Understanding the word of God through just one version, for most of us is NIV, together with wrong teaching, can lead to a distorted belief indeed. Let's take a look at Hebrews 9:13-14
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
I grew up in the Methodist tradition thinking that, God helps those who help themselves, not really bothering to find out that it was never in the Bible, it was said by Benjamin Franklin. My view of Jesus death on the cross was that it saved me from all my past sins. The main difference between that and the previous animal sacrifices that the Jews have to do, is that every time I sin again after becoming a Christian, there is no need to sacrifice an animal but just make sure you pray to Jesus to forgive your sins and get back to fellowship with him.
However, if you find yourself constantly sinning, it becomes a stronghold and thus, if you refuse to take effort to break it, your prayers will not be answered, you might suffer some bad consequences in your life, such as getting sick. But those are simply messages from God to tell you that you are living wrongly and you better start to do your part.
I also grew up with a mixture of law and grace. The attitude towards law such as the greatest commandments, "Love your God... and love your neighbor as yourself", is more like, "If I want to be healed, if I want to be blessed, basically, if I want my prayers to be answered by God, I have to do my part to follow the law, and God will do his part." So for example, if I have a serious sickness, I have to really do a lot of works, such as pray hard, serve God more, and God will heal me based on whether I have really done my part to follow the law."
The correct Grace doctrine.
Now if the law came by Moses but truth and grace came from Jesus, truth is on the side of grace. Reading the KJV of the same Hebrew passage tells me that, my previous thinking came from being under the law. Under the law, its "Do your best and God does the rest". Under grace, the blood of Christ is far more powerful than the blood of lambs because it also purged you from thinking that you can use dead works to serve God. Dead works are defined by works by your effort to follow the law.
God wants me to know that every spiritual blessing that I ever need for my life has already been deposited in my spirit, the day I became a Christian (Ephesians 1:3). The only "labor" I need to do is to labor to enter the rest, by believing and speaking. Now, I indeed understand better what Joseph Prince meant when he said, "Begin in the position of already being healed, and then act as if you are already healed, even though your flesh may still display symptoms", rather than "Pleading to God non-stop to heal you". The latter way is not the way to be restful.
Believing and knowing something is harder than it seems. Example from my last ICT
After being lead by Daddy God to read up on neuroscience and quantum physics, I begin to understand better that to "believe in something" and to "know something", is really much more than just using your pre-frontal cortex. Being a very left brained person, I used to scorn at emotions and believe that logical thoughts rule. Now, I realized how important it is to let what you believe in your PFC, to go a "few inches lower" into your heart (Romans 10:9). That means, I have to sink emotions into those thoughts.
Every day, other than confessing that I am healed, I have to rejoice and feel the same emotions now, even though I cannot see the healing in my physical body (Isaiah 54:1). I remember how Daddy God showed this lesson to me last year, when during my last ICT with 740 Guards, Brian Chua from a Mindef branch, came to give us a talk about the CPF award that they are giving us for completing certain milestones. I remember before the ICT, I calculated that I did qualify for the 2nd milestone but when I send them an email to the general email address, they replied with a snail mail that I do not. They probably only checked my record superficially, as typical of Mindef.
I was thinking of giving up and stop trying to appeal for it before this ICT, but during that talk by Brian, I raised the same question to him, in front of the entire unit and after having a chance to talk to him privately after that, he told me he would check up for me and I gave him my contact number. Now if you have interacted with Mindef long enough, you realize that having someone to check for you personally always enhance the chances significantly. I went on trust because even if he never called me back at the end, there is little I can do about that.
After the ICT, after some back and forth phone calls, by the time Dec ends, I finally got that 2nd milestone award through checking CPF online and I distinctly remember fist pumping and feeling very happy with shouts of "Yes! Yes! Thank you Lord!" in my room.
After I calm down from those positive emotions, I heard something in my spirit and my mind had this thought,
"See how happy you felt after you realized that your lobbying during the ICT actually worked and all it took was for you to raise that query, to a ICT talk where you hardly know the people in that Guards unit due to the wide age disparity? That was exactly what Joe Dispenza meant when he said that we believe in a Newtonian form of feeling happy, when you are thankful for an event that has already happened."
The Newton model of reality is when something outside of you changes how you feel inside of you.
The Holy Spirit seems to be speaking to me next, "The next time you are believing Daddy God for divine health, for prosperity, to live until 120, can you now feel all the same emotions that you know you would feel if it really came to past, before you actually see these blessings manifest in your body (Isaiah 54:1 and Hebrews 11:1)?"
I was indeed humbled by that realization. To believe in my mind is relatively simple, I just need to declare it. To believe in my heart is not that easy, I must combine that declaration with the proper emotions. But I can be rest assured that my Spirit, being cleansed by the blood of Christ, already believes it. I just need to prosper my soul by believing it with thoughts, words, and emotions. Once my soul prospers, the body would eventually manifest the blessing (3 John 1:2). According to the quantum model of reality,
The Quantum model of reality means you give thanks before the event manifest. You change the way you think before you see the actual event. Your body becomes the unconscious mind and accept that it already has happened, not knowing the difference between the actual emotion of gratitude after an event has happened, and the emotion you are synthesizing.
With this understanding, it has given me a whole new meaning of attending NCC. Every time during worship, as I lift my hands in praise and worship, I keep reminding myself and even speaking it out, "I believe Daddy God!" Every time I hear the message of Grace being preached again and again, I declare, "Yes Daddy God, I believe!"
What I am doing here is to summon my emotions, to mix my emotions into my thoughts. Being a left brained person, it is indeed not easy to make it natural, like many other Christians might be able to. But it has been really fun doing it!
Hebrews 11:1 and the Hall of Fame
Interestingly, I recall Joseph Prince's sermon on this Hall of Fame chapter.
11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
I remember Joseph Prince saying that the true story in Genesis had Sarah laughing when she heard that promise and expressed doubts that she could actually give birth to children at their age. It took a number of years before that promise actually came when she finally believed.
But note that, in the faith Hall of fame, none of those doubts and disbelief are recorded, only her faith at the end. I took comfort in this and I imagine myself also being recorded as One that believed through faith. Even though I may have my doubts when I do not see the manifestation, let me always cling on faith that all the promises of God are Yes, and Amen!
Wow, didn't realize this reflection would be so long! Indeed, I thank Daddy God that I am still evolving in my understanding of Christianity and I look forward to many more lessons to come!
The MCs said, "Then how do you guys share the profits?" A Pink replied, "We even include our personal incomes and divide everything equally."
Interesting form of income redistribution following Exodus 16:18 "the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little."
Ex-ante, when the group of 6 members are being formed, no one can really tell who among them will earn the most. Also, being in a group leads to the "Cheerleader effect", which means positive externalities reaped.
This agreement to divide the ex-post results equally seems to improve efficiency.
Reminds me of how I often think that teachers in most schools would feel much less stressed if, at the start of the year, every teacher 1A3 and below, contribute some money into a common pot. At the end of the year when ranking is confirmed, the ones with Ds will get to split the pot among themselves.
In this way, the prisoner's dilemma effect of teachers competing to avoid the D grade would be far less stressful!
“But when you have a church culture where one man is absolutely central to everything the church does publicly, then it’s really difficult to draw that line between the church’s mission and the man’s mission, and money spent on the mission and money spent on the man.”
But the questions raised for the evangelical world may be even more significant. How much information do church members deserve to know about their church’s financial decisions?
====Nice! One question that always interests me about NCC but is a hypothesis that is very difficult to prove. When Joseph Prince announced he is not taking pay from the church anymore, over the next few months/years, did the tithing amount fell in NCC while the offering amount rose simultaneously?
This means NCC churchgoers now wrote cheques directly to Joseph Prince in the offering envelopes, but at the same time, reduce their tithing to NCC. In economics, you can call this the "crowding-out effect"
Thus, such announcement does not really make a significant difference and may even affect NCC's usual way of allocating funds?
Been a long time since I saw Park Ji Yoon perform, since adult ceremony in the early 2000s. That era was the lip synching era of kpop, I have to say I have never heard her singing adult ceremony with her real voice before.
That was still her best song but here, she is crooning such a subliminally hypnotic song with all the Beep, what, and Vow.
2 things that I found enlightening from this speech:
1) Religion teaches you the same thing many times to get you to remember.
2) Religion uses very skilled orators to teach, hence you feel very good and even shout Amen, Praise the Lord, Hallelujah after every major point.
Obviously, I latched on these 2 points because my brain already has the neural network or schema call "New Creation Church".
In that schema, NCC constantly repeat the grace message in every sermon, until non NCC Christians wonder why would it continue to attract so many of us year after year. Also Joseph Prince is clearly a very charismatic speaker that so many people are great fans of him.
Repeating the same lesson 7 times or more
I then chuckle and thought back to schooling and education. Why is it that students resist repeating the same points, being made to do the same worksheet 7 or more times? How can I best convince them the wisdom of doing so as so many adults who go to NCC are so easily convinced until they are prepared to keep going NCC to hear the same grace message?
My first impression is perhaps the way I phrase the above paragraph shed clues to solution. Students are young, their brain are more wired up for emotions rather than for long term planning. In short, they think more with their limbic system than their frontal lobes, since the latter only fully develop in adulthood.
That is why there is this well known phrase in teaching that I always arm-chio to "Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care." That means, they are basically emotional beings. They must like a teacher or feel that she cares for them, before they will learn something you teach 7 times.
Adults who attend NCC and choose to stay there, for example, could be a self selected group who realized the importance of reinforcing the same message repeatedly until they move from thinking to feeling, and finally, to being. Even though I am aware that some of them probably stay in NCC because they really like Prince and find him charming, I believe the majority are there by long term planning.
When I teach economics, I make it a point often to drop remarks like, "Isn't this great? Won't you be so happy that you can now see economics in the things you read? Your parents will be so glad you are learning so much economics that you can discuss the news with them!"
When I do that, I always get expressionless stares with some students occasionally arm-chioing. No one has, to date, stood up and fist pump and shout "Hallelujah for the free market! Praise Adam Smith and Milton Friedman!" Haha, but people are obviously excited to hear Joseph Prince and they will say "Amen" throughout many times. Why is this the case?
One reason is definitely that few teachers are as good looking or as charismatic speakers as Prince. The economist in me immediately went back to the "competition vs monopoly" schema for the explanation. It is quite obvious to me that Prince is one of those senior pastors that could only arise because our current church market structure is one that is extremely competitive, with very little barriers to entry.
Furthermore, I see the tithe, where Christians decide which church to tithe based on where they feel comfortable at, is probably a very powerful incentive to make church "compete" for them. This is probably similar to the kind of voucher scheme that has been proposed by Milton Friedman for schools, where parents decide which school to enroll their kids to by using the voucher.
Thus, with this tithe system serving as a voucher, churches that are good will grow big, as they attract more Christians and their 10% tithe, and churches who are not so good, will remain small. Anyone can start a new church if they feel that the current church they are in is not fulfilling their needs. That was how Lawrence Khong of FCBC came about, and probably also the same manner in which Kong Hee of CHC and Prince of NCC originated.
On the other hand, education in Singapore is largely a monopoly market structure. That makes it very difficult for the same things to happen in the education sector. To see an example, if there was a Ministry of Religion who is in charge of training all pastors. If this Ministry decide that you are to go to a church that is nearest to your house, or where your brother is already in or where your parents went when they were young. Under these conditions, I am very confident that a person like Joseph Prince or NCC would not have emerged.
Alain De Botton is such a great speaker with so much insights that I can relate to. I also like the way he links love and art in another speech. A book is meaningful if I read it and the author manages to express thoughts, emotions and feeling, that I already know and are deeply mine, but it is in a mess and hence I am not able to see and understand clearly until I read that book. In that sense, it is the same as love and relationships. When someone say something to you and you understand yourself better as a result. That is when you feel less alone, and the emotions and feelings allow you to easily fall in love with that person.
Joe Dispenza has a similar point about this in the 2nd minute below, when he said that when you meet someone new and you converse, you are basically comparing neural networks. For example, you went to NUS? I went to NUS too! You studied under Professor Tan Ah Kow? Me too! I found him to have this weird habit that always makes me laugh, you feel the same way too! Then you find yourself being attracted to this person basically because she reinforced the same emotions that you have, and reinforced the same neural nets.
This explains why it is harder for you to be attracted to people that are very different from you in various ways because both of you will have very different life experiences. The more both of you are different in life experiences, the harder it will be for your neural network to match each other, and hence you won't share the same emotions with them, and its these emotions that is responsible for people falling in love. You will find that when she talks to you, you are bored because you cannot relate to the things she say, and when you say various things to her, you are also bored because she also cannot follow up on what you say.
In that sense, Alain De Botton and Joe Dispenza, and of course Joseph Prince, appeal to me because they say things that make me feel I understand myself better. =)
What does Joseph Prince and other Word of Faith preachers mean when they say, "Right believing produces right living?" Every morning when I wake up and I declare that I am greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved, what exactly am I trying to accomplish?
In Evolve your Brain, Joe Dispenza is making a distinction between explicit and implicit memory. Every time I declare those things, I am mainly using my conscious mind, or the frontal lobe, which is in the neocortex. In the Christian sense, the brain belongs to the soul part of the body, which we are urged to keep renewing.
After many times of believing and then speaking, which is what faith is as defined by 2 Cor 4:13, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit which is living in my Spirit, it will come to a stage where the memory becomes implicit. This is the same hardwiring that happened to me regarding the "drenched in the bus-stop" scenario
. These are also termed non-declarative or implicit memories, because they are abilities that I no longer necessarily need to declare, but a behavior that I repeatedly demonstrate without much conscious effort or will.
Through the mind's ability to repeat or reproduce an experience at will, the mind has thought about, rehearsed, and planned so well that when the mind instructs the body to perform a task, the body now has an implicit memory of how to do it, and no longer needs the conscious mind. In this sense, my body is now aligned with my renewed and prosperous mind, and like what Creflo Dollar would say, my trinity is complete, Spirit-Soul-Body now works as one, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That is how "Right believing produces right living"
Yesterday when I was walking to my workplace after I got off the bus, there was a huge amount of trapped water along the path I was walking and looking ahead, I could see that cars driving past me were splashing water along that path. I tried to move quickly but unfortunately, I could not avoid a car that splash water until I was drenched.
Of course, when that happened, I felt sian. I was wearing a black shirt two days ago but I chose to wear my light pink shirt yesterday and I thought, "How come this did not happen yesterday which would be better. Why so suay today? And why was I so stupid not to just alight at the bus stop ahead, so that I can get to my workplace without being drenched, even though I would have walked a longer distance?"
Nevertheless, after a short while, I could feel my optimism naturally kicked in with very positive thoughts. It was almost like a chatter in my brain that says things like, "My shirt does not look stained, it is just wet. I am so glad I am not a girl because if the same thing happen, it would be so awkward for my modesty if I was drenched like that.
So I start to confess that I am happy, this is no worry, I shall not let this external stimuli affect my mood and very quickly, I was fine on the inside.
From what Joe is saying above, its like my hypothalamus acting as a thermostat. After my body recognized that a wave of negativity is sweeping it, it immediately sends a signal to my brain that says, "Hey, we are feeling very negative here and it is not what I am used to. Quick, find any possible angle in the situation that can generate positive thoughts!" And my brain respond with all those sub-vocalizations and chatter.
So why change is difficult
With that experience, I begin to understand better what Joe Dispenza is saying in this book, "Evolve your Brain", summed up in this video. I chuckle and I ask myself, "If being optimistic is bad and I am trying to change myself into a more negative person now, it would be very difficult because my brain only need to think positive and my body will immediately know how to react, since it has been conditioned for so many years to always look at the bright side."
Like I have explained above, those positive thoughts came to my mind automatically without even me being conscious about the process. If I wanted to change to a negative person, I have to exercise my frontal lobe and keep thinking negatively and that requires a very active process to overcome all those automatic positive thoughts. My body will keep protesting all those conscious negative thoughts and I will have to keep actively thinking of negative thoughts.
The analogy I have read somewhere else, when you are trying to eliminate any habits, is like this, the frontal lobe is like the human rider, and the body is like the elephant. If the elephant has been trained to move a certain direction and the rider is trying to get the elephant to move in a different direction, it will be very difficult and the human rider has to keep manipulating the rope and keep on doing it until the elephant finally move in the direction the rider wants it to.
Application to relationships
Upon further reflection, I begin to chuckle and felt I now understood much better why it is very hard for me to be emotionally close to negatively oriented people. According to Joe, it is because my neural networks don't match those from pessimists. In that sense, we are all addicts in one way or another, even if it is not about the usual suspects of alcohol and drugs. Optimists have neural networks that are addicted to positive feelings while pessimists have networks that are addicted to negative feelings.
As a side note, I am addicted to talking about economics to any group of listeners, either because they are willing or, more likely, they are forced to listen because they think they will be tested on that in the future, is because every time I talk about it, dopamine fires in my brain and I get very positive feelings after that.
Thus when someone who is a pessimist tries to share all those negative feelings, she is perhaps expecting me to reinforce them through empathy and perhaps I should feel negative too so that I am reflecting those same negative feelings back at her. But here I am, after hearing those negative feelings, my mind immediately works automatically, without me thinking, to change those negative feelings into positive, and keep telling her the various ways to view any given bad situation positively, and she goes, "What the hell are you doing?"
Often I will be accused of not really listening. I have to admit there might be some truth to that, but I wish such people would understand that it is very difficult for me to be negative for more than a few seconds. I have yet to master the art of "listening intently to someone complaining about life and yet not be negatively affected inside".
But because of my lack of mastery, I cannot turn off my hypothalamus, I cannot stop my brain from not automatically seeing the positive angle from any sad event. I don't want to dwell on negative thoughts. Perhaps I should instead say, "I am not willing to change this aspect of me at this present time" =)
But this reminds me one important lesson of neuroplasticity, to change is very difficult. I must really master the skill of observation and mentally rehearse myself being the ideal self, so that my body will eventually learn to fit that image. In the meantime, let me follow the "Word of Faith" prescription of "believe and therefore speak!" and trust in the Lord for his unmerited favor in order to change.
As usual, once you start to like a group, when you go back to their older songs, you see them from a new perspective. I started with Wild
and now going back to Dolls, I see another aspect of them. This time, I begin to notice Hyuna and her powerful voice.
In Wild, it was not easy to notice her as her singing lines are only towards the end of the song. In Dolls, she was the main singer, starting the song, as well as revealing her extremely powerful vocal ability in the 2nd verse last line, before the chorus kicks in. With her height and her confidence, I can imagine her to be somewhat intimidating to stand next to haha.
Overall this Nine Muses is definitely a group worth listening to from now on! I did download this video in TS format sometime back but as it is not very catchy, I took no notice of it after the first 15 secs of viewing. Of course, once I realized how catchy Wild was, it was much easier to go back and appreciate this song.
I have never really got into songs from Sistar. Okay, I do note that they have very healthy bodies unlike the usual "skinny" kpop groups and they clearly are good singing live, due to Hyorin's status as probably the best current singer in kpop world.
However, I have to say that this song has made me finally realized who Dasom is in Sistar. Wow, it was probably her long hair this time round since I don't recall her having long hair in previous songs, and I realized her fair white skin contrasted very well with Hyorin's tan.
She has only a minor part in the middle part of this song, with that hat prop. However, that long hair of hers, the bangs, plus that soft voice, made me think, "Who the hell is this from Sistar that I have never noticed before in the past?" =) Now, if I ever watch performances of this song, it will be because of her haha.
Can't believe I missed out this song when I was reviewing May comeback performances among all the girl groups recently. This song is so catchy that I liked it immediately when I chance across it recently. I occasionally hear of this particular group in the past but their songs have never really stuck with me until Wild. Does this group passed my key "no lip synching" criteria? Well, to be honest, I cannot really tell whether they lip synch or not as yet, a bit like 50% of the time, I can roughly tell they are singing live but I guess I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
Just like SNSD, they have 9 members but they are clearly a more mature group. In fact when I was watching their Wild performances, I keep thinking that this kind of song is what Rainbow should be doing at this time instead of all the cutesy song that they are doing now. Sunshine is fine but it is so bubble gum and a waste for someone with the maturity and figure of Jaekyung heh.
Going back to my previous kpop entry, I am certainly glad to see that 4 minute did so well for "What's your name", which kind of justified my judgement of the song being the best. As for Hello Venus, I was disappointed by their boring dressing which hardly changed among all their performances of "Do you want some tea?", in contrast to all their changes they had during their previous song,"What are you doing today"? In this aspect, seeing Wild and 9 muses's frequent changes in dressing was very refreshing heh.