Encouragement

MEMORIES…

(October 17, 2021) Maureen McQuillan recalls some fond life memories…

‘Oh no. Not that “Memories are made of this: The sweet, sweet memories you’ve given me” song again! Not Perry Como again, Bonnie!

How many times, so long ago, Robert or I would jokingly exclaim this to our precious granddaughter, Bonnie-Jane when she was so little. And not only when she was so very young and tiny, but for many years to come. Of course we really liked Perry Como and his excellent music and delightful, clean-cut TV shows, especially the Christmas ones where he’d go to different parts of the world.

But let me share what would happen regarding our collection of CDs…

At some point little Bonnie had really taken to Perry Como and worked out how to get into our CDs drawer, and locate our Perry Como disc – and had cleverly worked put it on the player and would listen to it as she played with her toys. Every time she visited us, especially when she stayed over, all we would hear was Perry Como! And this would go on for some years! To our delight of course! And she would giggle when we exclaimed, ‘Not Perry Como again, Bonnie!’

Yes, Bonnie-Jane has given us many, many sweet, sweet memories, in various ways (as did Wendy her mother and now her own daughter, Avaleigh Grace, our cute little great-grandaughter).

Location memories
Sweet, sweet memories are precious, such as those of places one has been and enjoyed. And memories not only of places but of people and incidents. No doubt you can recall many yourself.

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TRUSTING GOD, SURVIVING CANCER AND COVID

Mark Ellis shares a heart-warming testimony…

In 2020 Geane Prado, 51, was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. She started chemotherapy and had a bone marrow transplant. But when she went for her second round of chemotherapy, doctors discovered Geane had covid-19, according to a report by Aleteia.

Admitted to the hospital, her condition deteriorated rapidly. After the second diagnosis, she fully surrendered her life to God.

Strong faith
God gave her a strong faith, but prior to being intubated, she wrote goodbye letters to her family. She sent them all to a friend and asked her to deliver the messages if she died.

In one of the letters, Geane (right today) gave the following exhortation to her children:

  • Under no circumstances separate from each other. Be united, live for each other. Take care of your spiritual life, educate your children in the fear of the Lord, be strong, and continue to be beautiful, loving children of good character. There are no words to describe how proud I am of you. Never abandon your father, take care of him with love.

Geane’s condition got worse!

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NO CONDEMNATION!

(September 17, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on two vital scripture realities…

We had a call from ‘Joe’ concerned about giving advice to a troubled friend. But as we chatted, we realised he was actually feeling condemned, guiltily thinking ‘What if I’m wrong? Who am I to think I can help anyone? I’ve made so many mistakes myself. I try to be good, to give good advice but what if…?’ And so on!

It was obvious to us that ‘Joe’ has such a good heart and genuinely wants to help others but, like a lot of other Christians, hasn’t really got it about who they are in Christ and what God’s word says about them!

And that our great lying enemy, Satan, is always ‘prowling around’ looking for ways to deceive us from living in freedom and being effective for Jesus (1 Peter 5:8).

As Satan’s trickery makes Christians feel unworthy, guilty and especially condemned, let’s share some truths about condemnation… 

1.   Condemnation’s evilness 
As a dictionary will confirm, condemnation is, at its simplest, accusation. And by extension, causes one to feel guilty, doomed, and unfit for use. It’s a word that doesn’t offer much hope for the future.

This is an evil thing that can eat into your very soul, robbing you of your present happiness and future potential and very purpose in life… if you foolishly let it!

Condemnatory thoughts become self-condemnatory ones, establishing a guilt complex that makes you feel you cannot please God or anyone else. This can go as far as making you feel unworthy, that God doesn’t love you and that you’re unforgiven. 

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GODLY ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!

(September 4, 2021) Maureen McQuillan reflects…

It was Francis Bacon, who served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England, who said, ‘Knowledge is power.’

Never underestimate the power of experience. Most importantly, never underestimate that key word in trusting God and living the Christ-life – attitude! Not only is attitude a key word in our Christianity, but it’s also a major one. And why you ask? Well, let me explain by linking attitude with experience, the knowledge of what we’ve learned.

Experiences
Admittedly certain experiences aren’t pleasant… yet we still learn from them. In fact many times experiences are incidents that have taught us something from which we learn and gain life values. Such as the ‘hard lesson-teaching experience’ I had some years ago when…

Oh, let me quickly give you the background, We had just moved into a new home and I decided to save us some expenses by doing some painting. As quite a few of you know, as well as ministering, I’m also a designer/decorator and I had decided to save finance by painting the inside doors myself – all 22 of them! So, Robert’s study first and, paint and brush in hand, up the ladder I go and begin painting. But, twenty or so minutes later… Crash!

Foolishly I had walked backwards off the wrong side of the ladder!

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UNSEVERED ROOTS AND GOOD SPRING GROWTH

(September 1, 2021) Robert McQuillan ponders…

It’s Wednesday September 1, Australia’s first day of spring – and what a beautiful warm day it is, with happy walkers and chirping birds flying around, some even landing to bathe in our backyard fountain!

Actually, all round it’s been a pretty good winter here but now we can look forward to really warmer days and a good season of gardening time ahead!

Gardening! Umm… I must confess that I’m not a gardener!  Now we do have a beautiful garden but it’s the result of Maureen’s handiwork! I delight to see the flourishing new plants she has planted and the healthy growing trees that she has been well trimmed. And many more of Maureen’s gardening creations around our attractive property.

Gardener’s misinterpreted comments
Yesterday we watched that 1979 satire classic, Being There with Peter Sellers brilliantly playing Chance, a simpleminded, uneducated gardener.  After being accidentally hit by the car of Ben Rand, an advisor and confidant of the American president, he’s taken to Rand’s luxurious home to be cared for.

There he’s mistakenly called Chauncey Gardiner and assumed, from his oldish but expensive attire, that he’s an upper-class, highly educated businessman. In actual fact, his old employer/benefactor had just died and Chance, always allowed to wear some of the old man’s clothes, has walked out into a world he’d never, ever been in before.

Repeatedly, Chance’s simple words are misinterpreted, especially in a first meeting with the president who regards Chance’s words as being profound, especially his simplistic utterances about gardens and the weather. He and his confidant Rand, soon to die himself, interpret these as allegorical statements of the state of their country’s economy and business in general.

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EARRINGS, NOSE-RINGS, ‘YOU’RE A JEZEBEL’ AND UNIQUE GOD-ORDAINED FEMALE CARING

(August 26, 2021) Maureen McQuillan reflects…

Sounds quite a mouthful of a title! But allow me to lead up to something I consider very important…

Firstly…
What a joy pre-lockdown when our darling granddaughter, Bonnie-Jane Hoseini would pop round with our precious little great-granddaughter, Avaleigh Grace.

It was great to catch up and see how quickly she is growing and developing.

Now five months old, Avaleigh is at the grabbing stage… spoons, whatever. Last time I saw her, as I held her in my arms, after a high-five (yes, a high-five!) she reached out and grabbed my left hoop earring.

Mesmerised with the bright gold colour, she was endeavouring to get it off!

Jezebel shock
Yes, it was fun. But it reminded me of a confronting incident that happened many, many years ago that wasn’t funny.

Let me share something personal here…

We happened to find a recent YouTube Sunday service of the church back home in Northern Ireland that I attended for years when I was young.

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MORE DOORS THAN KEYS

(August 11, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan remember and honour…

Mid last month, Dr James McConnell (84) – fondly known to his church, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Whitewell, Northern Ireland, friends and others as ‘the Bishop’ – passed on to glory (See Tribute to the Late Dr James McConnell and Whitewell Thanksgiving Service Dr James McConnell).

On-fire for Jesus
James McConnell was an outstanding man of God! Saved at a very young age and powerfully filled with the Spirit, he was so in love with his Saviour that he wanted everyone to discover what he had found. He was God’s instrument in thousands around the world finding Christ, not just his beloved Northern Ireland.

James McConnell powerfully preaching the gospel at Metropolitan Tabernacle

One of the great keys in his ministry was that he was always obedient to the Lord, even when it seemed a crazy thing to do.

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YOU TOO CAN OVERCOME LIFE’S STORMS!

(August 10, 2021) Mama Lava shares good advice…

Have you ever flown above a storm?

I will never forget one time I did. It was sublime. I sat in the aeroplane, looking out the window at blue sky and sunshine.

Above the storm
But beneath me were dark grey clouds illumined with periodic flashes of lightening, the forks of which may have reached all the way to the ocean surface far below.

Several years later, I went out for a run. I was blowing off steam from a particularly stressful series of events. I was praying for a way to overcome the storm of life I was in and God reminded me of that aeroplane ride.

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JESUS – THE VOICE OF HOPE

(August 5, 2021) Brian Bell shares thoughts of great hope…

I am sure like me, you have often read the well-known scripture which includes Jairus’s meeting with Jesus (Luke 8:40-50).

Luke tells us that Jairus falls at the feet of Jesus and asks him to come home with him because his only child, a 12-year-old daughter is dying. And that as Jesus went – walked –with Jairus he was surrounded by the crowds.

As the father of a daughter and three granddaughters, I believe I can understand how Jairus must have felt on that historic walk when he shared his concern about his daughter’s ill-health and his natural desire to do all he could for her well-being. 

I can believe he was encouraged not only by the willing and no doubt compassionate response of Jesus but also how his heart must have been encouraged on the journey as he witnessed the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment being healed. What a privilege it would have been to see Jesus in that situation.

Voice of despair
But… a voice of despair often comes after we have been greatly encouraged; perhaps when we have seen the Lord answer our prayer. It comes to challenge and shake our faith in Jesus and his word.

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MOVING ON FROM A BAD RELATIONSHIP

(July 28, 2021) Bonnie-Jane shares an encouraging word from her heart…

That 10 Year Challenge Photo/Image Meme phase was popular a while back, and had people reflecting on their past.

As I reminiscence myself, I feel to share some things from my heart and trust they will help someone else who has gone through similar hurtful and damaging experiences in the past as I did. So here goes…

Suffering from a broken heart
Just over some 10 years ago I met someone who at first seemed to be interested in me and a relationship began. But as the months went by he proved to be most insincere and the relationship became an abusive one.

It was a hard and grim time for me. Always considered a gentle-spirited person, easy-going, thoughtful and kind, able to deal with situations, my heart was being broken and even my very personality was changing.

I praise God for his strength to make a most important decision… with his help I decided that enough was enough and broke that relationship!

From depression to renewed confidence
That decision was so important… but now I was feeling that I would never find anyone who genuinely cared and whom I could trust.

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