United Baptist Church 

Following the Lord Jesus Together

A Pastor's Heart

A Resouce from the Pastor of United Baptist Church.  

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Practical Ideas for Going Forward Following Jesus in 2019

Posted on January 1, 2019 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (3)


As each of us looks towards 2019 I want to offer you some practical ideas for Going forward Following Jesus.

First, let me encourage you to make a commitment to corporate worship. Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM is when United Baptist Church meets to worship God as a family. Corporate worship has been an essential part of our faith since the beginnings of the Christian church and as we worship together there are aspects of your spiritual development that are matured only in this time with each other. Make no mistake that all of the power of the world will strive to keep you from gathering to worship together but as we move towards 2019 let me encourage you to prepare to follow Jesus by making the commitment now to be present in corporate worship.

Second, let me encourage you to spend time reading the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is truth without any mixture of error. The Bible is God’s revelation of himself to his creation and from the Bible comes the image of the true God that cannot be found anywhere else. Commit yourself to reading the Bible daily. Commit yourself to reading the Bible daily with your family. Follow the daily reading plan that is in the bulletin, find a reading plan online, or check out your Bible and see if there is a reading plan in it. No matter what you choose, allow the power of God’s word to penetrate your life and to mold you and shape you in your daily walk with Him.

Third, commit yourself to prayer daily. Pray to God and thank him for what he has done, praise God for who he has revealed himself to be, bring to God the cares and concerns of your life, and confess to God your faults and your failings. Pray with your family. Pray for your family. Pray with your church and pray for your church. Make the commitment though to pray.

Fourth, make a personal commitment to be part of a small group Bible study. God has not called you to a life of private devotion to him alone, but rather he has called you to share your life with other believers in community. Small group Bible studies are a key environment for building and maintaining this community with each other. Whether you attend Sunday school at 9:45 AM on Sunday mornings, Wednesday night Bible study at 7:00 PM, one of the youth Bible studies throughout the week, the Ladies Bible study every other Tuesday night at 7:00 PM, or the men’s Bible study Thursday nights at 6:30 PM, make a commitment to be involved and engaged in a small group Bible study. Make the commitment to have your family involved and engaged in small group Bible study. There will be no shortage of matters that will rise up to fill your calendar and your life. Making the commitment now provides you with the opportunity and the anchor for you to grow in your knowledge of who God is and what he has done as you also grow in relationship with others in your church.

Fifth, determine to pray daily for the salvation of one lost person in your circle of influence. As you look around your life God has placed people who do not yet know him in connection with you. Pray daily for that person to know God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sixth, prepare your finances for work of the Lord’s kingdom. Money truly talks and it says “Bye, bye” when you are not clear in your budgeting priorities. Look towards the coming year as an opportunity to be disciplined and faithful in your giving to the work of the kingdom through your local church and through the opportunities that the Lord provides for you personally to be a channel of his financial provision to others.

Finally seventh, commit to saying “Yes” to your savior. As opportunities arise for you to use the gifts and talents that God has placed within your life, be prepared to say “Yes.” Guard your calendar, set your priorities, and allow wiggle room around who you are and what you do so that when the Lord Jesus calls for you to be of service you are prepared to say “Yes”.

2019 is before us. We have never been closer to the return of our savior and our king than we are today. As we approach the days ahead let us make a fresh and a new commitment to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ in us and through us as we go forward and follow Jesus Christ.

God bless

Celebrating the Season

Posted on December 6, 2018 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)


The holidays have come upon us once again and most of us are in full swing with the holiday fun. Christmas parties, plays, family events, and so many other wonderful traditions are going on all around us. These are to be enjoyed and I want to encourage you to laugh and live during this wonderful time of the year.

I also want to encourage you to stay faithful to the local church in this season. So often we can get so busy that we forget that the most important aspect of this season is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, his coming into the world to bring salvation, and his coming into the world to establish the church. As we celebrate this wonderful season, make a firm commitment to worship with your church family each Sunday. Celebrate the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ together and let’s enjoy a very Merry Christmas on our way to a Happy New Year.

God bless,

Pastor Dean

Social Media and the Christian Ethic

Posted on October 18, 2018 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Social media is everywhere. In the last fifteen years, social media has grown from a concept to a necessity of life and work. This world has allowed many people to find a voice for their ideas, struggles, and opinions. This invention has produced the rediscovery of old friends, the forming of common relationships, and a constant bombardment of information of all kinds. However, one of the byproducts of social media has been the erosion of the Christian ethic by many believers in their online interactions.  Many disciples of the Lord Jesus act out on social media in ways that they would be ashamed of acting around the dinner table and this must be changed.  As we continue to immerse ourselves in social media, especially in an election year, I want to offer some simple reminders for our social media activities.

First, remember your priority. Luke 15 tells us that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Matthew 28 and Acts 1 both emphasize the role that the Lord Jesus’ disciples have to continue that work until the Lord Jesus returns. In our online interactions, the priority of making disciples of the Lord Jesus must remain the main thing. How we interact with others and what we share must be filtered through the priority of making disciples of all people if we are to maintain our Christian ethic in this realm.

Secondly, be honest. Exodus 20:16 prohibits us from giving a false testimony and Proverbs 6 states that God hates a lying tongue. For the believer honesty and integrity are an essential part of our lives and provide a foundation for the work of the Gospel and the kingdom through us.  Consequently, just because you see a meme or read a post that you like or that agrees with your point of view does not make it the truth. Take two minutes and research something before you share it. When you share material that is not true, you are lying. Jesus, in his parable of the talents, expresses that he who is faithful in few things will be given greater things but he who is unfaithful in small things even that which he has will be taken from him. If you cannot be faithful in your honesty with the memes your share how can anyone believe that you are being honest when you share about the things of eternity?  For many our social media makes us like Lot.  Genesis 19 tells us that when Lot told the men who were to marry his daughters about the judgment to come upon the city they thought he was telling them a big joke.  Lot lost his credibility in Genesis 14 and for many we have lost our credibility through our posts on Facebook.

Third, be respectful. Ephesians 5:4 calls for the Lord’s disciples to refrain from obscenities, foolish talk, and crude joking. These things should have no place in the life of the believer and as a result they should be absent from our social media as well. When we share things that we find humorous are we encouraging everyone to laugh with us or are we instead bringing about a situation for us to laugh at someone else? How can we expect to make disciples of all people if they see us ridiculing them through our social media post? When we post hurtful and disrespectful material about homosexual, transgendered people, people from the other side of our political aisle, members of the opposite sex, people of different ethnicities, our elected leaders, and members of another generation we damage the message of the Gospel that we share and the validity of our disciple-making efforts. Romans 12:17 calls for us not to repay evil with evil but rather to do what is right. If our priority is the making of disciples, then disrespect towards others must be eliminated from our social media activity.

I cannot claim innocence, nor can I claim ignorance in my own social media activity. I have been and likely will be guilty of ignoring and abandoning these reminders in my own social media work. I seek the Lord’s forgiveness and I seek the forgiveness of others. I pray that I will be more faithful to the command of the Lord Jesus tomorrow than I am today. I pray that you will be more faithful to this call also. May God use our repentance and our desire to walk more faithfully with him to expand his kingdom in our lives and in the lives of those who do not yet know Him through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 10

Posted on August 17, 2018 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (2)

Today as we conclude our series on the Corporate Disciplines, we look at one of the most vital disciplines in the life of every believer. This discipline is a tangible realization about our priorities and about our investment in the kingdom through the local church. 

The fifth corporate discipline for us to implement within our day to day lives is the discipline of giving. Giving is more than simply placing a few dollars in the plate as it meanders by in corporate worship. True giving is a discipline that requires personal sacrifice and devotion. Believers are called to set apart a portion of what God has provided them and commit that to the work and ministry of their local church. The result of this giving is a personal stake in the ministry of the local place of worship. You are committed financially and invested in the faithfulness of your church to the work the Lord Jesus has called you into.

In the Old Testament God always claimed a portion of what he placed under man’s authority as his own. In the Garden of Eden he claimed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Under the Law he claimed ten percent of the first fruits that the harvest produced. In the New Testament, God lays claim to all that the believer is. He has claimed the totality of our lives as his own through the purchasing work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this claim he has placed the call to fund the work of the church upon his people and we are to offer our finances regularly and faithfully.

The heart and soul of this giving is to set planned giving as your foundation. Whether you give a tithe (10%) of your income or you commit to give a certain dollar amount, this creates the base of your giving discipline. The work of growing your giving then upon your foundation.

Consider this, United Baptist Church presently has 75 adults attending worship regularly. If every adult made the commitment to give whatever they are presently giving plus $20.00 more a month the ministry giving within our church would increase by $18,000. That is $2700.00 more for the cause of global, national, and statewide missions. That is funding for Day at the Park, The Fremont County Fair Outreach, and Halloween Outreach. That is funding for curriculum materials, Bibles, and music. Those are dollars that go throughout Riverton for the spread of the Gospel and around the world making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the power of corporate planned giving within the hearts and lives of God’s people.

The third aspect of giving is to set aside a little extra than your planned giving for kingdom purposes. These dollars are for special needs, community concerns, the poor, and those who are less fortunate. Those dollars should not detract from your regular planned giving but instead offer additional help for those unexpected needs that God provides us with the opportunity to meet.

Giving is a discipline and we all must start where we are. If you can’t plan to give $20.00 give $10.00. Plan your giving and set back some money to meet the opportunities that the Lord provides as you give to the corporate work and ministry of the local church. Trust God to provide for your needs as you fulfill your calling to provide for the needs of his church through your planned and faithful giving.

Investment in the work and ministry of the local church pays eternal dividends. Your dollars result in ministry that spreads the Gospel at home and all over the world. Your giving also forces each of us to look at our own personal priorities regarding the kingdom of God and our own personal desire to fulfill our wants. As you practice the discipline of giving, you allow God to bring areas of need into focus and you fund the work of God that is going on in you and through you. Be faithful to the work and be faithful in the discipline of giving.

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 09

Posted on August 16, 2018 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

When we look at the discipline of serving, the primary focus of this discipline is ministering to people within the local church. But what about those who are not yet part of the family of God through Jesus Christ? Do we have a discipline that collectively ministers to those who have not yet believed? I am glad you asked.

The fourth corporate discipline for us to practice is the discipline of sharing. Matthew 28:18-20 commissions all disciples for all time to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them wherever they go and make disciples of all peoples that we meet. Acts 1:8 calls for all disciples to serve as a witness for Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. As each of us takes that charge seriously and begins to live that charge out personally, we will practice the work of sharing the Gospel collectively as well.

The call for the believer is not simply to get people to pray the Sinner's Prayer, but rather to witness about who Christ is and what he has done and then to assist the new convert in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ as they grow up as his disciple. The main tool that God has provided for this assistance is the local church.

As a local church we offer a number of opportunities to share the message of Jesus Christ. We practice the discipline of sharing through teaching the Gospel to others. We practice the discipline of sharing through community outreach. We practice the discipline of sharing through invitations to the neighborhood regarding Gospel centered events. We practice the discipline of sharing through personal evangelism training.

Each of us is called to share and each of us has a responsibility to discover how we can practice the discipline of sharing through our local church. Finding one area that you can share in is crucial to growing in your personal sharing. Additionally, as you share through your local church you are pulling your weight in the evangelistic load that we carry together and lighten the burden that each of us has to carry.

Do not neglect to share. Be a faithful witness as you discipline yourself to share as part of the local church.

God bless

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 08

Posted on August 16, 2018 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

As we make the commitment to participate in both corporate worship and to share our lives with other believers, the work and ministry of the local church should begin to come into focus. In Southern Baptist life and work, each church exists under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and his authority alone. As a result, the members and attendees of the local church are the source for the church’s ministries and for the church’s community engagement. Through the efforts of those who are a part of the local church the church serves its members and attendees and shares with its community.

These final three parts of our look at Spiritual Disciplines for Daily then will focus on the disciplines of serving, sharing, and giving. Each person within the church carries a level of responsibility in each of these three areas and each of these three areas provide benefits to both the church and to the spiritual growth and development of the individual believer.

The third corporate discipline for our daily lives is the discipline of serving. The Apostle Paul shares in Ephesians chapter 2 that all believers are the creation of God in Christ Jesus to accomplish good works that God prepared ahead of time for us. Paul would certainly know of this preparation for we read in Acts 9 that when Paul came to faith in the Lord Jesus, God had set him apart to carry the message of the Gospel to the Gentile world, to leaders, and to suffer greatly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as God had staked a path of service for Paul to travel, he has staked a path of service for you to travel as well.

The primary avenue for your Christian service will be in service through the local church. The Bible teachers us in both Ephesians and in 1 Corinthians that all believers are called and uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work and ministry of the church through his power and their service. So when we commit to serving within the local church, we are committed to fulfilling the call and purpose of our salvation.

So what does this service look like then? Truthfully your service through the local church can look like a lot of things and they can accomplish the work and ministry in a great many ways. In one church I served we had a man named Roy. Roy was nearly 80 years old when he began to attend our church and one day I asked Roy if he would be willing to come a little early before Sunday school to make coffee for everyone in the fellowship hall. Additionally, I asked if he would also be willing to give everyone a bulletin on their way into the building. For the rest of my time as pastor of that church, Roy was a faithful servant. Many mornings he would arrive forty-five minutes early to accomplish his act of service and for years every person who entered our building was met with a warm smile and a bulletin. At the tender age of 81, I had the opportunity ordain Roy as a deacon of our church and many of the families he served in that role, he built relationships with in service before Sunday school making coffee and distributing bulletins. There are people who are in believers today, serving churches today, and serving in ministry today because of Mr. Roy’s faithful service to his local church doing something so simple and yet so profound.

Another instance of service took place during a day in my ministry. My wife’s classroom at an elementary school 40 miles away needed to be painted. So myself and a team of four other men went over and painted that room. One of those team members was a man who had a different color skin that any other member in our church at the time. Through the course of that day those other men had the chance to serve with, talk too, and share with that dear brother. A few weeks later, a few people in the church began to have an issue with the fact that I had baptized that brother. I did not have to say a word. Those men that had served at his side in my wife’s classroom made it very clear that he was a part of our church family and if there was going to be some leaving it would be that brother that would be heading for the door.

Serving builds bridges, it creates humility, it strengthens the bonds of love, and it accomplishes so many of our Lord’s purposes within his church. Serving takes place in the kitchen, in the nursery, in Sunday school, in the sound booth, in children’s church, and any where that we are at work. At United Baptist Church, I encourage everyone to find one place where they can serve and serve consistently. Whether they sing in the choir, teach a class, lead a committee, or volunteer in the office there is a way for you to use the gifts and abilities that God has placed within you in his local church.

Serving accomplishes what few things do. Serving helps set the focus on the others we are working for and with those we are working with. Serving should keep us from setting ourselves in a place of authority and rather offers us a chance to place others in a greater position than ourselves. Serving should ultimately be an offering that we make to the Lord who saved us and should reflect the work that he has done and continues to do in us today.

Where can you serve? How can you serve? What areas of service has God unique gifted and called you to be a part of? As you answer those questions make the commitment to the discipline of serving and experience the joy that only comes from accomplishing the work God has prepared for you to do.

God bless

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 07

Posted on August 14, 2018 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

As we develop our corporate disciplines the front line discipline to develop is a commitment to public corporate worship with other believers. However, simply attending the worship service alone is not the end of our corporate development. Rather it is the beginning. The second discipline that we must commit to is the discipline of relating.

"Now wait a minute preacher, how is relating a discipline?"

"I am glad you asked."

The Christian life does not simply worship in community, but it lives in community. We are designed to live out life in relationship not only with God but with others around us. Jesus said in John 13 that the world will know that we are his disciples because we love one another. The world does not see love simply because we come to church together, but because we live in relationship with one another and share our lives with each other.

Too often we strive to live the Christian life in isolation and in isolation we often are led astray by our feelings, our emotions, and our misunderstandings. Through relationship we safeguard ourselves from false teaching and we foster an environment that produces accountability in our walk with the Lord Jesus and the local church.

So how do we practice the discipline of relating? The most effective means of practicing this discipline is to make a commitment to a small group Bible study. Every member and attendee of United Baptist Church should be able to find a group that fits their lifestyle and schedule. We offer unisex groups, age graded groups, and coed groups on multiple days and times to provide opportunity to attend a small group Bible study.

The most affective small group Bible study environment that we offer is Sunday school on Sundays at 9:45 AM. During this time, we offer classes for every age and stage of life at the same time. For children we offer classes from birth through high school and then for adults we offer coed classes for every age and stage. These classes are open to any one on any week to join in and get involved. No matter what your family situation may be, the Sunday school time offers a small group Bible study to practice the discipline of relating within.

In addition to attendance, we must also participate in the group. We need to share with each other from the Scriptures and from our lives as we discover the issues that we face, the circumstances that we live within, and the opportunities for greater growth that exist within the group. As you share your life through participation, you are making an investment of yourself in the group and you are investing in others as they invest in you.

Beyond the regular meeting times, we also should seek to spend time with people in our group in other environments. Go to dinner, attend the football game, have a party, or any other number of ways for you to build relationships with those who are part of your group. Life is not simply what happens at church, but what happens beyond the walls of a classroom or the worship service.

As you share your life with your group, God uses others to mature you in your walk with him, to sanctify you in holiness, and to prune you for greater fruitfulness in his kingdom. Apart from the discipline of relating there are holes within your relationship to God and to other believers that simply cannot be filled.

God bless

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 06

Posted on August 14, 2018 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

If you have been working on the personal disciplines then by this time you are probably saying to yourself, “This is much harder than I thought it would be.” Well the truth is you are right. Just like buying McDonald’s every night is easier than preparing and cooking food at home, living a life that lacks discipline is easier than developing spiritual discipline in our daily living. However, the benefits of personal discipline cannot be overstated. Time and again the Proverbs encourage us to be diligent in our work and to avoid laziness and foolishness. There are simply too many benefits that come from developing spiritual discipline within your life to quit now.

As I have stated before though, there is only so far you can go in your walk with God by yourself. Your personal spiritual development is directly tied to your corporate spiritual discipline as well. As you develop the personal disciplines, let us also make a fresh and new commitment to the corporate disciplines also.

The first discipline that we must commit to corporately is worshipping. Through Bible reading, praying, fasting, and resting we worship privately, but we are not simply called to private worship. We must also come together to sing, pray, and learn together in public worship. Public worship has been a crucial part of God’s covenant people all the way from the beginning. We see public worship displayed in the life of Abel and Noah. We see the mark of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s life being the establishment of public worship centers throughout their travels in Canaan. Moses led public worship at the Tabernacle. Solomon built the Temple for public worship. Jesus participated in public worship. Paul wrote his letters to be read in public worship. Finally, the Revelation is a prophetic poem illustrating time and time again the beauty and value of public corporate worship. The writer of Hebrews commands us not to stay away from the weekly corporate worship time because corporate worship is essential to your spiritual health and growth. We are not passive as we gather together, but rather we are active participants in the worship of Almighty God and celebrants of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, regular attendance takes commitment. Everything in the world will infringe on your attendance and participation in public worship because of its vast importance. You will have to discipline yourself to attend and then you will have to fight Hell and the Devil to fulfill that commitment. However, it is truly worth it. I experienced my call to ministry in a corporate worship service. I have had the joy of seeing dozens of people come to faith in Christ through the public corporate worship service. I have watched relationships mended during corporate worship. God moves among his people in corporate worship like he does nowhere else and each of us are invited to meet him there weekly.

Corporate worship attendance requires a resetting of your priorities as well. Those things that are important we make time for. If you are committed to watching new episodes of NCIS, then you are in your living room on Tuesday nights to watch. If you are committed to high school football then you are in the stands on Friday nights cheering our team. If you are committed to camping, travel baseball, hunting, or any other activity, then you are there to maximize your time in those activities. If you are committed to public worship then you are present and worshiping on Sunday mornings in the local church. Of those things what should have your highest level of commitment if you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ? Of the commitments in your life what really does have the highest level of commitment in your life? Perhaps it is time to reset your priorities and renew your commitment to the discipline of corporate worship.

So today make a fresh commitment. Commit to be in attendance, involved, and engaged in corporate worship this week and every week.

God bless

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 05

Posted on August 10, 2018 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Today we conclude our week of personal spiritual discipline. As we bring this week to a close, I pray that you have created a commitment to discipling yourself for greater spiritual growth and development. As we close the week, I invite you to consider this final discipline as perhaps the most difficult of all personal discipline.

The fourth discipline that we must focus upon is Resting. The discipline of resting is not an excuse for laziness. Rather this is a discipline that is modeled by God in creation and Jesus in his ministry. Rest is crucial to our long term physical and spiritual health. Rest also brings us to a place where we are relying on God to accomplish more within us in 6 days than we can accomplish with ourselves in 7 days.

What rest is not is the foundation for doing nothing. Rather rest is a form of thanksgiving as we enjoy the physical things that God has provided for us. Rest is a means of recharging ourselves in preparation for our work and service to the Lord. Rest is a means for reflection and for recreation within our lives.

How often do we feel run down and run over with everything that is going on in our lives? When that happens how often are the spiritual things what we consider to be expendable in order for us to recharge ourselves for what we believe to be the important things of our life? How many of us have skipped church before because we were just too busy and/or too tired to go? How often have we neglected our commitments to corporate worship or to service within the church because we have overworked ourselves? We all are hit a little close to home by each of those questions. Had we practiced the discipline of rest and said “No” to some of the other less important and nonessential matters that came at us during the week would our answers to those questions be different? If we spent less time chasing momentary experiences that our culture pushes us to have and instead rested in preparation for an experience with God would our walk with God be radically different than it is today.

Consider that the call to rest and the call to worship are issued by the same God. In Exodus 20, the Almighty God calls for his people to refrain from putting any God before him (that includes our hobbies, interests, family, fun, and work) and calls for His people to keep a day of rest. Your time of worship is to be protected and it is to be bolstered by your day of rest.

Run from the overcrowding. Pull back from those things that constantly infringe upon the rest that you need. Withdraw from those things that push you away from the rest God has instructed you to take. Then allow that rest to recharge and refresh you as you worship and work faithfully for the Apostle Paul instructs us that in all we do we are to do it as unto the Lord. If we are to worship, work, and rest as unto the Lord then let us rest as he has instructed us so that we may worship and work as he has called us.

Spiritual discipline provides the foundation for spiritual growth and the fuel for spiritual service. We are all called to grow in our relationship with the Lord Jesus and we are called to accomplish good works that he has prepared in advance for us. Continue what you have begun and press forward putting these disciplines into practice within your life.

God bless

Spiritual Disciplines for Daily Life Part 04

Posted on August 9, 2018 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

By today you should already be working to build daily Bible reading and prayer into your daily life routine. Once again these are not legalistic practices that keep the Devil away from us, but rather are exercises that help change our understanding of who God is based on his revelation of himself and our interactions with him based on that understanding. Some days you will not accomplish all the reading you wish to do or you will not spend as much time in prayer as you would like. Do not beat yourself up over those days, simply renew your commitment and move forward.

As we look at today’s discipline, we will take a turn from a daily practice to what should be a regular practice. This is not something that you will engage in each day, but rather will schedule and practice regularly to benefit most from its addition to your spiritual discipline routine.

The third personal discipline for us to practice is Fasting. Now I know reading that word makes you hungry as you consider giving up a meal, but realistically fasting helps us fight against our natural desires. The Apostle Paul explains in Romans chapter eight that through the Spirit we must mortify the actions of our fleshly desires. In Romans chapter twelve the Apostle calls us to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God as a result of renewing our minds. As we spend time in the Word of God and communing with God in prayer our minds will be changed. As we practice the discipline of fasting, we will strive to develop self discipline for wrestling with our sinful and fleshly desires. Additionally, the practice of fasting provides us with the opportunity to place additional focus on the study of the Scriptures and our communion with God through prayer.

Throughout the Scriptures we see men and women who practiced this discipline with both purposes in mind. Elijah fasted while pursued by Jezebel and met face to face with God. Daniel fasted awaiting an answer to his prayers regarding his people the Israelites. Esther fasted in preparation for pleading for the life of her people before the king. Jesus fasted in preparation for his temptation at the hands of Satan. The Apostle Paul fasted and prayed during the storm at sea.  Fasting is a discipline that should be practiced with some level of regularity and as a result of that regularity should be employed in times of testing or great seeking before God.

While fasting is historically linked to food, fasting can be a withdrawal from anything that has a regular place within your life. For some of us fasting could be a withdrawal from Facebook, Netflix, fishing, or dinner. Any habit that we have allowed to grow and create a regular space in our life is an opportunity to develop discipline in mastering our natural desires and resetting our focus upon the sovereign of eternity. Take a moment to assess your life. What things have you allowed to take control of your life? What areas have you allowed to reign over your desires? Then as you identify these habits, plan a fast to separate yourself from the gratification of your flesh and begin to renew your focus and reset your discipline upon your savior.

God bless