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Give Life

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence” (Prov. 10:11). Do the things you say, the things you communicate, act as a source of life to people? If not, then we may need to check our hearts. The Bible makes clear that what comes out from our mouth (or in writing too) proceeds from our heart. Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).

The psalmist requests: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). He recognized the connection between what he meditated upon in his heart and the words the proceeded from his mouth. He desired that both will find favor in the eyes of God.

In modern English we metaphorically use the word “heart” to refer to our emotions and feelings; within the world of the Bible, the “heart” represents the “mind” and our cognitive reason. So, for both Jesus and the psalmist, our words reflect what we think about, and from those thoughts come words acceptable or dishonoring to God.

In each of these instances—Proverbs, Jesus, and Psalms—the words referred to pertain to what we say to others, how we speak to people. Our words to others betray the condition of our heart, what we meditate on, and whether or not we truly please God.

Our age of social media has invited everyone to digitally express themselves. Everyone now has a platform to comment about the events of the day and to “give people a piece of their mind.” What do your words say about your heart? Too often people will justify words that dishonor God by appealing to their attempts to defend God. “A source of life is the mouth of the righteous.” Do our words identify us as righteous? Do our words offer a source of life to those around us?

We live at a time when words have been weaponized, even by those claiming to follow God. The Bible is clear: your words tell the tale of your heart. Those who are righteous, their words give life. Give life with your words today.

PRAYER

Father, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

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Longing for God

In Psalm 42, the psalmist describes his yearning for God: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (v. 1). He imagines a deer thirsty from the heat seeking out the refreshing water of the stream, and he says that he thirsts after God in the same manner. What brought about this yearning in his heart?

We realize upon reading the psalm that the psalmist is not in a great place in his life; in fact, he is being led off into captivity. He comments that his tears have been his sustenance night and day. Those around him look at his circumstances and question, “Where is your God?” (v. 3). In the midst of his present circumstances, he recalls those times of great joy and celebration as he joined the festive crowds traveling to Jerusalem and the Temple (v. 4). His memory of these festive times stands in stark contrast to his current situation where he finds himself in an uproar and downcast. Yet, in the midst of his circumstances he encourages himself to hope in God convinced that he will see the Lord’s salvation (v. 5).

He then proceeds to describe how he feels washed over by his circumstances (v. 7). He feels forgotten by God and oppressed by his enemies (v. 9). Towards the end of the psalm, those around him still mockingly question him, “Where if your God?” (v. 10). His circumstances have not changed.

The striking feature of the psalmist in this psalm is that regardless of his circumstances he never loses sight of who God is—the One who commands His covenant loyalty towards the psalmist, the living God (v. 2), the God of my life (v. 8)—and because he knows who God is, he never despairs that God will eventually right his circumstances (v. 11). In other words, his circumstances never dictate his reality or perception of God. He recognizes that God answers those who cry out to Him. He responds to those who long for him as the thirsty deer does the streams of water.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your circumstances? Have you ever felt forgotten by God? Does life and even those around you scream, “Where is your God?” Don’t allow your circumstances to dictate what you know about God. The God of the Bible is the living God. His ear is not deaf to our cries, nor is his arm short to save us. Do we have the confidence to say like the psalmist, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (v. 11)?

PRAYER

Father, my soul thirsts for You as a thirsty deer longs for water. Regardless of my circumstances, You are my rock and my salvation. Amen.

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Youth Camp – Yes!

Teens headed off to summer camp for an exciting time of making friends, having fun,  and growing in faith.

“Serving as a youth pastor for many years now, I find myself facing the same issue concerning the youth ministry in Israel. We don’t have enough programs for them.”

These are the words echoed by many youth pastors around Israel. Our youth lack programs, such as youth conferences, youth trips, gatherings, and many more. 

We are small in number here in Israel, faith in Jesus is a real issue in the land, and many times can cost you, your friendships, and relationships. We are aware of the struggles our young people face, such as speaking openly about their faith without being judged, outcasted, and in some cases, ostracized.

That is why we need to invest in this future generation, prepare them and teach them how to establish a strong faith. A faith that belongs to them and burns in their hearts for generations to come. Our faithful youth ministers, who dedicate themselves to these young men and women, manage to organize youth camps twice a year.

This year’s summer camp included various activities, worship, and studying the word of God together. The theme of this year’s camp focused on serving in the kingdom, daring to dream, saying yes to God and working as a team. 

These camps open doors for new friendships and help them to strengthen their walk with the Lord and to know they are not alone. During the last camp, 16 girls dedicated their lives to the Lord. We have heard stories about some who attend the same school and even the same class without knowing they share the same faith. 

Thanks to your financial support, youth around the country have the opportunity to attend these camps. Your contribution to the future of these young people is tremendous.

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Single-Mothers’ Retreat

Working with single mothers is an integral part of our work here at CBN Israel. We have a local team dedicated to serving them through providing for their needs and resources. One of the ways CBN Israel provides support for these mothers is through hosting a single-mothers’ retreat.

At the end of July, 45 mothers and 60 children gathered at the Yad Hashemona Country Hotel on a Moshav in the Judean Hill Country outside of Jerusalem for a time of fellowship, fun, and learning about forgiveness.  

Most of the single mothers in the country never have the opportunity to go on vacation. They spend most of their time working multiple jobs, and any extra time they may have includes involvement in their children’s extracurricular activities or helping them with their homework. 

As part of the weekend, the women delved into the difficult topic of forgiveness. We have learned from these women that forgiveness is one of the most challenging issues they deal with as it involves forgiving an ex-husband or someone who has hurt them. As a result, there are times that they feel alone or that nobody understands. These women deal with a lot of pain and loneliness while at the same time trying to raise their children and it takes a lot of energy and strength out of them. 

Dealing with forgiveness as a single mother also carries spiritual implications and at times can be overwhelming. The speakers covered the spiritual, emotional, and physical side of forgiveness, helping these women to overcome bitterness and learn about the freedom that comes with forgiveness. 

We also conducted programs for children of all ages to help them focus on the Word of God as well as rest in His peace.  The families spent their afternoons relaxing by the pools and the children had many hills and open fields to run around and play games with other children.  

The feedback we received from the mothers and their children was heartwarming. 

“I have nothing I can give my son. He has never gone on vacation in his life and I am so thankful for this weekend,” said one mother. 

“My kids and I wait for this weekend every year,” said another participant. “We are so thankful to everyone who made this weekend possible.”

We were honored to make a weekend such as this possible for these families. For them, it was such an unusual experience. The mothers couldn’t believe they didn’t have to cook, clean or run around after the kids. All they had to do was relax and rest for an entire weekend. For many of them, it was an unreachable dream. 

Thank you from the depths of our hearts, for an opportunity such as this. Your donations and generosity make dreams come true. 

May the Lord bless you in every way possible.

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Learning to Obey

“While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:7-9). Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered.

Every parent understands that discipline and punishment assist in helping children learn to obey. So too, hardships are great instructors in life. No one enjoys it; no one seeks it out but suffering and discipline help us grow. If Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered, what should we expect as children of God?

We often approach God and our faith from a very egocentric view point: what can God do for me? Because our comfort is often our priority, we assume that it is His.

God is primarily interested in our obedience, not our comfort. He wants that through us, as we obey Him, we bring His love and mercy to those around us. If Jesus learned obedience and was perfected through what He suffered, we should anticipate that God will use trials and hardships in our lives in a similar manner.

When we confront trials and hardships in our lives, do we seek to use those opportunities to submit to the Lord and learn obedience to Him? Or, do we seek to have them removed from our lives; do we complain? We can only learn if we’re paying attention and if our perspective allows us to do so. No one enjoys hardships, trials, or suffering, but if we understand that through these circumstances God teaches us obedience and perfects us, then that allows us to submit to whatever we are going through having His goal as our end.

God will lead us into circumstances to test us to see if we will obey. He guides us for our growth for His glory. Do we allow Him to do that in our lives? Or do we complain and seek our own comfort and happiness?

PRAYER

Father make me like Your Son, who learned obedience through what He suffered; teach me to obey, and as life circumstances and hardships come my way, may my perspective be always to learn obedience to You through what I go through for Your glory. Amen.

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The Sign of Love

“If you love Me, keep My commands” (John 14:15). When we speak about love, we often refer to an emotional feeling, something that moves our emotions. Love for another, ourselves, and even God often boils down to that which we feel. If my feelings are high, then my love is stronger.

In the Bible, love is an action. Jesus tells His disciples that the sign of their love for Him is how they keep (obey) His commandments. The same remains true today; our obedience demonstrates our love of the Lord, not our emotions.

Jesus’ statement to His disciples parallels Moses’ instructions to the Israelites: “Love the Lord your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always” (Deut. 11:1; emphasis added). In the Old Testament, one showed his or her devotion to the God of Israel by obeying His commandments, doing what pleased Him. Action. Obedience.

The Bible is consistent in its message that we exhibit our love for God through our obedience to His commandments. Jesus asked His disciples, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). So, we not only display our love and devotion to Jesus by obeying Him, but we actually verify whether or not we truly identify Him as Lord, by our obedience.

We demonstrate our love for God, not by announcing it to others, or what we say on social media, or how excited we get singing in church; no, we demonstrate our love for God in our obedience, and specifically by how we love others (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 7:12; 22:35-40; John 15:12).

Do we see our love of God demonstrated in our pursuit of obeying Him?

We live in a world filled with a lot of talking, but do we daily seek to allow our actions to show the depth of our love and devotion to God? Do we identify ourselves as Jesus’ disciples by our keeping of His commandments? Jesus identified obedience as the evidence of our discipleship. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

PRAYER

Father, today I submit myself to Your will and commands. In everything I say and do, may I demonstrate the depth of my love and devotion to You. Amen.

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Learn to Rest, Not to Quit

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Have you ever thought of giving up on something in your life?

Maybe it was spiritually, a project at school, or a relationship that you cherish because you were exhausted? I know I have. Many times I found myself wondering how long this period in my life was going to last? Am I going to be in this situation for long? Why isn’t anything moving at all? I find myself not being able to get up and try something new, to do something I have never done before. I can’t find the inner and spiritual power to do that. 

Some time ago, my father sent me a quote, nothing spiritual or bible related, but a phrase that made me turn my life around. Have you ever thought how a phrase your Dad found on “Facebook” could be life-changing? I mean, social media, in my perspective, is a system of “liking” or “commenting” on posts of the friends you skip meeting with and find millions of excuses not to engage with.

This phrase was, “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit…” Did these words just blow your mind? They certainly did for me.

No matter how many times I read this phrase, it never loses its meaning. It goes all the way through my spine to the top of my head. God teaches us from the very beginning of creation to rest. The Lord rested on the seventh day. Can you imagine it for a moment? God Almighty, the one who never sleeps, rested.

So why are we skipping that part? Why are we chasing success that eventually brings us to a breaking point? One of the things I have learned after living in Israel for over 20 years is that we don’t know how to stop. Everyone at work or school is always so stressed. We are running after a fake clock that dictates our lives. In all this craziness, I find myself losing precious time. 

I want God to dictate my time, a time I rather spend chasing His will and hearing His voice.  Why are we not so quick in quitting on our jobs, but super quick to quit on God? Sometimes all it takes is to rest. Rest on God’s word, rest in His spirit and promises.  

Don’t quit on the Lord, He knows the plans that He has for you. Didn’t we all have that scripture prayed over our lives at least once? I know I want to rest and not quit in my walk with Jesus. 

Learn to rest my brothers and sisters, in peace, love, tenderness, and sweetness of our Father. For me, quitting isn’t an option anymore.    

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Helping the Residents in Sderot

Despite the number of missiles launched from Gaza into Israel, CBN Israel’s partners in Sderot continue their faithful ministry to the people who have suffered from significant attacks on their homes, businesses, and properties. 

 

The people of Sderot are living under constant attack and as a result, deal with various types of psychological trauma, as well as financial problems caused by the security situation. 

 

Sderot became a ghost town after many citizens fled this war zone, leaving many local businesses without workers and clients. 

 

The team working Sderot managed to provide psychological treatment and support for several people of differing ages. They supplied them with diapers which, in pursuance of their mental state, were, and still are very much needed.

 

An incredible story came to our knowledge about a family who fell apart following the security situation, and the mental weight it brought to their relationship. After receiving the proper psychological care, the family was restored and began attending the local congregation. 

 

We are beyond grateful for the support to enable us to help this local congregation in the south of Israel to serve those in their communities. Because of it,  great work that is being done here in the land of Israel.

 

May the light of our Savior shine upon you and your families.

 

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Don’t Worry

After telling His disciples that they cannot serve both God and money, He instructed them, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. … So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matt. 6:25-34).

In our world, predicated upon anxiety and worry (think about the news), Jesus’ words seem ridiculous. Don’t worry? Don’t be anxious? It’s a statement seemingly disconnected from our reality. If I don’t take care of myself and provide for my family, who will? That’s the question that comes to us.

And in this, we confront the fact that our spirituality is different than Jesus’. Jesus’ words about worry did not depend upon the power of positive thinking or self-motivation. They rested in something outside of Himself: God. Not a God detached from human need, but rather, intimately concerned and connected with it. Why should we not be anxious about what we will eat or wear? Because our heavenly Father knows what we need, and He provides for our needs.

Jesus is not saying that God is a cosmic Santa Claus, who gives us what we want. No, He takes care of our daily needs, but He also expects something from us. Actually, two things: seek His kingdom and righteousness. Jesus’ listeners understood that we seek God’s kingdom, His rule and reign, by obedience to His commandments. “His righteousness” refers to our care for others around us by giving charity to them. In other words, our responsibility is to daily seek to obey God within our lives and care for those around us. God’s responsibility is to care for our daily needs. Therefore, don’t worry about what you will eat or wear because if you take care of others and obey God, He will take care of you. He is a good Father.

Worry happens when we focus on the future and lose sight of our responsibility seeking to take control of God’s. Don’t worry. Don’t be anxious. God’s got you. Relax.

PRAYER

Father, as we seek to obey You today in all we do and care for those around us, provide the things we have need of today. Be glorified in our lives. Amen.

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Supporting Single Mothers

School is out and we are in the middle of summer break. It is difficult for a parent to both work and take care of their child. As a result, our single mothers are struggling.

The government doesn’t provide a summer education program, and the private school’s system is unreasonably expensive.

Our “single mother’s” department is busier than usual as single mothers continue to call and ask for help with the basic need of feeding their children.

We are doing everything there is to be done, to provide these wonderful mothers with the help they need, by giving food coupons and other necessary supplies.

Thank you for standing in prayer with us, and for your commitment to our ministry, you are the ones who make it all possible. To partner with us and help these single mothers, click here.

May the Lord bless you and your families.

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