October 2012


I just wanted to dedicate this song to my ex-colleague who keep playing this in the office.

I did some search from the internet, apparently this song is often erroneously attributed to Bob Marley, which is not possible because Bob Marley died in 1981 and the single was released1988.

Whenever I see this title,  I will remember the phrase in  Swahili called “Hakuna Matata” which is translated literally as "There are no worries." It was made famous by the movie Lion King.

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” is the unofficial anthem of Jamaica, and according to Wikipedia, after Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica in 1988 , it clause months of hardship to the locals.

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” is one of a rare song that is completely performed in A cappella. It was rank No 31 in the 100 greatest hits in the 80s

Sometimes I tend to worry often, so I guess the song serves as a reminder to me as well. I would also like to dedicate this song to everyone who is now troubled by worries. May you all be happy and smile often Smile 

Title : Don’t Worry Be Happy
Artist : Bobby McFerrin

(whistling)

Here’s a little song i wrote,
you might want to sing it note for note,
don’t worry, be happy

in every life we have some trouble,
when you worry you make it double
don’t worry, be happy

don’t worry be happy now
don’t worry be happy
don’t worry be happy
don’t worry be happy
don’t worry be happy

ain’t got no place to lay your head,
somebody came and took your bed,
don’t worry, be happy
the landlord say your rent is late,
he may have to litigate,
don’t worry (small laugh) be happy,

look at me I’m happy,
don’t worry, be happy

i give you my phone number,
when your worried, call me,
i make you happy

don’t worry, be happy

ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style,
ain’t got no gal to make you smile
but don’t worry, be happy
cause when you worry, your face will frown,
and that will bring everybody down,
so don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy now…

don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy

now there this song i wrote
i hope you you learned it note for note
like good little children
don’t worry be happy

listen to what i say

in your life expect some trouble
when you worry you make it double
don’t worry be happy
be happy now

don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, be happy
don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t do it,
be happy,put a smile on your face,
don’t bring everybody down like this
don’t worry, it will soon pass whatever it is,
don’t worry, be happy,
I’m not worried

Don’t Worry Be Happy!!
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In the previous blog article, I have shared my initial thoughts when I first heard the sermon regarding the richness of Jesus spoken by a famous pastor who believes in the prosperity theology.

We would look into the points talked about by the pastor.

Pt 1. Jesus is rich because he was showered with great treasures at the time he was born.

The pastor based this point from the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem on the day Christ was born. (Matt 2:1-12). These men brought with them tributes that are befitting for a king, so the pastor described them with huge treasure chests of gifts as tributes to the new born king of the Jews.

In that story, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they departed for home using another way.

Preliminary Findings  

As I was researching on the topic, I found some interesting facts.

  1. Most Christians pictured the magi as 3 men, even though the bible did not indicate their numbers. Most people base their assumption base on the fact that there are 3 types of gifts, therefore each man must be bearing one gift.
  2. Some stories like Ben-Hur actually contains the name of the wise men. Church traditions claimed that they came from India, Persia and Arabia , some feels that they are Persians, while some even believe they came from China.
  3. As these men travelled great distances from Persia, India and China, many guess that  the gifts were purchased just before their arrival into the land of Israel, most likely from trading posts like Petra in Jordan.
  4. Some scholars felt that the individual gifts testified the status of Jesus
    1. Gold is tribute for the King
    2. Frankincense is used in the incense used by the Priest
    3. Myrrh is a burial spice, indicating the death and burial of Jesus 

Personally, I felt that these facts cannot be proven and disproven, hence I just decided to list them out for interest sake.  

Discrepancies In The Nativity Story  In The Gospel Of Matthew And Luke

If one were to examine the record of the birth of Jesus written by Matthew and Luke one would notice a few differences

  1. Matthew Recorded that Joseph and Mary fleeing to Egypt after the wise men visited.  (Matt 2:13-14). He did not talk about the Circumcision of Jesus
  2. Luke mention Joseph going into the temple in Jerusalem on the 7th Day after Christ is born and ran into Simeon and Anna (Lk 2:21-38)
  3. Luke did not talk about Joseph going to Egypt, but said he return to Galilee straight
  4. Matthew said that an angel appeared to Joseph while he is in Egypt and then he returned to Galilee
  5. Matthew mentioned of the massacring of children in Bethlehem soon after the birth of Christ 

Most people used this to question if the records are conflicting. But here are my thoughts regarding what would have possibly happened.  

  1. Fact : It only take roughly 2 hours to walk from Bethlehem to Jerusalem
  2. Joseph could have stayed in Jerusalem for 7 days before fleeing to Egypt, as Mary would have been weak to travel (Especially after childbirth) ,
    1. The circumcision of Jesus on the seventh day of childbirth is done there  before fleeing to Egypt.
    2. Luke compiled the gospel of Luke for  Theophilus by compiling eyewitness accounts  of Jesus life,  there is a possibility that not everyone aware of   Joseph fleeing to Egypt.
  3. While hiding in Egypt, he was instructed by an angel to return to Nazareth straight.
  4. It is not possible to determine how long did Joseph hid in Egypt.
  5. Although the bible did not mention it , I would agree that Joseph most likely needed a donkey at least to bring the heavily pregnant Mary to the town of Bethlehem. it is a fair assumption base on the circumstances of their travel.
    1. It is highly possible that that is needed to help them flee to Egypt as well.

How Much Treasure Did They Bring?

According to the pastor, they bought tribute enough for a king, and in his option that means a huge treasure chest. Most art  depicts the magi coming as a huge caravan  bearing gifts for Jesus.

The fact is that the word used for “Treasure” in the verse was  θησαυρους and it just means “wealth”. The same word could be use figuratively as well.  The fact is, the bible did not specifically indicate the amount of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh that was given as a gift.

Even if it is true that Joseph did receive truckloads of treasures,  he would have problems carrying them away.  Especially when he was fleeing Herod.

This assumption is made base on the fact that soon after the magi visit, Joseph had to pack up and flee to Egypt. He may or may not have a donkey to help carry the gifts.  even if the donkey is present, the poor animal have to carry Mary with Baby Jesus as well as the gifts.

How much load can a donkey bear?  (super donkey anyone?). Therefore I do not think that Joseph would have the capability to  carry a huge amount of gifts even if they are presented.

The real purpose of the gifts?

I once wrote about Joseph in this blog article, and in it I shared that perhaps Gods work for Joseph to accomplish includes the following

  1. To bring Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem safely
  2. To Help Mary and Baby Jesus flee to Egypt away from Herod who wanted to kill him
  3. To safely bring Mary and the child Jesus back to Nazareth from Egypt
  4. To educate and to care of Jesus until he is ready for ministry.

Once I heard in the sermon that perhaps it is possible that the gifts from the Magi was God’s providence to aid Joseph in the work.  This is why most of my friends and I feel that the gifts from the Magi were the items that help sustained the life of Joseph and Mary during the time they were in Egypt.

Personally I feel that those provision would have ran out by the time Joseph return to Nazareth.

Did Joseph became a rich man after receiving the gifts?

I guess the answer is a straight NO, although some people claimed that the work of Joseph and Jesus are known as “τεκτονος” (AKA Tekton) meaning a craftsman, and they suggest that Joseph and Jesus made have participate in building the nearby Roman town of Tzippori (ancient "Sepphoris").

But the social standing of Joseph is indicated clearly when he offered sacrifice for Mary Lev 12:8 tells us that a woman would have to offer a sacrifice to God after 7 days of her childbirth. If they unable to provide a lamb, they are allowed to bring turtledoves for the sacrifice  they can be caught at no cost). Joseph offered 2 turtledoves on the day of Jesus circumcision Lk 2:22-24.

If the gifts of the Magi was as “enormous” and generous as prosperity teacher suggest, than I guess Joseph must be a super miser to offer 2 turtledoves instead of a lamb. But I feel such sweeping conclusion is really unfair to Joseph.

Conclusion

While the bible did not tell us how much gifts the Magi bought with them. It is evident that Joseph could only carry a small amount and for sure neither Joseph or Jesus became rich because of the Magi and their “tribute befitting for a king”

Hence to present the offering of the Magi as evidence to prove that Jesus was rich man. Is a weak point by itself. For the fact is that they remained poor despite the “huge gifts” given to them.

But as I was In the midst of studying this , I did came to an conclusion that God will indeed provide and take care of his servants at all times. God have specially provided provisions to help Joseph in his task to protect and to care for Mary after her childbirth.

From here we know that no matter how difficult the work God has given to us, we can safely say that he will provide for us and that he will see us through the difficulty at all times.

The Discussion So Far

So far we had discussed the following

1. Introduction

2. The Sons Of Keturah

3. Ishmael The Son Of Abraham

In this concluding blog post, let us look at Isaac the son of Abraham

Isaac

I guess Isaac do not need further introduction. He is one whom God made a covenant for. Isaac is one who is willing to go through all to follow the commands of God

This is seen when Abraham was about to sacrifice him on the Altar and he did not make any attempts to flee (Gen 22:9-10)

God only promised to give his blessings to Isaac, therefore he was set aside from all his brothers. Therefore only those who are from the lineage of Isaac could be saved

How do we become the modern Isaac ?

As I have shared earlier, it is possible for the sons of Keturah to become the sons of Isaac, that is through Jesus Christ. Paul once told this to the church in Galatia

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” – Paul (Gal 3:26-29)

Much as my friend who was scoffing at the people who believes in the sacramental value of Baptism, over here Paul said that when one is baptized, that is when we put on Christ. and that act is done out of faith.

Paul once again said this to the church in Rome

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” – Paul (Rom 6:3-4)

It is at Baptism when our old self died, and it was made possible only through the sacrifice of Jesus. So it should not be viewed as just a mere act of dipping into living water. It is necessary for Christians to look beyond the mere simple act of dipping oneself into water and understand the significance of the sacraments.

This is precisely the reasons why the apostles claimed that Baptism is for the remission of sins in Acts 2:38.

After baptism, as one begins is walk with God as the sons of Isaac, one should make a resolve to continue to walk closer to God and not to sin. However if we are ever tempted and fall to sin, let us not be too reproachful to ourselves but let us come boldly to God for forgiveness (Heb 4:14-16)

Conclusion

As I do not intend to make this a doctrinal discussion, I hope that by read the article, one would rethink the idea having faith and complimenting with physical actions. and I hope that everyone will rethink the purpose and effects of sacraments and the significance that comes with it.

Finally let us also ask ourselves would we want to be
1. The Children Of Keturah, who merely receives gifts from Abraham and belong to someone else.

2. Ishmael : Who is born of the flesh and worship God in vain.

3. Isaac, the true son of promise and one that could inherit eternal life.

May God remember our choice and may we aspire to do the will of God and  strive to be the sons of Promise

Recently I was watching a old sermon by a preacher who is teaching the prosperity doctrine to his congregation, In that sermon he seems to be poking fun at the general beliefs that most Christian have.

Usually I would have chosen to remain silent  But I believe that he had in one way misrepresented Jesus in his sermon and I felt it necessary to help put everything back into perspective from the bible. 

As I was watching the video recording of his infamous sermon, here are my thoughts about what he had spoken.

My Initial Thoughts  : The Cost Of Running The Ministry

One of his main strongest argument was the fact that Jesus ran a ministry that involves many people and logistics. This serves as the basis for his argument that Jesus had more than enough to run his ministry as well as to give to the poor. 

Personally, I am sure that as Jesus was ministering on earth, God provided him with the necessary finance to run his ministry. From the bible,we can conclude that Jesus did not spend his finance in a hap hazard manner, he make use of things that are available to him all the time.

For example

1 Jesus borrowed Simon Peter’s Boat to speak a sermon (Lk 5:1-3)
2 He entered a house in Capernaum to heal people (Mk 2:1-2)
3 Jesus borrowed the house of Peter for his healing ministry (Mk 1:29-33)
4 He borrowed the donkey for the triumphal entry. (Matt 21:1-3)
5 He borrowed the upper room for Passover, which is the location of the church (Mk 14:12-15, Acts 1:13-14, Acts 2:1-2)
6 He often used free or public venues for his sermons.  for example Hills (Matt 5:1, Matt 15:29 ) , Galilee Seaside (Lk 5:1-3)  and Synagogues (Matt 4:23)

While I believe that Jesus would probably need a substantial amount to feed his travelling band of disciples, especially for a period of 3 years. I seriously doubt that they had so much money that they need to carry a huge treasure chest of money with them.

While painting a poor , hungry Jesus is an incorrect depiction of Christ.  Painting a picture of Jesus swimming in pools of gold coin like Scrooge McDuck is probably an equally inaccurate depiction of our Lord.

Instead of a super rich big boss Jesus , I would picture Jesus as a frugal man, who is able to  run a ministry using whatever resources he could lay his hands on. His method of preaching the word of God differs from how we run ministries in our present day.

Jesus relies not on the state of the art sound system, flashy concert lights,  rock bands and hip-hop dancers to teach the word of God,  he makes use of his surroundings for parables. He often preach in public areas like the Synagogue and in open areas like hills, seaside instead of renting expensive concert halls and auditorium as event venues.  

I would picture him crossing Galilee on boats borrowed from fishermen and he will heal the sick  working from the houses of people who offered hospitality to him. 

He will make use of whatever offerings he receive to help the poor, as well as to use them to daily necessities such as food for his band of disciples who mostly travelled with him on foot.

I do not picture Jesus as a poor, miserable and hungry teacher, but I certainly do not picture him as a rich rabbi filled with luxuries that he does not need. (IE: The chief priest of the temple)

My Initial Thoughts On Judas The “Finance Minister”

For Judas (AKA “Finance Minister”) sold Jesus for merely a 30 pieces of silver. Which is a very very small amount. it is roughly a four month salary of an average worker.About 1/3 of the cost of spikenard offered by Mary.

Interestingly, Judas was also interested in the spikenard offered by Mary and he was hoping that it could be sold for 300 denarii and distributed to the poor. If Jesus was indeed that rich as they say, then I guess 300 denarii would have been insignificant to the huge treasury carried by the disciples.

I try to  search for the value of 30 pieces of sliver and the price ranges from  $950  (base on modern value of silver ) to $240 000 (Base on the fact that 30 pieces of silver was good enough to buy a potters field (Matt 27:6-10) )

There is author who complied his findings, and among his compilation was a price list of everyday necessities base on archeological findings of Pompeii and Rome

We cannot be 100% sure how rich this finance minister really is. But there is one question did bug my mind constantly as I was thinking about how rich Jesus was.

Why would the super rich Jesus make Simon Peter catch a fish and use the money found inside the fish to pay temple tax? (Matt 17:24-27)

Other notes

As I was watching the preacher’s sermon, I cant help but notice the various versions of the English Bible being quoted, and he even gave a flashy nickname for the NIV version calling it the “Never Incorrect Version”

But based on the teachings  draw by him through his reading of these modern version. I can see how modern translation of the bible sacrifice accuracy for readability.  That could potentially leads to misconceptions about Jesus and his ministry.

I know that  my articles will not convince people who staunchly hold on to the prosperity gospel to reconsider their beliefs. But I hope that it could at least provide a alternative perspective to curious people so that they could draw conclusion on their own.

In the next few entries, lets explore the points made by the teacher base on the 9 points shared by the pastor.

I have been reading the high profile corruption case in the papers recently, as the media plays up on the character involved. I approached the newspaper report with skeptical mind, and I choose not to have any pre conceived opinion of the people involved in the case.

But I am sure many who  works in my industry (I have been working in the IT industry for 8 years) will have their fair share of stories where people who traded their bodies for benefits, some did it to protect/advance their career, while others use it to close commercial deals. While everyone pretends that our world is a fair and free , we cannot deny that deep within our heart  we are aware of similar stories  happening around us.

The modern work place is treacherous and people who do not play fair tend to be the winners. It is actually very difficult to maintain ones integrity while being successful in their career. Sometimes the cost of maintaining integrity may have force us to endure injustice and to choose to suffer wrong rather than to go against the commands of God.

There are times when we ask ourselves is the sufferings worth it?

I guess our only comfort is the words of Solomon, when he concluded as he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in his old age.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.

For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.” – Solomon (Eccl 12:13-14)

As I was reading the news, the lyrics of this song keeps appearing in my mind. So I would like to dedicate this song to all my friends who are striving hard to survive while holding on to integrity.

I first encountered this song when I was watching the movie Moulin Rouge!, I remember then it was a Sunday orderly duty in camp and I was resting in the barracks as I watch it.

The song was used in a very elaborate tango scene. So I did a bit of a read up, and I realized that the tune I heard in Moulin Rouge was in a way a remix of the old song “Roxanne” sang by the rock band Police. The original song had a pretty simple lyrics.

Personally, I liked the movie version more.  I was reading some other comments made about the video clip. People who understand film,sound and media will appreciate how  the director  communicated the feeling of the character Christian in the movie. The scene is suppose  to display the feeling of anger,  jealousy and confusion which is present in the characters mind.

I was wondering how the song received the title “Roxanne”. Wikipedia said that Sting (the lead singer of the band Police) wrote the lyrics. He was in Paris, and he saw an old poster of a French play  “Cyrano de Bergerac” in the hotel he was staying and it featured a female character in the play known as Roxanne.

When he wrote the song, he was depicting a point of view of a man in love with a prostitute known as “Roxanne”

The Roxanne in his song is very different from the Roxanne in “Cyrano de Bergerac”. He just merely borrowed the nam for the title.

The song is reference in many movies and advertisement.  I have chosen to display the one featured in Moulin Rouge! as it the movie that got me curious about the song.

Title: El Tango De Roxanne
Perform By :Jacek Koman and Evan Mcgregor

(Argentinean was practicing Tango moves as the scene starts , these are his words spoken before the song)

We have a dance!
In the brothels of Buenos Aires
Tells the story Of the prostitute
And the man  Who fell in love… with her.

First there is desire
Then… passion!
Then… suspicion!
Jealousy! Anger! Betrayal!
Where love is for the highest bidder,
There can be no trust.
Without trust,.
There is no love!

Jealousy.
Yes, jealousy…

(Song starts)
will drive you will drive you will drive you…mad
Roxanne,
You don’t have to put on that red light,
Walk the streets for money,
You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it is right.
Roxanne ,
You don’t have to wear that dress tonight .
Roxanne,
You don’t have to sell your body to the night .

Christian:
His eyes upon your face
His hand upon your hand
His lips caress your skin
It’s more than I can stand
(Roxanne)
Why does my heart cry?
(Roxanne)
Feelings I can’t fight
You’re free to leave me, but just don’t deceive me
And please believe me when I say I love you
(Dialog in Spanish)

Yo que te quiero tanto, qué voy ha hacer
Me dejaste,

me dejaste
En un tango
En el alma se me fue
Se me fue el corazon

Ya no tengo ganas de vivir
Porque no te puedo convencer
Que no te vendas Roxanne

(My guess based on results from  Babelfish and Google translate)
I love you so much, what did I do to make you leave me?

you left me
to tango
in the soul
of my heart

I have no desire to live
Because I can not convince you not to sell yourself  Roxanne

(Roxanne)
Why does my heart cry?
(Roxanne)
Feelings I can’t fight
(Roxanne)
You don’t have to put on that red light
Roxanne
(Roxanne)
(Roxanne)

Note : As I have no experience with Spanish, I constructed the sentence base on results of Babelfish and Google translate, human translation will be welcome.

As usual, you can listen to the original song here as well