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Kingdom Investment

“Cast your bread upon the water, for you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1

I remember when I was young and first came across that verse. I couldn’t understand what it meant. The only time in my life that I had seen bread cast into the water was to draw fish to the surface. I also remember thinking why would you want that bread to come back to you? What good is soggy bread?

But during my time at the 2017 business conference in Jerusalem, one of my fellow, believing, Arab brothers from Nazareth spoke on the concept of “casting our bread on the waters”. What a perspective to live long enough to have experienced the blessing of seeing your “bread” come back to you after many days.

When God called Abraham to leave everything he knew, God’s promise is that in the obedience, God would make him a blessing. It is the same for us. Following God will always lead you on a path where you will find yourself called to serve others around you. Often, these people have no way to pay you back the blessing that they receive.

But how wonderful it is to make the effort to invest blessings and grace into the lives of others and later to have that same blessing and grace poured out on you in a way you never expected. You don’t have to be called to business, but in whatever you are called to- allow God to make you a blessing to those around you. The ROI (Return On Investment) is always amazing.

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Messianic Business Course Helps Israeli Entrepreneurs Find Their Niche

When Zev first heard of a business course being held specifically for believing entrepreneurs in Israel, he felt drawn to attend. He was fresh out of the Israeli army, eager to explore business ideas and was already being mentored by the successful business owners of the Galilee Experience in northern Israel. Yet as a husband, father and full time employee, leaving town to attend the course was not an option. A decade later, however, the opportunity came practically to his door. 

In 2016-2017, CBN Israel and Israel First Fruits held their business course in Israel’s northern city of Tiberias, just minutes from Zev’s home. By this time, Zev had made his way into business management with a company called, Megavoice, and was ready to explore the possibility of venturing out on his own.

“It was the business course that caused me to make the decisions I needed to make,” Zev shared with the staff of CBN Israel. “I realized I loved working with Judaica products and could start a business selling these items on-line.” With a gift of creativity and a focus on quality, Zev hopes to bring customers a new and appealing product.

With the completion of the course, each student is presented with an opportunity to get ahead in their start-up business by presenting their plan before investors at the annual Business Forum in Jerusalem. A competition is held on the final day of the forum in which three of the eight finalists will win investments towards their start-up business. Out of nearly two dozen contestants, Zev has been chosen as one of the final eight.

Five years ago, Zev attended the forum as an inspired employee from the Galilee Experience. This year, he has the opportunity to gain an investment into his own business.  As Zev is moving forward in his business endeavor, the biggest challenge he faces now is in staying balanced in his time management. As a man who loves God and desires His blessing, Zev understands that God must come first and his family, second. Yet in order to be successful in what he feels God is calling him to do, a lot of hard work must go into the building of his business. 

Be praying for Zev as he works out the delicate balance of ordering his time and dividing it rightly. To learn more about Zev’s biblical products, visit his website at: biblicalproducts.com.

Watch for updates on CBN Israel’s facebook page to see who will win this year’s competition! https://www.facebook.com/CBNIsrael/ 

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All Who Are Thirsty, Come And Drink!

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”– Matthew 5:6

Thirty-one years ago, just weeks before being released from the Israeli army, some friends and I went to the theaters to see the movie, “Ben Hur.” 
At that time, I was into everything the world had to offer and had never once heard the name -Yeshua. As I watched the movie, one particular scene captures my attention. A man figure approaches Judah, son of Hur, as he thirsts in the desert and He offers him a drink of living water. This scene perplexed me. “Who was that man who gave free, living water to Judah who was lost?” Even after the movie ended, that scene still played in my mind. 

As a young, Israeli Jew, I had never been taught the part of the history of my people of when the Son of Man once came to Israel to offer living water to anyone who believed. Students learned in the schools that Jesus was for the Christians and there was no connection to the Jewish people. We were told that not only was there no connection between Jesus and Judaism, but beyond that, Nazis in Germany destroyed millions of Jews in that Name during the time of the Holocaust.  For the Jew, believing in Jesus was forbidden. 
Yet after seeing that moment on film, of Judah being refreshed by a man unlike any other, I knew I wanted that water for myself who also felt my life was a desert. The answer came not long after when my sister, who had just received Yeshua as her Savior came from abroad to visit with our family. The moment I heard her sharing her faith, I made the connection that she had the water inside her that I had been looking for. Thanks to the film, and the prayers of my sister’s faithful community, I was like a ripe piece of fruit ready for the harvest.
I want to remind you that God is amazing. He hears and answers the prayers of those who are thirsty for Him. In this day and age, where everything in life has a price tag attached to it, God wants to give you and I true happiness which He offers to us for free. 
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”- Revelation 22:17

God has given us the opportunity to repent every day but He has also given us set times for repentance. These times are the Lord’s feasts. This month is the month of Elul in the Hebraic calendar. In this month, we look inside ourselves to search out if there is anything in need of forgiveness by God. We do this in preparation of Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement. As this day approaches, take the time to search your heart and see if you are in need of the Lord’s living water. If you ask of Him, He will surely fill you to overflowing and out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water, the water of His Spirit. 

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”- John 4:14

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The Destructive Power of Neglect

Neglect is such a subtle destroyer. It goes unnoticed among the many concerns that occupy our lives, but like a current under the waters surface it has the power to suck us down into the depths. The power of Neglect is not in the way or form it takes, but in what it communicates. It is also well adapted to camouflage itself with things that make it justifiable, never allowing the voice of the neglected to be heard.

First off, before I go on, I want to make clear that we are all guilty of neglecting others and have suffered from the destroying power of Neglect to one degree or another. To those who would seek to use their own experience of being neglected to justify their own bitterness and rebellion, this is not for you (to you I can only say that you need to do a study on the importance of “forgiveness” and learn to accept that people are imperfect). I do want to offer these thoughts for each of us to examine where our own priorities have been and how those priorities have led to us neglecting those we should value and love.neglect1.jpg

Secondly, the intensity of the destruction that Neglect will have is in direct proportion to the intimacy of the relationship. There are spheres of intimacy or relationship. The most intimate would be the bond of marriage of which God testifies that that “two shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) Then you would have immediate family, then a community of common belief such as a church, then a city and after that- country. If you can visualize the individual as being in the middle and the spheres of relationship getting larger at each level, they encompass more people and are therefore less intimate. But where there is relationship, there is the possibility of suffering Neglect. Neglect by a community will not have as much of an impact on us as the Neglect of a spouse, but both are hurtful.

The definition of Neglect:

1:  to give little attention or respect to : 

2:  to leave undone or unattended to especially through carelessness

If you apply that definition to the way you are called to treat those God has placed in your life, the problem becomes a little clearer. Think about the way you treat: your spouse, kids, parents, co-workers, and whoever else you would like. Is it starting to sink in?

Good, let’s keep going. If we can agree that we want to avoid being neglectful, what is it that we need to do? What is the opposite of Neglect? Here is a list of antonyms for Neglect: attend (to)heedmindregardtend (to)appreciatecherishprizetreasurevaluecultivatefosternursenurturepamperrememberlisten (to)watchfollowmarknotenoticeobserveremark

To help us to avoid making the mistake of neglecting others, we have to start with the acceptance of the truth that “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27-28) If we understand that God has created the people that He has placed in our lives, and that He has stamped them with His image, we will value them as those God made for the purpose of pouring His love into. Cultivating that attitude towards others is where you want to start. By Neglect we communicate to the person that we value other things above them. It can be work, material things, ambitions, drugs or alcohol- whatever it is, you are communicating that you value “it” above them. Reading and applying the Word of God to the way we think is the way in which we practice the command to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” (Rom 12:2)

neglectThe deceptive power of Neglect comes in the form of some of the reasons we allow ourselves to Neglect others. We all have trouble juggling priorities. It is a struggle that constantly needs evaluation. I think the most deceptive is when people neglect others for “Religious” looking reasons. Paul uses the example of Jewish believers of his day using their religious dietary restrictions to alienate themselves from fellow believers who were not Jewish. He writes: “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Rom 14:14-18)

As one who came to faith out of the heart of strict religious orthodoxy, Paul’s teaching throughout his letters was that all the religious activity in the world, aside from being infused with the supernatural love of God is meaningless. That is what 1st Corinthians 13 is all about.

This example was given by Jesus, and I love the story of this healing on the Sabbath:

“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”

The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound — think of it — for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.” (Luke 13:10-17)

This devotional was written by CBN Israel’s staff member, Daniel Carlson

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It Was God’s Idea to Celebrate

“I had no idea it was his birthday”, said CBN Israel staff member,  Arik. “I simply woke up in the morning with *Sam on my mind and I felt the urgency to meet with him that day.”

(Sam is a young man, the son of a single mother,  who has made astounding leaps and bounds in his life since the CBN Israel staff first met him one year ago. You can read his incredible story here. )

Arik had no idea why he felt it was urgent to meet with Sam, but he gave him a call and they arranged to meet in a near by coffee shop later that day. “Order yourself a coffee and some cake”, Arik encouraged Sam. Sam has always been polite and never wants to impose. Growing up in a poor family, he is not accustomed to the luxuries of coffee shops and fine dining. Sam so often declines any offers to enjoy a free treat.

Arik seized the moment to remind Sam that he was valuable to the Lord and that this was opportunity was a gift from Him. “Pretend it’s your birthday”, Arik said. “And take the size coffee according to how much time you desire to meet. If you take a small coffee, we will have a short meeting. If you take a large coffee, we will have a longer meeting. You decide how much time you want.” Sam became excited. “Arik, it IS my birthday today”, he said. “And in all my life, no one has ever celebrated my birthday. So I don’t make a big deal of it either.” Arik and Sam were both in awe of how the Lord had orchestrated for them to celebrate Sam’s life together. In the end, Sam ordered a large coffee and a piece of cake. 

Isn’t God amazing? How He cares for us! He is a good, lovingly, heavenly Father who takes such wonderful care for His own. 

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.”Psalm 103:13

*Sam’s name has been altered for privacy. 

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A New Life for Lucy

Lucy is a seventy-nine year old Holocaust Survivor who immigrated to Hadera Israel from Ukraine. She is a widow who has been living alone since her husband died six years ago. Due to the harsh medical experiments she underwent as a child in the ghetto, she suffers today from a multitude of sicknesses and diseases. In order to help stave off the worsening of these physical conditions, Lucy must keep her blood circulating through movement. But in her older age, her body has grown too weak to walk long distances without taking small breaks in between. She was left with no choice but to remain at home as her friends met outside in a park nearby.

Through faithful partners, and with the help of generous donors, the staff of CBN Israel learned of Lucy’s need for mobility and were able to provide her with a special walker. Lucy is now independent and is enjoying her life once again.

“This walker has changed my life,” Lucy shared with the staff.

Today, she meets with friends in the park , purchases her own groceries and loves taking in the fresh outdoor air.

In a recent visit to Lucy’s home, she shared how her neighbors, who have also survived the horrors of the Holocaust, are coming to request the use of her new walker so that they too can get out to the park or nearby grocery store. Lucy sees it as an opportunity to be a blessing as this free gift has been a blessing to her.

There are hundreds of Holocaust Survivors in need of these walkers. Those who have already benefited from these gifts of mobility have asked for walkers for their siblings, neighbors and friends. Would you consider helping CBN Israel meet their requests by giving a gift today?

God bless you!

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Following the Map

This past weekend I had the opportunity to explore the beauty that is found in the Golan Heights of northern Israel.   The region is famous for its hikes, waterfalls and mountain top views, so with just a week remaining of my time in Israel, I decided it was time to do a little exploring up north with two of my friends.

On our first day in the Golan we ventured off on a glorious hike to the Gilabun nature reserve, which culminated in a spectacular waterfall view as we descended into the basin. The waterfall was breath taking and worth every moment spent on the rough terrain to reach the destination. 

The second day, armed with the pride of feeling like professional hikers in the region, we set off on another adventure that promised waterfall views.

Before departing on our hike, we received detailed instructions from the hostel owner about where to find the trail that would lead to the Zevitan waterfall.  With map in hand and full of confidence, we started out on our journey into the Israeli summer heat, and boy was it hot!

We had been walking for about 30 minutes when we realized we had misread the map and were headed in the wrong direction through a field of horses. But instead of going back to the point where we had gone wrong, we saw a short cut across the field, which appeared to connect to our original path. As we cut across the field we could see a sign up at the top of the hill in the distance, but we also saw what appeared to be a trail starting from the point where we were standing. 

So what did we do? We convinced ourselves this must be the path and that the sign up the hill was probably pointing this direction.  We discussed walking up the hill to read the sign, but together decided that would be a waste of time—after all, where we were standing seemed to be a well-worn path, not to mention the fact that we were already hot and sweaty and didn’t feel like back tracking!  So, filled with confidence we set out down the hill.

Now you can probably guess where this story is going. After hiking for nearly 45 minutes and not finding any signs of a stream or a waterfall, we realized we’d made a wrong decision in not reading the sign, it was clear we were nowhere close to our destination.

With a good dose of discouragement, we swallowed our pride and walked another hour back to where we started (by this time in the direct heat and uphill).  As we trudged back, we were quite disappointed with ourselves, as we had wasted so much time and no longer had time left in our day to start over. Our mistake had cost us the beauty of the waterfall. As we walked quietly back I mulled over the spiritual parallels that could be made from this experience.

How often in my life do I make decisions based on my own knowledge and not consult the Lord? Where am I so convinced that I’m right, that I do not look to what God’s Word says?

Psalm 119:103-105 says “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore, I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

What a beautiful image.  

The Bible is God’s instruction manual for our lives.

If we’re not reading the manual, how can we expect to know how to live life according to the purpose of God?

As you approach decisions in life are you taking the easy path that looks to be well worn, or are you looking to the instructions found in God’s Word? His way will cost you. His way means starting over and getting back on the original path, but it also means you are headed for a destination that promises streams of living water.

For me, I can say with certainty that a waterfall view that day would have been a lot better than circling in the desert.  If only I’d taken more time to read the signs.

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The Highlight of David’s Summer

It had been a lonely summer for *David. School was out which ought to have meant lots of free time to enjoy with friends. But David’s friends were off enjoying summer camps and activities which his own mom couldn’t afford as a single parent who was working hard to make ends meet. There was one event however, that David could look forward to. The annual pool day sponsored by CBN Israel.

David and his mom joined sixty other single mothers and their children for a day of food, fun and fellowship at the pool of the Yehuda Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel. The mothers caught up on the current events in each other’s lives while the children begged CBN Israel staff member, Arik, to toss them in the water one more time.  One mom later commented, “Arik is like a spiritual father to us all.”

When everyone had worked up a healthy appetite, a luxurious dinner was provided in the hotel dining room. The evening came to a close with the presentation of vouchers to local stores in which the mothers with young children could purchase the much needed supplies for the fast approaching school year. The women were full of gratitude. Among their many thanks, came comments such as, “You are the only ones who think of us.”

As for David, this day was the highlight of his summer. His heart was full. But then his mom got a phone call. “You got in!” she said. “You are no longer on the waiting list.” A spot had opened up and the money has come through for David to attend a week of summer camp. “Wow!” David exclaimed. “Now I get to enjoy TWO things this summer!”

Thanks to those who give generously to the work of CBN Israel, these single mothers and their children are loved and cared for all throughout the year. In upcoming weeks, CBN Israel will be hosting dinners for hundreds of single mothers in six different cities throughout Israel. Would you consider giving a gift today?

*Name altered for privacy

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Earthly Fathers

When we look around at the imperfect world we live in, it doesn’t take any kind of special genius to figure out that the people who are in positions of authority in our lives are not as perfect as we would like them to be. No matter what level of authority: from parents at home, teachers and bosses, various spiritual leaders or the rulers of nations. There are a lot of imperfect leaders around us. I am not a big fan of “earthly” authority structures specifically because of the prevalence of abuse and misuse of power by those who have it. 

That being said, God has placed some very imperfect people in positions of authority over me. I’ve had teachers, military leaders, pastors, bosses and supervisors who have treated me unfairly and were even outright corrupt (I can fill a couple of books with bad experiences). But in spite of the imperfection of these people, God still allowed them to be in a position of authority over me, to make decisions that impacted me in a negative way (from my perspective, of course).

Everything in me wanted to yell, “Lord, what is this all about? Don’t You realize what is happening? Can I get a little help down here?”

Yet God doesn’t seem to respond. There is no voice from the Lord saying, “Your right, here is the way out from under their authority.” We remain in the path, seemingly hedged in and unable to do anything but keep walking it. These are not easy times, but painful ones. Most of the time, it is only later that we look back and see what it was that God did in us by allowing us to go through the experience. There are some of these painful experiences that I haven’t been able to understand until now. I have to come to a place of peace that God sometimes chooses to hide things from my understanding. He doesn’t owe me an explanation when I want one.

Sometimes we have the option to leave and get ourselves out from under these “imperfect leaders.” In  our minds, we are completely justified because of the “injustice” and “failures” of those leaders. But the imperfection of a leader doesn’t automatically mean you are not in God’s will under their authority. God may be doing things inside you through the situation that you can’t recognize right now.

It takes true faith in the power and sovereignty of God to submit yourself to a person in this situation. In the story of Hagar and her relationship with Sarah, it says:

“So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.

7 Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”

9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” (Gen 16:6-9)

How could God be promoting the ‘injustice’ by calling Hagar to return to an oppressive situation and be submitted to it?

But here is a concept worth considering:  That God gives us “earthly fathers” (or earthly authority figures) who bring “chastening” into our lives:

 “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:7-11)

I have learned that as I have submitted myself to some of the imperfect authority figures in my life, God has taught me how to submit to Him when He leads me in a way that I don’t want to go. God’s path will take each of us through valleys that we don’t want to go through, and there is no way around these hard experiences. But God uses these lower authority figures during certain seasons in our lives in order to train us for the times that submitting to His authority will be very challenging. So don’t shortcut the process of training that God has placed you in by making the assumption that your current discomfort can’t possibly be God’s will and wiggling your way out from under it.

 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  (James 4:7-8)

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A Hand Up Was All Ron Needed

Ron and Oded are two young men who grew up in very difficult family situations in Israel.  Their hard family lives led to them making a series of negative decisions that was setting both young men on paths of destruction.

Our families department at CBN Israel learned about their situation and recognized the need to offer guidance. With the boys’ mandatory military service about to begin, our team recognized it was a crucial time to step in and offer a hand up.  

Our staff spent many hours, even late into the night, providing counsel and assistance for the needs of both Ron and Oded.  Helping the young men to change schools, social circles and apartments were all part of the process.  And to fill the place of negative influences, these men were encouraged to reconnect with the local body of believers.

For Ron, this hand up became a springboard, launching him forward into many areas of positive change. Leaving the influences and bad habits behind him, he has connected to a community of believers, and even recently attended a summer camp for youth where his faith was strengthened. Those who knew him before acknowledge the transformation that has taken place in his life. We give God the glory for the great things He has done in Ron’s life!

Oded is walking his own pace as he works through the necessary changes. We ask for your prayers for Oded and that he would not grow weary in the process of change and that he would continue to pursue God in all areas of his life.

The Lord loves both of these young men, and though one took what was given and ran with it, the Lord will not forsake the other. For we see how the Lord never lets go in His pursuit of the heart but walks side by side at the pace we are willing to go.

*Names altered for privacy

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