Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

Category: Wildman Journey (Page 1 of 73)

The Lesbian Project

“The Lesbian Project” is the title of an enlightening article in the Daily Citizen. I am more of a simple, relational guy. Sometimes it is hard for me to cut through the “dense smog” of confusion present in the “gender wars.” This article helped clear up some of the confusion for me.

The Lesbian Project was founded by a group of influential women in the U.K. Their number one principle was to “focus on same-sex attracted females.” They are very concerned about the strong division within the “LGBTQ community,” stating that “only females can be lesbians, in virtue of their biological sex.” They are reacting to the T and Q of the LGBTQ definition by opposing trans ideology.

In a report entitled, “Lesbian Erasure in the UK,” the Lesbian Project explained that the erasure was coming not from conservatives but from the Ts and the Qs. The project explains, “According to the new and approved transactivist doctrine, being a lesbian is not officially connected to facts about biological sex, nor the sex to which you are attracted. Rather, it’s believed that being a lesbian is an identity also open to males who identify as women and are attracted to those who identify as women.”

“Even though they are represented by the first letter in their alphabet train,” notes the Daily Citizen, “the Ls know they have long been relegated to the back of the bus by gay patriarchy.” The Project believes that “as the LGBT+ rainbow expands, lesbians have fallen to the back of the queue.” This is “lesbian erasure.” Therefore, the group announced, “The Lesbian Project is seeking an amicable divorce from our gay brothers” and doing so “will put us back on the map” in our own community.

This one observation from the Daily Citizen is something men need to ponder, as it was noted, “They believe objective womanhood is worth fighting for.” The Project was formed, “to fight GTQ patriarchy.” The article ends with this comment: “These women are concerned about being publicly demeaned, doxxed, canceled and physically attacked… It is certainly not all kumbaya under the rainbow flag, and The Lesbian Project wants us to know why.”

What a challenge this is for men. Do we believe objective manhood is worth fighting for? What is our posture when “toxic” masculinity is being shouted from the rooftops. We read in II Cor. 10: 3-5 that “the tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God’s tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.” Here are three ways we can respond as men:

First, settle in your mind and heart, God created you as a unique male: “So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). Celebrate, be grateful, and embrace being a man, not caving into the deception of modern culture.

Second, celebrate women. Our complimentary image of God is found in the female. Women complete men. Work on your relationship with women, beginning with your wife. “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another” (Eph. 5:21 – Message)

Third, your marriage is a “great mystery.” It is meant to be “an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Eph. 5:32 NLT). Accept the challenge to fight for your marriage. The enemy is out to destroy marriage and family.

“Man Down” or “Man Up”

Rollo Tomassi, a podcaster and writer has been concerned about the crisis in masculinity for years, maintains that modern psychology is failing men because “modern psychology is by women for women.”  Appearing on Dr. Phil, he said, “Since the start of the Sexual Revolution, we’ve told men to ‘man down‘; yet modern psychology’s prescription for men is ‘man up,’ but only insofar as it benefits women’s interests.”  He maintains that all proposed male solutions are “gender-swapping female solutions.” This phenomenon does not allow for “a uniquely male solution largely because to do so would mean acknowledging fundamental differences in men’s evolved psychologies.”  

Men learn from other men how to relate as men and to “act like men” (I Cor. 16:13). Our mothers and other women can only take us so far.  Men need to hear, feel, and experience the male mode of feeling and grief from other men.  After all, we are different from women.  But like many men, l learned a mostly female mode of relating and dealing with pain (my mother’s influence and being a heart-type guy).  Men need an “AA” type of small group where men can share their pain as men.  What is said often at an AA meeting is, “You are as sick as your secrets.” This is a truth that most men can only explore with other men. Why?  Because the feminine voice in culture is too often screaming for men to “man up” from a feminine perspective. 

Often when modern psychology promotes “positive masculinity” some form of “negative” masculinity must also exist.  But it needs to be shouted from the rooftops of every home that being a man is not in itself “toxic.”  The American Psychological Association claims there are no major differences between men and women.  The AMA now considers traditionally masculine qualities such as stoicism and competitiveness as psychologically harmful to men.  Be aware, modern psychology, in general, is failing men.  

Recently, the Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, was interviewed on a major news outlet talking about too much “toxicity” in masculinity.  He vowed, “I am going to continue to use this platform every time I get to speak out against this toxic masculinity that is out there.”  He believes, “we’re kind of confused what it means to be a man, what it means to be masculine.”  

In my opinion, he did very little to help men in their confusion.  “You’ve got this trope out there where you have to be tough, and angry, and lash out to be strong.  I think it is just the opposite. Strength is how you show your love for people.  Strength is how you are for people and how you have their back and how you stick up for other people and pushing up and out against bullies.”  Again, we find in the Second Gentlemen’s perspective the unconcluded struggle between being tough and tender.  A man can be strong, determined, and resolved without being angry or vindictive.  But how can he?

Here is my simple advice: First, allow God to fashion your unique masculine soul.  Be open to God opening the flood gates of your soul.  Allow yourself to grieve your past, while giving yourself hope for tomorrow.  Healing of the soul takes time.

Secondly, allow God to shape your inner life to be a more compassionate, loving, sensitive man.  But this is vital: do it from your masculine soul, not shaped by outside feminine voices.  

Thirdly, build intimate fellowship with “soulful” men – men with open hearts.  Drink in the healthy masculine from other men. 

Draining the Swamp

I recently preached during a Wednesday night Lenten service at my church.  The text was from Matthew 27:11-26, where Jesus is condemned to death by Pontius Pilate. For nearly 2,000 years, Christians have confessed the words of the Apostles’ Creed: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.”  Jesus was crucified as a rebel against Rome. In an early sermon Peter reminds the people, “This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him” (Acts 3:13). 

N.T. Wright has observed, “Somehow, Jesus’ death was seen by Jesus himself, and then by those who told and ultimately wrote his story, as the ultimate means by which God’s kingdom was established.  The crucifixion was the shocking answer to the prayer that God’s kingdom would come on earth as in heaven.  It was the ultimate Exodus event through which the tyrant was defeated.  God’s people were set free and given their fresh vocation, and God’s presence was established in their midst in a completely new way for which the Temple was just an advance pointer.”

Wright says further that Jesus “could not establish the new creation without allowing the poison in the old to have it full effect.”  Before he could bring healing to our world, He would provide “the antidote to the infection that would otherwise destroy the project from within.”  Jesus would defeat evil by means of “the deeply subversive nature of his own kingdom announcement.  He would defeat evil by letting it do its worst to him.”

A very contemporary phrase to use would be Jesus by his death and suffering was “draining the swamp.” Only Jesus could right all the wrong in our world – that is, drain all the puss out of the wounds of sin.  Contemporary political rhetoric will never get to the heart of this issue.  Paul provides us with this message to our divided world: “We’re Christ’s representatives.  God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.  We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.  How? you ask.  In Christ.  God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God” (II Cor. 5:20-21 – Message). 

Where do we start to straighten out all the problems with so much “crooked timber?”  Of course, it will never be fully corrected until Jesus comes back and makes all things new. This is our hope and confidence.  As followers of Jesus, we are on the right side of history.  John tells of seeing Jesus seated on the throne, declaring, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5).  Then he was told, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:5).  We live in the in-between time when Jesus is “draining the swamp.”  We can hear “loud voices” in heaven declaring, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). 

Jesus’ suffering and death is our King defeating evil and beginning his reign on the earth.  The chorus from a new song by Shane and Shane entitled “You’ve Already Won” reminds us: “I’m fighting the battle/You’ve already won/No matter what comes my way/I will overcome/Don’t know what You’re doing/But I know what You’ve done/And I’m fighting a battle/You’ve already won.”

Men: stop striving and listen, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Ex. 14:14). 

The Longhouse

I’d never heard of a “longhouse” until I read an article in First Things.  It sure struck a nerve with me – and it has caused quite a stir among those who have read it.  Written by an anonymous author named “Lom3z,” a longhouse is “a metonym for the disequilibrium afflicting the contemporary social imaginary.”  

The longhouse was a large communal hall serving as the social focus in various cultures throughout the world that were more sedentary and agrarian.  In today’s social structures, “this historical function gets generalized to contemporary patterns of social organization, in particular the exchange of privacy – and its attendant autonomy – for the modest comforts and security of collective living.”

Of particular interest is the role of the “Den Mother.”  “More than anything,” writes the author, “the Longhouse refers to the remarkable overcorrection of the last two generations toward social norms centering feminine needs and feminine methods for controlling, directing, and modeling behavior.” What a loaded statement.  As Rod Dreher noted, the longhouse stands for “a metaphor for the over feminization of our common life.”  He warns, “if we don’t talk about the ways the dominance of feminized categories in public discourse and policies harm men, and hurt the common good, we are guaranteeing the radicalization of a new generation of men. Real problems cannot be suppressed forever.”

Camille Paglia wrote that feminism wrongly “see[s] every hierarchy as repressive, a social fiction; every negative about woman is a male lie designed to keep her in her place.  Feminism has exceeded its proper mission of seeking political equality for women and has ended by rejecting contingency, that is, human limitation by nature or fate… If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.” 

The longhouse discussion is really about “safetyism.”  Again, going back to Genesis, the Creator made males and females different. “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them” (Gen 5: 2). Men and women are different and their “differences have an immense impact upon the climate of our social and political discourse.”  Boys in our culture experience immense social pressure to “self-censor.”  Present day ideologies function as a rationalization for more naturally female inclinations in discourse and socialization.  Jordon Peterson sees this as a maternal instinct.  He bluntly observes, “the political landscape is being viewed through the lens of a hyper-concerned mother for her infant.”

I know I am treading on thin ice with the direction of this blog.  I have written many times about the feminization of men and our culture.  When I first read this article, however, I could only say, “Yes.”  I had my wife read it soon afterwards.  She too responded, “Yes.”  Yours truly struggles mightily in these blogs to help men develop their masculine souls.  I continue to search for voices that reflect the issues of masculinity and femininity.  To me, this is a matter of soulfulness, men honestly crying out to God for healing and affirmation. 

Here are issues for men to keep always before them as they navigate the “gender wars” of our time:  1) Remember that you have a unique masculine soul that desperately needs affirmation and healing in today’s spiritual wilderness.  2) Celebrate the complimentary feminine soul. Honor and delight in the feminine. 3) Never forget your focus – Scripture portraying life as complementary.  4) Find men who are willing to be honest about their masculine souls in today’s culture (like in AA, CR or RA), and absorb masculine energy from older saints in your life.  

Neon Deion

I am old enough to remember “Neon Deion” Sanders from his days as one of the most dynamic and entertaining players in the NFL. He was all about himself, his abilities, and his fame. He could out-talk and out-strut most anyone and then go play with the best in football. But after his NFL playing days, he made a commitment to the Lord. This became evident in how he conducted himself as a college football coach.  Recently he was hired as the new football coach for the University of Colorado. One of his first moves was to put his squad on notice. 

“One thing I don’t condone is disrespect to a woman,” he told his new team, which was assembled in a theater on the Boulder campus. Standing before a line of female students, the new coach was blunt with his team.  “So when you pass by these beautiful young women, I don’t know if they grace you to call them by their name or their title,” he told them. “You find out. Be courteous, be gracious, and be polite.”

“If there’s any dysfunction, obstruction with your girlfriend, fiancée, or whoever, with any abuse, that’s it, it’s over,” Sanders told the team. “Don’t call me, don’t have your momma call me, don’t call Rick (Colorado’s Athletic Director). It’s a wrap.  You understand that?  [We’re] gonna respect our women wholeheartedly.”  It’s inevitable that Deion Sanders’ standards and policies will be put to the test.  But the coach once said, “Whenever you make a promise, you have a responsibility to that promise.”

I admire the coach for what he started to institute as he began his coaching tenure at Colorado.  I hope that he can be a “father” figure to his players.  It will be quite a task to corral and shepherd hormonally charged young men, who live in a sensually charged culture, with 24-hour access to pornography, and with young college woman who want to date a football player. 

Most of all I admire “Neon-Deion” for being willing to swim against the stream of contemporary culture.  When it comes to sex, we have Paul’s understanding of how we lose touch with reality.  “They’re lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.  They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion” (Eph. 4: 18-19 – Message). 

I can almost hear the coach talking with his team of young males, “Listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words.  Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her.  Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; numerous men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave.  Her bedroom is the den of death” (Prov. 7:24-27).  These are strong and direct words that need to be told to young men with a “tiger in their tank.” 

For all the men reading this blog, this comes as a reminder: 1) Admit you have a “tiger in your tank.” Don’t fool yourself and those near you.  2) Admit you need God to cleanse your soul, and to give you a deep desire to know Him.  3) Set an example as a man who has eyes only for his wife.  Beware of the “roaming eye.” 

Paul gives us this advice: “Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.  Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God” (I Thess. 4:3-5 – Message).  Find a brother to talk with about your tiger.


Lost Boys

Author Rollo Tomassi recently discussed with Dr. Phil how an entire generation of “lost boys” (young men) are neglected and demonized for being males. Dr. Phil asked Tomassi, “What do you mean when you say media celebrates masculinity as equally acting feminine?”  Tomassi responded, “…The only time that the mainstream media will ever celebrate masculinity is when you see The Rock in a tutu… Whenever you see men behaving conventionally feminine, that’s when the media decides to celebrate them… yet when a guy is acting in a conventionally masculine way, we do not celebrate that. They find some way to demonize that.” 

Tomassi went on, saying, “We have a generation of what we call “lost boys” right now. They don’t have a father figure; they don’t have any guidance – whether it’s masculinity or much else for that matter.”  Men seem to be “sedated” by society via escapism through alcohol, pornography, and video games because their lives are miserable.  Men have a hard time asserting their identities in a society that often seems to demonize masculinity itself.”  

“Deaths of despair” are more common because “society has so few mechanisms or institutions that are looking out for the welfare of men as a distinct group.”  Tomassi adds, “We constantly harp on the fact that men… don’t have close friends, don’t have the same network that women do… and then we put the blame for their mental health back on them by saying ‘its toxic masculinity.’”  

Tomassi had an insightful observation that any male who watches football could appreciate: “If women were killing themselves at four times the rate that men are, you would have a dedicated month and the NFL would change their uniforms to pink or something else so that we would have some sort of female suicide prevention month. But we don’t see that right now, because we blame it on toxic masculinity.” 

As a male who is past 80, having worked on the integration of his masculine soul for over forty years, and who is now living as a male in a terribly confused culture, I happen to enjoy watching both pro and college football. It’s a form of relaxation. And yes, I confess that it helps me escape the real world.  Some men take football too seriously, and it almost borders on idolatry. But I try to monitor myself so it remains a pastime and doesn’t become an obsession. 

I wonder if there aren’t men who quietly resent an intrusive influence of the feminine into what has traditionally been a man’s world. The phrase “C’mon man” expresses the commitment to brotherhood.  Men (like women) love competition and teamwork within their gender.  Men (like women) work and sweat to finish strong and come out victorious. But the phrase “I love ya, man,” says even more. NFL Films shared a clip on how often that phrase is shared among pro football players. The feminine voice seems a little alien, however, adding nuances that don’t necessarily understand the masculine soul.  Masculinity may not always be wholesome, but it is not “toxic.”  Don’t demonize their brotherhood.  

Men learn to be a man from other men. What we need desperately in our culture are “male mothers”  – men who have integrated their masculine souls (Richard Rohr). They have a healthy sense of their own masculine but have also integrated the feminine. They are not threatened by strong women but confidently express a healthy masculine presence that is both tough and tender. These men know the value of Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”






























The Cross and the Crisis

I was gripped by a recent article in The Daily Citizen titled The Cross as a Crisis of Fatherhood.  We have just observed Holy Week. Never in my memory has our nation been so confused and conflicted about gender.  The struggle of gender identity has been transformed from preferences to the sudden rise of “trans” violence, bringing a whole new level of savagery to our nation. Then I read this insightful article about Jesus experiencing abandonment by his Father.  

The article ends with this: “We should remember this: Fatherhood is of deep spiritual consequence and Satan hates it.  No wonder it is under such attack, not just in the Cross on Good Friday, but in our culture and families today as well.”

On Good Friday, we observe a crisis in Fatherhood: “How do you wound a father more than killing his only, dearly beloved son?” In Matthew and Mark, Jesus’ last words were “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Just before Jesus breathed his last, Luke tells us, He “called out in a loud voice…’Father into your hands I commit my spirit.’” John simply writes, “It is finished.” 

In Matthew and Mark, Jesus does not use the intimate term “Father” but rather a more impersonal term “My God.” Why? “The Son, utterly forsaken by even His Father, declares it is finished and the world turns dark. A profound, mysterious crisis of Fatherhood. For the first time – and the last – in all eternity, the perfect intimacy between… Father and Son was severed in some profound way.”

Richard John Neuhaus explains, “Here is the cry of dereliction, the cry of abandonment, from the derelict, the abandoned one.”  He adds, “The Greek word used suggests that [Jesus] screamed with a loud cry, ‘My God, my God, for what reason have you forsaken me?'”  Dereliction describes the desperation of Jesus.  The Daily Citizen observes, “There is real relational pathos going on here on the cross.”

Neuhaus continues, “Like a derelict boat cast upon the shore, like a dog carcass lying by the roadside, here is something no longer of any account; it is forsaken, abandoned, thrown aside. Roadkill.”  When Jesus was in agony in the garden, sweating drops of blood, The Daily Citizen suggests, “At its heart, Christ’s profound agony and anxiety were likely rooted in a more intense pain: His impending separation from the Father.”

Satan believed he had achieved victory.  By “dividing the eternally loving Father and Son… the Evil One attacked fatherhood at its core.  And Jesus felt it viscerally.  It is contained in the Savior’s desperate last words.”  But we know the rest of the story: “A glorious union happened in the Resurrection and the Ascension.  Satan was not ultimately victorious.”  

Men, picture Jesus dying for you.  “…It was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down… He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins” (Is. 53:4-5 NLT). Today you might feel “forsaken, abandoned, thrown aside.”  In these nasty “gender wars” you might feel like “roadkill.”  Remember the enemy wants you to feel abandoned like Jesus. He wants to destroy your sense of manhood, especially if you are a father. 

Jesus endured relational pathos and forsakenness for you.  Satan gave it his best shot, thinking he had gotten rid of Jesus. But he never envisioned resurrection energy flowing through our bodies. Men, you are not abandoned.  Don’t believe the lie being perpetuated in our culture.  You have a loving Father in heaven, who came and rescued you from your loneliness, allowing resurrection power to reside in you. Claim it!   

In Secret

Ezekiel prophesied to God’s people in exile.  In Ezekiel 20 we find the elders of Israel asking Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord on their behalf.  The Lord rejected the inquiry because of their idolatry.  The elders apparently thought they could receive a word from the Lord, even while persisting in their idolatrous practices. 

In a lengthy response the Lord recalls how often the Israelites failed to keep their covenant with Him. Quite provocatively, God says to the elders, “What you’re secretly thinking is never going to happen. You’re thinking, ‘We’re going to be like everybody else, just like the other nations.  We’re going to worship gods we can make and control” (Ezekiel 20:32 – MSG). What a description of our own culture.  We think we know better as we seek to control our own destiny.  Our idolatry puts science, materialism, and narcissism first.

Then God states in verse 33, “I will reign over you.” God was resolved to bring his people under his rule with his “mighty hand” and “outstretched arm” (v. 33-34).  The words, “I will purge you” (v. 38), show the Lord’s intention to purify his people. Through the entire experience of judgment, purging, restoration and acceptance, Israel “will know that I am the Lord” (v. 42, 44). 

This is Good News for us. “There is great hope for the world in this, for if it were dependent for its salvation on the spiritual and moral purity of God’s people and their evangelistic obedience, rather than on the indefatigable persistence of God’s longing for the world’s redemption, it would be doomed to disappointment” (Bible Speaks Today).

People were in denial regarding Ezekiel’s message.  In the final verse of Chapter 20, Ezekiel complains to the Lord: “And I said, ‘O God, everyone is saying to me, ‘he just makes up stories'” – MSG (v. 49). The NET says, “They are saying of me, ‘Does he not simply speak in eloquent figures of speech?'” In their denial, the elders ridicule the prophet’s message: “Ezekiel’s prophetic words are merely stories and not prophecies…” In so doing, “they deny the impact of the prophetic word from the Lord [as] they still want to inquire of the Lord” (Grace and Truth Bible).

What is the lesson for us?  First, we need to realize we are already in exile. This is a post-Christian culture, existing only as a shadow of a Christian past.  It is sheer arrogance to assume that we can hear from God when we are caught up in the idolatries of our day.  

Second, consider that God may very well be using our present-day cultural exile to purify his church.  Peter told the church in exile, “For if it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God” (I Peter 4:17). 

Third, be wary of those who ridicule the word of God, while still giving the impression that they are speaking truth. Jesus warned that “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matt. 24:11). Then he adds, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:12).

Men, God is gathering his remnant and purifying his church. Don’t listen to those who speak arrogantly of the future. Rather listen to those who wait expectantly for and rejoice in the coming of the Lord, even while we humbly endure his purging.  We need to cry out for mercy and grace in these days. 


Defining “Woman”

Cambridge Dictionary has added a new definition for the word “woman,” indicating that the word refers to “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”  Merriam-Webster also changed the definition of female to include anyone who has “a gender identity that is the opposite of male.”  In other words, biological males are now females if they think they are.  

Fox News commented on the added definition, tweeting, “1984 wasn’t supposed to be a how-to manual.”  This referred to George Orwell’s concept of “Newspeak” where “… government-created language redefines words to control the thoughts and speech of those under the totalitarian rule of Big Brother and The Party.”  Per Fox, the woke movement is seeking to control language, thoughts, and speech.  This is what is happening with the word woman.  

A spokesperson for Cambridge Press noted, “[they] carefully studied usage patterns of the word woman and concluded that this definition is one that learners of English should be aware of to support their understanding of how the language is used.”

In a discussion of the word “woman” in World magazine, Carl Trueman makes a distinction between prescriptive and descriptive meanings for words in dictionaries.  Prescriptive meanings help “to stabilize a word’s meaning by giving formal definitions.”  A descriptive meaning reflects “the way a word is used in various contexts.” Speaking descriptively, Trueman notes that one can describe “a woman trapped in the wrong body…[which] simply reflects the utter confusion about biological sex and gender.”

Beyond this, however, in giving a prescriptive meaning, the dictionary “not only describes conventional usage of the term.  It also prescribes such usage.”  In other words, the dictionary is changing the very meaning of the word “woman.”  Trueman warns: “Words are becoming means of maintaining the power… tools by which the powerful control interpretation.”

Our needed response, notes Trueman, “is to challenge the cultural power structures of which the dictionary is one manifestation.  It’s a power-grab, but neither pure nor simple… What is happening is not a merely semantic game or the demand that we deny reality.  It is the assertion of power.” These words should be a wake-up call, giving every God-fearing man a reason to simply stand confidently in his God-given maleness, while celebrating his opposite in a biological woman. Do this and you defy the power-grab.

I agree with Trueman when he advocates, “For it is in our speech, in our speaking, that the first line of resistance to this power-grab can be mounted.”  We resist this power-grab by simply living out who we were created to be since the beginning of creation.  Nothing has changed. “This is the history of the descendants of Adam.  When God created people, he made them in the likeness of God.  He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human” (Gen. 5:1 NLT).

As mature men in Christ, we can simply stand confidently in our masculinity and our manhood.  “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Eph. 4:14 NLT).  We are not to live by the definitions of contemporary culture. “Live no longer as the Gentiles [ungodly] do, for they are hopelessly confused” (Eph. 4:17 NLT).  For “they don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways” (Eph. 4:19 NLT). 

Don’t forget!  We are in a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10-12). 


Two Baskets of Figs

Soon after the Babylonians took young King Jehoiachin and many of the leading citizens of Jerusalem into exile, God gave Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs. This exile had been smaller than the first exile of 605 BC.  This exile took place in 597 BC, nearly ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.  Those left behind believed they had been favored over those in Babylon. “They could not imagine that Babylon would be the place where the true faith would survive and thrive.  But what the people viewed as a disaster could work for good” (Grace and Truth Bible). 

In the vision Jeremiah saw, “one basket had very good figs” while “the other basket had very bad figs” (Jer. 24:2).  God provided a prophetic meaning to the visual metaphor. “The message turns popular assumptions upside down; if the people thought that those who were carried off to exile were the ones who were headed for extinction like rotten fruit, while those who remained were in for a happier future, they were completely wrong” (Bible Speaks Today). 

The Lord gives this surprising interpretation to the vision: “Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians” (Jer. 24:5).  “The Lord was announcing a remarkable theological concept.  His evaluations are not based on people’s goodness but on his sovereign grace” (Jeremiah – Huey). Those left behind believed they would be blessed by remaining in the land.  But God intended blessing and refinement for those in captivity.

God promised protection and prosperity for those in exile.  He would bring them back after 70 years in captivity. “My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them” (Jer. 24:6).

Even more than prospering, God would give them a heart to know him: “And I’ll give them a heart to know me, God.  They’ll be my people and I’ll be their God, for they’ll have returned to me with all their hearts” (Jer. 24:7 – Message). The people would choose God, while God remained in sovereign control.  “God requires his people to turn but they can no longer turn; but what they can no longer do he will do for them by giving them a new heart which can turn.  His sovereign grace will create a new reality that breaks out of the prison of human failure and inability” (Bible Speaks Today). 

In my opinion, there is an important lesson for us as we navigate the spiritual bareness of our day.  We are in many ways a people going into exile. We will be like strangers in a foreign land.  That time is coming quickly.

There are two major takeaways from this vision, as we will need to faithfully endure what will be happening.  First, we need to believe that we will prosper in exile.  How God accomplishes that is up to Him.  I cling to this promise: “I’ll build them up, not tear them down: I’ll plant them, not uproot them” (Jer. 24:6 – Message). 

Further, and more incredibly, God will give us a heart to know God even better and return to Him with all our hearts.  In words that come close to the “new creation” language of II Cor. 5:17, God promises “a heart to know me.” 

Men: be a man (and seek men) with a heart for God – open and responsive to Him.  




« Older posts

© 2023 Canaan's Rest

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑