Encouragement

‘THERE’S A HOLE IN THE BRAIN!’

(June 19, 2022) Zeke Young, studying at the Lighthouse Christian Academy near Inglewood, CA, shares a good news testimony of God’s love and healing power…

Stan Lander stared blankly at his wife Aleta when she asked a question. It was the second time some sort of brain fog prevented him from articulating, even thinking. The doctor’s scan revealed an inoperable, probably cancerous mass in the middle of his brain.

‘It was a death sentence,’ the Edmonds, Washington, man remembered on a CBN video. The second scan only confirmed their worst fears. ‘Is this my life?’ Stan (pictured right) asked in disbelief.

Grim news indeed
The doctor’s prognosis was grim: the rare CNS Lymphoma spelled three to six months to live. ‘Even in the midst of that dire prognosis, we knew that God was still for us and had a plan for our life,’ Stan says.

Stan and Aleta are Christian believers. So, in time of trial, they gathered their courage and prayed. Their church joined them in prayer.

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WINTER’S HERE… DEPRESSION SINKHOLES AHEAD?

(June 11, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares some wintery thoughts…

Recently we were warned by various weather newscasters that summer was over and the days ahead would be colder. They certainly are! Brrrr!

Robert keeps asking me each new morning, ‘Where would you like to go today, Darling? Short drive around the countryside, have a meal or even a cuppa somewhere?’

I normally reply, ‘But the sun’s not shining, it’s cloudy and dull.’ To which Robert says, ‘We’ll be in the car, nice and warm’ and I – not depressed, mind you – respond, ‘It may look okay outside but it’s overcast. It may not be snowing but just open the front door and you’ll feel the cold. Let’s wait until a better day, we’ll enjoy it more. Here at home we can enjoy a nice meal or coffee… by the fire.’

Winter woes
Now I deliberately mentioned above that I’m not depressed by cold weather, nor any dark thoughts about winter time. But cold days could have some people longing for springtime, dreaming of warmer locations… and depressed.

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PENTECOST’S FIVE ‘C’S

(June 3, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge to both Christian leaders… and so-called ‘ordinary’ Christians.

Shavuot or Pentecost, the Hebrew celebration of the Festival of the Weeks, is here. As mentioned in Christian Pentecost-the Feast That Never Ended  it was initially a special time of remembrance and celebration for Israel.

We Christians celebrate (or should) our Pentecost this Sunday! Our celebration is the good news that God’s love continued beyond that extraordinary Passover event we call Easter.

Our thoughtful God had a further free gift to giveto all who believe in His Son Jesus – the outpouring of His Holy Spirit! That powerful Acts 2 infilling of God’s Spirit as promised by Jesus meant (and still means)…

  • Enablement praising God in that special prayer language called tongues.
  • Empowerment – serving Jesus in powerful ways and touch the world.
  • Enthusiasm – caring for/generously sharing with fellow Christians, ministries and missionaries needs (See Pentecost Sunday-Shavuot).
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SCAMS, UNTRUTHS, REVERSALS – OR THE REAL MCCOY!

(May 25, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge to both Christian leaders and… so-termed ‘ordinary’ Christians.

Are you like us, getting mobile calls from strange numbers? Interstate and overseas numbers that you don’t recognise but just know immediately that here’s yet another false alarm, a scam call.

Of course sometimes strange numbers can be genuine… hospitals and medical clinics for some time have had receptionists and nursing staff phone from mobiles, not the usual phone service, due to personnel shortage and other reasons.

If one is expecting a call from such centres and a ‘strange number’ rings, one has to take a chance and answer. We can always cut off if we had to.

But on the whole, we must be careful as we learn of people being conned through phone scams. News services every now and then warn for the  ‘latest scam call.’ One must be sure that ‘strange calls’ are the real McCoy, not scams!

‘The Real McCoy’
Ever wonder how ‘Now that’s the real McCoy’ came about? A very old catchphrase declaring that something is true, genuine, for real.

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LIVING LIFE ON PURPOSE

(May 05, 2022) Carol Round challenges us to live a purposeful life…

A recent devotional I received from Dr David Jeremiah via email was titled Cross Purposes. He cited an October 2021 editorial in The Economic Times titled ‘Life Has No Purpose.’
 
Quoting the writer, Dr Jeremiah shared the following: ‘The most significant thing to remember is that life is not a business. It does not exist for any particular end. It exists for the sheer joy of existing. There is no goal as such.’ 
 
Dr Jeremiah added, The writer blasted the concept of purposefulness, saying life is supposed to be nothing but sheer joy, playfulness, fun. It’s not to fulfill some purpose, just to be fulfilling within itself.’

They’re not completely selfish, but they have no intention of surrendering their life to God’s purpose. As Dr Jeremiah adds, ‘That’s a fair description of how much of the world lives.’
 
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’

1 Peter 2:9 better describes our purpose for being here… ‘But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself – you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.’
 
Why are you even here?
If you’ve ever wondered, ‘Why am I even here?’ or ‘What is my purpose in life?’ you’re not alone.

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STUPIDIEST QUESTION EVER ASKED!

(April 07, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares that Jesus truly cares…

When good friend Hope Flinchbaugh (Nehemiah-God’s Call to Build the Wall 2) enquired last month how Robert was going after several sleep-interrupted nights, he shared that he was now sleeping right through each night.

Hope then sent this note: ‘It sounds like you’ve learned to sleep in the boat when the big storm is on you!’ Robert had replied along the lines of ‘Not as restful as Jesus was… but I fully trust in Him.’

With various storms of life round us at this time, one needs to be at rest by knowing and trusting our Lord. Meditating on being at rest by trusting Jesus had me reflecting on Mark 4… Jesus asleep in a boat when a huge storm hit.

Jesus needed rest Himself
Verse 35 tells us that one evening Jesus had requested His disciples to take Him across the lake by boat.

He’d already had a very busy day teaching kingdom truths to crowds lined up along the shore. Now He was not only tired (Yes, ministry can tire us!), but maybe His mind was on the next day’s even busier one of supernatural ministry… finding and freeing that poor Gerasene man bound by many evil spirits, travelling dust roads, raising a little girl from the dead, and encountering that desperately troubled woman who would dare to boldly touch the hem of His robe believing to be healed, not to mention more criticisms (Mark 5).

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THAT DARK FRIDAY’S HOURS

(April 01, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan solemnly share Easter thoughts…

The night is always darkest before the dawn!’ is an old but for many today still a very realistic adage.

It’s Easter’s Good Friday next week – but a dark Friday indeed when one fully realises what Jesus Christ must have gone through!

Good Friday? Bad Friday, evil Friday, fearful Friday!

Thinking aboutthat daycaused Robert to recall staying overnight at a colleague’s home many Easters ago. Not immediately sleepy, he browsed the bedroom’s shelves and found the most unusual book… an old, handwritten volume of on-the-scene experiences of a young WW1 British soldier.

An amazing diary really, filled with drawings of horrific battle scenes. One incident caught Robert’s attention… aware of what his friends and he would face as one particular new day broke on them, the writer had painfully detailed fears, confusions, and concerns.

Dark hours
Certain death faced this little group of outnumbered comrades when superior forces would attack them! Graphically he described that dark lonely night filled with alarm, horror, fear, and tension as they waited in the terrifying blackness during those long trying, uncertain hours.

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ST PATRICK – RADICAL DISCIPLE AND MISSIONARY

(March 17, 2022), Alan Higgins brings a timely challenge…

It’s St Patrick’s Day today and I recall what our patron saint did with discipleship and mission.

The main scriptures – familiar to many – that I have chosen 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.

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MR BEAN – AND GOD’S MYSTERIOUS WAYS

Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind us that we don’t know everything … but that God does! 

Experienced those moments when we want to ask God, ‘Why?’ or ‘What’s going on?’ or ‘How come You answered my prayer as You did, not how I had prayed and expected?’ 

Did you get an answer to certain prayers? Or did you conclude that it’s better to appreciate and enjoy the benefits than to query God about His ways? 

We forget that God is God! 
The reality is that often we get so caught up with asking (in faith and trust which is good and necessary, of course!) and expecting God to bring about the answer exactly how we asked. And we forget that He is God who sees everything outside the box and knows what the best course of action should be! 

Yes… He is God – almighty God! God full stop! As such He doesn’t have to explain anything – we’re merely His creation. 

But, hallelujah … He’s also the heavenly Father who loves us so much that He does sometimes kindly  explain things – as in (Genesis 18:17NLT, ‘”Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked’). 

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NEGATIVITY… TIME FOR A CHANGE IN THINKING!

(March 11, 2022) Maureen McQuillan challenges:

Negativity… it can be so rampant among many people but we Christians don’t need to be negative!

The reality is that if we talk negatively we’re dishonouring God… and also causing others to be wrongly influenced.

We mustn’t dishonour the Lord!
The reality is that if we talk negatively we’re dishonouring God… and also causing others to be wrongly influenced.

Off all people, Christians should know scripture and be living a life of trusting God. We’re meant to be living above and beyond all negativities!

Oh I know, life has its negatives and reversals but, with the Holy Spirit’s supernatural help and by trusting God’s word – even as our greatest example, Jesus, did – we too can overcome such blues and be a good influence on others.

Afterall, it’s not good for any Christian to be acting, talking or even thinking negatively. Doing so must hurt and disappoint our loving heavenly Father God who expects us to fully trust him (as Robert wrote about last month: Trusting God in Everything)!

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