Weekly Devotional: Waiting For His Word

“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. … I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope” (Psalm 130:1, 5 NKJV).

No one likes to wait. We live in a world that works to remove our waiting. Technology has created a world where nearly everything is available instantly.

We especially do not like to wait when we find ourselves in difficult situations. We want a response, so we can remove ourselves from our current distress and hardship.

The psalmist found himself in the depths. He responded to the reality of his circumstances by crying out to God, pleading with God to hear his cry.

If you read the rest of the psalm, it concludes not with God’s answer but with the psalmist’s waiting and hoping, with his articulation that God will redeem His people.

Do we have the faith and patience to wait for God’s word? “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.”

We often treat God like we do our instant world. We expect Him to respond to us quickly, and if He doesn’t, we find ourselves frustrated and annoyed, especially when we find ourselves in distressing situations and circumstances.

The reality is that we sometimes treat God as one who stands ready to do our bidding, get us out of troublesome circumstances, and do what we call upon Him to do.

The psalmist didn’t look at his relationship with God in that manner. Rather, he recognized that he stood in need of God. God was the superior one in the relationship; therefore, he would patiently wait for Him.

This psalm is an incredible proclamation of faith. Finding himself in the depths, the psalmist cries out to God and willingly waits for His word, which he knows will eventually come.

Do we have the patience to wait for God? God works even in the waiting. Our trust in Him is refined in our crying out to Him and in our waiting.

In this way, biblical faith is diametrically opposed to the world we live in today. But God hasn’t changed. Let’s seek to patiently and confidently wait for His word. He will answer our cries.


Father, we wait for You. Regardless of situation or circumstance, our hope is in You. Amen.

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The Biblical Red Sea Needs A Modern Miracle

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

The Islamic Republic of Iran has successfully ramped up more anarchy from yet another proxy, the Houthis. Based in Yemen, this organization has joined the regime’s favorites—Hamas and Hezbollah—to generate worldwide shipping delays on the Red Sea since November. Houthis have turned the ancient Israelites’ miraculous Red Sea crossing into a modern nightmare that is already affecting some 44 nations, including the United States and Israel.

The Houthis’ terror tools include drones, small boats, missiles, hijackings, and now anti-ship ballistic missiles. Their attacks generate multilayered problems for huge commercial cargo ships and create a slowdown in world markets. On December 1, 2023, the UN Security Council issued a feeble, inconsequential 120-word statement to the Houthis. A coalition of 14 world leaders released a joint statement on January 3, published by the White House. That statement laid out these critical statistics: “Nearly 15 percent of global seaborne trade passes through the Red Sea, including 8 percent of global grain trade, 12 percent of seaborne-traded oil and 8 percent of the world’s liquefied natural gas trade.”

The statement warned that “malign actors” will be held accountable for “unlawful seizures and attacks.” However, neither the UN nor the White House press release mentioned Iran, the Houthi enabler—the government behind every invasion, murder, weapons supply, attack, and oppression of its own citizens in the Middle East and beyond. The only way to stop Houthis backed by their Iranian merchants of death is to deploy multinational warships and aircraft carriers to use military force against the Houthis in Yemen.

The Muslim Houthis live in a Middle Eastern country that is strategically located on Bab-el-Mandeb, the strait at the southern entrance of the Red Sea that connects the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. At the northern end, Egypt’s Suez Canal connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Interestingly, in Arabic Bab-el-Mandeb means “Gate of Lamentation, Grief, or Tears.” Iran and its Houthi proxies are reinvigorating the Arabic definition—giving grief to the world in a potential global catastrophe affecting food, crude oil, natural gas, and consumer products.

The alternative for shipping through Bab-el-Mandeb is to re-route ships to the southern tip of Africa, which significantly increases time and shipping costs. For instance, for oil shipped from Saudi Arabia to the United States, navigating around the southern tip of Africa adds 2,700 miles and 8 to 10 days to the journey.

The Islamic ayatollahs have been demonstrating their aggression for years on the Strait of Hormuz, located next to Iran itself. Around 30 percent of crude oil sails through what is considered the world’s most important chokepoint. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) describes world oil chokepoints “as narrow channels along widely used global sea routes.”

Considering the strategic points Bab-el-Mandeb (the Gate of Grief) and the Strait of Hormuz, it is easy to see the Islamic regime’s geographical reach of terror and how it can easily reshape the global economy. The Strait is the quickest way for oil to be shipped to other countries from the Middle East. While this is a conversation for another time, if the United States returned to the energy independence we enjoyed under former President Trump, neither of these chokepoints would concern us.

It is no surprise then that Iran, the largest state sponsor of terror worldwide, violates the international Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) mandated in 1982 and ratified by more than 150 countries. LOSC serves as a “constitution for the oceans.”

Here’s one example of the seriousness of shipping disruptions. Fearing violent aggression, A.P. Møller-Mærsk—one of the biggest global shippers—decided to stop their ships from transiting the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. That one decision diverted $200 billion in trade.

Speaking of billions of dollars, the U.S. House of Representatives acted against Iran by passing legislation in December to refreeze $6 billion in oil revenue sanctions against Iran. President Biden had ordered that a South Korean account release the sanctioned $6 billion to Qatar (home of several top Hamas leaders). It was designated for “humanitarian purposes” in exchange for five Americans.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken then emphasized to Congress that the money could only be used for the “humanitarian trade.” Our history with Iran since 1979 has vividly demonstrated that Iran’s ayatollahs operate only on Shia Islam’s oppressive standards while pretending cooperation. Since the Islamic regime overthrew the Shah of Iran almost 45 years ago, then stormed the U.S. Embassy and kidnapped 66 American citizens, their regime has grown into the largest terror-sponsoring country in the world. 

The “No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act,” was passed in the House by a vote of 307-119. Ninety Democrats voted with Republicans. Kentucky’s Thomas Massie, a Republican, voted NO. In my research I consider this statement as double-speak in a December POLITICO article, especially considering the October 7 invasion of Israel: “Even though there’s no evidence Iran was involved in the attack, the country is a known backer of terrorist group Hamas.” How much evidence does Politico need? Evidence is strewn across southern Israel and now among hostages imprisoned in the wicked tunnels of subterranean Gaza. Fact: Without Iran’s ideology, financing, and actions, much of the world’s terror would not exist. The evidence is clear. 

On necessities like food and water, rising prices from disrupted shipping affect families globally. Gas prices will also rise and supply chains will break down. Just since November, Houthis haveused missiles, drones, and fast boats 20 times in the Red Sea. However, when it comes to safety, the current American administration must open its eyes to the dangerous character of Iran’s leadership where diplomacy is viewed as weakness and makes way for manipulation. Iran is an enemy of the United States, Israel, and its own population. Our open southern border is an invitation for Iranian saboteurs to walk into the United States of America, disappear, and plan their next act of terror—this time on American soil. 

The Biden administration is procrastinating and currently saying NO to several military options proposed by the Pentagon to completely stop Iran and the Houthis’ takeover of the Red Sea. Naval vessels are present in the region but not currently proactive against and inside terrorist Yemen itself. While Biden wavers, the world economy will lessen, Iran will keep supplying Houthis at the Bab-el-Mandeb chokepoint, and Iran will capitalize on its Strait of Hormuz chokepoint.

Mr. Biden is also pressuring Israel to end its defensive war in Gaza and refrain from defending against Hezbollah’s warfare in northern Israel. However, 136 hostages (including Americans) remain unaccounted for, and they have not been visited by the International Red Cross since October 7. Let that sink in for a moment and you will understand why Israel cannot and will not relent. The Allies’ war against Hitler and the Nazis in World War II is a case in point. The Nazi evil demanded a response, the response of a just war. Israel is fighting a just war. 

We must pray for a modern miracle for the Red Sea yet affirm our trust for the Creator of the oceans to intervene with His purposes and according to His timeline.

Join our CBN Israel team this week reflecting on the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:7-9 NIV—“And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings,so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed,brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experiencedin the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God,who raises the dead.” 

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for wisdom for the U.S. government to uphold Israel’s safety.
  • Pray for IDF soldiers who have faced more than 90 days of trauma.
  • Pray for God to silence the critical voices and lies against Israel.
  • Pray that Christians will join the information warfare by sharing facts that disprove terrorist claims.
  • Pray that IDF can miraculously locate the hostages and bring them to safety.  

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. By invitation, Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summits. She also hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at

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Victim of Terrorism: Tamara’s Story

Tamara was just a little girl in Ukraine when World War II began. Her father fought in the war, while her mother evacuated with her and her siblings to Tajikistan. They spent five hard years there—yet, returning to Ukraine afterwards was difficult, too.

Twenty years ago, Tamara moved to Sderot, Israel, near Gaza, where there were frequent rocket attacks. She is now an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, and it’s been challenging to survive there on a fixed income. But friends like you stepped in. Last year, through CBN Israel, caring donors renovated her apartment, and provided groceries, household items, and special visits.

And on October 7, when her city was suddenly under siege and invaded by Hamas terrorists, donors came to her rescue again. Through a local CBN Israel partner, they helped her flee the heavy barrage of rockets—even as shrapnel damaged the vehicle they drove off in.

Tamara recalls, “It was shocking to see so many rockets… We were attacked. All the boilers on the roof of my building were destroyed, and a rocket went through the roof. Even if I wanted to go back, I can’t stay there.” She had survived one major war in her life—only to face another.

Our donors brought her to a safe place, far away from danger, and provided her with temporary housing, hot meals, water, and other basic essentials. She is extremely grateful, and holds onto the dream of returning to her home, saying, “When this war ends, and it’s safe to go back, I want to go back to my city. Sderot is part of my life.”

Your gifts to CBN Israel can bring emergency aid, shelter, and trauma counseling to so many whose lives have been devastated by the war—while continuing assistance to single mothers, aging Holocaust survivors, and others in dire need. By offering groceries, housing, financial aid, and more, you can deliver help and hope across Israel.

Please join us in blessing Israel and her people in need at this historic moment!


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Biblical Israel: Elah Valley

By Marc Turnage

The biblical writers often assume their readers knew the geographic and regional dynamics of the land of Israel. Sites and locations offer more than simply places on a map; they provide the living landscape that shaped and formed the biblical stories. In addition, the authors of Scripture assume we understand the geographical and regional dynamics that played important roles within their stories.

A great example of this phenomenon is the Elah Valley. This valley serves as the setting for one of the most famous stories in the Bible: the confrontation between David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). If the story simply boils down to us as “man kills giant,” we miss the geographic tension created by the author and understood by his audience. Let me explain.

The biblical land of Israel, west of the Jordan River, looks like a loaf of French bread: flat on the sides and puffy in the middle. The puffy middle represents the Hill Country that runs north-south through the land, forming its spine. On the western side of the French loaf along the Mediterranean sits the Coastal Plain. The Philistines lived there. The Israelites lived in the Hill Country, and between these two geographic zones lay a buffer area known in the Bible as the Shephelah of Judah. Low rolling hills with broad valleys characterize the Shephelah.

These valleys created west-east corridors for movement between the Coastal Plain and the Hill Country. Many places mentioned in the Bible lie in and along these valleys through the Shephelah; the Bible mentions them because of their situation in connection to these valleys and routes of travel.

The Elah Valley provides one of these corridors between the Coastal Plain (and the Philistines) and the Hill Country (and the Israelites). Located at the western mouth of the Elah Valley as it opens into the Coastal Plain sits Gath, Goliath’s hometown. At the eastern end of this valley—in the Hill Country—lies Bethlehem, David’s hometown. Is it any wonder that Goliath of Gath and David of Bethlehem met in the Elah Valley? But there’s more. 

The author of Samuel described the Philistines’ movement into the Elah Valley from the west: “Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah” (1 Samuel 17:1 NIV). Their movement into the Elah Valley—as well as its regional dynamics, with Bethlehem situated at its eastern end—indicate that the end goal for the Philistines was Bethlehem.

Acquiring Bethlehem provided entry into Judah, and it put them along the main north-south artery in the Central Hill Country. Their actions were not haphazard; they were strategic. And in the midst of these regional dynamics and the struggles between Israel and the Philistines, the author tells of the confrontation between David and Goliath. 

He assumed his audience understood the tension created by the geography of the story. The Philistines’ target: Bethlehem. Jessie and David from Bethlehem were concerned with how the battle fared. Where would David from Bethlehem and Goliath from Gath eventually meet? The author provides such a clear description of the valley, its villages, and even the brook that runs through it that one can stand in the Elah Valley identifying the lines of battle, the location of Saul’s forces and the Philistines, and the flight of the Philistines after David’s triumph.

When we understand the physical settings of the land of the Bible, a depth of understanding and insight into the stories of the Bible opens before us, and we begin to read the Bible as its first readers did and its authors intended. 

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Weekly Devotional: Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9 NIV).

Jesus expected His followers to be instruments of peacemaking. Those who do so, according to Jesus, will be called children of God.

Jesus didn’t often speak in terms of His followers as children of God. In Matthew 5:44-48, He said: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors, do they not do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Even the Gentiles, do they not do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (NASB).

The common language of “children of God” in both passages indicates a connection. In both, His followers are to be peacemakers, and they are to love their enemies and pray for those persecuting them.

Further, Matthew 5:44-48 defines what Jesus meant by being a peacemaker. It’s not about brokering peace agreements between parties in conflict; rather, it’s demonstrating love for enemies and praying for those persecuting you.

Peacemaking, then, is not running around crying out for peace; it’s loving those who hate us. It’s aiming to reflect God’s perfection. And as Jesus said in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

We hear the term “peacemaker” and think about the making of peace between people; but within the world of ancient Judaism, peacemaking involved a three-way relationship between one person, another person, and God.

For instance, charity and good deeds are actions we do for others, which also makes a pathway toward peace between people and God.

How we treat those around us who are also made in God’s image impacts our relationship with God.

At the same time, loving others helps to unleash God’s redemptive power in the world. Actions of love and charity for our enemies open a way to make peace between God and humanity.

We hear cries for peace throughout our world, yet peace does not come from bringing an end to the conflict. Peace comes when the followers of Jesus love those who hate us and model that for the world to see. When we do this, we show that we are indeed children of our Father in heaven.


Father, strengthen us to show love toward those who hate us. Through our love for them, build a path of reconciliation between us. Amen.

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CBN Israel Links Arms with Arab Pastor to Help Overcome Racial Tensions with Cross-Cultural Outreach

By Nicole Jansezian

In 2021, when Israel and Hamas were engaged in an 11-day conflict, racial tensions between Jews and Arabs spilled over into Israel’s civilian sector.

Mixed cities erupted in violent and sometimes deadly clashes as Hamas launched 2,400 rockets into Israel and the Israeli army responded by bombing the Gaza Strip.

Following the Hamas atrocities of October 7, 2023 and Israel’s subsequent strikes on Gaza, many feared racial attacks among Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens would follow.

They haven’t—so far—but this could be due in part to people such as Saleem Shalash, the Arab pastor of Home of Jesus the King Church in Nazareth, who said his focus is on being a peacemaker.

“We are trying all the time to build bridges between Arabs and Jews and especially during these times that hatred is spreading all over, we try to be light in darkness,” Shalash told CBN Israel. “How? To take action and to show the love of Jesus.”

When local Christians help Israeli Jews, they are viewed with suspicion from both sides.

“From one side, if you stand for helping the Israeli families you become a spy for an Arab because they don’t understand your opinion or your vision,” he explained. “From the other side, to the Orthodox Jew, you are still Arab. You are not accepted, you are between. It’s hard. Sometimes you can’t explain it because you are in the middle.”

Despite the precarious position of being a minority of minorities in Israel, Shalash has always geared his humanitarian aid distribution to anyone in need, including Muslims, Jews and Christians.

So, when Israelis fleeing war zones began arriving in his neighboring city, Nof Hagalil, the mayor turned to Shalash for help in equipping the nearly 1,000 evacuees that have spread out into the city’s hotels.

“These people are here more than a month now, most of them arrived with only a bag in their hands,” Plot told CBN Israel. “Now we are in winter, in rain, and they have nothing suitable. Also, people aren’t able to work—their jobs are there, so here they have no work.”

After the war began in southern Israel, a few infiltration attempts and rocket attacks took place along the northern border as well, where Hezbollah is entrenched in southern Lebanon. Shortly after Israel evacuated communities surrounding the Gaza Strip in the south, the government expanded evacuation orders for the north resulting in more than 120,000 displaced Israelis.

CBN Israel partnered with Shalash to buy brand new coats, boots, and other winter essentials for those who ended up in Nof Hagalil.

“We are helping the evacuated families that came from both sides, from both south and north because they fled from their homes with nothing,” Shalash said. “They came during hot weather with short sleeves, and they have nothing.”

All the more poignant since the Hamas atrocities of October 7 is that an Arab ministry is leading the outreach—something that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Yehonatan Biton told CBN Israel it restores his faith in humanity.

“It has touched our hearts at this difficult time to realize that there are still hearts willing to give, that despite everything you see, and the terrible horrors, the heart is still open,” he said. “The world isn’t all bad, it’s not all evil. There is also a good side and it is amazing.”

Maia Barcelo-Shelef who picked up a coat at the distribution told CBN Israel that most evacuees are living with uncertainty and have no idea when they will return home.

“I never guessed we would be in a situation like this waiting, one more week, one more week. We don’t have a deadline, that’s the worst,” she said.

Shalash hopes that outreaches such as this will help heal the trauma of war.

“What happened was very hard and it will take time to get better. We will not forget, because those who lost a son or daughter will not forget. But we are trying to show the love of Jesus and trying to bless these families,” Shalash said.

In Nazareth and many Israeli cities, where Jews and Arabs mingle in shops and restaurants largely without any racial tension, Shalash believes that such love will overcome racial divides.

“The media shows the worst examples, but there’s a lot of good things happening,” Shalash said. “God wants to gather His family again, His Abrahamic family—Isaac and Ishmael together.”

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

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Music Turning Tragedy into a Triumph of the Spirit

By Arlene Bridges Samuels

The exhilarating power of 1,000 Israeli singers and musicians rang out across Israel on December 18, filling hearts worldwide with hope. The “Homeland Concert” in the Caesarea Amphitheatre along the Mediterranean Sea not only beckoned Israelis to remain resilient and strong. Anyone who listened was touched by the power of its eloquent messages, a triumph of the spirit over tragedy.

The concert communicated a profound message for me, for the world, and for 2024—to renew our dedication to truth, remembering how the great prophet Isaiah transmitted God’s promise that, in the future, “the government will be on His shoulders.” Today, we do not know the day of Israel’s forever government. Until then, Israel must press on in the Gaza battlefield—the terror-infested cities in Judea and Samaria—and in northern Israel to defend their homeland against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel’s Christian friends worldwide must take up arms on another important battlefield, the information battlefield, to expose Jew-hating lies with clarifying facts.

The famous Caesarea Amphitheatre, site of last month’s concert, echoes with ancient history. Built by King Herod in 22 B.C., this “entertainment” arena featured the mass executions of Jews who revolted against Romans between A.D. 66 and 70. Producer Talya Yarom planned her musical idea “to warm everyone’s frozen hearts” with its “Bring them Home” theme about the remaining 129 hostages. The ancient amphitheater’s more than 2,000-year-old structure is indeed more architectural evidence that Israel is the Jewish homeland. It serves as a reminder to the world that Israel has lived, does live, and will live despite any evil! Am Yisrael Chai, the Nation of Israel Lives!

When some of the hostage families arrived and joined in the singing, their presence deeply reinforced the “Bring Them Home” message. Producer Yarom had envisioned “something that felt universal, national” and without any “big names.” When Yarom sent out the call for volunteer musicians, nearly 2,000 responded. She ended up with 1,000 musicians—professional, amateur, all ages and instruments—with backgrounds in musical genres ranging from orchestral to rock.

A medley of lyrics from beloved songwriter and poet Ehud Manor combined his famous classic song, “Home” or “Bring Them Home” (HaBayita) with “The Hope,” Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem. The elevated atmosphere—expressed in tears, joys, grief, and power—moved the hearts of everyone sitting in the ancient amphitheater and internationally. Not knowing the Hebrew language did not hinder the power of the concert. The voices and instruments conveyed transformative prayers. Here are the English lyrics from Ehud Manor (1941-2005), which Manor wrote in the 1980s:

Another Hour has passed
Another Hour of madness
The weeds have grown in the path and garden
The wind sighed
Opening the shutter
Banging the old wall
As if calling

Home, Home
It’s time to return
From hills and foreign fields
The day is fading and there’s no sign

Home, Home
Before the light is dimmed
Cold nights, bitter nights
Closing in
Until the dawn I pray for you
Bound in the grip of fear
I hear steps

Home, Home
Because it hasn’t yet been given
As was promised long ago.

Conductor Eran Mitelman, maestro Mark Wollach, directors Shilo Gallay and Danny Casson, orchestral arranger Ron Klein, and composer Yair Klinger joined senior producer Talya Yarom for the Bring Them Home Concert, the biggest concert ever held in Israel.

Music has not been confined to the Caesarea Amphitheatre. Various well-known Israeli stars are visiting the wounded in hospitals, families in mourning, and IDF troops. Ishay Ribo held concerts at IDF bases, including a concert along the Gaza border to “lift up their spirits.” He encouraged them with his music and words: “May God succeed through you and your tasks, and may you return home safely and unharmed.”

Ben Ari, a religiously observant singer and father of seven children, served in the army and is not currently called up for reserve duty. After writing a song called Birthplace, he remarked, “This song is dedicated to my nation. … Not the one that was here a week ago [October 7], the one that we’ll create again when all this is over.” He now sings with people, “the best thing I know how to do.” In Birthplace he sings, “You are the special unit, You will always be my homeland. Even on the brink of an abyss, Even in hell, you are heaven, Paradise.”

I’ve looked at video clips where various Israel Defense Forces units are singing to lift their spirits. During Hanukkah they sang their traditional songs as they lit their menorahs on the battlefield or at bases. Other clips include IDF singing the prayer Shema Yisrael, the key affirmation of Judaism—that God is One, and incomparable. It echoes from Jewish hearts as a love song to God.

As part of Israel’s Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM), believers have also united in concerts. Acclaimed Messianic artist Joshua Aaron, who leads Gather the Nations worship conferences based in Jerusalem, organized a concert in Israel during Hanukkah. Earlier, on October 21, 2023, Joshua Aaron and Aaron Shust held a benefit concert in Wildwood, Florida, to raise money through ticket sales and additional donations.

Let us remember throughout 2024—during Israel’s war against unleashed evil—that Isaiah 9:6-8 ends with a precious proclamation: “And the government will be on His shoulders. … Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Our CBN Israel team welcomes you to join us in prayer for Israel in wartime:

  • Pray that IDF’s military leaders will make wise decisions that eliminate Hamas.
  • Pray that Arab nations will decide to resettle Gazans within their own (Muslim) borders. 
  • Pray for an outpouring of commitment from Christians to spread illuminating facts about Israel. 
  • Pray for strength and breakthroughs for hostages and their families.
  • Pray with thanks to God for endowing humanity with songs and music.

Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After she served nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her as Outreach Director part-time for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and has traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina. By invitation, Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summits. She also hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on her website at

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Delivering Groceries to Victims of War and Terror

Imagine living through the invasion of your neighborhood by terrorists—and then worrying about having enough to eat for weeks and months afterwards.

The war in Israel has been devastating for thousands of people across the nation. Some who survived the attacks by Hamas have been evacuated away from the line of fire. But others who chose to stay (or couldn’t leave) have struggled ever since to get basic necessities.

As a result of the fighting, supply chains and routes were disrupted, threatening the local inventory of groceries in many communities. With Israel’s stores understocked, and supplies running out, hunger was a very real threat. And in areas targeted by rocket fire, many elderly and others were afraid to even venture out to shop. Where could these people turn for help?

Thankfully, friends like you were there for them. Through CBN Israel, caring donors made it possible to deliver nutritious food to families and seniors in need. We made door-to-door deliveries and held distributions at multiple locations—both on the streets and inside apartment buildings.

At one location, people patiently waited well into the night for our truck to arrive. When it did, everyone pitched in to help unload and get this desperately needed food distributed to everyone.

Your gift to CBN Israel can be a crucial way to let these hurting people know they are not alone. You can provide meals, temporary shelter, trauma counseling, and more to those who were evacuated. And you can bring food, water, clothing, and other essentials for those in harm’s way.

Your support is so important—please join us in making a difference today!


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Biblical Israel: Caesarea

By Marc Turnage

The book of Acts mentions Caesarea a number of times. In Caesarea, the Gospel came to the Gentiles for the first time as Peter proclaimed Jesus to the God-fearing Roman Centurion Cornelius and his family, who subsequently received the Holy Spirit as the Jews had (Acts 10). 

The grandson of Herod the Great, Agrippa I, died in Caesarea, an event related in Acts and by the first century Jewish historian Josephus (Acts 12:19-23; Josephus, Antiquities 19.343-350). Paul sailed to and from Caesarea on multiple occasions (Acts 9:26-30; 18:22; 27:2). Paul also remained in Caesarea under house arrest, where he faced the Roman Procurators Felix and Festus, as well as the great-grandson of Herod the Great, Agrippa II, and his sister Bernice, before he sailed to Rome appealing to Caesar (Acts 23:23-27:2).

While Paul found himself under house arrest in Caesarea, Luke—the author of Luke and Acts— was part of Paul’s company, yet he could move freely throughout the land of Israel. It seems reasonable that while he resided in the land of Israel, he came in contact with the material he used to write his life of Jesus and the first part of the book of Acts, before he joined the story in Acts 16 (see Luke 1:1-4).

Herod the Great built up a small Phoenician port named “Strato’s Tower” into the second-largest harbor in the Mediterranean, which he named after his friend and benefactor Caesar Augustus. Around the harbor, which he called Sebastos, Augustus’s Greek name, he built a city with a palace, stadium, theater, and a temple to Augustus. The city continued to grow and expand, reaching its height in the late Roman and Byzantine eras (third through seventh centuries). 

After the death of Herod in 4 B.C., the territory of Caesarea fell to his son Archelaus (Matthew 2:22). Rome, however, removed Archelaus from power in A.D. 6 at the request of his Jewish subjects. Rome annexed his territory and brought it under direct Roman rule, which took the form of Roman prefects. These provincial governors, like Pontius Pilate, resided in Caesarea as it became the headquarters and administrative center for the Roman governors. 

Archaeologists uncovered a dedicatory inscription of a small temple to the Roman Emperor Tiberias by the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. This inscription actually provides an important window into the psychology of Pilate, who went to excessive lengths to put himself in good favor with the emperor.  

The First Jewish Revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-73) broke out in Caesarea as tensions between the local Jews and Gentiles boiled over. At the conclusion of the revolt, the Roman general Titus forced 2,500 Jewish prisoners of war to fight to the death in the stadium of Caesarea as part of his victory games.

Caesarea played an important role in the history of the Church Fathers. Origen (A.D. 185-254) taught 23 years in Caesarea, where he established a library. Eusebius used the library of Caesarea to write his Ecclesiastical History. 

Marc Turnage is President/CEO of Biblical Expeditions. He is an authority on ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine as one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker and a gifted teacher. He has been guiding groups to the lands of the Bible—Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—for over twenty years.

Facebook: @witbuniversity
Podcast: Windows into the Bible Podcast

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Weekly Devotional: Going When You Don’t Know Where

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:8-9 RSV).

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go’” (Genesis 12:1 NASB). God didn’t tell Abram (Abraham) where he was going. He didn’t tell him the challenges, pitfalls, or blessings that awaited him along the way. God simply said, “Go,” and Abram went.

Throughout Abraham’s life, God made promises to him. His descendants would inherit the land. He would have progeny. His progeny would come through Isaac, the child of Abraham and Sarah in their old age. Some promises Abraham lived to see; others he did not. Yet no matter what, when God told him to “Go,” he went.

God didn’t lay out the road map or blueprint for Abraham at the beginning. In fact, if you read the story of Abraham, God revealed His plan and promise to Abraham bit by bit. As Abraham proved faithful through his obedience, God led him further down the path.

Abraham stumbled at times, but when God said, “Go,” he went, not knowing where.

We often want God to reveal the path before we walk it. We want to understand His plan and where He’s leading us. However, God doesn’t usually work that way. He simply bids us “Go.” Will we? Do we trust Him enough to lead us?

Abraham never experienced most of the promises God made to him. His descendants did. Still, Abraham went. Still, he remained faithful, even when he was not the recipient of the promise.

Too often we look to God for what He can do for us. We seek His promises for us, in our lives, during our lifetimes. The problem, however, is that usually the really big things in life, those things that have long-lasting impact, do not materialize in one lifetime. They take years and decades—even centuries—to come to fruition.

Do we have that kind of faithfulness to see beyond ourselves and look to God’s promises and what He can accomplish through us, even beyond our lifetime, if we will simply “Go?”


Father, we hear Your call to “Go.” May we follow You, even when we do not know the way. May we trust You, even when the promise extends beyond our lifetimes. Amen.

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