Take Courage 

February 24, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NASB) 

Let us love our Lord for His great and realistic understanding of the world. No sugarcoating. No religious rose-colored glasses.  No saying if you just put a good spin on things, it will be easy. Thank God! Jesus understands that the world has some great, even overwhelming, tribulation in it. We won’t get out of this age without going through the most intense of all tribulations, the one the Bible calls “the Great Tribulation.”

Jesus does not promise us escape from tribulation but strength, staying power, and His Presence in the middle of it. Our consolation is that He is with us even to the “end of the age.” He is the One that will keep us and carry us through all trials and tribulation. He tells us to “take courage”— take it, carry it like a life jacket, put it on like a coat. We believers need to be a courageous bunch. We can be courageous because we can lose our lives in this life and not have really lost anything at all. 

Although we are persecuted and storm-shaken, we are eternally safe. We are held in His Hand, and nothing can snatch us out of it. Therefore, we can take chances that those who do not belong to God dare not. We can lay down our lives for others.

When the world starts to sink like the Titanic, we can give our life vests to those who are drowning without hope! We do not have to cling to our lives but can freely give them in service to our King. 

Courage, dear friend in Jesus, take the courage that Jesus holds out to you. Do not go fearfully into the night but bravely into the world. Rescue the lost. Comfort the mourning. Carry the weak. Feed the hungry. Proclaim liberty to the captives, and give recovery of sight to the blind. Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the soon coming of our God (Is. 61:1-2). We have no time to waste and no need to fear. We are held by God, and we are His ambassadors for the Kingdom. 

Jesus is sometimes a Person of few words because He sees that sometimes only a few words are needed: “take courage, I have overcome the world.” And because He has, you can! Lean some weight into that.

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

Volunteers in the Day of His Power

February 15, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power. (Psalm 110:3)

We must increasingly volunteer— not just at the soup kitchen, but to the purposes of God in our day. There is no time to be about our own business. It is time to be like Jesus, who even as a very young Man, assumed that those who knew Him best would know that He would be about His Father’s business. 

We really do not have a claim on our own time especially as that Day quickly approaches.  There is much to be done, and the fields are white for harvest (John 4:35). Our hearts should be even more willing to start early and to end late so that nothing and no one is lost. We should not be as those in the parable who are arguing over who gets paid what, or who has worked harder and thus deserves more. Let us be willing volunteers in the army of the Lord. 

How can we best do this?  God has need of many kinds of volunteers. We can ask God where He needs us most and not complain where He chooses to place us. We can start where we are, by keeping our eyes and hearts open to those in need who we encounter throughout the day. We can be generous with our time, resources, and our presence in other people’s lives. We can be a triage and prayer unit on the Jericho Road of our day—finding and aiding those whom others have attacked and left for dead.

We can stand in His Presence day and night interceding for the needs that God reveals to us. A lot of time in our life is “down” time or “in between” time when we are waiting in traffic, checkout lines, or for appointments.  We can redeem that time by remembering to volunteer during those moments. It is very hard for us modern, distracted folks to be present in our own time in our own lives.  We are always thinking forward or backward, and we miss the call and blessing of the present moment. Many of these moments could and should be offered to God. 

The day of His ultimate power is quickly approaching, yet each day is a day when His power wants to manifest in our lives and in the lives of the needy and lost. Therefore, let us surely be about our Father’s business always at the ready to bless, comfort, console, and even warn. Night approaches when we will not be able to work.  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

Do Not Be Ignorant: Part One

The Mystery of Israel

The Bible teaches us to not be ignorant of several things. We are not to be ignorant of the Gospel. We are not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. We are not to be ignorant of satan’s devices. We are not to be ignorant of God’s righteousness, nor of the fact that the Gospel includes afflictions and sufferings. We are not to be ignorant of the mystery of Israel. Regarding Israel Paul tells us in Romans 11:11 – 27 (NKJV),

“I say then, have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’”

We cannot be ignorant of this topic as God is bringing the issue of Israel center stage in these last days. That is not to say that we shouldn’t be about evangelism, discipleship, caring for the poor, etc. We absolutely should be! But, we cannot afford to leave the subject of Israel as a side-line issue. 

Since the mystery of Israel is something we are not to be ignorant of and since Israel is a central theme in the Bible, the subject is worthy of our attention, study and time. How we deal with Israel is very important to God. God’s Word exhorts us to bless Israel in Genesis 12:3 and to comfort her people in Isaiah 40:1

Many Christians have heard the verse in Genesis 12:3 but do we know what it is actually saying? If you know this verse in NIV, KJV, NKJV, or NASB then you are reading the second half of it as “those who curse you (Israel), I (God) will curse.” There are those who do curse Israel but probably not Christians, or at least hopefully not. What is important here is that the translation is not clear. In the Hebrew, two different words are used for the word translated “curse,” and they profoundly affect the meaning. (Please see the Interlinear here.) Notice that the first usage of “curse” is the Hebrew word qalal which also means “to esteem lightly, to think of as insignificant, and to dishonor.”  The ESV and NLT versions make this distinction and do not use the word “curse” in the first usage of the word. When God says, “I will curse,” the word curse is the Hebrew word arar which means what we think it means “to curse.” Therefore as ESV says, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” It is a better rendering of what is meant. Therefore, according to this verse, it is not enough just to refrain from cursing Israel; those who ignore Israel or think she is insignificant in God’s plan are also under His curse!

When it comes to “Comfort my people.” (Isaiah 40:1) no further explanation is needed. It means the same in Hebrew and English. We see the Apostle Paul in agreement when in Romans 15 he says, “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.  For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” Please keep in mind that the “saints” in Jerusalem at that time were Jewish believers. Following Paul’s example, Gentile believers should bless the Jewish believers, especially those in Israel.

Bringing comfort to “my people (Israel)” also entails bringing them the Gospel. This is the highest comfort we can bring to anyone. In Matthew 15 Jesus said that he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As he was sent, so he sends us! The Great Commission includes bringing the Gospel to the Jews. When entering a town, Paul always went to the Jews first! He said,  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) They may resist, but it is still our responsibility to exemplify our love for them and make them jealous of what we have so they are drawn to the Lord.

Our theology concerning Israel must be aligned with what the Bible teaches. The Church does not replace Israel. God still has a plan for Israel and because He is a faithful God, the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be fulfilled. 

The next installment in this series of blogs will explore the theologies concerning Israel further. For now reading Romans Chapters 9 – 11 will be of great help! Shalom in Yeshua/Jesus. 

Read Part Two here>>

Read Part Three here>>

Read Part Four here>>

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word and leads trips to Israel. The next trip focused on prayer, worship and ministry alongside believers in Israel is Feb 20 – March 3, 2024. Click here for trip details.