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

Flexible or Unbending?

January 12, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaking in the wind?” (Matthew 11:7)

Most all of us will find that we will have to navigate to a place of balance between being unbending in our core beliefs yet flexible as we understand them in deeper and more dynamic ways. If not, we risk becoming hard or even missing how and what God is doing in this hour. 

As John the Baptist’s unbending ministry gave way to the new wineskins of Jesus, people needed to make some adjustments. Jesus notes the contrast between John and Himself by saying that people complain because one is too strict, and the other is too lax.  Kingdom tension built up as people were seeking to be saved.

And so it is as God starts to clean His house again before the return of Jesus. Should we double down and become stricter, or do we open up and become more expansive? Perhaps the answer to that depends on where you are currently standing. It is likely that wherever we stand, there are things that we need to cut the slack out of in our lives. Likewise, there are probably some areas in which we need to add some slack. If we tend toward legalism, we need to see if we are finding our identity and our pride in our performance or by comparing ourselves with others.  If we tend toward a kind of laxity, we may have to apply some disciplines to our lives in order to be prepared for the road ahead. 

Jesus tells us that those born of God are like the wind: you hear its sound but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going to. We have to be willing to change direction when the winds of God blow us around. It is important to know what we believe but also be willing to see more truth and adjust either our beliefs or how we practically live them out. When we are first learning something, we can miss the nuances because we are trying to paint it either as black or white.  Conversely, we can be so open-minded that we lose that fact that there is much that is entirely black and white. It is human nature to entrench ourselves in one side or another once an argument begins. We must learn flexibility in our spiritual lives, even or especially into our old age. 

Let’s be humble enough to be able to let go of lesser understandings to gain greater truth. Bend to the gentle winds of God, or be broken in the coming storms that will have no mercy. 

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