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Review of 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth

Matthew Sleeth is a former emergency room doctor who returned to the faith of his childhood during a time of personal crisis and eventually became a pastor. In the course of that journey, he discovered the personal value of the weekly Sabbath and wrote 24/6 to share how it changed his life.

Dr. Sleeth gives a lot of great advice and illustrates many ways that a weekly Sabbath can enhance a person’s life. I recommend this book to everyone!

It’s missing one really important thing though.

The Seventh Day

Sleeth touches on it here and there, but I think one historical misconception prevents him from really connecting the dots. Every benefit he says that a person can derive from keeping a personal weekly sabbath also applies to the whole community and even to an entire nation, when the whole people keep the Sabbath on the same day.

The many scripture passages quoted at the end of the book repeatedly underscore this truth. In fact, the Bible’s instructions on keeping the Sabbath require that everyone keeps it on the same day. There are probably dozens of examples, but let me give you just three:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”
Exodus 16:4-5

In this chapter of Exodus, if anyone gathered more manna than their family could eat in a single day, then it rotted. However, on the sixth day, God told them to gather enough for two days. Then on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there was no manna, and the manna they gathered the day before didn’t rot. If anyone had decided they could keep the Sabbath on a day that was more convenient for them, they’d be out of luck. They would be forced to fast on the Sabbath because they gathered twice as much food on the second day instead of the sixth, and it rotted. Everyone had to keep the Sabbath on the same day, the seventh day of the week.

Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
Exodus 20:9-10

I don’t think it gets any clearer than this. By God’s direct command, everyone must keep the Sabbath on the same day, and not just any day, but the seventh day of the week. You can rest any day of the week, but it’s not God’s Sabbath unless it’s the seventh day, and you’re not keeping it if you are making other people work so that you can take the day off.

As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath.
Nehemiah 13:19-21

Nehemiah castigated the city elders for allowing foreign merchants to sell their wares in Jerusalem on the Sabbath–not your Sabbath or their Sabbath, but the Sabbath–and then he closed the gates and threatened those merchants with bodily harm if they even camped outside the city gates on that day. He forced all residents of Jerusalem, Jew and Gentile alike, to keep the Sabbath on the same day, and chose guards from among the Levites, the tribe which had been specially chosen by God for their willingness to kill fellow Israelites for unfaithfulness, to make sure nobody violated his orders.

But Which Day Is the Seventh?

Sleeth asserts that we can’t know for certain which day of our modern week was the seventh of God’s Creation, but that’s not historically accurate. We know from Exodus 16 that the ancient Israelites knew which day was the seventh. God made sure they knew by not sending the wilderness bread of life on that day.

We also know that the Jews of Jesus’ day knew which day of the week was the seventh by the living Bread of Life. For Jesus’ death to have any atoning effectiveness, he had to live a perfectly sinless life, which means keeping the Sabbath in the way that his Father prescribed without error. Jesus kept the Sabbath on the same day that the Pharisees and Sadducees did, so we know beyond any reasonable doubt that they had it right.

The Romans had adopted the seven day week from the Semitic peoples they conquered in the Ancient Near East, and we know from the writings of Josephus that the day the Romans called Dies Saturni or Saturn’s Day. In English we now call that day Saturday, although much of the rest of the world calls it some variation of “Sabbath”: Subbota, Sabada, Shota, Asabsh, etc.

Despite popular belief, the centuries between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance weren’t peopled solely by ignorant, illiterate savages who forgot how to observe the stars or keep records. Governments and religious institutions of the Medieval era kept records throughout, and, although the months and years were sometimes adjusted to keep them in sync with the seasons, the continuous cycle of the days of the week was never interrupted in all that time. The Roman church held the first day of the week to be sacred, despite God’s explicit instructions, because they didn’t want to look Jewish, and so they ensured that everyone knew which day was Sunday. They also thereby ensured that nobody ever forgot which day was the seventh day.

The seventh day of the Creation week is still the seventh day of our modern week, and every attempt to deny that historical fact looks to me like someone looking for any excuse to do things their own way instead of God’s.

There Is Only One Weekly Sabbath

I know that some people have to work on the Sabbath, just like the priests did at the Temple. Somebody has to keep the lights on. Somebody has to be available to help if you get hurt. Somebody has to lead worship. Those people need to have the freedom to take an alternate day off from work and to offload those responsibilities onto someone else at times, but that still doesn’t change which day of the week is the Sabbath that God instituted.

Every day is a great day to gather and worship in Jesus’ name and everyone will derive great benefit from resting one day each week, no matter which day that is, but there is only one day that God set apart for his people to spend especially with him. If your husband or wife set aside a whole day just to be with you, do you think they’d mind if you showed up on a different day?

If you are requiring other people to do business, to clean your house, to wait your table, and to write your marketing copy on the seventh day of the week, then you’re not keeping the Sabbath, no matter on which day you have chosen to rest. The Sabbath was made for man, but so was marriage and procreation, and God hasn’t authorized anyone to make changes to these institutions that he created for our benefit.

Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

J. Warner Wallace was an atheist and a homicide detective with many years of experience when he decided to apply his professional skills to evaluating the New Testament’s claims about Jesus. Now he’s a believer.

That’s what happens when you follow the evidence rather than your emotions and the orthodoxy of atheist dogma.

The New Testament makes certain claims about Jesus:

  • He was conceived through divine intervention.
  • He was born at a certain time and place.
  • He performed many miracles, including healing, manipulating nature, and raising the dead.
  • He was a popular Jewish teacher for a few years.
  • He repeatedly clashed with the Jewish religious leadership.
  • He was falsely accused of blasphemy and executed on a cross for being a rival to Caesar.
  • He rose from the dead and appeared to many people.
  • He ascended to Heaven.
  • And many others…

While some of these claims can never be proven through evidence one way or another, many of them should have left some kind of trail. The Gospels claim that there were many witnesses to Jesus’ miracles, trials, a crucifixion, and a resurrection. The first century wasn’t completely illiterate, so such remarkable events should have left some kind of historical record that can be examined and dissected in order to discover the real facts, or at least say which claims are more likely to be true than not.

In Cold-Case Christianity, Wallace takes you through the basic logical toolkit of a cold-case detective and applies it to the foundational claims of Christianity. The book is divided into two sections. The first section details ten principles of gathering and evaluating evidence, specifically Forensic Statement Analysis, the art and science of interpreting eye witness accounts and filtering fact from fiction. The second section takes those ten principles and uses them to test the witnesses and documentary evidence of the New Testament.

After reading this book, you will feel entirely justified in ignoring all further historical assertions made by people who claim that Jesus never existed. Nobody’s life is more thoroughly attested by ancient history than that of Jesus, and there is no stronger evidence that a person is historically ignorant than to claim Jesus never existed. By the end, Wallace demonstrates that the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus (aka Yeshua) and for the authenticity of the New Testament (the Gospels in particular) is stronger than for almost any other accepted fact of antiquity.

Overcoming Laziness

I’m not a professional on screen. When I make videos, I usually have a few notes jotted down, but otherwise I just make it up as I go. Below this video, I’ve posted a transcript that mostly follows the video verbatim. It’s a little disjointed, but I thought the topic was important enough not to leave it to just Youtube and Facebook.

Watch the video. Read along, if you find that helpful. Comments and questions are always welcome.

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief, officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:6-11

There are different reasons that people fail to act, that they are lazy. Some people are lazy because they’re selfish. They don’t want to work. They consciously choose to burden other people with their needs, to allow other people to provide for them, to meet their expenses, provide them a place to live and food to eat. They know that they’re burdening other people and they’re ok with it.

Those are the people that Paul was talking about in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 when he said if someone is unwilling to work don’t let them eat. I’m perfectly happy with that. People who are unwilling to contribute–not people who are unable, but people who are unwilling to act on their own behalf–you shouldn’t help them. You’re just enabling them to be lazy. You’re enabling them to destroy their own lives and you become a party to their destruction. So let them fail. That’s the best thing for them.

But I don’t really want to talk about those people. I want to talk about the rest of us.

If you’re like me, you want to work. You want to accomplish great things, but maybe you find it really hard to take that first step, to really get things done. You know you want to finish that project. You want to make those sales calls. You want to write that book…but you just keep putting it off. You think, “I’m tired” or “I’m just dreading getting started on that project” or “I really don’t like it!” But you know you’ve got to do it and, before long, it’s too late. You’ve missed your opportunity or the deadline’s coming up and now you’ve got to rush to get things done.

It happens to me all the time.

I know it feels bad to call that “laziness” because you really want to work, but that’s really what it is. That’s exactly what Solomon was describing here: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty comes on you like a bandit.” It sneaks up on you when you aren’t looking.

We got here to this place by making a million small choices. You know the Chinese proverb, that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but it took you a million steps to get here and each one was a decision. Every time you are faced with a choice to act or not to act you are making a decision. If you choose not to act, you’re choosing. It’s your problem, your fault.

I know it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like there’s a weight on your spirit like you just can’t think about the thing that you’re supposed to do. You’re tired! There are so many things… You know. Read another little paragraph in the book, just one. Watch a little bit more TV. Play this game for a little bit longer, because that other thing…it’s just so awful!

But these are choices, and one little choice after another creates a habit and before long you’re unable to act. You’re not even conscious of the choices anymore. You’re choosing not to act. You’re choosing to be lazy without ever actually consciously choosing. It just happens and you don’t know how you got here or why you can’t get anything done.

Fortunately we can get out the same way we got in: one step at a time.

It’s not easy.

Mel Robbins wrote a great book a few years ago, and she describes a process that’s just so obvious. It sounds too obvious to be true, but it works. I assure you it works. The book is called The Five-Second Rule, and here’s basically how it works:

When you’re conscious of a choice–and this takes some work–eventually you’ll become more conscious of choices as you develop better habit–but when you’re conscious of a choice, you know there’s something you need to do, and you just can’t get yourself to do it, don’t choose to do that thing. Instead, choose to count down from five. That’s easy! You can do that. But once you start counting…as soon as you hit one, you’re doing whatever it was.

“I just don’t want to sand that wall so that it can be primed and painted. I just hate it! It’s just so boring…Well, I’m gonna count. Five…four…three…two…Get up and sand the wall!”

It takes some effort. It takes time. It mostly takes time to undo all the damage that you’ve done to yourself by choosing not to act, but eventually you make better habits. You make better thought patterns where you’re more aware of your choices, and it gets easier and easier over time to actually get up and act, to do the things you have to do.

You know if you don’t guard your house, burglars come in. The bandit gets you on the road if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. You have to be conscious! So start now watching for those opportunities to make choices, and whenever you have that opportunity and you get that feeling like the whole world is is forcing you to stay in your seat, count. Start at five… follow Mel’s five-second rule.

Genocide, Slavery, and the Heart of Man

Jennifer H. Lau's autobiography of her childhood during the Cambodian Genocide, Beautiful Hero: How We Survived the Khmer Rouge
You can buy Beautiful Hero at Books-A-Million.

Everyone knows about the Holocaust, in which many millions of Jews, Romani, Slavs, and other “undesirables” were systematically exterminated by the Nazis during World War 2, but that was neither the first nor the last atrocity of its kind.

In 1975 the Khmer Rouge, a communist revolutionary group under the leadership of Pol Pot, took control of Cambodia. They executed the wealthy, professional, educated, and foreign people, and enslaved many millions of the poor and working classes. For around five years, they terrorized, murdered, and starved their own people.

As with all genocides, the numbers will never be known with any certainty, but the Khmer Rouge probably killed around two million people.

I recently read Jennifer H. Lau’s autobiography of her childhood during that terrible time, Beautiful Hero: How We Survived the Khmer Rouge. Throughout this detailed and intimate story of her family’s survival under extraordinarily harsh conditions, I was constantly struck with how vicious ordinary people can be and how kindness often comes from unlikely sources.

Impoverished subsistence farmers became benefactors. Next door neighbors became executioners. Protectors became thieves. Arch enemies became saviors.

People are fickle and desperation drives reasonable people to horrific behavior. No nation or race is exempt. Every people has been guilty at one time or another, and the same stories emerge from every genocide.

We have lived in such amazing peace and prosperity in America for so long that it’s easy to forget it isn’t normal. We have lulled ourselves to sleep and to dream that we are immune to the ubiquitous human tendency to force our will on others, to use people like just another resource to be consumed and discarded as needed.

Even as America prospered throughout most of the 20th century, the rest of the world reeled from genocide after genocide. The Khmer Roughe in Cambodia, the Nazis in World War 2, the Soviets in numerous times and places, the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians and Greeks, and so many others. There were genocides in every other century too, of course; modern technology just made us so much more efficient at it.

However, no matter which century, no matter which group of people are killing which other group, every genocide has this one inevitable fact in common: The belief that some people have absolute authority over others. The people exist for the benefit of the state or the party or the king, and the superior has the right to force the inferior to work, to relocate, to contribute, to live, or to die.

Although some forms of government (communism, for example) are founded on the belief that one person or group of people can have unlimited authority over other people, every form of government can be infected by this disease. It starts small: one person prospers, while another person suffers, so a third decides to take from the first in order to feed the second. It’s only fair. But once you have decided that you have a right to redistribute property based solely on your own (or the majority’s!) determination of what is fair or necessary, the only remaining moral barrier to redistributing life itself is entirely imaginary. If, in my own mind, I have a right to my neighor’s labor and property based on a vote or a pragmatic determination of my own, then I have a right to his life as well.

Every tree is known by its fruit, and communism is one of the most clearly evil schemes of government ever devised by man. There is no such thing as a decent, honest communist. By definition, they are thieves and murderers, at heart if they haven’t yet gained enough power to make their dreams into reality. Socialism is communism for people who haven’t completely killed off their consciences yet, and pure democracy merely distributes the guilt over more heads.

Many people criticize God’s Law because it allows a form of slavery. Yes, God recognizes authority, but he also says that all authority is only delegated by him and only temporarily and for limited purposes. Kings, priests, judges, husbands, fathers, mothers, and elder siblings have legitimate authority over other people, but that authority is always strictly limited. In God’s Law, life and property are sacrosanct. Nobod–not even a king–has the right to take another person’s life, labor, or property without a clear divine mandate or a conviction after a trial.

Of course, people, who reject God, also reject his law and, necessarily, all objective standards of morality. There can be no absolute law without an absolute Lawgiver. They say we have “evolved” beyond slavery and the archaic mandates of the Bible.

They are deluded.

We have not evolved. We are the same murderers and slavers that we have been from the beginning. The only difference is that we have accumulated knowledge and technology and more refined justifications for our atrocities.

If that sounds too grim a prognosis for you, then you need to read Mrs Lau’s book.


A Heart to Pray and A Mind to Work

Daniel Botkin, A Heart to Pray and a Mind to Work

Recently I asked a group of congregational leaders about their biggest concerns and challenges. Their responses didn’t surprise me.

  • How can we teach on controversial topics without stepping on too many toes? What really matters and which topics can be safely avoided?
  • How do we handle false doctrines and the general craziness that people pick up on the Internet?
  • How should we handle conflicts and troublesome members?
  • What do we do when we’re accused of wrongdoing? What do we do when we are actually in the wrong?
  • How can we promote a spirit of gratitude and faith in our people?
  • How do we manage expectations and integrate people with different levels of faith and relationship with God? How do we find a place for everyone who wants to serve?

Every congregation faces these questions (and many more) at some point. If you’re doing God’s work on earth, you can’t expect the enemy to ignore you. He will take notice and start probing for weak points he can use to attack you and undermine your ministry.

As Messianic and Hebrew Roots congregations multiply and grow, we are facing more crises of leadership than most other believers. We are treading “new” ground–at least in today’s culture–of the old paths. Our people are struggling with the bitterness of realizing they have inherited lies, and they often lash out at their fellow heirs rather than at the original father of those lies.

“If you feel any anger or bitterness toward Christians, understand this: Chances are, you were not deliberately lied to. Chances are, your former pastors and teachers were good men who loved the Lord and sincerely believed the erroneous doctrines that they taught you. Chances are, they were simply misinformed by the misinformed leaders who taught them, and those misinformed leaders had been misinformed by the previous generation of leaders. So put away any anger and bitterness you have toward Christians. Direct your anger toward the Devil, the deceiver who persuaded them to believe the misinformation.”

Daniel Botkin, A Heart to Pray and A Mind to Work

Our tendency to blame our fellow victims rather than our mutual enemy, leads many of us to reject authority, to reject all teachers and scholars, to strike out on our own as lone theological wolves. But we aren’t supposed to be wolves, whether lone or in a pack. We are a flock, and like every flock that wants to survive, we need shepherds, and we need each other.

I first met Daniel Botkin at a conference of Torah observant believers in Dallas, Texas. I attended his lecture on leadership in the congregation, and–the first chance I could get–found him in the merchant hall and bought his book, A Heart to Pray and A Mind to Work.

As I began to read it over the next week, it immediately struck me as a vitally important work in the community of Torah observant followers of Yeshua. Botkin has more knowledge of the Scriptures and more experience in congregational leadership than the vast majority of us will ever have, and we need to take full advantage of the wisdom he has to offer.

I believe that what we are doing in this Torah movement is right. We are shedding centuries of lies and rediscovering the biblical roots of our faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the way back is treacherous. The Enemy doesn’t want us to make it, and he will do everything in his power to keep us distracted, divided, and off course. We need help to stay out of the ditches and swamps that lie on every side. We need common sense guidance on spiritual leadership, and I believe Botkin’s book is an important part of that guidance.

So I offered to narrate it and make it available as an audiobook. I’ve never done anything like this before, and it turned out to be a much more difficult task than I had anticipated. I’m not a voice actor or professional narrator. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever set foot in a professional studio. (I recorded in my bedroom closet with a usb microphone and a cheap laptop!) I’m sure the task could have been done better by professionals, but the professionals just weren’t going to do it, and this book needs to be available from as many retailers and in as many formats as possible.

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t do all this work for free, but I’m not making a bunch of money from it, either. My share will probably come out to around $1 per audiobook sold. The bulk of the revenue goes to pay for the servers and bandwidth at the various audiobook retailers, and most of the rest will go to support Daniel Botkin’s ministry.

If you are as tired of the bickering and controversy as I am, consider buying either the paperback or the audiobook. Botkin’s website (GatesOfEden.Online) has links to purchase the paperback of A Heart to Pray and A Mind to Work as well as others of his books. I’ll post links below to various audiobook retailers as they add it to their catalogues over the next few weeks.

Audiobook retailers carrying A Heart to Pray and A Mind to Work:

Libro.fm Get 3 books with your first month’s membership ($14.99/mo) when you use the code AMERICANTORAH to sign up at this link first!

David Wilber on the Epistle of James

When Faith Works: Living Out the Law of Liberty According to James by David Wilber

Martin Luther believed that the Epistle of James shouldn’t be in the Bible because it contradicted the letters of Paul. Fortunately, most theologians for the last 2000 years have disagreed with him. On the contrary, James might be the most earthy and “real” of all the Apostolic letters in the New Testament.

When Faith Works: Living Out the Law of Liberty According to James by David Wilber
When Faith Works: Living Out the Law of Liberty According to James by David Wilber

In his new book, When Faith Works: Living Out the Law of Liberty According to James, David Wilber examines James’ letter, passage by passage, and in the process, illustrates two things beyond any doubt: First, that James aligns perfectly with the rest of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. Not only does James not contradict Paul, but they complement each other nicely. Second, that James is imminently relevant to the daily lives of believers in all nations, all cultures, and all strata of society. Whatever your pain, whatever your temptation, whatever your joy, James wrote for you.

If you have ever wondered if Luther was right when he called James an “Epistle of Straw”, you need to read this book. Wilber proves that James is among the most relevant, consistent, and impactful of all the Epistles. When Faith Works is a great book. I highly recommend it.

The Faith and Prayers of America’s Founding Fathers

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve had something of an obsession with both prayer and American history for some years now. I have lots of questions for God about prayer and faith, so I spend a lot of time reading and studying about it. It can be tough, because frequently I don’t “feel” a lot of faith. I try to keep praying anyway and I encourage you to do to the same. That’s one reason that I’m giving away the Family Prayers ebook to all subscribers this and next month, September .2016 (Subscribe here.)

I’m working on another project now, and I could really use your help!

Do you read a lot of American history, especially contemporary works and autobiographies? I’m collecting the prayers of America’s founding fathers (and mothers!). I would really love to hear about any that you’ve come across. Do you have any favorites?

I know there is much controversy over the religious beliefs of some of the Founders too. Were they deists? Were some of them even atheists? If some of these questions are bothering you, leave your thoughts, comments, and questions below. I’ll see what I can find out.

Thank you!!!

Upate: You can get the result of this project, American Prayers, at Smashwords!

Where Are the Healings?

Whatever Happened to the Power of God by Michael L. Brown
Whatever Happened to the Power of God by Michael L. Brown

I’ve been reading Michael L. Brown’s book, Whatever Happened to the Power of God. I’m not even half-way through the book yet, but I have to share some of my thoughts with you now. In this book, Brown poses the very same questions that have been bothering me lately, and I haven’t been able to find answers. Here’s the crux of the problem:

American Christianity is a lie.

Or at the very least, it’s not what it claims to be.

Jesus said that if we followed after Him, we would heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. These signs would follow us everywhere we went, but where are any of these things happening? Nowhere that I know of. Sure, a headache fades here, a cold clears up over there, but so what?

How many formerly dead people are walking around in your church? No platitudes about how we were all once spiritually dead and now we’re reborn. No excuses. Why are we still holding funerals in our churches for young people? Why doesn’t everyone in your congregation have at least 20/20 vision so they can see that nobody around them is wearing a hearing aid?

Where has the power of God gone?

Is it in people on all fours barking like dogs or in gold dust blowing out of the ceiling vents? Baloney! That is not the power of God. You can tell me the Holy Spirit is moving in your town all day long and every Wednesday night, but if people aren’t leaving their wheelchairs behind, it’s all just hot air.

God doesn’t change. He makes miracles for His people. Jesus said that we would do greater miracles than He did. I believe in Him. So what’s wrong?

I invite you to read along with me. I hope Dr. Brown has some answers for us. If you know something, please share. Just no second or third hand stories.

Have No Enemies: being made perfect by love

The Didache is an ancient Christian writing that purports to be a summary of the teachings of the Apostles. The most interesting things about this particular writing are that it dates from the first century, from the very earliest years of the Gentile congregations, and that it was considered by many early Christians to be authoritative Scripture.

For the next couple of weeks [posted June 17, 2015] I’ll be tweeting highlights and thoughts derived from the Didache at Twitter. You can read along for free at Early Christian Writings or buy your own copy at Amazon.

The first chapter of the Didache focuses on the second greatest commandment, love your neighbor as yourself, through a series of instructions on living out the commandment, all of which are directly derived from other Scriptures, both Old and New Testament.

For example, one instruction says “Love them that hate you, and you will have no enemy.”

The kindergarten level interpretation of this is if you are nice to those who are mean to you, they’ll change their minds and be nice to you in return. Of course we all learn very quickly that it doesn’t really work that way. So what could the writer have meant?

If you return love for hate, most of your enemies will continue to hate you. They might hate you even more than at first.

If you return kindness for cruelty, your afflicter may become even crueler than before.

But be sure of this: Your enemy will no longer be your enemy. He will be the enemy of God, punishing you for the goodness of God that he sees in you. More importantly, he will be his own enemy, fighting to keep his own spirit from hearing the testimony of your actions. Your kindness will become the instrument through which God disciplines his soul, sealing his condemnation if he doesn’t repent or transforming him if he does.

The Didache also repeats Yeshua’s words, “If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also,” adding “and you will be made perfect.”

"Turn the other cheek" isn't about pacifism, but about temperance & forgiveness.
“Turn the other cheek” isn’t about pacifism, but about temperance & forgiveness.

Yeshua wasn’t telling us to be pacifists. That’s the kindergarten interpretation again. He was telling us to be slow to anger and don’t make overly quick conclusions about another’s motivations. Don’t immediately react to violence with violence. Rather, learn to control your passions in order to better judge every situation. Maybe you were struck by accident or because of a misunderstanding. If you discover that someone does indeed intend to do you harm, by all means defend yourself and others.

By mastering self-control, patience, and good judgment, you will become a better person and more Christ-like. This is what it means to “be made perfect.”

Understand also that love and kindness will not always appear as you might expect. Do you love your own soul? Then cut off your hand if it makes you to sin.

We know that God’s Law is the working out of love in an imperfect world. It is a reflection of the character of a perfect Creator who wants only the best for His Creations. Where it forbids, it forbids out of love. Where it allows, it allows out of love.

Be kind. Be patient. But also be wise.

(See here for thoughts on why The Didache cannot be included in the Biblical canon.)

Family Prayers from Proverbs Released Today!

Family Prayers from Proverbs ISBN 1508551855
Family Prayers from Proverbs by Jay Carper. ISBN 1508551855

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Growing Godly Children. Building a Stronger Future.

Brenham, TX – March 5 – In this time of shifting moral standards parents often feel helpless against unhealthy influences on television, on the Internet, and in pop culture. They need more effective tools to teach their children time-honored principles of wisdom and godly behavior. Brenham resident Jay Carper has created a small book to help meet that need.

Carper’s Family Prayers from Proverbs for Wisdom, Wealth, & Wellness is a family prayer book based on the Book of Proverbs. He distilled each chapter of Proverbs into a short set of three to four prayers designed to draw every member of the family into meditation on the meaning of Solomon’s writings and how they apply to everyday life.

Family Prayers from Proverbs will help parents counteract the influence of the world on their children’s minds and spirits and make wise choices instinctive. Using this prayer guide in your family devotionals will have a lasting impact resulting in a stronger work ethic, healthier relationships, and a better future.

The book is available through online booksellers or by contacting the author at Jay@AmericanTorah.com. You can also ask your local bookstore to carry Family Prayers from Proverbs on their shelves.

About the Author: Jay Carper lives with his wife and son in Brenham, Texas, where they are part of a small community of Torah-observant believers. His parents have been involved in ministry with the Assemblies of God and other organizations since before he was old enough to know it, and he inherited their love of the Bible and its Author. He believes that a person can only obtain eternal salvation through faith in the grace of God which was made manifest in the death and resurrection of Jesus. While searching for a deeper understanding of God’s love for His people, Jay began exploring God’s Law and the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith in the 1990s and has been an active participant in Torah-observant congregations since 2001.

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Title: Family Prayers from Proverbs
Subtitle: for Wisdom, Wealth, & Wellness
Author: Jay Carper
ISBN: 1508551855
EAN13: 9781508551850
List price: $9.98


Check out my growing playlist of short videos on the Proverbs in my  Youtube channel.