Godlessness Fails, Again By Paul de Vries , Special to CP

“Our experiment of godless society has failed. We have tried  to run our government by godless policies. We taught our children a godless  worldview. Our biggest mistake was subjecting hundreds of millions of people to  this failed experiment for so long, without recognizing or correcting its  failures.”

A failed experiment. Godless society does not work. Does that sound close to  home?

Several of my atheist colleagues argued this point 23 years ago as we met in  Moscow, then still the capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I was  pleasantly surprised by their wisdom. We were together organizing a timely  research project on values changes, to record what would happen to Russians’  beliefs and behaviors as the oppression of atheism was gradually being lifted.  All these research colleagues had PhDs, all had been steeped in atheist  ideology, and all were now honest about official atheism‘s  many failures – including personal, family, social, economic and spiritual  failures.

Those same ideological failures seemed suddenly to be very close at hand as  we saw the unspeakably sad saga unfold of the massacre of tiny children and  their teachers at a school a short 60 miles northeast of New York City, my town.  Horrifying school house massacres are a relatively new form of murder, and  tragically they are markedly increasing in frequency. In interpreting our social  breakdown, though, our American commentators are presently far less spiritually  sagacious than my atheist colleagues were in Moscow, newly under glasnost. “Fix  the gun laws” is the best advice that most pundits are able to offer as a means  to stem this tide of terrifying tragedy in America.

Our hearts go out to all the people in Newtown, Connecticut. We pray  earnestly for them, for children and teachers everywhere, and for our country.  The massacre of those 20 children and their teachers is such malignant evil, we  all are deeply grieving, beyond words. And as proper, we are asking why such  horrific tragedies have increased in recent years – and what we can do to stop  them. The most vocal voices interviewed in the media are concentrating on the  need for changes both in gun laws and in security policies at schools. Good for  them. The external, legal constraints must be improved, for everyone’s benefit.  There are no partisan differences here.

But external, legal constraints will never be enough. Ever. Let us not kid  ourselves; wishful thinking will not help us. The murderous intentions of any  person even of mere average intelligence can certainly find a way around the  most stringent gun regulations. In this recent Newtown horror, the shooter stole  legal guns from his mother, in a state enforcing intensely strict gun  regulations already. More constraints may be needed, perhaps even in terms of  whether there are potential sociopaths in the same home, but regulations without  internal human constraints remain powerless.

Internal constraints help people to control their malignant desires – and  help others also to discern the potentially murderous character traits in some  people around them. These internal constraints enable people to find and receive  the timely spiritual assistance, mental therapy, and even legal constraints that  they need. Here my former scholarly colleagues in Moscow were exactly right.  Even though they regrettably remained atheist themselves at that time, some  deeply desired to believe in God. Nevertheless, everyone on our Moscow team was  firmly convinced that Godly belief strengthens positive moral fiber for all  citizens and for all leaders. Belief matters.

As I try to imagine the behaviors and beliefs of the Newtown mass-murderer,  based upon what we know, perhaps nothing quite compares to the Nazis and the  Communists conducting massacres of Jews and Christians during the last century.  Also, the hijackers who flew the airplanes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon  on September 11 in 2001  must have had tragically little internal moral-spiritual fiber. How else could  their souls to be bought so cheaply by their Imam’s hellish lies about eternal  bliss with 72 virgins?

May I humbly suggest that we also consider discontinuing the failed American  experiment with godless policies and teaching? How can we sustain and brutally  enforce public health policies –such as requiring employers to facilitate abortion pills – that directly  violate long-established Godly consciences? In our schools and public  celebrations and monuments, how can we reinvent Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,  suppressing all reference to his being a pastor, being ordained, achieving  several degrees in theology,  and his overtly making all is powerful leadership  Bible-based and Christ-centered. And even in natural science,  of course we do not reference spiritual reality within scientific data, but if  we tell the truth about historic scientific discovery we will teach our students  the powerful place of prayer, divine visions, and God-inspired drives for  knowledge. Alongside teaching the information from science,  we should teach some of its thrilling history. Cutting public prayer and  Bible-reading out of our schools was part of a larger godless, American  ideology. Will we call it a failure now?

External constraints have essential roles. Now it is high time also to  acknowledge that the internal constraints, including our moral-spiritual fiber,  matter at least as much as the external ones. Our children and future  generations will all thank us if we coach, “disciple” and model the internal  eternal attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that should guide us, by God’s amazing  grace, into a more whole, healthier, happier and safer future. Time to try this  God-centered approach –since the alternative is obviously failing.


Holding Your Hand

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.” Psalm 73:23

One of the joys of being with kids is holding their hands. We do it to keep them safe while crossing the street, or to keep them from getting lost in a crowd. And whenever they stumble and lose their footing, we grab their little hands tighter to keep them from falling.

That’s what God does for us. Inevitably there are stones and cracks that trip us up on the sidewalks of life. That’s why it’s easy to identify with the psalmist, who said, “My steps had nearly slipped” (Ps. 73:2).

We all face a variety of issues that threaten to make us stumble. For the psalmist Asaph, seeing the prosperity of the wicked caused him to question the goodness of God. But God squeezed his hand and reassured him that, given the judgment of God, the wicked do not really prosper. True prosperity, the psalmist discovered, was found in the fact that God was always with him: “You hold me by my right hand” (Ps. 73:23). And just for good measure, God reminded him that He would also guide him through life and ultimately welcome him home to heaven (Ps. 73:24). How good is that!

So, next time you stumble, remember that the powerful hand of God is holding your hand and walking you through life—all the way home!

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand; But I know who holds tomorrow And I know who holds my hand. —Stanphill © Renewal 1978, Singspiration.

Let God do the holding and you do the trusting.


Experience or God’s Revealed Truth?

We have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God —1 Corinthians 2:12

My experience is not what makes redemption real— redemption is reality. Redemption has no real meaning for me until it is worked out through my conscious life. When I am born again, the Spirit of God takes me beyond myself and my experiences, and identifies me with Jesus Christ. If I am left only with my personal experiences, I am left with something not produced by redemption. But experiences produced by redemption prove themselves by leading me beyond myself, to the point of no longer paying any attention to experiences as the basis of reality. Instead, I see that only the reality itself produced the experiences. My experiences are not worth anything unless they keep me at the Source of truth— Jesus Christ.

If you try to hold back the Holy Spirit within you, with the desire of producing more inner spiritual experiences, you will find that He will break the hold and take you again to the historic Christ. Never support an experience which does not have God as its Source and faith in God as its result. If you do, your experience is anti-Christian, no matter what visions or insights you may have had. Is Jesus Christ Lord of your experiences, or do you place your experiences above Him? Is any experience dearer to you than your Lord? You must allow Him to be Lord over you, and pay no attention to any experience over which He is not Lord. Then there will come a time when God will make you impatient with your own experience, and you can truthfully say, “I do not care what I experience— I am sure of Him!”

Be relentless and hard on yourself if you are in the habit of talking about the experiences you have had. Faith based on experience is not faith; faith based on God’s revealed truth is the only faith there is.


Two Become One

“Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.”—Ezekiel 37:21

This Torah portion for this week, Vayigash, is from Genesis 44:18–47:27 and Ezekiel 37:15–28.

This week’s Torah portion began with a confrontation between Judah and Joseph, and this week’s Haftorah is all about the relationship between Judah and Joseph. God told the prophet Ezekiel to take two sticks of wood and write Judah’s name on one and Joseph’s name on the other. Then, miraculously, the two separate sticks became one.

What is the meaning of this display?

Jewish tradition teaches that the stick of Joseph represents the Diaspora (exiled) Jews while the stick of Judah represents the Jews of Israel.

Joseph, who spent most of his life exiled in Egypt, typifies Jews living outside of their homeland. He was at the mercy of the Egyptians and unfairly imprisoned. But Joseph also became an integral part of Egyptian society and brought blessing to the land. At the same time, he had to play it safe and make sure that he was always in good standing with Pharaoh because everything could change at any second. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt, they didn’t even recognize him because he dressed, spoke, and looked like an Egyptian.

On the other hand, Judah, who was the leader of the other brothers, spent most of his life in the land of Israel. He represents the Israeli Jews – free to live how they wanted to live, unapologetic, and strong. From Judah comes the Davidic dynasty, which represents the Jewish nation in all its strength and glory. While the Jews of the Diaspora were always characterized as weak, vulnerable, and pitiful, the Jews of Israel are seen as self-sufficient and proud.

Throughout history, there has always been these two types of Jews — and there always will be. The meaning of Ezekiel’s sticks is that at the End of Days, these two types of Jews will become one. God says, “I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land” (Ezekiel 37:21). God promises that He will bring His people back to Israel, and there, they will be one nation, with one king and one God.

At a welcoming ceremony for immigrants coming to Israel I recently attended, a member of the Knesset got up and said that all immigrants who come to Israel bring something good with them from their former home. Whether they come from Russia, Yemen, India, America, or Ethiopia, each group brings something unique from that culture. The result is a beautiful mosaic in which all of these shades of color are made into one stunning picture.

The wonderful news is that you can become a part of fulfilling this biblical prophecy through The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles ministry. Through this program and the generous support of Christians like yourselves, we have brought home to the Holy Land hundreds of thousands of needy and oppressed Jews from the four corners of the earth. Find out how you can help us create this beautiful mosaic by visiting our website at ifcj.org.


The Last Words Of Moses

When Moses was old, he said to all the Israelites, “I am a hundred and twenty years old this day. I can no longer go out and come in, and Jehovah has said to me, ‘You shall not go over this river Jordan.’ Jehovah your God is going over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall drive them out; and Joshua is going over to lead you as Jehovah has commanded. Be brave and strong, do not be afraid of them, for Jehovah your God is leading you; he will not fail you nor forsake you.”

Moses also called Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be brave and strong, for you shall bring this people into the land which Jehovah has promised to their fathers to give them; and you shall give it to them. Jehovah is going before you; he will be with you, he will not fail nor forsake you; fear not, nor be frightened.”

Then Moses went up on the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo to the summit of Pisgah opposite Jericho. And Jehovah showed him all the land, and said to him, “This is the land which I have solemnly promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your children.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not go over there.”

So Moses, the servant of Jehovah, died there in the land of Moab as Jehovah had said. And Jehovah buried him in the deep valley in the land of Moab; but to this day no man knows the place where he was buried. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, but his eye was not dim nor had he lost his strength. The Israelites wept for Moses on the plain of Moab thirty days, and then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the Israelites listened to him and did as Jehovah commanded Moses. But in Israel no prophet had yet arisen whom Jehovah knew as well as he did Moses.


“Whom having not seen, ye love.” 1 Peter 1:8

How this speaks to our hearts; and cannot some, if not many of us say too, “Whom having not seen, we love?” Do we not love him, dear readers? Is not his name precious to us as the ointment poured forth? But we have not seen him. No, not by the eye of sense and nature; but we have seen him by the eye of faith; for he has manifested himself to us, or to some of us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. It is, then, by faith that we see Jesus. We read of Moses that, “by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” So by faith we see Jesus who is invisible; for as faith is “the substance of things hoped for,” so is it “the evidence of things not seen.” Thus we see that it is by Jesus coming to the soul and manifesting himself unto it that we see him. And as he always comes with his love, and in manifesting himself manifests himself in his love, that manifested love kindles, raises, and draws up a corresponding love in the believer’s heart. It is the express, the special work of the Holy Ghost to testify of Christ, to glorify him, to receive of the things which are Christ’s and to shew them unto the soul; and thus in the light of Christ’s own manifestations of himself and the blessed Spirit’s work and witness of him, what faith believes of the Person and work of Christ love embraces and enjoys.