Encouragement

WHAT’S GOING ON, LORD – THOSE ‘SO…’ INCIDENTS

(May 14, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on one of those unexpected ‘what’s going on’ times…

So… a fortnight ago we had such great interest in something we shared briefly on Facebook. As it links with articles we’ve posted recently about being bold and flowing with the Holy Spirit, we’re running it here too… but with some additional comments.

Really it begins as ‘a Robert incident’… as you’ll immediately realise (He may begin tongue-in-cheek as it were but do note that it’s an encouragement to rise above our circumstances, die to self, and bless others as we allow the Spirit to use us) –

So… For me that Wednesday was a case of ‘So…’ hospital incidents – ‘So…’ followed by other ‘so-es!’ How often people loosely use that little word ‘So…’ as they begin a tale! Actually it’s a word that has several applications – one, when used loosely as a sentence-initial to the words following, uniquely makes the connection more conceptual than grammatical.

‘So…’ conceive (imagine, vision) the following scenarios…

  • So… after much fiddling around, several phone calls, cancelations/reschedulings I finally get confirmation of a booking for a minor operation/biopsy – but I must be chauffeured!
  • So… my bro-in-law, Life4KidsKen Gardiner, kindly escorts me to a hospital some distance away, one I’ve never been to before.
  • So… the receptionist says, ‘So we’re running quite late, Robert. So you’ll be here for some six to eight hours.’ Duh! I think (but with a weak ‘Christian’ smile at the receptionist).
  • So… as Maureen is expecting me home earlier than that time frame, I ask Ken to phone her the latest.
  • So… Ken goes off to phone – and also to the local shopping precinct intending to chattily converse with strangers in his usual ever-so-affable way, finding openings of bringing Jesus into the conversation.
  • So… meantime back at the ranch (the waiting area) I relax with several others. But suddenly, unexpectedly, I begin to feel queasy with troubling chest palpitations and some pressure.

(more…)

THE BLESSING OF THOSE UGLY ἧλος – THOSE GRUESOME HĒLOS!

(April 11, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on Easter…

We were just recalling this morning that we’re now in our eighth month here – our new territory in the beautiful Doreen suburb Melbourne – where our new home is being built overlooking Plenty Gorge!

Eight is a good number… with its spiritual significance of ‘new beginning’ and ‘resurrection’ (Genesis 17:12; Exodus 22:30; Leviticus 14:10-23; Matthew 28:1; John 20:26; 1 Peter3:20).

Easter – an attention-grabbing reminder found
Thinking beyond our new beginnings, the significant word ‘resurrection’ naturally led us to remember that Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, is next week… when Christians and churches will celebrate the historical fact that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead, that  ‘death could not hold him down.’ And what a blessing Jesus is as Saviour and Lord! We can all be so encouraged and move forward, following and serving him! (See George Forbes’ article about remembering the commission of Jesus, the Hope of the World).

But… back a moment while we explain the intriguing title of this article – ἧλος (hēlos) being a blessing.

So much has happened since we made our move to here, led by the Holy Spirit! So many new contacts, so many opportunities to pray with and bless people in the marketplace– especially those who haven’t yet discovered Jesus, share a word of knowledge that blows them away, to encourage… and more.

And among travels around picturesque parts of our local territory, there’s a shopping precinct we delight to visit, not only for groceries but for lunch served by great staff (good friends now too) and a wander through some interesting shopping precincts.

Easter – a reminder of helos
One store, our friend Maria’s Raging Earth, had some items we needed for our new home and as we were purchasing them, we noticed the most unusual cross that stood out among many other ‘general’ types. This particular one so grabbed our attention… reminding us of what Jesus suffered for us before and on Calvary’s hill, the racking pain caused through hanging on that ‘old wooden cross’ as he died for our sins, our shortcomings that offend a Holy God.

Check this pic! (Sorry…it’s not too clear). It’s the wooden cross with the centre display of – not Jesus, he’s risen, hallelujah! – but a cross comprised of… (more…)

VALUE OF A CENT

(March 22, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share personally from the heart on some experiences re honesty…

Value of a cent? Unusual title this month! Carol Round writes passionately about the value of a dear friend this month… a great little article Value. George Forbes writes of the value of focused missions.

‘Value’ is a word indicating worth. Among other meanings is importance and beneficial. Our article relates to benefiting – and more, such as the importance of being honest and thankful, challenging others, blessings others… and delighting God. Here’s the background, beginning with a mere cent …

I (Robert) delight to find Salvo type stores where I can go hunting for old DVDs. A couple of weeks back we went to one about an hour away in a suburb we hadn’t been to before.

By coincidence there was a great carpet store next door and as we passed by Maureen, a top decorator, noticed the most unusual rug in the open doorway entrance and instantly knew it would look magnificent in the foyer of our new home. We had never been to this store before but found the owner very friendly, pleasant and helpful.

 

Tale of a cent
His price for this newly arrived rug was good but as we didn’t need it immediately (our new home won’t be finished for some months yet) we simply said we’d bear it in mind. But back home we decided we should get it and on googling the item found it in another store $50 cheaper. However as we had really liked the gentleman we had first chatted to, we phoned and mentioned this Google ad. A family business storekeeper, he had no hesitation in immediately agreeing to reduce his price and on Monday past we popped back to purchase.

The owner greeted us with news that another rug, same as we wanted and still in its plastic wrapping, had come in and as he had got it at a better foreign exchange rate he was quite happy to sell at the lower price. But as we were about to pay I (Robert) added that I’d omitted to say that the cheaper price I’d found was actually one cent dearer that I’d first told him, and that we wanted to pay in full ie plus a cent. (more…)

‘RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTETH PEOPLE’!

(February 15, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage readers to go the Matthew 5:41 extra mile…

One never knows where a thought, an encounter, an incident, a new link, an observation, a happening, an event, something seen in real life, a movie, on TV or in a movie can lead to further thoughts.

We enjoy good movies, especially great old black and white film noir ones. Watched a detective one recently – 1948’s He Walked by Night – depicting how ‘real’ police-work is so often laboriously painstaking and lengthy before the offender is located let alone caught.

Highlight no 1
One interesting scene showed the entrance to Los Angeles’ city hall where some of the police work begins. This led to ‘other thoughts’ when we saw highlighted above the following great quotation…

Obviously those who chose this inscription knew Proverbs 14:34. Although the ‘old KJV’ reads ‘a nation’ the Hebrew word also infers ‘people’ as its base indicates a ‘massing.’ In any case the second part of this wise declaration and encouragement reads, ‘but sin is a reproach to any people.’

‘Coincidental’(?) highlight no 2!
Drafting this article we had zeroed in on righteousness, exalting, sin, reproach and how Solomon was talking about ‘doing the right thing’ thereby lifting up people up in their own eyes and those of others around them… whereas offensive behaviour – sin – is bad news observable by others.

Imagine our amazement when we received Jim McClure’s this month’s Teaching article Advance Australia… Where? and found he had quoted this same profound scripture! Better and clearer than we could, Dr Jim challengingly expounds these Proverbs 14 issues and the importance of godly righteousness! This is more than a coincidence, it’s timely! Do read it prayerfully.

Here we simply draw attention to the fact that it’s no wonder verse 35 is so punchy… ‘The king’s favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causes shame’ or as the Message reads, ‘Diligent work gets a warm commendation; shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.’

Favour, warm commendation. Words indicating God’s delight and pleasure. Yes we want that, not and ‘angry rebuke’ (missed blessings?), don’t we? (more…)

EXPECTING FANTASTIC ADVENTURES IN 2019

(January 15, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encouragingly share…

Incredibly this is now our fourth month since journeying away from Geelong to Doreen our new territory, discovering much of its surrounds and meeting new folk… as we’ve been sharing on Facebook. Our ‘fantastic adventures’ seem to be intriguing readers who insist they look forward to hearing our latest news/who we’ve met/opportunities we’ve taken to bless strangers and been blessed in turn/ and more.

In all our these ‘adventures’ we’ve simply been allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us each new day… as we exercise our faith and trust our Lord. And things have been happening, including unusual ones! Even the other hot arvo… we blessed a young Turk who then blessed us with a bottle of needed icy cold water (no space to give all details but we now have four new friends!).

We like what Hope Flinchbaugh, our insightful good friend from Pennsylvania, wrote us: ‘It’s like you’re opening a large gift package from heaven with many little extra gift boxes inside! God is blessing your new beginning!’

Right on… and we’re expecting to make more fantastic discoveries. For years we’ve called the Christian life one big Indiana Jones adventure… one never knows what’s round the corner! But it’s God ‘making it up’ not Indy! Never a dull moment it seems as we trust and follow Jesus in faith. And we’re believing it all to continue as we embrace more of 2019.

2019! Almost two weeks gone already!

‘Where does the time go?’ becomes so much more relevant as one grows older. Life is an incredible God-given gift and, as we’ve always encouraged folk, we should all make the best of it every day! Despite media bad news daily naming new troubles in our cities and around the world, we Christians can still enjoy life and make every day count as we…

  • Adventure onward (not looking back to what was or could have been)
  • Make new discoveries (assignments, places and people)
  • Responsibly serve our God (whatever our calling)
  • Continually let the Spirit lead us (new territory, job, church, decisions, relationships…)
  • Have faith in – and trust – Jesus (essential!).

(more…)

CHRISTMAS TIME TRUSTING

(December 14, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring Christmas comfort…

Forget about timewasting debates about when Jesus was actually born, the day, the month… no one knows! The point is that he was born and for many years the church has traditionally been celebrating this historic event of good news from heaven on December 25 and calling it Christmas Day!

With joy we praise our caring heavenly Father for his special  ‘Christmas gift.’ For Christians and the church the carol Tis the season to be merry is very relevant! Thank God for his love and goodness in sending Jesus!

Let’s be as happy as Mary and Joseph, the astounded shepherds and the faithful magi who came along later would have been. Precious people who were trusting God in uncertain times.

This is the month when one sees posters everywhere advertising cherry Christmas carolling either in churches (organised by churches) or in local parks (organised by councils or community-minded organisations)… a time of expected good cheer, family fun and caring friendship. Even several stores are playing pleasant traditional Christian carols relaxing their customers.

Christmas is indeed meant to a joyous time, especially for Christians and the church of Jesus Christ. But, sadly, we’ve been hearing from some folk that it won’t be so for them as some tragedy has hit them or their family hard… such as unexpected lost jobs, passing of loved ones, ministry upsets or abrupt changes, marriage problems, lack of godly pastoral wisdom/counsel, strange health issues, sleepless nights, troubled minds. And other nasties …

Some friends have also expressed concern over Christians being harassed, bullied, even imprisoned in India, North Korea and elsewhere – and about the increased crime rate in our so-called ‘Lucky country.’

Christmastime concerns can steal Christmas joy
Yet while we hear many people wishing one another ‘Merry Christmas!’ – as yet we haven’t heard one add the traditional ‘And a Happy New Year.’ Neither from Christians or non-churchgoers. It’s like the 2018 catchphrase of ‘moving ahead’ has done a back-flip with some people and a vision for 2019 just isn’t there. Yes 2019 will reveal fresh satanic attacks on Christianity and churches but our hope is always in the head of the church, Jesus, the one we praise God for at this Christmas season.

Personally we feel for everyone with heavy hearts at this time, who have lost their joy due to dwelling on negatives, unable to find comforting answers and good advice. These concerns can be so side-tracking and destructive. This week we ourselves had what immediately seemed a disaster drop on us out-of-the-blue that could have thrown us! (more…)

CHRISTMAS – A TIME OF EXPECTANCY

(December 9, 2018) Maureen McQuillan shares a Christamas reflection…

December – this mad month of packed shops – many playing unassociated loud, ear bending music (like certain churches!) – are busily selling Christmas decorations and presents. It’s great to note that some stores are season-minded and resound with timely precious carols such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Christmas – the time to be joyful, give gifts, demonstrate love, and especially for Christians to celebrate with thanks the gift of God of his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Overall Christmas is a time of expectancy, even down to ‘Where to park, what gifts to get’ and later ‘What will be inside my parcel Christmas morn? What Christmas lunch?’

It’ll be fun in our home… we’ll have our precious daughter Wendy who was born on Christmas Day – I was certainly expecting that Christmas quite some time ago! – and family members for lunch, even though our rental is on the small size! (Our new home is being built so our furniture is packed away and we only have a tiny four-place table to work around).

But it’ll be fun though, a time of love shared in jovial companionship, caring for each other and good tasty food – I’ve been busy working on a well-planned spread that will ensure we all enjoy our time together! Our expectation?  A day well shared together.

(more…)

VICTORIOUS SPIRITUAL ASSISTANCE

(November 10, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge…

Dr Jim McClure’s Teaching article this month is timely as tomorrow is Remembrance Day – which remembers that the horrific WW1 came to an end a century ago and the tragedy of the sacrifice of so many lives so young and not so young!

Yes WW1 freedom came at a staggering price… Dr Jim also reminds us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly paid the greatest price of all in dying for every sinner.

In our modern society many may not be engaged in outright war but there is a great enemy that grips many, even Christians – fear! Pastor Jeff Benson in his article encourages us that God can set us free from personal fears and weaknesses.

 

 

 

(more…)

GOD’S BIG CLOCK

(October 20, 2018) Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage making the best of our ‘time’…

The 1948 film noir movie, The Big Clock, is about a tyrannical magazine tycoon (Charles Laughton) who, having just committed murder, is trying to frame an unknown, innocent man for his dastardly deed. Innocent Ray Milland tries to solve the murder himself.

But time is against our hero and every now and then viewers are drawn to the ominous tick tock and vision of ‘the big clock’ – the largest and most sophisticated clock ever built, dominating the lobby of Laughton’s New York media industry building – reminding us that time is fast running out for the innocent Milland.

And there’s a quote in itself about time… ‘The clock is ticking and time is running out.’ One can think of several other well-known quotations about time… Google indicates that it can give us at least 8544!

Scripture has several too… for example Ecclesiastes 3:1GNB, ‘Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.’ (more…)

EVERYONE LOVES – NEEDS – A KIND WORD

(September 7, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage  blessing others…

Proverbs 16:24NLT makes a great statement: ‘Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ ‘Kind words’ – noam emer in the Hebrew speak of suitable, delightful speech. A reality of life is that everyone needs to hear a suitable delight-bringing kind word at some point! Such contacts are blessings, precious connections.

Connecting
In respect to making contacts, in our May and June articles (The Inverted T Principle and Waiting at the Railway Station Called the Church) we emphasised the need to reach out – to connect – with people both inside and outside the church, that…

  • All Christians can do something to assist their pastor build their church!
  • The baptism of the Spirit is just not to enable us freely worship God in an unknown language, but supernatural enablement for kingdom service!
  • The principle of what Jesus said about his followers would be able to do if we ever came up against magistrates because of our faith can be applied to sharing the gospel: ‘Don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart – the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you’ (Mark13:11Mge).

(more…)