40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 19 – Worship

17Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:17 – 19)

 

Today we conclude our reflections on the Discipline of Worship as we consider the theme A World in Need.

The world is in a never-ending search for happiness.  Some search for it in material things and some search for it by forsaking material things.  Some try to find it in pleasure, and some hope to find it by avoiding pleasure.  The methods people try are numerous and varied.  Our life experiences teach us that sustainable happiness can be very elusive – there is so much injustice and pain in the world – but the Bible teaches us that joy, peace and contentment are accessible to us through Jesus.  Today’s passage gives us some insight into how a life of worship produces joy.

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

 

Question

What impact could we have on the world if we are able to rejoice in the Lord (attitude of worship) regardless of circumstances?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 18 – Worship

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1 – 2)

 

For many years, worship for me was synonymous with the singing segment of a church service.  And, some of the church language I used helped to reinforce that view.  Terms such as “time for worship” (is there a time that is not for worship?), and “worship songs” (are some of the songs not worship songs?).  I know I am being a bit picky because the terms are probably fine in context.  However, you can see how we can develop a narrow view of worship if the broader Biblical view (lifestyle of submission to God) is not understood.  I am emphasizing this point because if worship is no more than an activity or experience, we will not materially impact a world in need.

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

 

Question

In what ways do we practically offer our bodies as living sacrifices to perform true and proper worship?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 17 – Worship

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.  23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.  27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.  28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”  29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:22 – 30)

 

Today we begin our reflection on the Discipline of Worship as we consider the theme A World in Need.  Later this week we will consider the Discipline of Fellowship.

A. W. Tozer, a famous American pastor of the early 20th century is quoted as saying:

“The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.  Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.”

We might not automatically see a link between worship and a world in need but when we consider Biblical examples, the link becomes very evident.  The attitude we have towards worship directly impacts the way the world sees God through us.  The current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic provides an excellent example of a world in need.  In circumstances like this, how can the world see God through us?

Our passage today presents the dramatic story of Paul and Silas in prison.  I am struck by their attitude of worship in difficult circumstances and the impact on those around them.

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

 

Question

In challenging times, how can a life of worship positively impact the world?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 19 – Worship

21On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people.  22They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.”  23Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21 – 23)

 

We started our consideration of the discipline of worship this week with a reminder that God is passionate about His glory.  We will end our consideration with a sober warning.  God is jealous of His glory.

The kind of glory associated with worship should never be given to anything or anyone else but God. We should also be careful not to misappropriate God’s glory for ourselves.

Please read the passage above carefully and answer the following question.

 

Question:

How do you guard against misplaced worship?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 18 – Worship

1Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.  2I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me.  3He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me—God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.  4I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.  5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.  6They spread a net for my feet—I was bowed down in distress.  They dug a pit in my path—but they have fallen into it themselves.  7My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.  8Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn.  9I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.  10For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  11Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57)

 

David is appropriately held out as a model worshipper.  His contributions to the Book of Psalms have served as a timeless source of inspiration.  One very instructive aspect of David’s attitude to worship was his inclination to worship whether in good times or bad.  For example, the passage above was written when his life was threatened by King Saul and he was hiding in a cave.  Despite his adversity, he gives God glory!

Please read the passage above carefully and answer the following question.

 

Question:

Giving God glory should not depend on circumstances.  How do you maintain an attitude of worship even when things are not going your way?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 17 – Worship

9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever.  They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:9 – 11)

 

God is passionate about His glory and hopefully you have seen how Bible Study, Spiritual Warfare, Prayer and Fasting are conduits to giving Him the glory that is His alone.  This week we focus on the Disciplines of Worship and Fellowship, starting with Worship.

The concept of God’s glory brings the discipline of worship into very sharp focus.  Consider these two implications of internalizing God’s glory as the motivation for worship:

  1. We avoid the seduction of many activities that are labelled as worship but are really not.  For example, some so called worship activities are really just entertainment without substance.
  2. We avoid falling victim to what I consider the “exclusive zone of worship” syndrome.  This occurs when we believe we must be at church and in a worship service for worship to occur.  This “constrained” view of worship is unfortunately pervasive.

Please read the passage above prayerfully and consider the object, motivation and attitude of worship displayed.

 

Question:

What are some of the practical implications of seeing worship as a lifestyle rather than a church activity?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 19 – Worship

25 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place. (1 Chronicles 16:25 – 27)

 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)

 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

There is something very liberating about worship! It might seem odd that focus on someone other than ourselves can bring the joy that worship brings. However, in God’s economy true worship transports us to our original purpose, which is a source of immeasurable joy.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible verses above.

 

Something to think about:

How do you guard against restricting worship to a church event?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 18 – Worship

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I. Send me! (Isaiah 6:1 – 8)

 

How does worship affect who we are?  Today’s passage captures a powerful and transformative worship gathering.  God is seen as He actually is – exalted, holy and altogether awesome!  The impact on Isaiah is profound in terms of his understanding of himself and his response to God.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible verses above.

 

Something to think about:

How does Isaiah’s experience in the passage above affect the way you relate to worship?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 17 – Worship

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

 

This week we turn our attention to the Disciplines of Worship and Fellowship.  As we reflect on our theme for this year, Our Identity, there are some important lessons we have already discussed in the first 16 days of our 40 days journey.  These lessons include the following:

  • The Bible is our identity manual (Bible Study).
  • Spiritual Warfare often involves an attack of our identity.  The armor of God provides offense and defense.
  • Effective Prayer requires authenticity – God knows everything about us anyway.
  • Fasting isn’t about getting what we want by giving up things, it is about submitting all that we are to God (obedience).

I must again thank our commentators who all contributed to these lessons.

Now we turn to Worship, and the passage above is a great place to start.  Romans 12:1 presents a very demanding definition of true and proper worship, involving a lot more than what is commonly defined as worship.

Please prayerfully reflect on the Bible verse.

 

Something to think about:

What are some of the practical ways you live out the definition of worship presented in Romans 12:1?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 27 – Worship & Fellowship

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

 

We had two great comments yesterday that provided excellent examples of how we benefit from Fellowship.  They are certainly worth checking out.

As we have done in prior weeks, we will take a break from Dear Libby today and focus on encouraging each other.  I believe we all benefit when we share favorite passages from the Bible that reinforce our practise of Disciplines.  At a minimum, the verses remind us that the 40-day journey we are on is Biblically based.

Today is all about Bible passages.

 

Today’s Request:

Please share your favourite Bible passages on Worship and Fellowship.