Further reflection on the issue of theme of time based on the movie Arrival. Reading this article has further stirred my mind regarding whether it is God's will to give us physical healing for us Christians.
I have discussed this issue at various times here before. To sum up the evolution of my thinking, let me list down in point form here.
Methodist: You can pray to God for physical healing but it may or may not be in his will to do so. The standard prayer is, "Father, if it is your will, please heal me from X, Y, Z. But if its not your will, I understand. Help me to learn the appropriate lessons that you want to teach me thru X, Y, Z.
Non Word of Faith Charismatic church: Same approach as above. This time, however, God may want to heal but because I did not confess some sin in my life, which could be hidden, could be a stronghold, that healing is unable to be given. I can try fasting, praying more, and if I do enough of that, maybe God will deemed me worthy enough to be healed.
Word of Faith (NCC) Church: It is always in God's will that you are healed. Jesus has taken your infirmities and diseases to the Cross, by his stripes you are healed (Isaiah 53). Every spiritual blessing has been deposited into your account because of what Jesus has done (Ephesians 1:3 and Pslams 103). But its all in the Spiritual world. Your job right now, is to believe that promise in your soul. Fight the good fight of faith by "calling forth things that are not, as though they are", labor to enter into the rest that Jesus has already finished all the work (Hebrews 4). Once your soul is renewed enough in that truth, it will be prospering. Then your body will be in health (3 John 1:2).
Principle of Superposition and Choice
Deut 30:19 NASV
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.
Hebrews" Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 Kings 6
15 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! [e]What shall we do?” 16 So he [f]answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
“True time moves forward not with the tick of a clock but with the making of a choice. Until a choice is taken, the future is not determined.” – Tom Montalk
Reading the above article about time, and linking it to the movie Arrival, made me recall this verse. The lesson I am drawing from this verse is that God is giving me the final choice when it comes to healing.
Upon further reflection and linking it to my "Quantum Physics" schema, it made me recall the movie "What the Bleep do I know". I recall my favorite scene in that neuroscience movie about how the way we focus our attention can matter.
For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matthew 13:12
When I first saw that scene, I thought, "Wow that scene can fit into that Deut verse very well" All the basketballs that were bouncing represent what God is setting before me. I have to put my attention into believing in the finished work.
I may not see the healing for example, in my body, but it does not mean that it is not present, just like what Joseph Prince said about Matt 13:12. He also said that what is unseen is permanent but what is seen is temporal. There are numerous balls bouncing in front of me, which represents various states of my heath. One of those balls is one where I am in perfect health and long lived. God is asking me to exercise my faith and choose that ball.
That is where faith comes in. Note the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6. Elisha was not using his 5 senses, he was exercising the faith of God. This idea of mixing quantum superposition to Christianity is indeed a very new arc for me. In this aspect, the Word of Faith church is not far behind this idea, the preacher that leans closest to his would be Dr Caroline Leaf.
From her perspective, the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5, For she thought, “If I just touch His clothing, I will get well.”
(AMP), it was not just a stray thought in her brain. She was totally convinced
in her mind that she will be healed. It was certainly not, "Oh Jesus is in town, let me just touch him and I will get well!"
I have to admit, when I first watched "The Arrival", I thought it was tough to follow and enjoy. As usual, I will need to watch it once, read some reviews of it, and then watch it a second time.
Reading reviews, such as the following, suddenly made me have a "eureka" moment where I could sense that, in my brain, a neuron suddenly awoke and I was reminded of Joseph Prince's long ago midweek service sermon, "2 Key Principles to inherit Gods Blessings".
When I recalled that sermon, I thought the first time I viewed it, I thought, "Wow, this is so deep!" But I kept listening a few more times, and together with my already existing neurons in my brain on the word of Joe Dispenza and his point about living in the quantum world, I found myself understanding that sermon more and more.
After that reflection, I watched the Arrival a second time, after the above reflection, I saw this part in the 3rd act where the main actress realized
I know what it is.
It's not a weapon. It's a gift. The weapon is their language. They gave it to us. Do you know what that means?
If you learn it, when you really learn it, you begin to perceive time the way that they do, so you can see what's to come. But time, it isn't the same for them. It's non-linear.
Hebrew has no future tense
And I thought, "Wow, that was the same lesson that Joseph Prince was teaching in that sermon." I found a brief sermon notes of that online. The point is that, in the Hebrew language, which was what the Old Testament was based on, was God's language. There is no future tense in Hebrew. It is as if everything that God spoke takes place in the present or in the past.
Thus, when the first English translation of the Bible came, which was the original King James, translators have a lot of difficulty in translating the Hebrew into English.
The translators ended up putting in the future tenses of which the English language has. By doing so, however, it may not capture the true meaning in the Hebrew.
Young's Literal Translation, in contrast, attempted to phrase it correctly. An example would be when God told Abraham of his blessing of being a "father of many nations" in Genesis 17:4-5
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
I–lo, My covenant [is] with thee, and thou hast become father of a multitude of nations; and 5 thy name hath been Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations have I made thee;
So, according to JP, the KJV has future tense included like the word "shalt", but in the Hebrew, it is actually "thou hast become", which clearly changes the meaning of the verses. So any word in KJV that has the English future tense "shall", God was actually saying "has" or "hath been"
The point is that, just like what the main actress realized in the Arrival, when we learn to speak "the language of God", we will begin to perceive the way God perceives. When we pray to God for healing for example, learn to "call forth things that are not, as though they are". See yourself healed already in the present, even though you may not see it in the flesh.
A new perspective of Matthew 13:12
for whoever hath, it shall be given to him, and he shall have overabundance, and whoever hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken from him. YLT
In the same sermon, Joseph Prince also teaches a new way to understand this confusing verse. The 2nd verse does not make sense if you read it logically. After all, if you already "have not", why say even that which you hath?
Once you learn to see things the way God sees, thru the Hebrew language, when you pray for healing, for example, after you say Amen, you may still feel the pain in your body. Actually, the healing is already inside you. But if you open your mouth and say, "Aiyah, how come I am not healed", you will find that the healing that is already present inside you will be taken away from you.
Yah, I know it sounds rather silly in the logical mind. But the moral of the story is really quite clear. One key principle in inheriting God's blessings, is to learn to speak the language of God. God sees everything in the present tense. When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, Jesus declared Gideon to be a mighty warrior but the reality is Gideon was scared and needed so many different miracles before he can be convinced.
This was the central theme in the movie "The Arrival" and it is the same lesson to be learned, when it comes to praying bold prayers, when it comes to healing.
The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is recorded only in John's gospel. And after hearing Joseph Prince's exposition, I understood better how to correct someone whose love language is Words of Affirmation. Having the same love language, I understand the trickiness of doing such correcting.
For those of us whose love language is WOA, correcting us with words must be done carefully. It is said that Jesus knows all 5 love languages and knows how to relate to each of us through our specific one. I have already said before that the term "You have a came long way since" has often been used by the Holy Spirit when it comes to communicating with me.
The style that Jesus did is the "divine sandwich" style.
6 He *said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus *said to her, “You have correctly(beautifully in the original language) said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”
Basically the method to do is "Affirm-tell the truth without normative judgment-affirm". To put in point form:
Affirm: Praise her for telling the truth.
Truth telling: Stick to facts with absolutely zero moral judgments.
Affirm: Reaffirm her for telling the truth.
John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
Imagine a world without the Gospel of John
It was Joseph Prince who pointed out something yesterday I have not really taken note before. Many of the miracles and events recorded in John's gospel did not appear in the other 3 gospels. Turning the water into wine, the meeting with Nicodemus where the issue of being born again, as well the meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well were some of these issues.
Now imagine we lived in an alternate reality, Earth 2, where the gospel of John did not exist. Without the lessons of those events, surely we would all agree that Christianity would be worse off. Once you accept that, it is quite easy to imagine, and I am sure I am not the first one to think of this, the many lessons we could have gotten from all the other signs that the Holy Spirit felt that there is no need for us to know them.
I recalled how the movie Da Vinci Code, made me realized there were other gospels that were rejected by mainstream Christianity, such as the gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdelene.
Based on what I was thinking above, I sometimes wonder whether I might benefit from reading those “lost gospels” since they might have recorded things that were not recorded in the 4 mainstream gospels.
But then again, being a mainstream Christian
, it is probably better that I respect the Holy Spirit’s view that reading those would not be good for me. I guess its one of those things that we will only understand once we get to heaven, then we can ask God directly. =)The 5 books of the New Testament.
The other new thing that I have learned from the sermon was summed up in this picture:
Exo 30:22 Moreover, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty, 24 and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin.
According to JP, Matthew and John both illustrated Jesus as pillars, King of the Jews, and the Son of God, so they represent the 2 shekels of 500. While Mark shows Jesus as a servant, which represents an ox, and Luke shows Jesus as Son of Man, our representative, so these 2 will take the 250 shekels in between. The Olive Oil is representing the book of Acts.
"You see Jeff there are certain things man was not meant to hear. We were designed, by whatever entity you choose, to hear what's in this range, and really this range alone. Because you know who is talking to us in this range? The people we love"=======Introduction
Ever since I finished watching Signal
, this drama is now my replacement for the public transport journeys. Its so much better than Smallville, every episode was short and sweet and to the point. Many times, I actually end up laughing out loudly even on trains and buses with some of the scenes. But every now and then at the ending, there comes a scene that really made me reflect and go "Wow, I am actually learning something deep from this!"Should you care about hearing gossip?
So in episode 4, Jeff wanted to use Pierce special ear piece to hear what his friends may have been saying about him, and Pierce replied with the above quote that gave me lots of room to reflect. I am a firm believer in the need to stay away from people who are not just narcissistic but also seem to gossip all the time. I realized over time when I hang around people that somehow made me more uncomfortable afterward, it will be people who are mostly like these.
The longer I live, I found out that there is a power I have, that is to choose the company that I am with. Choose to hang around with people that you love to hang around with, and don't really bother about how people may be gossiping about other people, and maybe even about you. =)Socrates 3 Filter Test in decision making
Recently, I also heard of Socrates and his Three Filter test that can also be related to why we should avoid people who gossip excessively. It shares similarities to the 4 questions of Byron Katie in "The Work".
In ancient Greece, Socrates (the philosopher) was visited by an acquaintance of his. Eager to share some juicy gossip, the man asked if Socrates would like to know the story he’d just heard about a friend of theirs. Socrates replied that before the man spoke, he needed to pass the “Triple-Filter” test.
The first filter, he explained, is Truth. “Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to say is true?” The man shook his head. “No, I actually just heard about it, and …”
Socrates cut him off. “You don’t know for certain that it is true, then. Is what you want to say something good or kind?” Again, the man shook his head. “No! Actually, just the opposite. You see …”
Socrates lifted his hand to stop the man speaking. “So you are not certain that what you want to say is true, and it isn’t good or kind. One filter still remains, though, so you may yet still tell me. That is Usefulness or Necessity. Is this information useful or necessary to me?” A little defeated, the man replied, “No, not really.”
“Well, then,” Socrates said, turning on his heel. “If what you want to say is neither true, nor good or kind, nor useful or necessary, please don’t say anything at all.”
What a great drama this turned out to be. It was quite easy for me to decide to give this drama a try, which was the second Korean drama that I have followed since DOTS
, since I was always fascinated
by time loops and alternative reality themes. The movie Frequency was also one of those that I really enjoyed watching.Time shifting using iPad
And boy, this drama certainly brought excitement back to taking public transport for me. As I have mentioned before
, the great benefit I see from my iPad, as what the humble VCR did for my life in the 1980s and 90s, is the concept of time shifting. Instead of watching this drama at home, I opted to watch it only when I take public transport.
Previously before this drama, I was watching Smallville. I realized it was not working for me as the drama was rather boring, with Clark Kent not being able to fly due to a deliberate policy for the producers, and the whole villian of the week in each episode turning out to be a yawn fest.
What ended up happening was that I fast forwarded each episode as I was sitting in the bus. I chuckled as I read recently
that Millenials are now watching dramas at twice the speed as another way to make full use of the scarce time resource. Well, me being Gen X, I have not reached that stage yet.
For Signal, it was exciting enough throughout the drama to make me look forward to all the early morning bus trips that I take for work, as well as the journey back home and I don't even mind having to wait long for the bus as a result. Of course, the only con is that sometimes you reach your destination just when it reaches the most exciting part of the drama and to me, even though I am generally a moderator
, I still sometimes feel a bit sian haha.Starting well and character development
This drama followed a similar theme in Frequency, here Signal uses a walkie talkie to allow inter-temporal communication. The first episode was also very encouraging for me. I always enjoyed US and HK drama for being very fast paced relative to the Korean ones, where the first episode begins with a bang.
Thus, when I decided to watch this, I told myself I will give this particular drama three episodes. If I am still yawning by then, I would stop watching it. On reflection, I should have started on this criteria for Jessica Jones. I recalled for that drama, I was yawning but I dragged it on until episode 7, until I finally couldn't take it anymore haha.
I was thus very pleased to see that the ending of the first episode grabbed me immediately, At the end of the first episode of Signal as shown above, Lt Park stood in front of reporters and shouted out loudly in public that he had proof that the little girl was actually kidnapped by a lady, instead of a male, which certainly qualified as "starting with a bang" for me.
As I continued the drama, I also note that there was definitely ample character development. What I found very interesting was seeing how the main actress grew from an innocent and bumbling detective to a confident team leader of the "Cold Case Squad". It made me smile when her mentor Lee Jae Han was also caught by surprise at this when told by Lt Park over the walkie talkie.Most memorable scene
Being a Korean drama, there are also standard tear jerking moments in it. One that stood out for me was when Lt Park found out that, when he was a little boy, in the above video, it was actually Jae Han that paid the lady for all the omelet rice that he has been eating since young. The scene where, as an adult, Lt Park recalled how, as a young kid walking back home after being full from the meal, he could now see that Jae Han was actually following behind him.
It was really tear jerking for me because he was very encouraged that, in those sad young days after his parents separated, due to the older brother being sentenced for sexual assualt, he was not alone, an "angel" in the form of Jae Han was making his paths smooth, without him realizing it. It made me recalled how, during 2013, I actually made a trip back to my childhood home at Bedok, the HDB block and the carpark that surrounds it definitely look smaller now, partly due to the construction and upgrading, as well as my bigger size of course.
I saw that HDB block as well as the jogging track that was next to it. My mind wandered back to my schooling and NSF days. I recalled one particularly tough time during my BMT, where I was down with a high fever that saw my temperature actually exceeded 40 degrees C. That feeling where you almost feel as though you are dying. It was also the time when I was worried whether I will ever passed me Standard Obstacle Course. I remember how, after I recovered from the high fever and had home MC from camp, I was taking a stroll around that jogging track and I was trusting God that he will allow me to do well in the SOC test, when I returned.
I even took the lift up and walked along the corridor and saw that there are now two entrances to the flat, and another family is now living there. Looking back at the surrounding really brought a warm feeling to my heart as I recalled, much like what Signal showed in that scene, how I was as a young person then, and grateful to Daddy God for how far I have came since then, which I always have the habit of doing since its one of my top Words of Affirmation
I also recalled Joseph Prince saying before that, often we thank God for all the problems he has deliver us out of. But truth be told, there are many bad things that did not happen to us because God went ahead of the way and smooth those paths out for us. We often don't thank God for those things that did not happen but could have happened to us. We have "wells that we did not dig and vineyards we did not plant". One of the stories that also illustrated the above principle, that I have internalized from NCC, is the story of Boaz and Ruth
. In Chap 2:15-16And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”
So as I saw that scene where Lt Park superimposed Jae Han in the road leading to his house, I could see also how Daddy God was also following behind me.Conclusion
So to have that same scene in Signal was very heart warming and sealed my liking for this drama since it activated many of my schemas. As I have said before
, to rephrase Alain De Botton, "When a drama 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 drama". =)
Btw, to put pastor’s sermons out there for free downloads, it is stealing. So please don’t do that. Be fair to him. He has to feed Justin. Justin eats a lot.
To me, this was the most interesting part of yesterday's sermon, and I thought I laughed the loudest among the congregation during the 4th service. The main reason for that laughter was that it awoke the economic schema of non-rivalry in my brain.
High start up cost but zero marginal cost
Joseph Prince, to produce a sermon for the first viewer, has to put in a lot of "work" (Of course, he would say he is resting in God's finished work, but I am sticking to secular interpretation here). He has to read the Bible, reflect upon what he has read, and write down the ideas. On Sunday, he has to stand in the pulpit and deliver the sermon. There will be video crew recording, and of course the Star venue has opportunity cost in terms of the rental it could have earned during Sunday and so on and so forth.
The initial start up cost is high. But once it is recorded in video form, the video sermon becomes a non-rival good. It is now possible for it to be seen by millions, but at no additional cost to him. The marginal cost is zero for all the additional viewers.
Marginal benefits to viewers are significant
On the other hand, the marginal benefits that those viewers reap are not zero. From all the testimonies that are often shared in church, many of those viewers see significant gains in their Christian walk. Since these viewers are reaping all these gains, from the perspective of pareto efficiency, zero marginal cost for them to reap those gains means, as far as possible, they should be allowed to watch even if they are unwilling or unable to pay.
The moment you charge a price, some of these people will not watch since they will be unwilling or perhaps they are unable to pay that price. By making it free for them to view, clearly many people can be made better off, at zero additional cost to Joseph Prince.
How then should the preacher be compensated?
But, as Joseph Prince is also stating above, he still needs to ensure a steady income from viewers to give him a “fair rate of return” for the high startup cost. But I chuckled because, from my perspective, it is definitely not the congregation recording the sermons in the Star PAC that is causing this problem. I believed its more from people recording the live broadcast of his sermons overseas, as well as people who bought the DVD, ripped it, and upload to Youtube.
Indeed, you can view so many of those “almost full length” sermons there currently. I recall years back in 2009-2012, such uploads are almost immediately taken down. Nowadays, I think they are less zealous about doing so. I guess people in JPM are also beginning to understand that the marginal benefits of letting people watch those sermons are too significant for them to ignore.
NCC paying him a regular salary in the past would have been an ideal solution. Since JP is ruling that out as a current option, I guess appealing to more of his listeners to buy more of his sermons and books will be the second-best solution. So long as there is a sufficient group of supporters who will support him with such purchases, allowing others to “free-ride” and watch those sermons for free would be fine. In this aspect, if there are indeed people overseas who have redirected their tithes, that would have gone to their local church, to JPM directly, even though his TV broadcast always reminds them not to, I guess that could be the second-best outcome.
I made a similar point about this in Kpop: all those hardcore fans who are buying CDs and other products so that they can go into music shows, the rest of us kpop listeners overseas, who are only enjoying their live performances over the Internet, are basically “free riding” on these hardcore fans. =)
The steps of a good man Are ordered by the LORD: And he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, He shall not be Utterly cast down:
For the LORD upholdeth him With His hand.
Whenever I sit in a car with a GPS system, I sometimes crack this joke to the driver, "If I were to create a GPS system, I will like to make one where, if you miss the turn after the advice came in, the voice will go, "My grandma can drive better than you, how did you pass your driving test?" It was all in good fun of course. =)
Viewing this sermon by Joel Osteen brought a smile on my face and another perspective to the above verse, as well as that joke. Joseph Prince also said before that in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, all the mistakes that those heroes of faith did was not recorded. In the 18th minute, the Holy Spirit is like the GPS system, when we miss the turn because of one reason or another, he straight away goes, "Recalculating route". No matter how many times I miss the turn, there is always an alternative route to the destination that I was meant to walk in.
This is such a lovely Christian song that I sang recently in New Creation Church. The quality of the live acoustics and the live band performance are the main reasons why I very much prefer to attend the Star, rather than any of the overflow rooms.
Usually in church, whenever I am singing a song that I felt was especially uplifting for my spirit, I will eagerly wait until the end of the first or 2nd verse, where by CCLI rules on copyright, NCC will flash the song title and the publisher on the bottom left part of the lyrics. I will then take out my phone and type the title of that song, to search for it on the Internet later. I did that for this song, and was pleasantly surprised to know that it was actually locally composed by Scripture Union by Steven Wee.
Although I could not find the NCC version, this version to me was sweet enough, especially when they inserted the voices of children into it. The innocence of those voices putting their trust in the Lord was so sweet and it reminded me of my own transition
to NCC. I always marvel that, at NCC, its probably the first church that I went to, where the songs are about how great God is and how much he loved me, and the sermon also follows through the same theme.
In many other charismatic churches, the latter will be more of what I should do for God to bless me. To put it in NCC lingo, its like the worship is based on Mount Zion, but in the sermon, there is a sudden change of covenants, to be based on Mount Sinai.
I have occasionally heard of Martin Seligman idea of how to cope with negativity using 3Ps, Personalization, Permanence and Pervasiveness, well summarized here
. I guess nothing really beats hearing it being applied from an actual person that is going thru grief. I especially like the part when she mentioned that, in the case of Permanance, she experienced what she felt was the "second derivative" of the pain, where she felt sad that she was sad, she felt miserable that she was miserable. Thinking of "What if"
Her psychologist friend who advised her to "I think about how much worse things could be," brought a smile on my face because it made me recall that excellent episode of the OC final season where Ryan finally found a way to let go of his grief thinking that he was responsible for Marissa's death. It was that Earth 2 episode where he realized that, if Marissa had not met him, she would have died even earlier, in season 1, when she overdosed on drugs after realizing that her ex boyfriend was two timing her. During that season, Ryan was the one that saved her.