Author: Life Focus Ministries

Who are we? Dr Robert McQuillan is recognised as an inspiring encourager, counsellor, mentor to young ministries and Bible teacher ministering meaningfully on the prophetic edge. Robert and Maureen, also a gifted communicator with an uncanny insight into knowing 'where people are at', delight to bless and encourage God's people and miistries... and touch the hearts of the unchurched in the marketplace. Contact: connectingwithyou333@gmail.com

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.

(more…)

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.’

(more…)

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…)

RED AND YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE

(June 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges recent fallacies …

Many years ago in Sunday school in Ireland I – and many others – used to sing the following song:

‘Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.’

In recent days this song has been in my mind one again, especially the lines – ‘Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight.’

Everyone matters!
The graphic video of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis was alarming to watch and no one can condone that vicious act of brutality.

Sadly, however, the reaction of many people has been to aggravate the situation and, under the pretence of taking the high moral ground, they have resorted to law-breaking, violence, lying and looting.

Their current slogan, now declared with stubborn aggression, is ‘Black Lives Matter.’ I wholeheartedly agree that black lives do matter because –

  • ALL lives matter!
  • Including the lives of unborn babies.
  • A sobering fact is that in America each year abortion is the leading cause of death among blacks.
  • In fact there are as many abortions of black babies as live births, yet the BLM protestors ignore that fact!

Christian values opposed agenda!
Under the banner of Black Lives Matter an atheistic Marxist agenda is being pursued, an agenda stands opposed to Christian values and beliefs. 

If the followers of the  Black Lives Matter movement were truly concerned about ‘black lives’ why are they totally silent regarding the thousands who are being persecuted and killed worldwide every year, for example, the  2,983 Christians killed in northern Nigeria in 2019?

BLM is not at all concerned about racial harmony or social justice or creating a harmonious society, but is about social disruption and revolution.

Protest marches and rioting are presently the preferred method of grabbing people’s attention and promoting this malevolent plan.  By selectively taking some facts, some figures and some incidents, the supporters of BLM then interpret them in ways that advance their goals. Other facts that do not support their purpose are conveniently ignored.

Take the George Floyd incident, for example…
If the killing of a black man by a white policeman in America demonstrates that white policemen generally are hostile to black people, can white people claim that the recent killing of the white Australian woman, Justine Damond in Minnesota by a black policeman, Mohamed Noor, is evidence that black policemen hate white people? Obviously not!

Or does the fact that police shoot more men than women demonstrate that policemen are more bigoted towards men? Again, obviously not.

Let me be clear – the violent death of anyone regardless of race or gender is disturbing and even more so if that person is wholly innocent of any crime or violent act. But to use those deplorable incidents as an excuse for increasing violence, destruction and civil disobedience is unjustifiable.

Bending the knee fallacy
In recent days we have seen how effective the promotion of this radical and divisive social programme has been with American politicians, sportsmen and sportswomen, actors and numerous others (including the politically-correct administrators of the AFL in Australia) who are ‘taking the knee’!

What does this act signify?   Historically the act of ‘bending the knee’ was a formal act of surrender and submission and an acknowledgement of the superiority of the one before whom one was bowing.  It is alarming, therefore, to see political leaders and others kneeling in submission before a godless and destructive social fallacy.

How much wiser to follow the advice of the psalmist who wrote: ‘Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker’ (Psalm 95:6).  He alone deserves this act of reverence and submission.

Time for truth-telling
That Marxist agenda that has been so enthusiastically and graphically reported has also been vigorously advanced in Australia with the aid of a left-leaning media that promotes the narrative of aboriginal suppression since the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet of British ships at Sydney.

The picture being presented is that Australia’s ‘first people’ have consistently been subjected to slaughter, suppression, slavery and injustice and that now is the time to right that wrong!

However, Alice Springs Councillor Jacinta Price (who is aboriginal) has written an article ‘to provide the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates these accusations are lies.’ She concludes by stating, ‘… a narrative that claims to try to stamp out racism but applies racism in doing so and encourages a racist over-reaction. Yes, it’s time for some truth telling.’ (It is interesting that the Australian news media are generally wholly uninterested in an aboriginal voice that runs counter to the narrative they want to tell).

Masked pretences
The BLM anti-social agenda is generally masked under a pretence of having compassion and identifying with the needs of the disadvantaged and those who are being victimised in various ways. It denounces ‘police violence’ but encourages rabid public violence, it condemns racism while promoting it, it demands the right to be heard while abusing the opinions of those who disagree. Lies have replaced truth. Hatred has replaced love.

  • Fury has replaced civility.
  • Violence has replaced compassion.
  • Slogans have replace discussions.
  • Intolerance has replaced freedom of speech.

As Jacinta Price has commented, ‘We have been hoodwinked into believing that somehow reconciliation means appeasing the aggrieved, those who refuse to forgive, and we are held to ransom every time the goal posts are shifted.’

Values turned upside-down
Daily on television we witness a graphic portrayal of major reversals of moral values. There have been many times in history when this has happened.

For example, in Isaiah’s day the prophet challenged his own people with these word, ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter’ (Isaiah 5:20).

  • Values are turned upside-down when God is disregarded and when His word is dismissed.
  • The further a nation draws away from God’s standards, the more it slides into decadence, division and disintegration.
  • That happened in Isaiah’s day and the same thing is happening today.

As Christians we are called on to pray for our nation and its leaders. And we need always to remember that ‘God treats everyone on the same basis.  Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to’ (Acts 10:34-35 GNB).

‘Red and yellow, black and white, ALL are precious in His sight.’

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Dr Jim McClure, author of several books such as the enlightening Grace Revisited and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.

Grace Revisited is highly recommended – as are Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, Overview of the Old and New Testaments, Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, The Masonic Deception, Word of Life in the Old and New Testaments and Interpreting the Letter of James. All are available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and offered free. Link for orders and questions: jbmcclure@gmail.com

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GOD’S INDISPENSABLE GIFT TO HIS CHURCH

(May 20, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares some great Pentecostal insights …

Let me share with you a few recent experiences.

Something missing…

  1. As I was typing this article on my computer today, it suddenly shut down in mid-sentence. That was a little frustrating but after I plugged in the charger, the computer reopened and enabled me to complete the article.
  2. A friend’s mobile phone, which she had had for a number of years, decided that it had worked long enough. It was out of energy! I helped her to buy a new phone and restored the information from her old one. Now she can confidently phone her friends – and play ‘Words with Friends’ – without the fear of a black screen suddenly appearing.
  3. A few weeks ago I got into my car, turned the ignition key – and nothing happened! No noise from the starter motor. No ignition lights on the dashboard. Nothing but silence! I had accidentally left my car door open a little for a couple of days and the battery had drained.  Fortunately a friend came to my rescue with a battery charger and soon the car was on the road again.

Dynamite power source!
The similar factor in the above accounts is obvious – that my computer, my friend’s mobile phone and my car failed to work because their power source was missing! (more…)