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.

What’s in Your Wallet? 

June 4, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:22)

Jesus understands that what we clutch, what we trust in, binds us. We are meant to be completely free of bondage to anything or anyone. Our trust is in God alone. We—and everything we have— belong to God.

Many of us grew up thinking that our goodness and our “good works” helped us, or even gained us approval with God. We tend to gravitate toward that which we are naturally talented in, and that is not all bad. God has put gifts and talents in us that we are meant to use, but they do not gain us approval with God, nor should they be something we trust in. 

The rich young ruler is trying so hard, but he has his aces still hidden in his pocket. He knows, or thinks he knows, that religion is about following the rules, and giving God His due. He doesn’t realize that Jesus approaches him in love to get him to let go of it all! 

Here is a game that this earnest young man is not signing up to play. It is a game of winner take all. It is a call to total relinquishment. It appears that the young man is not exactly asking Jesus an honest question, as he most likely thinks he is getting the salvation game right and is possibly fishing for a compliment. 

Jesus is not rebuking him; He is backing him into a corner. He needs to get at what the young man is holding back, not what he is eager to give. So it is with us. The young man has money, and Jesus asks him to not just give a tithe, or a double tithe, but to give all of his possessions away and come and follow Jesus. 

Dear friend, allow God to rifle through your things and ask you for anything and everything. You can bet that He will find just the thing that you are a bit too dearly attached to—the thing that you have hidden in the back of the closet, the thing you are unwilling to share, whether that be a physical object, money, time, or a connection with your own life that, if not surrendered, will cause you some trouble and pain. Dear God, please just don’t ask for the chocolate!

God is not looking to take things from you. He needs nothing, but He does have the right to put his finger on that which must be surrendered in order for you to be free. So let Him ask you, “What’s in your wallet?” Then give it all to Him.

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

The Extraordinary Extravagance of Worship

May 18, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?” (Matthew 26:8)

We will never enter into the depths of worship until we understand extravagant waste. Waste is a matter of projected worth and perspective. What is a not enough for someone, is too much for others. The truth is that we could pour out the perfumes and riches of the whole world upon Jesus, and it would never match the value of His worth. The disciples knew less about Jesus than the one who poured out ALL of her precious ointment upon Him.  She was all in—they were still bean-counters. Our motivations rat us out. We assign worth to things, and how we relate to that which we have valued tells everything about the posture of our heart. 

Fear of waste will never get us to extravagant worship. We have to get past measuring if we have given enough. This is not about money but about how we will express the worth of Jesus to Him.  It is not about showiness—because then the rich might have an advantage; rather, it is about letting the entire contents of our heart, soul, mind and strength be poured out on Jesus with absolute abandon. Remember the Shema? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4).

Pour it all out; offer every part of yourself to Him. Hold nothing back. Make it look like you have given too much. You never can, but try. Embarrass yourself in front of others because you acknowledge your utter need for God and are so thankful for His extravagant love to you that you fling everything at Him. He did the same for you! He extravagantly poured out His love to the Father by extravagantly pouring out His blood for you!

If you are still measuring, you haven’t seen Him clearly yet. If you are looking for sensible, you might have gotten your priorities out of whack. God is looking for extravagant worshippers. Why was the woman even doing this during a dinner party? What was her motivation? Jesus seems to think that she was prophetically doing it for His burial. He didn’t think it was too much! Only those who love past their own limits can see the bigger picture. When things are no longer about me, I gain the divine perspective to be able to see how it is all about Him. Then the words “mine” and “me” bear no sway. Can you feel this woman’s willing desperation to pour it all out on the feet of Jesus? Read this passage until you see that she is making Jesus the hero, not making herself a spectacle. Perspective is everything. See His worth— be done with yourself. Pour it all out. 

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

Don’t Gossip

May 16, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no gossiper, quarreling quiets down.  (Proverbs 26:20 NASB)

We fuel a lot of dangerous, destructive fires with our tongues. They are technically arson because we start them deliberately and often with bad intent. God sees all things. He sees what others do, and He sees what you do. He doesn’t need you to tell others about what your neighbor did. Actually, it is safe to say He doesn’t want you to tell others about what your neighbor allegedly did.

Stay away from busybodies, and don’t be one yourself. It takes a lot of time to live right, to give God adequate time, to do the necessary tasks of everyday life, to honor the sabbath, and to worship. You really don’t have time to be always watching and judging what others are doing or not doing and then discussing it amongst others. When you do that, you are being a busybody, and you are sinning and causing others to sin.

If you don’t add fuel to the gossip fire, things get mighty quite mighty quickly. Learning to sit on your front porch with others and say nothing, or only say edifying things, is a truly blessed thing. And think of this: listening is an active role in gossip just as much as speaking. It can be hard to be the one to walk away from or shut down the gossip talk, but once you do, people will be more careful around you as to what they choose to say. 

If you feel the need arising to talk about someone, talk to yourself and God about it first. What can talking with another about someone else do for you? You might need a good talking to from yourself or from God to rearrange where your heart is in the matter. We really don’t have a right to think poorly about our neighbor. There is an old rabbinic tradition that seeks to put people in the best light possible by considering why their allegedly bad behavior happened or why they might have had good reason for their actions.  While it is wrong to justify evil, there is a place to give people the benefit of the doubt when you don’t understand or approve of their behavior. To do otherwise is to take things into your hands instead of putting it in God’s hands. Again, this is not to justify an actual evil, for there are biblical guidelines to deal with sin in a community, but to keep you from sinning by assuming something or saying something about someone that is inaccurate or untrue. 

Put out the fires of gossip. Better yet, don’t let them get started.

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

When He Appears

May 2, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

The apostle Paul constantly holds before us the hope of Christ’s appearing. This hope is like the North Star, something the believer focuses on to get his bearings in the world. While the gospel is life-centric, it is also death-centric.  One has to pass from death unto life. In our baptism, we die to our old life and are raised in the newness of life in Christ. Jesus does not reform us; He resurrects us. He brings us from death to life. He becomes our life. 

Do we understand the depths of this truth? That our life has actually died and we are no longer our own but Christ’s? Wherever Christ is going, we are going with Him. We do  not cling to this world, and to establishing our lives here, but we eagerly await His appearing, for that means that we, too, will appear with Him in glory. The old hymn states, “The world behind me, the cross before me; No turning back, no turning back.”

This world is not our home. We are pilgrims and sojourners, so whether things go well or not so well in this realm, we have already turned our backs on our lives here. We are now living by the life of the One who loved us and gave His own life for us. This is why we look for His appearing. It is not that we are looking to escape this world, but that we know its limits and know that it cannot satisfy us because we are born from above. All of our life we look toward the Day when He appears, and we appear with Him. What does that mean? Scripture says that when He appears, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). When we see His glorious Face, we will see our faces reflected in His and know ourselves for the first time.  Does not this thought send shivers down your spine? All of the shadows and uncertainties of this age will disappear, for we will be fully seen and known and united with our Lord. What a glorious thought!

So keep your perspective ever clear about the nature of your life in this world: yours is a temporary sojourn in a world system that shall be fully restored to the rulership of your soon-coming Lord. 

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

A Doorkeeper in the House of God

April 25, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [elsewhere]. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10)

When we meet someone, we often ask, “What do you do?” We may foolishly decide how much to value people by what occupation they hold. This psalm proclaims the blessedness of being a doorkeeper in the house of God.

Who of us does not feel awed unto unworthiness in the Presence of God? It is in His Presence that we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). In His Presence our joy is full. When we gaze upon Him, we are not looking around at each other’s standing, but we are together beholding Him whom we love. What might be a lowly job for one might be an ideal job for another. If you love God’s Presence, how perfect would it be to have the job to open the door into His Presence?  Notice that the Psalmist does not compare being the doorkeeper with a more prestigious job or with the wealth of the rich, but juxtaposes the job against living in the tents of wickedness.

The godly have God’s Presence as their home. They carry His Presence everywhere, and they invite people into that Presence. They are like the folks who stay late after the party, saying goodbye first in the living room, then in the kitchen, then on the doorstep, then just outside the doorstep because they are having a wonderful time and do not want to leave. Such are those that love the Presence of God. They gate-keep themselves from going anywhere or doing anything that would quench that Presence. A life lived in God’s Presence is not one to be traded for all the money, riches, or prestige in the world. The opposite is a life lived in the tents of the wicked. You do not want to dwell there. 

We are able to welcome people into the Presence of God by a humble life, a hospitable spirit, and a clean heart. Many yearn for the refuge of the Presence of God but do not yet experience it. This is not a job just for “worship leaders” but for all of God’s people who live before Him and know His love.

You carry the fragrance of Jesus when you abide in Him and go forth into the world that smells of hate, and sin, and death.  Go forth and spread His Fragrance among the nations. People are dying to know Him and smell the fragrance of His beauty. It’s not a lowly place to hold the door open for people to come into God’s house; it is a privilege and an honor. 

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

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.

Abandoned Worship

April 16, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

“And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight.” (2 Samuel 6:22a)

There are things we will do in the Presence of God, things that are also visible to men, that will be misunderstood, even disdained, by others. Perhaps they will be holy things that are really meant only for God to see but are viewed by others unaware to us. Perhaps even the holy thing we set our heart to do will inadvertently expose our flesh. How could this happen? It is not meant that one would be unclothed physically as here in David’s case, but it could mean that in our abandoned worship or utter obedience to God, our humanity, need, or weakness is exposed for others to see. 

People observing may not understand our motivations, they may not choose to see us in the best light, they may look on the outward appearance and mock us. It is wise not to judge another Man’s servant, especially when they are worshiping God. King David was giving all that he had to God in His worship before the ark. While Michal watched, she did not see David’s heart but merely saw his flesh exposed and mocked him. God judged her, and she became barren. There are lessons aplenty here. 

Be careful how you look at others. Do not bring a spirit of judgment too quickly to something you do not understand. Do not know others “after the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16). There are things that are meant to be covered and things that are meant to be exposed. Sometimes we get the two mixed up. When Noah became drunk, one of his sons dealt wrongly with his father’s nakedness, and the other two tried to protect their father’s dignity (Gen. 9:20-23). There is a time to cover, and yes, there is a time to uncover, but our hearts must be for honor and redemption.

Perhaps in our hour of humiliation, even embarrassment, our hearts, and the hearts of those around us, are being revealed. We do not need to defend ourselves; rather, as David did, we can choose humility. In our desire to abandon ourselves to God, it is alright to “become even more undignified.” God will judge our motivations. To lay all that we are at the altar is never a mistake, even if it is laid before God in a messy, broken, undignified state. The most abandoned worshippers in the Bible follow this pattern: Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, the Syro-Phoenician woman, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, and many more. They were not grandstanding; they were worshipping.

Obedience and utterness toward God can cost us our dignity. It is a well-spent embarrassment. God alone sorts the motives of our hearts. 

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

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.