Encouragement

FREE WILL

(July 25, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan discourage blaming God and others…

Free will… there’s a catchphrase that often come up conversations with Christians over concern about the evil in our world and wars, bad judgments, murders, family distresses, terrorism, Holocaust type atrocities, drug taking, alcoholism, the quickness to sin, Christians including ministers falling from grace, the current covid-19 crisis… and other sad happenings.

Regarding bad choices, so often, when trying to offer explanations, hope and comfort, Christians usually say, ‘Well it all gets back to God allowing us to have free will… in our humanity we either choose to do or say the right thing or not.’

Now that’s true… but at times it comes across that we’re blaming an unthoughtful creator! The reality is that when God created humanbeings in his own image back in Eden, Adam and Eve could have made the right choice, and sin would not have become a dangerous reality and the world would not be in the mess it’s in!

Hold it…
Even as we mustn’t even consider accusing God, let’s not dump blame at Adam and Eve’s feet either!

Their big slip-up is in the past, decades ago… we’re in the present and need to readily accept our responsibilities to make the right choices today!

And… such responsibility of making right choices needs to be reinforced not only to the world in general but in the church.

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ONE VITAL SOMETHING REMINDED ME OF MY VALUE AND STOPPED MY TAILSPIN!

(July 24, 2021) Mama Lava shares an important realisation…

My eyebrows threatened to send me into a tailspin a few minutes ago!

I thought I’d write about it… just in case anyone else is in a tailspin and needs to be reminded of their value.

Tailspin horrors
So here’s what happened… I had just returned from a quick lunch date with my husband, Michael; nothing fancy, just a quick burrito at the place around the corner. I glanced into the mirror and noticed that my eyebrows really needed reshaping.

Suddenly, I heard the voice of one of my friends echo in my head about how vitally important it is for a wife to look ‘put together’ for her husband. I saw her beautifully kempt face in my mind’s eye, and I felt so inferior. ‘My poor husband must not feel as honoured by me as my friend’s husband does by her.’

Also in the mirror, I could see the shower door. It had water spots on it. The voice of another friend quipped up about how vital, and easy, it is to keep a clean house.

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GOD DOESN’T HAVE A ‘TOO HARD WORK BASKET’

(June 17, 2021) Maureen McQuillan brings an encouraging reminder…

What joy we had yesterday afternoon when our darling granddaughter Bonnie-Jane called round with our latest family addition, little great-granddaugther Avaleigh Grace, soon to be three months old. Nice to see our son-in-law, now Grandda Steve, with them but, needless to say, the centre of attention was Avaleigh!

How she’s grown in only a few weeks… and those beautiful big dark-brown eyes taking everything in, as well as grabbing our attention with her warm grins. To our delight, it’s so obvious she’s a very intelligent child.

We joked with Bonnie-Jane… ‘She’ll soon be just like you were, crawling all over the place, into everything, opening cupboard doors and enquiring about this and that, question after question.’

Bonnie-Jane laughed as she too recalled early times. It really was a wonderful time together, especially as we’d been in lockdown for a couple of weeks and hadn’t got out.

After they left l remembered fun days with Bonnie, joyfully recalling many delightful happy memories that Robert and I have. We’ve always had an incredibly close relationship with Bonnie; throughout her childhood she would often spend much time with us and, she recently admitted, still loves to come ‘round the corner’ to us (that’s how far away she, husband Matthew and Avaleigh live).

‘Grandma, God must be pooped!’ memory
Like her keen-eyed little daughter, even when Bonnie-Jane was very young she too would always be quietly observing things. Even while enjoying a Maccas, she wouldn’t rush eating her food like some other kids but sit with us properly digesting her chosen burger, quietly observing both adults and children around her.

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5 REASONS WHY I’M ASTOUNDED BY MY GOOD SHEPHERD

(June 16, 2021) Mama Lava shares some recent scriptural observations…

Sometimes we skip by the most incredible things in the Bible and are not stopped in our tracks by them, simply because we don’t have the experience by which to fully understand them.

I am not around animals much… but while observing flocks grazing near my neighbourhood recently, I suddenly saw scripture come alive in respect to my Saviour. Result: The following five reasons why I am astounded and amazed at Jesus, my good shepherd…

1. He knows his sheep by name
‘The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out’ (John 10:3).

What? How on earth? I was downright impressed when I observed those flocks, thinking of this verse today in amazement. There were so many animals! How could I ever know them by name?

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GOD WILL DIRECT YOUR STEPS

(June 14, 2021) Carol Round shares some good advice…

Proverbs 16:9 (AMP) gives wise advice… ‘A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.’

Since my 30-year teaching career ended in 2005, I’ve discovered this truth: We can make plans, but God directs our steps. I love telling others, who are retired or nearing retirement, ‘You won’t find those words in the Bible. Retirement is a manmade concept.’

My post-career plans included expanding my professional photography business and writing news stories for area publications. The first one was not part of God’s plans for my life. At the time, I lived in a small lake community. Who wouldn’t want to spend their autumn and winter years near the lake?

But God had a better plan for me. Nine months after he planted the seed, I obeyed, and he directed my steps to a community with a larger population.

When we let God direct our steps, you never know where it will lead. Look at the disciples. I’m sure their plans didn’t include dropping their fishing nets or leaving other jobs behind to follow Jesus.

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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.

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ONLY GOD CAN DO THINGS LIKE THIS

(May 12, 2021) Mark Ellis shares how two students a from Chinese orphanage meet 15 years later in U.S. on a random bus ride…

Only God can do things like this! A few weeks ago, sophomore Ally Cole and freshman Ruby Wierzbicki stepped on a campus bus at Liberty University.

Ally saw a seat that happened to be open near Ruby, sat down, and the two started talking, according to a report by CBN.

During their conversation, the students discovered that they were both from China and both from the same city, Jinan.

God-ordained reunion
Even more remarkable, the two young women were shocked to find out they were both adopted from the same orphanage in China within one week of each other!

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THE ‘OTHERS CAN BUT YOU CAN’T’ CHALLENGE!

(May 6, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect…

Sunday May 23 this year is regarded by many churches as Pentecost Sunday, especially Holy Spirit-filled ones, celebrating the outpouring of God’s Spirit on those humble first disciples.

Since that Acts 2 experience the church has grown – about 2.6 billion adherents globally in early 2020. Testimonies, Christian books, even secular encyclopedic history, record demonstrations of Holy Spirit assistance, miracles, emboldened men and women anointed by him to move in the Spirit and speak forth genuine prophecy, words of knowledge and wisdom, cast out demons… and more!

Praise God for churches that have been open to the Holy Spirit… and for individuals who have been bold in allowing the Spirt to use them to brighten darkened lives. But… sadly, many churches, many bold Christians have not been regarded or respected for their service (See Erica Grace’s heart-touching April article True Fruit – From Unsung Heroes).

The reality is that it isn’t always been easy to be bold for Jesus and allow the Spirit to take one down a different road to others… yet remaining humble and down-to-earth!  Indeed, for all of us, there is the constant challenge to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us under control so that we don’t get bigheaded and move beyond our station – unless of course it’s God directed, and he gets the glory in all that’s achieved for the kingdom.

The challenge
Such recollecting reminds us that some 40 years we came across the following challenge by the late Bill Britton, entitled Others May, You Cannot)… still fresh, challenging, and meaningful, especially if you’re sold out to the ministry call of Christ on your life.

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APRIL REFLECTIONS

(April 17, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

This is a month of reflections and memories.

1. April Fools’ Day
This is what April 1st has been known as for several centuries in different cultures. Traditions include playing hoaxes or practical jokes on others, and then pronouncing ‘April Fool!’ at their end.

For example, managers would send clueless staff out on impossible ‘gofer’ tasks such as ‘Get me a lefthanded screwdriver’ or ‘Paintbrush that paints round corners.’ In 1998, after Burger King advertised a Left-Handed Whopper resulting in scores of clueless customers requesting this fake.

In 1976, BBC pulled off another of its many AFD pranks. Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told listeners that at 9:47 am that day, the temporary alignment of Pluto and Jupiter would cause a reduction in Earth’s gravity, allowing people to briefly levitate. At 9:48, hundreds of enthralled callers flooded the lines with reports that they had floated in the air!

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ANTI ‘CANCEL CULTURE’ CHRISTIANITY

(April 13, 2021) When folks become subscribers to this free monthly Onliner,we receive a brief intro, such as a young Asian describing himself as… ‘A Normal Person: 100% Honest and Trustful Person.’

In other words… who and what he is.

The fruit of the Spirit
Not that this young man’s a prophet, but Jesus warned his followers against untruthful, dishonest Christianity: ‘You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act’ (Matthew 7:15-16NLT).

Christianity needs to be kept simple! Jesus liked to keep things simple and here he makes recognition simple… ‘the way they act’ identifies all true Christians, let alone prophets. He went on to teach that a good tree produces good fruit whereas a bad tree, bad fruit, rapping it with ‘Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them’ (vv17-18). How simple!

F B Meyer has written ‘The worth of the gospel has been attested all down the ages by the characters which it has produced… There are many new systems of theology, many nostrums are being loudly advertised, but the one test of them all is in the fruit they bear.

Nothing superspiritual here… ‘fruit’ is fruit, something easily recognised and desirable. For followers of Jesus, this is reaching out with our Christian characteristics to help whoever we can in some way. People see us in action, observe us! We’re the fifth gospel – The Gospel According to You. May they see the characteristics of honesty, trustworthiness, generosity, helpfulness and more.

Paul describes nine of these in Galatians 5:22-23, calling them the fruit of the Spirit

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