Monday, November 11, 2013

Spring of Living Waters

I love the hebrew names of our God and saw this one again.

He is the Spring of living waters. A few years back I had a video link on a song praising our Lord with this name. The song was done by Zemar Levav which I repost here today.

Also on the left here is a picture from Michael Belk a fashion photographer which also reminded me of this beautiful name of Our Lord . The picture shows Yeshua's relevance in a modern context through his amazing amazing Photographic book "Journeys with the Messiah". The woman at the well here is depicted as the bride and Jesus giving her the Kingdom stock wine..what a powerful visual!

The stories of the old testament show the complete fulfillment in Yeshua in every name, character, story and nature of Yahweh in His ministry is mind blowing and awesome indeed! King David was both a lover and a warrior of God. In Psalm 63 he expresses the sentiment of his thirst and panting that can only be filled by God. Believers in Yeshua get even more....drink O lovers of God His offer of intoxicating wine!

I say again:

May He the Spring of living waters quench your soul and then let him also offer you the intoxicating wine of His Holy Spirit  that will bring you in even more -  to a greater intimacy with Him!!

Blessings & Shalom,


Saturday, November 02, 2013

From My Journals: Understanding

From entry on 10/18/2013

I was recently reading an ancient book called "Euclid's elements"  written by Euclid a greek mathematician. He is known as the father of Euclidean geometry who famously  quoted "The laws of nature are the mathematical thoughts of God". A neat quote indeed irrespective of what your beliefs in God are. Euclid is also know as the father of Geometry even when there were other famous greek mathematicians like Pythagoras who preceded him. I think its mainly because of his 13 volume treatise he wrote explaining the measurement of "Geo"(earth) and hence the term "Geometry".  His volumes were in the original greek, later on shepherded by the Arabs, translated to Latin and then finally made its translation into English around 1570's. Euclid's Elements was the second most published book after the Bible. In fact there was a time when one was not considered educated if he or she hadn't read Euclid's Elements.

Anyway this post is about "Understanding" I will try to correlate. As I was reading Euclid's elements
I also came across an amazing quote by Abraham Lincoln who seem to have studied Euclid's Elements. He said:

'In the course of my law reading I constantly came upon the word "demonstrate". I thought at first that I understood its meaning but soon became satisfied I did not. I said to myself What do I do when I demonstrate more than when I reason or prove? How does demonstration differ from any other proof? I consulted Webster's dictionary. They told of a certain proof "a proof beyond the possibility of doubt.'; but I had no idea of what sort of proof that was. I thought great many things were proved beyond the possibility of doubt without recourse to any such extraordinary process of reasoning as I understand demonstration to be. I consulted all the documents, dictionaries and books of reference I could find but with no better results. You might well defined the color blue to a blind man.  At last I sad - Lincoln, you never will make a good lawyer if you do not understand what demonstrate means and I left my situation in springfield, went home to my father's house and stayed there till I could give any proposition in the six books of Euclid at sight. I then found out what demonstrated means and went back to my law studies.'
When I read this I thought to myself the men of old had little access to all the information and knowledge we have today but differ from us that they had a deep yearning for understanding.

Proverbs 2:2-6  comes to my mind which aptly gives us insights on the importance of 'understanding':

"Listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding. Furthermore if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding
If you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
 For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding
I am also reminded of the root word of demonstrate is also linked with dunamis as in the writings of Paul when he says "When we entered a city we came in demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit and then we preached" (Paraphrase mine).  An understanding that helps in demonstration and demonstrating beyond the possibility of any doubt.

Interestingly Raphael's painting of Euclid is a poignant reminder of the same as an effective teacher he was demonstrating to his students and not merely teaching. Fascinating!!

Blessings and Shalom,

Sam Kurien

From My Journals: Our Atonement

Wow its been a long time that I have now written or posted here. I have been so busy working, traveling and then working some more :). However I have been a constant in writing my journals. Four journals in a year is personally outstanding for me. So to fill posts here I may cheat a little bit by transferring things from my journal to bits on this blog. Of course I will be selective as capturing and transferring everything will take me hours of typing.

Entry from: 10/27/2013:

Just finished reading "The Happy Gospel" by Benjamin Dunn. Some facts that blew me away again on the compassion and kindness of the Lord is regarding the Day of Atonement.

In Leviticus chapter 23 we see how how the Lord is zealously jealous of the day of atonement. If you don't remember well - the idea was the High priest on this day sprinkled blood upon the mercy seat as instructed by the Lord to cover Israel's sins. On this particular day the Lord commanded that no one, absolutely no one should work, otherwise they would be destroyed. This is amazing as it reveals that  not only our our efforts are not required and unnecessary for salvation; it was commandment of the Lord not work but!!.

I love the fact that we must yield to the ease and effortlessness of the Gospel (as He says His yoke is indeed easy!). We like the Israelites on the day of the atonement must completely surrender to the divine grace of Yahweh.  Today, unfortunately the day of atonement for the Jewish people is somber day a sober day  because of the uncertainty of their forgiveness when historically the day was filled with jubilation and celebrating the mercies and goodness of God.  The absence of this ecstatic joy in the contemporary experience of the Yom Kippur is taken for granted in the Talmud - the book of rabbinical discussion of the law and the customs of the jews. This was very different in temple times as the talmud records that there was a red string tied on the temple door that urned white serving as a visible reminder of God's forgiveness of man. When this sign was shown celebration erupted in the camp of Israel. This type of joy was spontaneous even when it was a yearly occurrence. The women of Yerushalaiym would dance in the vineyards singing and celebrating the Lord's goodness.

Rabbi Yishamel says: "But they had another sign too; a thread of crimson wool was tied to the door of the temple and when the goat (hazozeal - scapegoat) reached the wilderness the thread turned white. As
it was written "Though your sins be a scarlet they shall be white as snow" (Yona 68b). This is also prophetically referenced in Isaiah and the Psalms.  On the head of the scapegoat the piece of thread that was tied also turned white. Tradition of the jews states that if God accepted the sacrifice the scarlet thread turned white but if God had not accepted this expiation the redness continued and the year was spent in mourning (Adam Clarke commentary).  The ancient Hebrews write that 40 years before the destruction of the temple which was about the time of Christ's death this red string turned no more white. I believe Yeshua paid for the atonement of sins for all mankind there was no need for another visible reminder. Tradition holds Yeshua was resurrected in white garments as He had supernaturally passed through the blood stained grave clothes that He had left in the tomb.

Let the Joy of atonement once again explode in the people of God. Our sins are completely been paid for. The sin offering and the perfect offering has been given by the The Anointed One Himself. He has saved the world single handedly and our efforts are not required. So let our hearts erupt in unquenchable abiding joy. When God looks on us at He looks at His perfect offering for those who have believed in this simple truth that Christ died for us and have been made righteous because of the Righteousness of the One that pleases the Father.

Blessings and Shalom


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

His Presence

Just finished the gospel of Mark. And again, how I love this Savior. Some of the challenging passages that I have seen in this Gospel was training my mind to think with heaven's principles. For example the incident of the withered tree where the Master came looking for fruit. Because He lived by Heaven's mandate and knew
what He was looking for in the tree... didn't find it commanded it to die. It fascinates me that He addressed it as living creature. If I had read this passage a few years ago I would have thought boy that was harsh and cruel to curse a tree when its not the season to bear fruit. It was naturally doing what it was supposed to do.  but now I see His kindness, His love and even His nurturing through this incident. Shouldn't have the tree known who was it that was asking fruit?

Anyway that's not the point of the post...I wanted to record here about His presence and paint the picture.  Some thoughts I have had is if we are to live by Heaven's thinking, Heaven's principles and seeing through His perspective we cannot take His presence for granted. The presence of God was taken for granted in the first Garden. The scriptures say in the first Garden, The Lord came to walk with Adam in the cool of the evening. In the second garden at the tomb, when Mary Magdalene encounters the risen savior she holds on to Him and Jesus gently tells her that He has to go so that the Holy Spirit can be send. His Spirit is in us and we need to grab on to Him as HE prepares us from Glory to Glory. Bill Johnson in his book "Hosting the Presence of God" states accurately - "use now your faith to discover God's abiding presence on your life. He never disappoints. The overwhelming outcome is learning to live from the Presence of God towards the issues of life". This Jesus did perfectly.

Our last vacation to California was a stressful one - traumatic news of mother's cancerous tumor, a ticket from the state patrol, the car's air conditioning blown out, irritations with the home in CA, surviving an accident that left us side swiped with dinged doors. As I thought all of this and ran into the presence, I am reminded that I have been given power and authority over issues of life  - as all authority in heaven and earth is Jesus's. We are indeed seated in the heavenly places with Him. And if we are His ...overcoming and enforcing the King's domain into the world is our new reality.

My prayer from my journal - "O Lord make aware and help me to live from heavenly places. O Lord hear my prayer it is your desire and will that I exercise my authority. I cannot afford to have thoughts in my mind that are not yours. I know your promises over my life define my purposes. And my purposes are centered in Your presence, you have promised your purpose and my partnership with You will automatically position me in Glory and help me to stand for your Glory be it in plenty or in soul will thrive and prosper."

Amen Amen

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Supernatural Joy

Joy is the very nature of our God. His entire being is Joy and we as His children are recipients and inheritors of this supernatural Joy!! Yet it is a choice we must make. The Psalmist says "This is the day the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it". Rejoicing is an act of worship that gives us access to His very character of Joy. Rejoicing and thanksgiving attracts the very presence of God. 2nd Chronicles 20 tells us the story of King Jehoshaphat who is brought the news of a large army of Moabites and Ammonites coming down to attack his kingdom. 2 Chronicles verse 4 says "He is afraid". However his fear does not drive him to remain in the place of insecurity and depression but instead he resolves to inquire and seek the face of God. He reminds God of His promises, that the enemy has come to displace His children from the land and that He gave them in the first place. As soon as he does that the Bible records God's answer to his prayer. Here is the account from 2nd Chronicles.

4 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. 15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” 18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing[d] and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah[e] to this day.

Notice verse 21 King Jehoshaphat "appoints" people  and encourages the people to sing and praise. As the army goes out Praise worshippers are at the helm  worshipping and singing praises to the Lord. This act releases the move of God.  The Lord sets ambushes among the Moabites and Ammonites and the result is without a fight the children of Israel come away with a huge plunder of treasures. More importantly there was a multiplication of rejoicing and the Joy of the Lord in the camp. 

Rejoicing in the Lord results in the multiplication of Joy. The act of worshipping Him (again rejoicing) is a gateway to enter into the Joy of the Lord. When this happens it attracts heaven's resources to work for you, allows God's presence to change things through the Kairos moments and creates chaos in the enemy's camp. In the book of Nehemiah or Ezra when the book of law is read...the children of Israel are downcast and saddened in the realization that they are so far away from the perfect law of the Lord. However Nehemiah and Ezra had priests run up and down the congregation urging/encouraging them to rejoice and celebrate because they as a people were acceptable to God and were moving in the direction of seeking His face. This very moment was not to recoil and be depressed but to celebrate and rejoice. 

So let us resolve as Paul urges us to do in Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: "Rejoice!"

Shalom & Blessings,

Sam Kurien

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shalom Rav

I love the song "Shalom Rav" which express's Psalm 119:165 "Abundant well-being have all who cherish your instruction; they encounter no cause for stumbling" (Psalm 119:165)

Below is a audio clip of the version expressing this theme music performed by my friend Tim Undheim (a hebrew scholar)in Philippines and beautifully sung by his lovely daughter Raquel Undheim.

My friend Tim was gracious to send me the sheet music and the lyrics.

The version from Jeff Kepler as it pertains to the prayer for Israel goes this way:

Shalom shalom rav l'olam
Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha tasim, tasim l'olam, shalom rav l'olam
Ki atah hu melech adon l'chol, l'chol hashalom, shalom rav, l'olam
Shalom, shalom rav l'olam
V'tov b'eineicha lvarech et amcha Yisrael, shalom rav, l'olam
B'chol et uv'chol sha'ah bishlomecha, shalom rav l'olam
Shalom, shalom rav l'olam
Bishlomecha, shalom l'olam, shalom rav l'olam

Translation from Mishkan T'fillah:
Grant a full and lasting peace to Your people Israel,
For You are the Eternal Sovereign of peace.
It is good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel,
in every season and hour, for the sake of Your Name

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Seeking His Face

Seeking God's face is the ultimate quest anyone can pursue in this life. This quest comes with an incredible desperation, divine favor and lying in wait for where He is and following closely to what He is up to. Recently I learnt the word "waiting" in the Bible essentially means "setting up an ambush". It's almost militant in nature rather than the conventional sense of the meaning we understand of "waiting. This word is mentioned 53 times in the Bible and 49 times it is mentioned as with the definition of "writhing in pain as in child labor" or "whirling in the air in dance" fascinating! Both of these require intense focus and passion. So the meaning when the Psalmist writes "My soul waits patiently for the Lord" - it is an intense focus of seeking His face, seeking His presence. It's a tenacity of people who are desperate enough to almost ready to where I believe (through the examples in the Bible) that God is quickly attracted to.

Look at the example of the woman with the blood issue, Jacob in his wrestling match not letting go of the Lord till he is blessed, King Jeoshapat and Hezekiah or Hannah looking on for His face for their personal and corporate deliverances. Shall we then lie in wait - "set up an ambush" for God?. And in response I know God is looking for people who anticipate His every move and grab every chance to reach out to Him. 

Psalm 37:9 "But those who wait on the Lord will inherit the land."; yet another verse says "Those who look upon His face shall never go ashamed". 

Recently I learnt something new from the story of Elijah and Elisha. I always thought Elijah was taken away in the chariot of fire from heaven but closely reading 2 Kings 2:11  reveals that he was taken up in the whirlwind. Elisha was Elijah's protégée and successor as the prophet of the land.  However Elisha would only take his master's mantle if he got double the portion of his spirit. Elijah puts up  this test for young Elisha. If he was able to see him when he was take away from earth he would have his request. Elisha' sees an extraordinary event - an invasion of the supernatural act from heaven and yet he was not distracted from it because a mantle of authority was at stake. We are called hence to look upon His face with such focus, adoration and zeal (passion) that even the greatest gifts from heaven should not distract our gaze on His loving face. Seeking the Giver and His face is indeed the ultimate quest!

We wee God's heart for us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." The promise of seeking His face with honest hearts of repentance and worship comes with a blessing of our land being healed of its barrenness. Seeking His face brings prosperity and healing. Seeking His face aligns us back into our read identity in Him and His life overflows in us. 

Abba Father you are so merciful let me see your face as Moses did. As he sought your face he desired to know your ways to know you intimately and be known by you. Israel was aware of the acts of God but Moses knew about His ways because he sought His face daily. Israel thought seeing his face would mean death for Moses seeing His face meant "worth dying" so he could live eternally.  I like the hebrew expression more than how it renders in the english Bible in Exodus when God talks to Moses face to face like a man talks to his friend.  The hebrew version literally says God put His lips on Moses lips and that's how they communed or talked. The level and depth of intimacy Moses has is so deep because He lived before His face. The patriarch  Jacob names the place "Peniel" where he survives a wrestling match with God which means - "I have seen the face of God and lived". His name changes , life altered and eternal identity engraved in God plans and purposes. Shall we then not be in thus desperation of seeking His face?

Oh to seek His beautiful face and to be lost in adoration and wonder of Jesus is our call. Oh how I long to see His face. John in the book of revelation sees His face and is like a dead man yet we know His lovingkindness and His mercy enables us to stand before that Glorious face of God. As John says in that day "looking at His face we shall not be ashamed." is our great promise. 

God's desire when He tells Moses this is how you shall proclaim the Blessing to Israel...Numbers 6:22-27 records

"The Lord Bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance of favor upon you, and give you His Shalom. So they shall put My name on the children of Israel and I will bless them."

Beloved, God's desire as we seek His face is to give you His shalom, to be gracious to us and bear His name for His Glory. 

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien

Supernatural Favor!

Starting to blog again after almost a year long break. However last year I almost wrote two and half journals and now on to almost finishing my third.(And its only February!!!)  It has been amazing recording my thoughts, prayers, lessons learnt and logging my travels to various countries. It's about time to return to the digital format and keep penning this pilgrim's thoughts from time to time. The only thing to caution myself is to be regular and consistent at this.

This year I already was out on a 15 day trip to Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. I have loved it and sneaked in some restful times at the beach. I am so thankful that the Lord gives me time and space to enjoy the beauty of His creation in spite of the busyness I so easily slip into. As I ponder on last year theme the Lord gave me to concentrate on was 'Supernatural wisdom' and 'His lovingkindness'. Both have been exciting, leading me to a deep pondering's, and enjoying the goodness of the Lord at deeper levels. Actually my journals have recorded on these two themes a lot of revelation's that He has shown me. I suspect this year (though nothing has stood out as distinct impression from the Lord) I am still on this journey of increasing in favor and increasing in wisdom and using that for blessing others and see His lovingkindness in my life and others multiply.

Some thoughts from my journal on favor:

We have been given incredible favor as His children because it empowers us to serve more effectively and brilliantly. If everything in creation was made for His pleasure and delight we have a God given capacity as a born again believer to manifest the favor of the Lord to His glory.

We see God's divine plan of favor expressed in Psalm (23:5) "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." The idea is in the intimacy and rest of God, it's as if God is saying to satan - "My people love me and I love them and you are going to watch"

Increase in favor goes hand in hand with increase in wisdom. The Bible says Jesus grew in favor and in wisdom before God and man. Though fully God He took on flesh to be fully man and grew in favor and wisdom so how more shall we not grow in favor and wisdom and its freely available to us.  Wisdom gives us hence the keys of understanding of how to use the favor according to God's purposes.  Provers 8:35 says "For he who find me finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord". Jesus interestingly says "I am the Life" so pursuing Him is pursuing the font of all wisdom and favor.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien