STILL MUCH TO DO!

(January 25, 2022) Maureen McQuillan encourages all who feel unsure about the future… 

A lot of good folks at this time of worldwide troubles have been experiencing disappointments… not being able to do certain things, go places, catch up with family and old friends, getting hit unexpectedly with covid-19 (but, praise God, had been vaccinated and are getting through), job losses, short of ready finance, suicides, troubled minds… and so on.

And so it’s a joy when one hears good news stories, especially of God answering prayer and blessing in various ways. Mark Ellis GodReports regularly shares such testimonies, eg… Muslim Woman Dreams About Man in White With Bleeding Feet. And we ran missionary to Romania David McGuire’s excellent report Grateful for 2021 Successful Outreaching but Moving Ahead Into 2022 With Vision.

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However, one also hears of Christians who have had bad life experiences and my ‘heart goes out to them.’Some are so troubled that as they hear negative news reports from around the world, wonder what’s next, or think ‘the end is near: Is Christ coming back very soon?’

Encouragements from God’s word
To troubled saints, I would say this: Be encouraged! Be blessed by scriptures such as the following…

  • John 16:33, ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
  • Isaiah 41:10, ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’
  • Philippians 4:6-7, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
  • Psalm 34:4-5, 8, ‘I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. 
  • Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’
  • Joshua 1:9, ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’  
  • Matthew 6:31-34, ‘So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
  • And one of my favourites… Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.’

We’re not home yet!
There’s still kingdom work to be done for Jesus… whatever that may be for each of us! Several articles this month encourage Christians to be thinking this way eg Dr Richard Winter’s Five Ways God Guides You.

Believing that…

  • God is still in charge
  • We all have a ministry
  • We should be discovering exactly how the Lord wants us to serve him, and
  • We’re not home in heaven yet,

… leads to some memories I tell in a lighter vein:

Our great-granddaughter, little Avaleigh Grace,experienced her first dip in a pool with mum Bonnie-Jane looking on in delight. Evidently this natural water baby loved it all!

Knowing that Avaleigh will be one year old in two months, is already chittering like her mum used to do and, as she crawls around the house is ‘getting into things’, just like Bonnie used to, I started recalling memories of antics and happy funtimes with Bonnie when she was young.

We used to take Bonnie with us when we’d go out for drives around Melbourne and its countryside. Enroute back home, she’d fall asleep and there’d be no more chittering and asking all sorts of questions(!). We’d be thinking, ‘We’re almost home and she’s still out for the count.’ But then suddenly as we’d come close to a McDonald’s, we’d hear an excited cry proclaiming, ‘McDonald’s, Grandma. Macca’s Poppa!’

No, we weren’t home yet… we’d have to stop and bless a fully awakened Bonnie-Jane with a Macca’s! It would happen every time! So uncanny! How does she sense a Macca’s up ahead and come awake, we’d wondered?

Now then…
Think of that memory as relating to what I’ve been saying above.

Only God knows when Jesus is returning as King of kings and Lord of lords! (Matthew 24:36). So, let’s be thankful for every new day and do and say whatever is right to do and say. And, beyond being natural as a wife, a mum, grandmum or great-grandmum (thinking female commitments here), also getting on with whatever Jesus wants us to be about… that includes encouraging and helping others.

Still feeling unsure about your future? There’s an old story about a missionary couple returning home to the States to retire having toiled for many years. Not overly successful in their missionary service they were really unknowns. But they’d been faithful to their calling and had shared God’s love and the gospel of Jesus in many caring ways.

On disembarking the husband sadly said to his wife, ‘Great to be home – but we’re all alone, no one is here to greet us, to care about us.’ 

Not concerned about her own disappointment, his loving and wise wife sought to encourage him not to feel badly and that evening suggested, ‘Why don’t you just go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord, not me.’ He did so and only a short time later he reappeared, his expression completely different.  ‘What happened?’ asked his surprised wife, ‘You’re so at ease, so different, so at peace.’  

‘I told Jesus how bitter I was that no one welcomed us. Then suddenly I sensed the Lord saying very quietly, ‘But you’re not home yet!’ Colossians 3:23-24 came to mind: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’ 

They were indeed not home yet! The biggest heavenly welcoming was yet ahead! 

Life is life – but ‘green hope’ is ours!
Personally I repeatedly find myself returning to my two favourite scriptures, that Proverbs 3:5 above which the Message Bible reads as: ‘Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.’  And Romans 15:13: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ The Message strongly reads: ‘Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!’  

‘Green hope’ is fresh hope! I learned a long time ago to be determined not to be thrown when things go wrong out-of-the-blue; another of life’s challenges suddenly arises; close friends don’t understand me; support is missing; encouragement isn’t being received; the way ahead seems fraught with danger and uncertainties. 

My key in overcoming discouragements and disappointment as I pursue my Jeremiah 29:11 destiny in Christ is to determinately rely on the above scriptures. Our calling to follow Jesus is one of pressing on. Let’s hang on the truth that we have a God-given destiny to see completed – and move on boldly – thinking outside any proverbial box!

Even when retired there’s still work to do for Jesus joyfully, willingly. No matter if others are unaware of our ministry, whatever cost we pay or hardships we face.

Life and ministry are temporary assignments – there’s still much to do! 

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Maureen McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook

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2 comments

  1. Really encouraging, Maureen, and a wonderful picture of Avaleigh. This week some words of an old song by Cavilla Martin and her husband Walter have been running through my mind… ‘Be not dismayed what’er betide, God will take care of you. Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you. God will take care of you, thro’ every day, O’er all the way, He will take care of you, God will take care of you.’ Lord bless.

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