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!

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CHASING THE WIND IS FOOLISHNESS

(August 11, 2020) Carol Round challenges us to pursue right things…

One of my favourite contemporary Christian songs is titled Just Give Me Jesus. It reminds me of the saying, often credited to Billy Graham, ‘My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.’

Often called on to ease the nation’s fears during stressful times, Dr Graham’s wisdom provided calm no matter the situation. He reassured us that Earth is just a stopping place, a way station, before our final home.

Hebrews 13:14 puts it this way, ‘For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.

Is life on earth meaningless?
Many avoid reading this Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes because they feel overwhelmed by the view of life it offers. Like the book of Job, it doesn’t avoid the tough questions of life… but does it offer any answers to life’s meaning? Let’s see…

Chapter one seems to set the tone – and it’s depressing.

  • ‘In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. For what does a man get for all his hard work?’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2TLB)
  •  ‘There is nothing new under the sun that is capable of giving meaning to life.’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
  • Then, in Ecclesiastes 4:4 (TLB) the author observes ‘… the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy! But this, too, is foolishness, chasing the wind.’

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THE ‘GIFT’ IN THIS VIRUS

(August 1, 2020) Charles Schwab challenges Christians to consider a different aspect to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected so many lives worldwide …

The ‘Gift’ in This Virus – isn’t that an utterly crazy and irresponsible use of words?

How can the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed multiplied thousands throughout the world, disabled economies leading to job losses along with stress and strain, forced countries and regions into lockdown, thrust normal living into a mess… horrendous for many, decimated tourism and freedom of travel… causing such pain and pandemonium be considered a ‘gift’ from God?

Sounds crazy
How in the world could this idea of ‘gift’ possibly be true from a biblical perspective? Sounds like heresy, the babblings of a religious zealot, the sign of a demented mind, the ramblings of a soul in a theological desert and, at face value, devoid of any biblical warrant.

What madness is this ‘gift’ notion?  Or… could it be a surprising reality for good in the midst of horror? The phrase, ‘the gift of this virus’, came unexpectedly to mind as I emerged from sleep well before dawn… and I knew within to what this strange phrase referred.

The use of ‘gift’ in association with ‘virus’ does not appear in scripture… but I suggest that the idea and its potential are biblical. While illness, fear, death and economic disaster are widespread and accompany this awful Covid-19 virus, God is giving us – Christians and churches – the ‘gift’ of opportunity.

The real ‘gift’
This ‘gift’ of opportunity is one to carefully and prayerfully…

  • Reconsider some things
  • Keep some things
  • Axe some things
  • Discover some new things or new ways that will be effective now and into the future.

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LOCKDOWN – OPPORTUNITY FOR BIBLE READING

(July 31, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, highly respected theologian, responds to an often asked question…

My state of Victoria is in lockdown again – but even if it wasn’t, with the pandemic that we’re all facing there are those who are taking opportunity to get back to fundamental Christian basics, such as Bible reading and scripture meditation.

A question that I often hear about Bible reading and study is this: ‘Which is the best English translation of the Holy Bible?  Someone insisted that the best is the King James Version.’ And this is often followed with this comment, ‘But I find the KJV difficult to read’ and a further question, ‘Which is a good modern version?’

When asked my opinion, I respond by firstly state all the earliest manuscripts we have today are copies of the originals – we do not have one original handwritten copy – or even a small portion – of any of the books of the Old or New Testaments.

Copied handwritten copies
What we do have, though, is a number of excellent copies that were faithfully hand-written over many centuries. Admittedly there are some minor variations in many of those copies, but none that in any way changes the Bible’s message. (more…)

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT TOMORROW, I JUST KNOW…

(July 26, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a timely challenge…

Every day TV news in our state of Victoria (and worldwide for that matter) announces more new covid-19 cases and people are talking either about the next stage of lockdown, the loss of business, revenue and jobs.

And the big questions: ‘Where’s it all going to end, what’s next, and what will tomorrow bring?’

Tomorrow?
It’s a matter of living one day at a time – and making the best of every day! The reality is that none of us what tomorrow will bring.

Oh we can make plans for each new tomorrow and believe we can/will accomplish them… and most times we will without any hassles, especially when we rely on the Holy Spirit’s help.

But… life is life and every now and then something goes amiss and we can get thrown for a sixer, sometimes a catastrophe, some horrible disaster that can ruin us in some or several ways hits us.

And when that happens to Christians, our faith can be so shattered that we could easily lose confidence in ourselves, even our trust in our caring God. We can even feel that life isn’t worth living or caring about, that we don’t want to go on because we can’t work it out. (more…)

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE FOR ALL TO SEE

(July 17, 2020) Carol Round challenges us to shine for Jesus…

In Matthew 5:15-16, Jesus challenged ‘Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father’ (NLT version).

Have you found it difficult to let your light actually shine lately? I have. It’s not just the continued increase in Covid-19 cases, either. The pandemic has divided us a nation.

Those who wear a mask to hopefully prevent the spread also follow social distancing guidelines. Then, there is the opposing side, the ones who don’t wear a mask in public or observe social distancing guidelines. I fall into the former group. However, I’m not going to take sides. It does no good because most of us have our mind made up.

This division has led to ugly confrontations. A recent video recorded a woman who was asked to leave a shoe store because she wasn’t wearing a mask. Angry at the employee who confronted her, the shopper threw several shoe boxes at her before exiting the store.

Can we let go of the anger?
I’m angry!

  • Angry at the division in our country (and other nations!).
  • Angry at the way people on both sides have expressed their views.
  • Angry at friends on social media who continue to encourage strife with their divisive posts… I’ve ‘unfollowed’ them!

Allowing the negativity to affect me, I’ve struggled to write my weekly blog posts. I’ve prayed, asking God for help so I can continue to use my gifts for his glory. Sometimes, the words won’t flow. Other times, his Holy Spirit takes over and my fingers fly across the keyboard! (more…)

MORE THAN EVER THE WORLD NEEDS HOPE!

(July 17, 2020) Dr George Forbes, former director of Australia AoG (ACC) World Missions, shares an important reminder…

Daily we learn of more Covid-19 cases not only in our own nation but around the world. One learns of troubled people, even Christians, and of increased suicides and crime.

Yes, it’s a time of desperation and madness around the world – but also a time of opportunity to share the gospel of hope for the world!

If ever the world needed hope it is most certainly today and Jesus is still the answer!

Remembering…
In my lifetime I’ve heard the declaration that the gospel of Jesus is the hope of the world voiced by several preachers all around the world. And I too, I confess, have preached many times that ‘the hope of the world is Jesus.’

And here in this article I would refer to a scripture of the apostle Paul’s that I’ve often quoted – Ephesians 2:12, ‘Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.’ (more…)

CALLED TO COMMUNICATE

(June 28, 2020) Dr George Forbes, former director of Australia AoG (ACC) World Missions, shares…

I’ve always been an observer of missionaries and their activities, and of what happens in nations where missionaries serve – and of churches and individuals’ reaction (or the lack of it) to missionary needs, especially of prayer backup and financial support.

With the coming of the expanding computer age assisting our programs, correspondence and training of new missionaries, I would observe all this too, availing myself and staff of the IT world benefits. And over the past several years since my ‘retirement’ I’ve become an observer of the new generation of missionaries.

Working at Communicating
Missionaries have long shared the love of God… it’s the basis of their ministry! Since my retirement I observed a new generation of committed missionaries, prepared by credible mission schools training, boldly following in the footsteps of honoured predecessors who had set the pace over centuries of missionary enterprise.

And as long as I was able I would work with my generation in my church and community, praying for the younger generation and cheering them on. I strongly believed – and still do – that some of this generation will make their mark for God in the fulfilling of the Great Commission among all nations.

Communicating God’s Love Today
We’re in a time of unprecedented pandemic tragedy worldwide… in the midst of all that’s going wrong and thousands of people needing help, the 1983 song People Need the Lord is so relevant today. (more…)

BOTTLES ON LIFE’S BEACH?

(June 28, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a timely challenge…

Ever thought of your life as a bottle with an important life message landed in strange territory? Hmm? Intriguing… but firstly some intro comments –

Been wondering over the past few months of lockdown how others are going? Thoughtful friends, both church and non-churchgoers, have caringly phoned/SMSed/Skyped/emailed us enquiring about us… and we’ve been doing likewise.

Seems we’ve all found things to do, ensuring we aren’t bored. One matter that keeps coming up in conversations is: ‘When will we get back to normalcy?’

Reality: No More ‘Normalcy’
We won’t – not normalcy as we used to know (if we can refer to pre-lockdown times as ‘normal’!). Life has changed; the world is in a bigger mess than ever: disrespect, crime and hooliganism are rampant… consumer-wise and business-wise it’s a whole new ballgame ‘out there.’

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TROUBLE WILL COME… BUT TAKE HEART

(June 24, 2020) Carol Round shares hope for all troubled by what’s happening around us…

My heart is heavy.

History is repeating itself. I lived through the turmoil of the 60s during the Civil Rights movement. I saw the injustice. Segregated schools and restaurants. Separate water fountains and restrooms left an imprint on my impressionable mind.

What is happening in my own country today didn’t begin with the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. It isn’t the first time hatred has led to an uncalled-for death. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Trouble is all around the world these days! Protesters are calling for change. But change can only happen when each one of us takes responsibility for our own words and actions.

Nothing Will Change Unless We Do
Nothing will change until we, as Christians, quit placing our hope in government to save our country. We must embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ, and not just give lip service to our faith. If we are sold out to Jesus, we should not be conformed to this world. (more…)