Weekly Devotional: Forgive As You Have Been Forgiven

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15 NASB).

Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 NIV). Because, in Christ, we have been forgiven everything, God asks us to extend that same measure of forgiveness to others.

Elsewhere Jesus taught, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB). The degree to which I receive mercy is correlated to the mercy I show others. He communicated a similar message about judging: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1-2 NASB). In other words, I will be judged in the same way I judge others. 

Jesus understood that forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a choice. And it is a choice we are capable of making now, wherever we are. If we desire to receive mercy and forgiveness, then, according to Jesus, we must choose to show mercy and forgiveness to others. We are to forgive those who have wronged us; others who don’t agree with us or act like us; or others who have hurt us. 

This is where Jesus’ message challenges us in very practical ways, just as it did His original audience. He understood that people have the propensity to treat others horribly, without mercy or forgiveness. Yet, it is because we have peace with God, that we should work to have peace with others. The Bible tells us that the love of Christ has been shed abroad in our hearts. We have an ample supply of love and forgiveness to share with those around us.

This is a profound thought with incredible implications. Think how different our world would look if the followers of Jesus lived by the principle that since we have received unending mercy and forgiveness, we must also show mercy and forgiveness to others. It would transform our world, our communities, our neighborhoods, and our families. 


Father, let us share the forgiveness you have given us with others. Amen.

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Single Mother: Olesiya’s Story

The one thing she didn’t have was time. Olesiya had to work two jobs just to get by. As soon as she got off her second job, she rushed home to care for her children. The young single mother had never expected to raise her children alone, but her husband had left soon after they’d immigrated to Israel—leaving her with all the responsibility and no support. She was always exhausted; the days went by in a blur.

Sometime later, Olesiya came to faith in Jesus and joined a local congregation—and gratefully pursued their childcare suggestions. She’d still come straight home from work and begin helping her children with their homework, playing with them, and teaching them the Word of God. But how could she care for them properly when she was stretched so thin?

Realizing her plight, Olesiya’s pastor introduced her to Arik, the head of CBN Israel’s family department. He helped her plan an effective budget and made sure she had food coupons each month. Finally, Olesiya was able to actually start living and eventually found a much better job. “I am so grateful for the help I received from CBN Israel,” she says. “My life has been changed in so many ways for the better.”

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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Weekly Devotional: Rain In Its Season

“If you carefully obey my commands I am giving you today, to love the Lord your God and worship Him with all your heart and all your soul, I will provide rain for your land in the proper time, the autumn and spring rains, and you will harvest your grain, new wine, and oil. I will provide grass in your fields for your livestock. You will eat and be satisfied” (Deuteronomy 11:13-15 HCSB).

Timing is everything. Farmers especially know this. Rains that come too early or too late do not provide the nourishment needed for crops to grow and produce their fruit. In some cases, rains arriving too early or late can actually destroy the crops and harvest. The agricultural cycle is very delicate, especially in the ancient world where they had to make do without the advantages of modern agricultural technology.

As the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God promised them that if they would obey, love and serve Him, He would send the rains in their season. This was particularly important because the land God was giving them depended upon the rains from heaven for its agricultural needs. The rains had to come at the right time, or the crops would fail, animals would die, and the people would starve to death.

God called upon the people to trust Him that He would send rain in its season. They plowed their fields and planted them, trusting that God would provide the necessary rains. Can you imagine the anxiety of the farmer who just sowed his field with seed waiting for the rains to come? 

But there was a condition: “If you carefully obey my commands I am giving you today, to love the Lord your God and worship Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Failure to do so would have negative consequences, as we go on to read: “Be careful that you are not enticed to turn aside, worship, and bow down to other gods. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will close the sky, and there will be no rain; the land will not yield its produce” (Deuteronomy 11:16-17 HCSB).

One of the draws the children of Israel experienced in worshipping other gods pertained to the agricultural cycle. Many of these foreign gods, like Ba’al and Asherah, were rain and fertility gods and goddesses. Worshipping them offered insurance in the event God did not come through. It was a way for the Israelites to ensure that the rains would come so they could survive.

We also find ourselves frustrated with God’s timing, wondering if He will truly come through. We even seek, at times, to help Him along. His promise remains: If we obey Him and love and serve Him, He will provide the things we need for our daily survival. We don’t need to seek any other source of provision.


Father, thank You for Your love and care for us. You are the sole source of our provision, and we trust You to send rain in its season. Amen.

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Holocaust Survivor: Boris’ Story

They were terrified. Boris and his mother were standing in line for the gas chamber, separated from his father, who had been judged suitable for doing hard work. Then a soldier recognized Boris’s father as a leather specialist, adept at fashioning boots, coats and other items of value, and immediately intervened to save the whole family. The ghetto would be safe, he promised.

But it was not to be. Living with four other Jewish families in a barn, they were in danger with the next wave of killings in their ghetto. When the Nazis began shooting babies, the frantic families created an underground hall behind the latrine to hide from the certain death. 

Escaping to Romania, Boris stayed with a wealthy Christian family for the war’s duration and made his way home after the war. Like many Ukrainians, he had lost his father, who had joined the Red Army to fight Nazis and never returned. He recalls that money was tight, no matter how hard he worked. Years later, Boris made Aliyah to Israel, where he still struggles with the language and finances. At age 90, he can no longer work and has no pension.

But through CBN Israel, generous partners are making his “golden years” so much better. “There are people who care for me like family,” he says. “I receive food, help with medication, and transportation to doctor’s appointments.” The compassion he has received gives him hope and courage.

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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Weekly Devotional: A Life Worthy of Christ

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” (Philippians 1:27-28 NIV).

What does your life say about your relationship with the Lord? Do you live each day in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ?

Paul wrote to the Philippians one of his most joyous letters. After being run out of Philippi, unable to fully establish the community there, he heard that the Christians there were thriving. This news precipitated his joyous letter. He knew of the struggles that they faced from their opponents, but he encouraged them in the midst of hardships to live their lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

It’s interesting that while Paul enjoins them to live their lives in a manner worthy of Christ’s Gospel, he immediately transitions to his desire for the Christian community of Philippi: “I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” We can easily focus on the individual injunction—live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ—and because we are so individualistic in our society, that’s where we leave it. But Paul called upon each individual person to live in such a way that the community might stand firm in one spirit, striving side by side.

Our individualism often separates us from the worldview of the Bible, in which the “we” is always more important than the “me.” The “we” is composed of individuals called upon to do their duty, but that duty serves the “we,” the group. Paul reflects this idea. He expected the individuals within the community of Philippi to live their lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that the community could stand in one spirit and not be intimidated by their opponents.

Do I see my lifestyle of discipleship as significant to my Christian community? We should not separate Paul’s call upon the individual in how they live their life as separate from the testimony of the believing community. One makes up the other. So, how are you living?


Father, let us daily live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Through our lives and obedience, may Your community be unified in one spirit. Amen.

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Holocaust Survivor: Polina’s Story

They thought they’d escaped. Instead, Polina and her mother had been caught by the Nazis and sent to Bodina, a cruel place known as a walking death camp. There, they experienced only pain, despair, and sorrow. Polina still tears up as she remembers the cold, the starvation, the atrocities—and finally the terrifying slaughter when the Germans learned they were losing the war and were ordered to leave no trace of their brutality behind.

Somehow, the two of them survived the carnage and were able to move back to Crimea, where they began the hard work of rebuilding their lives. Polina eventually married and had children, and the family immigrated to Israel.

Recently, Polina’s husband died, leaving her an elderly widow. Her health began to decline, her hip gave way, and life became very lonely. Thankfully, CBN Israel heard about her situation and stepped in. Generous people like you provided her with a walker and food coupons each month. She also gets help with her grocery shopping and transportation to doctors’ appointments. In awe of the great love and kindness she receives, Polina says the support from CBN Israel has given her the courage she needs to live each day.

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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Weekly Devotional: Seeking God

“He sought God throughout the lifetime of Zechariah, the teacher of the fear of God. During the time that he sought the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:5 HCSB).

These words describe the early days of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah. He started out his reign by seeking God and fearing Him, but unfortunately, he did not continue on that path. Eventually, the Lord struck him with leprosy, which he had until he died. The end of his life was a disappointment from its promising beginning. His initial path, however, is instructional for us in several ways.

First, the Chronicler makes clear that seeking God means fearing (or revering) Him. How does one fear the Lord? “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name” (Deuteronomy 6:13 NKJV). One fears the Lord by serving Him, i.e., obeying Him. Within the Bible, then, one seeks the Lord by obeying Him. King Uzziah began his reign in this manner.

Second, “during the time that he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” If we make our principal priority seeking God, then He takes care of us. He prospers us. Seeking Him, however, is not an emotional or charismatic experience. Seeking Him means obeying His words and doing what He has commanded.

Too often we identify “seeking God” as an emotional feeling. The Bible never identifies those actions as emotions; rather, we show them through our obedience to God.

Finally, King Uzziah serves as a warning to us. We can start out well—by seeking the Lord and experiencing the prosperity that He brings—but then we drift away from pursuing Him first. We begin to buy into ourselves too much, and we become disobedient. When that happens, we have ceased seeking God, no matter what we tell ourselves.

Do you set yourself to seek the Lord each day, to walk in fear of Him? Is seeking God your primary purpose? If so, you’ve set yourself on the right course.


Father, may we seek You daily with our whole hearts, striving to obey Your word in everything we do and say. Amen.

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New Immigrant: Julia’s Story

It was not what they expected. Julia and her husband left everything behind and moved to Israel. But they did not expect this kind of adversity. Everything was so new to them—and extremely overwhelming!

The cost of living was expensive and usually, new immigrants were not given a choice on where to live. Plus, the couple knew very little Hebrew, so there was a language barrier as well. Since they couldn’t afford to pay rent, they were offered temporary government accommodations and an opportunity to learn Hebrew at a nearby school.

But with finances spread thin, Julia’s anxiety level rose, and she was very lonely. Where could she find the help and encouragement she desperately needed?

Here’s where generous CBN Israel donors came to Julia’s rescue! A fellow student at the Hebrew language school told her about the immigrant assistance center which is a local partner of CBN Israel. There, she found caring people who answered her questions and helped her find and furnish an affordable apartment. She also received grocery coupons, so she could put food on the table.

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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Weekly Devotional: Who is My Neighbor?

“Just then an expert in the law stood up to test [Jesus], saying, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the law?’ He asked him. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. ‘You’ve answered correctly,’ He told him. ‘Do this and you will live’” (Luke 10:25-28 HCSB).

To Jesus’ reply, the lawyer followed up with the natural question, “And who is my neighbor?” In response, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan.

Have you ever noticed the nature of that question, “Who is my neighbor?” No matter how broad or narrow you make the circle, the question seeks to draw a line and define who’s inside and who’s outside of the line. Who are we obligated to love, and who are we relieved from loving? Jesus, however, turned the lawyer’s question around: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers” (Luke 10:36)? In other words, it is not for us to define insider and outsider, but rather: We must go be the neighbor.

Jesus drew His inspiration for His teaching from God Himself. He recognized that God does not distinguish in His mercy, and neither can we. “But I tell you, love your enemies … so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45). Jesus saw in nature God’s mercy toward all humanity, and He calls upon His followers to imitate God: “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

But that makes us uncomfortable. We want to believe that God loves us because we’re on the inside. Of course, we want Him to love those like us because they also are inside the line—they are our neighbors. But those who hate us? God must certainly feel differently toward the evil and unrighteous, right? No—not according to Jesus. He sends His sunlight and rain on everyone. His mercy extends to all of humanity without distinction, and we must follow His example.

It’s wonderful to think about how much God loves us, but He loves our enemies the same. He calls us to imitate Him in our mercy toward them. That’s hard. But it’s what we’ve been called to do.

So, who is our neighbor? The person across the street. The foreigner and stranger in our midst. Our worst enemies, and the people who hate us. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).


Father, You send Your sun and rain on us all to show Your great mercy. May we be merciful as You are merciful to everyone. May we demonstrate our love for You by how we love others who are created in Your image. Amen.

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Holocaust Survivor: Arkadi’s Story

He was too young to suspect trickery. Lured by a Nazi guard with the promise of treats, Arkadi reached eagerly for a chocolate. But the ensuing blows left the child with severe brain damage, leading to vocal cord impairment and a lifetime of speech problems.

The Nazis murdered all his family members except his mother, grandmother and himself. He can’t forget the deprivation in the ghetto they were forced into. “I was a little baby, and my mother hid me for hours when she had to go to work for the Nazis,” he recalls. “I would starve for hours until she returned carrying some food.” When they returned to their Ukrainian village after the war, everything had been destroyed. It was difficult for Arkadi to find a job. His life has been tainted by the brutality of the war that destroyed his childhood hopes.

When he had a chance to immigrate to Israel, Arkadi took it and encountered many other Holocaust survivors. Thanks to the wonderful people he has met here and the generous support of CBN Israel donors, his life has changed. He is astonished by—and so grateful for—the regular provision of food coupons and medicine. The tears don’t stop flowing as he describes his gratitude for the difference our team has made in his life. He says that although he can’t speak well, everyone here seems to understand him!

During this time of worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus, the need remains urgent as CBN Israel continues providing food, medicine, shelter, and other necessities to those who desperately need our help.

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