MEANINGFUL KICK-STARTS

(September 17, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Seems that every day TV newscasts share more bad news stories either about the current worldwide pandemic or crime, rebellion against authorities, government opposition groans instead of encouraging support… it’s rare to hear some good news, something to makes you laugh, even smile.

So let’s begin this article with a good news item!

Zimbabwean friend Raviro emailed a very touching story about a 93 year-old Italian being told the hospital bill for ventilator one-day usage was 5,000Euro (approx.. $8100AUD).

As he suddenly began weeping a doctor kindly advised him not to cry over the bill.

To his surprise the old man responded, ‘I don’t cry because I have to pay. I cry because I’ve been breathing God’s air every day for 93 years and never had to pay anything for it.’

He added, ‘But for using a ventilator in your hospital for just one day, I have to pay EU5000! I realise now how much I owe God… I never thanked him before for his free air!’

Now doesn’t that makes you smile – and think?

Powerful kick-start
Genesis 2:7 confirms that God himself gave his creation the ability to breathe and live life – ‘he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live’ (GNB). (more…)

FORTUNETELLER’S DAUGHTER KIDNAPPED BY MUSLIM FOUND JESUS

(September 11, 2020) Eva Carmichael shares a Central Asian testimony…

Anim* remembers the day when an old fortune teller told her mother that Anim had the gift of sight. ‘My mother and grandmother were both fortune tellers,’ Anim tells, ‘so my mom wasn’t surprised when the gypsy confirmed it.’

What did surprise her was the old woman’s declaration that Anim would pay a high price for this gift if she wanted it. The fortune teller said that if she continued to use this gift, it would cost Anim the life of someone she loved. Yet her mother decided it was worth the price.

Not long after, when Anim was 12, her father disappeared under very strange circumstances. ‘I decided right then that I didn’t want to follow in my mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps. I would not try to speak to the spirits if they would demand the life of a member of my family in exchange for their help,’ Anim said.

Kidnapped bride
Later, Anim studied law and found a job she enjoyed. However, after working for a while, she met a young man who wanted to marry her and, in Central Asian tradition, kidnapped her to make her his bride. (more…)

SUBMISSION TO THE AUTHORITIES?

(September 28, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a timely challenge…

I’m sure that we are all weary of the unavoidable and unrelenting news about Corona-19 and the responses to it by various political leaders in Australia. So many questions have been raised concerning the limits of political authority and police functions and personal rights.

Inconsistent political positions and, at times, authoritarian and uncompassionate directives, have not only created confusion but have also stirred the deep concerns of many loyal citizens – including many committed Christians.

This has raised questions such as:

  • ‘What principles should guide Christians when we see political leaders lying or abusing their position of trust or promoting values that stand opposed to biblical values or pursuing policies that suggest self-aggrandisement rather than the benefit of the people they lead?’
  • ‘Should they be challenged and their policies be opposed or should we meekly, quietly, uncomplainingly submit to and support their dictates?’

Recently I’ve read a number of articles by Christians who have expressed profound concern and have challenged many of the political decisions that some of our leaders have been making.  And I have also read many responses from other Christians who rebuke those who express their concern and dare to criticise those leaders whose government policies and pronouncements with which they disagree. Often they quote Romans 13:1-7 (particularly the first two verses) in support of their rebuke.

So what should be the Christian position in regard to political leaders when their guidelines, strategies and directives run contrary to democratic values, and more especially to biblical values?  Obviously both sides cannot be right!  Does Roman 13 endorse a position of acquiescence and impassivity when confronted by overreaching and, at times, tyrannical government officials and policies? (more…)

JESUS: FINDER OF GOGGLES LOST IN THE SEA

(September 10, 2020) Mark Ellis shares an encouraging testimony that reminds that Jesus even cares for ‘lost things’…

In scripture, Jesus tells parables about finding a lost coin, lost sheep, and a lost son.

My wife Sally has found it helpful to pray when somewhat mundane items like car keys or phones have been misplaced, and it seems the Holy Spirit always directs her to their location.

Faith challenged
But her faith was severely challenged recently on a family vacation in San Diego when she lost a pair of swim goggles about 25 yards off shore.

She came in and scanned the Pacific Ocean with a forlorn expression. ‘Why don’t you go out and look for them?’ her daughter-in-law, Rebecca asked.

‘No, that’s a big ocean out there. There’s no way. It’s a needle-in-a-haystack. If you lose something out there it’s gone,’ Sally said. She admitted later she had no faith whatsoever to find the goggles. All she saw was a giant ocean. Even worse, the goggles were dark-coloured and blended with the water and Sally didn’t know if the goggles could float.

An hour later, her son Sam was surfing in a completely different area from the one where his mother lost the goggles. He yelled at his brother, Nate: ‘Hey, Mom lost her goggles. See if you see them.’

Prayer for help
‘They could be at the bottom of the ocean,’ Sam thought to himself. ‘If they do float, maybe I’ll see them. But I would have to be real close, be right on top of them.’ He threw up a prayer to God, ‘Jesus, help me find them.’ (more…)

CHOSEN TO BE ACTIVE SERVANTS

(September 6, 2020)
Editorial note:
Last month Dr George Forbes, former director of Australia AoG (ACC) World Missions, passed on to his heavenly home and great eternal reward. Internationally recognised as a missions’ statesperson, he was most certainly actively and passionately committed to faithfully serving Christ and to reaching the lost, even up to the end!

George Forbes’ heart was always for those who don’t know the Lord, not only in his preaching, teaching and writings but even for those around him in his final months in a care facility. Still strongly trusting God he would even take every opportunity to pray for any there who asked for prayer and hope… as well as praying in his daily devotions for missionaries that he’d encouraged and inspired over many years.

Honouring Dr Forbes we re-run his last article, praying that readers will be deeply challenged…
______________________________________________________________________________________

CHOSEN TO BE ACTIVE SERVANTS – SEVEN HIGHLIGHTS
We continue to hear of more Covid-19 cases around the world, of troubled people, even Christians, and of increased suicides and crime… and Jesus Christ is the answer to peoples’ needs.

I would share these seven vital points…

1) Worldwide opportunities to actively reach the troubled
We’re still in a time of desperation worldwide – but with God-given opportunities to share
Jesus Christ’s gospel of hope whenever, wherever we can!
Even in aged-care facilities.

I repeat what I been declaring recently – if ever the world needed hope it is most certainly today and Jesus is still the answer! But I add this challenge… today we (every Christian) are his chosen ones to witness Christ!

2) Old Testament active chosen ones
Throughout Israel’s history, chosen men of faith heard God’s voice –

  • Men whom God called and appointed.
  • Men of faith who pleased almighty God, creator and upholder of all things.

(more…)

GOD’S PLANS STAND FIRM AS A SYCAMORE TREE

(September 5, 2020) Carol Round reminds us that God is the master planner…

An anonymous quote on social media recently grabbed my attention. It said, ‘Long before Zacchaeus couldn’t see Jesus, the tree was planted to meet his need.’

Not only do I love this quote, I had to share it. Reflecting on the words, I began to think about God’s plans for my life. Until my rebirth, I never considered how God had already prepared a way for me, just as he did for Zacchaeus.

According to Luke 19:4, the tree Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus is a ficus sycomorus (its scientific name). That type tree can take from 20 to 50 years to grow to full maturity.  So, it’s possible that before Zacchaeus was born, the tree he climbed was planted.

Plans that God set in motion before our birth
Before we were ever born, God had plans for us!

He knew the span of our life before we were formed in our mothers’ womb and the number of hairs on our head! God doesn’t leave such attention to detail to chance. He has plans for each of his children, and they are good.

Before we even realise we’re going to need something, God has already planned for that need. Even before we ask him for it, his plans are already in motion. Just ask Zacchaeus. (more…)

LEST WE FORGET

(August 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges us not to forget…

Last Saturday in various countries throughout the world commemoration services were held reflecting the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945 which signified the end of World War 2.

World War 2
Below is a photo taken shortly after that day back then in which a celebration party was arranged for the children in the street where I lived in Belfast.

I just about remember that day… the street lined with tables filled with ‘goodies’ 
that, because of food shortages had been in limited availability during the war years, yet the mums somehow managed to turn the meagre supplies into a celebratory meal! I do remember the sense of joy in all the mums who, after six years of suffering, were so elated to celebrate this wonderful news with their children.

And what a time of suffering those six years were. My father worked at night in an engineering factory in Belfast and most nights German planes tried to bomb it. When my dad went out to work neither he nor my mum knew if he would be returning home the following morning.  Just before I was born, German fighter planes would try to shoot civilians; my parents described their fear as they covered my brother and the unborn ‘me’ with their bodies as they watched the bullets rip along the ground close to where they were under cover.

World War 2 was the most lethal military conflict in history. Around 75 million people died (that is about 3.3% of the world population in those days) and that included around 20 million of those who served in the military and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate slaughter, mass-bombings, disease, starvation and limited medical services.

We must not forget the horror and the social consequences of those years and the years that followed nor must we forget the sacrifices that brave men and women made to rescue us from ruthless domination.  It is right that we from time to time reflect on those events – lest we forget!

The Covid-19 War (more…)

ACTIVE CHOSEN ONES

(August 16, 2020) Dr George Forbes, former director of Australia AoG (ACC) World Missions, brings an August challenge…

As I wrote last month, we continue to hear of more Covid-19 cases around the world, of troubled people, even Christians, and of increased suicides and crime.

We’re still in a time of desperation around the world – with God-given opportunities to share Jesus Christ’s gospel of hope whenever, wherever we can!

I repeat what I declared last month – if ever the world needed hope it is most certainly today and Jesus is still the answer! But I add this challenge… today we (every Christian) are  his chosen ones to witness Christ!

Old Testament active chosen ones
Throughout Israel’s history, chosen men of faith heard God’s voice –

  • Men whom God called and appointed.
  • Men of faith who pleased almighty God, creator and upholder of all things.

Abraham and Noah stand out among them. And of course there were others such as Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, Joseph, David, Elijah, Elisha… and the prophets who also heard God speak to them personally – and acted! (more…)

‘SOMEHOW WE’VE GOT TO FIND A HELPING HAND’

(August 14, 2020) Brian Bell shares…

How often have the words of a song been used to speak to our hearts and or our experience?

In this short meditation I feel led to share some personal reflections sparked by the memory of a song with the above line, reflections that take me back over the years. I’ll come to the song a little later but let me begin by sharing something of my life…

A historical reflection
From I was a young boy I enjoyed reading – and one of my favourite topics was history. When I was growing up, the series Ladybird Books were readily available: written simply and concisely they gave young minds a sufficient background – or maybe appetite – for a topic.                                                          

It was these little books that introduced me to the growth of the Roman Empire including how it spread to England and of course, central to that is the construction of what we call Hadrian’s Wall, built to provide security from invasion from what we now know as Scotland. The need for the wall no longer exists but although it is now mostly in disrepair, the wall continues to be a popular tourist attraction.

A musical reflection
In my early teens I gave my life to the Lord. At that time I was already interested in music and sang in the church choir… but now I entered a new experience. With some other young men, we formed a ‘gospel group’ (as they were called then), playing guitar and drums as musical instruments and singing gospel songs. (more…)

WE DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING – BUT WHY WORRY?

(August 11), 2020) Life Focus Ministries’ Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind us that God has his mysterious ways…

It’s only natural to wonder what’s going on, not just regarding this pandemic time but about other life issues and incidents. We’re human after all! Our July article I Don’t Know About Tomorrow led to some folk asking, ‘Well, what do you really think about all that’s going on in the world? And win the future of the church – a cleansing time? And what about…?’

Hey… we’re like our state and federal’s leaders: we don’t know everything… but like them we’re concentrating on living one day at a time! With thanks to the Lord for each new God-given day, we commit it to him, asking his blessing and protection – and then get on with it, however the day works out.

But… a question: You ever asked the Lord, ‘Why?’ or ‘What’s going on?’ and didn’t get an answer… or the answer you expected?

And did you ever come to the conclusion that it’s better to appreciate and enjoy the benefits God gives us daily rather than query him about how he works things out? Hmmm?

Worrying? Relax and trust God
Jesus told us (Matthew 6:25NLT), ‘…I tell you not to worry about everyday life.’ And, verse 29, he asked a question, ‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’ Of course not!

(more…)