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

SAINT PATRICK – HERO OF THE FAITH!

(March 8, 2023), Alan Higgins challenges us to be like Patrick – a radical disciple and missionary!

Next week, March 17, will be Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Personally, I’ll be remembering what Ireland’s patron saint achieved in respect of discipleship and mission… and I share some thoughts here.

The main scriptures – familiar to many – that I have chosen for this article are Jeremiah 29:11 and Matthew 28:16-20 … scriptures, I believe, that must have been on Patrick’s heart.

What can we learn from them… and what do they tell us about Saint Patrick, the Irish legend?

1. Patrick’s life… 
Exemplifies Jesus’ command to reach the lost.
The gospels give us the following messages from the heartbeat of Jesus, not just Patrick, on the importance of fulfilling the great commission.

Matthew 28:16-20 is what Patrick set out to do in Ireland – to make disciples in this nation. His life and ministry teach us to be open to the call of God in our lives.

  • His beginning in Ireland did not dictate his future, but drew him into a love relationship with Jesus.
  • His relationship with Jesus helped him to overcome adverse circumstances in both his teen and later years.
  • His ability to draw close to God and forgive had a dramatic impact on the Irish people.
  • His willingness to follow God’s call makes him a hero of the faith.

Let’s learn from this man of God and ask ourselves a few questions. Such as: ‘Am I willing to draw closer to God in turbulent times? Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me?’

If you do, you too could become a hero of the faith just like Patrick!

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WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT

(March 06, 2023) Carol Round encourages us to reflect regarding our future…

It wasn’t like any funeral service I’d ever attended. Instead, it was a celebration of a friend’s life – a life well-lived. I can only imagine when she met Jesus face-to-face. Standing there to greet her, I’m sure Jesus was smiling. Then, those words we all hope to hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’
 
During the celebration of Terri’s life, there were tears and laughter as six of her remaining adult grandchildren shared their memories of the legacy she left behind. Sharing stories of a grandmother who attended their sporting events and other important milestones, they painted a picture of a woman who also made sure her grandkids knew Jesus.
 
At her bedside before she passed, our pastor and family members related stories at the gathering of Terri’s last words – words of hope and peace with a touch of humour. She was a faithful servant and was ready to meet Jesus.
 
Ready to meet Jesus
In Matthew 25:12-21, Jesus once again uses a parable to answer a question from His disciples. The question begins in the previous chapter with Matthew 24:3 where the disciples ask, ‘Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?’
 
Although Jesus uses two parables to answer their question, the story of the bags of money spells out what we want to hear at the end of our lives. Jesus’ purpose was to remind His disciples to focus on their calling and be ready because they didn’t know the hour of His return. It’s also a reminder for us.

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GET YOUR FEET WET (Meditations on Mark – 3)

(March 06, 2023) Richard Winter reflects some more on Mark’s gospel…

If we could ask Jesus just one question, what would you ask?

It may sound funny, odd, but what pops into my mind is a great line from a movie… ‘What’s it all about, Alfie?’ Only that it leads to the question I’d really love to ask my Lord – ‘So, Jesus, what’s it all about?’

And I’m sure the Lord would answer, ‘Richard, it’s all about Acts 1:8.’

1. Go!
‘Acts 1:8, Lord?’

This very  important scripture… ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

This scripture links with Jesus’ Mark 6:7 direction of to His friends, the first disciples! His training program then had been three years of on-the-job training and now He tells His disciples to go into all the world: a case of ‘You’ve learned how, so now go and do it. Go get your feet wet!

And they did! Jesus’ disciples boldly went out, getting their feet wet as it were, and with a new title… apostles!

The Greek word is apostolos – one who is sent into all the world and today we call them missionaries.

But note: In Mark 6:7NASB Jesus had sent His disciples out in pairs – a small team. Now we could think that this was good reasoning because lone rangers are an easy target for the devil… but behind this was the biblical understanding of…

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DARK SHADOWS – GOD’S SHADOW OF LIGHT

(February 28, 2023) Brian Bell shares a timely meditation…

Standing Somewhere in the Shadows (that 1943 once very popular number by E J Rollings) came to me afresh recently…

Are your crosses too heavy to carry,
And burdens too heavy to bear;
Are there heartaches and tears and anguish
And there’s no one who seems to care?

Standing somewhere in the shadows you’ll find Jesus,
He’s the friend who always cares and understands.
Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find Him,
And you’ll know Him by the nail prints in His hands.

Overshadowing darkness
Christians are called to carry crosses (Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23) and as we do so, life can be shades of shadows at times! Praise God that our Saviour is there for us!

The reality is that it is not Jesus who is standing in the shadows, it is us – men and women ‘lost’ in the dark shadows of life.

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NEGATIVE TRANSFERENCE

(February 26, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages a troubled carer…

Dr Robert
You mentioned some troubling heavies in your article Troubled-hearts-minds-and-characters. To avoid such things hanging on us. I like your quote from the Complete Jewish Bible: ‘Don’t let yourselves be disturbed’
(John 14:1CJB).

Well, I am disturbed, Robert, and while I hear what you’re saying here, I’m still feeling heavy, downhearted, uneasy and I’m wondering if having to counselling people (even Christians),having to always be listening to their troubles, their problems, could somehow be at the bottom of how I’m feeling. Pastor ‘Jones’.

Hi Pastor ‘Jones’

I could have said much more in that article… but as I have to limit other contributors, I have to cull back my own articles too! Now then, I’m wondering if the following is the cause of what you’re feeling… (if so, it’s a piece of advice, a warning, that I’ve written about before, given to pastors, even to  psychiatrists, physiatrists and counsellors, Christian or not! (Especially carers with the right heart like yourself).

In a nutshell… don’t be tricked into carrying the deadweight of those who trouble you with their heavy problems! Be wise… there’s a subtilty here. The one being helped may not even be aware of it but what can happen – has happened – is that after a while they’re feeling great but you’re feeling uncomfortable.

Transference
Don’t be concerned about technical names here… think of it as ‘transference.’ Now professionals mentioned above know about different kinds of transference… but sometimes even ‘experts’ need to be reminded to back down! Especially when negative transference is the name of the game!

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DANISH EVANGELIST LANGUISHES IN ICE DETENTION

 

(February 25, 2023) Michael Ashcraft reports…

The U.S. judge who denied Torben Søndergaard’s (right) asylum application probably didn’t want to set a precedent for hundreds of Nordic Christians to flee to the United States, claiming religious persecution, the lawyer for Torben speculated in an interview with Dr Michael Brown.

‘Excuse me for speculating, but I think I’m making a very good, educated guess: In the back of that judge’s mind, he doesn’t want to set a precedent that would allow other individuals to apply for asylum,’ said Michelle Sanchez, immigration attorney for Torben.

Lambasted by other Christians!
‘The immigration judge would open up the floodgates and say, ‘Christians who are persecuted in this way in Nordic countries can apply for asylum because I’m finding that Mr. Søndergaard fears persecution should he return,”’ she added.

Danish evangelist Torben Søndergaard started a cutting-edge international movement of evangelizing in the streets, casting out demons and baptising people. His movement, dubbed The Last Reformation (TLR), has generated myriad supporters who gush about his ministry. Other Christians, rankled or disgruntled, lambasted his methods and even went so far as to call Torben a con man.

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FEBRUARY UPDATE & ROUNDUP

(February 25, 2023) Elizabeth Kendal, RLPB, requests that, remembering Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV, we urgently pray alertly for the following –   

* NIGERIA’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Today, Saturday, 25 February, is Nigeria’s presidential election being held amidst soaring ethno-religious tensions, gross insecurity and the threat of widespread election-related violence. Nigeria has a population of 220 million, around half of whom identify as Christian. Those most at risk are minority Christians in the Muslim North and all ethnic Igbo living outside the South East. [The Igbo are Nigeria’s most Christian (98 percent), most industrious and most widely dispersed tribe.] The Nigerian Church is one of the world’s leading missionary-sending churches.

* AZERBAIJAN: ARMENIANS FACE ETHNIC CLEANSING

Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) – an ethnic-Armenian Christian enclave in Turkic Muslim Azerbaijan – has been in a state of siege since December 12 when Azerbaijani agents blockaded the Lachin Corridor (the road that links Artsakh to Armenia). On 15 February the Armenian Weekly warned: ‘It is beyond any doubt that the actions’ of these Azerbaijani agents ‘serve as a consistent tool for Azerbaijan’s hybrid warfare tactics and systematic policy of ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Artsakh. … Cut off from the outside world, the 120,000-strong population of Artsakh is inching closer to an inevitable humanitarian catastrophe every single day. There are extreme shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities. There is a lack of proper heating in harsh winter conditions.

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DECEITFUL WORDS, NURTURING WORDS

(February 23, 2023) Mama Lava shares draws our attention to…

Hi again! How are you all?

Last month I shared on the importance of everyone exercising kindness.

I highlighted what we all know so well – that the world needs Jesus! And that Paul wrote strongly about God’s kindness leading to salvation that comes through accepting Jesus as our Saviour:  ‘… do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?’(Romans 2:4).

Kindness is defined by Merriam-Webster.com as the quality or state of being kind, treating people with kindness and respect.

In focussing on the need for kindness to be activated by Christians to the world, I draw our attention to linking words, one which hinders while the other enhances… deceit and nurture.

Deceitfulness
Lies, dishonesty, falsehood, fibs, misinformation
… there are many ways to label an untruth. Did you know there is a marked difference between deceptive words and deceitful words? They are similar, but the difference is in the intent. Deceptive words are likely misleading, but deceitful words are deliberately so (wikidiff.com). This is what Merriam-Webster.com has to say:

  • Deceitful (adj): marked by, based on, or done by dishonest methods to acquire something of value…
  • Words related to deceitful: fraudulent, misleading, shady, sneaky, sly, tricky…
  • Nearest opposite words of deceitful: candid, open, trustworthy, legitimate, valid

My deceitful words are motivated by a desire to gain something of value. What might fall into this category? How about…

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TROUBLED HEARTS, MINDS AND CHARACTERS

(February 22, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages those with troubled hearts …

The following is in response to some recent questions, and requests for help and prayer, from some troubled Christians, and other conversations from yesteryear, where I’ve endeavoured to put some minds at rest.

There are times when something comes up, something is said or done that hurts so much that it stings our very hearts. Maybe something completely out of line, something nasty, accusative (maybe through misunderstanding), or even something simple, that burrows hurtfully deep in our thinking.

Do note something here: If we talk about our ‘upset heart’ we’re meaning that our emotions are upset! However, when the Bible talks about the heart, it is referring to our characterand many times it’s our character that’s been hurt, even slandered!

Jesus was cool
The first time Jesus mentioned the heart was on the sermon on the mount: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ (Matthew 5:8a). And what would be the outcome? ‘They shall see God’ (v8b)! And how do we see God? In the character of Jesus of course… John 14:8-11! How pure, how wise, how loving and forgiving He was – and is.

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JESUS – LORD HIGH ABOVE ALL ELSE!

(February 20, 2023) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a timely challenge …

Happened to watch a recent Abbots Cross Congregational Church service (our ‘old’ church back in Northern Ireland) and heard an outstanding sermon by Reverend Philip Campbell. What a message! So well…

  • Structured perfectly,
  • Strongly principled,  
  • Sensitively preached.

Under an obvious Holy Spirit anointing, Philip clearly spoke convincingly from his heart on Philippians 3.

There was a sense of destiny as Philip – known for his easy-to-listen-to-and-absorb style reminded his audience of God’s incredible goodness, the Christian’s need to take opportunities to share one’s faith and the gospel of Jesus and, forgetting past hindrances, move on this year under God’s directions into His plans for His spiritual children and church.

It triggered off the heart of this particular article!

Jesus highest
Philip Campbell knows the cost of the challenge of moving on as God declares!

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