Called to bless
From the beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, God makes a strong declaration to Abraham and his descendants after him: “Whoever blesses you I will bless and whoever curses you, I will curse and in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”-Genesis 12:3. What a statement! Yet have we not seen this played out through all of history how God has keep this promise to the nations who have chosen to either stand with Israel or reject them?
We know that God is watching over His word to perform it and every person who joins themselves to Israel and to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is blessed. We see this in stories such as Rahab the harlot and Ruth the Moabite. In each case, those who join themselves to God’s people receive His covenants, inheritance, promises and instruction. And they are equally accountable to the laws and commands given by God to house of Israel. (See Exodus 12:49).
But what does God say to the Jew concerning their behavior to the foreigner dwelling among them? Let’s have a look. In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, it says, “He (God) defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you (the house of Israel) are to love those who are foreigners for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
To us here at CBN Israel, we view single mothers in the same category as the widow and their children in the same category as the orphan. Both are without the covering of an earthly husband and father to provide, protect and love them. We do not judge the husbandless and fatherless. We see God as the Supreme Judge over all matters and we are His servants who are simply called to love.
That is why, in our work, we seek to serve single mothers and their children and strive to meet their needs with God’s love that He has placed in our hearts. We read that we were once strangers in a foreign land and now we have a homeland (Israel) in which we can welcome and bless those who are strangers and foreigners among us. We read that we (Israel) were once abused by Pharoph under his leadership and God delivered us. In turn, we can help deliver those who are being abused in their homes.
God’s instruction for us believers is this: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and fautless is: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by this world.” – James 1:27
So whether we are Jewish by blood or grafted in through the blood of our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), we are called to love the orphan, the widow, the fatherless and the stranger because this is the heart of God. He is a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation”. – Psalm 86:5
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, October 2, 2017, and reposted with permission.
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Israel hosts international Christian reporters, galvanizes evangelical support for Jewish state
Speaking at the first of its kind conference for Christian media sponsored by the Israeli government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told participants that Christians are Israel’s best friends.
“Israel has no better friends — I mean that, no better friends in the world — than the Christian communities around the world,” Netanyahu told reporters and media personnel at the Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Netanyahu upheld Israel’s commitment to religious freedom and compared its record to neighboring countries in the Middle East.
“Israel is the one country in a vast region where Christians not only survive, they thrive,” Netanyahu said.
Some 130 influential Christian journalists and news executives from around the world are attending the event, which ends on Wednesday, according to the Government Press Office. Representatives from TBN, CBN, Daystar and God TV hosted several of the sessions and addressed attendees.
The purpose of the gathering was to galvanize evangelical support for Israel and provide tools for Christian journalists to better relate Israel’s narrative in the news.
“The unbreakable bond of Jerusalem to the history of Israel is even more challenging these days, as ignorant and even nefarious international organizations attempt to undermine this bond,” Minister of Jerusalem Affairs & Heritage Zeev Elkin said. “Thus, the importance of hosting the most influential members of the international Christian media in Jerusalem is paramount.”
“As Christianity has its roots in Judaism, these journalists have the unique opportunity to understand that the spurious charges claiming that Jerusalem has no contextual historical attachment to Israel are utterly absurd,” Elkin continued.
The GPO, Foreign Ministry and other government agencies hosted the Christian journalists and gave them access to panels of experts and a host of government officials including Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
In his remarks Sunday night, Netanyahu focused on Iran, applauding U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that he wants to review the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic republic. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have long lobbied the U.S. to prevent Iranian nuclear weapon acquisition.
As expected, Netanyahu was enthusiastic about Trump’s announcement. He was highly critical of Iran, particularly for its treatment of Christians in the Islamic republic.
“Christians are brutally persecuted in the Islamic Republic,” he said. “Christians have been lashed for sipping wine during prayer services. Christians have been brutally tortured for doing nothing more than practicing their faith.”
He urged reporters to focus on the persecution of Christians there.
“Dedicate this week to highlighting the plight of the countless Christians suffering under Iran, profile the brave Christian leaders jailed for practicing their faith, sit with the families of the school teachers jailed for years merely for converting to Christianity, call out the lie and the lies of President Rouhani, who promised in 2013 that all religions would, quote, feel justice in Iran, while so many Christians live there in constant terror,” he said.
N.J. Schiavi has lived in Israel for over 15 years and is a freelance writer for Kehila News Israel.
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CBN presents ‘In Our Hands’ at Christian Media Conference in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Israel – CBN CEO Gordon Robertson introduced “In Our Hands: the Battle for Jerusalem” to more than 100 international Christian journalists at Israel’s first-ever, government-sponsored Christian Media Conference Tuesday.
Following Robertson’s presentation, one participant told CBN News his knowledge of Israel and the Middle East “can only be gleaned by self-education.”
“For a man with so much on his plate, it just shows that Israel is in his heart,” ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem) Vice President David Parsons said.
During the presentation, Robertson focused on CBN Documentaries’ latest production on the battle that reunited Israel’s capital under Jewish sovereignty, providing attendees with a complimentary copy of the DVD in English or English with Hebrew subtitles.
Robertson told participants how the docudrama developed over a five-to-six-year period from its inception to its U.S. and Israeli premiers on the 50th anniversary (to the day on the Hebrew calendar) of the reunification of Jerusalem by reservists of the 55th Paratroopers Brigade during the 1967 Six-Day War.
From the start, he said, there was a “heavy emphasis on accuracy, right down to the uniforms and the vehicles the actors drove. The film was shot on location at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, with an Israeli cast and crew.
Robertson said, “One of the great things about facts is that it’s pretty hard to argue against them.”
The week before the conference, the ICEJ featured the production at its annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration. On Israeli night, several former paratroopers, who took part in freeing Jerusalem from Jordan’s 19-year occupation, greeted the more than 5,000 Christian pilgrims at Jerusalem’s Pais Stadium.
When writer and director Erin Zimmerman joined Robertson on stage Tuesday, she shared how the Lord led her step-by-step from the start, saying she thoroughly enjoyed working with her Israeli cast and crew.
Zimmerman encouraged Christian filmmakers to bring their projects to Israel.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, October 17, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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LISTEN: Interview with Gordon Robertson of CBN – News of interest to Christians
Believers join Women Wage Peace march
Taking distinctive action against what they view as dead-end politics and failed peace processes, thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women joined together on a two-week march across the country to call for an end to the bloodshed of an intractable conflict.
The march was organized by the Israeli grassroots Women Wage Peace movement, and culminated in a rally of some 30,000 people in Jerusalem on Oct. 8. This year’s march was the second of its kind, the first having taken place last year.
One of the participants on the march this year was Israeli believer Hedva Haymov, leader of the women’s department at the Musalaha reconciliation ministry.
“As a believer I feel it is my duty to pursue peace, as much as it is possible, with all people. I also wanted to connect with the larger population and was curious to see how people of so many differing views could stand together for something they believe in,” Haymov told KNI. “What I saw on the march was women connecting. The march was inclusive, nurturing and encompassing.”
Women Wage Peace (WWP) was founded after the Israel-Gaza war of 2014. The organization has two principal demands of Israel’s political leaders: 1. the immediate negotiation of a mutually acceptable and sustainable agreement with the Palestinians, within a predetermined time period, and 2. the equal representation of women from diverse communities in all aspects of the decision making process.
Lisa Loden, co-founder of Beit Asaph, a Messianic congregation in central Israel, told KNI how she got involved with WWP after becoming acquainted with one of its organizers.
“When I heard the organizer’s passionate heart for peace and her commitment to actively do something to bring change, I decided to take part in the WWP march last year,” Loden said. “It was an incredible experience — marching through the streets of Jerusalem with thousands of women from every walk of life, singing and chanting, ‘There has to be another way.’”
This year’s march began in Sderot, continued through the desert city of Dimona, proceeded to the towns around Gaza, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv and Nazareth and culminated in a major rally in downtown Jerusalem.
In his address to the rally, former Knesset Member Shachiv Shnaan, who lost his son in July’s Temple Mount attack, urged: “Stop terrorism and stop the occupation. Let us live for the memory of both our fallen and our children that still remain.”
Loden said that the initiatives of WWP are the first steps taken by people who want to see Israel take responsibility to initiate and follow through with a solution that will bring about an end to the conflict.
“WWP are highly organized and are active throughout the entire country in large and small communities,” Loden noted. “As women we can make a difference and our voices can be heard in the places of power and decision making.”
”As WWP members we have demonstrated at the Israeli Knesset and have met with lawmakers,” Loden said. “We regularly hold banners at highway intersections throughout the country, declaring our commitment to continue to make our voices heard until the government takes heed.”
In regards to political color, Haymov explains that WWP is neither a right- nor left-wing effort, but rather one that is underwritten by suffering.
“This is not a pro-Palestinian organization, nor is it only Israeli,” Haymov said. “The leadership of this movement have, themselves, lost someone dear to them in this conflict and so they have the right to speak.”
“WWP has chosen at this stage not to use rhetoric that would distance or polarize those it seeks to engage,” Loden added. “This does not imply that they are unaware or indifferent to the imbalance of power, or to the issues of land, injustice and security.”
Marilyn Smadja, one of the movement’s founders, emphasized that WWP is not promoting one particular agreement, simply seeking an agreement reached within a predetermined time that is “agreed upon by all sides.”
“For the first time in Israel’s history, a single movement has brought together women from every corner of the political spectrum to wage peace,” Smadja told reporters.
Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.