Devote Yourself to Prayer

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Timothy 2:1-7.  Let’s go!

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NIV) 
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 

On verses 1-3:  It is good and pleasing to God when we devote ourselves to prayer. In fact, when you read Paul’s letters, a running theme is his devotion to prayer (see for example Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; and Philemon 1:4-6).  These verses are a reminder that we ought to devote ourselves to prayer, praying often and praying for everyone we meet or think about, including our leaders.

How to Protect Your Faith and Keep a Good Conscience

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Timothy 1:12-20. Let’s go!

1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.

On verses 12-15: No matter how far Paul advanced as a leader in God’s kingdom, Paul never forgot where he came from, how he once was a persecuter of God’s church, “the worst of sinners” he calls himself. Likewise, may you never forget the depths from which God saved you, so that you will never take for granted His forgiveness, His acceptance, and the opportunities He has given you to serve Him since.

3 Friends Every Christian Needs

Hi GAMErs,

Today we begin the book of 1 Timothy. 1 Timothy is a letter written by Paul in approximately 63-66 AD to one of his disciples, Timothy. At the time, Timothy was leading a large church that Paul helped to start in the city of Ephesus. Today’s passage is 1 Timothy 1:1-11. Let’s go!

1 Timothy 1:1-2 (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

On verses 1-2: In these two verses we see the 3 friends you can’t live without, 3 friends that every Christian needs. First and foremost, we all need Jesus Christ as “our hope” (v1) and “our Lord”) (v2). Second, we all need a Paul, a pastor and spiritual father in our lives who teaches us God’s Word and models what it means to follow Jesus.

When Mercy Triumphed Over Judgement

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hosea 14:1-9. Let’s go!

Hosea 14:1-2 (NIV) 
1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. 

On verses 1-3:  Like a mediator between God and Israel, here Hosea suggests words that Israel can speak to return to God.  He urges Israel to plead with God for forgiveness (v2).  He also tells the Israelites to acknowledge that all those idols they had previously worshiped cannot save them (v3).  

Stay Hungry and Humble

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hosea 13:1-16.  Let’s go!

Hosea 13:1 (NIV) 
1 When Ephraim spoke, men trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died. 

Hosea 13:6 (NIV) 
6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. 

On verses 1-12:  At one time Israel (also called Ephraim) had a close relationship with God and stood strong with Him — so much so that “when Ephraim spoke men trembled” (v1).  But this close relationship with God did not last.  Eventually Israel fell headlong into idol worship (v1b-2).  Israel’s love for God was like the morning mist (v3, see also Hosea 6:4), here one day and gone the next, and this too would be the fate of the Israelites in Hosea’s time (v3).  

From a Deceiver to a Receiver

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hosea 12:1-14. Let’s go!

To appreciate God’s message to the Israelites (and to us) in Hosea 12, you need to know something about Jacob, one of Israel’s forefathers and the man after whom the nation of Israel was named. Jacob’s life forms the backdrop to a lot of what Hosea 12 is talking about.

You see, Jacob lived much of his life thinking he had to scratch, claw and fight for everything he had. His approach toward all of life was “transactional”. Like a merchant, he was constantly striking deals with people, including when it came to finding a wife (v12), and even with God: “I’ll give you this, if you give me that.” As part of this, Jacob would often lie to get ahead, pretending to be someone that he was not. In this way Jacob lived up to his name, which means “deceiver”.

A Father’s Love Like No Other

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage, Hosea 11:1-12, contains one of the most tender descriptions of the father heart of God that you will find in the Bible.  Hosea 11 describes how God was like a loving father to His child Israel (also called Ephraim) (v1), how He taught Israel how to walk, carried Israel by the arms, took care of Israel’s needs without Israel even knowing (v3).  With cords of kindness and ties of love, this loving Father led Israel (v4), helped Israel when Israel was in trouble and humbly fed Israel (v4).

Yet Israel was rebellious toward this Father.  As verse 2 says, “the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.”  As verse 7 says, “My people are determined to turn from Me.” Wayward Israel seemed destined to keep following anyone other than their Heavenly Father. 

Who or What Are We Serving?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hosea 10:1-15. Let’s go!

Hosea 10:12-14 (NIV)
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated– as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.

6 Results of Rebelling Against God

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hosea 9:1-17.  Let’s go!

Here in verse 10 we see a picture of God as being so excited and overjoyed when He first chose the Israelites to be His people.

Hosea 9:10a (NIV) 
10 “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree…

However, as we hear about over and over in the book of Hosea, the Israelites lived in persistent rebellion against God and repeatedly broke God’s heart.  

Are You Sowing the Wind?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hosea 8:1-14.  Let’s go!

Hosea 8:7 (NIV) 
7 “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind…”

What does it mean when verse 7 says, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind”?  In this case “the wind” represents vain pursuits,  anything that doesn’t have any eternal value.  When I sow the wind, it means I’m chasing after vain things that don’t last.  Are you sowing the wind?