Grave Disappointments

March 26, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

“The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” (John 11:28)

The ways of God can be difficult to understand. Disappointment and hurt can come by what happens in life, especially when we have expectations of how we think that God should act. 

Mary and Martha call for Jesus to come and help their sick brother, Lazarus. Jesus deliberately delays His coming. Meanwhile, Lazarus dies. When Jesus finally shows up, grave disappointment and hurt have already started to settle in. Jesus already knows what He will find.

Martha goes to meet Him, but Mary is too hurt to even go out to see Him. Jesus tells Martha to summon Mary: “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” In our times of disappointment and disillusionment, our Teacher comes and asks for us. He cares about our feelings, but He cares more that we understand who He really is because that will bring more lasting fruit and glory to Himself.

We know Jesus on one level, but He wants to bring us to a deeper level. As such, sometimes He uses circumstances that we don’t understand to take us deeper. Jesus starts to engage with Mary, but she is in no mood for an eschatology lesson. She wants her brother, alive, here and now. Jesus wants to deepen the relationship they have, but she can only see what is in front of her, or in this case, who is not in front of her. 

We look at the short term, but Jesus looks at the eternal and long term. Our Teacher comes to us, asking for us by name, calling to us tenderly when we have experienced deep loss, disappointment, and grief. Sometimes we are not ready for what He has to say, but what He has to say can only be eternally life-giving. He wants us to know not just that there is a resurrection in some future day, but that He, Himself, is the resurrection. 

In our moments of grief, we can know that the Teacher is well aware of our deepest needs. Jesus chose to teach this lesson by involving some of His closest earthly friends. This can be a hard thing to understand, but we must know that the Lord’s wisdom is at work. When this happens to us, it can leave us shaken, but our dear Lord calls us to Himself so that He might teach, impart, and even resurrect. He may choose to press on those He loves dearly and who know Him deeply in order to impart greater truth. May we learn to receive comfort from the Resurrection Himself in the midst of our grave disappointments.

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek came to know the Lord in the early nineteen seventies and has a passion for organic church and the maturing of the Body of Christ. She loves to connect people and build healthy community in small groups. She travels widely and assists several mission teams. Rose-Marie also serves Women of the Word on their Board of Directors. She can be reached at email 
rmslosek@comcast.net

God’s Redemptive Plans and Purim

John 5: 1-15 records that Jesus went up to Jerusalem during a “feast of the Jews” to the Pool of Bethesda to heal a certain man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. The Bible does not specify which feast, but many scholars believe it was the Feast of Purim which is celebrated every year in remembrance of Esther’s intercession on behalf of the Jewish people before the Persian King Ahasuerus which saved them from annihilation. King Ahasuerus reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia – a large amount of territory. Had Haman’s wicked plot succeeded all Jews under the King’s rule would have been killed and Jesus could not have been born. It is always the enemy’s goal to stop God’s redemptive plans.

This blog is dealing with two examples of how God showed Himself to be more powerful than the enemy and all false gods, bringing deliverance to an individual and to His people as a nation.

The first example is of Jesus at the Pool of Bethesda.

The Pool of Bethesda was a pagan shrine to a counterfeit healing god (either the Greek god Asclepius or the Semitic healing god Eshmun). It doesn’t really matter the name of the god. Suffice it to say the god was NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The “angel” mentioned was a demon. By going to the Pool of Bethesda Jesus was confronting the worship of false healing gods. He healed the man instantly, delivering him from a thirty-eight year long infirmity! Jesus showed Himself to be the Great Physician! This is an example of how Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

The second example is how God uses people even in unbelief to bring about deliverance for His covenant people. The Book of Esther does not mention God, nor prayer. It does mention fasting but fasting is not an exclusive practice of Jews and Christians. So while Mordecai and Esther were obviously Jewish, could they have been of a more secular kind, rather than practicing and keeping the statues and ordinances of God? Mordecai and Esther were living in Persia, which today is modern day Iran, far from Jerusalem. They chose not to return to Jerusalem although free to do so. King Cyrus’ decree (Ezra 1:1) to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple happened about 50 years earlier. They and many other Jews had decided to stay in a foreign land that did not worship God. Ever wonder why?

Regardless, God is all over the Book of Esther although He is not mentioned. He raised up Mordecai and Esther on behalf of His people to save their lives! Just as God stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus (a Gentile) in the Book of Ezra, He stirred up the spirit of Mordecai and Esther (both Jewish). He gave Esther much favor before King Ahasuerus so that he reversed Haman’s evil antisemitic plot to commit genocide. Haman hung on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. The Feast of Purim was instituted and is still kept today.

The spirit of Haman is alive and well today. Haman was jealous of Mordecai. Haman was an Agagite and Agag was the King of the Amalekites who hated and warred against God’s people. We see this spirit operating throughout history against the Jews. It wants to annihilate the Jews. This is the spirit that operates through Hamas and other terrorist groups today. Please hear and believe what they openly say. It is their agenda to kill Jews and drive them off the land of Israel.

There is at time for peace and a time for war Ecclesiastes tells us. This is a time that Israel is at war, and it is a war she must win. There is no choice really. If a cease-fire happens before Hamas is eliminated, it means Israel loses because Hamas will rearm and will strike again and again. Hamas, Hizbollah, Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Houthis, and every other terrorist group (all backed by Iran) are for war, not peace. The only reason they want a cease-fire is so they have time to rearm and up their game against Israel.

For those of us who live in the West, it may be difficult to understand that a people group is so bent on destruction and death. After all, aren’t they like us? Surely they want peace, we think. Surely, they want their children to live. NO, they do not! They applaud those that kill Jews! They had parties in the streets of Gaza on October 7th celebrating the slaughter of innocent people and the capture of hostages, most of whom, by the way, are still in captivity after almost six months! Our western mindset needs a paradigm shift so we understand what we, not only the Jews, are up against. The Jihadist agenda is first the killing of Jews and then the killing of Christians. In their minds, “Israel is the little satan” and “America (which represents the West) is the big satan.” Do not be fooled! They are coming for us also. It’s just a matter of time unless we fight and win!

As disciples of Jesus we should make it a priority to stand with the Jewish people at this time. Pray for them. Send help. Advocate for them. Do not allow the extremely biased media and political agendas to be the only voices people hear. Do your homework. Study the history and know what the Bible says! Do not be silent! Speak up! We do not want to be like the majority of the Church during the Holocaust and look the other way.

Let us remember WHO our God is! He is greater! He is healer! He is deliverer! His purposes are always redemptive. He has shown Himself to be faithful over and over and over again, not just to individuals but also to a nation! He will come to the rescue of Israel and to our rescue, but it is our job to stand on the walls and pray and act!! Be a restorer and join God in His plan of redemption of individuals and the nations!

“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations. And you shall be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of streets to dwell in.” Isaiah 58:12 (NKJV)

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word and has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours.

Betsy and her husband Jim have three married daughters and five grandchildren and live in Massachusetts.

Hearty Deeds

March 16, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)

We serve and aim to please an audience of One: the Lord God. There are so many things that will try to inhibit our forward motion and dull the tip of our spear. Let us have our hearts set on God with a single vision to obey and please Him. There are so many opinions, some ill-advised, some well-meaning, that would keep us, by their pressure, from heartilygiving what we have to the Lord. Only Jesus gave the perfect offering. Yet, we can offer God all that we are, full of imperfections, for Him to use as He sees fit. 

God can better course correct a moving object than a stalled one. Vacillating will not help us make wiser decisions. Mistakes will happen. Yet, let us be hearty in all that we do, having confidence that God will correct our course if we walk astray. Don’t bring something, including yourself, to the altar halfheartedly. At best, a half-hearted deed is a mixture, and you cannot expect to be more than half acceptable if you offer something without wholeheartedness. Don’t hedge your bets when it comes to the things of God. Be all in or all out. If God says yes, it is absolutely yes, and if He says, no, it is completely no. Be the same way. If not, you will go only partway up any number of paths without committing yourself to any of them. That is no way to live.

Seek God. Seek the counsel of wise people who are committed to your well-being, but do not get entangled in mental reasonings or polling a wide audience for their opinions: it will only lead to confusion and grief. Put all your eggs in God’s basket. If you do, and they get smashed, they are now God’s eggs to be smashed! 

Spend adequate time waiting on God, but when it is time to get up and commit to a course of action, do so 100 percent. God can easily tell you to turn back, and if He does, then turn back 100 percent. Most of the pressure we put on ourselves is unnecessary. Because we are the Lord’s, He is the One that is in charge of where He will take us and what He will lead us into. God is good. Trust Him wholeheartedly. Let your deeds and choices be hearty ones. 

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek came to know the Lord in the early nineteen seventies and has a passion for organic church and the maturing of the Body of Christ. She loves to connect people and build healthy community in small groups. She travels widely and assists several mission teams. Rose-Marie also serves Women of the Word on their Board of Directors. She can be reached at email 
rmslosek@comcast.net

Hope Purifies

March 12, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

But we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (I John 3:2b-3)

Deliberately choose what you shall be about in these days. A well-lived life does not just fall into place without planning and follow through.  John points us to our collective destiny: to be transformed in seeing Him as He is on that Day! But that transformation begins in a very real way here and now.  We make ourselves ready as a bride readies for her groom. How do we do that? We purify ourselves “just as He is pure.” 

We do not want to be a mixture of pure and impure, of righteous and unrighteous. When we have a single heart, we live for one thing. We as believers ought to live for the King and His soon-coming kingdom. So we must deliberately be intentional about allowing the Lord to purify us. Now this Scripture says that we purify ourselves. It is really God that purifies us, but we have to give ourselves to the process. If that were not the case, then everyone would be pure! 

Do you realize that even as Christians we will have to adjust to a Holy King and a Holy Kingdom? This is why we get started so diligently here and now! Long to be pure with every fiber of your being! Submit yourself to the Holy One! Dwell in the fiery burnings of His Presence. “Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire/Is to be holy…Set apart for You my Master/Ready to do Your will”! (1)

We can get lethargic, full of acedia and spiritual fog, because we are clogged with impurities. We want our lamps to be burning brightly, without smoke or soot! This life is over in a flash, and there is much progress we can make that will reward us well for any sacrifice or light affliction we bear here.  Press into purity. Pursue holiness. Throw into the purifying fire anything that holds you back from being able to stand fully revealed without shame in the burning light of God.  

Having this hope, the hope of Jesus reigning over us, should impel us forward past any reservation. Push past laziness. Allow the Lord day by day to skim the dross of impurity from you. You are headed for the wedding banquet of the Son. You are headed there as His bride and not as a servant. So be found pure and holy and ready for that glorious event.

Maranatha.

(1) Brian Doerksen, “Refiner’s Fire,” 1990, Mercy/Vineyard Publications

Rose-Marie Slosek came to know the Lord in the early nineteen seventies and has a passion for organic church and the maturing of the Body of Christ. She loves to connect people and build healthy community in small groups. She travels widely and assists several mission teams. Rose-Marie also serves Women of the Word on their Board of Directors. She can be reached at email 
rmslosek@comcast.net

Kingdom Hospitality 

March 2, 2023 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (I Peter 4:9)

Sharing our homes and our goods with believers and wayfarers will begin to increase as times grow more troubled.  The early church was known for its hospitality because little bands of believers commonly met together in homes to share fellowship. Hospitality does not come without lots of work—as Martha of Bethany pointed out to Jesus. Jesus Himself was an ongoing recipient of hospitality since He did not own His own home but stayed with those men and women of peace who opened their homes to Him and His disciples. 

It would be easy to grumble about showing hospitality. Peter warns us against grumbling. When we practice hospitality, we show that we are family. In Mark 10:30, Jesus says that if we give up fathers and mother, houses and farms, brothers or sisters for His namesake, we will receive a hundred times as much in return in this age (along with persecutions). 

What does He mean? He means that as we leave all to follow Him, we may have to leave family relations, homesteads, and livelihoods behind. Despite this we will have recompense not only in the the age to come but here because we inherit innumerable members of the family of God and that which God has given that family to share. Whatever we own as believers is ours, but it is also God’s if we consecrate ourselves and our possessions to Him. The tension comes between defining “my” possessions and God’s “possessions.” God will let you decide. 

It may be hard for me to allow you, with the dust of travel upon you, to come into “my” immaculate home. It may be hard to feed 10 people with the food I had bought for four. It may be hard to give up my bed so that a weary traveler can sleep well and in comfort. I may be tempted to grumble at this, but this is the Kingdom way. I should feel privileged that it has become my turn to welcome weary pilgrims, to open my living room to prayer meetings that last all night, to share my kitchen table and my provisions with the hungry and the lonely and the refugee. 

Our individual sense of ourselves must give way to the fact that we are an eternal family. I have this feeling I will not live alone in the woods in heaven. It is just not the culture! So let us begin to live with hospitality toward each other now, learning to give a royal welcome, learning to receive others as we would receive Jesus. It is a blessed and holy calling. Do it without grumbling. 

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek came to know the Lord in the early nineteen seventies and has a passion for organic church and the maturing of the Body of Christ. She loves to connect people and build healthy community in small groups. She travels widely and assists several mission teams. Rose-Marie also serves Women of the Word on their Board of Directors. She can be reached at email 
rmslosek@comcast.net