The Call to Hospitality 

February 13, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

The sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler. (Job 31:32)

Truth is, we are all sojourners and travelers.  The call to hospitality is a central part of our call as believers. Our God is hospitable. He welcomes weary travelers, He calls us into His family, and He creates an eternal home for us. He knows what it feels like to not be welcomed even among His own people: ״He came to his own, but His own did not receive him” (John 1:11).

There isn’t anyone who does not want to feel genuinely welcomed. The welcome we offer is in the Name of our Lord.  With the same welcome we have been received, we should welcome. When we arrived at God’s door, we were not in good shape, not presentable, sinful, extremely weary, and without a present for the Host. Just as we were, without one plea but that His blood was shed for us, we came. 

We had no bargaining power, nothing to offer but ourselves in need. So we must not offer a kind of snobbish hospitality—full of condescension and judgment— but genuine care and openness. We have something to offer the weary traveler because we have been made rich—not necessarily in this world’s goods, but in love, in forgiveness, in belonging, in spiritual family. In our midst, the Risen Christ promises to be present (Matt. 18:20). In our midst is the raw material of love, peace, and joy that is needed to bring healing, and hope, and wholeness.

Welcome of the stranger (Lev. 19:34) was a Hebraic concept that undergirds the biblical understanding of hospitality.  Hospitality is not tribal, it is not clubbish, it is not a clique of similars. Hospitality welcomes those in need, period. That is hard because those in need may not look, sound, or believe like us, and that can make us simultaneously nervous and exasperated.

It is not our job to change people; it is our job to preach the gospel Jesus did and to live it out on the highways and byways of a lost and lonely world. It is our job to welcome people, not even in our own name, but in the name of the Lord. We are just doorkeepers in the house of God!

As we model the kingdom of God, it establishes the order and wholeness that God desires for us all. God’s kingdom is a welcoming kingdom of light and hope.  So now, you who are reading this, go welcome someone. 

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

Genuine Obedience 

January 18, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

“If anyone loves me,” Jesus replied, “he will obey my teaching and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who has no love for me does not obey my teaching.” (John 14:23-24a NIV)

We must be careful we do not talk about spiritual truths more than we practice them. We can develop a taste for good sermons, which provoke and challenge us.  We also can enjoy discussing great theological truths, which has its place. Unless we have a basic childlike relationship of trust and obedience with Jesus, we are greatly fooling ourselves. 

Loving to talk about obedience but not being obedient will get me in trouble: it is stalling and pretense. It may create a good impression with others, but it creates a dangerous spiritual vacuum—one that may sweep us away from the will of God toward a place of stagnation and spiritual withering. I may become like a child asking any number of superfluous requests or silly questions when my parents have clearly told me to clean my room. 

Do you know what God is asking of you this hour? This day? This month? Until you do, stop engaging in lesser things.  Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book,” (Hebrews 10:7). The writer of Hebrews then says that God takes away the system of offering sacrifices for sin and replaces it with an organic, heartfelt desire to delight in and obey God. 

Do we somehow not see or know that God’s ways are a delight? That they set us free and do not encumber us? Our attitude communicates the issues of the heart when we hesitate to obey—even what seems like hard obedience. Do we honestly think that our opinion of what is best is better than God’s? God is worthy of our complete trust, even if it is a process for us to get there. 

We must see the disconnect between our affirmations of love and love itself. We must acknowledge that a simple obedience is worth more than a hundred “I love You, Jesus,” proclamations that show no proof of that love in our lives.  What Jesus wants us to do, He has clearly told us in His teachings. It is explained in such a way that even a child can understand if he or she desires to. God does not ask more of us than we are capable of giving. It is okay to fail at momentarily understanding what God wants.  It is not acceptable to know what God wants and not do it, then cover it with religious fig leaves. Give Jesus the real obedience gladly bestowed. Delight in doing the will of God. You will not regret it.

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel. 

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net

For His Mercy Endures Forever

January 16, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

“For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136 NKJV

Psalm 136 is a psalm that extols the mercy and goodness of God. It reminds Israel of the innumerable things God has done on her behalf.  It is meant to be sung and meditated upon together as a congregation. Someone calls out what God has done, and the congregation responds, “for his mercy endures forever.” 

We need to have these “mercy markers” in our lives and rehearse them to ourselves and to anyone who will listen. Worry and the cares of life can cause us to forget the many mercies of God, yet we cannot help but weep with gratitude when we start to recall the many times God has undertaken on our behalf. 

The merciful acts of God link our past to our future. God’s faithfulness to us gets us through. When we are faced with insurmountable odds and fear that we will be overwhelmed, our best course of action is to review the many mercies of God from our past. When we are waiting for God to act or to sort something in our life, we can be encouraged by God’s mercy in the lives of our brothers and sisters. That is why our testimonies are so powerful and should be made public.

As believers, we do not live unto ourselves but unto each other for the common good. Our salvation is not merely our own. We are a part of a community of people who God has brought and is bringing to salvation.  To recount the mercies of God in our midst is to strengthen us for our journey. I am aided by the mercy of God to you, and you are aided by the mercy of God to me. 

Sometimes we may choose to use songs as “mercy markers” of God’s grace. Other times, we might use a place we return to. Whatever we use, or however we remember and proclaim the mercy of God, let us do it regularly. Mercy drips from the hands of God.  Let it drip on us, our congregations, our fellowships, and on the just and unjust alike, so that even those still in their sin can recognize the goodness of God and repent.

Maranatha.

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Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel. 

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net

Come and See

January 8, 2024 devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

He said to them, “Come and see.”  (Matthew 4:39)

The gospel is much about welcome.  In a world that is shutdown, segregated, gated, alienated, and separated, the life of the believer should be one of invitation and welcome. We have been graciously invited to the Lamb’s table, and we should not hoard or hide that invitation.  God has sacrificed much in inviting us, so we cannot be choosy in whom we invite. The Lord has authorized and called us to invite others to His table. It is God who determines if they are acceptable company. 

Jesus does not ask us to accept Him second hand.  He does not sell us a hidden bill of goods. His call to us is to “come and see” for ourselves: to look Him in the eye and decide what we see. Realize that your life is giving off either an open or closed feel. You are either consciously or unconsciously extending a hand to others or shutting the door to others.  You may feel that it is your prerogative, as a Christian, to decide with whom to share the good news, but it is not. Our lives are God’s invitation to others, and because of that we must be open to be able to be “read by all men.” 

Jesus said that “no man puts a light under a bushel.” It is not what a light is for!  If others feel welcome in our life by the way we treat them, then they may also become open to our Lord, who seeks to welcome them through our lives both individual and corporate. I need to ask myself, “Is my life welcoming others to come and see who Jesus is? Do I engage with people, caring about them in ways they can understand, offering to others what I have been freely given, or do I hoard my presence and the message of the good news from others as if I belonged to a secret, elite club? When we meet closed, walled-off people, we recognize how uninviting such an affect is and thus should feel a renewed conviction to be welcoming. Of all people, we are best prepared to be open-hearted and accessible. 

Is the fragrance of Christ coming off my life, or do I smell like a moldy, enclosed room? Am I subtly telling people that I don’t have time for them? Obviously we cannot be close friends with everyone we meet, but we can be open-hearted people who are continually extending an invitation to people to taste of our lives and to meet our wonderful, welcoming Lord. If we are closed off, we do not represent Him fairly or adequately. Our first job is not to tend our own lives, or to use our time and resources as we see fit. We are the bondslaves of Jesus, and we are to be seeking those that are lost and welcoming them.

This openness is something to be deliberately cultivated because it is the way of the King and His Kingdom. 

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel. 

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net

Buy the Truth

January 5, 2024 devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Buy the truth and sell it not. (Proverbs 23:23a)

If ever there was an hour to pursue the truth and buy it at any cost, it is now. Jesus tells us that the end of the age will be marked by a great deception, with God giving people over to the lies they choose to believe. We must choose the truth every day of our lives, lest lies make their home in us like mice nesting in a warm kitchen. Lies that we begin to allow will soon become lies we are comfortable with. 

Pursuing the truth completely can hurt because it makes demands on us. Our society is used to shades of truth: we tell part of the truth until we don’t know what the whole truth is. We even lie to ourselves and become comfortable with our reasoning. How far will we go to be able to live in the fire of unadulterated truth before we retreat to lesser things and partial lies? 

Can we stand in the full Light of God and have Him shine His Light in all the corners of our heart? Let us be brave enough to be embarrassed while we still have time to correct our ways and let God reveal the falsehoods we feather our nests with.

If we are honest, we need to admit we shade the truth in many ways. Better to live before God as an honest work in progress than to think that we walk in truth all day, every day. God has put a conscience in all men that warns them when they are not truthful. In believers, we dwell with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who wishes to bring us to a place of holy integrity. 

If we wonder why it is hard to hear what God is saying, we need to ask ourselves if we are trying to block the obvious! It does take time to learn the ways of truth and have it penetrate our innermost being right down to the core, but we need to start by giving God permission to drop a plumb-line into our hearts to show us how much work needs to be done. 

Have you ever met someone who could not tell the truth from a lie? It is a frightening thing! Our minds grow very dark very quickly when we do not walk in the light of Truth. John tells us that walking in the light, as He is in the light, is the very basis of our fellowship! 

So whatever you buy today, be sure to buy truth. Buy it everyday, and clean your cupboards of all falsehoods. 

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel. 

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net

Be Devoted to Prayer

January 3, 2024 devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)

There is a kind of continuity that we need to walk in when it comes to prayer. Prayer is what brings change because we appeal to God for His aid in a matter. So prayer should not be an add-on or a “drive-by” kind of matter in our lives—it needs to be a continual part of our everyday consciousness. 

The apostle Paul tells us to be devoted to prayer, but as we pray, to be watchful and thankful. It should become a matter of second-nature to appeal to heaven on behalf of those we care for, and those that we encounter that need a touch from God. And who doesn’t need a touch from God?

Being watchful means we are to look for opportunities to pray for people and situations. We are to stay awake and not fall asleep in our own thoughts and in the business of our daily routines. If we pay attention, God will show us who to pray for. 

We are also to be thankful. This means that we see the fruit of God’s care in our answered prayers. We see how we work with God through prayer and obedience to bring positive change and help to people’s situations. 

We are then thankful for what God is able to do. We grow in process and in relationship to God as we cooperate with Him. We labor with Him: we pray and He answers! 

Human effort will get human results, but when we are devoted to prayer, we begin to experience divine results! We are not hit-or-miss in our praying, but we are committed to praying as part of our lifestyle. 

We are devoted both individually and corporately. We pray in our prayer closets, and we pray in our meetings together. We pray and we pray and we pray. We pray and we watch with God, and we are thankful. This lends an activeness to our prayer. We are not just passively praying and then hoping it somehow turns out ok. We pray and watch to see how God will act because we are sure that He has heard us. He may not always act exactly as we expect, but once we have asked Him to help, He is always faithful. We learn who God is, not just by praying, but by watching to see what He does and then being thankful for His answers. 

So be much devoted to prayer.

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel. 

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net

Are You a Pioneer?

January 1, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Go you into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

The idea of pioneering may produce the image of a bonneted girl happily picking blueberries in a Little House on the Prairie type scene. True pioneering is much less romantic. It is birthed out of holy discontent. It is the call of the wildly unsatisfied in your heart to go forth and go further. It will impel you to leave the safe and abandon the known, in order, if at all possible, to allow the kingdom of God to expand in ways and places that it hadn’t. 

It is a deeper call to a place defined only by its persistence and incessant longing; it is a vision with a holy but initially vague blueprint. There is never really more than the faint but sure whisper of God and your heart beating faster when you are asked for proof of your call. Sometimes your community will hear the call with you; sometimes they might not. To go in your own strength would be folly; to not go, if it were God calling, would be a sad mistake. 

Be forewarned: Pioneering will test your heart, mind, soul and body. You will not arrive with the bath water warmed and the sheets turned down on the bed for you. You may have to labor in dismal if not horrid surroundings for years and see no real fruit. You will probably doubt your call a million times. It in no way means that you have missed God.

All of us stand or fall to our Lord. All of us must answer to Him. If you would venture out as a pioneer, do so as if someone’s life depended on it, for someone’s life, or their eternal life, may. This is not an hour for the undecided. So if you decide to put your hand to the plow, don’t turn back.

We must break away from the familiar, the entrenched, the status quo, and the comfort of our warm hobbit holes. Time is ticking away. Life is short. A huge number of people have not heard the gospel, much less accepted it. God wants us to be about His business because His business is about redeeming and rescuing a people for His very own. It is time to spread His fame in every dark corner to every person on the earth. “Go you, (yes, you), into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” should call us forth into places we have never even considered. 

Are you a pioneer?

Marantha!

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel.

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net