Recently I came across an address given by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley. I do not intend this blog to be a partisan plug for the Senator. But I must say I was thrilled and energized by what he had to say about young men. When I find a “truth-teller” cutting through all the distorted fog of our time, I rejoice. All truth is God’s truth when it lines up with the truths of scripture. I praise God for the courage of this one senator to stand up for the young men in our culture. His focus was “the deconstruction of men.”
He asked, “How are we going to raise up good men today?” His reply, “We can start by repudiating the lie that America is a systemically oppressive nation and that men are systemically responsible.” He challenged his audience to consider virtues that men have traditionally embraced. “To keep a republic, you have to be willing to fight for it,” observes the Senator, while adding, “To preserve liberty, you have to discipline your passions and sacrifice in the service of others.” “Assertiveness and independence,” he maintains, “are strengths when used to protect and empower others.”
Hawley declared, “…We must seek a revival of strong and healthy manhood in America. We need men who will shoulder responsibility, men who will start and provide for families, men who will enter the covenant of marriage and then honor it… We need men to raise up sons and daughters after them, to pass on the great truths of our culture and history, to defend liberty, to share in the work of self-government.”
He gave a challenge to the men present: “You are a tremendous force for good. Your nation needs you. The world needs you.” He gave this encouragement: “Your strength can liberate others. Your power can serve those in need. Your creativity can light new paths. Your courage can defend the weak. Your faithfulness can raise up sons and daughters after you and make their way straight. You can make this a more perfect nation.”
Wow! I felt like one of guys on the team, before the big game, being exhorted by the coach to believe we can actually go out and win. The coach (senator) believes in me. He believes as a team we can make a difference. I need to hear that kind of message from someone in public office. For me, it reaches into my male soul (at 80 years), motivating me to want to still make a difference.
So, I exhort you as a voice crying out in the wilderness: God is not through with you yet. Rise up as a man. Don’t believe the voices telling you that you are the problem because you are a man. There are manly virtues such as courage, truth, orientation, assertiveness, independence, direction, and responsibility that have traditionally been considered male virtues.
Maybe God is speaking right now to some men out there. You are at a crossroads. You feel beaten down by the message of “toxic masculinity.” You don’t see a way out. But trust me. God is putting his hand on men who have been crying out for direction. Jesus is calling men who want to make a difference – men who know there is more. They are willing to pay the price in an anti-Christian climate.
I like the way the Message puts it: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat: I am. Don’t run from suffering: embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how” (Matt. 16:24).
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
I have been following a court case in Finland where government prosecutors have described quotations from the Bible as “hate speech.” I take personal interest in this case because I am of Finnish descent. After taking an ancestry test, my sister informed me that we are 98% Finnish. My roots are in the old Suomi Synod of the Lutheran church. I still remember the pastor of my home church preaching in Finnish. So, I take a special interest in what goes on in the “old country.”
The case involves two Christian leaders in Finland: longtime member of Parliament Paivi Rasanen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Polhjola, who have been brought to trial for writing and publishing, respectively, a pamphlet explaining Christian teachings about sex and marriage.
Ms. Rasanen (the pamphlet’s author) explains, “My writings and statements under investigation are linked to the Bible’s teaching on marriage, living as a man and a woman, as well as the Apostle Paul’s teaching on homosexual acts. The teachings concerning marriage and sexuality in the Bible arise from love to one’s neighbor, not from hate towards a group of people.”
Paul Coleman, a human rights lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom International who is helping represent Rasanen and Polhjola at the trial, commented that “it was very surreal” to observe Rasanen and Pohjola being questioned about details of Christian theology. It gave the two Christians the opportunity to preach the gospel in court.
Coleman noted, “Finnish trial attorneys who had been in and out of court every day for years, said they didn’t think the Bible had ever been read out like that in prosecution.” Never has a Finnish court had to decide if quoting from Scripture could be a crime. He described the trial, “as a modern-day inquisition or heresy trial. And the heresy was that Paivi [Rasanen] and Bishop Juhana were on trial against the new sexual orthodoxy of the day.”
Human rights observers see this trial as an important marker as to whether Western governments’ persecution of citizens for their speech and beliefs will increase. U.S. House members said in a public letter that the Finnish government’s prosecutions of these Christians for their religious beliefs “raises serious questions regarding the extent of Finland’s commitment to protect religious freedom for its citizens.”
For me, this trial is a “wake up” call to take nothing for granted as the biblical worldview in Western culture steadily erodes. It is difficult for me to comprehend how quoting the Bible is now viewed as hate speech by some in a nation in which Christianity was foundational to its existence. It shows how far and deep opposition has grown to biblical Christianity throughout Western civilization.
This reminds me that all civilizations are like grass that can wither or flowers that will eventually fail. Isaiah tells us, “The grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is 40:8). Remember Jesus told us, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Luke 21:33).
Western civilization may be withering and failing, but God’s word will remain and accomplish its purpose. The new orthodoxy of the post-Christian West is not God’s thoughts. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9).
Take heart – and submit anew to God’s word revealed in Scripture: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11).
Devotions from Judy’s heart