40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 4 – Preparation

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

 

By now you should be just about complete with your review of the Disciplines. You should also have started thinking about challenges to practising the Disciplines. Today is a review day. Please spend some time in prayer and reflection on where you are with the Disciplines. If you haven’t already done the survey from Day 2, now would be a good time to do it. Have an honest conversation with God about the progress you have been making and the challenges you face. Finally, ask God for His guidance on this 40 Day Journey.

On Monday we will begin an exciting Bible study about Overcoming Challenges.

Please consider today’s question and share your thoughts if you feel led to do so.  I am repeating the question from yesterday in the hope that we will get a few more responses.

 

Today’s Question for Comments:

What would say are the top three challenges to habitually practising Spiritual Disciplines?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 3 – Preparation

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. (2 Samuel 24:24)

 

Thank you very much to all who participated in the anonymous survey yesterday!  The survey was primarily for your personal reflections and certainly not a competition. However, if you are like me, you like getting some feedback from surveys you participate in. So, here are a few highlights:

  • For the Disciplines of Bible Study, Prayer, Fellowship, Spiritual Warfare, Stewardship, Service and Counsel more than 50 percent of the responders made reasonable progress in their development;
  • For the Discipline of Worship, most people (62%) made significant or excellent progress;
  • For the Discipline of Fasting, most people (62%) made no or limited progress;
  • For the Disciplines of Creation and Sabbath there were just as many people who made no or limited progress as there were people who made reasonable to significant progress (in other words the scores were all over the place);
  • The Discipline with the highest percentage of excellent progress is Fellowship (24%);
  • The Discipline with the highest percentage of no progress is Fasting (29%)

Not surprisingly, the survey results confirms something we already know – we are growing and we still have room to grow in practising the Disciplines. We all have challenges to overcome.

Please continue familiarizing yourself with the Disciplines and comment on the question below.

 

Today’s Question for comments:

Considering your responses to yesterday’s survey, what would say are the top three challenges to habitually practising Spiritual Disciplines?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 2 – Preparation

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

 

Thank you for using these first few days to familiarize or re-familiarize yourself with the Disciplines!

While you continue the orientation process, some introspection will also be helpful.  If you are a Christian, reflect on your spiritual growth over the last five years (if you are a recent Christian, go back as far as you can) and complete a short anonymous survey by clicking on the link below:

http://40daysofdiscipline.polldaddy.com/s/progress-in-disciplines

 

Today’s Question for comments:

What predominant thought(s) did the survey evoke?

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 1 – Preparation

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

You are at the start of a journey that will require you to put aside approximately 15 minutes every day for 40 days (no activities on Sundays).  This may sound daunting at first but know that you can do this with God’s help.  What is this journey about?  Well, you will learn more about Disciplines that can significantly strengthen your relationship with God.  You will use the next four days to familiarize yourself with the eleven Disciplines to be discussed during the program.

This blog is a subset of a website that has been created to provide you with all the background information you need. Using the menu on this website you can access background information, a calendar showing what activities we will consider each day, and important information on the Disciplines.

Each year we use a different theme. This year our theme is “Overcoming Challenges”.  We are going to consider the challenges we usually experience when we attempt to habitually practise the Disciplines, and discuss how we can overcome these challenges.

So, let’s get started.  First, pray and ask God to be your guide.   Next, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the Disciplines.  On the menu bar for this website there is a tab called “Disciplines”.  Click on the tab and you will find a link to a document which explains all 11 Disciplines we consider for this program. You have the next four days to get caught up, so you don’t have to review all the pages in one day.  You should be able to get through the summary of the Disciplines today though.  For those of you who have done this program before, it shouldn’t take you much time at all to reacquaint yourself with the Disciplines.

Today’s Question for comments:

What similarities do you see between pursuing Spiritual Disciplines and pursuing regular physical exercise?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 4 – Preparation

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

By now we all should have reviewed the background information on the Disciplines captured in the website (www.40daysofdiscipline.com).  We have also been able to assess the progress we have made in practicing the Disciplines.  Today is review day.  Please spend some time in prayer and reflection on where you are with the Disciplines.  Have an honest conversation with God about the progress you have been making and ask for His guidance on this 40 Day Journey.

On Monday we will begin an exciting Bible study about Jesus.

Please consider today’s questions and share your thoughts if you feel led to do so.

Today’s Question for comments:

Some of you have already shared your successes and challenges with particular Disciplines, and your stories are very inspirational.  We would love to hear more stories. Do you have a story to share?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 3 – Preparation

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, (Hebrews 6:1)

 

Yesterday I suggested that we consider the degree of success we are having with the Disciplines.  However we all know that often our current status is not quite as important as how we are improving.  So, today as we continue to review the information on the Disciplines (www.40daysofdiscipline.com), let’s turn our attention from what level we are at to how much we are improving.  Think about how much improvement in practicing each of the Disciplines you have seen in your life over the last year.

For your convenience here is a checklist:

    Level of Improvement
Discipline What success looks like High Medium Low
Bible Study A habit of regular Bible study.      
Prayer A habit of praying in all circumstances.      
Worship A lifestyle of submission to God.      
Fellowship Commitment not to “go it alone” but rather to grow with other believers.      
Fasting Periodically sacrificing our natural desires for a deeper relationship with Jesus.      
Creation An attitude of enjoying God’s creation.      
Stewardship Daily choosing to submit to God’s agenda since he owns everything.      
Spiritual Warfare Recognizing and resisting temptations.      
Service Daily choosing to go where Jesus would go and do what Jesus would do.      
Sabbath Commitment to setting apart a day for rest.      
Counsel A humble spirit which leads to seeking and receiving wise advice.      

Please consider today’s questions and share your thoughts if you feel led to do so.

 

Today’s Question for comments:

How do you evaluate your spiritual growth, and do the Disciplines play a role?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 2 – Preparation

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

There are a few people who appear to be disciplined in all areas of their lives.  However, the more prevalent situation is that there are certain areas of our lives where we exercise a lot of discipline and certain areas of our lives where we don’t.  As you continue to review the information on the Disciplines (www.40daysofdiscipline.com), think about why your degree of success might vary from Discipline to another Discipline.

For your convenience here is a checklist:

    Level of Discipline
Discipline What success looks like High Medium Low
Bible Study A habit of regular Bible study.      
Prayer A habit of praying in all circumstances.      
Worship A lifestyle of submission to God.      
Fellowship Commitment not to “go it alone” but rather to grow with other believers.      
Fasting Periodically sacrificing our natural desires for a deeper relationship with Jesus.      
Creation An attitude of enjoying God’s creation.      
Stewardship Daily choosing to submit to God’s agenda since he owns everything.      
Spiritual Warfare Recognizing and resisting temptations.      
Service Daily choosing to go where Jesus would go and do what Jesus would do.      
Sabbath Commitment to setting apart a day for rest.      
Counsel A humble spirit which leads to seeking and receiving wise advice.      

Please consider today’s questions and share your thoughts if you feel led to do so.

Today’s Question for comments:

Why do you think God didn’t just automatically transform all believers into disciplined individuals?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 1 – Preparation

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

We are at the start of journey that will require us to put aside some time every day for 40 days out of the next 46 days (no activities on Sundays).  This may seem daunting at first but know that we can do this with God’s help.  What is this journey about?  Well, we will learn more about certain activities called Disciplines that can significantly strengthen our relationship with God.  We will use the next four days to familiarize ourselves with the Disciplines.  A website has been created to provide us with the background information we need (link provided below).  On the website we will find background information, a calendar showing what Disciplines we will consider each day, and important information on the Disciplines.

Each year we use a different theme four our journey.  This year our theme is “Be like Jesus”.  We are going to closely examine how Jesus lived the Disciplines and apply lessons to our own lives.

So, let’s get started.  First, pray and ask God to be your guide.   Next, read the instructions below on how to use the 40 Days of Discipline website.  If you participated in prior years this should only require minimal time to refresh your memory.   If this is your first year you should be able to get through most of the website by allocating less than 15 minutes per day for the next four days. The most important thing for you to read is the information on the Disciplines. You will find this information in a tab called Disciplines.

Each daily blog will have a question for comments (see below).  If you feel led, please share your comments.

Here is the link to the website: www.40daysofdiscipline.com

Please start reading the background information as soon as possible and answer the question below.

Today’s Question for comments:

Do you believe there is a strong link between our love for God and our diligence in pursuing the Disciplines?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 4 – Preparation

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

This is our final day of preparation.  I hope you have completed your review of the background information on the 40 Days of Discipline website (www.40daysofdiscipline.com).  We will start with the Discipline of Bible Study next week. I know that God has something special in store for us.

For many of us, being really disciplined about anything healthy is a struggle.  In the passage above, Paul comes across as a pretty determined and disciplined individual.  Please pause and talk to God about where you are in the matter of discipline.  I would encourage you to give Him thanks for the strength He already provides, and be specific in any request you make for help.

There is, of course, nothing magical about the 40 days journey.  If you miss a day, just catch back up. This journey should not include a guilt trip.  That being said, I hope you will partner with God to show the kind of resolve demonstrated by Paul.   One way to demonstrate this resolve is to schedule specific time in your calendar for the 40 Days of Discipline journey.

Today’s Questions for comments:

  • What are your thoughts on mixing Disciplines and Love?
  • Do you find the practice of the Disciplines liberating or restricting?

Please share your thoughts if you feel led and read the comments left by others.

Talk to you on Monday.