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Weekly Devotional: Obedience Through Suffering

“During His earthly life, He [Jesus] offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Though He was God’s Son, He [Jesus] learned obedience through what He suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8 HCSB).

Our faith has run off the rails. Somewhere within western Christianity we’ve come to believe that God is more concerned with our comfort than our calling. We often forget that even Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered. That’s sobering.

What makes us think that we are entitled to live a life completely free of pain or difficulty? God did not spare His own son trials, pain, and sufferings. In fact, He used trials and suffering to teach His son obedience. God could have saved Him, but He didn’t. Jesus had a lesson to learn—obedience—so God allowed Him to walk through suffering.

Our faith often places us (mankind) at the center. We can be deceived into thinking God only desires us to be comfortable and happy. In that sort of economy, God exists for me. I am the subject, and He is the object. The Bible, however, does not view the world in such a manner. God is king. He makes the rules; we don’t. I exist to live for Him.

He has my ultimate best interest in mind, but His goal reaches beyond me. He receives the glory. He is the subject, and I am the object. He will teach me obedience—which is His ultimate desire for my life—through suffering.

We tend to equate our inconvenience with suffering. It’s not. We do not suffer when we are inconvenienced. The denial of my perceived rights does not mean I’m suffering. Our faith desperately needs a healthy theology of suffering, because through suffering Jesus learned obedience to His Father. His suffering did not mean God didn’t love Him. No, it meant His submission to His Father’s will, way, and rule.

The author of Hebrews continued, “and being made perfect.” How? Through His sufferings. Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him [God]” (Hebrews 5:9 HCSB). Jesus’ sufferings made Him perfect, and they made Him the source of salvation for everyone who obeys God. God can perfect us too through our sufferings, if we submit to Him. Moreover, our obedience to Him offers a conduit for others to come to Him.

Why should God save us from the lessons He taught His son? As long as our faith focuses upon ourselves, we will never mature, nor will we learn the lessons God has for us. If we truly follow Jesus, we too will submit to the lessons God seeks to teach us, even in suffering. Our refusal to do so indicates our ultimate rejection of following Jesus.

PRAYER

Father, You loved Your son Jesus dearly, yet You taught Him obedience through His sufferings. Lord, teach us too. May we submit to You and Your will in all we do and say, and in every circumstance. Amen.

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Weekly Devotional: The Lord Alone Exalted

“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:11-12 NKJV).

Our world marvels at mankind’s stunning and impressive achievements. We celebrate human success and are so often consumed by the latest advancements in modern science, medicine, and technology.

At the center of our universe stands humanity. Our postmodern culture tends to evaluate everything through the lens of the human individual. Such a worldview is foreign to the biblical mindset. In fact, the biblical worldview challenges and affronts our modern outlook.

The biblical writers were overwhelmed by the God of the universe and His awesomeness. They recognized the transience and fragility of human existence against His dwelling in eternity. They saw the folly of human pride and arrogance as God raised up and brought low.

They recognized humanity as created by the Creator to do His will instead of viewing itself as the master of the universe. They understood that God is King and we are not. They also realized that creation—all of it, including humanity—existed to glorify God, not itself. His redemption of the world primarily brings glory to Him and is not about us.

For the biblical writers, God is the subject of the universe, and we are the object. Our modern world flips that around, if we even place God in the sentence at all.

Unfortunately, our modern Christianity can all too often make us the subject and Him the object. We look to Him for what He can do for us, our needs, our salvation, our comfort.

God does care deeply about us, more than we can ever comprehend, but He does not exist for us. We exist for Him. May we be swept away by His awesome majesty!

PRAYER

Father, You are awesome and are enthroned in majesty. May we live each and every day to exalt You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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Lone Soldier Home

Israel has a national army that requires mandatory service of its citizens. And for Israeli teens, turning 18 means swapping school books for military uniforms, and putting other dreams and goals on hold. But for a young immigrant, the challenges of army life can be far more daunting.  

Imagine traveling to a country without friends or family, where you don’t speak the language or know the culture, and you are about to join their military. Every year, Israel’s army receives many young people who emigrate alone, from a variety of countries—including the U.S.

Lone soldiers face unique challenges. If you don’t have a family to go home to during your time of leave and a place that is yours, it can leave you feeling even more isolated and alone during your military service. 

But today, they have a strong ally. Daniel Carlson, the national director of CBN Israel, was a lone soldier himself 30 years ago. He experienced the same struggles—and he had a vision to help these young recruits. It started with a large rented house, but soon the demand grew. 

Thanks to friends like you, we rented an even bigger home. It has plenty of room for more beds—and a caring couple, who serve as volunteer house parents. They provide home-cooked meals, plus vital spiritual and emotional support for these brave soldiers who risk their lives. 

Your gifts to CBN Israel can also bring aid and God’s love to single mothers, Holocaust survivors, and terrorism victims. And during Israel’s COVID-19 crisis, your support is crucial as the needs escalate. You can deliver food, housing, medicine, and essentials to those in need. Please join us in bringing God’s love to those in the Holy Land who need our help!

GIVE TODAY

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Holocaust Survivor | Tanya’s Story

Tanya was just 14 years old when the Nazis invaded Ukraine, bringing on the Holocaust. Looking back, she admits sadly, “I remember life was so normal until that day. The war started, and everything changed.  Many of our family and friends died.”

Fortunately, her mother worked at a local hospital—so they narrowly escaped on a hospital train. As the train accompanied the Red Army along the frontlines, Tanya cared for the wounded. She recalled, “It was very difficult to be around all that blood and death, but we knew what the Nazis were doing to the Jews. I would have felt shame not doing my part to help.”

As a result, the Soviets honored her heroic service during the war. Yet today, as a Holocaust survivor living in Israel, Tanya faces a different battle. The stress of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown has caused those terrible memories of the war to resurface. Added to that, she has had to self-isolate to stay safe—which means she can’t leave home to get food.

But thanks to friends like you, help arrived. CBN Israel brings her groceries, while taking precautions to keep her safe. She is getting the food and the encouragement she needs during this crisis, and says, “Thank you so much… It’s a very noble thing for you to want to help me and other Holocaust survivors, without even knowing us. I’m so grateful to God to have met you!”

CBN Israel is blessing so many in need with food, shelter, financial aid, and much more—and sharing God’s love during this pandemic and beyond. As the needs in the Holy Land increase, your support is crucial in offering help to single mothers, immigrant families, and the elderly. Please let us hear from you today!

GIVE TODAY

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