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The Calling of Separation

Judges 13:7

And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

13 So the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

1.

What do you think about when you hear about Samson?

Many of us may think of a guy who was really strong and powerful that fell asleep of the lap of the wrong girl. The next thing you know, he’s weak, blind and grinding wheat to feed his enemies.

While this is all true, it doesn’t really do justice to the story. Is it so simple that God just got mad at this guy for getting a bad haircut that He takes away his strength and leaves him helpless in facing his enemies?

This type of simplification of the story can create a distorted perception of who God is and how He deals with us.

The traditional site of Samson’s grave is right over here, let’s take a look.

The Biblical account states that Samson was buried in the tomb of his father and so you have here the graves of Manoah and Samson together.

But what is the real lesson of Samson? What can we learn from this man’s life?

2.

Samson’s mom was a barren women and couldn’t have children. But the Lord visit’s her and promises her a son that will begin to save Israel from the Philistines who ruled over them. He gives her specific instructions that she was to abstain from wine and unclean foods because Samson was to be a “Nazarite” to the Lord even from birth.

What was a Nazarite?

We think of Jesus being a “Nazarite” because He was from Nazareth. But the “Nazarite Vow” was what was taken as a symbol of ‘separation’ or ‘set apart’ for a season.

How was this ‘separation’ put into practice?

Numbers 6 is where the law of the Nazarite was described.

Numbers 6- The Law of the Nazirite

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin.

‘All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body. He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the Lord.

‘And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. 10 Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; 11 and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. 12 He shall consecrate to the Lord the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

13 ‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 14 And he shall present his offering to the Lord: one male lamb in its first year without blemish as a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering, one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings.

16 Then the priest shall bring them before the Lord and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.

19 ‘And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair, 20 and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the Lord; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.’

21 “This is the law of the Nazirite who vows to the Lord the offering for his separation, and besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide; according to the vow which he takes, so he must do according to the law of his separation.”

In order to maintain the calling of a Nazarite, Samson had to maintain what made him ‘separate.’ The three primary things were:

No contact with dead things, any copse, human or animal, not even for the sake of burial of close relatives.

No contact with wine, or anything that comes from the vine, not even raisins.

No cutting of hair during the season of his separation.

3.

Early on, Samson kills a lion with the strength God gave him. But later he goes back and discovers that bees have made a hive in the dead carcass of the lion and he takes some to eat.

When he marries the Philistine girl, they have a weeklong party. It is very hard to believe that the Philitines he was partying with would understand him not being able to have some wine.

Then there is Delilah, whom he falls for. Samson has only one thing left that still distinguishes him as a Nazarite, his hair. He has never had a haircut since birth. People could see, because it was noticeable, that he was still a Nazarite. But now, with his head shaved, there was no longer anything left that made him ‘separate’ from others as his calling demanded.

4.

Judges 16:20-21

“And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

21 Then the Philistines 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.”

Here was a guy with a calling and God had gifted him with the ability to begin to deliver Israel, but he refused to recognize that to fulfill his calling he had to remain separate from the world around him.

God also has a calling on our lives, a plan that He desires us to enter into. To be a blessing to others and to defeat the enemies in our lives. But that plan can never be fulfilled unless we understand that God calls us to a life that is visibly separate from the world around us.

Samson is a sign for us, to help us understand that God will not go with us if we choose to go our own way.

Choose this day, the call of God on your life. Don’t cut short His plan for you in order to satisfy the short lived satisfactions of this life.

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Called to Bless

 

From the beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, God makes a strong declaration to Abraham and his descendants after him: “Whoever blesses you I will bless and whoever curses you, I will curse and in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”-Genesis 12:3.  What a statement! Yet have we not seen this played out through all of history how God has keep this promise to the nations who have chosen to either stand with Israel or reject them?

We know that God is watching over His word to perform it and every person who joins themselves to Israel and to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is blessed. We see this in stories such as Rahab the harlot and Ruth the Moabite. In each case, those who join themselves to God’s people receive His covenants, inheritance, promises and instruction.  And they are equally accountable to the laws and commands given by God to house of Israel. (See Exodus 12:49).

But what does God say to the Jew concerning their behavior to the foreigner dwelling among them? Let’s have a look. In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, it says, “He (God) defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you (the house of Israel) are to love those who are foreigners for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

To us here at CBN Israel, we view single mothers in the same category as the widow and their children in the same category as the orphan.  Both are without the covering of an earthly husband and father to provide, protect and love them. We do not judge the husbandless and fatherless. We see God as the Supreme Judge over all matters and we are His servants who are simply called to love.

That is why, in our work, we seek to serve single mothers and their children and strive to meet their needs with God’s love that He has placed in our hearts. We read that we were once strangers in a foreign land and now we have a homeland (Israel) in which we can welcome and bless those who are strangers and foreigners among us. We read that we (Israel) were once abused by Pharoph under his leadership and God delivered us. In turn, we can help deliver those who are being abused in their homes.

God’s instruction for us believers is this: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and fautless is: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by this world.” – James 1:27

So whether we are Jewish by blood or grafted in through the blood of our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), we are called to love the orphan, the widow, the fatherless and the stranger because this is the heart of God. He is a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation”. – Psalm 86:5

If you have a heart for the orphan and widow and desire to join with us in extending His love to those who are in need, contact us! Also if you would like, you may donate here.

God bless you as you serve Him with all your heart. 

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Family in Financial Crisis Struggles to Keep Children Warm

Winter has arrived in Israel. The days are shorter and the nights are colder. Everyone is bundling up; everyone that is, except a family in financial crisis.

One particular growing family, who we have been counseling with for an extended period of time, recently informed us of their need for warm, winter clothing. The children were without weather appropriate coats and outfits and the struggling family was unable to afford the much needed missing articles. How could we go on our way feeling warm and well-dressed while knowing the children of this family were suffering due to a lack of sufficient income?

winter-clothes-62309_640The staff of CBN Israel took action and personally went out to buy multiple outfits and jackets for each of the children, including the newborn. When the staff brought these gifts to the mother, she was absolutely in shock. She exclaimed,

“Wow! I am so amazed and thankful that someone would do this for us!”

What a joy it is to be able to bless those in need around us. Isn’t it true that when we are able to bless someone else, it is as if we ourselves received a gift? We do to others what we would want others to do for us. The Bible says:

“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” – James 2:15-16

This is the heart of CBN Israel. We truly desire to be used by God to comfort those who mourn in Zion and to help lift their burdens in whatever way we are able. If you would like to give towards families in financial crisis, donate now.

God bless you.

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Fighting for Justice in Israel

Every Immigrant Single Mother’s Struggle

Working with the banking systems, social security offices, lawyers, and bureaucracy can be some of the most hair pulling experiences. Paperwork gets lost. Calls are not answered or returned. Missing required documents has one traveling, often by bus with children in tow, from institution to institution in attempt to gain them. Lots of time, patience and Israeli “Chutzpa”, aka audacity, is required in order to obtain the goal. But what if one is an immigrant who does not know their rights or the language?

Many of the single mothers we work with fall into this category. When their husbands abandon them, they are faced with extreme situations of unjustly accrued debts, foreclosure, frozen bank accounts and the like.  The language, culture and bureaucracy are all foreign. Who will fight for them?

Isaiah 1:17- “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”

knesset-1This is a highlight scripture for us here at CBN Israel. As followers of Yeshua, we believe it is our duty to fight for justice on behalf of these single mothers who turn to us for help. We spend a great deal of time traveling with these women to various institutions in order to plead their cause. Being native Israelis, we can ask the informed questions to gain the needed answers. Being fluent in Hebrew, we are able to speak on behalf of these that cannot. Being believers in Yeshua, we offer to God our prayers and we see that it is God who brings the breakthrough.  Debts have been forgiven. Payments re-arranged.  Homes are held onto. God is truly helping us to fight on their behalf.

Fighting for justice is part of our ongoing work of helping single mothers in Israel. We ask that you would stand with us in prayer; praying God’s heart for them according to His word in Jeremiah 22:3:

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”

  • Pray that God would bring justice, righteousness, and deliverance to the ones who have been robbed by their oppressors.
  • Pray that they also might not be mistreated, looked down upon or dismissed without gaining the help that they need.
  • Pray that they might walk in favor both with God and with men. In Yeshua’s name.

Thank you for taking the time to read and to pray. God bless you.

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In Servant’s Shoes

“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

Let’s begin with a question. What is a servant? A servant is one who serves another, putting the needs of others above themselves. So who can be a servant?  Can you and I? How about a husband, a wife, a parent, or a leader?

As followers of Jesus, we look to Him as our example in all things. Though He was the most outstanding leader, Son of the Most High God, possessing all power and authority, He exemplifies for us the humble life of a servant. He washed his disciple’s feet. He forfeited sleep in order to fast and to pray. He withdrew to recharge on time alone with the Father, yet compassion compelled Him to give of Himself some more. He is the King of all kings, yet was despised, spit on and beaten. This was the example He chose to set for those of us who follow.

Noting how He lived forces us to ask ourselves the question: “How are we doing in this area of putting others before ourselves?” When is the last time we served someone? And if we serve, do we give in order to receive?

 Our motivation for giving is just as important as the act itself. In giving, we ought not to reserve the best for ourselves, giving the leftovers to others. We are to do unto others as we would want them to do for us. Would we want second best? Someone’s left overs that are worn out or unusable?

We need to change the way we think about giving. It is not defined in terms of money. We can give our time. We can give our clothing. We can give up temporary rest, toys, food, or talents.

When we give and serve, we show love. Jesus said the most important thing is to love him and next is to love our neighbors. Love has great power to break walls. I remember many occasions when I chose love when it was not first being given to me. And in doing so, circumstances changed. Here is one particular story:

cbn isrealFor several months I was faced with a difficulty in communicating with the accountant of the company where I work. I did not get the answers I needed. It was a large firm, and so they sent my questions from one person to the next and at the end, I fell between the lines.  I was frustrated by the situation; however, I decided to go in person to their office and to go with an attitude of humility. While there, I gained understanding that everyone was under pressure with a lot going on. Through a humble approach, the atmosphere changed and I got the answers I needed.

Now whether or not the outcome was in my favor, was not the point. The point was that Jesus saw my heart and could work with an attitude of humility.

Another example is when I was serving my wife by helping around the house. At first, I desired her praise for the things I did to help her. But being focused on myself, I missed the many things that my wife had done. I soon recognized that I needed not to praise myself or seek my own glory, but to lift and encourage my wife for all the work that she had done.  

Today, I challenge you to seek for an opportunity to serve someone around you. How? By first praying and listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We all have something to give and there are many ways for us to do so. If we submit to Him our willingness to serve, He will open those doors of opportunity  for us to serve both for His glory, and for our joy and others.

God bless you.   

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The Gift of Opportunity: CBN Israel

The people of Israel are daily faced with multiple challenges.

For many, the main mode of transportation is by bus. The high cost of living often requires two incomes to make ends meet. Those who make Aliyah often leave behind family and friends and come to this Promised Land alone.

Now add to those challenges the status of being a single mother. Juggling household responsibilities, caring for the needs of the children and earning an income high enough to cover the bills can simply be overwhelming.

Ana* was no exception to the rule. She worked hard at her job, but the income was not enough. Her schedule was inconsistent, and the children, being young, needed her to be with them. What could she do to meet all these demands?

img-20161117-wa0000-2Ana* was recently presented with an opportunity to earn a better living while working from home. There was only one obstacle standing in her way: She didn’t own a computer. This was the missing tool she needed to land that job. That is when CBN Israel sought out the means to meet her need.

Donations were given towards the purchase of a computer and now, Ana is able to work from home and be available to her little ones. Praise the Lord for His provision!

We would ask that you would consider giving to the work of CBN Israel so that we can continue to bless single mothers like Ana. We thank you also for your support in prayer!

God bless you!

*Name altered for privacy

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Clothe Yourself in Praise

“…To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”-Isaiah 61:3

I remember a time when a spirit of heaviness came upon me. It paralyzed me and clouded my thinking. I felt depressed and unable to shake it off.

Then, like a forceful wind blowing through the fog, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to literally stand on my two feet, raise my hands in the air and begin to declare out loud who God is and has been to me.

Against the state of my emotions, I chose to obey the Lord. As soon as I acted on His leading, the heaviness fled like a bullying child who meets his victim’s father. I was free. That heaviness that was holding me captive lifted and I was restored by Messiah’s Spirit of peace. Hallelujah!

If you are struggling with stress, or fear, or a heaviness that seems stubborn to go, I encourage you to make a conscious decision to open your mouth with praise. Praise is one of the weapons God has given us believers to use against our adversary. The God of Israel “inhabits the praises of His people” (, therefore everything that oppresses and depresses His people cannot remain in the presence of our Holy God.

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”-Psalm 149:6

Let’s proclaim God’s word and give Him praise today for His great glory and for our own good!

God bless you as you keep His word and obey His commands.

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An Occasion for Thanksgiving

The invitation went out. Single mothers and their children dressed for the occasion. It was a rare and exciting event that these Israelis were about to experience: A traditional, American, Thanksgiving dinner.

Through Beit Sar Shalom, CBN Israel learned that a group from Minnesota had come to Israel desiring to serve single parent families and their children. Working together, we made possible a very special evening.

The Minnesotan visitors spent the day cheerfully cooking and preparing for the 15 mothers and their children who were soon to arrive. The meeting place of Beit Sar Shalom was beautifully decorated in autumn colors of yellow, orange and red.

When the attendees arrived, they were first seated and given the task of coloring Thanksgiving place mats together. Then, there was a presentation about Thanksgiving traditions and how the holiday originated. Next came the moment they were all waiting for: The food.

 

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A buffet was served, replete with succulent, stuffed turkey, creamy, mashed potatoes, scrumptious cranberry sauce, breads, rice, corn and assorted jellies.  As tradition would have it, when the partakers were stuffed to the brim, dessert was served. It was a melt-in-your mouth apple crumble.

After the meal, everyone present was asked to share with one other what they were thankful for. The staff from CBN Israel voiced appreciation for each of the single mothers that we are blessed to serve and their precious children whom we love. Funded by the Joseph Project, we were able to present each child with a brand new backpack. The group from Minnesota also gave gifts of creams for the mothers and candies for the children.

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As the evening came to a close, the mothers were overflowing with joy and gratitude. To be thought of, cooked for, served, and presented with gifts made these mothers and children feel so loved. They thanked all involved for putting this event together and exclaimed to our staff: “Thank you, CBN Israel, for what you do. No one blesses us the way you bless us.”

Serving single mothers is only one of the many aspects of our ministry here at CBN Israel. To learn more, visit us on the web at: cbnisrael.org or Facebook page.

God bless you as you love others with the Father’s love.

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CBN Israel Holds Seminar for Ex-Soldiers

Many of today’s young adults are lacking one very important aspect in their upbringing: A mentor. With single parent homes becoming more common and school systems leaving out entirely the education for practical living, many of today’s youth are crying out for someone who can lead them.

On Wednesday, November 16th, CBN Israel was given that opportunity. Our staff was invited by Lech Lecha, an organization for ex-soldiers, to offer financial and spiritual counsel.  10 people came. They were very thankful, had so many questions, and voiced how much this kind of teaching really helps them!

Rarely are today’s youth taught how the banking systems work, or what kind of problems will arise if they don’t learn how to control their cravings and save for the things they want in life. This world is constantly trying to tempt us to buy everything out there. But we cannot afford to give in to this temptation. We must be wise with our spending and diligent in our work.  

img-20161120-wa0002-2We are representatives of Yeshua, not only in how we behave towards others, but how we use our money. We should not think only about giving God 10% of our increase. We should think that 100% of what we have belongs to Him because we belong to Him.  We serve Him well when we ask Him for wisdom in financial matters. We honor Him when we resist the temptation to spend our money on things that we do not need. 

 

We ought not to think that we can be irresponsible and frivolous and then expect God to bless us because He is gracious. We need to use the wisdom He has already given us in His word so that we can glorify Him. The Bible says, “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”– Proverbs 10:4.

Since 70% of all divorces are a result of poor financial choices, our staff warned the soldiers that now is the time to put good habits in place. Though there will be times of difficulties and struggles, those who continue to walk with God and apply the wisdom that He has given in His word will reap a good reward.

These young men and women need our prayers. Please join us in praying that God would keep them on His path of wisdom and help them to make right decisions with their lives.  May it be for His glory and their great joy! 

Thank you for standing with us and please consider supporting what we do.  

God bless you!

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Persevering in Prayer

Years upon years, my mother suffered from back pain which no treatment could cure. Our family lifted up her need for healing to the Lord continuously. We did not let up in prayer for her until the day came when her pain was gone. She was healed. Hallelujah! This is the power of persevering in prayer.

In any given day, we as believers could easily be made aware of hundreds of problems that either we or others are facing. We usually comfort our friends and family with the words: “I will pray for you.” But do we? Do we forget? Do we get discouraged and give up?

Let us not forget to pray. It is effective and powerful. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul makes this statement: “Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.” Prayer is for us, and also for those around us. With this in mind, stay faithful and always keep on praying for the Lord’s people. Earlier in Ephesians, in chapter 1, verse 16, Paul says, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

So let us be diligent today to be strong in the Lord, praying continually, knowing that “the effective prayer of the righteous man avails much!” -James 5:16. It is not our righteousness. It’s His. We are covered by our Lord in prayer. Let us do the same for others.

Hear the words of our Messiah: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” -Mark 11:24

Amen.

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