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

SHARING AN INNER WORD FROM GOD

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(November 27, 2021) Maureen McQuillan encourages an anxious ‘Sarah’…

Pastor Maureen… you’re great at answering questions in a very clear way, and easy to understand. Please help me with this query I have… How do I know that I’m really hearing from God? Sarah (Not real name).

Well, ‘Sarah’, to put it briefly… You’ll know that ‘you know that you know that you know!’  Here’s the key: As we grow in the ways of the Lord, we learn to become so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, to his gentle voice. And we’re aware that it’s he who is guiding us and that we’ve nothing to be afraid of.

Let me share something that I felt in my inner being to say to… oh, let’s call her ‘Jean.’ This lady, a Christian too, had determined to move on in life, leave her suburb and start afresh as it were. But as she was telling me that she didn’t think she would get much for her old home as it needed work done to it, I immediately felt to say, ‘No, I believe you’re going to get an amazing price for it, Jean. You believe it too.’

A simple word of encouragement but I felt was from the Lord and didn’t hesitate to speak it… in faith, Well, she couldn’t quite take it on board at first as it seemed impossible… but guess what happened? Yes, her home sold quickly and for many, many thousands of dollars more than she had perceived! Jean is now a changed lady, with great hope in her heart for a much better lifestyle.

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τέταρτος μάγος – THE FOURTH MAGI

(November 26, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan, as with other contributors this month, again encourage blessing others…

As many know, we relax watching good movies, particularly film noir, and wholesome TV shows. Recently, although it’s only November, we kept finding great Christmas-centred YouTube ones highlighting the Christmastime season as one of generosity and giving.

Next month, of course, brings around that time of year when we celebrate the coming to earth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, born of the young virgin Mary, fulfilling Isaiah 9:6.

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Celebrating Christ’s incarnation
Sadly
, to many it’ll just be a holiday season but to those who know the gift of our gracious, loving God, we’ll celebrate it remembering we owe him so much for the miraculous incarnation of his Son who would willingly sacrifice himself on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty of our sins (John 3:16).

And, of course, we owe much to the Holy Spirit who, as Romans 8:11 declares, ensured that Jesus rose from the grave (‘With healing in his wings’ to quote from that Wesley/Whitefield hymn that became the carol Hark the Angels Sing), as well as birthing the church (Acts 2).

Looking ahead, most Christians will be making Christmastime special, getting together with family, enjoying fellowship and good food, gift-giving, relaxing and happiness-finding and making. But… unfortunately some will miss out next month because they’ve heard myths generated around what we call the Christmas story and been disillusioned!

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

(November 23, 2021) Maureen McQuillan has a different slant to reaching out…

Not the A Night to Remember movie about the Titanic tragedy, rather an unusual summer evening when Robert had been invited to minister at a European church outside of Melbourne. Maybe I should call this article A Night of Surprises, or… Suffering.

We have great articles this month reminding us to reach out to people, even strangers, and bless them whether they know Jesus or not. And taking opportunities to witness him, the only light in this dark world.

Such reaching out to bless someone closeby – that ‘love thy neighbour’ matter Jesus highlighted (Matthew 22:39) – reminds me of how our Christian neighbours bless us meaningfully. They kindly bring our bins up, even taking them down if see Robert struggling with them.

And I’d like to remind us that reaching out isn’t always about ‘spiritual matters’… it includes being practical and doing so even if it’s inconvenient, embarrassing. So let me share about such an opportunity to bless a stranger… from a different point of view.

Sinister
That particular Sunday evening was many years ago and coming out our frontdoor, my first surprise was seeing Robert looking down at the patio at a strange, cultic-like object, made of Wicca-type sticks! Who had left them? Robert picked them up carefully and suggested we pray again before setting off.

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CHRISTMASTIME MYTHS

(November 16, 2021) Dr Robert McQuillan responds to this query about Christmas

Dear Dr Robert
It’s me, Mitch… again. As mentioned before, I appreciate the help you’ve given me. Here’s something else – A couple of people have been pointing out things to me about Christmastime next month… that it’s unbiblical to celebrate as no one knows the date of Jesus’ birth… that Christians believe more in Santa Claus than they do about Jesus. What can I say to them? Mitch.

Dear Mitch

Yes it’s true that no one really knows the exact date of Christ’s birth, when Mary gave birth to the babe who would grow up able to understand all our feelings, problems, temptation and such… and become our Saviour. And, yes, the Bible encourages us to celebrate Easter, our salvation through Jesus and communion rather that Christmas.

So let’s cut to the chase here… we who know Jesus as Saviour should be grateful, but how can we really celebrate his incarnation, like the shepherd and magi did? Well, a very long time ago it was decided by ‘church powers’ to name December 25 as Christ’s ‘birthday’ and the day to be universally celebrated. The reality is that the date doesn’t really matterJesus willingly came for our benefit, to become our Saviour and we should rejoice over this (and not merely celebrating ‘Santa Claus fun time’ with our children)!

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WILLINGLY SERVING OTHERS, WHATEVER THE COST   

(November 15, 2021) Robert McQuillan reminds readers of an ongoing challenge…

Every now and then, in ministering to Christians, I feel to quote Dr Toyohiko Kagawa (1888–1960) who not only wrote and taught about the teachings of Jesus Christ but lived them out even in a troubled society and world itself, often at great personal cost.

In 1938, in The Challenge of Redemptive Love he wrote declaring that the world was full of rebellion against God, that the human race has gone morally insane: it has lost sight of standards of integrity… that evil was proclaimed as good, and wrong is right… that class morality was not the least concerned for any other class. He could have been writing about 2021! (See Geri B’s Cancel, Condemn or Cherish?).

Toyohiko Kagawa c1920

Kagawa likened this situation to that of the first century Roman Empire, adding the good news that ‘… but just the time when God, undismayed by the corruption of the human race, in order to reconcile man to himself, opened the way of redemptive loveChrist paid the price with his blood.’

He wrote much about the blindness of human corruption and rebellion against God, wanting every person to know about the one who allowed himself to be placed under the death penalty on the cross, paying the price of righteousness by a unique act of redemptive love. He would set an example by reaching out himself at great personal cost to the down and outs, to criminals, to the weary, to those shedding tears in distress, the needy around him.

And possibly this brilliant but ever so humble man of God’s greatest challenge was ‘Are you going about doing good… or just going about?’

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CANCEL, CONDEMN OR CHERISH?

(November 13, 2021) Geri B challenges Christians to live righteously…

We live in a very troubled world today!

And not just the ongoing worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. New terms have become an embedded part of our culture, including a most troubling one originating out of America … ‘Cancel Culture.’

For the uninitiated the definition of this is: The practice or tendency of engaging in mass cancelling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure. This practice of ‘cancelling’ or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

This is where the assassination of a person’s character, no matter who they are, is permissible, acceptable and at times, applauded.

Even when someone has committed an offence, it is acceptable to hold the person up for public scrutiny – to be judge, jury and executioner all at once. Complex issues are cut down to the lowest common denominator – us and them.

Very current hot examples:

  • Vaccinated and Unvaccinated
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Me-Too Movement.

Cancel?
If someone comments on an issue or a current event, and that comment does not agree with your viewpoint or value, you have the ‘right’ to ridicule, attack, vilify or belittle that person in any way you see fit.

I think Jesus called that murder…  ‘For out of the heart come evil thoughtsmurder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander’ (Matthew 15:19).

And indeed some people who have experienced such open (and sometimes very public) attacks have taken their own lives, unable to bear the onslaught of hatred and shame. And I am not talking about worldly individuals (who have done this for many years), I’m talking about Christian brother against Christian brother, Christian sister against sister!

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WHEN GOD WAKES UP A NATION!

(November 12, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to pray for our nation…

Have you been praying for revival in our nation? It looks like the Lord is answering our prayers. Sometimes it is necessary to define words that we commonly use and presume we all know what it means. By definition ‘to revive’ means to make someone strong, healthy, or active again. To restore from inactive to active, from unconscious to conscious. In other words, to wake up!

The worldwide ‘pandemic’ has shaken us from our complacent sleep and revived many across the world. This unbelievable event has disrupted our homes, our jobs, our travel, our education, every aspect of our lives. What made it even more surreal is that it took place all over the world at the same time, spreading fear and panic.

Why did we need a wake-up call?
It is very easy to become complacent in a nation like Australia. Life here is easy in comparison to other places. The lackadaisical Aussie lifestyle places few demands on its citizens. But what does it mean to become complacent? It is defined as ‘self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.’  

It reminds me of the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, ‘When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep (Matthew 25:5).

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CHURCH MINISTRY TO DISABLED SURGES IN GROWTH

(November 11, 2021) Michael Ashcraft shares good news and a challenge about reaching the disabled in churches large or small…

Gina Spivey’s church is reaching the biggest unreached people group in America, and you may not know they’re an unreached group.

They are people with disabilities, and tragically many churches don’t want to focus ministry attention on this group which constitutes about one-fourth of America because they require extra facilities, special attention and sometimes disrupt the service, says Ryan Faulk of Joni & Friends.

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Gina Spivey

‘Of the 61 million American adults living with some sort of disability, there are about 2.25 million who –statistically speaking – should be attending church, but don’t,’ writes Ryan on the Joni & Friends website. ‘A 2018 study from Clemson University shows that children with any kind of disability are less likely than their peers to attend church, and children with autism are nearly twice as likely to never attend a religious service.’

Concerted effort to invaluable people
For the last decade, Gina’s church, Calvary Community of Westlake Village just outside Los Angeles County, has made a concerted effort to accommodate people with ‘special abilities.’

‘They’re invaluable. People with special abilities have such a simple clear understanding of the love of God,’ says Gina, pastor of special abilities at Calvary. ‘They’re not as bogged down by noise and politics and the world and all of the things that can confuse who God is. They have a childlike faith that we can be reminded how simple the love of God can be.’

She added, ‘Beyond that, they help us to understand what it means to serve someone who can’t serve us back quid pro quo. It shows us how it is to love someone and lay down our lives for them.’

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COP BUSTED FOR SELLING DRUGS GOT COURT SURPRISE

(November 10, 2021) Michael Ashcraft shares an amazing testimony…

On the 17th day of solitary confinement in jail, cop John Clichy broke down and made a confession not to the crime of which he was accused but to his need for Jesus Christ.

‘I realised I needed help because there was no way I was getting out of this, there was no way I was getting through this,’ he says on a Psalm Forty video. ‘January 31, 2013, right after midnight, I wholeheartedly called out to God. I saw everything that I was doing wrong that was displeasing to God that was harming me, and I realised I got myself into that mess. I said, “God, I don’t want to live that life no more.” I wholeheartedly repented of that life.’

Taking his newfound faith seriously
The former undercover detective who lived a high-flying life – with spinning rims, free drinks at bars and 19 girlfriends – was accused with two other Schaumburg Village, Ill, detectives of re-selling part of the drugs they confiscated from busts.

But while the two other cops accepted plea bargains for lesser sentences, Cichy took his fledgling faith seriously. He had heard God say to not break down in fear of getting a longer sentence and to go to trial. He faced 18 counts which, if convicted, could result in a minimum of 24 years in prison, yet he refused every plea bargain they offered because God told him to.

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IF TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

(November 9, 2021) Mama Lava shares a thoughtful challenge…

I just had a conversation with the youngest and oldest of my five children. For context, they are 18 and 26 years old.

We sat down at the same time for breakfast and began to discuss what we would do today if we knew it was our last day to live. I thought the discussion was hilarious, stereotypical, and insightful. It went like this:

My own answer was simple.

‘What would I do if I knew today was my last day to live? I’d go to the beach, my happy place! I’d communicate my gratitude and encouragements and goodbyes from the sand, serenaded by crashing surf. I’d pray, and later be calling, texting, and writing.’

My son’s helpful ‘abandon’ list
My youngest had a completely different take. He asked, ‘I’m going to die tomorrow… for sure? Then I can’t die today, right?’

My oldest and I looked at each other. We hadn’t thought of that. I was completely amused by his line of thinking. He continued…‘I’d go skydiving without a parachute’ he started.

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