Welcome message

Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Trip Down a River To The Source - Part Five

A Trip Down a River To The Source - Part Five

Abraham lived in a country full of "deceitful brooks"

When we talk about brooks, we think of these bubbling streams full of jumping fish and clean water, but when the English Bible versions use the term "brook" it is a bit unfortunate because it contributes a little bit to our misconceptions about the Bible lands. However, if we are talking about water sources which are irregular, fleeting, disappearing and here today and gone tomorrow, the region where Abraham lived is full of these. 

To really understand the nature of these 'deceitful brooks" we really need a first-hand account to help us understand what Abraham was choosing when he chose to stay up in the hill country. Professor Hackett, who visited the Holy Land about 150 years ago gives a wonderful picture of what I am talking about here. In his fascinating book "Illustrations of Scripture Suggested By A Tour Through The Holy Land", in a section titled 'The Deceitful Brook' (pg. 20) he says:

"On the second of April I crossed a stone bridge over the bed of a stream to the right of the village of Kulonieh, an hour and a half north-west of Jerusalem. It was then entirely destitute of water. Prokesch, a German traveler, who passed here a few weeks later in the season, speaks of it as a rushing stream when he saw it. Otto von Richter, who was here in August, though he mentions the place under a wrong name, says that is contained then a little water. Salzbacher, who saw the brook near the end of June, says that it was entirely dry. Richardson, an English traveler, speaks of it on the fifteenth of April as 'a small brook, trickling down through the valley.' It varies not only in winter, and summer, but at the same season in different years. It may be taken, however, as a fair example of what is true of Eastern brooks in general. They flow with water during the rainy season; but after that, are liable to be soon dried up, or, if they contain water, contain it only for a longer or shorter time, according to their situation and the severity of the heat of particular years. Hence, the traveler in quest of water must often be disappointed when he comes to such streams. he may find them entirely dry; or, he may find the water gone at the place where he approaches them, though it may still linger in other places which elude his observation; he may perceive, from the moisture of the ground, that the last drops have just disappeared, and that he has arrived but a few hours too late for the attainment of his object.

The chances of obtaining water in the desert are equally precarious. The inter torrents there, owing to the rapidity with which the sand absorbs them, are still more transient. The spring, which supplied a well yesterday, may fail today; or the drifting sand may choke it up, and obliterate every trace of it. On the ninth day of my journey, after leaving Cairo, we heard of a well at some distance from the regular course, and, as the animals (except the camels) needed to be watered, we turned aside to visit the place. We traveled for some miles over immense sand-heaps and under a burning sun, with the thermometer at ninety Fahrenheit. It was out lot to be disappointed. We found the well, indeed, but without a drop of water in it that could be reached by us. The wind had blown the sand into it, and buried it up to such a depth, that all hope of relief from that source was cut off.

This liability of a person in the East to be deceived in his expectation of finding water is the subject of repeated allusion in the Scriptures. In Job 6:15, it furnishes an expressive image for representing the fickleness and treachery of false-hearted friends.

'My brethren have dealt deceitfully like a brook,
As the channel of brooks which pass away;
Which are turbid by reason of the ice,
In which is hidden the melted snow,
As soon as the waters flow off they are gone;
When the heat comes, they vanish from their place.
The caravans on their way turn aside;
They go up into the desert, and perish/
The caravans of Tema search anxiously,
The wayfarers of Sheba look to them with hope.
They are ashamed because they trusted in them;
They come to them and are confounded.'

Our English version of the above passage fails to bring out the image distinctly. The Foregoing translation, which I have brought nearer to the original, may be made clearer, perhaps, by a word of explanation. The idea is, that in spring the streams are full; they rush along swollen from the effect of the melting snow and ice. Summer comes, and they can no longer be trusted. Those journeying in the region of such streams, fainting with thirst, travel many a weary step out of the way, in pursuit of them, in the hope that water may still be found in them. They arrive at the place, but only to be disappointed. The deceitful brook has fled. The sufferers were in the last extremity -- it was their only hope, and they die.

Tema is a region in the north of the Arabian Desert; Sheba a region of Arabia Felix. 'Caravans' says Umbreit, from those particular places are mentioned to give life and individuality to the picture.' The scene is laid in Arabia, because it is in that country especially that travelers are liable to suffer from want of water.

Another passage where we meet with the same comparison is that in Jeremiah 15:18. The prophet's sky had long been darkened with trouble and sorrow; but the deliverer, for who interposition he waited, delayed to come:

Why is my affliction perpetual,
And my wound incurable;
It will not be healed. 
Thou art to me as a lying brook,
As waters which are not enduring." (Hackett quote ends here)

Here we can see a stark difference between Abraham and Lot. Abraham chose the land of the deceitful brook over the well watered plains of the Jordan. He chose to rely on God and this is what really captures life here in the hill country of Israel.

To be continued...

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Trip Down A River to the Source – Part Four

A Trip Down A River to the Source – Part Four

So, it is easy to see how in an environment of a growing animal herd in an area where you do not have much water like in Jerusalem and the hill country of Ephraim just to the north of Jerusalem where Abraham was living, strife between herders competing for scarce resources for their animals would not be unusual.

So Lot made a decision.

"And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)" (Genesis 13:10 ESV)

This is an important text for a number of reasons. First, the region of the Jordan Valley was at that time relatively speaking "well watered" and was a paradise, "like the Garden of the LORD (Eden)" and very importantly "like the land of Egypt."

Now why is the mentioning of that region being like the Garden of Eden and like the country of Egypt important? It is because of the presence of water mainly from the Jordan River, but also because of one other reason. Notice it right at the end of verse 10: "This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah." This is significant. 

Now, today the region of the Dead Sea, which in ancient times was called the 'Salt Sea' (Genesis 14:3), did not in any way appear like it does today.

When you go to that region and imagine what it might have looked like in ancient times, you really get a feeling of what the Garden of Eden must have been like. It seems fairly clear that the Garden of Eden was located in Southern Iraq just to the North of where the major rivers empty into the Persian Gulf and in that area it is quite warm most of the year. It is the same thing in this region of Jericho today. It is a beautiful desert climate. 

But what we have to understand is that at one time before the Dead Sea came into existence in the time of Abraham and Lot, this area was not the Dead Sea, but it was a beautiful lake with the Jordan River feeding it. 

One cannot determine the precise dimensions of that lake and it is quite hard to say with certainty anything about it exactly, but Genesis 13 says that region was like "the Garden of the Lord."

Let's be clear. This environment is one where mangoes, bananas, date palms, oranges, lemons, even pineapple can and does grow. The dates from this region are particularly prized. Check an artists representation of what we are talking about below.  

Artists representation of the Jordan River in the time of Jesus. 
Taken at the Jerusalem Natural History Museum.

When we realize also that there was a small part of the landscape just to the north of the point where the Jordan River entered the Dead Sea, which was known as a Savannah landscape (called Sudanian Penetration Zone - which in technical terms means a 'mini Africa' type of landscape) which had the lion as the top of the food chain, you get a paradisiacal environment which resembled the Garden of Eden, which also had a great deal of wildlife in its environment. 

Note: This is an icon of St. Gerasimos, who lived very near the Jordan river some 1,500 years ago (a monastery still occupies the spot today where he lived) and we see in the icon, the saint caring for a lion who was his companion. That lion, named Jordan, appears to have accompanied the saint throughout his life. 

But while this is the case, let us be clear, some 20 miles to the west, some 4,200 feet above the bottom of the Jordan valley (which itself is some 1,400 feet below sea level), in Bethel, Abraham lived and the well watered plains of the Jordan were a whole world away and had no impact on Abraham and his lifestyle. In the hill country, the community there was totally dependent upon springs and upon God's bountiful rains that they needed to come in due season, because without them, life was very hard in that area because it was not well watered.

To be continued…

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A Trip Down A River To The Source - Part Three

A Trip Down A River To The Source - Part Three

Now, here is where I have to point something out which I think is quite important to understanding this text (and in fact many similar texts in the Hebrew Bible [known normally to us Christians as the Old Testament]). The point here concerns the issue of Biblical geography. It also concerns the need to have some general understanding of the issue of Biblical meteorology (the weather sciences - something that my late father in particular was really an expert at as he was a professional meteorologist in the US Air Force)), because without an understanding of these issues, you are missing the richness and an important aspect of what is happening in this text. We really need to get connected here to God's creation a little bit and not just any experience of God's creation. No! Our experience should be rooted in the same Biblical geography and meteorology that Isaiah the prophet was familiar with. I think everyone can appreciate the rightness of this strategy. (This book is an essential volume to have in your library - http://www.amazon.com/The-Geography-Bible-Denis-Baly/dp/0060603712)

Let me give a small example of this which I think most people will understand and see some value in. 

Look at Isaiah 10:

"He has come to Aiath; he has passed through Migron; at Michmash he stores his baggage; they have crossed over the pass; at Geba they lodge for the night; Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul has fled. Cry aloud, O daughter of Gallim! Give attention, O Laishah! O poor Anathoth! Madmenah is in flight; the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety. This very day he will halt at Nob; he will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem." (Isaiah 10:28-32 ESV)

These twelve localities mentioned in the text above were villages in ancient times which were located in the Northern district of Jerusalem.

If you think on them and study them a bit further, you will find some more familiarity. For example, the "Anathoth" mentioned was the hometown of the prophet Jeremiah. Note the following:

The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, ... (Jeremiah 1:1 ESV)

Anathoth, like most of these twelve villages, was located in the ancient land of Benjamin, which occupied the northern area from the area of the ancient Temple north of Jerusalem about 15 miles. 

Now, all of us, I think, in general are very familiar with the city of Jerusalem in this text, but we may not be as familiar with some of these other geographical terms, which, of course, are important to Isaiah (and also to the LORD, who inspired Isaiah to write this). But herein lies the point. Unless you attempt to familiarize yourself with these geographical terms, your understanding of this text is certainly not going to be at the level of someone who is really intimately familiar with Biblical geography. In fact, you’re just going to read over this material and not really understand its intent, but if you know the Biblical geography, you are going to see things in this text which are just not apparent to those not in tune with the geography that Isaiah knew. Without properly orienting yourself to the geography of the Bible, you just will not have the "eyes" needed to "see" what is going on or really being said.

Now, this is exactly the same thing we find in Isaiah 66 and here we are talking about the introduction by Isaiah of the term "river" in this text. This is because Isaiah is not just introducing this concept of a "river" out of the clear blue sky. No, not for one moment. 

Here is where we really need to think this through a bit and in fact it is where having a proper understanding of Biblical geography and Biblical meteorology is so helpful in really capturing what it is the prophet is telling us and what we are going to find here is such a wonderful thing of beauty being expressed. But to see this whole picture the prophet is showing for those who have "eyes to see it" and "ears to hear it", we really have to go back to the beginning. 

Rivers in the Bible

When we go back to the beginning of the Bible, we can see that a river was a key part of the landscape of the Garden of Eden. 

"A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates."

(Genesis 2:10-14 ESV)

So the Garden of Eden was a riverine oriented environment. Anyone who has a garden knows that to have a prosperous one, you need water. In the drier environments of the Middle East, water really is closely linked to life. If you do not have water, you will have serious problems.

We must understand that the land of Israel was not a riverine culture like Egypt. "Palestine does not depend, like Egypt (or Babylon) on the water supplied by the overflow from the river, but 'drinketh water of the rain of heaven." (Deuteronomy 11:11) - Hastings Dictionary of Religion and Ethics, article 'Water' Vol. 12, pg. 715.

One only need to remind themselves of the drought period mentioned in the book of Genesis (42:3) to know that without water, especially in an agrarian society, one simply cannot live.

It was this fact of needing water and the abundance associated with it that caused Lot to move down to the plains area near the Jordan river here in Israel. Even though those societies were evil, Lot saw the situation he was facing where he was living next Abraham and saw that the solution he needed involved securing water for his flocks. Why was this? This is where a clear understanding of Biblical geography is not only helpful, but really a necessity.

When we consider the geography and the lay of the land where this incident of Lot looking down to the plains area of the Jordan river, it is very easy to understand why they were having problems. When you have many animals competing for scarce water and fodder resources for animals, problems can arise and this is what happened in the area where they found themselves. Note Genesis 13:1-7:

"So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock." (ESV) 

Now, the location where they were staying, the region of Bethel, is a well-known locality which is about 15 miles directly north of Jerusalem. In fact, this region of Bethel is one of the highest points in the Jerusalem region and its elevation is at least 2,800 feet above sea level and it is definitely a highland terrain. 

Biblical scholars have recognized for centuries that while there have been some changes here in Israel relative to the presence of forests, the overall climate has not changed that much. Note CBTEL:

"In the sense in which we employ the word (river), vis. for a perennial stream of considerable size, a river is a much rarer object in the East than to the West. The majority of the inhabitants of Palestine at the present day (written in 1874) have probably never seen one. With the exception of the Jordan and the Litany, the streams of the Holy land are either entirely dried up in the summer months, and converted into hot lanes of glaring stones, or else reduced to very small streamlets deeply in a narrow bed, and concealed from view by a dense growth of shrubs. The cause of this is two fold: on the one hand, the hilly nature of the country - a central mass of highland descending on each side of a lower level and on the other the extreme heat of the climate during the summer. There is little doubt that in ancient times the country was more wooded that it now is, and that, in consequence, the evaporation was less, and the streams more frequent; yet this cannot have made any very material difference in the permanence of the water in the thousands of valleys which divide the hills of Palestine." (Strong; Cyclopedia, Vol. IX, pg. 38-39, art. 'river')

Note: The oak is really one of the most important tree species in ancient Israel with specimens living many hundreds of years or in some cases even longer. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

A Trip Down A River To The Source - Part Two

A Trip Down A River To The Source - Part Two

"In an excellent article about the nature of God written by Professor Trible in The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible (Supplemental volume) there is a survey of some major sections of the Old Testament that indicate female features associated with God.   Prof.  Trible comments:

'The Old Testament appropriates both andromorphic (man-form] and gynomorphic [female-form] images to portray a God who relates to human concerns.  Though often neglected in Old Testament theology, the female images are especially important for an expanding knowledge of ways in
which the divine and the human meet' (p. 365).

There are many Old Testament examples of the female image connected with God. In Deuteronomy 32:18 God is called the "Rock that begat thee" and the "God that formed thee [or that brought thee to birth]."  Prof. Trible shows that God has deep motherly compassion.

"Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget (Isaiah 49:15).

God is even given uterine qualities when we see his creation of atmospheric phenomena that we observe over the earth. Such things spring forth from God's "womb."  Professor Trible says that when the word "womb" is pluralized (Hebrew: 
רַח֖וּם), it takes on the meaning of mercy, compassion, like one showing mother care. The bestowal of mercy and to be merciful is "womb-like" (e.g. Exodus 34:6) and God is like the mother who shows compassion on the child of her womb.

Feminine characteristics for God do not stop with his "motherly care" over those who trust him, but feminine features are even associated with God in a way that show power and creative 
authority.  Long before the  heavens and the earth were formed, God had at his side a power that was instrumental in bringing about the creation of the physical universe.  That authority was called "Wisdom" - and that force is personified as a woman!  Though the use of Wisdom in this fashion is metaphorical, the instructive nature of its feminine qualities helps to show that God was well aware of gender (male and female) long before a particle of heaven and earth was brought into existence.  Wisdom is made a personality all on her own.

"Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets . . .  The Lord by Wisdom hath founded the earth . . . the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever earth was" (Prov. 1:20, 3:15, 18: 4:6 19 7:4. 8:22,23, etc.).

This personification of Wisdom as a woman shows her standing before God and (in Hebrew) she even frolics, dances, and sports in God's presence as a young woman would do in courtship.

"I {Wisdom} was by him [God], as one brought up with him: and I was daily  his  delight,  rejoicing [sporting]  before  him;  rejoicing [sporting] in the habitable part of the earth" (Prov. 8:30,31).

Of course, this is symbolic language, but it exhibits a feminine association with God before the creation of the heavens and the earth. Interestingly, this biblical example shows that Wisdom was external to God himself but she was still intrinsically interwoven with his character  and  personality.   

The personal relationship has not diminished! Even Jesus saw Wisdom as feminine. "Wisdom is justified of her children" (Matt. 11:19) (Ernest L. Martin, Will Women Be Women In The Resurrection?" FBR: Pasadena,CA. 1980)

The above mentioned discussion by my late father is just touching the tip of the iceberg. As we are showing here, there is nothing out of the ordinary in discussing the feminine side of God. Many people (often male church leaders) discourage such studies because they often challenge church traditions and established dogmas which unfortunately contribute needlessly to the disempowerment of women in the body of Christ.

Now, let's return to Isaiah 66 with all of this in mind because we are going to look at another feminine theme introduced by the LORD in this text and it is a subtle introduction which is not so apparent, but when you understand that we are talking about nurture, sustenance and contextualize this to the natural world/geo-cultural situation that Isaiah would have related to, you might be able to see something much more maternal in this text than you may have previously imagined.    

So, what is this important element in this seemingly maternally oriented text that I had not appreciated before? It is the symbolism of the river! It is the imagery of the overflowing stream! It is how water, rivers, streams and a type of physical abundance that the sufficient presence of water connects to a child being taken care of by its mom!



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Trip Down A River to the Source - Part One

A Trip Down A River to the Source - Part One

I recently saw some really beautiful photographs of a mother carrying her recently born baby girl and the images really took me back to the times when my own girls were small.

I also recently got to hold a six month old baby, which is not an everyday occurrence for me especially when you have an eleven and seven year old.

These recent experiences reminded me of some very powerful Biblical texts that describe motherhood and I was able to see something that I had not really appreciated before.

What I saw was a new way of looking at our compassionate God, a loving Father, who chooses to express His love and compassion using the most interesting of terms and some of them exhibit a pretty deep connection to the femininity of motherhood. For example, note the following:

Rejoice with Jerusalem “Before she was in labor she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the LORD; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.”
For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem
 (Isaiah 66:7-13 ESV)

This passage comes to mind when I saw these photos from this new mother. The pictures really show a deep mother/child connection, the essential natural experience of nurture through breast feeding, the closeness of carrying your child, the sheer joy of playing with them and of course describing humanity's redemption using birth imagery. This is what these photos conveyed and it is the exact picture being displayed in the above text.

I guess being a resident of Jerusalem, the home of the Mother Church of Christendom, (which was built originally on the Mount of Olives near a cave where not only did our Lord reside and teach his disciples when He visited the Jerusalem area, but where He was also raised from the dead) gives me a special connect to what St. Paul was saying: 

"But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother." (Galatians 4:26 ESV)

The picture that this text is also showing us is a glimpse of heaven come to earth and most importantly, the experience that Isaiah and Paul chose to make this comparison is the mother child relationship! This should come as no surprise to anyone who has even the most basic understanding or experience with maternal love. It is without equal and one of the most powerful expressions of love in existence. This is what Isaiah is telling us. It is to be compared to heaven coming to earth!

This also gives us pause when we think about what Paul says about the Jerusalem above and how he calls her "our mother"! Quite a statement from someone who saw the third heaven and it definitely gives us all something to think about. (II Corinthians 12:4) 

Yet, there is something in this text of Isaiah which is so important and which I saw a connection to that I had not heretofore seen before and herein I found an opportunity for learning something else, because this missing element I think helps us to see a different view on the maternal side of God.

Honestly, some people (none of them mothers) seem to get very nervous when you start talking about the maternal side of God. However, this is only the case in religious environments where men are firmly in control and women are marginalized. But thankfully, in serious and mature Biblical academia, there is no nervousness or lack of comfort in discussing these Biblical texts because they are given the deep respect they demand and are taken to their logical and natural conclusions for mature Christians who have "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" their true meanings. 

They show us really the integration of femininity into the Godhead in a way that allows us humans to appreciate it in a practical way. After all, all of us have mothers that we know, love and feel close to (under ideal and normal circumstances we hope).

But before we get into the details of this text, let's give a general survey of some of the more specific female features associated with God. Yes, you read correctly!

 Here I am fortunate to have been taught these things when I was younger by my late father who published a number of important papers on this subject. Note a comment here where he discusses this issue of God's feminine side. He goes right to the top academic sources to discuss some important texts which address this issue directly. 


Controversial: To Spank or Not to Spank by Matt "Coach" Furey

Controversial: To Spank or Not to Spank by Matt "Coach" Furey

Note: I would respectfully like to thank Matt Furey
for giving his permission for me to post this article
from his newsletter, which I thankfully received
from a close friend. I believe there is an opportunity
to learn from this post. Please check out his website
- www.mattfurey.com - I am very much looking
forward to reading more of Matt's wisdom, especially
 on this subject. His post begins below.

 Over the past two weeks I've been listening to accusations of
child abuse involving NFL running back Adrian Peterson
and his four-year old son.

The allegations go way beyond a slap or swat on the
rumpus. Word is that the boy sustained welts and
bruises all over his body. Some of the wounds supposedly
drew blood.

Last Wednesday, whilst driving to practice Tai Chi, I turned on
the radio and instead of music, I listened to a call-in
show. Guess what the topic of conversation was?

"Should you spank your child and if you do, when does
a spanking cross the line and equal abuse?"

Both men and women rang the station. The announcer
himself talked about how he got beat regularly by his
parents - and even told how he doesn't just threaten
his children with "the belt" - because threats aren't

Yep, at times he takes off the belt and  gives his children
an unspecified number of lashes.

Although i was only listening for about 40 minutes, I
didn't hear a single parent say that spanking your child
is wrong under any and all circumstances.

Neither will I.

But what I will say is what was taught to me long ago
by an Aikido martial arts master.

To paraphrase the story:

One day an Aikido master saw a father angrily beating
his child. As he hit the boy, the father yelled and screamed.

The master interrupted the scene and pulled the boy's
father to the side. In typical Zen fashion, he did NOT
condemn the father for his actions. Instead, he gave him
another way of experiencing life with his son.

"You can hit your son anytime you want," said the Aikido
master. "But ONLY under one condition."

"What's the condition?" the man asked.

"When you hit him, you cannot do so with anger. You can
only spank him if you feel love in your heart for your child."

The next time the boy stepped out of line, the father
remembered the master's advice. Instead of hitting
him, he rid himself of the anger and replaced it with

Surprisingly, after doing this, he felt no need to hit his
son. He spoke to him instead - taking his time to teach
him right from wrong.

The father did not hit his son that day. Or any other day


Because it is almost impossible to hit or spank a child
when you are not angry with him. If you take the time to
clear your anger and replace it with love, chances are
you'll rethink how you handle your interaction with your

Now, you might think the above is "just a story."

It's not. It's real life.

There are many parents who actually believe if they don't hit
their child, the child will NOT respect them. Or obey.


There are many ways to win the respect and obedience of
your children without spanking them. And no, I'm not talking
about "timeouts."

I'm talking about challenging them in a physical way that
highlights "who's the boss" without hurting anyone.

For example, is it plausible that Adrian Peterson could
lightly wrestle with his son to get the point across?

Come here, son. You don't want to listen? Okay, let's 
wrestle for a few minutes and if you can beat me, then
you call the shots. 

I'm betting that it would be a great match. Adrian's son
would squirm and maneuver with all his might - yet be
controlled with light pressure. I'm also willing to bet the
match would end with laughter and a very different level
of respect.

No belts necessary. No switches. No punches, hits or

Just the tentacles of a giant human octopus (that's what he'll
feel like to his son).

Yes, I realize a lot of parents think they aren't physically fit
enough to wrestle with their children. But an NFL football
player does fit the mould of someone who can.

Controlling your child with the least amount of force necessary
makes a lot more sense than whacking him with your fist - or
hitting him with a belt or switch.

As I've observed, parents who feel they must spank their children,
rarely make a lasting impression. That's why so many of them feel
the need to spank their children so often.

Having a heart-to-heart with your child may not feel very easy for
you. Using a belt or switch might seem like it's much faster, quicker
and easier.

As a parent, I can tell you that the word is mightier than the belt.
Your children will remember your words and use them to make
themselves better, if you choose them wisely.

About all they'll remember from the beatings is the desire to
"pass it on."

Here endeth today's lesson.


Matt "Coach" Furey

P.S. T heatre of the Mind is filled with many stories and examples
to help any parent become better than his or her parents ever
thought of being. Grab your copy NOW for $40 off the normal
retail amount.

Copyright, 2014, Matt Furey Enterprises, Inc. and the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of this email is strictly prohibited without the express written consent of Matt Furey Enterprises, Inc. and/or the Psycho- Cybernetics Foundation, Inc. I may be compensated for any link you click in this email. Matt Furey Enterprises, Inc. Psycho-Cybernetics, LLC 10339 Birdwatch Drive Tampa, Florida, 33647, USA 813 994 8267 Phone 813 994 4947 FAX email: matt@mattfurey.com 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Jesus and the act of driving out the Moneychangers

Jesus and the act of driving out the Moneychangers

Some Christians are quick to point to the example of Jesus when he went to the temple in Jerusalem at the Passover season mentioned in the Gospel of John[1] as Jesus’ endorsement of bodily punishment. At that time, Jesus responded to the scene of rampant commercialism that had taken over the Temple area. In response to this scene, Jesus made “a scourge of cords.”[2] This scourge of cords was not, as the context clearly shows, designed to be used on people. The Bible indicates that “he [Jesus] made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen.”[3] He then “poured out the money of the changers, and overthrew their tables; and to the dove sellers he said; ‘Take these hence; make not the house of my Father a house of merchandise.”[4]

            The strong indication we get from this story was that the scourge of cords was directed at the animals, not the people. There is little evidence here that Jesus used the scourge to hit the people. In fact, it is quite possible that according to the Law of Moses, it would have been forbidden for Jesus to do so. This is because according to the Law of Moses, it is forbidden for one Jew to strike another outside of the legally sanctioned environment of the court of justice.[5] Had Jesus struck one of the people with the scourge, he could have been convicted of a crime at that time on the basis of the above-mentioned law. Those who are quick to point to this as evidence for Jesus’ approval of bodily punishment may need to reconsider this position in light of the laws that governed the actions of the Jewish people at that time. People could not just go around beating other citizens. Such behaviour was illegal at that time as it is now.    

[1] John 2:13-17
[2] John 2:15
[3] ibid.
[4] John 2:16
[5] Exodus 21:18

This text is an excerpt from Samuel Martin's free ebook - "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy - Available free here: whynottrainachild.com/2013/06/22/download-martins-book/ or endhittingusa.org/resources/sam-martin-s-biblical-studies-about-spanking 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Comparison between Jesus Christ and the Sabbath Day of the Lord

A Comparison between Jesus Christ and the Sabbath Day of the Lord
The Sabbath Day
Jesus Christ
Mankind are urged to imitate God in their behavior, who rested on the Sabbath Day. God chose to meet and join mankind in “rest” as one on the Sabbath. (Genesis 2:3)
Jesus Christ is the meeting place between mankind and God. He is the Immanuel (God with us). He, like the Sabbath, is the meeting point where God and mankind meet. (Isaiah 7 & 8 and Matt. 1:23) "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us ... (John 1:14 ESV)
The Sabbath is a symbol of the Millennial reign of God, a 1,000 year period at the end of the age, where God and mankind will rest together (Genesis 2:3 and Psalm 90)
Jesus Christ will be God’s representative of earth and we will join with him in the Millennial age (Revelation 20:3) that will last for 1,000 years and is called a keeping of a Sabbath (Hebrews 4:9)
When the Sabbath arrives, a person enters into it. (Heschel, The Sabbath)
When a person becomes a Christian, they are said to be “in Christ.” (Galatians 3:26)
The Sabbath is a day of rest (Exodus 20:10) and those who enter into it are refreshed, renewed and reborn weekly. (Heschel, The Sabbath)
Jesus Christ is a person of rest (Matthew 11:28-30) and all who enter into a relationship with Him are reborn, refreshed and will be raised from the dead.
There are no gender differences on the Sabbath, which is a symbol of the world to come. (“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 … Exodus 20:10 ESV)
In Christ and in heaven, there are no gender differences at all. (Galatians 3:28 – (“there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 ESV) St. Peter also said that husbands (men) and wives (women) are “heirs together in the grace of life.” (I Peter 3:7)
There are no social distinctions of human beings on the Sabbath (no slaves and no foreigners). All are one on the Sabbath (your male servant, female servant … or the sojourner who is within your gates. (Exodus 20:10 ESV)
In Christ, there are no social differences at all. (There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 ESV)
On the Sabbath day, “work” (understood as  ‘purposeful acts from which advantage is derived’ – Danby, The Mishnah) were forbidden. So all during the Sabbath were the same in God’s eyes.
In Christ, no one has an advantage over anyone else. (“you are all one in Christ Jesus” – Galatians 3:28 ESV)
On the Sabbath day, the “works” of mankind were to cease on that day.
In Christ, mankind also ceases to work, knowing that our “works” are not adequate for salvation.
On the Sabbath, no one could buy or sell anything and one’s economic power could not be exercised. All, in that sense, during the Sabbath, were equal. As such, this enhanced the spiritual time aspect of the Sabbath. There were serious consequences for those who violated the law of the Sabbath.
Early Christians who pursued a life “in Christ” sought to live a permanent Sabbath-like existence by rejecting material advantage and seeing to it that monetary power was not exercised in the early Church “and it (money) was distributed to each as any had need.” (Acts 4:35 ESV) There were serious consequences for those who lied to the Spirit.
The moon, which is reflected light, has no influence or part of the Sabbath. The governance of the timing of the Sabbath is totally dominated by the Sun, which is a Biblical symbol of goodness/life.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is called the “Sun of Righteousness” in the book of Malachi (Malachi 4:2 and Psalm 19:5)
The arrival of the Sabbath in the mystical circles of Judaism had elements of a wedding celebration associated with it (Heschel, The Sabbath)
Our attachment to Christ Jesus has elements of a marriage agreement. (Matthew 25 and Ephesians 5:32) 
The Sabbath was to be a day/time of joy/delight (Isaiah 58:13) and mirrors what heaven will be like in the future. 
Joy is a major fruit of the Holy Spirit of God and the believer and is one of God’s central attributes (Galatians 5:22,23)