Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Closing

15 Minutes With God was created with the intention of maturing Christ-followers and creating a culture of discipleship in our personal lives and The Church at large. It was my desire to dedicate 1 year of Bible Study to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In the over 140 enclosed entries found on this site, you will find my personal commentary on OT and NT passages that I hope will help you in your daily walk with the Lord. I have attempted to make these entries somewhat practical and applicational to your life. Throughout the study, you may find it helpful to go back and re-read a particular day's commentary. In our blessed country, we have many devotionals that have been published recently and in days past that are great guides for your spiritual growth. I pray that God will continue to use this website for His glory and I pray that you will continue to grow in your faith relationship with Christ using whatever resources that you have available. And remember that if all you have is a Bible, then you have enough!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Alpha & Omega (Hosea 1-4 / Revelation 1)

Hosea 1-4 captures Israel's unfaithfulness to serve the one true living God yet it also captures the redemptive quality of grace as God is found restoring his adulterous people. God uses the prophet Hosea to paint a picture of the spiritual adultery that was occuring between God and his people. Even the three children Hosea has with his unfaithful wife, Gomer, are given names that represent the unfaithfulness between God and Israel. Many today question the fact that God would literally call Hosea to marry a harlot or a prostitute such as Gomer. So there have been many interpretations of this account which include that of an allegorical or visionary nature. There are even some people who believe Gomer was a concubine or a cult prostitute. The important idea to take away from this passage is that our sin hurts God, yet Christ's faithfulness as a husband to the church (Ephesians 5:22-33) is what allows both your and my sins to be forgiven on a daily basis. If you think about it, we are all guilty of spiritual adultery. Take some time to thank God that He does not leave us every time we fail.

Revelation 1 begins by saying that those who read it are blessed (v. 3) and that it was written to show God's people what is to take place in the future (v. 1). This book makes it possible to expose the future because it is a revelation of Jesus Christ (v.1), the One "who is, who was, and who is to come" (v.4, 8). Jesus is the beginning and the end (v. 8) and John beholds a vision of Christ that I do not think you or I will ever be graced to see on this present earth (v. 9 -20). Does knowing that Jesus knows all that has happened or will ever happen in your life make you more trusting of Him?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Rapture? (Daniel 11-12 / Jude)

Daniel 11-12 is a reference to end time events. There is a much mystery surrounding these events and even Daniel struggled with these God-given visions (12:8). Daniel 11:36-45 is a reference to the coming AntiChrist. The AntiChrist is a man full of himself (11:39) who opposes God (11:36) and God's "Beautiful Land" (Israel, v. 41). The end times will bring a time of distress never seen or experienced in this world as of yet (12:1). "The resurrection of Tribulation saints" occurs in Daniel 12:2 (MacArthur Bible Study, p. 968, see also Revelation 20:4-6). "Daniel 12:2 provides the clearest OT statement on resurrection" (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 1380). Eternity has been set in the heart of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The question to answer for ourself is whether we will spend an eternity in heaven with Christ or whether we will spend an enternity in hell with the unrighteous. Even now, we either possess the spirit of Christ or the spirit of the antichrist (I John 4:3). Where do you see yourself in position to God at this moment?

There are many people in the world who follow their "natural instincts" (Jude 19). These people are like "unreasoning animals" who are "destroyed" by their own decisions (Jude 10). Do you find yourself following your instincts or the "Spirit of God" (Jude 19-21)?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Face to Face (Daniel 8-10 / 3 John)

Daniel was a man of prayer. We already know that Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:11). But the three chapters we read today reveal much more about Daniel's character. In 8:27-9:3 and 10:2-3, Daniel is disturbed by his visions and is motivated by a godly fear to pray for himself and his nation. Daniel intercedes for his nation and petitions God to change his mind (9:4-19). Notice how many times Daniel says "we" in his prayer and then read 9:20. Daniel always had his nation at heart and was "highly esteemed" because of his willingness to be a prayer-warrior (9:23, 10:10). God could trust Daniel. Daniel was much like Moses. Moses was able to see God on multiple occasions in a way that most others would never experience Him (Exodus 19:3, 34:2-3) . It is said that Moses was able to speak to God face to face as a friend would speak to a friend and that Moses was able to see God's back (Exodus 33:11, 33:23). Likewise, Daniel experienced a vision that others would not be allowed to see (10:7-9). The vision was so powerful that even Daniel fell to the ground in speechless wonder (10:15). Would you not like to experience God in a powerful way such as these men of God did? How often do you find yourself communing with God? Keep an open phone line with God and you will be amazed at the things He does for you on a daily basis!

In yesterday's passage, John's final greeting is similar to the final greeting we find today (2 John 12, 3 John 13-14). John wanted to see his readers face to face so that his "joy would be complete" (2 John 12). In both greetings, John says that he would rather not write in pen and paper but instead that he longed to see his brothers and sisters in Christ. John spent much time writing about love. We can know that John possessed the love of God in heart because he loved people so much that he could not wait to see them. What guage is your lovemeter at? Do you view people as special and made in the image of God or do you view people as a means to an end for selfish gain?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Writing on the Wall (Daniel 5 / 2 John)

We often hear the expression "writing on the wall" in our daily interactions with people today. There are certain things and events that are to bound to happen and there are often accompaning signs that lead up to these things and events. We can then look back and say that the "writing was on the walls." This is what happened to King Belshazzar in Daniel 5. The King's days were numbered and his reign was coming to an end (5:26). The real writing on the wall takes place in the first four verses when Belshazzar mocks God to his face by partying in the temple. Daniel even explains in v. 21-22 the difference between Belshazzar and his predeccesor. Both kings were ungodly in their days, however, Nebuchadnezzer humbled himself while Belshazzar did not. God cannot be mocked because one will reap what they sow (Galatians 6:7). God would not let Belshazzar get away with corruption in and of the temple and thus the writing appeared on the wall (v. 22-28). Figuratively speaking, have you ever seen "writing on the wall" appear, hearing a word from the Lord?

"Love" and "truth" permeate their way through 2 John. It is impossible to have one without the other. It is important that we "walk in truth" (v. 4) and that we "walk in love" (v. 6). How would your characterize your love-walk or your truth-walk today?

Friday, December 3, 2010

God's Prescription (Ezekiel 45-46 / I John 2)

When you go to visit a pharmacist at a drug store, you normally take a prescription with you. In Ezekiel 45-46, God gives prescriptions out concerning divisions of the land, offerings and holy days, and temple operations. These prescriptions were God's expectations of his people and his priests. Unfortunately, things were not running up to par. Ezekiel 45:9-10 reveals that inaccuarte scales were being used that resulted in injustice. Violence and oppression had taken over the day (45:9). Does this sound familiar to today? All around us are rings of violence, oppression, and injustice. What is the cure to all that is ailing our world? The only cure is to get back on course and begin living up to the "standard" (45:11). In other words, we have to cash in on God's prescription and take His Word to the bank. We can trust God's Word. If we will get back to following God's Word as our standard, then we will see a new world emerge. A world of justice, peace, and mercy. After all, is this not what God said he required of man in Micah 6:8, "but to do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?" What Scripture prescriptions have you gotten filled lately?

Our Advocate in this world is Christ (I John 2:1). It is a good thing to know that when we fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23), there is Someone available to pick us back up. There are many things in this world that can drag us down (2:16), yet Christ alone can pick us up and put us back where we need to be. Where have you seen God's grace operating in your life as of late?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Lights (Ezekiel 43-44 / I John 1)

Ezekiel 43:10-12 "is the key to the entire vision of chapters 40-48. These glorious future plans show how much Israel forfeited by their sins. Every detail should produce repentance in Ezekiel's hearers and readers" (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 939). The temple was designed in such a way as to expose Israel to their own sins. In Ezekiel 44, the same temple is filled with God's glory and Ezekiel falls facedown in worship. Today, the church is the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-13) and our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 6:16). When we live lives worthy of the calling that God has given us, God's glory can and will shine through us! In this Christmas season that we are now in, how bright is your light shining for Christ? Inspect your life and you may find some things that need to be confessed. Take some time to do some house cleaning so that God's glory may shine bright!

John was confident he and friends had seen the Lord (1 John 1:1-4). He knew that God was light and that we too should be walking in the light (I John 1:5-7). He also knew his readers were human and that they would make mistakes. Thus he admonises them to confess their sin so that they can receive forgiveness (I John 1:8-10). This passage goes well with the above passage. God is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our shortcomings! Is there any sin in your life that you need to confess to God?