He has and always will be on the throne of heaven. The scriptures say "Heaven is His throne and the Earth is His footstool". As we celebrate His kingship and authority I want to post here something that blessed me through the starry hosts of heaven.

The Psalmist declares in Psalms 19:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

And the fascinating thing is God painted a celestial poetry with the stars during Jesus's birth and death foreshadowing to the ancients of what was to come and what He had done to redeem mankind. I won't go into much details here for it will be a exhaustive post running into pages, but a good book to pick up and read is E.W. Bullinger's "The Witness of the Stars" on this matter or visit for a abridged version of the starry dance that happened in the heavens on "The Star of Bethlehem" website a research presentation by Federick Larson. You will enjoy it as I did, the clockwork universe tells us a story, He conceals it and it is the glory of kings to find it out.

The point of the post however as the title suggests is "He is Risen". There were not only witness's on earth but the heavens declared the glory of God. So why the correlation to the stars you may ask; it is imperative that we talk of His death first, to shout aloud "He is Risen". His death paved way for you and me to salvation, for us to be reconciled with God. His resurrection from death, sealed the victory and sealed us eternally in Him. Hence sharing with you a snippet of the correlation from the celestial poem that was displayed in the heavens two thousand years ago. When Christ died, there was a lunar eclipse and if you use 'Starry Night Pro' the astronomy program you can go back on the celestial plane in the heavens and to the date when Jesus died on the cross (You can calculate these from the number of Passovers as mentioned in the gospel of John and the Jewish calendar). So for that day, If you were observing the skies from the moon, the picture we get is the earth blocking the sun completely and at their intersection or overlaying of the two objects coincides right at the heart of the Aries constellation which is indicative of the passover lamb's pierced heart. He had died for mankind and His creation. The moon rising out of the eclipse was permeated with the sun's rays and hence the blood moon mentioned in the scriptures as the time of Yeshua's death recorded in the Joel's prophecy.

What a marvelous event on early morn of the third day after His death, when the two women are on their way to the tomb they ask each other "Who is going to roll away the big stone boulder that covers His grave?". Once at the site, they see, the stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty and the Angel of the Lord appearing to tell them the good news " "He is Risen".  For the Father had said "Arise My Love...." 

Death where is your sting? For the grave could not hold the King'

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien