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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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Rivers of Living Water

Have you ever been in a dry, desert or wilderness and seen what happens when there is water from a spring or river? The land closest to the water transforms into a garden oasis. The brown dryness of the desert may surround, but the land around the flowing, life-giving water is lush with vegetation. The water transforms the nature of the landscape.

On a certain occasion, Jesus said to a crowd gathered in Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles, “Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow form within them” (John 7:38). Jesus described what will proceed from one connected to Him: rivers of living water. The image He chose had a pointed significance for His audience who understood the impact of living water upon dry lands.

As followers of Jesus, what does the world around us look like? Does life-giving water flow out of our hearts and lives bringing vegetation and signs of life into the dry, parched land around us? Or don’t we see any difference? Does our presence in our world make any difference?

Jesus’ words indicate that the evidence of whether or not we believe in Him is, in part, whether or not rivers of living water flow from us. If we do truly believe in Him, which means we obey Him, then the natural result is rivers of living water flowing from us. You cannot have a desert where living water flows, and the land around it not be transformed.

It is common today for Christians to blame the forces of secularism, the media, politicians, and Hollywood for the decline of religion and morality in the world. This would not be the opinion of Jesus. Jesus’ statement in John suggests that the reason for the dryness, bareness in our world today is because of us.

Water brings life. This is true in the natural world; it’s true in the spiritual world. Jesus said that rivers of living water will flow from those who believe in Him. Our faith in Him evidences itself in the world around us, in the lives we touch. So how is the river flowing from you impacting your world?

PRAYER

Father, help me through my obedient action to demonstrate my faith in Jesus. May life-giving waters flow from me into my world for Your glory. Amen.

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Holocaust Survivor Leaves Behind A Legacy

This week we lost a great woman. Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor, passed away at 85-years-old. She left behind a legacy, a life demonstrating forgiveness, serving as an example for future generations.  

Eva was born in Port, Romania in 1934 to Alexander and Jaffa Mozes who were farmers. In addition to two other sisters, Eva had a twin sister Miriam.  In 1940, the family was transported to Auschwitz. 

Upon arrival, an SS officer noticed that Eva and Miriam were twins. After confirming with their parents that they were twins, Eva and Miriam were sent to take part in Josef Mengele’s cruel experiments. Josef Mengele was the notorious doctor at Auschwitz, also known as the Angel of Death, who performed deadly experiments on those in the concentration camp.  

According to Eva’s testimony, Mengele would experiment on children six days a week. They had various types of deadly tests conducted on them and lethal injections used as a means for spreading illnesses among the children. Despite this, she never gave up hope. She believed, imagined that she and her sister would escape alive.

In January 1945, the Soviet army liberated the camp, and Eva and Miriam went to live with their aunt in Romania.

Seventy years later in April 2015, Eva traveled to Germany to testify in the trial of former Nazi Oskar Groning. During the trial, the two shared an embrace and a kiss where Eva thanked him for his willingness at age 93, to testify to what happened more than 70 years ago. 

Eva chose to live a life of forgiveness, she saw that living in bitterness, and anger was negatively influencing her life. 

Here at CBN Israel, we support Holocaust survivors and provide a platform for those to speak up on behalf of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. 

We honor those who lost loved ones to this horrific war. Through our partnerships with local congregations, we provide supplies, food parcels, medical support, and coverage for their basic needs.

This is all made possible by you, our faithful supporters. Thank you for your commitment and support to the people of Israel.

May the Lord bless you abundantly.  

 

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The God Who Delivers

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by enemies? Like you’re the underdog in the circumstances you find yourself in? The psalmist did: “Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’” (Psalm 3:1-2).

Sometimes the circumstances, whether through no fault of our own, or even through our own fault, appear daunting and overwhelming. The thought comes, God cannot save me from this. But as the psalmist reflects on feeling outnumbered by his enemies, he voices, “But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high” (v. 3).

The biblical writers repeatedly describe God as one who answers those who cry to Him: “I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain” (v. 4). God is near to those who cry out to Him. He is not impotent, nor is He far off. Nor is He intimidated by overwhelming odds.

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed within your life, I’m sure that during those moments sleep has left you. Through dark nights, you lay awake tossing and turning as you wrestle with your circumstances, possibly overcome with fear. The psalmist recognized that God sustained him; therefore, he says, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me” (v. 5; emphasis added). He continues, “I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side” (v. 6).

He does not ignore his circumstances or problems. They are still there, even when he wakes. Yet, the realization that God sustains him allows him to sleep, and he finds himself fearless in facing those set against him. He understands that he is not alone, and the God who is on his side will deliver him: “From the Lord comes deliverance” (v. 8).

The expression of the psalmist is not “the power of positive thinking;” his circumstances are real and dire. He recognizes, however, that God is on his side, and He will deliver him. When overwhelming circumstances confront us, do we allow worry and fear to consume us? Or, do we realize that God is with us, and He will deliver us?

PRAYER

Father, today we call to You. Deliver us from those things that threaten to overwhelm us for Your glory. Amen.

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A Tree of Life

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

Have you ever heard the sayings: you are what you think, and beware of the company you keep? The psalmist highlights that the blessed person is the one who watches the company he or she keeps and meditates upon God’s instruction all day. Those who we surround ourselves with effect and impact our thoughts and behaviors. Be careful, the psalmist warns. While we must guard ourselves from the negative influence of some, we must actively choose to meditate and delight in God’s instruction.

The one who does this, the psalmist compares to a “tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (v. 3). In the dry, hot climate of the Middle East, plants without sufficient water supply, exposed to the heat of the sun, wither and die. Those with ample water can sustain their life and will produce fruit. The psalmist uses the image of a well-watered tree to suggest that the one who acts as he outlines in verses 1 and 2 will thrive regardless of the weather conditions.

He further describes this tree as producing fruit. The Bible often uses the image a tree or plant producing fruit as a symbol of the actions of a person. The psalmist expects that a person’s meditation and delighting in the law of the Lord will not simply remain a cognitive or emotional reality. Rather, these meditations should lead us to act and behave in a manner consistent with God’s instruction.

He concludes his image of the fruitful tree saying, “whatever they do prospers” (1:3). We are responsible for our spiritual growth and maturity. We have to guard ourselves from potential corrupting influences around us. And, we have to make the instruction of the Lord something we delight to meditate on all day, every day. Such meditation should lead us to bearing good fruit.

Do people look at our lives and see a fruitful tree, or do our lives look like “chaff that the wind blows away” (Psalm 1:4)? Our intentionality to our spiritual growth will determine what they see. What do you delight in?

PRAYER

Lord, today may I guard myself from influences that can corrupt me from following You, and as I meditate upon Your law and instruction, may my life bear fruit to Your glory. Amen.

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Meeting God in Darkness

“And the people stood at a distance while Moses approached the deep darkness where God was” (Exod. 20:21). We usually associate God with light. He drives out darkness. Yet, Moses entered the dark cloud where he met God. The greatest revelation of God Moses received came in the midst of thick darkness. God was there even in the darkness. Do we expect to find God in the darkness? Often, we look for Him to show up and deliver us from our darkest moments, but do we seek to find Him in it? It’s interesting that Exodus describes God as being in the dark cloud, and Moses entered, and there he met God. There is a profoundness about this verse. When we find ourselves or others in a period of darkness—whether a period of difficulty, uncertainty, or despair—our typical response is to prescribe two Bible verses, rest, and you’ll feel better in the morning. This is more than that: God resides even in the darkness, and we can find Him there. The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit, and where can I flee from Your presence? If I rise to the heavens, You are there, and if I make my bed in Sheol, there You are” (139:7-8). Do we expect to find God in our depths? Not as a means of escape, but do we allow ourselves to find Him in our darkest moments as an opportunity for revelation? Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, speaks about two spiritual concepts: consolation and desolation. He states: “I call consolation every increase of hope, faith, and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.” Desolation, of course, is everything contrary to consolation. Neither consolation or desolation refers to our external circumstances; they both pertain to inner attitudes where our focus is God. Ignatius recognized that we could find ourselves in a period of darkness but still experience the inner comfort and support of being close toGod. “Moses approached the deep darkness where God was.” When we realize that God resides also in the darkness, then we can find ourselves expecting to meet Him there, looking to Him for consolation, and even gaining a new revelation of Him. And this is an incredible realization—God is there even in our darkest moments.

Father, even in the midst of my darkest moments, help me to experience Your presence and to trust You to provide the consolation, my soul, longs for. Amen

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The Classroom of Humility

“Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). We remember Moses as God’s chosen leader for the children of Israel to bring them out of Egyptian bondage and through the wilderness to the edge of the Promised Land. But what was Moses’ occupation? For forty years before appearing in front of Pharaoh, he shepherded flocks in the desert. Moses’ time shepherding flocks in the desert prepared him to lead God’s people, shepherding them through the wilderness where they faced harsh physical conditions and threats from enemies. In the harsh climate of the deserts of the Middle East, the shepherd cared for the flock making sure they found water, food, and shelter, as well as protecting them from potential threats. Moses’time as a shepherd prepared him for the role that God chose for him to deliver and lead Israel. In the same way, however, Moses’ time in the desert herding sheep and goats formed his character: “Now the man Moses was very humble.” How so? The climate of the desert is incredibly harsh. Temperatures can fluctuate as much as eighty degrees; the scorching heat of the sun can give way to the cold of the desert night. Water and food are not found in ready supply; the sheep and goats rely exclusively on the shepherd to find them sustenance. The desert presents the threat to a flock of enemies, both four-footed and two, that the shepherd must protect them from. These are the brutal conditions faced by the shepherd in the desert. His life and that of his flock faced imminent dangers within its wild expanse. The desert served as God’s classroom in the Bible. God takes people into the desert to teach them and build their character. One of the principal lessons that He imparts to them in the desert: humility. There are no “self-made individuals” in the desert. Lone rangers cannot exist there. You cannot overcome the harsh and threatening conditions by yourself. It humbles a person. Moses spent forty years in the desert, and he learned this lesson well. He understood the need for decisive action in leading the children of Israel, but he also recognized his need to take advice and rely on others. He was humble. He learned the lesson of the desert: one cannot survive alone. Community is essential. The lessons of the desert often fly in the face of the rugged individualism we honor in our Western culture. That individualism often spills over into our spirituality where we view things Asus and God. Such attitudes are absent within the spirituality of the Bible. God still leads us into the wilderness to teach us humility and the foolishness of self-reliance. He used Moses mightily for His purposes and glory because Moses learned humility. Do we allow Him to build the same character within us by leading us into the desert?

Father, in every place You lead, may I learn to rely upon You and others. May I never become arrogant or self-reliant in anything I do. May I always recognize my dependence upon You and those around me. Amen
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The End from the Beginning

ELY Israel has had the privilege of aiding and supporting many new immigrants to Israel, especially those with unstable family situations and are facing crisis. We are privileged to act as the hands and feet of Messiah for vulnerable women and children through our Families Department. For many of these women who live in Israel, or have been through grueling circumstances to immigrate (make Aliyah), their future feels so unsure, but many find faith through the small acts that ELY can provide to know that God has a plan for them, for He “declares the end from the beginning”.

A recent testimony from one of the single mothers ELY has provided on-going assistance for was especially striking, as her whole journey was riddled with unknowns for her and her family. A few years ago, M made Aliyah to Israel with her young child. She was Jewish, but only on her paternal side, therefore her elderly mother was forced to remain in their home-country in Eastern Europe. The separation was agonizing, but everyone agreed it was necessary for M and her son to have a chance at a leading a better life. Time passed, and M received word that her mother had fallen seriously ill, and was at severe risk alone. In a panic, M made arrangements for her mother to be brought to Israel for better medical care. The stress of her condition became so heavy, as M was forced to take out loans to finance her mothers’ treatment. In the end, the financial debt she accumulated and the emotional burden was too much, so M, her mother and child made the fateful decision to return to their country of origin without future prospects to return to Israel.

Their hearts were broken to leave the land they loved, but feared that if they returned to Israel the debt M had accrued there would be crushing, and she may even be at risk of arrest if she reentered the country. However, as time passed, M realized she was willing to take the gamble, as she would rather sit in jail than never return to Israel. With only her faith propelling her forward, she knew the Lord had put Israel on her heart for a reason, and that His provision would be her solace. She thanks God that she was never arrested, but M still faced problems of finding work to pay down her debt. Once again she found herself facing the brink of no longer being able to remain in Israel when she was contacted by an ELY representative who delivered a miraculous message. ELY Israel wished to stand alongside M, to assist with her debt, help her prosper and provide for her family.

Immediate support included gift cards and vouchers for her to pay for food and necessities. It was the first month in such a long time that M did not have to worry about affording basic needs after her monthly debt portion had been paid off. Secondly, ELY Israel contracted a lawyer to advise M with her financial issues, and with the help of God, she was absolved of her debt within the year! Once she was out of crisis ELY Israel did not dissert her, instead they invested in M’s future with career counseling, which led to her receiving a scholarship for a tourism and travel agent training course. Today M is at the end of her studies, and is already working in her field of choice! She says that she feels the ultimate success was that she not only can provide for herself and her child with dignity, but she has also been liberated from emotional and financial burden. She is a living testimony of faith and liberation for at-risk women who see no realistic way of getting out of their current circumstances. M’s deepest appreciation goes to ELY Israel for “seeing my problems in all of their complexity, and helping to lift me out of my lowest point”. It is difficult to see that the Lord has a plan and a path to deliver us from our most difficult life circumstances, but with an abounding faith, and employees to show God’s love to those who are struggling, women like M have found better futures in the Holy Land.

 

(Names altered for privacy purposes)

 

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First Fruits

“You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the festival of weeks to the Lord your God, contributing a free-will offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the Lord your God. Rejoice before the Lord your God—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you—at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes” (Deut. 16:9-12). Moses outlined for the Israelites the ordinances of the Festival of Weeks (Shavu’ot or Pentecost). This festival commemorated the harvest seven weeks and one day(50 days hence Pentecost)after the first Sabbath after the festival of Unleavened Bread. The festival was to be a celebration marked by a free-will offering, an offering “in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the Lord.” The festivals and rituals that God gave to the Israelites served as reminders of His participation in their daily lives. Agriculture did not depend upon the farmer and his ingenuity or the luck of the weather; rather, God, Himself, blessed and provided for the daily needs of the people. The rituals and festivals functioned as reminders of God’s nearness and called upon the Israelites to give thanks, to rejoice. The Israelites celebrated Pentecost not only within their families but with their communities. Three groups of people are specifically identified as participating in the celebration of the festival—strangers, orphans, and widows. These three groups lacked a legal advocate within ancient Israel, which is why God often describes Himself, the just Judge, as the defender of these three groups. In the midst of the celebration, God calls on the Israelites to remember those on the fringes of their society and to bring them into the festivities. The basis for this action: “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt.” You were once an outcast, someone at the bottom of the social world, so remember and bring those at the bottom of your world into your celebration of the Lord’s blessing. Do we see God’s provision and care in every facet of our lives? Do we celebrate it and remind ourselves to rejoice at His provision? Do we share our blessing and bring into our celebration those on the fringes of our society? This was God’s expectation of the ancient Israelites when they celebrated Pentecost. He expects the same from us.

Father, thank You for Your daily provision in my life. As a sign of my Thanksgiving, may I share Your blessings in my life with others. Amen.

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To Hear and To Do

“Then he [Moses] took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they [the children of Israel] said, “Everything that the Lord said, we will do, and we will hear” (Exod. 24:7; emphasis added). This event occurs after Moses has been on top of Sinai and received the covenant from the Lord. When he comes down to the people and reads the covenant to them, they respond “we will do, and we will hear.”The phrases “to hear” and “to do” appear frequently within the Bible: “And now, Israel, listen unto the laws and statutes which I am teaching you, to do them, so that you will live, and enter and possess the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, gave to you” (Deut. 4:1; see also Deut. 5:1; 6:3; 7:12). Elsewhere we read, “Only, if you will certainly listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep and to do all of these commands, which I am commanding you today” (Deut. 15:5). The context of these passages indicates that the biblical authors drew a connection between hearing God’s word and doing it. In fact, that was their definition of obedience: to hear and to do. Often when we say that we “hear” someone, it does not necessarily translate into action. In fact, the phrase, “I hear you,” can serve as our response meaning a certain level of inaction. Yet, within the Bible, obedience required action, both parts were necessary. To not hear and do meant for the writers of Scripture that judgment was imminent. The author of Kings identified the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel as due to their disobedience: “Because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord their God, they transgressed His covenant and everything He commanded Moses—the servant of the Lord; they did not listen and did not do” (2 Kings 18:12). Failure to listen and do resulted in Israel transgressing the law of the Lord. In the New Testament, Jesus also emphasized our hearing and doing. He compared those who hear and do His words as like one who built his house upon a rock; while the one who only hears but does not do, he is like one who built his house on the sand (Matt. 7:24-27). Paul likewise states that it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous, but the doors of the law who will be justified (Rom. 2:13). Do we spend time listening to the word of God? And do we translate what we’ve heard into action? If we are going to obey as the Bible intended, then we must both hear and do.

Father, as I seek to draw closer to You, may I obey You by hearing Your word and doing it. May Your name be glorified through my obedient action to You and Your word. Amen.

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