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"....how 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 die...is 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