Opportunity and Opposition 

January 30, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. (1 Cor. 16:9)

Opposition comes with every opportunity to preach the gospel. That opposition may appear to come from human sources, but ultimately all opposition to the gospel has a spiritual element.  We live amid a clash of kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world. 

“Then the seventh angel sounded, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15). Can you hear the strains of Handel’s Messiah echoing gloriously forth from the words of Revelation 11:15? Yes! All the struggles of this age will have passed, and we shall enjoy the kingdom rule of Jesus. 

Until then, an effectual door is open to preach the gospel, and yes, there are many adversaries.  This should not stop us. Behind all those that oppose the going forth of the gospel is a spirit that has already been defeated. Hoping to convince men and women to turn away from God, the devil and his cohorts are still fighting over their souls, but the Holy Spirit is still wooing untold hearts.  It is our call to work with Him to gather those souls into the Lord’s fold. 

To do that we must go and begin to build relationships, waiting upon God for the right words—words of life that will penetrate the hearts of the weary waiting for a message of hope. Sometimes we will need to be bold.  Sometimes we will need to be soft and gentle. Always we must allow the Lord to show us what to do and how to do it. He is the One who draws, and we gather. Allowing a chance to receive the gospel, we must seek to create a little safety bubble around those we are seeking to draw in so that anything which is adversarial is neutralized coming to God. Nothing can stop a soul, who is truly seeking, from coming to God, but much can war against it. So we, too, must war for souls with our kindliness, our care, our shepherd’s heart, and our willingness to run interference against anything that would hinder someone from freely choosing God.

God will open many “effective doors” in this hour. Let’s look for them and go through them to locate those who need to hear the glorious message we hold in our hearts and in our hands. Let no adversary stop us.

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

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

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.