40 Days of Discipline


7 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 40 – Review

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

 

Today we conclude our 40 days of Discipline journey. It is a great day to consider what we have learned, make commitments, and share. We also look forward to a glorious Easter Sunday tomorrow.

This year we focused on the theme: God’s Glory.  We will never be able to fully comprehend God’s glory, but we have seen over and over again that it is revealed in His Son, Jesus.  We focus on the Disciplines during our 40-days journey because practicing them draws us closer to God’s revealed glory, Jesus.  As you review our journey together I would remind you that this study is not about the pursuit of information only.  We are much more interested in transformation.  In that regard, I will remind you of a verse we considered earlier in our study:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

As we look forward to Resurrection Sunday and beyond, I pray that we will continue to pursue the Disciplines as evidence of our commitment to being “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory”.

 

Question:

What will you take away from this year’s journey to aid your growth in Christ?


5 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 39 – Passion Week

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.  17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).  18There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.  19Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.  20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”  22Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”  23When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.  24“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did.  25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”  From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  28Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  29A 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.  30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  (John 19:16 – 30)

 

On this blessed Good Friday, we turn our attention to Jesus on the cross.  The significance of the cross to believers cannot be overstated.  Without the death of Jesus, we are completely lost!  There is also an emphatic link to our theme this year, God’s glory.  Many people view the cross as a path to glory but based on all that we have discussed over almost 40 days, I would encourage us to take a deeper look.  What Jesus did on the cross doesn’t just create the path to glory, it reveals glory.  We have seen how God’s glory is revealed in his attributes.  Well, on the cross we see God’s love personified; we understand more fully the statement, “God is love”.

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

Question:

How does His love amaze you?

 

 


3 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 38 – Passion Week

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

20“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that 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.  22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23I 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.  24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”  (John 17:20 – 26)

 

Yesterday we reflected on Jesus washing the feet of His disciples on the Thursday of Passion Week.   Through that famous event we see clear attributes of Jesus that allow us to see aspects of God’s glory.  Another signature event from the Thursday of Passion Week is Jesus praying.  The Apostle John records the details of the prayer, and what a prayer it is.  It is certainly worth reading the whole prayer if you have the time.  The prayer provides real insights into who Jesus is.   I hope you have firmly concluded that the clearer we see Jesus the clearer we see the glory of God.

Please prayerfully read the passages and answer the question below.

Question:

What aspects of God’s glory revealed in Jesus’ prayer strike a chord with you?


6 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 37 – Passion Week

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  8“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”  9“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”  10Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”  11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.  12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.  “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  16Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.  (John 13:3 – 17)

 

The event we will focus on today actually occurs on the Thursday of Passion Week but it says so much about Jesus that we will use it anyway.  I am referring to Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.  I hope over the last two days you have started to hone in on the fact that God’s glory is manifested in His attributes, and Jesus is the “exact representation of God’s being”.  The reading today should continue to help to consolidate this point.  I pray that we will never get numb to the wonder of the attributes of Jesus.

Please prayerfully read the passages and answer the question below.

Question:

What aspects of God’s glory revealed in Jesus’ activities strike a chord with you?


6 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 36 – Passion Week

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

1As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  3“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”   (Luke 21:1-4)

24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.  25“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.  27“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.  29“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.  30And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’  31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.  32Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!  33“You snakes! You brood of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to hell?  (Matthew 23:24-33)

 

The Tuesday of Passion Week is famous for Jesus’ prophetic teachings on The Mount of Olives (The Olivet Discourse).  However, there are other important stories from that day.  In the two passages above from Luke and Matthew, we see how Jesus described various classes of people that He encountered on the Tuesday – the rich, the poor, and the religious.  As He exhibits God’s glory, we see that He just doesn’t do things the way the world does.  His observations say a lot about the people He encountered and they also tell us a lot about Him.

Please prayerfully read the passages and answer the question below.

Question:

From the passages above, what aspects of God’s glory revealed in Jesus strike a chord with you?


7 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 35 – Passion Week

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

 41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.  43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  44They 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)

15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” 18The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. (Mark 11:15-18)

 

For our 40-Day journey this year, we considered the Spiritual Disciplines through the lens of our theme: God’s Glory.  During our group Bible study we discussed three very important things about God’s glory: 1) Moses had a desire to see God’s glory; 2) God decided to show Moses His glory but with certain conditions (remember the cleft in the rock); and 3) Jesus reveals God’s glory to us and meets all the necessary conditions.  Like the early disciples, we can also see God’s glory by examining Jesus.  What a privilege!  The Spiritual Disciplines therefore, help us to experience God’s glory inasmuch as they help us to experience Jesus more deeply.

Over the next six days we will spend our time focusing on Jesus and beholding His glory.  John 1:14 will be reposted each day as a reminder.  In addition, we will discuss passages of scripture from the week leading up to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

Today we examine two stories about Jesus where He exhibits contrasting emotions, but in both of these stories God’s glory is revealed. Please prayerfully read the passages and answer the question below.

Question:

In the passages above, what aspects of God’s glory does Jesus reveal that really strikes a chord with you?

 


1 Comment

40 Days of Discipline: Day 34 – Review

5Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.  6He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.  (Psalm 146:5 – 6)

 

Today is dedicated to reviewing what we have learned over the past five days.  We have covered the Disciplines of Counsel, Creation and Sabbath.  Please reflect on what we have discussed regarding the three disciplines as they relate to God’s glory.

We have now completed our review of the 11 Disciplines and during Passion Week we turn our full attention to Jesus and behold His glory.

Ask God to help you to apply the lessons from His word to your life.

 

Question:

What did you learn this week that you can apply?


6 Comments

40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  11The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10 – 11)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Sabbath.  As we consider this Discipline, our focus is not on a particular day of worship.  Instead, we are considering the practice of ceasing from day-to-day activities to rest.  Adherence to this practice is wholly consistent with our theme of God’s Glory because we foster greater dependence on God and deeper reflection on who He is.  In the passage above, the Hebrew word for “still” has the connotation of weakness, release, or in more popular parlance, “chilling out”.  These words all point to a posture of dependency.  This is very counter-cultural but God knows us the best and we should trust His prescription.  It will work for our good and for His glory.

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

 

Question:

Do you consistently take a break from day-to-day activities as a sign of your dependence on God?


6 Comments

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?