40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 32 – Creation

4He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.  5Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:4 – 5)

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17)

 

We conclude our consideration of the Discipline of Creation today and continue our focus on the theme: A world in need.  A significant benefit of practicing the Discipline of Creation is the opportunity to meditate on attributes of God. Throughout the Bible we see the connection between creation and descriptions of God.  I believe this presents an opportunity to present the real God to the world – a God who is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, faithful, good, and so much more.

A sad reality is that the world is prepared to settle for lesser gods, often of their own creation.  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity through the use of creation to point the world to Elohim (supreme one or mighty one).

Please prayerfully read the passages above and consider the suggestion below.

 

Suggestion

Please share Bible verses that you love that describe God through creation.

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 31 – Creation

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

 

Today we will focus on how the Discipline of Creation can support our efforts to minister to a world in need.  In my view, the world is increasingly oblivious to divine wonder.  In the general public, there is certainly still a sense of amazement in the areas of entertainment and technology; and nature has been getting a lot more focus because of climate related concerns about the environment.  However, the awe that should be evident from observing God’s power in creation is very hard to find.

We who often sing “How great thou art” have a responsibility to introduce the creator to His creation. As a starter, we should ensure that we take the time to observe God’s work in “awesome wonder”. The Bible clearly teaches that nature is one the vehicles through which God reveals himself.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question

What do you consider to be best practices in seeing God in creation?

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 32 – Creation

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18 – 21)

 

Today we conclude our consideration of the Discipline of Creation.  Yesterday, we reflected on the manifestation of God’s glory through creation. Today we will confront the obvious fact that most people don’t view creation with a Biblical mindset.  In fact, many don’t accept the concept of creation at all.  On April 5th 2019, Netflix launched a series entitled “Our Planet”, which is narrated by the world-renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.  The images are spectacular, reflecting the results of 3,500 filming days, 600 crew, and the latest technology.  What we should not expect from the series though, is God getting any glory; nor should we expect that Sir David will not make the same proclamations that the Psalmist David made in Psalm 19.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.

 

Question:

How can we practically use God’s creation to proclaim His glory in the face of significant disbelief?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 31 – Creation

1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  2Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  3They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  4Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1 – 4)

 

We now turn our attention to the Discipline of Creation as we continue our consideration of the theme: God’s glory. We have ready-made object lessons of God’s glory available to us every day in His creation, but how often do we pay attention?  Today I want to challenge us to stop and smell the proverbial roses.  Make time to be very deliberate in viewing the world through the lens David did in Psalm 19.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.

Question:

What aspects of creation most powerfully remind you of God’s glory?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 32 – Creation

But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?  You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.”  In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them.  Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.   But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:6 – 9)

 

Unfortunately, many people around the world who appreciate the beauty of creation don’t see the Creator.  Hebrews 2:9 includes 5 powerful words: “But we do see Jesus”.  The story of the Creator humbling Himself to save his creation is good news.  Because of this act of sacrifice, we can find our identity in Christ.

Today, be acutely aware of the wonder of God’s creation all around you.  Take some time to smell the proverbial roses.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible passages above.

 

Something to think about:

When do you see Jesus most powerfully through creation?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 31 – Creation

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.  You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:3 – 8)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Creation, which involves an attitude of enjoying God’s creation. As we continue to consider our theme, Our Identity, the Discipline of Creation can serve a vital role.  A careful consideration of God’s creation helps us to consider who we are through a humbling lens.  In Psalm 8, David sets an important example for us.  Verse 3 starts with “When I consider”, and then proceeds to talk about elements of God’s creation.  Unfortunately for most of us, the phrase “when I consider” is seldom followed by elements of God’s creation, and so we miss out on a great way to learn about God and ourselves.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible passage above.

 

Something to think about:

How does spending time considering God’s creation help you understand your significance and frailties?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 31 – Creation

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.  In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. (Psalm 19:1-4)

 

The answers you sent on Libby’s behalf yesterday were certainly comprehensive and helpful. We have some people who have clearly thought long and hard about Stewardship. Thanks for sharing!

Today we address the Discipline of experiencing God through His creation. This is one of the least common Disciplines in the literature on Spiritual Disciplines, and this lack of familiarity may be a cause for questions. Vincent certainly has some questions for Libby and I hope you will have the time to help him out.

As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing. Libby is not expected to be an expert.  Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences.   So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself.  Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.

Please review the Bible passage above and Vincent’s challenge below.

 

Dear Libby,

I have always admired people who seem to be able to find the time to “smell the roses” and see God’s powerful hand in various aspects of creation.  I barely find the time to smell my coffee.  If I am honest, when I first heard about this Discipline of Creation, I shied away from it because it had a “new age” feel to it and I was afraid of being more caught up with the created than the Creator.  As I understood more and got over that hurdle though, I encountered another problem, priority.  This Discipline just does not feature in my day.  How do you make experiencing God through His creation come alive in your life?  What are some of the practical things you do on a day to day basis?

 

Ready for more,

Vincent

 

Today’s Question:

What thoughts would you like to share with Vincent?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Creation

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:27-29)

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

 

Time certainly flies – we are already half way through our journey.  As we think about how quickly time flies, it is a good time to focus on the Discipline of Creation, which often suffers from our inability to slow down.  The Discipline of Creation encourages us to experience God through creation.  Again, Jesus serves an excellent model in this regard.  The passages above demonstrate that Jesus took the time to focus on creation.

Please read the passages and consider the requests below.

Today’s Questions:

  1. Please take some time today to focus on some aspect of creation and meditate on what it tells you about God.
  2. We would love to hear about the outcome of your meditation.


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 21 – Sabbath

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. (Matthew 14:13)

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. (Mark 6:45-46)

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. (Luke 4:42)

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16)

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. (Luke 6:12)

 

Our Feature Friday Discipline is the Discipline of the Sabbath, which does not show up in many of the books on Spiritual Disciplines.  This is understandable because the topic of a specified day for the Sabbath is hotly debated in Christendom.  We will not enter into the debate.  Instead, as we have done with the other Disciplines we want to examine this Discipline through the lens of love.

We need to challenge ourselves to consider the habits of resting, refueling and reflecting.   To discuss the Discipline of the Sabbath, we will consider a few passages (captured above) from the life of Jesus, our perfect example.  Please prayerfully read the passages and answer today’s questions.

Today’s Questions for comments:

  • What major point do you take away from Jesus’ example in the passages above?
  • How do you practice this Discipline without becoming legalistic?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 9 – Creation

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. (Psalms 19:1-2)

 

Thank you for reviewing the Discipline of Bible Study over the last 4 days.  As a quick reminder, during our 40 Days of Discipline journey we will reserve Fridays to focus on a selected Discipline for just one day.  Today we focus on Creation.  If you need to refresh your memory on what this Discipline is about remember that you can go to the Disciplines tab at www.40daysofdiscipline.com.

There are so many beautiful passages of scripture that speak about God’s creation.  The passage of scripture from Psalm 19:1-2 (captured above) is a great example.  Often though, we don’t take the time to see God in creation in the way that David did.

In the same way that we examined the Discipline of Bible Study through the lens of love, let’s examine the Discipline of Creation through the lens of love by examining Luke 12:25-30:

25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.

Please prayerfully consider this passage and respond to today’s questions.

 

Today’s Questions for comments:

  • In what ways does the passage establish a link between creation and God’s love for us?
  • What aspects of creation speaks most powerfully to you about God?

Tomorrow (Saturday) will be dedicated to reviewing what we have learned this week.