(November 29, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share …

It seems so obvious to many that we live in dark times, depressing days because again and again we hear of the latest sad news. And not just more about war between Russia and Ukraine, uncertainty about China and north Korea’s intentions, covid and other health threats, rising anti-Semitism, increasing crime… but now we learn more and more that kids – mere teenagers – are hitting the headlines as the cause of serious crimes,  and that youngsters are longing for help from someone from a Peer Chat type group.

Yes, some good news does come through that we’re glad to hear… huge drug bust, some new medicine breakthrough, our favourite footy team or other sports star winning. Or something that makes us smile like cute new born babies, or a happy well-presented TV show such as Better Homes and Gardens.

But… there is a darkness hanging around many individuals and it is so evident that many people need encouragement, even a meaningful thank you!

Even some in ministry will openly admit they’re troubled, that although they’ll readily confess God is still on the throne, something has happened that has ‘got to them.’ Some uncertainty, lack of assurance, disappointment, illness, something they can’t put their finger on… and they’re feeling low in spirit.

Everyoneneeds encouragement at times! Our blog is called Encouragement and we would encourage every Christian to be an encourager!

Proverbs 12:25NLT reads, ‘Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.’ 

  • Paul knew that… he was a great encourager as he spread the gospel, and taught churches. A good example is 1Thessalonians 2:11-12Mge, ‘… we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own  children,  encouraging…’
  • Acts 20:2Mge is another: ‘Travelling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits…
  • Guess what he was asked for in Antioch synagogue on arrival? ‘…do you have anything you want to say? A word of encouragement, perhaps?’ (Acts 13:15Mge).

Encouragement here is paraklēsisto comfort, console, exhort. A major part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry – in John 14:16,26, 15:26 and 16:7MKJV Jesus referred to Him as the Comforter. Other versions name Him helper, counsellor or advocate. We particularly like what the Message calls Him… the Friend.

And what does a good friend do when someone is ‘going through the mill’ – experiencing harrowing times? Reaches out to comfort! And when they do, the troubled friend is usually blessed as a sense of relief wafts over them. No wonder comfort basically means ‘a pleasant feeling of being relaxed and free from pain.’

Dark times have always been around in one form or another, hence encouragement has always been a joy to hear! We Christians need to know that in this current dark time, we can bless individuals with a comforting word that even goes beyond the natural response to exhort someone with a heavy heart.

1 Corinthians 12: 6-10 lists nine supernatural gifts of the Spirit that Paul wrote about. In outworking, three spoken gifts link together… words of prophecy, wisdom and knowledge. The word gift itself is charisma… indicating a divine gratuity, that many times may not only be a verbal blessing but a deliverance from some danger.

Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 14:3 that ‘… the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.’ In simple terms, biblical prophecy is a word that comes from God and we speak it to someone for their benefit… and often about something about which we couldn’t possibly know.

Just recently we were counselling – consoling – some pastors who were going through a dark patch and Maureen shared an incident that happened many years ago when we were ministering in a Baptist church. Praying with those who had responded to the altar call, she was strongly laid to approach a particular lady who appeared lonely and harassed.

She looked at this person for a few moments, sensing that the lady needed to hear something from God… but what? Then Maureen said quietly and hesitantly, ‘I don’t know what this is about but all I’m sensing in my spirit is “Washing machine, washing machine, washing machine…”. Does that mean something to you?’

That lady gasped, then said in amazement, ‘Gosh! Why, all week I felt so depressed, all I could think of was putting my head in the washing machine!’

Maureen prayed over her and what joy filled her heart and mind to know that God cared so much for her to reveal that unusual scenario to a stranger. Her spirit had been lifted, freed… and she had indeed been strengthened with encouragement and comforted!

Back to those troubled pastors… we both shared other incidents of the goodness and supernatural of our loving God towards His children. And they were blessed and encouraged to soldier on for the kingdom!

No one is immune from troubles! Life is life and things go wrong for anyone! So let’s be aware of something important here… God can use this gift of encouragement to uplift strangers in the street as it were! Especially in these days when people don’t go to church as they used to.

We often talk about Jesus commanding ‘love thy neighbour’… but Christians can be as self-justifying as that Luke 10:29 ‘self-religious expert in the law’ who said, ‘And who is my neighbour?’

A neighbour can be some stranger in the very marketplace, someone who needs to know that God knows all about them and cares! Here’s an example…

At the back of an Asia bargain shop last week, Maureen spotted an item that she like to check – but it was way up high on a top shelf. As no assistant was around I asked a tallish lady nearby to reach up for it, which she willingly did.

I thanked her, and she commented that it was the right thing to do. So I thanked you again and as we started to move to the checkout, I added, ‘God bless you’ to which she smiled and thanked me.

As I turned to leave, suddenly I was led to turn back to this stranger and move in a prophetic word that included wisdom and knowledge. No one else was in that narrow isle so I did not embarrass her in any way.

Her face shone brightly as she listened to my quiet, assuring voice. Yes it was me speaking, but it was the blesses Holy Spirit directing me. As I continued encouraging her, the lady paused me, and said softly as she smiled widely, ‘Oh, you going to make me cry.’ Then I completed God’s encouragement for her.

As she thanked me, I added, ‘Now you know I’m a stranger. Only the Lord could have known all that about you and those circumstances and needs.’ She smiled again and nodded ‘I know.’ And there in that marketplace outside of any church, we chatted about Almighty God.

All that does not give all glory to me, but to the Lord! He set it up… our need was a material one, God used it to give a spiritual blessing to that dear lady!

So many need God in dark times that can cloud our thinking! May we take every opportunity to share Jesus!

Some words of that Greg Nelson and Phil McHugh hymn come to mind…
‘People need the Lord, people need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door.’

In keeping with what we’ve shared above, that open door to God could come about because you too dare to be a spiritual blessing, especially supernatural encouraging word, to some stranger in your local church or local marketplace. If they don’t know the Lord, the opening is there to share!

Dr William Barclay wrote of the Holy Spirit as the one who enables us ‘to stand up to the opposing forces, to cope with life and to conquer life.’ That the Holy Spirit is ‘none other than the presence and the power of the risen Christ.’ (New Testament Words).

We are not alone when such a key is with us! Let’s be bold, daring! Who knows where the role we play in someone’s life can lead? All glory goes to God!


Dr Robert and Pastor Maureen McQuillan’s links: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook



(November 22, 2022) Robert McQuillan shares encouragingly…

There’s an old joke about ‘Joe’… he’s strolling along a cliff edge one dark night. Suddenly he slips and falls over hurtling down towards the ocean way below. Somehow he manages to grab a thinnish tree branch jutting out from the cliff side… but although his plunge is halted, that branch begins to loosen ever so slowly.

Help’ Joe yells, hoping that someone else is coming along the clifftop. No response and he calls again, louder and more panicky. Silence. The branch loosens more. Yet another ‘Help’ but weaker this time. In desperation Joe somehow screams, ‘Is anybody there?’ carelessly adding, ‘OMG!’

About to give into certain death, Joe hears a soft voice say gently, ‘Yes? I’m here, Joe. What can I do?’ and although he can’t see up over the clifftop, calls, ‘Help me… please!’

‘Okay, Joe’ hears. ‘Just let go and trust me. You’ll be okay. I’ll catch you, Joe.’ The endangered, bewildered Joe is amazed! How does this stranger know my name? Let go and he’ll catch me? He’s crazy… how could he possibly save me when he’s up there? Hesitantly he mutters, ‘Er… let go and you’ll catch me?’ The response is a quiet ‘Yes, Joe.’ The branch loosens further and Joe, panicking more, asks, ‘Who is that? I can’t see you!’

Astounded, Joe hears the soft voice reply, ‘Why, it’s me… God. You did call me, didn’t you, Joe? Now let go and I’ll catch you in my arms.’



(October 15, 2022) Maureen McQuillan recalls a childhood experience of the goodness of our miracle-working God…

Now that title may sound like the beginning of a ghost story, but it’s not. Although I could say the beginning of a Holy Ghost tale.

My husband, Robert, had seen sharing my childhood miraculous healing experience with some friends recently, and felt I should write about it as an encouragement to others. Especially as over the past couple of years we’ve been hearing of several committed Christians, particularly ministries, becoming seriously unwell.

As regular readers know, we strongly believe that our loving heavenly Father is the healing and miracle-working God; that in times of illness we pray to Him, asking with confidence for His help; reflect on scriptures such as 1 Peter 2:24 – ‘By His stripes you were healed’; leave it with Him, trusting Him; and then do the sensible thing – see a medical professional.



(September 27, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares and challenges…

Okay, Robert wrote about me this month… Now I’ll write about him!

In his article Robert admitted to doing something stupid. Here’s another example… I needed a towel rail fitted upstairs. A simple towel rail, mind you, but a frustrated Robert (I know… he’s human!) was having difficulty with this job and, a bit edgy, finally gave up.

Finding me downstairs, he reported – no, moaned: ‘How am I ever going to get those two rails into their holding brackets and fitted to the wall! I’ve followed the instructions… there’s no leeway I can manipulate everything into position.’ 

God assists
Instantly I saw the simplicity of the solution to his ‘problem.’ (Or rather God the Holy Spirit was assisting by showing me the answer, one which Robert had missed). And so I casually shared it with him.

Well, Robert just stared at me. I, naturally, didn’t say a thing! Then, wordless, he snucked off back upstairs. A few minutes later he was back with me all smiles and happy, job completed. I smiled too and we laughed at the simplicity of it all.



(September 24, 2022) Robert McQuillan shares a recent incident… er…problem.

Problem – situation, person, or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved (Cambridge Dictionary).

A few weeks back I had a problem, to me a big problem!

Don’t exactly know how it happened, exactly what happened… but suddenly it had and I was rocked for a moment! Blood was flowing unstopped from the long slice in my middle right finger. No pain but unstoppable bleeding!

I had been feeling so relaxed after encouraging a friend on the phone. My mobile had buzzed when I upstairs about to change into my pyjamas and intending to return to Maureen to enjoy some old (Yes, those who know me have guessed it!) John Wayne DVD before retiring for the night. (No doubt Maureen would sighingly comment, ‘Not John Wayne… again.’ But, bless her, agree to watch).

Anyway, I took the call, sitting on the edge of the bed to relax as I listened to my friend’s concerns… and to drink from a cold glass of juice that I had with me, as our conversation went on.

I spent some time encouraging the caller, giving wise advice and counsel – and biblical explanations and examples. Then I prayed and he had felt becalmed and released and we’d said goodnight. And I stepped into the ensuite to place the now empty, heavy glass on the vanity bench top.

I was feeling quite at ease – maybe I was feeling too at ease with myself having been used by the Holy Spirit to help someone at a late hour and wasn’t watching what I was really doing– I don’t know. But suddenly I was aware of the noise of breaking glass – a resounding racket to me – and that I was only placing half a glass on the benchtop, that broken glass was ‘everywhere’ on the floor at my feet and blood was running from my finger!



(September 23, 2022) Robert McQuillan responds to a friend despondent about caring for someone.

Dear Dr Robert

I’m having trouble with a friend. Well, I better explain it this way… he keeps on doing wrong things, believing wrong things and isn’t living his life as he should. And he’s a Christian! Over and over I’ve pointed out to him that he’s not thinking straight, he’s being blind to so much. He’ll say that he’s sorry and won’t do such things again. I’ve even prayed with him. But again and again he phones me or calls and tells that he’s either done some ‘old thing again’ or made some other mistake. I find myself praying each day for him but it’s heavy on me. What else can I do? Harold

Hi Harold

I know what you’re expressing above. I’ve found myself in the same situation at times – even recently – sharing commonsense, scriptures, giving warnings and, what I know from experience, is good advice. And just as you did, I’d pray with the troubled brother or sister-in-the-Lord. But although the person I’ve talked to would agree (even nod their head if present with me), either they would come back later to confess not having done as we’d discussed, or I’d hear it from another source.

  • Harold, I’ll keep this reply as short as I can… because the truth is that you’ve done all you can.


(November 30, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh shares an end-of-month thought from her recommended meditation book below…

‘I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower,
and will watch to see what he will say unto me,
and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 

And the Lord answered me, and said,
Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
that he may run that readeth it’ (Habakkuk 2:1-2KJV).

Have you heard speak to you this month? Did you write down what He said?

You know, it’s possible that Go is showing you things that are not just for you, but for other people. I want to encourage you to read over your drawings photos, and writings from this month.

  • Has God renewed your strength as waited on Him?
  • Have you heard His voice?
  • Did you experience, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10)?

More importantly, is there anything that God has told you to do? Did you obey Him? Obedience is the thrill of His heart and the greatest evidence of our love for Him.

I encourage you to take time to reflect on what God has shown you and finish this month watching and waiting before the Lord one more time.

Jump-start prayer: Lord, I come to the garden alone. Here I am, watching and waiting at the womb of the dawn. What is on your heart today?


Hope Flinchbaugh, editor-in-chief of Hope Editors, a special team helping publishers and authors, has written three historical fiction novels and two nonfiction books. Hope’s love for children is evident in her delightful Baby Babbles series… available from Amazon Author Page or International Orders Here.  

 I Come to the Garden Alone… Jesus is waiting – come and talk to Him, is Hope’s inspiring daily devotions booklet. Hope’s Amazon Author Page. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com


(November 30, 2022) John Sherrill shares an amazing story the most amazing story from the heart of Africa in 1922.

That year, Reverend Henry B. Garlock and his wife Ruthanne, of Toms River, New Jersey, volunteered for a dangerous assignment: they were to go to Africa as missionaries to the Pahns, a small tribe in the interior of Liberia. No missionaries had ever before worked with the Pahns. The reason was simple. The Pahns were cannibals!

The Garlocks (right) arrived in Liberia and set up camp with a group of African Christians whose tribal boundary touched that of the Pahns. Almost immediately Mrs. Garlock came down with malaria. Their meagre medical chest was soon emptied and still her fever rose. Garlock had a difficult time persuading the natives to take a short route to the coast for more medicine because the way led through Pahn country.

At last, however, Garlock convinced the chief that it was possible to skirt the danger areas, and that if medicine didn’t arrive soon, Mrs. Garlock might well die. One morning at dawn a group of men left the compound and headed out, filled with misgivings, to bring back supplies.

Captured by cannibals
About noon the head carrier suddenly appeared in the doorway of the mud hut where Mrs. Garlock lay. He was out of breath. In gasps he blurted out what had happened. One of his men had been captured by the cannibals. The African assured the two missionaries that unless the man could be rescued, he would be eaten.



(November 29, 2022) Dr Robert McQuillan warns an ‘over-caring’ Christian…

Dear Dr Robert

I care for people and I follow that command of Jesus to care for, to love anyone who is mt neighbour. Some of those I’ve been interceding for, praying for, has me thinking a lot about them, even during the day and sometimes awakening to do so during the night. They have what I call heavy problems and… well, I can only describe what’s happened this way. I’ve been feeling heavy myself, deeply sensitive to their hurts and it’s as if I feeling their burdens on my heart. This making me feel down – yet some of them seem to be getting free of their problems. Am I making myself clear here. Maybe this all sounds too mixed up. Sorry. ‘Weary Will’ (not real name).

Dear ‘Weary Will’

Hold it right there! Yes, I understand you, how you’re feeling, that heaviness that you’ve encountered. To help you, I’ll go straight to the point! The problem is that you’re not just caring, you’re wrongly carrying!

Yes,  you’re doing right in caring – as all Christians should for anyone that we consider ‘Luke 10:25ff neighbours’ and in every way we can. But one thing we can’t do is this: we can’t carry them! This is a mistake that Satan has lured well-thinking Christians into and it has eat away at them, stealing their own happiness, even causing sickness.

I urge you to recall that you’re a servant of Jesus, not our Lord Himself! Only Jesus can care to the extreme of carrying sicknesses, heartbreak, hurts and  burdens that we humans experience.



(November 27, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, reflects on God’s light…

Ministering in England years ago, I was teaching about Jewish faith and practice. To help give my church members a better understanding, I asked a nearby rabbi if he would kindly give us a tour of his synagogue and explain various things done during their worship services.

Very pleased to do so, when we arrived on a suitable date, he was most welcoming, telling us to ask as many questions as we wished. We had a great time!

Later, a week or two before Christmas, he called saying that they were celebrating the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah and invited my church along. I readily accepted. The Jewish congregation sang some Hanukkah songs, and then the rabbi invited us to sing some Christmas carols which we did – with much enthusiasm! 

A wonderful meal followed that contained many delicacies that are traditionally eaten at Hanukkah.  It was a memorable experience.

This is celebrated about three months after the Feast of Tabernacles, and lasts for eight days. Another name is the ‘Festival of Lights’ and this year will be between December 18 and 26.

Although not mentioned in the Old Testament, a reference is in John 10:22, where it is called the ‘Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.’



(November 27, 2022) America’s Mercy Health releases good info monthly as part of their concern for everyone in showing the compassion of Jesus, such as these (excerpted) thankful stories featuring team members, patients and the wonderful communities they feel blessed to serve…

1). Teamwork saves mushroom poisoning patient’s life
A family group came to Mercy Health – West Hospital, sick from eating wild mushrooms foraged in nearby woods. While most were able to recover with minimal treatment and return home, one remained extremely ill.

‘The patient was admitted and liver tests kept getting worse,’ shares Dr Kevin Cronley, one of our gastroenterologists, and director of endoscopy.

There were no other health issues that could explain the worsening numbers. The relatively young patient’s health got so bad that Dr Cronley was exploring placement on the liver transplant list.

Dangerous mushrooms
From what the patient said, Dr Cronley knew what the family had foraged was the likely cause of the illness. About the same time the family came to the hospital, local media started reporting cases of people sick from eating highly toxic wild mushrooms.



(November 23, 2022) Mama Lava shares from her heart… about heavy hearts!

Hello, my precious readers, how are you going today?

Me? Okay… but I can recall sometime back feeling heavyhearted. I think I encountered too many little things without taking the time to process them with the Lord. And it occurs to me that I might not be the only one and maybe we can encourage each other to work through our little things before they grow any more burdensome.

When something big happens, most of us know we need to stop and pray and proceed with care. When it is a little thing, it doesn’t seem as necessary.

Buttoo many little things can end up weighing more than a big thing and we end up with a heavy heart.

What are these little things?
What kind of little things are we talking about? Any small grievance or irritation can hang around if we don’t deal with it.

Think about a grain of sand, or a kernel of rice. They are so small and insignificant that carrying them takes no effort. But when they pile up they are heavy!

Here’s a few examples from a beach trip that my husband, Michael, and I enjoyed some time back. It was a wonderful time…  except for a handful of little things. They would hardly be noticeable, except that they were added to an already heavy pile I had growing in my heart!

Four little things from that beach weekend…



(November 20, 2022) David McGuire, missionary to Romania, again uses his camera to ‘write’ reports and share some updates…  

We’re called to share the good news about the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world. The world is in terrible trouble these days and we believe that James’ teaching of James 2:17 must be active if we’re to reach lost souls with the gospel!

And what did the apostle say? The Message Bible pulls no punches – Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? 

Consequently, we endeavour to act as Christians should, meeting practical needs as well as sharing our faith. Hence we join with others here in Romania to reach out however we can expressing the love of God, whether it’s…

  • Kids ministry – sharing Jesus with children
  • Buying and transporting needed food to troubled Ukraine
  • Supporting refugee Ukrainians
  • Reaching local people
  • Building homes for the homeless
  • Praying for needs, not just preaching, or
  • Training sessions on divine healing, spiritual warfare, and overcoming Satan

1. Children’s ministry
Many kids here have never heard of Jesus or His gospel message of love and forgiveness of sin, and we continue to reach such with the good news, using biblical cartoon movies. Praise God that they’re attentive and that several have accepted Jesus.

As well as regular gatherings, we treat them with special meals and outings… below Left: Tigmandru summer kids on a trip to the zoo Centre: happy kids. Right: Summer outreach camp (our daughter Sabrina, in black, top right).

2. Helping Ukrainians
(i) Needs

We don’t work alone but continue to associate with other Christians and teams reaching out to this troubled nation… getting badly needed items and transporting these up to Ukraine.

Left: Food and clothing Centre 1: Needed stoves Centre 2: YWAM Cluj’s Nieck (He comes from Holland) buying food Right: Packing potatoes

Have Trailer: Will Travel! Queuing up at Ukraine border…

(ii) Sheltering refugees
Encouraging those who have made it to Romania to settle peacefully, even supplying Ukrainian food!

3. Local outreaches lead to salvations and baptisms
Tigmandru outreach with seven churches attending. Blessing some new converts ready for baptism.

4. Building homes for the needy
This aspect of our ministry continues. As many know, I delight to use my building skills and with others we bless homeless people, especially for gypsies… and take the opportunity to share Jesus as we build.

Right: 77-year-old Phil France from Sheffield, England came here to help build this house in Danes.

5. Prayer opportunities
Team members take every opportunity not only to tell of Jesus but to pray for the sick showing His love of all.

Most times we stand and pray.

Sometimes we really have to get down to business as it were! 30 minutes of sincere prayer, then healing came to this person’s foot, praise God.

6. Teaching and training
Equipping leaders conference, Tigmandru. Michael Cantrell teaching on biblical use of finance. Marcel and team teaching on worship. Norman Patterson teaching on  Today’s Church. Me, David, teaching on divine healing. YWAM group that was taught spiritual warfare by me.

7. Yoked partnership
As James went on to teach in verse 22 – ‘Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”?’ 

We appreciate your prayers. This really supports us in our ministry here for the Lord. May God use you too whether you are to reach out to needy people, especially to witness Jesus.

With my wife Rodica (my gifted fellow-minister) and Sabrina (See Sabrina’s challenging October article – What is the True Christian Lifestyle). We can be contacted/supported via link below.

David and Rodica McGuire are missionaries in Sighișoara and have built many homes for the poor in that area, especially among the gypsy communities, as well as outreaching to children who have never heard of Jesus, using cartoon DVDs. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com.  Recommended: David’s own story A Work in Progress  (Amazon)


(November 18, 2022) S. Sam Selva Raj encourages troubled hearts…

During times of adversity, when we ask friends or doctors for counsel, they may console us by saying, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be all right.’  Comforting words… but we can receive even greater comfort from God!

But, when we experience times of sorrow, pain and affliction, and our problems multiply, we can lose hope.

  • We shouldn’t… but it can happen.
  • If we’re not clear about God’s leading in our lives, we can worry much.
  • Contemplating some sorrowful event, we could wrongly think, ‘Has this happened without God’s knowledge?’ 

We must remember that nothing happens in our lives without God knowing! If we trust Him, our present sorrow will surely be turned into joy!

So don’t be afraid!
Jesus spoke about sorrow and weeping in John 16, adding in verse 20, ‘… your sorrow will be turned into joy.’ He also promised in Matthew 5:4, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’

We might think that blessed people are those who enjoy all sorts of material comforts. But the Lord says that even those who mourn are blessed! He who knows everything, knows that He can turn our mourning into joy!

Sorrows may arise due to unemployment, sickness, lack of money, problems at work or in the family, worries about the future, and so on. Whatever our sorrow, the Lord says that all of us who pass through such difficult times are blessed and that we shall be comforted, difficult situations being turn into joyful ones.

Although promised this a long time ago, this is still relevant today! Henceforth be happy and rejoice. ‘Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time’ declares 1 Peter 5:6.