God Appointments

June 11, 2024

Since early May I have been pondering God’s calendar especially as we approach the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew), otherwise known as Pentecost which occurs on the Biblical Calendar beginning at sundown on June 11 of this year (2024). I believe that the Lord is beginning to shift and revive HIS work in this season of Shavuot/Pentecost.

Calendars are an integral part of our lives. They help us know what the date is and what day of the week it is. In American culture we mark each day of the week anticipating the weekend or time off from work. We count the weeks and days until we can take a vacation, or when a baby will be born, or we get married, or a holiday or whatever day we are anticipating.

Many of us also have special appointments and we put them in our calendar. The calendar helps us establish a rhythm in our life and helps us prepare and be on time for special times like weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays and other celebrations important to us. If a certain day or time is important to us we put it in our calendar. With the advent of calendars on our phones we can also set alerts to be sure we don’t miss the appointment. Our calendars are mostly set around us and perhaps events important to work, family members or friends. If we are part of the Christian world our calendar may also include church events, holidays and special meeting times such as concerts and other gatherings.

How often do we consider that God has a calendar? He has set special appointed times when He calls His people to gather, worship, not do regular work, bring offerings and remember that He has brought out of the bondage of sin into freedom. There is a biblical cycle of appointed times. Jesus kept them as did the disciples and early Church.

However, in early Church history the Church fell away from keeping these appointments and began to set up a different calendar. For example, the push to create a separate non-Biblical celebration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection began as early as the second century. In 325 CE it became official at the First Council of Nicaea to establish the date of “Easter” as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Emperor Constantine wrote … it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. …Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way.” (Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book 3 chapter 18)

Have we received a different way from our Savior? I think not. We have received a different way from men who set themselves up above what God says in His Word. Jesus suffered, died, was buried and rose again during the week long celebration of the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits. God set the date in His Word. It begins at twilight on the first month of the biblical year on the 14th day – it is the LORD’s Passover (see Leviticus 23:4-8). God said that this time of Passover is a memorial and to be kept as a feast by an everlasting ordinance (see Exodus 12:14). Jesus is our Passover Lamb (see 1 Corinthians 5:7).

The next feast on the Biblical calendar is Shavuot (Hebrew for the Feast of Weeks) which we identify as Pentecost because it occurs 50 (penta) days after “Easter” or after the time of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits? Well on the Christian calendar it’s obviously celebrated 50 days after Easter but on the Biblical calendar the appointed time is 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits (part of the week now collectively known as Passover). Some Scriptures about Shavuot are Leviticus 23:15-16, Numbers 28:26-27, Deuteronomy 16:9-12.

My purpose here is not to bring condemnation upon us if we celebrate the dates set on the Christian calendar, but to bring awareness that there is a DIFFERENT Calendar – God’s Calendar – God’s appointed times. Perhaps we should consider these appointments that God has set and begin to incorporate them into the rhythm of our lives? Obviously we are not an agrarian society as Israel was in ancient times, nor do we continue on with animal sacrifice as Jesus is THE perfect sacrifice that was slain. God is also always present with us and we can worship Him at anytime and anyplace. But, just as we have daily relationships with our spouses, family and friends we also have special “appointed” times of special celebrations wit them. So it is with God! He invites us into these times. It’s not a “have to do it”, but rather a “get to do it”. Yes, it will take some effort to re-adjust our calendars but it’s worth it!

I am expectant of this season of Shavuot/Pentecost. I believe God is shifting us and as it says in Habakkuk 3:2, reviving His work as in days of old. We surely need it! We need a fresh Baptism of the Holy Spirit that empowers us be strong witnesses of the saving, healing, transforming and delivering power of the Lord Jesus Christ! I believe that as we lay our hands on people in humility and faith praying for their healing and deliverance we will begin to see His glorious deeds manifest in this season. People are sick – in mind, body, emotions and spirit. It’s time for the people of God to bring them the ONE who heals – Christ Jesus! Let’s also expect many to come into the Kingdom just as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when 3,000 souls came into the Kingdom and were baptized after Peter’s sermon empowered by the Holy Spirit!

I leave you with these scriptures which have been coming again and again since early May. Make them a prayer with me!

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. God came (and is coming) from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered (and is covering) the heavens, and the earth was full (and is full) of His praise. His brightness was (and is) like the light; and He had (and has) rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was (and is) hidden.” Habakkuk 3:2-4

May this Shavuot/Pentecost be the beginning of a shift for you and those you love. Come Lord Jesus Come – Maranatha!!

For more on the Feast of Pentecost/Shavuot read this blog>>

The image used above is by permission of Deana Harvey, the artist. Deana can be reached on Facebook at Tree of Life Art Gallery>>

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a non-profit ministry conducting Christian women’s conference, trips to Israel and online Christian Bible studies. 

Women of the Word also offers bible reading plans and instruction for how to understand the Bible for beginners and those maturing in their faith. WOW serves women of all denominations, cultures and ages and is focused on teaching biblical principles and their application in daily life.

From My Heart, in Jerusalem

by Jill Czelusta

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? …And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  Matthew 25:27, 40

Shalom from Jerusalem! There are many dates in history that mark significant events in the life of a nation.  December 7, 1949, “A Day that will live in infamy,” as described by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, marks a tragic event in American History. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  9/11 needs less explanation for Americans since it is a much more recent event.

The Holocaust is an event that is needing more and more explanation as the World War II generation is reaching its end. There are fewer and fewer survivors of the various death camps who can tell their stories, keeping the cries of “Never Again” alive. It is becoming easier for the world to ignore or deny those horrific events that took place throughout Europe.

Unfortunately, in the life of the nation of Israel, October 7 will be a date that is forever etched in the timeline of the history of modern Israel. As I spend time in Jerusalem, the atmosphere is thick with grief and uncertainty. There is barely a citizen who has not attended one or more funerals for the victims of the massacre or for soldiers from the war in Gaza. Just about everyone has a son or daughter, or a sibling, or a parent, or a grandchild that has been called up for service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Over all the years that I have volunteered in Israel, I have gotten used to seeing “off duty” IDF soldiers on busses, in stores, and generally everywhere, a few carrying their weapons. But it is a bit different to see those same soldiers carrying their weapons with them everywhere, even when out of uniform.

I have only been back in Israel since Mid-April, but I have met many people who are still reeling from their experiences. Some want to talk about it; others just stare silently at the floor. It will be that way for a long time. It is my prayer that my volunteering at such a time as this will bring encouragement to the people I meet every day.

Already I have had some amazing encounters with individuals, both officially while serving with Bridges for Peace, and unofficially as I have had conversations with my new neighbors or people I meet on the street. I would like to share a couple of examples.

I serve as the Food Bank Floor Supervisor at the Bridges for Peace Jerusalem Assistance Center (JAC). We have people come in daily who need our services. While most of the time they stay behind the glass that separates the warehouse from the front office, occasionally someone comes onto the Food Bank floor. We are always encouraged to greet people and interact with them, telling them where we are from.  It is fun to see their eyes widen as they learn that the volunteers working around the big, white packing tables are from America, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Japan, Russia, and South Africa. Others serving with BFP are from Ireland, Namibia, Wales, England, and Sweden. While I have had that same conversation through the years, this year is different. Almost always they add, “You are here during the war?” and their “Thank you” is even more enthusiastic.

Besides the weekly packing of dry goods, meat, dairy, fresh fruit and veggies, we also go out on special projects. One such project is shown in the “Beacon of Hope” video (see below).  Because of the war, both south near Gaza and north near Lebanon, Israel currently has about 100,000 displaced people. Their lives are in limbo, not knowing when or if they will return to their homes and their lives.  

While the video does a wonderful job explaining our project, I will add that we had many of those displaced people come into the formerly empty room to see Christians from around the world busily working, sometimes on their hands and knees on the bare concrete floor, building couches, tables, chairs, or cupboards for all the new kitchen supplies, as well as shelves for the children’s games. The amazing transformation of an empty room to a community center allows these displaced people to gather, as a community, to love and support one another. People who gather there will always be reminded that this room was transformed by Christians from around the world who love them!  I was blessed to be a part of that project.

I would like to thank Betsy personally for her encouragement and support as I have served in Israel.  I would also like to thank the ministry of Women of the Word for its financial support. May the Lord continue to bless this ministry as it serves the Lord faithfully.  

Women of the Word is a non-profit organization conducting Christian women’s conference and online Christian Bible studies. We support Israel, hosting tours to Israel, ministry trips, financial giving and prayer. We treasure the friendships we have with people living in the land. Please visit our Eyes on Israel page for more information.

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word. WOW serves women of all denominations, cultures and ages and is focused on teaching biblical principles and their application in daily life.

Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

“This day shall be for you a Memorial Day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.” Exodus 12:14

The question in the title is one of the four questions traditionally asked by the youngest child during a Passover Seder. The answer is in the biblical quote. It is to commemorate the deliverance the LORD GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob brought to the Jewish people through His servant Moses by bringing them out of Egyptian captivity where they were slaves into the Promised Land.

The Jewish people were brought out of slavery so that they could freely worship God. In Hebraic teaching worship means to live according to God’s ways; to honor God with one’s life and not to be bound up in idolatry. Exodus 20: 1-3 says, “God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.'” It took Israel many years to learn this, as it does us! If we are honest with ourselves it is something we are, or should be, continually learning and applying in our lives.

Regrettably, we often have short-term and long-term memory loss when it comes to God’s instructions and ways. This is why the LORD tells us to remember! Passover is the LORD’s Feast. It is not exclusively a “Jewish” Feast. Passover was celebrated by Jesus, His disciples and the early Church. Jesus’ “Last Supper” when he instituted communion was a Passover meal. Jesus suffered, died, was buried and rose again during the week of Passover, also known as the days of Unleavened Bread. The Apostle Paul instructed the Church to keep it. (see 1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

Sadly, the practice of commemorating Passover fell out of practice in the Church. The push to create a separate non-Jewish celebration of Jesus death, burial and resurrection began as early as the second century. In 325 it became official at the First Council of Nicaea which established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Hence this year (2024) “Easter” was on March 31, while Passover which follows the biblical calendar begins at sundown on April 22. 

Passover is a remembrance of God’s deliverance in the past AND it points to what Jesus accomplished for us! As a Passover lamb had to be perfect and unblemished and it’s blood put over the doorposts of homes so that the death angel would pass over and not kill the firstborn, so Jesus is the perfect lamb without sin. He laid down His life and shed His blood for the remission of our sins so that we can have eternal life and are saved from eternal punishment and separation from God.

Should Christians commemorate Passover? Search the Scriptures and ask the LORD about it. Read Leviticus 23 about all the Feasts of the LORD and the story of Passover in Exodus Chapters 5 – 17, especially Chapter 12! Read Luke 22:7-20 to see Jesus celebrating Passover and instituting communion. He instructed His disciples to “do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) Do you see the parallels?

How should we commemorate Passover? A Passover Seder is certainly beautiful and instructive. However, the Seder (which means “order”) is something that developed as instructed by the Rabbis over many years and is traditional. Many of the elements, especially the matzah and wine point us to Jesus. May the LORD show you how to commemorate Passover in your home. It could be as simple as reading the story of Passover, how Jesus celebrated it and having communion with unleavened (matzah) bread. It could be by having a Seder meal and going through a Passover Celebration for Believers in Jesus like the one here which includes prayers for Israel at the end. Please also pray for the revelation of Jesus to come to many Jewish people as they have their seders and this year especially pray for the release of the hostages still held by Hamas.

Passover has been celebrated for about 3500 years by Jewish people. It is a remembrance of God’s deliverance and a feast that gives them hope that God remembers His promises to His people which He does! Gentiles who believe in Jesus are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel according to Ephesians 2:11-13 so why not join in?

Chag Pesach Sameach – Happy Passover Holiday!

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry which also offers online christian bible studies and online bible reading plans. Betsy has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours there. She can be reached via the Women of the Word website.

Why Care About the Biblical Calendar?

Everyone keeps a calendar of sorts. It may be in your head, on your phone, or in some kind of written form. In the United States we follow the Gregorian calendar so we know what month and day it is. This system lets us know when to be at work, school, appointments and even Church. The date also marks when we traditionally celebrate certain holidays.

Did you know that God does not follow the Gregorian calendar? He set days, months and His holidays, known in the Bible as appointed times or feasts on a different time-table that do not fall on the same date each year on the Gregorian calendar. This may seem more laborious and confusing to us. However, it calls us to pay attention because if we don’t, we will miss God’s appointed times.

On the Gregorian calendar we celebrate New Year on January 1st. On God’s calendar the Biblical New year falls on “the first day of the first month”, the Hebrew month of Nisan (so named when the Israelites returned to Israel from the Babylonian captivity). Nisan (also known as Aviv) 1 falls on April 9th in 2024 on the Gregorian calendar. Next year it will be a different date on the Gregorian calendar. In the Bible a new month begins when the moon is new as evidenced by a sliver of moon appearing in the night sky. This too was an appointed time every month called Rosh Chodesh in Hebrew.

God also does not start a day at midnight like the world does. The day starts at evening (sundown). Genesis tells us “so the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5) and so on. Therefore “the first day of the first month” (New Year) begins at sundown on April 8th and ends at sundown on April 9th in 2024. God also calls the days first day, second day, third day, etc. He doesn’t call the days of the week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc which are names originally based on idol worship! So, we see how far we are from God’s design!

What are we as believers in Jesus to do? Well, we do live in the world and have to interact with it so we do follow the Gregorian calendar for every day life. However, we can have an awareness of God’s calendar to help us understand times and seasons and to commemorate important days on God’s calendar. Leviticus 23 tells us the days on God’s calendar that are HIS feasts. Please note they are not exclusively Jewish Feasts. They are the “feasts of the LORD” according to Leviticus 23:2.

In Exodus 12 God gives instructions about Passover. Notice that Passover begins at twilight on the 14th day of the first month of the year. Jesus kept Passover and instituted communion during a passover meal. His suffering, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection all occurred during the days of Unleavened Bread. More on Passover and its significance for disciples of Jesus in a future blog.

What else happened on the first day of the first month in the Bible? While Israel was wandering in the wilderness, “the Lord spoke to Moses, saying; ‘On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle (the dwelling place) of the tent of meeting.'” (Exodus 40:1-2) We know that we who believe in Jesus are now the dwelling place of God as He dwells within us by the Holy Spirit. Could this first day of the first month be a good day to take some time to inquire of the LORD as to the state of our tabernacle and do some house-cleaning if needed? May the Holy Spirit help us and Blessed Biblical New Year! Peace and Joy in believing!

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry which also offers online christian bible studies and online bible reading plans. Betsy has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours there. She can be reached via the Women of the Word website.

God’s Redemptive Plans and Purim

John 5: 1-15 records that Jesus went up to Jerusalem during a “feast of the Jews” to the Pool of Bethesda to heal a certain man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. The Bible does not specify which feast, but many scholars believe it was the Feast of Purim which is celebrated every year in remembrance of Esther’s intercession on behalf of the Jewish people before the Persian King Ahasuerus which saved them from annihilation. King Ahasuerus reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia – a large amount of territory. Had Haman’s wicked plot succeeded all Jews under the King’s rule would have been killed and Jesus could not have been born. It is always the enemy’s goal to stop God’s redemptive plans.

This blog is dealing with two examples of how God showed Himself to be more powerful than the enemy and all false gods, bringing deliverance to an individual and to His people as a nation.

The first example is of Jesus at the Pool of Bethesda.

The Pool of Bethesda was a pagan shrine to a counterfeit healing god (either the Greek god Asclepius or the Semitic healing god Eshmun). It doesn’t really matter the name of the god. Suffice it to say the god was NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The “angel” mentioned was a demon. By going to the Pool of Bethesda Jesus was confronting the worship of false healing gods. He healed the man instantly, delivering him from a thirty-eight year long infirmity! Jesus showed Himself to be the Great Physician! This is an example of how Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

The second example is how God uses people even in unbelief to bring about deliverance for His covenant people. The Book of Esther does not mention God, nor prayer. It does mention fasting but fasting is not an exclusive practice of Jews and Christians. So while Mordecai and Esther were obviously Jewish, could they have been of a more secular kind, rather than practicing and keeping the statues and ordinances of God? Mordecai and Esther were living in Persia, which today is modern day Iran, far from Jerusalem. They chose not to return to Jerusalem although free to do so. King Cyrus’ decree (Ezra 1:1) to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple happened about 50 years earlier. They and many other Jews had decided to stay in a foreign land that did not worship God. Ever wonder why?

Regardless, God is all over the Book of Esther although He is not mentioned. He raised up Mordecai and Esther on behalf of His people to save their lives! Just as God stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus (a Gentile) in the Book of Ezra, He stirred up the spirit of Mordecai and Esther (both Jewish). He gave Esther much favor before King Ahasuerus so that he reversed Haman’s evil antisemitic plot to commit genocide. Haman hung on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. The Feast of Purim was instituted and is still kept today.

The spirit of Haman is alive and well today. Haman was jealous of Mordecai. Haman was an Agagite and Agag was the King of the Amalekites who hated and warred against God’s people. We see this spirit operating throughout history against the Jews. It wants to annihilate the Jews. This is the spirit that operates through Hamas and other terrorist groups today. Please hear and believe what they openly say. It is their agenda to kill Jews and drive them off the land of Israel.

There is at time for peace and a time for war Ecclesiastes tells us. This is a time that Israel is at war, and it is a war she must win. There is no choice really. If a cease-fire happens before Hamas is eliminated, it means Israel loses because Hamas will rearm and will strike again and again. Hamas, Hizbollah, Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Houthis, and every other terrorist group (all backed by Iran) are for war, not peace. The only reason they want a cease-fire is so they have time to rearm and up their game against Israel.

For those of us who live in the West, it may be difficult to understand that a people group is so bent on destruction and death. After all, aren’t they like us? Surely they want peace, we think. Surely, they want their children to live. NO, they do not! They applaud those that kill Jews! They had parties in the streets of Gaza on October 7th celebrating the slaughter of innocent people and the capture of hostages, most of whom, by the way, are still in captivity after almost six months! Our western mindset needs a paradigm shift so we understand what we, not only the Jews, are up against. The Jihadist agenda is first the killing of Jews and then the killing of Christians. In their minds, “Israel is the little satan” and “America (which represents the West) is the big satan.” Do not be fooled! They are coming for us also. It’s just a matter of time unless we fight and win!

As disciples of Jesus we should make it a priority to stand with the Jewish people at this time. Pray for them. Send help. Advocate for them. Do not allow the extremely biased media and political agendas to be the only voices people hear. Do your homework. Study the history and know what the Bible says! Do not be silent! Speak up! We do not want to be like the majority of the Church during the Holocaust and look the other way.

Let us remember WHO our God is! He is greater! He is healer! He is deliverer! His purposes are always redemptive. He has shown Himself to be faithful over and over and over again, not just to individuals but also to a nation! He will come to the rescue of Israel and to our rescue, but it is our job to stand on the walls and pray and act!! Be a restorer and join God in His plan of redemption of individuals and the nations!

“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations. And you shall be called the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of streets to dwell in.” Isaiah 58:12 (NKJV)

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word and has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours.

Betsy and her husband Jim have three married daughters and five grandchildren and live in Massachusetts.

Home at Last

January 20, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)

We who love the Lord wait eagerly for the day when Jesus will stand in His rightful place reigning from Jerusalem. All that has been prophesied will come to pass. All nations will see with their own eyes the true King of Israel. He will have gone forth and vanquished all that opposes His Kingdom.  The peoples will be gathered before Him, and all Israel will know His saving power. 

Nothing can oppose what God has determined. Everyone alive on earth will need to acknowledge what the Lord has decreed and worship Him. If any do not worship Him and go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, rain will not fall on them (Zechariah 14: 16, 17).

Meanwhile, the kingdom of God has been slowly yet powerfully advancing in the hearts of those who yield to Him. Soon, Jesus will stand on the earth literally reigning as the rightful King of Israel. All human history is moving toward this point whether we know it or not. It is a dividing point, but it is not an arguable point. God allows man free will, but He has also determined the scope, bounds, and outcome of human history. His decisions cannot be overthrown. 

Jesus moved humbly through the world during His first coming. He did not overtake the earthly powers that ruled. He rather quietly entered human history to redeem His people. He did not come with force, but He did come with a plan evil principalities did not see until they had been spiritually defeated. His ultimate victory was accomplished on the Cross, but the final outworking of that victory is still in our future.

O the depths of the wisdom of God! He now sits assuredly in the heavens awaiting His Day. It will be a gloriously splendid Day for all who love Him, and for all who will come to love Him on that Day. He will sit down on the throne of David, and David will call Him, “My Lord,” as shall we (Psalm 110:1). Our hearts await that day. He will sit down and “His resting place will be glorious.”

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 You Love Me? 

January 10, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” ( John 21:15)

 The resurrected Jesus finds Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee drowning his sorrows by returning to his old life of fishing.  When we are emotionally discouraged we often turn to familiar old patterns and places to seek comfort. Jesus goes looking for Peter who must be sitting with a huge amount of guilt and confusion after denying Jesus. Jesus could have yelled at Peter, humiliated him for his actions, but instead Jesus decides to do a miracle that makes one laugh to restore Peter. 

When things spin out of control we like to stabilize ourselves by doing what we do, or think we do well. Peter is a good fisherman but this time he returns to fishing and fails to catch anything. This is because Jesus has rounded up all the fish so that none will go to Peter until He says so! Jesus has already got some fish, and most likely not with a fishing pole! He is having breakfast on the shore and when he sees the tired, empty-handed fishermen near shore He asks them if they have caught anything knowing full well they didn’t! He advises them to put the net on the other side of the boat where they suddenly pull up 153 fish. Ha! Haha! John figures out it’s the Lord, perhaps because Jesus probably pranked them with amazing things in the three years they spent together. Can you feel your heart trembling when you read this and imagine that moment? 

Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee: a possible location of the Lord making breakfast

Jesus invites them to eat some breakfast with the catch of fish! He feeds Peter so that Peter can begin to heal and go forth in his calling to feed others. He knows what Peter has done and He knows He needs to clear the air and Peter’s heart before Peter can go on. He asks Peter if he loves “these”— the fish and the fishing life— more than Himself. He knows what is in Peter’s heart but Peter has to know and acknowledge what is in His heart so he will be working from love and not guilt. What a gracious Lord we have who forgives our weaknesses and restores our calling because He knows us through and through and knows we do not wish to fail Him. Three times Peter had denied Him and three times Jesus asks him to now affirm his love for Him. It is not done vindictively but with gentle humor and a miracle to boot.

Who cannot love Him, our Lord and Friend?

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. 

Eyes on Israel: Who Will Have Pity?

As we watch current events unfolding in Israel Jeremiah 15:5 asks us a very poignant question. “Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, or who will grieve for you? Who will turn aside to ask about your welfare?” Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and according to Ezekiel 5:5 “the center of the nations.” When I think of Jerusalem I think of all of Israel so I ask, “Who will have pity on you, O Israel, or who will grieve for you? Who will turn aside to ask about your welfare?” I pray your answer is “I will!”

The Hebrew word for pity is “chamal.” It means to spare, to have compassion, to desire, to become responsible for and to have pity. The Hebrew word for grieve used in the verse is “nud.” It’s meanings include to have sympathy for.

During this time of war in Israel God tell us in Isaiah 40:1 to “Comfort, comfort my people.” Israel has experienced horrific atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians. These are crimes at the level of ISIS, the Natzis and perhaps even worse on her own soil. Imagine the trauma! It is a time to have pity, to grieve and to comfort.

I am not going to go into the theology of God’s heart for Israel here. If that is new to you please read our recent series of blogs, “Do Not Be Ignorant .” Start with Part Four entitled, “The Prophetic Future of Israel and the Role of the Church” which has links to all of the series and will give you background. “Why Still Care About Israel?” is an excellent book you can download free by clicking here.

For now, let’s focus on how we can turn aside to comfort Israel. First we must go to the Lord and ask Him some important questions to prepare ourselves in these days. What we are seeing is not just an attack against Israel as a nation and people. We are seeing a war between God and satan, between good and evil. Where we stand is critical. Are we on God’s side? Are we living in a way that honors God? Are we concerned about the things that concern Him? God tells us in Deuteronomy 11: 12 that His eye is always upon Israel from the beginning of the year to the end of the year and that He cares for Israel. Do we?

We can no longer bury our head in the sand and think it’s “over there.” What is “over there” may very well come here very soon and faster than we’d care to think about. Are we ready?

Prayer and action helps us to be ready. First, let’s comfort in prayer and in action. I have compiled some prayer points below. Many are from Messianic ministries in Israel. Use them as a guide. If you want to give donations to help those on the ground there is a list of ministries that Women of the Word has personal relationship with and we know they are trustworthy. God bless you as you pray and comfort Israel.

Women of the Word hosts a weekly prayer time on Zoom. Please join us on Thursdays from 7:30 – 8:30 pm Eastern Time. Zoom meeting ID 336 129 6405 Passcode 390194 or by phone at 646-876-9923.

Prayer Points:

From Rick Riddings at Succat Hallel, 24/7 prayer in Jerusalem, succathallel.com 

  • Pray to “contain and restrain” regional conflicts, so that they do not escalate into a premature World War 3 that would greatly hinder the Great Harvest.

From the leadership team at Kehilat HaCarmel, a congregation on Mount Carmel

  • Comfort for the families of those who are mourning the loss of a loved one, for those who have loved ones who are kidnapped or missing, and for the country as a whole. Almost everybody knows someone who was killed or kidnapped.
  • Wisdom for our leaders as they seek the safe return of all the hostages being held in Gaza.
  • Protection for our security forces as they continue to make sure that all the Hamas infiltrators have been eradicated in Israel. Our security forces are made up of our husbands, sons, daughters, and others who are very close to us. Please pray for God’s presence to be very real to them. 
  • Godly wisdom for parents: One of the many challenges facing families is that all the schools and child care are closed.  Many parents need to work as well as take care of their children.  Some are grieving and the emotional burden is overwhelming.  Please pray for parents to have God’s wisdom to know what to do and how to overcome in these difficult days.

From Ariel and Shayla Hyde at Tree of Life Ministries

  • For God to pour out His Holy Spirit across Israel, bringing conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment, leading to a wave of true repentance (John 16:8-11)
  • For Israelis (of all backgrounds) to see that the only place we can find true forgiveness and true protection is under the blood of the perfect Lamb, Jesus, Yeshua, who was slain for us (John 1:29)
  • For the people of Gaza to cry out to God, and that Yeshua would reveal Himself to them as He did to Hagar in her time of distress (Genesis 16, 21), so that many would come to salvation
  • That God, out of His great mercy – and though we don’t deserve it – would grant supernatural protection over Israel, the IDF soldiers, and all of those in Gaza not supporting terrorism (Psalm 121)
  • That God will intervene and miraculously deliver the hostages (1 Samuel 30:18-19)
  • For comfort and healing for all of those mourning loss (Isaiah 40:1-2) 
  • That God will anoint and empower all of the believers in Israel, and especially the believing soldiers, to be a light to those around us and boldly and compassionately share the hope within us, the Gospel of Messiah (1 Peter 3:15)
  • For our continued work in sharing the Gospel online right now – that many Israelis who are full of fear and anger and glued to their screens now would hear the Good News and find the peace, joy, and new life that is available in Messiah (Matthew 11:28-30)

From Joel Richardson at Global Catalytic Ministries.

  • Global Reaction: Pray for wisdom and discernment for leaders and nations around the world as they respond to the situation in Israel. Pray for a collective effort towards peace and de-escalation.
  • Fear and Division: Pray against fear and division, which can fuel conflicts. Pray that the spirit of love and reconciliation will prevail, bridging divides and bringing understanding.
  • Sleeper Cells: Pray against the influence of sleeper cells and individuals who may seek to escalate the conflict. Pray for exposure and for God’s intervention in their hearts.
  • End to Violence: Pray for an end to violence and for healing for all those affected by the conflict.
  • Disciple Makers: Pray for the safety of disciple makers in Israel. Pray that God would grant the opportunity for them to share the gospel and for open and receptive hearts.

In addition please pray for

  • The Church globally to awaken and repent of our sins, both corporately and personally, and to arise in support of Israel and God’s Kingdom purposes in the earth. 
  • For the United States to stand strong and to continue to stand strong with Israel.
  • For the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles including Arabs and the formation of the “one new man” according to Ephesians 2:14-16.
  • For your neighbors and communities and how you can be a blessing, encouragement and shine the light of the Gospel. Be salt and light!

Suggested Ministries to give to that are involved in relief efforts, spreading the Gospel, and teachings on Israel

  • Any of the ministries listed and linked to in the prayer points above
  • Dugit in Tel Aviv. They also minister in Southern Israel.
  • FAI Relief efforts and refurbishing of bomb shelters in the Golan Heights.
  • Heart of G-d produces high quality outreach videos and booklets to equip believers in sharing the Gospel.
  • David’s Tent produces teaching newsletters on Israel both biblically and on current events
  • Hope Nazareth House of Prayer a place where Arabs and Jews come together to pray and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and our Messiah Yeshua/Jesus.
  • Ima’s Goodies ministers to IDF soldiers and border police.
  • Abundant Hope International ministers directly to Holocaust Survivors
  • Bridges for Peace that gives food and help throughout Israel

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word and has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours.

Do Not Be Ignorant: Part Four

The Prophetic Future of Israel and the Role of the Church

How are we to view the role of the Church as it pertains to the prophetic future of Israel? Many eschatological discussions commonly focus on what may happen when a person goes when they die or when the rapture will be. These kinds of discussions are somewhat focused on the individual,  but we need, in this hour,  to be aware of the Lord’s purposes for His Body as a whole as this age draws to a close and the millennial kingdom nears. Our Lord will soon rule for a thousand years from Jerusalem, here on earth, and all Israel will be saved! (Jeremiah 31:34, Romans 11:26 ). Much is left to happen here on earth! So let us inquire of the Scriptures so that we do not remain ignorant.

Israel still has a central place in the plan of God, and we, as the Church, are part of that.  Do you know that God will still fulfill His purposes with Israel and that we are called to an important role as believers? 

The apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 11:1&2: “Has God cast away His people? God forbid…God has not cast away His people who He foreknew.” He goes on to say that there is a remnant in Israel who believe in Christ according to the election of grace although as a whole Israel’s eyes have been darkened for a season. Yet, even this is to a good end: through Israel’s fall, salvation comes to the Gentiles, for to provoke Israel to jealousy! (Romans 11:10&11). These are deep waters!  How does God turn sin and unbelief to salvation?

God called Israel into a covenant that He Himself would be faithful to even if Israel was not (Psalm 105:8, Judges 2:1). Israel did not recognize the Messiah who came in the person of Jesus Christ and, thus, they went into captivity. Jerusalem fell and the Jewish people were scattered into the nations.  Paul says that Gentile believers have now been “grafted in” (Romans 11:17) to partake of the salvation given to Israel. Israel was chosen by God to show forth His grace, not because they were better than any other people, but because of divine calling. Yet, Israel had to obey the Law and make sacrifices for sin because the perfect sacrifice of Jesus had not yet come. They labored under the demands of the Law of Moses and the sacrifice of animals to atone for their sins. 

Jesus came and died for us to open the door of salvation to all men, not through works of obedience to the Law and following its many demands, but by believing and accepting what He has done to atone for our sins. Structural, mechanical works are now replaced with relational faith and obedience. So what does this mean? As God calls Israel back to a place where they will recognize and worship Him when He appears, He calls us to “make Israel jealous” by showing forth that we are saved by adhering to Christ and not by accomplishing works of the Law (Romans 11:11). We have all the benefits of Israel but we have been given them freely by grace. Our freedom in Christ, rightly used, is meant to provoke Israel to jealousy by revealing what God had intended all along: one becomes relationally right with God by clinging to Him and obeying Him freely. This gift should not make us arrogant, but full of gentle compassion and great humility.

Yet, Israel is still largely blind to this and to Yeshua, the Messiah who bought her freedom. So what is our purpose? Just as if we would prepare to receive a guest who did not know their way around, so now we, who know the plan of God, are called to stand with Israel as she is prepared for her final and complete return to the Messiah–one that will involve much tribulation. We are called to stand with Israel as many prophesied things will seek to come against and destroy her. God has given us wisdom revealed in the prophetic scriptures to see the “time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) and to be found as servants to her in her greatest hour of need.  

God has everything perfectly under control. He sees the end and the complete and total salvation of Israel on that Day when He comes on the clouds where “every eye will behold Him and see the One whom they have pierced.” (Zechariah 12:10). We are midwives to that event so do not believe that we will be watching this from heaven. The Church will be on earth to stand with Israel and to give her aid and direction. In Daniel 11:33 it is written that the “maskilim”, the wise ones, will instruct many in those days in the middle of great tribulation and deception. We have a formidable task and calling as believers who already recognize the Lord’s Christ and his plans for the end of the age. Let us begin to pray for our Jewish neighbors and friends who do not yet know Him. Perhaps they are not open to hear us yet. So, we wait patiently and pray as God waits patiently. 

Your role and my role are vital as we intercede for and seek to aid Israel in whatever way He shows us. We work with God and His purposes no matter what it may cost. 

Read Part One here>>

Read Part Two here>>

Read Part Three here>>

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Teams for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Israel. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net

Do Not Be Ignorant Series: Part Three

How Can We Do Better? The Ungodly Blight of Antisemitism in Christian History

Read Part One Here>> Read Part Two Here>>

There is no doubt that the Jewish people have suffered immensely throughout history. Some of the suffering has been, sadly, at the hands of people, some of them professing Christians, who had an unscriptural view of Israel or were putting all the guilt for the death of the Messiah upon them.  It is important to view Israel properly and seek to support and encourage her in a biblically correct way. If we don’t get this right, we stand to get much wrong, especially as future events concerning Israel unfold.

As Christianity rose to be the sanctioned state religion in Europe under Constantine it became easy to blame the death of Jesus upon the Jewish people without owning that Jesus came to die for ALL of humanity’s sins (1 John 2:1-2), and that all of us had a direct part in why He had to die (Romans 3:23-24). As blame, hatred, and misunderstanding snowballed, so did the persecution of Jewish people. Some contributing factors were theological ideas such as the concept that the Church now “replaced” Israel. 

Martin Luther fostered the idea of replacement theology when it appeared that trying to convert Jews was not met with openness.  His “advice” initially went from trying to be patient with them to ultimately urging the burning of their synagogues, putting them in settlements, confiscating their literature, threatening rabbis with death, and not allowing them free passage. You can understand how hostility could arise on both sides. Other factors were events like the Crusades, which sought to reclaim the Holy Land for Christians by force. Violence was added to theological or cultural viewpoints so that by the time Hitler came to power in the 1930s, a maelstrom of hatred against the Jews was again poised to happen. The Holocaust was a dark day for the Jews but a darker one for those administering it. At least six million Jews were murdered. 

 Antisemitism, aided with fuel from Satan’s hatred of Israel, spread and increased, and is still increasing to this day.  We cannot stand by and allow this to happen without doing all that we can to aid our Jewish neighbors.

We as Gentile believers, are not divorced from Israel but are of “the commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:11-13). We are “wild branches” grafted into the branches of the olive tree that is Israel (Romans 11:17-18). The apostle Paul tells us not to be arrogant toward the original branches. He shows us that through their unbelief, Jesus redeemed ALL of us, and salvation came to us who were “afar off.” 

God has made irrevocable promises to Israel that He will not renege on (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:17-18; Genesis 17:8; Jeremiah 31:2-4; Ezekiel 36:22-24). Israel’s current spiritual blindness will be overturned at the end of the age, and “all Israel will see “He whom they have pierced” and repent (Zechariah 12:10). It is now the place of the Church to stand with Israel and to pray for her complete salvation. The apostle Paul tells us that the Gentile church is to “provoke Israel to jealousy” (Romans 11:11). What in the world does that mean? Isn’t jealousy bad? Paul means that just by having a relationship with God that is not built upon obeying rules and regulations but freely receiving the grace of God, we can cause the hearts of Jewish people to be provoked to genuine faith. God freely pours out love, peace, salvation, joy, and every good thing upon us as trust in Him alone and not our works or our sacrifices.  It is the goodness of God that leads us all to repentance and salvation (Romans 2:4)

It does no one, Jew or Gentile alike, to be mocked or held in derision, or rejected or blamed. This is not going to make anyone want salvation! Our hearts cannot hold malice toward our Jewish friends and neighbors. Many will be our future brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of God. Difficult times are ahead of them and it is up to us, even our God-given calling, to stand with them in their hour of trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). Our love for them must be patient and kind, not arrogant or rude, irritable, or resentful, it must never rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoice in sharing the truth. We must be able to bear all things, hope for all good things, endure all things. Our love, the agape love we receive from God, must not fail. This does not mean that we approve of all things that are said and done by the nation or people of Israel or the Jewish heritage. It means that we will be there to help as God shows us, even amidst misunderstanding, trouble, or rejection. It means that we know the Scriptures and stand with what God says: for His love for and faithfulness to Israel is linked with His Name (Genesis 22:16-17). 

With notable exceptions, especially those who saved, protected, or hid Jews during World War Two, Jewish people have not always found a place of safety and reception amongst their Christian neighbors. Let us be a generation that is found interceding, upholding, and advocating for the Jewish people. The time of God’s mercy, the set time, is quickly coming to Israel (Psalm 102:13). So let us stand in our place and do as God directs to aid Israel and her people at the end of the age. 

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Teams for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Israel. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net