40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 7 – Bible Study

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1 – 5)

 

Does the world need the Bible?  Do we have a responsibility to study it and share it?   Since the Bible is the only inspired book that reveals God, the answer to both questions must be a resounding YES.  Therefore, if we are to truly help the world, Bible study is essential, but it must be coupled with transformation and dissemination.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the following questions.

Questions

  1. Do you see the following points in the passage above? (Just identify the verses.)
    • The world needs God’s word (A world in need)
    • We must prepare ourselves to share God’s word (Bible study)
    • We must share God’s word
  2. Are you a kind student of the Bible – do you liberally share what you learn?

 

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 6 – Bible Study

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14 – 17)

 

Yesterday, we looked at the vast variety of places people go to for answers to life’s questions.  Some of the answers emanate from powerful narratives that compete with a Biblical world view.  We would easily recognize religious and political movements as the sources for many of narratives, but we might miss less obvious sources such as consumerism and individualism.  What these narratives all have in common is a promise to provide what the world needs.  To counter these powerful world views, we need to prayerfully study the Bible in such a way that we understand God’s world view.  If all we do is haphazard Bible reading, that won’t be enough to satisfy a world in need.

Please read the passage above and answer the following question.

Question

How do you ensure that your method of Bible Study adequately equips you with a comprehensive Biblical world view?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 5 – Bible Study

16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.  17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.  18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. (Deuteronomy 11:16 – 21)

 

As a reminder, the theme for our 40 days journey this year is A World in Need.  We kicked things off last week with a Group Study considering the role we should play as salt and light. Starting today, we turn our attention to the Spiritual Disciplines, and Bible Study will be the first Discipline we focus on. Over the next three days, we will focus on the relationship between Bible Study and a world in need.

With advancements in technology, there is an answer offered for almost every conceivable question on YouTube, Facebook, podcasts, Wikipedia or other platforms. Who needs the Bible when you have those resources plus Google, Alexa or Siri?  I would argue that because of the ease of access to a multitude of often competing voices, the world has never needed Bible studying Christians more.

Please read the passage above and answer the question below.

Question

Note the powerful commands in verses 18 – 20 of the passage above. What methods of Bible Study do you employ to treat God’s word with the priority conveyed in the passage?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 4 – Review

13 “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  14 “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13 – 16)

 

Today is dedicated to reviewing what we have learned over the past three days.  We study God’s word for transformation not just for information.  Spend your 15 minutes today reflecting on the Bible study over the last three days.  Remember that our theme this year is A World in Need.  Think about what you have learned about responding to a world in need, and if you have missed any of the days, you can catch up.

As you perform your review, please keep in mind the example set for us by Jesus.  He loved the world.  Matthew 9:36 tells us that “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them”.

Please consider the question below and ask God to help you to apply the lessons from His word to your life.

 

Question

How can you strengthen your love for those in the world without loving the world?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 3 – Group Bible Study

13 “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  14 “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13 – 16)

 

Today, we will continue our focus on our theme for this year – A World in Need.  Over the last two days, we considered the references to salt and light in the passage above.  Thanks to all the commentators who are already adding richly to the study!

Please prayerfully read the passage again and answer this short quiz:

  • Do you study the Bible enough to use it as a basis for addressing the problems faced by those around you? (2 Timothy 2:15 – Study to show yourself approved…..)
  • Do you regularly pray for the lost with love, especially those in your sphere of influence? (Romans 10:1…. my heart’s desire and prayer to God…is that they may be saved).
  • Do you spend your time wisely – sometimes sacrificially – in service of peole in need, or do you spend too much time on “entertainment” or “work”? (Ephesian 5:16 – making the most of every opportunity (“redeeming the time”), because the days are evil.)
  • Is your speech typically “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:5- 6 …. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,….)? In other words, are you typically gracious in your interactions with non-Christians?

Questions:

  • How did you do on the quiz?
  • What specific areas can you talk to God about to seek His help in improving your interactions with a world in need?

Sharing your thoughts could be a big help to someone else.  Please leave a comment on the blog.

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 2 – Group Bible Study

13 “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  14 “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13 – 16)

 

Today, we continue our focus on how we should interact with A World in Need.  Yesterday, we focused on being salt.  Today, we will focus on being light.  As you consider the passage above, please spend some of your time thinking about why Jesus says we are to let our light shine.

Questions:

  • What stands out for you in the illustrations about light that Jesus uses?
  • Reflect on the purpose for us being light presented in the passage above.  How does the world benefit when we shine our light?

Sharing your thoughts could be a big help to someone else.  Please leave a comment on the blog.

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 1 – Group Bible Study

13 “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  14 “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13 – 16)

 

“The world is a mess.”  How often have you heard that statement?  You could almost excuse a Christian for having as little as possible to do with the world, right?  After all, policy makers, schools, businesses and sometimes even religious institutions don’t share our value system; and it appears that people are getting meaner.   Let’s examine what the Bible has to say about engaging or not engaging with the world.

The passage above from Matthew 5 will serve as our reference for discussion over the next three days.   Then, when we are done with this Group Bible Study we will spend the next 6 weeks exploring the value we bring to A World in Need by practicing Spiritual Disciplines.  Today, we will discuss salt and tomorrow we will discuss light.

Please set aside 15 minutes without distraction.  If possible, find a place that you can escape to daily and start by asking God to guide you.  Read the passage above and consider the questions below.

Questions:

  • Salt?  Really?  But we know Jesus doesn’t make mistakes, so why does he compare Christians to salt?
  • In comparing Christians to salt, Jesus shines a light on how they are impacting the world.  In your sphere of influence, how do you act like salt?

Sharing your thoughts could be a big help to someone else.  Please leave a comment on the blog.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 7 – Bible Study

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:1 – 7 – emphasis added)

 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

 

Based on the many helpful comments over the last two days, we appear to recognize the importance of Bible Study.  However, our lives do not always reflect this recognition.  How can we improve?

It might be helpful for us to think deeply about the implications of studying or not studying God’s word.  Do we really feel as if we miss something vital when we drop Bible study from our schedule?  Consider the two passages above.  The passage from Isaiah points out that we were created for God’s glory, and the passage from Ecclesiastes says that our duty is to Fear God and keep his commandments.  If we link the messages from both passages together we could reach the following conclusion: The Bible provides the instructions for us to come alive and live out our purpose of glorifying God.  Therefore, one of the important things that we miss when we are not careful enough to study the Bible is a clearer understanding of our true purpose to glorify God, and how to live out that purpose.

 

Questions

What do you think about the following statement?  “If we really believed that we are missing something vital when we forsake Bible study, we would be more disciplined.”


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 6 – Bible Study

 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.  2When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.  3I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.  4You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.  5I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; 6I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:  7“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?  8Has his unfailing love vanished forever?  Has his promise failed for all time?   9Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

10Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.  11I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  12I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?  14You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.  15With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.  16The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.  17The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.  18Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.  19Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. 20You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalm 77)

 

Psalm 77 paints a beautiful picture of how the perspective of the psalmists changes as he reflects on glorious things about god.  Please read the Psalm carefully and pay attention to the change in tone from the start of the Psalm to the end of the Psalm.  Please also note the pivotal thoughts the Psalmist highlights in verses 10 – 12.

 

Question:

Are you spending enough time in God’s word to see His glory in a way that shapes your perspective even with regards to challenging circumstances?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 5 – Bible Study

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:17 – 18)

 

As reminder, the theme for our 40 days journey this year is God’s Glory.  We kicked things off last week by considering passages about Moses and Jesus.  Starting today, we turn our attentions to the Spiritual Disciplines, and Bible Study will be the first Discipline we focus on.  Over the next three days, we will focus on the relationship between Bible study and God’s glory.

 

In 2 Peter 3:17 – 18, the Apostle Peter concludes his letter with the instruction for us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Our primary source of  knowledge of Jesus is the Bible, and if we are going to experience God’s glory and give God glory we need instructions from God’s word.  Unfortunately, many of us want to jump straight to experiencing God’s glory without experiencing the growth that comes from consistent Bible study.

 

Question

What is your reaction to the following statement? “We don’t have deeper experiences of God’s glory because we are not growing, and we are not growing partly because we are not diligently studying God’s word.”