Author: Life Focus Ministries

Who are we? Dr Robert McQuillan is recognised as an inspiring encourager, counsellor 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 touch the hearts of the unchurched in the marketplace. Contact: connectingwithyou333@gmail.com

2020: 24 ACROSS – ANTICIPATES (7)

(January 17, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share 2020-centred inspirational thoughts…

Wondering what on earth that title 2020: 24 Across – Anticipates (7) is all about?

As our articles’ themes this month are encouragements to move ahead boldly in God this new year the ‘2020’ bit is obvious… but what about the rest?  Well, we’re crossword (not Sudoku or other puzzles) addicts and our title comes from today’s puzzle.

The answer? Why ‘expects’… of course. But then, you knew that of course – didn’t you?

A prime meaning of this transitive verb ‘expect’ is to ‘think or believe something will happen’ (Cambridge Dictionary). We like that! Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains it this way – ‘consider probable or certain.’

‘Expect’ is regarded as a word that ‘implies a high degree of certainty and usually involves the idea of envisioning.’ It’s a verb we need to consider in regard to 2020 – and in relation to the supernatural movings of the Holy Spirit as we call on him to enable us to build/expand our local churches!

Envisioning in 2020!
For some time now we’ve been saying that 2020 is going to be a year of 20/20 vision for those hearing from God and daring to be of kingdom service, expecting and seeing great things happen such as souls saved, miracles and healings and more of the (genuine) prophetic word!

Now don’t misunderstand us – 20/20 vision isn’t, as some think, perfect vision. Rather it refers to our visual acuity, which is the clarity or sharpness of our vision.

So then, think spiritually, clearly regarding 2020 and your consideration of your church and its future/vision this year, thinking also about your own vision of what you want to achieve for yourself this year… and what God wants of you.

We encourage everyone to be perfectly clear, keenly sharp in respect to God’s vision for ourselves in 2020. Know it, live it! Believe in your destiny, the calling of God on your life – and don’t let anything, any ‘thinking small’ or even ‘gigantic towers’ (see Norman and Margaret Moss’ Ignoring Gigantic Towers) hold you back. (more…)

LIVING LIFE IN VIEW OF ETERNITY

(January 16, 2020) Carol Round challenges…

A recent post by a Facebook friend posed this question: ‘Do you suppose our life here on earth is a training program for eternity?

After thinking about her question, I responded, ‘Yes, I absolutely believe this, Jan! I am so grateful God doesn’t stop loving us when we mess up.

He takes our messes and turns them into a message… a masterpiece to glorify him!

We can try to hide our messes from God but he knows! This anonymous quote says it all: ‘Our life here on earth is going to determine what our eternity is going to be like. God knows the real truth about each of our lives. We may fool our friends about our goodness, but we can’t fool God.’

We can’t fool God
If we think we can hide or run away from God, we’re not fooling anyone. Remember the very first couple who tried to hide from him. Adam and Eve, after eating the fruit from the forbidden tree, had their eyes opened to their nakedness.

Trying to hide their nudity, they covered themselves with fig leaves. Then, when God came looking for them in the garden, they hid from him.

‘One of the greatest truths in life which we all know, but which we all must come to learn, is that there is no escape from God,’ says Pastor Steven J. Cole. ‘Like fugitives, we may run, but we cannot ultimately hide from the God who penetrates even the darkness with the gaze of his light. If we manage to dodge him in this life, we must still stand exposed before him on that fearful Day of Judgment. There is no place to hide from God.’

Staying focused on God
We take for granted our next breath. (more…)

TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN…

(January 15, 2020) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reminds us of Jesus’ challenges and warnings

We’re already almost halfway the first month of 2020! Christmas is over… and whatever gifts we were given are parts of last year’s history.

However, thinking of gifts given reminds me strongly of the greatest gift ever, that of God’s gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

What a glorious free gift from God, all because of his love for us (Ephesians 1:4) and his incredible grace (Romans 5:15)! Unworthy though we are, we have received so much!

As I meditate on God’s goodness, I recall afresh just how much we’ve been given. And I’m also reminded that as disciples of Christ it is our responsibility to share this good news with others – as required by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, those scriptures known as the Great Commission.

Much given, much required!
In Luke 12 Jesus told a parable about responsibility that speaks of blessings to those who have been given much when the master returns… but also of warnings. (more…)

THE GOD OF PARDON, PRESENCE AND PROVISION

 (January 14, 2020) Brian Bell reflects on David’s life experiences

Although I try not to give too much attention to it, it occurs at the same time every year, on January 1 – my birthday – New Year’s Day; it’s one of those more memorable dates in our calendar.

This birthday I was reminded of Psalm 37:25 where David says, ‘I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.’

The Message puts it this way: ‘I once was young, now I’m a greybeard – not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets.’

While I’m sure this verse wasn’t related to David’s birthday, he reflects on his past: ‘I have been young’ but also on his present ‘…now I am old.’

David’s life experiences – four snapshots

Irrespective of the age range of those who  read this little meditation, whether we class ourselves as ‘young’ or ‘old’, at the most basic level this verse speaks to me about David’s experience of life. It’s in the natural progress of life from birth to its end that we too acquire experience.

Here are four ‘snapshots’ from David’s life experience –

1. Time as a shepherd –
Spent in the hills around Bethlehem and I believe most likely the time when he formed an intimate relationship with the Lord; when he composed many of his ‘songs’ or ‘psalms’ as we know them. (more…)

IGNORING ‘GIGANTIC TOWERS’ IN 2020!

(January 9, 2020) Norman and Margaret Moss encourage us to fearlessly move ahead in 2020…

Last month, December 6, so many people were enthralled as they watched four 400ft high gigantic cooling towers of the former powers station at Ironbridge, near Telford in Shropshire, England adjacent to the River Severn, being demolished.

Those unused, colossal towers, which had dominated the landscape for almost 50 years, came crashing down.  Carefully controlled explosion meant that all four collapsed in four seconds! 

Demolition leads to proposed advancement
Of course it was obvious that there had been months of preparation, and that there would be an ensuing massive clearing up operation lasting a long while. But those four seconds were amazing to watch.

The reality is that most of us enjoy a good demolition!  You can see it too – Ironside Towers Demolition. (more…)

‘AMEN’ (AND OTHER MEANINGFUL WORDS)…

(December 14, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share Christmas and beyond-centred thoughts…

Had interesting phone calls last week from Israel – very early in the morning(!) being evening up there – from a Bible college in Jerusalem inviting me (Robert) to be involved in one of its language programs.

That’s timely, I thought, especially as a Middle-Eastern church had recently suggested I take on the deanship of a proposed Bible college and I was aware that language knowledge/interpretation would be involved there too. In both cases understanding and explaining certain words would be important; especially as some countries’ grammar is limited whereas English is so expansive!

That affirmative ‘Amen’
Now Hebrew is the language most commonly used in everyday life in Israel and this Israeli lady (let’s just call her Sarah) asked me if I knew what certain biblical words really meant in modern everyday Hebrew language. I didn’t have a chance to say anything for she promptly reeled off ‘Do you know what “Amen” really means, Dr Robert?’ And before I could say that I did, ‘Sarah’ went into an in-depth explanation… to which I quickly got in an ‘Amen’ indicating my agreement.

Some people have wrongly considered the word to indicate a soft, quiet ‘Selah-type pause’ or merely the right thing to say after prayers… but it’s actually quite a strong word, meaning ‘to agree.’

It’s a declaration of affirmation, used colloquially to express strong agreement, thus affirming that we firmly believe in what has just been said.

For example the ’Amen’ of the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20 indicates vigorously agreeing with Jesus to get the gospel ‘out there.

That popular ‘Noel
Of course one thing leads to another!  Later we were tinkering with our new versatile Google Home musical unit and heard the most beautiful rendition of that well-loved The First Noel Christmas carol. (more…)

BAH! HUMBUG?

(December 13, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, at our editorial request again shares his enlightening November article …

Christmas is just under two weeks away! Most people enjoy the season but you will always find some people who will mutter and complain about it.

One of the most famous is Ebenezer Scrooge, a character who was invented by Charles Dickens in his book A Christmas Carol.  Scrooge was a man who had a cranky and very negative outlook on life and his disapproval of Christmas was expressed in the words, ‘Bah! Humbug!

And I’ve met some Christians over the years whose attitude to Christmas is very ‘Scroogeish’ (if that is a word). What pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas’?

The Christmas atmosphere
There are so many things that we associate with Christmas today. Obviously we can’t avoid the secular interpretation of Christmas with Santa Claus and the Christmas tree and lights and presents (many of which we don’t particularly want) and all the other associated secular trappings.

I have to admit that I quite enjoy all that even though most of it bears little resemblance to the real significance of the event. And I also have to admit that, having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere, in Ireland and then ministering in England, where Christmas is a mid-winter celebration, I miss that kind of Christmas atmosphere.

 

But as Christians the first thing, and the most important thing, we associate with Christmas is the coming of Jesus because that’s what it is really all about. And so – (more…)

DARE ASK ME FOR A SIGN

(December 10, 2019) Brian Bell reflects

It’s almost Christmas when Christians and churches celebrate the birth of Jesus who would become the Saviour of the world.

We’ll sing Christmas carols and choruses and refer to those scriptures that come naturally to mind at this time… from the gospels of Matthew and Luke and also Isaiah 7:14NLT, ‘All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).’

As I mediate on this Old Testament verse the background of Isaiah 7 comes to mind – God prompting Ahaz, the king of Judah, who was in a difficult situation to ask him for a sign… ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want –’ (Isaiah 7:11 (NLT).

Now that’s an amazing dare by God – and, equally amazing, when Ahaz didn’t respond was God’s choice of a ‘difficult sign’ (v14).

I wonder… If God were to ask you to ask him for a sign – and you didn’t hesitate to ask – what would come to your mind?

This leads me to several ‘little seed thoughts’…

A Personal Sign
Reading verses 1- 6 of this chapter we get a fuller picture of the situation in which Ahaz found himself. Facing attack and a siege of Jerusalem, in addition to fear he was likely struggling with doubt. And God always knows how best to answer the doubts of his people – remember how God spoke to Elijah (1 Kings 19) and how the Lord Jesus dealt with Thomas (John 20). (more…)

MARY’S KEY – WILLINGNESS

(December 10, 2019) Geraldine Brandt reminds us of a special lady who willingly trusted God to fulfil his word…

Almost Christmas! May I bring a particular aspect to the Christmas story – the biblical Mary that I see!

When we think of Christmas we naturally think of Jesus Christ –

  • Born of Mary, a virgin
  • Born in a manger
  • Born to die on a cross for the sins of the world.

And that’s as it should be at Christmas for it’s the real Christmas message way beyond the tinsel, sparklers, crackers and gifts! There is no greater message to be proclaimed, nor any other focus that should be given.

But… can I add that one of the greatest messengers of this truth is the mother of Jesus, Mary herself.

Mary does not preach this message, she lives it!

When we take time to go through the gospels and study this woman of God we find a very humble woman, great in faith, persistent in prayer and steadfast in her trust in God, specifically trusting that what he said about her son, Jesus, would come to pass.

Willing to obey
From the very beginning – Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, the archangel of God Most High – we see a woman who is willing to do the will of God, and to do that will without fanfare, complaint, or requested recognition.

In Luke 1:29-37 we read the conversation Mary had with Gabriel and her willing acceptance of God’s plan for her life – ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered.  ‘May it be to me as you have said’ (v38). (more…)

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET UP…!

(December 9, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, asks a challenging question

2019 is almost gone! Christmas – a time when people are expecting good things and encouragements by way of cards and gifts – is only a couple of weeks away.

But beyond meaningful cards and gifts, churches and Christians will be celebrating that the heart of God and the gospel message that speaks of the greatest gift of all – God’s gift of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

It’s every Christian’s responsibility to share the good news of the gospel. And, as the Holy Spirit leads, we can find opportunities to share the good news of the real reason for the season. We may not be a missionary overseas but even here at home we can fulfil the great commission in our local suburbs!

The babe of Jesus Christmas would grow up to become the Saviour of the world, calling many to follow him and share the good news of the gospel.

(more…)