Don’t Box In Your Worship

Hi GAMErs,

Amos 4:1 (NIV) 
1  Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”

On verses 1-3:  While Israel was experiencing great economic prosperity during this time, there was a wide discrepancy between the rich and the poor in Israel.   Here Amos accuses the rich, upper class women, and indirectly their husbands, of oppressing the poor and taking advantage of the needy in order to satisfy their expensive tastes.  Playing off the fact that Samaria, Israel’s capital city, had a lot of lush fields and fattened cattle, Amos calls these women “cows of Bashan” (v1).  This is followed by a promise from God that these upper class women would be cast out of their own city one day, like fish being taken away on hooks (v2-3).

What can we learn from this?  It angers God when the rich take advantage of the poor, or when those who have more materially show no concern for those who have less.  God has no issues with people having wealth, but He watches what we do with our wealth.  Justice is a big theme in the book of Amos.

A Great Way to Minimize Trouble in Your Life

Hi GAMErs,

Amos 3:1-2 (NIV)
1  Hear this word the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel–against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:
2  “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”

On verses 1-2:  The Lord chose Israel especially to be a light to other nations.  However, Israel was not faithful to the Lord, breaking His heart and defaming His name with their continual idolatry.  The fact that God would punish Israel for their sins shows us that with authority from God comes accountability from God.

What can we learn from this?  God holds accountable those to whom He has given authority.  If we are faithful with the authority He has given us, He will reward us.  If we are unfaithful with that authority, He will discipline us.

God Watches How We Respond to His Grace

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Amos 2:1-16.  Let’s go!
 
Amos 2:1-8 (NIV) 
1  This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Moab, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he burned, as if to lime, the bones of Edom’s king, 
2  I will send fire upon Moab that will consume the fortresses of Kerioth. Moab will go down in great tumult amid war cries and the blast of the trumpet. ……

On verses 1-8:  Whether it’s treating our neighbors dishonorably like Moab did (v1-3), rejecting the Lord to follow other gods as Judah did (v4-5), abusing the poor (v6-7), committing sexual immorality (v7-8), and ignoring God’s holiness as Israel did (v8), God sees all the ways that we sin against Him.  Nothing is hidden from His view.  Yet what amazes me is that as holy and just as God is, God is equally loving and merciful, so much so that the wrath God feels toward our sin He placed on His own Son instead so that ultimately we could be spared the punishment we deserve for our sin.  God did not turn back His wrath from our sin.  Instead, He directed His wrath against our sin toward His own Son instead, so that we could go free.  It is at the cross where Jesus died that we see all at once the incredible holiness, justice, love and mercy of God.

Fiercely Committed to Protecting You

Hi GAMErs,

Today we begin our look at the book of Amos, written in approximately 762 B.C. Today we start with Amos 1:1-15.  Let’s go!

Amos 1:1 (NIV) 
1  The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa–

On verse 1a:   Who was Amos?  In addition to being a prophet, Amos was a shepherd, but no ordinary shepherd.  The word Amos uses for “shepherd” in verse 1 is not the common Hebrew word for shepherd but a rare word that suggests that Amos was more a breeder of sheep.  In other words, Amos was a businessman who probably owned large herds of sheep and had many shepherds working for him.  Later on we will learn that Amos also planted and harvested sycamore trees.  A man of standing in his community of Tekoa (about 10 miles south of Jerusalem), Amos was a ranch owner, a farmer and a prophet.  

What can we learn from this?  Don’t type cast yourself by your profession or job.  No matter what your profession or job is, God wants to use you in His kingdom.  You can be a businessman and God can use you to speak prophetically in a person’s life.  God calls people from all walks of life to serve Him and to represent Him.     

The Day of the Lord – What Is It and How To Prepare for It?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Peter 3:10-18.  Let’s go!

2 Peter 3:10-14 (NIV) 
10  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
11  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives……

On verses 10-14:  In these verses Peter is talking about “the day of the Lord” (v1)?  The “day of the Lord” is a term found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  It refers to the end times, or more specifically as we see in the New Testament, the time when Jesus will return to earth, physically raise Christians who have died back to life, gather His people, establish His kingdom and issue His final judgment on those who have rejected Him. 

Hang Onto God’s Word

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Peter 3:1-9.  Let’s go!

2 Peter 3:1 (NIV) 
1  Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

On verse 1:  As an ongoing theme in 2 Peter, we see that successful Christian living is not just about constantly learning new things; it’s just as much about reminding ourselves of the truths of God’s Word that we often forget or take for granted.  How well you recall the promises of God’s Word will determine how well you live and deal with life’s challenges.

2 Peter 3:2 (NIV) 
2  I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

3 Harmful Tendencies That Can Derail Your Destiny

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Peter 2:10-22.  Let’s go!

2 Peter 2:10-12 (NIV) 
10  This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 
11  yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 
12  But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
 
On verses 10-12:  In addition to the characteristics of false teachers that we looked at in verse 1-9, the false teachers of Peter’s day had three other harmful tendencies.  First, the false teachers had a tendency to “despise authority” (v10).  They would show no respect for the spiritual authorities that God had placed over them.  “Bold and arrogant”, these false teachers had no qualms about speaking disrespectfully and slanderously about the spiritual authorities around them, including angels. 

What False Teaching Looks Like and Its Dangers

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Peter 2:1-9.  Let’s go!

2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV) 
1  But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

On verses 1-3:  False teaching has been around as long as the garden of Eden when the serpent Satan duped Adam and Eve into believing something that was contradictory to what God said (Genesis 3:4).  Just as there were false prophets among the real prophets in the Old Testament (v1a), just as there were false teachers among the early church (v1b), so there are false teachers today.  How do you know if you have encountered a false teacher?  Here we see some defining traits of false teachers:

The Most Important Key to Successful Living

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Peter 1:12-21.  Let’s go!

2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV) 
12  So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.
13  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,
14  because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
15  And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

On verses 12-15:  Why is Peter so set on reminding his readers about these things?  Is it because he has nothing new to say?  No, it’s because in Peter’s mind there is nothing more important for him to do at this late stage of his life than to remind Christians that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life (v3), that trusting in God’s divine promises is the key to experiencing God’s power and living out God’s destiny for our lives (v4), and that being an effective, fruitful Christian is not just about having faith but about being intentional about growing in Christ-like character (v5-11).

God’s Power Gives You Everything You Need

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Peter 1:1-11.  It is one of my favourite passage in all the Bible and is packed with powerful truths.  Let’s walk through it together.

2 Peter 1:1a (NIV) 
1  Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ…
 
On verse 1a:  There is much to be learned from the way Peter identifies himself.  Notice that Peter calls himself both “a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ”.  In the other words, Peter had both humility and authority.  What can we learn from this?  The best leaders walk with both humility and authority.  As children of God, always remember that we have been given authority to represent God, to speak on His behalf, and to pray in His name.  That is great authority. At the same time, let’s carry that authority with humility, knowing that we are given that authority not because we earned it but because of God’s grace.