40 Days of Discipline


40 Days of Discipline: Day 40 – Review

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9 – 17)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Today we conclude our 40-Days-of-Discipline journey.  Thank you for being a part of this experience! 

We are all living through challenging times brought on by the pandemic, and we have seen potent reminders of the world’s need for God.  It was timely therefore, to consider our role in advancing God’s kingdom supported by Spiritual Disciplines.  The world’s need for God means that the world also needs those who are prepared to be soldiers in God’s army.  If not you, then who? 

Let us recommit to imitating Jesus as He empowers and inspires us to represent God’s kingdom.  We can do this with discipline because the Holy Spirit provides the resources we need.


  • Please review the key points from this week and reflect on the overall 40-Days-of-Discipline journey.
  • Pray specifically for God to show you what he wants you to focus on.


40 Days of Discipline: Day 39 – Passion Week

29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”  36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.  37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  (Mark 15:29 – 39)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Today we celebrate one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, Good Friday.  As we have examined Jesus’ final week of earthly ministry over the last four days, we have considered His identity, integrity,  investments, and intimacy.  Today, as we look to the cross, we can only conclude that Jesus is incomparable.  Along so many dimensions, what Jesus did for humanity by dying on the cross is matchless.  The grace, mercy, and love He demonstrated changed the course of human existence.  Because of His sacrifice, we now have access to the Kingdom of God, our sins can be forgiven, and eternal life secured.   “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12).  There is nobody like Jesus! 

Please prayerfully read the passage above and respond to the request below.


Please spend some quality time today reflecting on all that Jesus has done for you, and share any reflections that others could benefit from.


40 Days of Discipline: Day 38 – Passion Week

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.  Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.  “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”  (Mark 14:3 – 9)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Over the last three days we have considered Jesus’ identity, integrity, and investments in the lives of others.  Today we will examine the heart beat of Jesus’ activities – His love for people. We will see examples of His love through powerful displays of intimacy.  Jesus has a tremendous impact on people because he cares deeply for them.  He is not distant.  He is truly Immanuel – “God is with us”! 

Our passage today captures one example of the kind of deep care Jesus practiced.  There are also other stories worth noting.  Starting with the raising of Lazarus just before the triumphal entry and ending with the Lord’s supper, here are 5 powerful summary examples:  

ReferenceOccasionAct of Intimacy
John 11:17 – 43Jesus raises LazarusWhen Jesus saw the grief of Mary and Martha caused by the death of their brother Lazarus, He felt their pain and wept.
Luke 19:41 – 44Triumphal entry to JerusalemWhen Jesus contemplated the calamity that would befall Jerusalem, He weeps for the people of the city.
Mark 14:3 – 9 (Today’s passage)A woman anoints Jesus with expensive perfumeWhen a woman performing an act of worship is abused, Jesus rises to her defense and tells those who rebuked her to “Leave her alone”.
John 13:1 – 17Jesus washes the disciples’ feetJesus intimately taught powerful kingdom principles with a towel and basin of water.
Mark 14:12 – 26The Lord’s supperJesus hosted a special final dinner with His disciples and brought them into the loop on key events to come. 

We are left with no doubt that Jesus loved deeply and established deep relationships. Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.


What lessons do we learn from Jesus about developing deep relationships to advance God’s kingdom?


40 Days of Discipline: Day 37 – Passion Week

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.  (Mark 12:28-34)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Over the last two days we have considered Jesus’ identity and integrity.  Today we will examine His investments in lives. 

In Mark chapters 11 and 12 there are multiple accounts of Jesus explaining vital concepts for life. Just scan the two chapters and you will get a sense of the premium Jesus put on providing vital instructions during the final week of His earthly ministry.  His audiences included his disciples, religious leaders, and the broader public.  When compared to investments in financial assets, investments in people are far more important.  Jesus takes investments in lives to the highest level because He does it with an eternal perspective. 

Our passage for today captures just one of Jesus’ many “investments”.  On this occasion, He invests in the life of one of the teachers of the law, and what a master class it is.  For Jesus, this is not about demonstrating His mental prowess. It is obvious that He has a more eternal purpose. Note Jesus’ parting words to the teacher – “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” You can tell what Jesus is focused on.

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


In your sphere of influence, how are you investing in lives with eternity in mind?


40 Days of Discipline: Day 36 – Passion Week

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.  15 On 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, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And 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.’” 18 The 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.  19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.  (Mark 11:12-19)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Yesterday we examined the significance of Jesus declaring His identity during the triumphal entry.  Today we will consider Jesus’ commitment to integrity.  The Latin root of integrity is integer, meaning whole or complete and not divided.  When our thoughts and actions are entirely consistent with our God-given purpose and identity we are living lives of integrity.  Of course, Jesus epitomizes integrity, and Mark chapter 11 records two encounters that demonstrate the priority Jesus places on integrity.

In the first encounter, Jesus sees a fig tree with the kind of foliage that promised fruit even though  it was not the season for figs.  On close inspection, the tree didn’t live up to what the foliage promised.  There were no figs and Jesus cursed the tree.  In the second encounter, Jesus shows his displeasure with people in the temple who were distorting the purpose of God’s house and the purpose of God’s people.  I find Jesus’ decision to confront the lack of integrity on the part of the people in the temple particularly interesting.  Jesus had just experienced the adulation of the crowds shouting Hosanna. He could have just played it safe and not upset the apple cart.  Many leaders would have been focused on maintaining a positive image (what do the polls say?).  Jesus was focused on the harmony of life with God’s purpose and identity.  He was focused on integrity.    How about us? Are we more concerned about leaves (appearance) than fruit? Do we distort God’s purpose or abandon our identity for personal gain like participants in a “den of robbers”?

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


What are your reflections on Jesus’ commitment to integrity? 


40 Days of Discipline: Day 35 – Passion Week

1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”  They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.(Mark 11:1-11)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

As we have done in prior years, this final week of our journey is dedicated to a close inspection of Jesus during the final days of his earthly mission.  Even after years of performing this close inspection, we have only scratched the surface of the lessons available from Jesus.  I hope you are as excited as I am to see what God has in store for us. 

We will start with the popular story of Jesus entering Jerusalem on the Sunday before Good Friday.  One of the special aspects of the triumphal entry is the public declaration of Jesus’ identity.  Jesus actively orchestrates this declaration by instructing two of His disciples to bring Him the colt on which He will enter Jerusalem as the messiah.  There had been notable declarations of Jesus’ identity before this occasion.  For example, God the Father declared, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  Also, when Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?”, Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” However, before Palm Sunday there is no recording of a mass declaration of Jesus’ identity.  In fact, after Peter’s response, Jesus admonished the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the messiah.  No such prohibition occurred on Palm Sunday though and Jesus’ identity as the messiah was on full display.  

Our God is intentional.  It is not an accident that this momentous week starts with Jesus revealing to the masses that He is the messiah and the lamb of God.  As we seek to advance God’s kingdom, we must stay true to the identity of Jesus described in the Bible.  We must vigorously guard against the kind of misidentification that occurs when we create a Jesus to suit our needs, as the crowd in Jerusalem did.  In addition, we must confidently declare our identity in Christ.  

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


What are your reflections on the power of Jesus’s identity and our identity in Him? 


40 Days of Discipline: Day 34 – Review

For I am the Lord your God   who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear;   I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Today is dedicated to reviewing what we have learned over the past five days.  This is a good time to catch up on the comments if you haven’t had a chance to read them all. 

What can you apply to your life from the discussions related to Counsel, Creation and Sabbath?


Please share any thoughts from your review that you believe others could benefit from. 


40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Sabbath

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 

21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”  24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”  27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.  (Exodus 16: 4 – 5 and 21 – 30)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Today, we turn our attention to the Discipline of Sabbath.  This is the final Discipline we will consider before Holy/Passion Week.  For 40-Days of Discipline, practicing the Discipline of Sabbath does not require adherence to any specific day of rest.  Instead, it calls for regular intervals of rest from labour.

One of the reasons this Discipline is extremely important is that it portrays reliance on God.  No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to work ourselves to fulfilment.  Work has value but it can’t fulfill our deepest needs.  We should rest and more importantly we should rest in God and trust Him to supply our needs.

Our passage for today illustrates the ability of God to supply, and the need for us to follow his commands including the command to rest.  For some of us, there are times when it seems impractical to take a break.  We should discuss those circumstances with God.  He knows us better than we know ourselves and He desires to meet our needs.   

Please read the passage above and answer the questions below.


  • How much value do you place on taking regular intervals of rest?
  • What are the major challenges you face and how are you addressing them?


40 Days of Discipline: Day 32 – Creation

1The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”  So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.  Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.  (Ezekiel 37:1 – 10)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

As promised, today we will turn our attention to the role we should play in God’s mission of restoring the order He created.  Hopefully you were able to focus on God’s creation yesterday.  If you didn’t, today is just as good.  It’s never too late to stop and smell the roses or cherry blossoms if you are in Japan 😊. 

From the Bible and from creation we gain insights into God’s mission to restore order.  As soldiers in His army we too must be signed up to this mission.  When we share the gospel, live godly lives, and otherwise share God’s love with others we are participating in God’s mission.

As you think about creation today, reflect on the damage and disorder that sin has imposed.  Then ask yourself, am I playing my part in God’s mission to restore order? 

Our passage today may seem somewhat unrelated to the Discipline of Creation, but it is related.  You will find in the passage above, a beautiful example of the prophet Ezekiel partnering with God to address the disorder illustrated by dry bones.  This is the kind of partnership we should long for because there are so many dry bones around us, but by the power of our creator, those bones can live, and order can be restored.

Please read the passage above and answer the question below.


Where are the “chaotic” places that God has placed you to be his message and messenger of order?