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

Prisoners of Hope

February 6, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. (Zechariah 9:12)

We are a people of hope, yet we still live in a world awaiting the full manifestations of the sons and daughters of God.  Before things get absolutely better, they will get, in some very real way, significantly worse. So while we are people of hope, we must also be people of the stronghold.

Our stronghold is Christ Jesus: He is our Rock, our Hiding Place, our Defense in the day of trouble. So let us learn to run to Him, to abide in Him, to know what it means to surrender to Him, for He is the One that we put our eternal hope in.

In the book of Titus, our “blessed hope” is described as the glorious return of Jesus to the earth. Our hearts long for Him and for that Day. We must know that our hope will sustain us through any difficulty we will face.  Again and again, we must learn to return to our stronghold. We must be as those in Israel who always know where the bomb shelter is and exactly how long it takes to get to it. We must be able to enter the hiding place of the Lord  even when we are scared, distracted, wounded, or disoriented.

May we—as those who have learned to keep their lamps trimmed and full of oil—seek God for the resilience we will need for the days ahead. Enduring through difficult times can be draining. Hope can and will sustain us. On days that are bleak and dark, we can train our spiritual eyes to fix themselves on the light of our heavenly home in the distance. Weeping may last for a season, but joy shall surely overflow when our blessed Lord comes. 

In the meantime, He is not holding Himself afar off. He is in our midst and will never abandon us. Learn to sink down into His Presence in all seasons, under all circumstances. There are times when you will feel nothing, but that does not mean that you are not being held by Him. There are times you will feel the deep joy of His Presence, but do not hold too tightly to the feelings. Simply enjoy them when they are present.

Our faith is an all-season faith. God is with us always; He is our sure and certain stronghold until the end. Tough times shall give way to the focus of our hope: Jesus, the Risen One. 

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

Peace in the Storm

by Heidy Fontanez

Most of us have experienced times when thoughts of defeat and hopelessness attack our minds. Fears well up and anxiety takes over when we experience the loss of a dream or the loss of a relationship or the heartbreak of a child walking away from the Lord. The voices say that our sons and daughters are lost and that it is hopeless to pray. Only God knows when our children will return to Him, but we must be convinced that God is working. We must believe; therefore, we pray and wait, but in the meantime we must fight against the thoughts that the enemy and even our own flesh try to throw at us.

God’s Word says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Our thoughts can take us on a ride….but we can take the wheel and hit the brakes. The way to do this is to apply the knowledge of God to the argument; this brings our thoughts into obedience. What He says is what is truth.

What does God’s Word say about the argument? The enemy and the flesh say, “It’s impossible.” His Word states, “ALL things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). The flesh and enemy say, “It’s hopeless” but His Word says, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). They say you are too weak to endure…you can’t do this anymore… His Word states, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 9:10).

A while ago I had to fight the battle. In the middle of doing everyday life, I got THAT phone call. You know the one that throws you into a frenzy. My son was in jail. WHAT? My world turned upside down, and I began to look for answers. I even thought it might have been a mistake! My heart began pounding, I thought I would faint any minute, my thoughts were hard to manage and I couldn’t understand the words I was hearing…yes, that’s the call a parent never wants to receive.

Well, after my initial panic, the Lord began to remind me of the Bible story about Jesus sleeping in the boat in the midst of a storm. Just days before I was sharing that same story with my son, not realizing that the Lord was already speaking to us before the storm even arrived. I came to a new understanding. As I sought the Lord, I felt the Him say to me, “Even before I lay down in the boat, I saw the storm coming. I already knew the storm was on the horizon, and I already had the answer. Just as I was with them in the boat, I am with you in your storm.”

This word, and many others that the Holy Spirit gave me, helped me to ride the wave during this period in my life. Was it easy? NO! But I decided to praise the Lord through it. I decided to align myself with His Word, with who He is, and who I was to Him.

So…you are probably wondering what happened to my son. Well, he came to the Lord through this tragic time. PRAISE THE LORD! Almost two years later and many trips to the courthouse, we saw the hand of God move in great ways. It was two years of believing Him over and over and over again. This is just one incident in my son’s life that ultimately caused him to come to the Lord. There were many other broken times that we endured with our son, but this was the one that caused Him to begin his journey home to the Father. My son is now married, and he and his wife both serve in their church. God is doing amazing things in both their lives.

I want to leave you with one more scripture on which to meditate: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phil. 4:5-7

Heidy Fontanez helps administrate H.O.P.E. for Moms of Prodigals, a closed Facebook group, and an outreach ministry of Women of the Word. 

Heidy Fontanez

During the loss of a 12 year old daughter she learned of the power of applying God’s Word and relying on His grace. She serves in various ministries in her church and is the executive secretary to the Senior Pastor of Bethany Assembly of God in Agawam, MA. She speaks at women’s events, both in English and in Spanish. She has traveled on missions to Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras. She and her husband Ramon, have two adult sons and three grandchildren. Her testimony is, “God has brought me a mighty long way and He is not done with me yet”.