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Without Your Help, She Wouldn’t Have a Home

Vera left the troubled memories of her past behind her in the Former Soviet Union as she and her family looked forward to a new life in Israel. She, her husband, and their children settled down in a pretty, little town close to the Mediterranean Sea nearby some friends who had made Aliyah together with them. Life in Israel was good for Vera and she was thankful. 

But as time went by, her husband grew ill and passed away. As the loneliness set in, Vera clung to her friends even more. It was through these friends that she learned of the work of CBN Israel and became a member of the program for Holocaust Survivors. Here she found enjoyment in the home visits, holiday celebrations and occasional outings around the country. 

One day, Vera phoned Jenny, a partner of CBN Israel, with great concern. The water pipes in her home were old and had rusted. They had burst beneath the floors and the entire house was flooded with water. She was suddenly without a place to sleep and without enough means to pay for the repairs. 

Thanks to those who give generously to CBN Israel, the staff were able to cover the cost to replace the pipes and restore the floors in her home. While the repairs were in process, Vera found comfort in Jenny’s friendship and hospitality. 

Vera was amazed by the love and care she was shown and with deep gratitude she said, “Thank you so much for all you have done for me! Without your help, I would not have a home”. 

Hundreds of Holocaust Survivors like Vera have received love, care and hope through the work of CBN Israel. Yet every month, we say goodbye to dozens of them as they age and pass away. Now is the only window of opportunity we have to show them God’s love. Please prayerfully consider partnering with us today! 

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A Calling of Separation

What do you think about when you hear the name Sampson? Many of us, when we think about Sampson, think about a strong, talented guy who fell asleep on the lap of the wrong girl. The next think he knew, he was blind and weak and grinding wheat for his enemies to eat. This is not the destiny God had planned for him. But he was indeed gifted.

When we take a deeper look at Sampson’s life we see that his relationship with Delilah was not the first thing that caused him to become defiled, but the last. See, Sampson was called by God to be a Nazarite. A Nazarite could not partake in anything that came from the vine. Not from the seed, not from the skin not even vinegar that was made from wine. A Nazarite could not come into contact with any dead thing not even for the sake of burying a close relative. Coming into contact with the dead would defile the Nazarite and the vow would be broken. The last thing that separated a Nazarite was that they could not cut their hair. Having long hair was a visible sign that a man had taken a Nazarite vow and many times, it was only for a period of time.

Early on in Sampson’s life, he was confronted by a lion which he ripped apart with the strength that God had given him. But later on, he passed by that same way and he saw that some bees had built a hive in the carcass of the lion and there was honey. Sampson was hungry, so he ate that honey from inside the dead lion and he broke his vow.

Then, he took a philistine girl to be his wife. He celebrated his marriage for one whole week and there were thirty Philistines who celebrated with them. Now, the Bible doesn’t say that he drank wine during the ceremony, but it was customary for a person to drink wine in celebrations and it is hard to imagine that the Philistine’s would have understood that Sampson could not enjoy a drink of wine because of a vow he had made.

Then, years later, Sampson broke his final Nazarite vow when he gave Delilah the secret to his strength and she cut his hair while he slept in her lap. When he awoke to her cries that his enemies were upon him, he thought he go out as always in the strength of the Lord and take on his enemies but the Lord had departed from him. And his shaven head was a visible sign that his anointing has come to an end.

“The Philistine’s took him and put out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters and he became a grinder in the prison”– Judges 16:21.

In the end, what is it we can learn from Sampson’s life? Here was a guy who had giftings and a calling and an anointing to deliver the children of Israel from the hand of their oppressor. But he did not value the calling to be visibly separate from those around him and it ended up causing his blindness and his early death.

God has a calling on our lives as well and we have to recognize that His calling is contingent on our separation from the world around us. We cannot live like the world and walk in God’s anointing- it will not work. So, choose this day the calling of God in your life. Make a commitment to not fulfill the short term satisfactions of this life but to enter into the eternal satisfaction of knowing that you have been a good and faithful servant.

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Think on These Things

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good reputation, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things”. – Philippians 4:8

It is not by force, nor by our ability to fight, but by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can overcome. Throughout my time of working with families in financial crisis and single mothers, I have met many believers who think that we need to focus our attention on overcoming the enemy and “taking him down”. While there is a time and a place for this, there is something we miss that I believe is even more powerful and effective. It is our offering of thanks and praise to God.

Over the years, I have learned that God loves to see us at peace despite our circumstances and to hear our praises and offerings of thanksgiving for all that He has been and done for us. Our spiritual enemy, on the other hand, loves it when we focus our attention on the battle that rages around us. Satan lures us into his battle field where his chances of defeating us increases.

I believe that what we need to do is walk out the victory that Yeshua already won for us. The question is not whether or not the struggles we have and the pain we suffer will come to end. The question is what we will do with our struggles and what we will learn and gain from them. Didn’t God say that through our struggles we will grow in godliness and in character?

Here are three things to remember as you endure the inevitable suffering you will face in this life.

1.) You have a choice. God does not force you and I to do or think or believe in a certain way. That is a choice He has given us to make. He has given us all the instruction we need for life and godliness, but it is up to us to take it, believe it and apply it to our lives and circumstances.  

2.) Our words have power. When we speak negatively about our circumstances and we don’t add faith to the equation, we may not realize that our negative words are paving a path for us to walk on. But on the contrary, when we choose to speak God’s truth and perspective over our circumstances, we will see those words taking effect in our lives.

3.) God is good and He is with us who believe. No matter what we face in this life, He will walk through it with us. You are never alone. He who began a good in you will complete it until the day of the coming of Yeshua our Messiah!

I encourage you today to take your cares to the Lord and do as His word says, “cast them” or a better translation would be to “throw them” at the feet of Yeshua and let Him bring all things into focus. Don’t be afraid to take time to make decisions if it means that wisdom will be your guide instead of fear and hastiness. One moment of prayer and asking God for help could change the entire outcome of your future.

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Widow’s Freedom From Debt Brings Tears of Joy

The news felt like an additional weight in the backpack of a weary traveler. *Helen had just buried her husband and was caring for her three children, one of which has special needs, when she received a letter informing her of the debt that was left in her husband’s wake. The family were new immigrants in Israel and Helen had not yet learned her way around the culture, the language and the government institutions. She felt paralyzed by all the struggles that were hitting her at once and for lack of knowing what to do, she chose to do nothing.

Leaving the debt to grow interest in the bank, Helen focused her attention on her children and getting the family acclimated to their new country. During this time, she met a single mother who told her of the work of CBN Israel. Helen began attending the meetings for single mothers and over time, she felt safe to open up with the staff about her struggles. Because of the debts in the bank and the demanding needs of her son, she couldn’t afford to pay for a cognitive test to determine the needs of her child. 

Arik Peled, the financial advisor for CBN Israel, accompanied Helen to the bank to see what could be done about her debts. The bank agreed to greatly reduce her debt if she was able to come up with the money within two weeks time. When CBN Israel’s partners learned of Helen’s needs, donations began to come in. But to their surprise, not only was the needed amount for negotiations donated, but the amount needed to pay off the debt in full came through!

When the staff told Helen that her burden of debts was over, she could hardly believe it. She was so overcome with emotion, that her sentences were broken up by sobs of joy. She said, “I simply don’t have words to say to you. It was so many years I struggled with these debts and now it’s over. I can hardly believe it! I don’t have enough words to say, ‘thank you'”.

From this situation, Helen has learned a lot about how to handle her money. She has learned how to gain credit without gaining debt. She has learned a lot about the Israeli institutions and how the banking systems work differently than in her native country. And now, Helen is attending CBN Israel’s financial workshops to learn more about what job would suit her best. Regarding her son, CBN Israel paid for the cognitive test and as a result, Helen is better equipped with knowledge to get her son the help he needs. 

It is because of those who give generously to the work of CBN Israel that widows like Helen are receiving practical help, hope, care and love. Every donation makes a big difference in real lives here in Israel. When you become a monthly partner, you will receive three of our extraordinary documentaries on Israel! Find out more about it here

*Name altered for privacy.

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But There Are Giants in the Land!

When God spoke to Moses and called him to be the deliverer of His people Israel out of their bondage and slavery in Egypt, He said to him, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”- Exodus 3:12. God did deliver His people out of Egypt through Moses and they did come to meet with the Lord at Mount Sinai as He promised.
There at the mountain, God wanted to reveal Himself to His people and to make Himself known to them that they might hear His voice for themselves and receive His good instructions. But their response was fear and they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.”-Exodus 20:19.

God’s intention has always been to have a personal relationship with His people. We see this in the garden of Eden when Adam walked with God. We see this in the sending of God’s Son Yeshua whose death tore the veil in the temple so that all could come into God’s presence. We see this in the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:34 when God says the days are coming when all will know Him for themselves.

But what is it that hinders us from knowing God and receiving the good things He has for us? Fear. When the people heard God’s voice on the mountain, they were afraid and said to Moses, “you speak to us, but don’t let God speak to us or we might die!” God heard these words and He gave them what they asked for. Moses mediated between God and the people all throughout their journey through the desert.

Later on, when it was time for the children of Israel to inherit the good Land that God wanted to give them to possess as their own, spies were sent out to investigate what it was they would face. When the men came back, most of them gave a negative report and invoked fear into the hearts of the people. Their focus was not on the promise of God, but on the giants the people would need to overcome. Because the people chose fear instead of faith in God, once again, He saw their choice and instead of taking the Land He wanted to give them, they spent the next forty years in the wilderness.
Time and time again, it was fear that kept God’s people from intimacy with God and receiving the good things He had in store for them. Are you afraid to hear God’s answer to something you are seeking Him about? Are you afraid to do something that He is calling you to do? Perhaps you have lost faith that the challenges or giants that you are facing are part of the outworking of God’s plan for your life. In this day, God sets before us a choice to make. We can either choose fear and miss out on all that God has for us, or we can choose faith and walk out His calling and into His promises.

Remember, God’s intention is not to bring you and I out of Egypt, up the mountain, or into the promised Land to harm us. His intention is for us to know Him, worship Him and to make Him known in the earth.

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Traits of a Great Leader

What character traits come to your mind when you hear the words, “great leader”? Do you think of someone who inspires or encourages others? Is it a person with a dynamic personality? Perhaps it is someone with knowledge, wisdom and skill who made their way to the top?

Knowing what traits you admire in a “great leader” is an important part of becoming one. And every “great leader” will seek out the wisdom and knowledge from other “great leaders” who have paved the way before them.

The desire to see believing entrepreneurs achieve success in the Israeli marketplace inspired the staff of CBN Israel to co-host a two day leadership training seminar. As leaders in the market, four restaurant owners from “Chick-Fil-A” were invited to be the guest speakers of the event. The name and reputation of “Chick-Fil-A” alone was enough to draw out over sixty business entrepreneurs from multiple cities to glean from these godly, experienced and successful business owners.

The message that threaded the various seminars together was the importance of gaining and applying wisdom. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and in all your getting get understanding”. – Proverbs 4:7. Wisdom is learning to take responsibility for yourself and for those under you. Wisdom is learning to serve others and help others become successful. Wisdom is learning to set goals and to have a strategy in how to achieve them. Wisdom is accepting failures and being willing to grow from them.

Another important part of being a leader is learning to give clear instructions. As an interactive object lesson, the attendees were instructed to form groups of two or more and to blindfold one member of the group. The other members were to give verbal instructions as to where the blinded should go and what safety hazards to avoid as they went. If instructions were sufficiently given, the blinded would complete their journey successfully and safely.

One attendee shared with CBN Israel that the object lesson was “a great” and effective experience.

Isn’t this also the way our God perfectly leads us as His disciples? He has given us clear wisdom and instructions through His word and by His Spirit which helps us to accomplish the tasks that we are called to do. And as disciples, we in turn have opportunity to exemplify Him to those who follow in our footsteps.

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No Longer Afraid

She knew it was a risk…and a dangerous one too, but to leave her home and country by foot offered more hope for her future than to suffer abuse even one day more. Hagara was only a teenager when she left everything she knew in search of a better life. But little did she know that her dream for a better life was still many years and miles away.

Arriving in Israel as a refugee, Hagara met and married her husband who also became abusive and for many years, they were unable to have children. But God in His mercy gave Hagara the desire of her heart and she became pregnant with her son, Nachum. During that time, she met Yeshua and she found the life she had been searching for.

Because of Hagara’s new faith in Yeshua, her husband left his family to fend for themselves as a single mother and a father-less son in Israel.  

Though Hagara’s circumstances were difficult, she never gave up her faith in the One who had given her life. She prayed and trusted God for all her needs to be met by Him. She and her son moved into a small apartment where they had acquired just enough furniture to fill one bedroom and living area.

Through word of mouth, Hagara learned of the work of CBN Israel and began attending the holiday gatherings for single mothers in her area. As the relationship between the staff and Hagara grew, the needs of the family were brought to the light. Nachum lacked a bed of his own to sleep on and a dresser to store his clothing. Hagara was ill and unable to work so the two often wondered if they would have enough food to eat each month.

Thanks to those who give generously to CBN Israel, the staff could make a difference. A bed and dresser were purchased for Nachum, as well as a desk, chair and laptop to aid him with his homework. The family was also provided with food vouchers each month and a large portion of Hagara’s accrued debt from medical expenses was paid.

“I no longer worry about whether I will have enough money to buy food for my son and I”, said Hagara. “And I no longer face life and my problems alone. I know that there is someone who has my back and it’s the staff of CBN Israel. You are a gift from God to me”.

Hundreds of single mothers like Hagara and fatherless children like Nachum have received love, care and hope thanks to those who give generously to CBN Israel. We are grateful for every amount we receive which aids us in accomplishing this important work. Now, when you become a monthly partner, you can receive CBN’s three documentaries free of charge! Find out more about it here. 

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Rescued From the Road of Destruction

At the time when *David met the staff of CBN Israel, he had dropped out of school and had lost all motivation and vision for his life. He felt abandoned by his father when he left and his mother was afraid for his future. The friends David surrounded himself with were the kind that every godly mother prays would never hold an influence on their child’s life.

When the staff of CBN Israel learned of David’s situation, they immediately offered their help and opportunities for mentorship. Staff member Arik Pelled found an apartment for David to rent with a friend and raised the funds to cover the expense while the two young men searched for work. After counseling with the staff, David found work that suited his skill sets. David also received helped in being re-instated in the school system and has been diligently working towards completing his highschool education.

David began attending Christian camps where he gained new friendships with believers his age. As he is now preparing himself for the mandatory service in the Israeli army, he reflects on all that has changed in his life because of the staff who made an effort to invest in him.

To the staff of CBN Israel, he wrote, “You saved me from deterioration and enabled me to leave the evil society I was in and stay away from it. I learned to develop healthy relationships and get close to the Lord. I worked and learned to be independent and to take care of my needs. You enabled me to study and finish 12 years of learning and do most of my matriculation exams, which opens another door for me in life. As I enlist this summer in the Israeli Defense Force, I come from a place full of motivation to rise and succeed”.

David’s mother has also seen a turn-around in her son’s life. She too expressed her gratitude as she wrote, “You saved me from the fear of failure with my child. You came just in time and gathered my son up into your arms and gave him what I as a mother could not. I don’t have enough words to say, ‘thank you’ and I thank our God also”.

Because of those who give generously to the work of CBN Israel, children of single mothers, like David are given opportunity for mentor-ship and godly, male leadership in their lives through positive interaction with the staff. Help us make a difference in the lives of these children by partnering with us today!

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Comparison is a Sickness

I was just a child in elementary school learning to read when I experienced something that would change my life. My teacher, who had also taught my older brother and sister before me, saw that I struggled to read and said, “If you are their sibling, why are you so different that you can’t read like them”? In that moment my confidence to read was shattered. For many years afterwards, I was terrified to read in front of people because one woman who had authority in my life spoke something negative over me. And as long as I believed those words, they had power in my life. 

One day I decided not to let them affect me anymore. I began reading out loud and was even able to read in front of the group I was teaching at the “Heart to Serve” seminar. When I shared this testimony with those who were present, they clapped for me because they saw that I could do it and in encouraged them to overcome their fears and weaknesses as well. 

Those who think they are weak have a lot to give. Many times, the weak are stronger than those who think they are strong. Yeshua told the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul responded, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Messiah’s power may dwell in me”. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Since I was born in the 1960’s, I remember the time when magazines came out featuring models as examples for beauty. Intelligent young women suddenly struggled with anorexia and depression because they were trying to be like those models and they couldn’t. How many times have we looked at other people’s Facebook pages or lifestyles or the opportunities other people have and we compare ourselves with them? It produces the same kinds of sickness! No one is supposed to be the same as anyone else. We were all created differently with sets of strengths and weaknesses. But God never intended that we should accomplish anything on our own. When we try to be perfect in the eyes of man, we fail because our trust is in ourselves and not in God. For it is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts”. – Zechariah 4:6. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. But He has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit and this same Spirit that raised Messiah from the dead lives in us! 

“But let him who boasts boast about this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD”. – Jeremiah 9:24.

If you have swallowed the lies of the enemy about who you are, I encourage you to face that lie with God’s truth and trust Him to give you the courage to see yourself through His eyes. He has given you great gifts to be used for His glory and as a blessing to others. So don’t let the enemy make you sick with comparison or depression about what you don’t have. Be thankful for all that God has given you and go out and make something of it! 

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Shavuot- The Feast of Weeks

What the New Testament translates as “Pentecost” comes from the Greek translation of the Jewish festival of “The Feast of Weeks.” In the Christian world, it is remembered as the time when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Disciples who gathered in Jerusalem.

In the time of Moses, the Feast of Weeks was commanded by God as an annual celebration where the people brought in of the first part of their harvest. If you consider the sequence of events, the instructions for the Feast of Weeks was given right after their release from Egypt. The people did not know it at the time, but they would be spending the next 40 years in the wilderness because of their disobedience and unbelief. Imagine what it would have been like to live 40 years in the wilderness and celebrate a feast that represents the start of the season of the harvest and never actually having a harvest to celebrate. There was no harvest in the wilderness. Year after year, as they wandered in the wilderness of disobedience, they never arrived at a place of fruitfulness.

Throughout their time in the wilderness, the children of Israel were not abandoned by God for their disobedience and unbelief. But it did cause that whole generation to never enter into a season of fruitfulness. The apostle Paul warns the believers in Corinth about their own conduct by using the wilderness experience of Israel as an example:

“I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,  all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,  all ate the same spiritual food,  and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.  But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” (I Cor. 10:1-5)

These things were written as a warning to us who have come to a knowledge of salvation through the work of Jesus. As with the children of Israel, we have been released from the bondage of slavery to sin, and it is God’s purpose to bring us into our inheritance in Him, and a place of fruitfulness. However, if we want to come to the fulfillment of the promises of God, we must make sure that we are walking in obedience and that our conduct does not doom us to the same wilderness of fruitlessness.

The “Feast of Weeks” is celebrated on the same day that God first spoke to the children of Israel from Sinai. We also see that later, on the same day, the church received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There is a direct link between the revelation of God and our ability to become fruitful. If we receive His Word, are filled with His Spirit, and become obedient, He will bring us to the place beyond the wilderness and into a land where we can celebrate His harvest in our lives.

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