Author: Life Focus Ministries

Who are we? Dr Robert McQuillan is recognised as an inspiring encourager, counsellor, mentor to ministries and Bible teacher ministering meaningfully on the prophetic edge. Robert and Maureen, a gifted communicator with an uncanny insight into knowing 'where people are at', delight to bless and encourage God's people and ministries... and touch the hearts of the unchurched in the marketplace. Contact: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com

BLUE AND BLACK OR GOLD AND WHITE?

(June 19, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a timely challenge…

About seven years ago someone posted on the internet a photo of a dress that caused quite a debate among people regarding its colours. Some people adamantly declared that the colours were obviously blue and black while others just as dogmatically stated that they were gold and white.

What do you think? What were the actual colours of that dress?  (Answer at the bottom of the article!)

There is a correct answer to the question and there are also perceived answers… and there are many reasons why the perceived answer appears to be the ‘obvious’ answer!

So what point am I trying to make?
Simply this. Christians often disagree over things that are mentioned in the Bible and often that disagreement leads to disagreeable conflict, arrogance and legalism.

After many decades of academic study and personal reflection of the content of the Bible I must confess that I do not have all the answers!  Indeed regarding some of the things I once was convinced were undisputable, I now have to admit that conceivably I may have been incorrect in my strongly held perceptions.

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GOD DOESN’T HAVE A ‘TOO HARD WORK BASKET’

(June 17, 2021) Maureen McQuillan brings an encouraging reminder…

What joy we had yesterday afternoon when our darling granddaughter Bonnie-Jane called round with our latest family addition, little great-granddaugther Avaleigh Grace, soon to be three months old. Nice to see our son-in-law, now Grandda Steve, with them but, needless to say, the centre of attention was Avaleigh!

How she’s grown in only a few weeks… and those beautiful big dark-brown eyes taking everything in, as well as grabbing our attention with her warm grins. To our delight, it’s so obvious she’s a very intelligent child.

We joked with Bonnie-Jane… ‘She’ll soon be just like you were, crawling all over the place, into everything, opening cupboard doors and enquiring about this and that, question after question.’

Bonnie-Jane laughed as she too recalled early times. It really was a wonderful time together, especially as we’d been in lockdown for a couple of weeks and hadn’t got out.

After they left l remembered fun days with Bonnie, joyfully recalling many delightful happy memories that Robert and I have. We’ve always had an incredibly close relationship with Bonnie; throughout her childhood she would often spend much time with us and, she recently admitted, still loves to come ‘round the corner’ to us (that’s how far away she, husband Matthew and Avaleigh live).

‘Grandma, God must be pooped!’ memory
Like her keen-eyed little daughter, even when Bonnie-Jane was very young she too would always be quietly observing things. Even while enjoying a Maccas, she wouldn’t rush eating her food like some other kids but sit with us properly digesting her chosen burger, quietly observing both adults and children around her.

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5 REASONS WHY I’M ASTOUNDED BY MY GOOD SHEPHERD

(June 16, 2021) Mama Lava shares some recent scriptural observations…

Sometimes we skip by the most incredible things in the Bible and are not stopped in our tracks by them, simply because we don’t have the experience by which to fully understand them.

I am not around animals much… but while observing flocks grazing near my neighbourhood recently, I suddenly saw scripture come alive in respect to my Saviour. Result: The following five reasons why I am astounded and amazed at Jesus, my good shepherd…

1. He knows his sheep by name
‘The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out’ (John 10:3).

What? How on earth? I was downright impressed when I observed those flocks, thinking of this verse today in amazement. There were so many animals! How could I ever know them by name?

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WARNING: ‘A TEXT OUT OF CONTEXT IS A PRETEXT!’

(June 16, 2021) Robert McQuillan reflects on the above…

Personally, I will never forget these words of wisdom above, made decades ago by an outstanding pioneer of Pentecostal truths. There’s always something that sticks in one’s mind when a great preacher declares something profound, and this certainly did… has, and always will!

Now, it’s a warning that has been highlighted in different ways by others over the years, but at the time it linked perfectly with scriptures the Holy Spirit had burned into my heart three years previous when out-of-the-blue he had spoken to my spirit.

I well recall that wintery night when he stunned me by saying clearly that he would use me to teach God’s word simply but in-depth, challenging Christians and leaders to understand what scripture is really saying, not what they think or suppose, or declaring as being ‘the latest thing in God.’

Dangerous spiritual junk food
The Holy Spirit strongly impressed on me to deeply study the Timothy epistles, to wholeheartedly devour Paul’s warnings about end time lack of hunger for truth in some Christians.

Influencing me about a coming lack of desire for God’s word, a careless Christianity,he burned 1 Timothy 4.7Message into my heart: ‘Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion.’

Then, especially 2 Timothy 4:3-4, ‘You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching but will fill up on spiritual junk food – catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.’

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GOD WILL DIRECT YOUR STEPS

(June 14, 2021) Carol Round shares some good advice…

Proverbs 16:9 (AMP) gives wise advice… ‘A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.’

Since my 30-year teaching career ended in 2005, I’ve discovered this truth: We can make plans, but God directs our steps. I love telling others, who are retired or nearing retirement, ‘You won’t find those words in the Bible. Retirement is a manmade concept.’

My post-career plans included expanding my professional photography business and writing news stories for area publications. The first one was not part of God’s plans for my life. At the time, I lived in a small lake community. Who wouldn’t want to spend their autumn and winter years near the lake?

But God had a better plan for me. Nine months after he planted the seed, I obeyed, and he directed my steps to a community with a larger population.

When we let God direct our steps, you never know where it will lead. Look at the disciples. I’m sure their plans didn’t include dropping their fishing nets or leaving other jobs behind to follow Jesus.

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REACHING OUT

(June 14, 2021) Robert McQuillan reflects on this category’s title, Reachout!

As readers know, this category usually centres on missionary activities overseas and the need to pray for and financially support missionaries, especially in these troubled and dangerous times.

Yet contributors often include a reminder that ‘missionary’ service begins at home, through local churches, and Christians who love their Lord and desire to serve him. That the Matthew 28:18-20 great commission starts in our local Jerusalem.

Interestingly recent American blogs are encouraging churches to reach out locally. Australia’s Wayne Swift, National Leader, Acts Global Churches also wrote: ‘An encounter with God, discipleship and planting pretty much sum up the task of the church and they have for two thousand years, the only change is the impact of the church on the communities in which they dwell.’

In this connection, reaching out locally to the unsaved, a friend phoned confessing he was a little tired hearing his minister preaching about many ‘things’ but never encouraging and teaching how to reach the unchurched.

Unexpected encounter
His call must have been on my mind for I woke up this morning recalling something that happened many years ago…

I’d received a phone call inviting me to meet a Chinese pastor visiting a church nearby the office I used in the days I was editing and publishing a denominational magazine.

Admitting that I’d never heard of this pastor, I agreed… It was to be an appointment I have never forgotten… and never will!

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ABRAHAM’S OFFSPRING

(June 12, 2021) Robert McQuillan responds to a question that comes up occasionally…

Dear Dr Robert
I think I heard a preacher mention briefly that not all Israelites are Jews and not explaining.  Did I hear correctly? Maybe I just heard wrongly… or can you explain a bit more. Stan

Dear Stan

No, you heard correctly. But, let me share some background…

Old Testament characters such as Abraham are often referred to as Jews (especially in old movies). The reality is that Abraham was originally a Hebrew (Genesis 14:13), and the term ‘Jew’ was not used until after the return of the exiles from Babylon (Ezra 4:23).

This term Jew – is from the Hebrew word Yehudi, meaning from the ’Kingdom of Judah.’ It indicated a ‘worshipper of one God’ and related to returning exiles – Israelites, mainly from the tribe of Judah but also including some Benjamites (In Esther 2:5, Mordecai is referred to as a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin). This was years before the other ten tribes of Israel had been taken to the old Assyrian empire.

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SLEEPLESSNESS

(June 12, 2021) Maureen McQuillan responds to a distressed lady …

Dear Pastor Maureen
I know God will help us sleep but I still have great difficulty falling asleep. Any suggestions? Carolina.

Dear Carolina

Yes, there are comforting scriptures such as Psalm 3:5, ‘I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me’ and Psalm 127:2, ‘he (the Lord) grants sleep to those he loves.’

But, I’m wondering, Caroline, is there something you’re anxious about and dwelling on. Maybe you need to change your outlook.

Let me share my simple ‘5-step secret’ if I can’t sleep…

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GOD’S PRESENCE MELTED HUSTLER’S HEART

(June 11, 2021) Ryan Zepeda, studying at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles, CA, brings an encouraging testimony about actor Mark Wahlberg’s brother…

Jim Wahlberg was the consummate hustler. In prison for hustling, he hustled the prison system –  leading a 12-step program under the pretense of being reformed – just to earn an early release for good behaviour.

‘I was always a hustler, was always manipulative, just to get what I wanted, and I did whatever I had to get it,’ Jim observes on a CBN video.

The older brother of Mark Wahlberg (see Mark’s testimony) actually had no intention of changing his substance-abusing, robbery-financed lifestyle once he was out.

Fear of not being good enough
The fifth of nine kids born to a delivery driver dad and a bank clerk mom, Jim was shaped by the mean streets of Boston’s Irish working-class neighborhood of Dorchester. When he realised that middle class kids had more things than he did, he began stealing to even the score.

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THE CHOICE IS OURS

(June 9, 2021) Bonnie Spencer shares a most important challenge…

We make countless choices every day. We decide…

What to wear, what to eat, who to hang out with. What time to get up, unless we have a job that dictates that. Even then, we had the choice of taking that job, looking for a different one, or not working at all but instead backpacking around the country.

And so on… but the choice most often is ours.

Created to make choices
Although some countries severely limit freedoms, that is not how God created us to live. He is all about freedom and giving us the opportunity to make our own choices. Unlike the animals he created with instincts, he gave us the ability to think and decide for ourselves how to live our lives… even when it means making the wrong choices. That is clear from the beginning of history.

When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, he instructed them, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’(Genesis 2:16-17).

From the start God has laid out what is right and what is wrong, telling the consequences of making the wrong decisions. Adam and Eve made a bad choice in disobeying God, and humankind has experienced the consequence of death ever since. Death was never God’s plan for us, but he allows us to choose.

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