40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Postscript

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:1-8)

Hallelujah – He is Risen!

See you next year.


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Title: 40 Days of Discipline: Day 40 – Review

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath).  So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.  44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.  45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.  46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.  47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. (Mark 15:42-47)

 

I hope you had a blessed and reflective Good Friday. As has been the case throughout this 40-day journey, the comments yesterday were a true blessing. Thanks! Today is earmarked for review.

This year we focused on challenges.  Specifically, we looked at challenges that we face as we attempt to apply the Disciplines, but we also looked at challenges in a more general sense.  Our opening Bible study provided 4 tips from the David and Goliath story.  David in facing the challenge of the giant:

  1. Made glorifying God his objective;
  2. Acquired facts to find out what was really behind the challenge;
  3. Tried to see the challenge and required weapons through God’s eyes; and
  4. Did not give in to discouragements or distractions.

We explored various challenges through Dear Libby letters, and then ended with an examination of the person we can always turn to with any challenge, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  In our review of key qualities Jesus exhibited in the days before his death, we focused on five qualities:

  1. Jesus Cares;
  2. Jesus knows us and He is straight with us (He speaks the truth in love);
  3. Jesus shows us how to live (He is not just theoretical);
  4. Jesus actively seeks our good; and
  5. Jesus loves us beyond measure.

Please spend some time thinking about what you have learned over the 40-day journey that you can apply to your life going forward.  Fortunately, the passage for today is not how the story ends. Resurrection came and with it, salvation and true victory. Especially as you prepare to celebrate the Resurrection tomorrow, praise God for the confidence He provides to face any challenge.

Today’s Request:

As we close out our 2017 Journey and look forward to Resurrection Sunday, I must say thank you for participating in our 40-day journey!  I hope even in some small way you have been drawn closer to God, and have a greater appreciation for the Disciplines.  Our final request for 2017 is that you seek to live for God every day of the year and use the Disciplines as tools to enrich your spiritual journey.  If you are not a follower of Christ and would like to learn more about following Him, please use the contact information on this website to get a hold of us.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 39 – Passion Week

It was just before the Passover Festival.  Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  (John 13:1)

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

 

On this 39th day of our 40-day journey, we arrive at a pivotal point in history.  Our focus this year has been on challenges.  Certainly, the death of Jesus, which Good Friday commemorates, addresses the greatest challenge of humanity – our separation from God.

Let’s quickly catch up on where we have been so far this week and then return to the events of Good Friday.  We have been considering qualities of Jesus that make him the best port of call when we face challenges.  In doing so, we have focused on qualities Jesus exhibited in the days leading up to his death and resurrection.  On Monday, we saw that Jesus Cares.  On Tuesday, we saw that Jesus knows us and He is straight with us (He speaks the truth in love).  On Wednesday, we saw that He shows us how to live (He is not just theoretical).  And yesterday, we saw that Jesus actively seeks our good.

Today we examine the quality that subsumes all the other qualities and is the core of who Jesus is.  This quality was demonstrated on the cross – Jesus loves us beyond measure. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

When you are faced with a challenge there is no better person to turn to than Jesus because He loves you beyond measure. On the cross, He paid the price for our sins, which addresses our existential challenge.  In His life, He provides all that we need to face every challenge.

Please reflect on the passages above, and contemplate the love of Jesus.

Today’s Request:

As you reflect on the price Jesus paid for our salvation on this Good Friday, please feel free to share what His death means to you.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 38 – Passion Week

20 “My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.  Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  (John 17:20-23)

 

Thank you very much for you responses to yesterday’s post.  As one person said, “What wonderful responses.” I couldn’t agree more.

We have now considered three qualities of Jesus that make him the best port of call when we face challenges.  On Monday, we saw that Jesus Cares. On Tuesday, we saw that Jesus knows us and He is straight with us (He speaks the truth in love).  Yesterday, we saw that He shows us how to live (He is not just theoretical).

Today we move on to another quality of Jesus exhibited in the days leading up to his death and resurrection.  Jesus actively seeks our good.  When you are faced with a challenge you want someone in your corner who is seeking your welfare.

The prayer that Jesus prayed in the John 17 is one of my favorite prayers in the Bible.  Even as He faced the prospect of the cross, Jesus prayed for the welfare of all who would believe.  You can see in His prayer, strategy and intent focused on what’s best for believers.  This reminds me of a gospel song that says, “All things are working for my good. He’s intentional, never failing.”

So, Jesus not only cares about us; knows us and is straight with us; and shows us how we need to live; He also actively seeks our good.

Please reflect on the passage above, which is an excerpt from Jesus’ prayer in John 17, and answer the question below.

Today’s Questions:

As you consider challenges you or your loved ones may face, what assurance do you take from the fact that Jesus always actively seeks the good of those who trust Him?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 37 – Passion Week

It was just before the Passover Festival.  Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  (John 13:1-5)

 

So far this week, we have already examined two qualities of Jesus that make Him the best port of call when we face challenges.  On Monday we saw that Jesus Cares, and yesterday we saw that Jesus knows us and He is straight with us. For both days, your comments have amplified the evidence of these qualities.  Thanks!

Today we examine another quality of Jesus exhibited in the days leading up to His death and resurrection.  Jesus was not a “do as I say and not as I do” type of leader. If you have ever been in a tough spot and had a counselor who knew more than just the theory of getting out, you know how valuable that is.  In the popular passage of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, we see the best mentor ever.   He not only cares about us, and knows us and is straight with us, Jesus also shows us how we need to live.

As the creator of the universe, you might have excused Jesus for just telling His disciples how to live in humble service.  But then, He would not have been the superlative Rabbi He was. Jesus never missed a beat when it came to showing His disciples how to live.  This is the kind of counselor you want in your corner when you face challenges.

Please reflect on the passage above and other similar circumstances you can recall from the Gospels and answer the question below.

Today’s Questions:

Jesus is the master teacher/mentor!  As you consider challenges you or your loved ones may face, what assurance do you take from the fact that Jesus isn’t just theoretical, He shows us how we need to live?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 36 – Passion Week

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.  22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”  23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”  (Matthew 16:21-23)

 

What a blessing it was yesterday to reflect on the fact that Jesus cares.  Sincere thanks for the comments and verses that confirmed the fact that the compassion that Jesus displays, provides tremendous comfort in the face of challenges.

Today we examine another quality of Jesus exhibited in the days leading up to his death and resurrection.  If you are like me this quality will probably strike you as less endearing than the quality we considered yesterday but it is extremely important. Often when we are in the pressure cooker of challenges people tell us what they think we want to hear, not what we should hear.  The passage above shows that Jesus knows us and he is straight with us.   He always provides relevant and honest feedback.

As was the case with the quality we considered yesterday, there are many other passages that demonstrate Jesus’ ability to read people and tell them what they need to hear.  Please reflect on the passage above and other similar passages you can recall and answer the question below.

Today’s Questions:

Jesus is the master of speaking the truth in love!  As you consider challenges you or your loved ones may face, what assurance do you take from the fact that Jesus knows you and will always be straight with you?

Note: If you have the time, research and consider other circumstances where Jesus displayed this quality of seeing right through an individual and telling them what they needed to hear.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 35 – Passion Week

 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.  43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”  (Luke 19:41-44)

 

This week, known by some as Passion Week or Holy Week is a special week in the Christian calendar.  The introductory notes to 40 Days of Discipline emphasizes the fact that the Disciplines hold no intrinsic value in and of themselves.   They are valuable tools only to the extent that they keep Jesus at the center and help us to improve our love for God and others.  So, as we participate in this closing week, our attention will be more explicitly focused on Jesus.  Throughout this year’s journey our theme has been “Overcoming Challenges”.  We assessed ourselves via a survey in the first week; examined the David & Goliath story as a model for facing challenges in the second week; and recently we have been exploring answers to challenges using “Dear Libby” letters.  Well, we have saved the best for last!  Over these final six days we will focus on the ultimate answer to overcoming our challenges – Jesus.   We will do this by examining some of the key qualities of Jesus exhibited around the time of his death and resurrection.

Today, we start by examining events that occurred directly after Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  As many of us will have celebrated Palm Sunday yesterday, this is a great place to start.  Pleas read the passage above and pay close attention to the portrayal of the emotions Jesus displayed.  From the tears of Jesus, we can draw only one conclusion, He cares for people facing challenges.  This of course is not the only example of how much Jesus cared for people facing challenges.  His compassion is on display in many other circumstances including in Matthew 9:36 where we read, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Please answer the question below.

Today’s Questions:

The image of Jesus weeping puts an exclamation mark behind the statement that He cares!  What assurance do you take from this quality of Jesus as you consider challenges you or your loved ones face?

Note: If you have the time, research and consider other circumstances when Jesus’ compassion was on display in addition to the two passages provided above.