Tuesday, January 17, 2017


As I mentioned on my other blog of NYT bestseller book, I read "The Happiness Equation" by Niel Pasricha is an excellent quick read. In one of the 9 secrets, he talks about a quote from Charles Swindoll a famous Texas preacher who said the following about Attitude.

The Longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts, it's more important than the past, it more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a church....a home...a friendship. The remarkable thing is we have a choice each day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past...we cannot alter the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to us and 90%  how I react to it. And so it is with you..we are in charge of our Attitudes. 

The author brings to attention the second last statement in the quote "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how I react to it." 

A research publication that came out of University of Califonia's psychology department authored by Sonja Lyumbomirsky tells us exactly how much of our happiness is based on life circumstances. Surprise...surprise they empirically calculated it at to be around 10%. It is  10% of what happens to us. 90% of our happiness is basically how we see or react to the world around us.  As Niel puts it "it is our pre-disposition, and our intentional responses and they affect mental happiness'.  The author also cites some cool quotes that I find inspiring and insightful.

Aristotle says "Happiness depends on our ourselves."

Viktor Frankl, the Nazi Holocaust survivor, famously said: "Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any  given set of circumstances"

Winston Churchill "Attitude is a little thing that makes a really big difference"

Walt Whitman writes "Keep always your face towards the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." 

Today in my reading of Proverbs 17: 23 perfectly lined up to my thoughts "A Joyful heart is a good medicine" ... and indeed it is! It sums it all up for me in the adage: "My attitude will determine my altitude."  

So my prayer for today is:
"O Lord keep in me a tender heart and teachable spirit. Let you face shine on me, and the countenance of your favor keep my attitudes centered around love, focused on You! Let my going out and going in be in the majesty of who Christ is and who Christ is for me. Let your Holy Spirit govern, renew and illuminate my spirit, so my heart, mind, and body are tools for the demonstration of your power and your love". 

Blessings & Shalom,

Dr. Sam Kurien

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Psalm 119 - Testimonies

Psalm 119 is testimony Psalm and one of my favorites! It has been a companion, a fountain source that has refreshed my soul from time to time. I am fascinated by the number of occasions the Psalmist mentions the word "testimony" or "testimonies" of the Lord. He purposefully centers his heart in remembering his personal history with God, His goodness and His mighty acts in his life. I think here
in this psalm lies a secret of a spirit filled life; the key in suspending our hearts in thankfulness and remembering the testimonies of the Lord. By tradition, in my personal journals, I have written some of my favorites verses from this treasure trove at least once a year.  If you by happenstance stumbled on this post, these verses recorded here hopefully become a blessing and things you will ponder upon in your own journey.

Psalm 119

18 Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
22 Take away from me scorn and judgment, for I have kept your testimonies.

24 Your testimonies are my delight they are my counselors 
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. 
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord let me not be put to shame.
32 I will run in the ways of your commands when you enlarge my heart!
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain. 
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things and give me life in your ways.
46 I will speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame.
59 When I think of your ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies.
73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. 
79 Let those who fear you turn to me that they may know your testimonies. 
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes that I may not be put to shame. 
88 In your steadfast love give me a life that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth. 
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy but I consider your testimonies
96 I have seen the limit of all perfection, but your commandments are exceedingly broad. 
99 I have more understanding that all my teachers for your testimonies are my meditation. 
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. 
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path. 
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.
116 Uphold me according to your promise that I may live and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
123 My eyes long for your salvation and for your fulfillment of your righteous promise. 
124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love and teach me your statutes. 
125  I am your servant; give me understanding that I may know your testimonies. 
129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me as is your way with those who love your name.
137 Righteous are you, O Lord and right are your rules. 
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness
140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever give me understanding that I may live.
146 I call to you; save me that I may deserve your testimonies.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. 
162 I rejoice in your word like the one who finds great spoil. 
165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 
167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies for all my ways are before you. 

Blessings & Shalom,

Dr. Sam Kurien

Monday, January 09, 2017

7 points from Exodus 33

I  am sitting on the grounds of a castle built in the late 1800's by General William Palmer for his wife, Queen. Taking a break away from our leadership strategy meetings and enjoying these beautiful grounds and nature around me.  Today's morning devotional from Exodus 33 was good for my soul, and it centers around the Lord's presence. The story is about Moses entering the tent of meeting where God hangs out with him. Whenever Moses went to commune with God, the Israelites stood outside their tents and worshiped God as the pillar of God's glory cloud came down at the entrance of the tent of meeting. In the description of chapter 33 Moses on this occasion makes a distinct demand of God as he has come interceding for a congregation that has just disobeyed, danced around the golden calf exchanging the Glory of God for a graven image. Moses in this place of intercession reveals his heart and requests the Lord that he would not want to leave this place if the presence of God did not go with them.  The Lord in His kindness listens to Moses because He has favor, position and rest with God. Psalm 103 records I paraphrase  'Moses was aware of the ways (nature) of God while the children of Israel were aware of his works.'  It is very much evident in Exodus 33 and here are seven points I desire and take away from this passage.

1. When God's presence goes with us He gives you Rest (Exodus 33:14)

2. The Glory of God is His Goodness towards us. I want God's goodness surrounding me and passing in front of me. I want to see the Glory of God.

3. I want to not only see God's Glory; I want to see His face. Moses saw God's glory as well as stand with Yeshua beholding the son's Glorious face. He ministered unto Him on Mt. Carmel.

4. In intimacy with Him, I not only find favor for myself but He positions me to come in boldness to reason, negotiate, plead, intercede for others and be blasted away by His love, blessings, and His goodness.

5. Exodus 33 reveals how God talked to Moses. The English Bible does a poor job translating "God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend." The Hebrew is much more visual "God talked to Moses by putting His face on Moses' face and his lips on Moses' lips."  I want that intimacy!

6. God is looking for leaders who are His close ones!

7. As Psalm 27 says I want to hide in the secret shelter of His tent!.That is surest and safest place to be.

Blessings & Shalom,


Thursday, January 05, 2017


Jesus in His remarkable ways of teaching and placing us in paradoxical tensions often talks about "Those who have ears let them hear and eyes let them see" and many times he goes on to say "They have ears and yet do not hear and eyes yet do not see." I believe Kingdom truths are for all and yet they remain unveiled for hard hearts who do not believe in His testimony.  Remember the verse I quoted a few days back from Revelation "the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy."  What we believe in our hearts through hearing will often come as declaration through our mouths. Jesus indeed quotes proverbs when He says "Above all else guard the heart for it is the wellspring of life." 

 I often wonder if our physical senses are designed receptors for knowing Him and enjoying His presence. From my own experience, I have smelt the fragrance in the room change when I have sensed His presence....this may sound bizarre to many of you.  I believe we can train and discipline our minds in knowing Him and His presence very intimately. The Psalmists of old seemed to have experienced this in their meditations during the different seasons of their lives. Think of the word "Taste and see the Lord is good"  I know the palpable goodness of the Lord filling me with His Spirit, and I wish and long for more. I could go on with lots of scripture references here, but I do want to leave something here that I have been thinking about.

Remembering the goodness's of God in our lives is one thing that we can consciously practice.  It is indeed a powerful and a useful habit/pattern we can develop in exercising our spiritual discipline. The simple act positions our heart to receive and tunes our ears to hear the Spirit of the Lord. What you hear sinks in your heart and positions you to see the acts and wonders of God.

Job 33: 15- 18 records an intriguing verse

15-18  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword .

What a strange verse? It is mysterious indeed ...but I do know that the Lord opens the ears and speaks wisdom into it and conceals it in His children's heart to keep them from arrogance and impending disasters. For the new covenant believer, I believe through our ears when we have hearing and
Believing hearts, He deposits riches that He draws out for His Glory when we go through trying times or seasons of wilderness. As our reflection gets polished because of the transformation from glory to glory, the richness of God has revealed in our life manifested through our senses.  

I have a theory about 'Glossolalia' the gift of speaking in tongues, and it's just a theory so take it with a grain of salt. Speaking in tongues is strange, but it's the only gift that edifies oneself. If it is we should all pray and speak in tongues more, shouldn't we? Paul states in one of his epistles that he was talking in tongues more than anyone else. That tells me he exercised this gift frequently. All the other gifts are to edify the body (the church). The heavenly language bypasses the mind and intellect, and it is our spirit talking to the Spirit of God. It's as if the Lord is drawing out back what He has deposited through our ears into our hearts. Again this is just a theory, but I suspect some divine holy transaction is going on while speaking in tongues. 

Holy Thoughts for SDG!

Blessings & Shalom


Thomas Paine, a Puritan speaker, once said there is little difference between Grace and Glory. "Grace is Glory Militant and Glory is Grace is triumphant."  I was reading in the book of Romans today and verse 5: 20 states:

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where since increased, grace increased all the more.”

Tozer writes in 'The Attributes of God I'  about the finest titles ever given to a book was by John Bunyan who wrote "Grace Abounding Toward the Chief of Sinners."  Bunyan believed he was the least of which could ever receive the grace of God. But God's grace abounded and overflowed that lead to his transformation. We rightly stand under the disapproval of God, but God's gift in Jesus has literally moved us fast into His presence;  as the old author of Romans defends God's mighty work moved us quickly from justification to reconciliation and sanctified us unto Him to  His righteousness. I cannot help but quote one of my favorite verses from Galatians 2:19-21

19 - 21: "For through the law, I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Blessings & Shalom,

Monday, January 02, 2017


The last few years have been tough, but I am reminded of God's kindness to me all the time. I often say to my friends and acquaintances that Jesus is the kindest person I have ever met. I want these testimonies of my life or better worded "stones of remembrance" as times when I saw the remarkable things the Lord has done for me.  A testimony is just that... it is your personal history with God.  When you can relate His faithfulness to people, it is an invitation for Jesus to do it again in a new way or whatever way He chooses. That is the power of testimony!  Interestingly there is a fascinating verse in Revelation 19:10 "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."  I have exercised the gift of prophecy often with people. In simple terms, its a revelation of what God thinks about the person and is usually for edifying the person and building the church.  This verse is interesting because what Jesus has done... all His acts throughout history and in the affairs of men now has become the spirit of prophecy. This literally means a prophetic declaration is an invitation for Him to do it again! And that is really exciting if you think of it.  I don't know all the relationship between thankfulness and testimonies, but I know there is some and I would say a heart of thankfulness piles up and collects testimonies which you can always share and who knows you would be able to give the word as a prophetic declaration or bring healing to a person's life.

I want the posture of my heart to be always thankful. I have observed over the past two years recording carefully in my thankfulness journals that it keeps my heart in the place of not only being grateful for what has been given to me but also as mile markers that I can always fall back to in trying situations.

As the Psalmist recounts, I have discovered thankfulness and praise is how we enter into His courts. It is a sweet offering to the Lord. Thankfulness is our response to the works of God; Praises to Him are our response to the nature of God and when we worship Him it is our response to His presence (manifest or hidden). Thankfulness and Praise are often referred as a sacrifice that we bring to Him. However, worship in scripture is never considered or referred to as a sacrifice. In worship, we become or are to become the offering where He can do whatever He wants with us.

Psalm 84 personally has been a dear companion to me in the last year. His presence I have desired in the seasons of my wilderness. I have chosen to enter into His courts with thanksgiving. In His presence, I am left with a longing for even more. The first three verses sum it all up for me in the physical:

6 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God..”

Shalom and Blessings,

Dr. Sam Kurien