Monday, June 21, 2010

Stones of Remembrance - 'Reheboth'

Yesterday was father’s day, and as usual I was a recipient of some awesome gifts and one of them was wooden plaque designed and crafted by my wife Sarah. She knew I wanted that one for long time and it was titled ‘Reheboth’. A significance, a stone of remembrance of the Lord’s goodness to me. ‘Reheboth’ is an interesting name, its meaning is ‘Now God has made room for us in this land and we will flourish and prosper in it”.

We are putting this up in our garage for now but want to order one with brass gold lettering on marble to put on the pillar of our estate house right at the entrance…a symbol, a reminder and memorial stone of remembrance of the wondrous provision of the Lord in this time of our life and in this place where He has brought us to.

The name comes from the story of Genesis 26,  Isaac the patriarch is living among the philistines and has prospered in the land with cattle, crops, men servants and maid servants. Along with the man’s wealth his influence, power and honor grew. But with that also came contention from the pagan aliens who surrounded him. Often a quarrel between his servants and Abimelech’s (the local ruler) servants ensued for a precious resource – ‘water' in the middle eastern deserts they lived in. Isaac seemed to have a knack of digging wells and finding water…I personally feel because God was with the patriach, whatever he touched turned to gold and whatever he set his hand to prospered.So let us pick up the story in Geneis 26: 12-22 about the dispute with the Philistines.

12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. 16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us." 17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them. 19 Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land.":

Fascinating incident isn’t it? This post is a like a reminder of what God has done for me and my family. We have crossed the Red Sea, we have crossed the Jordan, and now we are setting to conquer and put our enemies to flight. But it is also a time to set up stones of remembrance...for the Lord has enlarged our territory, made room for us in the land and prospered us. I thank you O Lord, for your promises never fail, your faithfulness never ends….what good is in me that you will lead and look upon a speck like me, a servant at your hand to posess and flourish?. May the plaque remind us of your goodness and your mighty works on our behalf.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Come out of the Cave....I have a Remnant In the Land

In my devotional time I read today from 1 Kings 19. The story is of Elijah running from Jezebel after slaughtering 400 prophets of Baal. After a heroic act and the mighty display of the strong hand of deliverance from the Lord, Elijah is on the run from a wicked queen who has signed his death warrant. Fearing for his life Elijah's journey takes him to Horeb the mountain of the Lord. He hides in a cave and the Lord has promised to come. There is a strong wind shattering the rocks, earthquake and fire but the Lord was not in any of them.

Finally Elijah hears the Lord in a soft whisper and gets instructions about anointing Hazael king over Aram and Jehu King over Israel. The Lord reveals the strategy that these kings will be used to destroy the followers of Baal and then tells Elijah to anoint his successor Elisha to the office of the prophet. Finally the Lord reveals to him that there are 7000 still left in the land who are the remnant and have not bowed their heads to Baal.

What is the definition of a remnant? A remnant is a generation that chooses to live life contrary to culture and norms of the world but follows whole heartedly in intimacy the walk prescribed by the Holy Spirit of God. Though they are in the world, they are not of the world. Though they are are part of the authority and structure of the world their hearts are devoted to the purposes and the mind of the Yeshua Ha Messiah, the King of the universe. They go about doing the ordinary as part of the massive work of the Kingdom of god.

So in that light these are my observations for learning or applications to all believers.

Those believers who wish to continue to follow God must therefore swim upstream against the mainstream current of the professing religious majority. Godly men and women need to take care to (a) carefully remain separated and unstained by the world (James 1:27), yet, remain "in the world but not of the world;" (b) maintain a solid personal prayer life (1 Thess. 5:17) and a life-long habit of studying all of God's word (2 Tim. 2:15, 3:16), (c) regularly seek out the fellowship and wisdom of other believers (Heb. 10:25).

Love of the world competes with the love of God (1 John 2:15,16; James 4:4). Normal Christian living will bring persecution, (2 Tim. 3:12) suffering, and pressures from the flesh, the world, and the devil (Gal. 5:17-26). Spiritual warfare is a life-long reality (Eph. 6:12, 2 Cor. 10:4). Christ demands our undivided attention, our submission to Him and a path of demanding discipleship (Luke 14:26-35).

Nominal religious belief does not suffice! The reminder is the remnant in any age is small. Yeshua Himself said:

Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.' "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes." (Matthew 7:21-29)

So this was the prayer I prayed, I record it here because as the eyes of the Lord go back and forth to look after the ones who worship Him and have given their hearts to Him:

O Lord blessed are you for you leave a remnant in the land, a people who will not bow or kiss to fallen and false gods. O Lord I pray today that your servant and your servant's family will have the heart and courage to follow you. O Blessed Lord God of Israel , God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, hear your servan'ts cry today, Yeshua the King of the Universe, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Holy and anointed one of God and Holy Spirit strenghten your servant to be among the remnant of the Lord. Let your servant's heart be circumcised to you, let your servant live in the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord. O Lord your servant is no better than his fathers, I am a mere speck on the face of the earth so hear your servant's prayer and your child is asking. I will not leave until you have blessed me, because you have promised that your servant will remain in the land of living, praising God in the highest for you are the God who deserves all honor, glory and praise. May your kingdom come and Marnatha Lord!

Amen Amen.  Shalom & Blessings,

Sam Kurien

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Discovering The Masculine Heart!

Though most of us may not know it, a man’s journey in life is often a discovery and a journey of reclaiming his heart. We get inundated with books and speeches with the search of significance and seven habits and seven principles and stuff like that but they all are pretty terms quoted and paraphrased differently but all of them at least attempt and point towards this drive of reclaiming of that masculine heart. I strongly believe that a full restoration and reclaiming of the masculine heart can only come when we allow Yeshua to be our King and heavenly father. Our allegiance to Him puts everything else in order with an adventure and beauty of lifetime to pursue.

God sets his character and his model on earth in the structure we call ‘family’. He created and made it and He began it. The father and mother are expressions of God’s character, but unfortunately in a fallen world we do not have model fathers and model mothers even when we have the ones that aspire to be like Him. Becoming like Him is a process and does not happen overnight but living in His presence and inviting the Spirit of God to take control of our lives transforms us to the discovery of that masculine heart. That said, I bring the point to mind that often a son’s heart needs to shepherded by his earthly father because that’s how he finds his identity, his masculine heart, his purposes in life and ultimately a pathway of discovering His own maker. Every man as John Elderedge quotes carries a ‘Father wound’ and so does every woman. Along with this wound he also points that there is a God given vacuum that no one can fill but the Father in heaven. The healing of this wound is crucial for the reclamation and restoration of the heart to live life fully (in abundance) and getting on that ship to pursue a life-time of adventure in building and bringing on earth the Kingdom of heaven. If we don't we will miss the boat and live life lifeless.

The First two clips are from the movie 'City Slickers' that show us three best friends who go out to experience cowboy country and cowboy lifestyle. They are chartered for a course of corralling and transporting thousands of cattle from Texas to Colorado. On the journey the men are discussing the best day and the worst day of their lives and it was interesting to me that all three related the event with a central figure in their lives their fathers who shaped their entire sense of self in adulthood.

CitySlickers_TheBestDay from Sam on Vimeo.

The second scene is about a conversation that takes place between Curly the old cowboy and Mitch. Curly in his wisdom tells Mitch the secret of life is finding that one thing that puts everything else in order. Through that journey of driving cattle Mitch discovers that one thing is ‘Love’ for him and rest everything fell in place, all the confusion, mid-life crisis and meaningless existence vanished. He had discovered and reclaimed his heart.

Secret Of Life from Sam on Vimeo.

The last two clips are from the movie 'Secondhand Lions'. It is the story of a boy who was abandoned by his father and mother and dumped on his two uncles who have been real men, men who found their masculine hearts early on in life. The boy’s stay with them drives the lessons to his heart, shape him to be the man he wants to be, shape him to discover his masculine heart and infuse in it the things that really matter.

Secondhands Lion from Sam on Vimeo.

And finally the idea of real courage can come out only when one has discovered his masculine heart.

Secondhands Lion Bar Scene from Sam on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I long for you Zion....See your Redemption is near!

I am a Zionist by heart, a firm believer in the spiritual and the physical nation of Israel. I believe in the sovereignty of the state of Israel, the promises of God to Abraham and the children of Israel and its future destiny as linked with Yeshua and every believer in Yeshua. I believe in the obedience of His command to 'pray of the peace of Yerushalaiym for they are blessed and they shall prosper'.  Why are my fundamental beliefs appearing as thoughts today on this post. The reason is simple with the events that are happening around us. The nations of the world are raging against Israel and its promised heirs. Many national and international leaders are openly wanting the Jewish nation destroyed from the face of the earth. United Nations condemns actions of Israel when they have the right to defend and protect their boundaries. In spite of these tumultuous events we have this hope as the prophecies foretell "though the nations rage, I will not allow harm to come to my beloved" says the Lord. The nation of God and people of God have survived against all odds.

My heart is stirred by reading today songs from the sons of Korah:

2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish.
3 It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob.
5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.

Time and again throughout history the Jewish people have been hunted, targeted, persecuted by the gentiles and even by the so called Christian & Islamic nations (who are to stand by Israel), right from the days of Philistines, Egypt, Romans, Russians, concentration camps and right to this day the enemy wants to destroy the promises and the prized possession of God. But, Yeshua is coming just as Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, Israel as a nation and people group will know the King. It will be a revelation and a mighty saving right in the midst of disaster and total annihilation. The return of the King of Kings to establish His throne and take over the city of Zion is a promise He made, and more than that its a promise He made that those who are His..they will be protected, secured and will stand with Him on Zion. Look at these verses and encourage yourself:

Luke 17:27 - For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

2 Peter 3:10 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 Psalm 50:3 -Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; A fire shall devour before Him, And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.

With all the junk theology out there some of you might question who is today's Israel?. I believe its not only the sons of Isaac but those grafted into the vine by grace and faith in Yeshua, and this includes the sons of the gentiles as well as the sons of Ishmael as promised in the book of Ezekiel. Each one of us called to faith and is a promised heir to salvation and each one of us has to know our place in the hierarchy as we stand with the sons of Jacob. God has promised this blessing upon the nations and this blessing has come upon us through Yeshua and the jewish nation and we have a debt of gratitude and support to them.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien