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This series seeks to reveal God's truth by examining lesser-known aspects of His Word. While theology can often be complex and overwhelming, we seek to try to make God's Word accessible by distributing it in bite-sized morsels. We here at Growth Project hope Five Minutes of Truth will inspire you to think, to explore His Word...but most importantly...to grow.

Five Minutes of Truth with Dr. Danny Purvis - A Weekly Devotional Podcast Growth Project

    • Kristendom

This series seeks to reveal God's truth by examining lesser-known aspects of His Word. While theology can often be complex and overwhelming, we seek to try to make God's Word accessible by distributing it in bite-sized morsels. We here at Growth Project hope Five Minutes of Truth will inspire you to think, to explore His Word...but most importantly...to grow.

    Staying strong in the storm

    Staying strong in the storm

    Did you know that Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, stood tall against the most powerful man in the world with no promise that God would spare them? Let’s take a few minutes to look at this amazing story.



    The events of Daniel and his three friends as they served under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon during the Babylonian captivity are some of the most interesting in all of Scripture. That includes how they got there in the first place. First prophesied by Jeremiah, the Israelites would be conquered by the Babylonians and held captive for 70 years.



    As was the custom of the Babylonians, they would take youngsters from their captured foes in order to brainwash them and train them for usefulness is running the Babylonian kingdom. Daniel and his friends were among those culled from the masses.



    They were well treated and well trained as they solidified their position in service to their new overlords. But Daniel and his friends became favorites of King Nebuchadnezzar so that, “The king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48). Daniel convinced the king to include his three friends and life moved on pretty favorably for young men who had been kidnapped from their homes.



    But there was a problem. While Daniel and his friends made the very best of a bad situation, they were certainly aware that King Nebuchadnezzar thought of himself as a god…and demanded worship as a god. For Daniel and his friends, this was a non-starter.



    The very first of the Ten Commandments clearly states that God is God, and that we should “have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). However, Nebuchadnezzar was making it increasingly difficult for Danial and his friends to keep that commandment. In fact, he ordered that a gold statue of himself be created and that whenever a cacophony of music was heard, all who heard it would, “fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up” (Daniel 3:4-5). 



    Knowing they could not do so, Daniel’s friends, in fact, did not do so. Local priests, obviously jealous of Daniel and his friends’ rise to power, alerted the King that the three friends of Daniel: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not bowing to or offering worship to the King’s statue (Daniel 3:12). The King would have none of that.



    Bringing the three young men to his presence, the king chided the young men and threatened that if they did not bow down during the appointed time, that they would be “cast immediately into the midst of a fiery furnace…and who is the god who will deliver you from my hands” (Daniel 3:15)?



    Faced with a grisly death, the three young men had a choice. They could bow down even if they didn’t mean it, or they could stand their ground while their God protected them or they could stand their ground whether their God would protect them or not. They chose the last option.



    Standing in front of the most powerful man in the world at the time, who was seething with anger at their disobedience, the three said: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17). To say this enraged the king is an understatement.



    He ordered the furnace to seven times its usual heat and ordered the young men tossed inside. So hot it was, that the servants who threw them in died from the heat. You know the rest of the story. The king looked into the furnace and saw not three people but four. And that the fourth looked like the Son of God (Daniel 3:25). The three survived and the king was brought face to face with the

    • 5 min
    Anger at God’s Mercy?

    Anger at God’s Mercy?

    Did you know that one of God’s very own prophets actually got angry because God kept His promise and showed mercy? Stick around and we’ll talk about it…here on 5 minutes of truth.



    The story of Jonah is one of the most well-known stories in all of the Bible. It is one of those events that has some bit of recognition even outside of religious circles. I have heard mentions of Jonah from the Sunday School classroom to an Avengers movie. There are a large number of people who are at least tacitly familiar with Jonah’s adventures in the belly of a fish. But there is at least one aspect of the story that both Believer and non-believer are generally not familiar with. 



    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In able to understand the end of the story, we must first make sure we are familiar with the first part of the story. It begins like this. God has chosen to bring His word of salvation and redemption to a city called Nineveh acknowledging, “their wickedness has come up before Me” (Jonah 1:2b). Instead of punishing their sin, God decided to send a prophet to the city to preach a message designed to get the people to repent and turn to Him. For this important task, God chose Jonah.



    We are told that instead of being honored and humbled to be chosen by God, Jonah felt otherwise. Instead of heading for Nineveh with a message of hope, the Bible tells us that, “Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3a). Rather than obey God, Jonah ran from God to avoid this mission. We are not, at this point, told why Jonah made this decision. But we would find that out later.



    After securing passage to Tarshish as he ran from the Lord, the ship Jonah was on was hit by a terrible storm. The storm was so intense that the Bible relates to us that, “the ship was about to be broken up” (Jonah 1:4b). Since wayfarers of the sea are often known to be a superstitious group, the ship’s crew decided that one of the people on board must be responsible for the wrath they were suffering. And while they were crying out to their gods, they decided to cast lots (similar to drawing straws) to see who the guilty culprit was.



    Jonah drew the short straw, so to speak. Once they knew that Jonah had angered God by fleeing from Him, they looked desperately for a solution. Jonah had one. He told them that the only way they could escape God’s wrath for his shortcomings was to throw him overboard. Though they protested, they eventually capitulated. And they tossed Jonah overboard into the tumultuous sea. I believe you’re familiar with the rest.



    Once in the water, God sent a “great fish” (Jonah 1:17) to swallow Jonah and to ensure that Jonah ended up exactly where God wanted Him in the first place, on the shore outside of Nineveh. Once Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish, we might think he would be more than ready to accomplish the mission God had sent him on. We’d be partly right. He was ready, but he had his reservations.



    In the meantime, of course, God was as good as His Word. Once Jonah went into Nineveh and began preaching God’s truth, an amazing thing began to happen. The Ninevites, from the greatest to the least, began to listen and heed the Word of the Lord. In fact, the Bible states, “So the people of Nineveh believed God” (Jonah 3:5a). 



    As a result, instead of punishing their sin which would have been a just thing to do, God instead forgave them. In the pantheon of stories related to the Old Testament prophets, this is one of the ones with the happiest endings. Too many times people ignored the prophets and experienced punishment. But here, the people listened and repented and were spared. And everyone was happy. Right? Not exactly.



    The Bible states: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry” (Jonah 4:1). Why, you may ask, was Jonah so angr

    • 6 min
    We are family

    We are family

    Did you know that when we come faith in Christ, that He changes how we understand everything…including family? Stick around and we’ll talk about it here on 5 Minutes of Truth.



    There are a great number of things people find interesting about Jesus as He is portrayed in the four Gospels. There are quite a few things we know about Him while other things remain in the shadows a bit. Some of what is not so obviously seen is how Jesus interacted with members of His family on earth.



    While we do have considerable records of Jesus’ interactions with His mother, Mary, many of us forget that He also said several siblings. Matthew gives us the names of His brothers: James, Joses, Simon and Judas while also acknowledging that Jesus also had sisters (Matthew 13:55-56). Very little is shared about these siblings.



    This could be, in part, because the Bible leaves out a huge chronological section of Jesus’ life. In the Gospels, we last see Jesus as a child when He was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). That passage ends with Luke stating: “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). 



    The next time chronologically we see Jesus again is at His baptism which officially kicks off His public ministry. Though we can’t be completely certain, it is widely believed that Jesus was about 30 years old when this event occurred. If that is the case, then we have, approximately, an 18 year period for which we have almost no information regarding Jesus.



    It must be assumed that He took part in the normal aspects of human growth which would have included His relationship with His earthly family. His adoptive father, Joseph, is not mentioned and church history has him dying a pretty early age. We have some mention of His relationship with His mother later in life but very, very little with regards to his relationship with His siblings.



    Though the Gospel writer, John, does give us a glimpse. Just before the Feast of Tabernacles, according to John, Jesus’ brothers challenged Him to go and prove to the folks in Jerusalem He was Who He claimed to be. They did this not because they believed Him. In fact, it was quite the opposite. John tells us: “For even His brothers did not believe in Him” (John 7:5).



    Leaving aside the reality of how difficult it must have been for these siblings to grow up with the older brother being the Messiah, suffice it to say that Jesus had a strained relationship with His biological family. There were even moments when He had to make sure His mother was certain of their most unusual relationship (John 2:1-4).



    Because of what is seen by some as a harshness when dealing with His biological family, some folks have attributed an assumption that Jesus emotionally distanced Himself form His family while on earth because they did not really understand Who He was. Jesus loved and adored His family. 



    There are only a handful of statements attributed to Jesus while he was actually hanging on the Cross. One of those statements was Jesus directing His disciple, John, to take care of His mother (John 19:26-27). Two of His brothers actually went on to write New Testament books: James and Jude. He did not have antipathy towards His family. What then do we make of Matthew 12:46-48 When Jesus is told that His family is outside wanting to see Him?



    Jesus answered: “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” (Matthew 12:48). He then gestures to the Disciples in front of Him and states: “Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:49-50). What was He saying?



    First, He was not trying to disrespect or impugn His biological family in any way, shape, or form. He was trying to redeem and renew what the idea of family really was intended to be through Him. Prior to Christ, our family

    • 5 min
    What about social justice?

    What about social justice?

    Did you know that among all of the letters Paul wrote in the New Testament, one seems to be written to a buddy asking a favor? Stick around and we’ll talk about it here on 5 minutes of truth.



    Most people know that Paul wrote just about half of the letters that make up the New Testament. Of the 27 books that make up the New Testament, Paul was responsible for penning 13 of them. There are also a number of ways those letters are categorized today.



    There are letters he wrote to churches. There are letters he wrote to churches he founded and those to churches he did not found. There are the “Prison Letters”, so-called because they were written during his first Roman imprisonment. There are letters he wrote to individuals and there are the so-called “Pastoral Letters” he wrote to individuals who were serving as pastor of a specific congregation. 



    In short, there are quite a few ways to designate and categorize the letters Paul wrote in the New Testament depending on the criteria of the category in question. And then there is Philemon. Suffice it to say that Philemon is in a class all by itself. In fact, it seems as if this letter is actually a personal correspondence between Paul and a good friend of his named Philemon. And the goal of the letter appears to be related to Paul asking Philemon for a favor.



    Unlike Paul’s letters to churches and his pastoral letters of instruction to Timothy and Titus, Paul’s epistle to Philemon is arguably the most unique book in the entire Bible. Okay, Revelation might give it a run for its money…but let’s take a look at the uniqueness of Philemon. Especially as it relates to one of the most interesting aspects in our culture today, and that is the idea of social justice. Was Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, really instructing us as Believers some 2,000 years later how we are to interact with social justice? Let’s find out.



    The backstory of this letter is simple but multifaceted. Philemon had been converted to Christianity by Paul and they had become good friends. Philemon, as was common for that time, owned a slave named Onesimus. This was more a voluntary servitude as opposed to the idea of slavery we have today, but it was a social ill nonetheless. At some point, Onesimus committed a crime by stealing from Philemon and running away.



    Probably wanting to blend into a large city in anonymity, Onesimus ended up in Rome where he ran into, of all people, Paul who was under house arrest at the time. In fact, when Paul writes Philemon he confirms this by saying: “I appeal to you for my son Onesimus whom I have begotten while in my chains” (1:10). To make a sort-of short story even shorter, Paul does not hide or keep Onesimus with him to escape the horrors of slavery and a potentially vindictive master. Instead, he sends Onesimus back to his master Philemon. And he sends him back with the letter that now resides in the New Testament.



     But what does Paul say in the letter? Does he support slavery? Are we supposed to turn a blind eye to cultural injustices in the world around us? Are we, as Believers, supposed to be social justice warriors? The short answer to this last question is…no. Not as the world defines it. For the world, social justice has nothing to do either with society or justice. The world’s idea of social justice only deals with some ambiguous definition of justice for some, but not all. It is more selfish justice than it is social justice. Which is why, as Believers, we are to have no part in it.



    What we are to do is to look at God’s Word. How does Paul address the cultural injustice of slavery? Simple. He reminds Philemon that He is a Christian. And that as a Believer, he simply cannot engage and embrace the ways of the world if they are incompatible with Christianity. And slavery was certainly incompatible with Christian

    • 6 min
    Ezekiel and those dry bones.

    Ezekiel and those dry bones.

    Ezekiel and those dry bones.



    God gave a vision to one his prophets where God asked him to speak to an entire valley of bones? Stick around and we’ll talk about it here on 5 minutes of truth.



    As we have discussed before, there are a lot of events in the Old Testament that a lot of people would consider…well…kind of weird. Elisha saw an axe-head float. Elijah just sort of floated up to heaven. Seas parted and plagues descended. Samuel was summoned by a witch. One of the most interesting events involves the prophet Ezekiel and God’s vision where He commands Ezekiel to have a conversation with a bunch of human skeletal remains.



    If you are unfamiliar with this event, you can find it in Ezekiel 37:1-14. Ezekiel was a prophet and priest called by God during the Babylonian Captivity. While false prophets were predicting a quick return to Jerusalem, Ezekiel was telling them that their beloved capital would be destroyed and their captivity prolonged. He also told them that even though their sin had to be punished, God would also eventually forgive and restore the nation of Israel into His good graces and reaffirmed the covenant he mad with Abraham.



    Many times God would impart information to his prophets with audible words from above while other times He used dreams and visions. In Ezekiel’s case, He seemed to do a combination of these things. While Ezekiel certainly seems to have heard directly from God via an audible voice, he also received God’s truth via a series of visions. One of the most interesting of those visions includes God’s command for Ezekiel to speak to a valley filled with the dry bones of countless people who had obviously been dead for some time.



    Ezekiel states: “the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones” (Ezekiel 37:1). He then went to say that the valley was completely full of these bones and “indeed they were very dry” (Ezekiel 37:2b). The point of the dryness was to point out exactly just how dead these bones (or rather the people they represented) actually were. They were dead and had been that way a long time.



    God then asks a strange question. He asks, “can these bones live” (Ezekiel 37:3a)? God gets maybe an even stranger answer. “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3b). In other words, what should have been an obvious “no” answer to that seemingly obvious question, turns into an answer that leaves questions of life and death and miracles to the God of the universe. Ezekiel did not limit God, but neither did he know what God had in mind. 



    God then makes and even stranger command. He tells Ezekiel, “prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37:4). In other words, God tells Ezekiel to start proclaiming the word of the Lord to these dead, dry bones. But God’s not through. He then speaks to the bones and states that after they hear the word of the Lord, that God will actually (in a sort of reverse decomposition) bring them back to life by causing “breath to enter you” (Ezekiel 37:5). 



    As good as His word, as Ezekiel proclaims the word of the Lord, the sinews, flesh and skin come back onto all of the skeletons. But they were not yet alive. God causes the wind He calls His breath to breathe life into the formerly dead bodies completing the regenerating process. And then God finally tells Ezekiel why he wanted Ezekiel to do this in the first place. He tells Ezekiel that the dry bones are the nation of Israel. And though they have been dead in their sin and rebellion for a very long time, God would breathe new life into them, renew His covenant with them, and they would once again as a nation be alive in Him. 



    But like so many things in the Old Testament, it would be foolish of us to think that this h

    • 6 min
    To rapture or not to rapture

    To rapture or not to rapture

    To rapture or not to rapture



    Did you know that Jesus’ most famous statements about the rapture were actually not about the rapture at all? Stick around and we’ll talk about it. Here on 5 minutes of truth.



    In the 70s it was Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth”. In the mid-90s into the 2000s it was the “Left Behind” books and movies. Both focused on one of the more interesting  aspects of theology known officially as eschatology. In layman’s terms? The study of end times.



    Here is what you may not know. That though there are many references to eschatology in the Bible, there may not be as much information there as you might think. And it is not often as clear as you might think. That would explain why likeminded Believers could hold positions on eschatology that are in direct opposition to each other and yet both claim they emanate from Scripture. If it were crystal clear, there would be much more of a consensus. One of the more interesting aspects of eschatology that spurs on a lot of debate is the concept of the rapture. The rapture is a leading theological construct among most evangelicals that suggests Believers (both dead and alive) will be taken by Christ “into the air” either before, during or after the great tribulation.



    If you’ve seen movie representations of this event, it is usually portrayed as a huge mass of people simply disappearing without a trace and with no explanation. The results of these disappearances include planes crashing because of the loss of pilots, cars crashing due to lack of drivers, and frantic families due to the loss of loved ones. The question is: Is this how the Bible says it will be? That is the question we always have to ask ourselves. Just because something seems to be believed by a large number of people, does that make it correct? It’s a good question to ask.



    What does the Bible say about the rapture? Very little to be honest. The most often cited passage is, of course, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I this passage, Paul clearly states this about the rapture: “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven…with the trumpet of God…the dead in Christ will rise first…then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”. 



    This passage is clear that there will be some event that seems to be related to our idea of the rapture. What we don’t know from this description could fill a wheelbarrow. There is no mention of the tribulation here as it relates to the rapture. Some believe it is, some believe that this event is for Believers to join Christ at His Second Coming. One of the most important questions we can ask is: What did Jesus say about the rapture? It is a good question.



    As I grew up theologically once I became a Believer, I was given an answer to that question. I was told by many people and heard it referenced by many more, that Jesus did, in fact, mention the rapture and His words are found in Matthew 24:40-44. Here in part is what Jesus says in this passage: “Two men will be in the field: one will be taken, the other left…two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken, the other left…watch for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming…for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”.



    What do you think? Sure sounds like the rapture to me. One person will be taken and one person will be left behind. Just like one person in a car, one pilot on a plane, one loved-one in a family. For years I was told and heard others told that this was Jesus talking about the rapture. I was being told wrongly. That is not what Jesus is talking about here. In fact, this is an opposite analogy in relation to how it has been misrepresented. 



    Context is key. Instead of starting at verse 40 in this 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we need to read the be

    • 6 min

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