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

‘WHAT ABOUT THE 144,000?’

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bb1.jpg

(June 4, 2021) Brian Bell recalls an incident from long ago that led (and still leads) to a reminder that we must continue to serve Christ in whatever we’re called to…

When I was in my late teen years, I spent some weeks in the UK summer months serving with a beach mission team. I remember one year on the Isle of Wight. The outreach program for each day concluded with an evening event, very often an open-air witness on the promenade. Some team members would sing, some testify, and the team leader would usually bring a gospel message.

As the event was taking place, team members would form a rough semi-circle around the platform, not obstructing the passage of passers-by and we would look for folk who may stop and seem interested in the message so that we may approach them on conclusion.

On a particular evening I saw a couple stop to listen and at the conclusion of the message which had included a reference to heaven, I approached them to ask what they thought about what they’d heard… but I was not prepared for the gentleman’s response when he said to me, ‘What about the 144,000?’

Young and inexperienced as I was, I knew this was a reference to the book of Revelation and surmised these folks were Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Reflection leads to Revelation
I use that memory to take you to the apostle John’s book of Revelation.

(more…)

LEARN TO REST IN JESUS!

(June 4, 2021) Carol Round encourages us to draw closer to God…

Confession time!

I’m a recovering perfectionist addict. Rest doesn’t always come easy for me.
 
Recently in a national advice column, a woman wrote in about her ‘drive to be productive, to take action, to keep things organised, and stay perfectly on top of everything.’  In other words, she was battling perfectionism. Oh, how I could relate. At least to the ‘old’ me.
 
The writer, a young woman, recognised her problem. She was so overwhelmed by her drive to do everything perfectly, she had trouble sleeping. Her question for the advice columnist at the end of her letter read: ‘How do I learn to become okay with being still and to rest better?’
 
Learning to become okay
As I read the advice columnist’s reply to this young woman, it was as if she were speaking to the younger me. The younger me could have written this letter, seeking help for the desire to please others by striving for perfection. However, I hadn’t recognised at my younger age what the advice columnist explained to the letter writer.
 
Perfectionism is often inherited. I was in my late 40s when I realised my mother was a perfectionist. And so was I. But it wasn’t until I experienced new life through a relationship with Jesus that I was able to begin my journey of letting go.

(more…)

DEMANDING GOD ALWAYS DOES IMMEDIATELY WHAT WE WANT?

(May 28, 2021) Maureen McQuillan responds to a concern about certain demandings…

Dear Pastor Maureen
I repeatedly hear scriptures quoted in a way that sounds like a demand that ‘God must do it (whatever) because his word says… (some scripture is then quoted). I’ll try to explain what’s troubling me.

For example, 1 Peter 2:24 is repeatedly quoted when someone requests prayer for healing. Now admittedly people have got healed, but I feel like God is being belittled in that he must do whatever we want or else… this isn’t word for word, but almost like: ‘God, you must heal immediately because your word says so in 1 Peter 2:24!’ And if the person doesn’t get healed, it’s said that their faith isn’t strong enough. Sorry, Maureen, if I’m not making myself clear enough. Kelvin

Dear Kelvin

I understand exactly what’s troubling you… and agree that God is not some pinball machine!

Regarding healing, yes, we should believe that God is the miracle-working God. Countless times he has responded to our asking for healing… or a miracle or whatever! We praise him for many documented testimonies confirming his goodness and demonstrated love, such as those in GodReports – example: God had Other Plans for Covid-19 Lost Cause.

(more…)

MORE ABOUT THE PROPHETIC WORD

(May 26, 2021) Robert McQuillan responds to a further question on prophecy…

Dear Dr Robert
You explained to me a while back what a word of prophecy is. Please tell me some more. Jono

Dear Jono

All right… seeing we’ve just passed Pentecost Sunday, the one day of the church year we should gladly celebrate as it recalls the coming of the power of the Holy Spirit, I feel to share the following, Jono.

It used to be common practice for pastors (especially Pentecostal ones!) to allow this precious Holy Spirit gift to operate in Sunday services… as well as other meetings. What would happen would be along these simple lines… At an appropriate moment that didn’t disrupt the flow of the service especially the preaching, say, after an exhorting chorus or hymn, or general prayers, someone (not necessary the pastor or other church leader) would in faith speak forth an encouraging, perhaps directive, word of prophecy from the Lord. (They were allowing the Holy Spirit to use their voice and would ‘just’ know when to stop speaking. They would be natural in it all, never saying anything foolish like ‘Thus saith the Lord-da…’).

(more…)

GIVE ME PENTECOST AFRESH – I WANT, I NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT!

(May 22, 2021) Charles Schwab reflects on Pentecost and encourages believers to know a living personal empowering Holy Spirit experience today

Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday! Pentecost is an experience for every Christian; not merely a denominational title…  and limited to a denomination!

Yes, let’s be strong on remembrance and annual celebration of Pentecost – the day the Holy Spirit was given to the first Christian believers (Acts 2) and widely considered as the birthday of the church.

Pentecost experience is for all believers
Let’s not miss this!

The Bible assures that God intends all who love Christ to be strong in their personal experience of what Pentecost was then… and can be today in their own lives. Our Lord wants all his followers today to experience Pentecost for themselves. And… not only a one-time experience but a marvellous ongoing empowerment of ‘Pentecost alive’ in them.

The Lord is still spiritually empowering the lives and ministries of all Christians who sincerely ask and keep asking! Personally, I believe – I know –  I need the Holy Spirit’s power to do what the Lord has called me to accomplish. So do you, dear reader.

(more…)

WITNESSING WITH GOOGLE

(May 20, 2021) Timothy Cockes, reporter for Baptist Press brings this great testimony of up-to-date gospel witnessing…

A simple furniture purchase turned into a life-changing experience for two men visiting Pastor James Merritt this past weekend.

Pastor of Cross Pointe Church in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, he was able to lead both men, who did not speak English, to make a decision for Christ communicating solely through the Google Translate app on his phone in what he described as ‘one of the greatest witnessing experiences I’ve ever had in my life.’

Bartolo and Osmani, brothers originally from Cuba, were picking up some furniture when Pastor Merritt began talking to them by using the voice option on the Google Translate app.

(more…)

MARIE MONSEN – LOOSE-CANNON UNSUNG, UNSUPPORTED HERO

(May 19, 2021) In keeping with our own Encouragement article this month, we rerun ex-missionary to South America, Erica Grace’s recent challenge to remember unsung Hebrews 11 type heroes such as this ‘loose-cannon’ unsupported missionary…

Born in Sandviken, Norway in 1878, Marie Monsen became a schoolteacher. She went to China in 1901 to help the missionary couple sent there by her Lutheran church needing a teacher for their children.

But shortly after she arrived those missionaries left due to the national unrest and turn of events in China The mission agency back in Norway didn’t have the funds to send for Marie as well, so she stayed back waiting for her ticket to arrive.

Following Bible examples
Meanwhile, people kept coming to the mission home looking for help but Marie was the only one there.  She would face squalid conditions of starving, sick children and not knowing what do, felt helpless and overwhelmed… the situations she faced each day seemed insurmountable. Marie’s only solution would be to pray.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is eg-0521b.jpg

One emergency would be followed by another, then another in a nearby town. Everywhere she went Marie (left) would just open her Bible and read especially the gospels where Jesus performed miracles. Then she would pray for people with all sorts of problems, diseases and oppressions. She hadn’t seen this being done back home in her church, but she followed the examples in the Bible.

Not quite sure where she even was, she was woken one day by pleas for help by distraught parents. When she reached their home, she saw their only son, around nine years old, lying on a mat – dead. They begged her to pray to her God.

Miracles!
With childlike faith Marie opened her Bible, read where Jesus raised a young son from the dead and prayed: ‘Lord, you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Please raise this son from the dead.’

(more…)

JESUS CARES…

(May 19, 2021) Carol Round shares great truths from her heart…

Stopped at a busy intersection in a large city recently, I noticed a large, scribbled message on one side of a large grey utility box. In black permanent marker, someone had written, ‘Nobody cares.’

On another side of the metal box, in bold black block letters, someone else had written neatly ‘Jesus loves you.’  

I’m positive the first message, scribbled in haste, was written first. The second appeared to be an answer to the first person’s cry for help, an encouragement to whomever had desperately penned the heart-felt words, Nobody cares.

At the base of the utility box was a pile of belongings – what looked like a bag of clothing, a dark green sleeping bag, and what appeared to be a grocery sack of food. Conspicuously absent was the person who’d left the belongings behind. Was it a homeless person or had someone who cared left the supplies behind for the person who believed no one really cared about their plight?

God wants us to do our part
Throughout the rest of my week, I couldn’t get this snapshot of humanity out of my mind. I still wondered about the person who’d penned the first message. My heart ached for someone who is probably homeless.

I also wondered, ‘Did the homeless person abandon his/her few possessions?’ Why? Had the individual given up on life? Or, had a caring person purchased the goods and left them there – maybe the person who wrote, ‘Jesus loves you.’

I almost wished the homeless person had been present while I sat in my car, waiting for the light to change. My curiosity needed satisfying. I wanted to do my part and offer the person some money. Even more importantly, I wanted to feed his soul with an encouraging message from scripture.

Caring for others is part of reaching out in Jesus’ great commission of Matthew 28:18-20!

(more…)

SILENCE IN THE CHURCH?

(May 17, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a timely challenge…

Silence is not always golden – sometimes it is dross – rubbish!  Solomon succinctly stated in Ecclesiastes 3:7, ‘(There is) … a time to be silent and a time to speak.’

I would maintain that the ‘time to speak’ is now!  There is a rampant decadence and ungodliness today that is saturating and destroying our culture, unsettling our society and silencing our Christian witness.

That witness has been severely undermined in recent years.  While the Christian faith was once seen as a pillar of society and generally enjoyed a degree of esteem and its message was respected and valued (even by many of those who did not embrace it), today the church and its message is largely scorned and dismissed in many Western countries. There are various reasons that could be quoted but I highlight two that I sense are very pertinent.

1. The scourge of ‘political correctness’
The so-called ‘good old days’ were not as good as some may want to claim, however once there were values that now have not only been discarded in society but also scorned.

(i) The reversal of values
There was a time when…

(more…)

THE ESSENCE OF EXISTENCE

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bs-0521a.png

(May 16, 2021) Bonnie Spencer shares a meditation on our existence…

I rarely ponder philosophical questions.

They take me back to the merry-go-round of my childhood playground. We’d get the wheel spinning so fast that I’d hold on with a death grip to keep from flying off and bouncing across the hardpacked dirt!

Ride to nowhere
In college I took the required Philosophy 101. It was one of my top five least favourite classes. I couldn’t wrap my brain around questions such as…

  • What are thoughts?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Do numbers really exist?
  • Are they something man has created?
  • Why do women open their mouths when they put on mascara?

Occasionally, though, I do end up on that ride that goes nowhere. That was the case recently when my mind encountered the idea of existence. What if I had not been born? What would it be like if I had never lived?

The alternative, of course, would be that I never existed… ever. I wouldn’t know anything. But that would be okay, I thought, because… well, I wouldn’t even know I didn’t know anything. By now, the wheel was spinning furiously while my neurons were off swinging on the monkey bars instead of communicating with their neighbours!

Reality
The reality is that I do exist, and it can’t be undone. So here I am. I didn’t ask to be here, and no one asked me if I wanted to be here.

(more…)