The Seven Signs of Easter – Part One

Easter this year is April 17th and as a teacher and preacher of God’s Word I am always thinking ahead as I write material to preach, teach, and post. And as a believer who is sharing his faith every opportunity I get I find myself having to “defend” the fact that I actually and truly believe that Jesus was raised bodily from the grave and is alive. So, I thought I would share the seven biblical reasons I believe in the resurrection of Jesus other than I encountered Him personally and in the flesh the night I was saved, November 9, 1976.

The real message of Easter is the empty tomb. As the angel said: 

Matthew 28:5-10 NET “But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ʻHe has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there.ʼ Listen, I have told you!” So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them, saying, “Greetings!” They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.”

The battle over the resurrection of Jesus Christ has always been fierce. The empty tomb, as an enduring symbol of the Resurrection, is the ultimate proof of Jesus’ claim to be God. So how do we know the Resurrection actually happened?

1> THE SOLDIERS. Jewish officials panicked because thousands were following Christ. They heard Jesus predict that He would rise on the third day, and so when His body was placed in a tomb, they had to make sure He was put away for good! So the chief priests and Pharisees gathered and asked Pilate (the Roman ruler) to “order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’” Pilate agreed, so they secured the tomb, in part by “setting a guard” 

Matthew 27:63-66 NET ““Sir, we remember that while that deceiver was still alive he said, ʻAfter three days I will rise again.ʼ So give orders to secure the tomb until the third day. Otherwise his disciples may come and steal his body and say to the people, ʻHe has been raised from the dead,ʼ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “Take a guard of soldiers. Go and make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the soldiers of the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.”

A Roman guard unit consisted of 4 to 16 men. Each soldier was trained to protect six feet of ground. Normally, four men were stationed immediately in front of the object they were to protect, while the other 12 slept in a semicircle in front of these four. Every four hours, a new unit of four was awakened, and those who had been keeping watch went to sleep. This routine went on around the clock. To steal what these guards were protecting, thieves would first have to walk over those who were asleep and then deal with the guards who were not.

Although the idea that the disciples stole the body of Jesus might explain the missing corpse, the idea is more absurd than any other theory put forth to explain away the Resurrection. 

2> THE SEAL. Matthew records that the soldiers “went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone” (Matthew 27:66). The seal could be placed on the stone only in the presence of the Roman guards who were in charge. The procedure was designed to prevent anyone from tampering with the contents of the grave. After the guards inspected the tomb to be sure the body was where it should be they rolled the stone in place and a cord was stretched across the rock. This was fastened at either end with sealing clay. Then the clay packs were stamped with the official signet of the Roman governor. But on Resurrection morning the seal was broken because the stone had been removed from the opening of the tomb while the soldiers were still there guarding the sealed tomb. 

Matthew 28:1-4 NET “Now after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly there was a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descending from heaven came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were shaken and became like dead men because they were so afraid of him.”


No Offense!

People today are so easily offended

We live in a highly sensitive, easily offended culture where it seems trendy to be offended. 

Even Christians become offended. 

Mention “Truckers Convoy” and you can offend someone immediately – For or against

In our society, being offended is seen as normal

 If you’re not offended, today’s culture tells you that you should be. 

Not only should you be offended, but you should let people know you’re offended. 

Hashtag “speaking out,” anyone?

But the truth is, anybody can be offended.  Read more

Fruit of the Kingdom

Sometimes stories that we read in the Bible don’t hit home or speak to us because they are so familiar. Even words that Jesus spoke as recorded in the Gospels can run off us like water off a duck’s back. Just too familiar and read so often they lose their punch and impact. I found this to be true recently as I was reading and studying my way through the Gospel according to Matthew. 

Matthew 21:43 NET states: “For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

Did you notice that last part “… given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Interesting to say the least.

The people are the Church, the called out ones who are to be a “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). The original plan was that this would be Israel. However, in the Parable of the Landowner (Matthew 21:33-46) we see that the Kingdom and all the spiritual advantages given to Israel would now be given to “other vine-growers,” symbolizing the Church which consisted mainly of Gentiles.

To be holy today usually means following a list of things we can wear, places we can and can’t go, people we can hang with and those we can’t. However, biblically “to be holy” means to be more and more like Jesus in thought, word, and deed. To live life as Jesus would and to do those things that He did.

Join 14:12 NET “I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.”

The fruit includes the very character and nature of God Himself. In the Bible this is referred to as The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23a “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Jesus Himself spoke of fruit as recorded in John, chapter 15… the story of the Vine and the branches (take a minute and read the verses slowly:

John 15:1-16 NET “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. My Father is honoured by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples.

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fatherʼs commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

I believe “the fruit that remains” is lives rescued from hell – people who come to know the Saviour Jesus Christ. This happens as we obey the Great Commission, the marching orders and mandate of the early Church and still our command today.

Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

To bear fruit is not an option. But, it should be an automatic result of our intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus (branches attached to the Vine) and as we fellowship with His Spirit every day (2 Corinthians 13:13).


Yesterday I wrote about “Passion” and how misplaced the passion of many believers is. Today I want to share about a concern and a thought that hit me yesterday when reading my Bible. The word that summaries this blog is “indifference.”

I was reading the Parable of the Wedding Feast … a parable about the Kingdom:

Matthew 22:1-14 “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ʻTell those who have been invited, “Look! The feast I have prepared for you is ready. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”ʼ But they were indifferent and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest seized his slaves, insolently mistreated them, and killed them. The king was furious! He sent his soldiers, and they put those murderers to death and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ʻThe wedding is ready, but the ones who had been invited were not worthy. So go into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.ʼ And those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all they found, both bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the wedding guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. And he said to him, ʻFriend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?ʼ But he had nothing to say. Then the king said to his attendants, ʻTie him up hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!ʼ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The dictionary defines “indifference” as: lack of interest or concern: unimportance; little or no concern: the quality or condition of being indifferent.

Those who were “indifferent” simply walked away and did not accept the invitation of the king to come to the celebrations for his son’s wedding. They were busy. Their focus was elsewhere. They lacked interest. They were not concerned, apparently, that they were directly insulting the king which might not be a good idea in the long run. 

I see this today in the Christian Church and among believers. People come to the weekly assembly late and thus miss part or all of the worship to the King. And, they lack any consideration for others who are worshipping as they walk in late and interrupt what is already in progress. People texting (or even sleeping) while the teacher or preacher is bringing a message that they believe God gave them for those assembled. Not participating in the before-service and/or after-service fellowship for what I am sure are good reasons … But apparently indifferent to the need for fellowship and the benefit of building solid relationships within the local Body of Christ, the Church. 

Paul writes and tells us that we should be the opposite of indifferent. Romans 12:11 is my favourite verse in this regard…

NET “Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord.”

TPT “Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.”

MSG. “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.”

Some things to note from the story:

A wedding feast could go on for days with much food and merriment. An invitation from the king would be considered both an honour and a command, but the citizens of this country at first refused the invitation, even though the king had describes the many pleasures of the feast.

Some invited guests were not only indifferent and ignored or scorned the king’s invitation but also reacted violently against his messengers. The king reacted as ancient rulers often did; he sent his troops to destroy those murderers. To treat the king’s messengers with contempt and indifference was to treat the king himself with contempt and indifference.

The invitation to the wedding feast was given to everyone — both bad and good —  because the original invitees had refused the invitation. This detail indicated that the Gentiles were now being offered salvation because the Jews had rejected the Gospel.

Even though the final invitation to the celebration was broadcast indiscriminately, guests still had to meet certain conditions to participate in the feast, including wearing wedding clothes, which were probably given to the guests by the king himself (Esther 6:8-9; Ezekiel 16:10-13). When the king found a man without his wedding garment, the man was summarily tied up and thrown out of the palace.

So, in summary:

The king in the parable wants the wedding to be well attended. He wants his people to celebrate this great family event with him and his son (future king). So, he sends his servants out to invite a certain group of people who were indifferent to the invite and to the inviter. Then the king sent servants to invite whoever they meet, everyone they encounter. And many prepare and come to the celebration. In the midst of the crowd, however, there is one man who has come without preparing, without dressing for the occasion. He was immediately tossed. The king wanted everyone to come but also wanted those who choose to accept his invitation to come properly dressed for the occasion. In other words, it is not a “do your own thing.” There was some preparation needed before attending.

Those listening, the priests and teachers of the law, understood that the message was that the call of the Gospel when out to the whole world, but to the Jewish people first. Relatively few accepted the Lord’s invitation to eternal life, so the invitation was extended to the Gentiles as well. However, to participate in the great feast of God, one must not only be called but also put on the king’s wedding clothes — the righteousness of Christ — accepted by grace through faith. Those without such a garment, although invited, reveal they are not the chosen.

So, everyone is called but few choose to accept the calling, the invitation. And, apparently, one of the key reasons is indifference. Which we have seen means: lack of interest or concern: unimportance; little or no concern: the quality or condition of being indifferent.

The Passion Principle

I am watching the passion that some believers have for a current “truckers demonstration” heading across Canada to the nation’s capital and picking up support and more trucks as they go. Currently they have raised millions to help support and encourage those driving the big rigs from all corners of the nation. Their demonstration is in regard to wanting the government to not mandate that all truckers get double vaccinated for Covid. They believe that it infringes on their personal rights.

I must admit that I am amazed at the passion and the momentum that is behind this current public demonstration of some people’s desire to not be told what they must do. As I have watched and listened, read and studied this current national movement I have to admit that it has been a long time since I have witnessed such passion about anything in the public sphere. 

I am reminded of a verse in Scripture which I want to share…

Romans 12:11 NET “Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord.”

Other versions render it slightly different…

MSG. “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.”

TPT “Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.”

NIV “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.”

It strikes me that some believers are more passionate about this “truckers convoy” than they are about the things of the Lord. I am seeing, hearing, and sensing more excitement, enthusiasm, and passion regarding this convey than I have seen for Jesus in a long time. It saddens my heart. My spirit weeps for the Church where we seldom witness the kind of passion being expressed for this national demonstration.

As I study the Scriptures I see The Passion Principle in a number of places and in a variety of forms. Let me briefly share my insights…

    • PASSION PURSUES. Passion is David loving God with fixed intensity as he vows to seek and pursue Him with his whole heart, obey the Word with his whole heart, and pray with his whole heart.
    • PASSION PLEDGES. Passion is David praising God with his whole heart before all other gods pledging His loyalty to God and God only (Psalm 138:1).
    • PASSION CONFRONTS. Passion is Elijah standing up to the prophets of Baal and calling down the fire of God.
    • PASSION PRODUCES. Passion is Nehemiah completing the wall of Jerusalem in a record 52 days in the face of opposition.
    • PASSION PERSISTS. Passion is Jeremiah refusing to retire from ministry, in spite of discouragement, because the fire in his bones would not let him quit.
    • PASSION PRAYS. Passion is Daniel praying, in spite of threats against his life, because prayer was the heartbeat of his life.
    • PASSION MOVES. Passion is Peter jumping out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water, in spite of the “impossibility” of it.
    • PASSION MOTIVATES. Passion is Paul turning the zeal of his past into a fire for the cause of Christ.

I am hoping and praying that believers will, once again, become passionate about the things of the Lord and His Word, the Bible. Not just exhibiting passion for the current bandwagon and demonstration against something. Not jumping on the hottest and newest trend among believers on the internet. Or getting excited and passionate about a prophetic word that has not been tested or properly judged according to God’s standard – the Bible. Or the most current musical trend or worship team gaining everyone’s attention. For true believers “passion” should be reserved for the Lord and the Kingdom that He established that is currently continuing to expand and touch places that are in spiritual darkness and bondage.

I long for the day when the Church — Christians — will be known for what we are for and not just what we are against. When people will see our true passion for the Lord and the things of the Lord. 

An Encounter With a Neighbour

 I was walking my dog the other day and stopped to chat with a neighbour who lives a few houses down the street from mine. He was shovelling snow – something a lot of us are doing a lot of this winter. We have a new city by-law that requires we shovel the snow on the city sidewalks that border our property. It has always been a suggestion and a nice courtesy to those who walk in the winter. Now it is the law and so many more people are clearing the sidewalks. Dog owners greatly appreciate the clearer sidewalks. 

We were talking about one of his neighbours who apparently is not aware of the new by-law or chooses to ignore it. He immediately responded that he would be happy to clear his part as well if he had not been such a “bad neighbour” this past summer. It seems when he was cutting grass his mower spun a stone out with the grass clippings and it damaged his car. When brought to his attention he did nothing about it – not even an apology. It was obvious that my new friend had not forgiven his neighbour and would therefore not be helping to keep his portion of the city sidewalks clear. 

In Matthew 18 we read about Peter who was apparently struggling with a neighbour or a family member along the same lines of needing to forgive.

Matthew 18:21-22 NET “Then Peter came to him and said, ‘Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!’”

Rabbinic tradition taught that a brother could be forgiven three times for the same offence, but not four times. Peter, trying to be a better than a superior Law keeper, doubled that and added one – seven times. He did not anticipate Jesus’ response, which is not a congratulations but a correction. Whether the phrase should be rendered seventy times seven or seventy-seven is irrelevant; Jesus teaches us that believers in Christ have been forgiven more than they will ever be asked to forgive. They must cultivate a spirit of forgiveness, not a habit of counting offences.

Matthew 6:14 adds a bit around the edges to this truth…

““For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.”

So our forgiveness is conditional upon our forgiving others and not becoming offended.

Mark, the author of another Gospel, adds his thoughts on the matter connecting the whole area of forgiveness to our personal prayer lives…

“Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25 NET)

Paul, the apostle, in writing to the believers in Colossae writes:

“… bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 NET)

And, of course, the very familiar Lord’s Prayer states…

“So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honoured, may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.”

That is certainly stated in no uncertain terms. Forgiveness is a very important aspect of our walk as believers. We need to deal with our issues and learn to forgive immediately and totally. Otherwise, we are simply poisoning ourselves and hindering our relation hship with Jesus and others. 

Just some of my thoughts after seeing how entangled my neighbour was because of the anger and unforgiveness he was harbouring towards his next door neighbour. 

Have You Noticed What Is Missing?

Have you noticed and given any thought to what is missing in the ministry and message of Jesus? When He was born as a man and spent thirty-three years among us; three of those years were very public and witnessed by multitudes as well as by His twelve apostles. Men who were hand-picked and chosen to be leaders in this new movement and eventually the Church He would build.

Jesus did not speak about current affairs. The Roman occupation. Rampant homosexuality. Slavery. Woman’s rights. Abortion. And a number of mandated requirements forced upon them by the government – like carrying the soldier’s bags for a mile when asked and paying high taxes to Caesar.

Nope! He simply spoke about the Kingdom that He brought to earth with His birth and revealed in His ministry. The Kingdom that was to grow and develop as it increased in size and influence until the whole world was changed and came into line with God’s plan (Isaiah 9:7). 

His first public message was “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” ((Matthew 4:17). To repent meant to turn from the way they were living and what they were believing and turn back to God and His Word, His truth. It was a call to reject their current lifestyle and to live one based on the teachings of Scripture and the principles of the Kingdom. 

And, only when we repent and turn to God can we see and then enter the Kingdom.

John 3:3-7 NET “Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his motherʼs womb and be born a second time, can he?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ʻYou must all be born from above (born again).ʼ”

The Kingdom was His message. Repentance was the initial call to enable people to have hearts ready to receive and enter the Kingdom. And then through conviction, repentance and godly sorrow, a person repents, asks for and receives forgiveness, and is born again.

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “For even if I made you sad by my letter, I do not regret having written it (even though I did regret it, for I see that my letter made you sad, though only for a short time). Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death.”

 And the lifestyle of those in the Kingdom was again to be positive. Read the Beatitudes and the initial teachings of Jesus and see what the Kingdom mandate really was and is (Matthew 5:1-7:27). This was the call upon born again believers – to be salt and light. To be positive influences upon the culture and society of the day. 

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavour, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honour to your Father in heaven.”

Those ‘good deeds’ again are positive and powerful as Jesus told us that we would do what He did … and I remind you that He did not preach against any of the current social issues of His day. 

John 14:12 “ I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.”

It was in this way that the world would realize that the Kingdom of God had arrived and entered into the world with its transforming influence and impact. The Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 24:14) was a positive message backed by miracles, signs, and wonders; the sick were healed and the dead were raised; demons were cast out and a new way of living – Kingdom living – was introduced. All very positive. All very powerful.

It is sad that today the Church is known more for what it is against than what it stands for and believes. It is sad that often we spend so much time and effort opposing things and little mention of Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom is heard. Our hope is in Him and He needs, once again, to be the center of our focus. Only as the Kingdom and the King continue to influence the hearts of people through true believers will the things people now speak, write, and march against in the culture and society in general will eventually come to an end. 

Remember the words of Jesus: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). 

Let’s adjust our focus accordingly and truly be the salt and light that Jesus told us we should be. 

What Causes Hunger in a Believer?

What Causes Hunger in a Believer?

Earlier this week I spent two hours with some young disciples of Jesus. I’m guessing they were between 18 and 30 and the leader was in his mid fifties. 

The young people had such a hunger for God. For more of God. 

They were attentive to everything I was sharing. They asked questions. They “leaned into” the material I was teaching and interacted with it and with me. 

It was an amazing two hours that blessed me and super-charged me. 

I felt encouraged and excited. Not drained and depleted as I often do after teaching. 

When people are hungry for more of God it is so exciting to teach. 

When they are not hungry it is like dragging a dead horse uphill all the way. An effort and very unrewarding for the teacher. For me. 

Read more

24/6 and not 24/7

At the beginning of 2021 I made a decision to create a few different personal boundaries in my life. These new boundaries and operating rules also impacted my ministry and the way I approached the many projects and people that I am involved with. For example, I decided that starting at 5:30p on Friday night I would not answer text messages and emails. And that this release from needing to respond – or, at least, feeling like I was expected to respond – immediately brought with it a definite sense of freedom. Not only did I shut down answering emails and texts on Friday night but continued this shutdown until 9:00a on Monday morning.

This gave me a night with my wife on Friday evening uninterrupted by texts and messages on a variety of apps. And, it gave me all day Saturday to focus on my writing and especially on the teaching I was preparing for Saturday evening when I lead a house church. A whole day from 5:30a to 5:30p without interruption. Of course this improved my attitude and approach to Saturday night’s fellowship time, as well.

And then I took the whole of Sunday as a day away from all expectations. I did not go into my office. I did not answer calls, have appointments, write blogs, answer emails. It was a day for me and a day to refresh my soul and body and to refocus after a busy and often hectic full week. 

This could be regarded as having a Sabbath and I am good with that label. But, my point was to set some boundaries in my life so as to reclaim who I am in the midst of what I do. And, not let the needs and demands of others dictate what I do and who I was becoming. At least for a day or so each week.

We are now well into January of 2022 and I have continued the practice of Friday evening to Monday morning. And I have added an hour a day, Monday to Friday, when I take time out of everything that a busy ministry throws my way and I simply rest, relax, and reflect. Like a mini-sabbath in the midst of a very active and often stressful and long day. 

And, starting this week I have decided to remove all notification sounds – that constant ding and beep that lets me know when a text, email or message has come in on one of the dozen or more ways for people to communicate with me and me with others. Then I am scheduling a time near the end of the work day when I will read all the messages and emails in one time block and respond to the ones that need to hear back from me. And, so I am eliminating the constant small and annoying interruptions that go on all day tempting me to stop what I am doing to see who might be trying to get in touch with me. Those who study these things remind us that can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to refocus on what we were actively involved in before we respond to an electronic signal that we had received a message, a text, or an email. 

A side benefit is that when speaking face-to-face with someone I no longer hear my phone trying to grab my attention away from the eye-to-eye conversation that I am currently involved in. 

So, I now take a “sabbath” or a full 24 hours away from what I do for a living. And, I am controlling or maybe a better word is managing my time better and allowing fewer constant interruptions by establishing and maintaining boundaries.

I highly recommend that you consider doing the same if you have not already done so. 

What Causes Hunger in a Believer? – Part Two

We are looking at having a hunger for more of God… And we examined:

1> Receive hunger as a gift

2> Ground yourself in the fear of the Lord

3> Read the Bible to develop lasting hunger

4. Express Your Devotion Through Prayer

As you read the Word, your understanding of God grows as does your love and devotion to God, and prayer becomes the way you express that love and devotion.

Prayer looks different in different people’s lives. I pray early in the morning after spending time quietly listening for His voice and reading His Word, the Bible. As I pray I reflect on al the amazing and wonderful things He has done in my life, my family, and in the ministry He has blessed me with. 

I just can’t help but magnify God in worship for all that He’s done and created. Prayer is a discipline of our faith, but when our hearts are devoted to Jesus, it doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s a deep pleasure.

There are so many ways that you can practice prayer. Find ways to pray that help you express your devotion to Jesus and inspire a greater hunger for Him, not based necessarily on what everyone else does, but from your heart of pure devotion to Jesus. 

And remember prayer is basically building a relationship with the Lord God and not just a way to receive what you think you need in your life at this point in time.

5. Let Encounters Fuel Your Hunger

Encounters with God – experiences where you are touched by His presence and His power – are where our theology becomes a reality. When we encounter God, we meet Him in a very special way. When we encounter and experience God (Father’s love, Jesus, Holy Spirit) our faith in Him becomes stronger and we feel more secure and connected to Him. 

Not all encounters with God will be dramatic, but every encounter with God has drawn me into more hunger for Him, as I long to know His heart better and hear what He has to say. But each encounter – big or small – has strengthened my faith.

Thomas told the other disciples that he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side,” (John 20:25b NIV). 

When Thomas eventually met Jesus, Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 NIV). 

What’s Jesus saying? I believe He is saying that encounters and personal experiences are good but they don’t create faith. However, they strengthen faith. Faith comes to us simply by hearing His voice through His Word and in prayer. Romans 10:17 states: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word (Rhema) of Christ.” (ESV)

There are many people who are hungry for God that have never experienced God physically like Thomas did, and yet they believe in Him and continue to press in. I believe that they’re more blessed than those who have big encounters with God. 

God is present and good, whether we feel Him or not. Encounter is a beautiful part of our journey of developing hunger for God. It fuels our desire, our passion, and our hunger, but it can’t determine our faith in who God is.

6. Avoid Hunger-Suppressing Fillers

We’re all made with a built in desire for God. We’re made to be hungry for Him. But if we snack and fill up in other areas that satisfy for a short amount of time, that hunger for God will grow dull. These “fillers” look different for different people. For some, fillers are numbing habits, for others perhaps a better salary, bigger success, more possessions, or greater status, even within Christian circles.

The way to figure out if something in your life is a filler is to ask yourself how you’re motivated. 

Love is always self-sacrificing, and the sinful nature is always motivated by selfish gain. Who is the beneficiary of the things you’re pursuing? Is it God, others, or you? The things that will develop hunger for God in you will be motivated by your love for God, they’ll be things you do for others as a result of God’s love for you. These things will result in God being glorified, rather than your personal gain.

7. Pursue a God-Focused Life – Be “Christ-Centered”

God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – must be at the centre of our lives. We must put Him first in our lives…

Then our hearts will be filled with the fear of the Lord, and all our motivations will be for His glory. All our affections will be focused on God, and our behaviours will come into line with that.

Matthew 6:31-33 NET “So then, donʼt worry saying, ʻWhat will we eat?ʼ or ʻWhat will we drink?ʼ or ʻWhat will we wear?ʼ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Remember our lead verse … 

Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV). 

Matthew 22:37 (NET) “Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” 

So, keep God and your relationship with Him as the central focus of your daily life. 


So, our prayer should be:

That our hunger for God will increase every day

That God will enable and empower us to stay focused on Him in everything we do

That our fellowship with the Holy Spirit will grow sweeter and deeper and that we can and will experience His presence every day

That through His Word (Bible) and His world we will see the hand of God active in our lives on a daily basis

That our lives will be ever increasingly filled with His joy and contentment

That we may live a life loving and pleasing Him as you walk in His love and give it away to those who do not know Him personally