Encouragement

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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THE GENERAL’S UNANSWERABLE QUESTION

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(April 01, 2021) Robert McQuillan recalls an Easter reflection…

As many know, Maureen and I often relax by watching old movies and TV series. Anyone remember that avant-garde classic cult British series from the 60s The Prisoner?

The late Patrick McGoohan, its creator, played an unnamed secret service agent who for no apparent reason resigns only to be taken captive to a mysterious coastal locale in Wales known as The Village. Here he is technologically interrogated as to his real motive for resigning – with what was then unheard-of equipment.

Consequently the question his inquisitors repeatedly ask is – Why? meaning ‘for what purpose; with what intention, reason, or motive.’

Unanswerable question
Number 6 as he’s referred to – turns the tables in one episode when his interrogators are using The General, an invincible machine regarding any question asked. He requests to type in a one-word question claiming it cannot be answered.

‘Impossible,’ he’s countered, told that there’s no question The General can’t understand, answer.

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But on his one word being inserted the machine abruptly goes haywire, smoke and sparks flying everywhere.

To the inquisitors’ amazement, it totally disintegrates exploding with a great erupting bang.

What was the question that Number 6 then states as being ‘Insoluble to man and machine’? The one unanswerable word – ‘Why?’

Different ‘General’
Some 40 years ago I knew a certain businessman – whose name I can’t disclose – but call the General. Taking me to lunch at a classy restaurant, he insisted on lavishly treating me.

But this was more than a business luncheon… it was his way of thanking me for having gladly stood alongside him for several hours in a private hospital while surgeons preformed a dangerous operation on his wife.

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THAT DREADED ‘D’ WORD — DEPRESSION

(March 19, 2021) Charles Schwab shares very openly, very personally from his heart and life experience…

The ‘D’ word – Depression – is extremely relevant to Christians today! Depression is real, and the church needs to face that reality appropriately.

‘Mental illness and Christians’ is in the news fairly regularly.  In 2013 Matthew Warren, the youngest son of high-profile mega-church pastors Rick and Kay Warren (Saddleback Community Church, California), took his own life after a long struggle with unrelenting depressive illness.  Reports are that he had received the best medical, counselling and pastoral support available. And there have been others before and after that.

Later, Matthew’s grieving father tweeted caring supporters, ‘Grieving is hard.  Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest.  Your notes sustained us.’

Failing to understand
The church and Christians have often failed to understand depression and how to deal with it.  Consequently, there are some shocking and demeaning views held by people who ideally should be able to show positive care, understanding and help towards the mentally afflicted.  So often, for various reasons, this has not been the case.

Depressive illness has a special meaning for me, not the least reason being that in 1998, at age 53, I had to leave my pastoral role because of it.  I had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as suffering from chronic anxiety and depressive illness that rendered me unemployable. Unemployable in any field!

Some years later I asked him again for his professional view about my situation and the future. His reply was in words I could understand, and I received them kindly in the spirit in which they were given.  They were not offensive, but illustrative of the truth as it is medically understood.  My psychiatrist is exceptionally good at his profession, someone I respect and admire who has helped me a lot.

His words were, ‘You can’t unscramble an egg.’  So, medically speaking, I’m stuck with it. (more…)

GOD HAD OTHER PLANS FOR COVID-19 ‘LOST CAUSE’

(March 12, 2020) Cece Hang’andu from Africa, studying at the Los Angeles-based Lighthouse Christian Academy, brings a good news testimony…

Lisa Martin was induced into a coma to save her life, a risky procedure that she woke up from luckily at the last minute.

Just when doctors asked her family members if they could take her off life support and let the ‘lost cause’ die, Lisa Martin woke up from a 40-day Covid coma.

Hospital acknowledges God’s miracle
‘God had other plans,’ a December 31 hospital statement says. ‘On the 11th day, Lisa broke out of the sedatives and began following Jeff with her eyes and she even moved her hand.’

Now Lisa, a 49-year-old mother of four, is being called a ‘miracle patient.’ In all, she spent 59 days on a ventilator at Memorial Satillo Health in Georgia, including the induced Covid coma. She suffered a frontal lobe stroke during the health ordeal.

When Lisa didn’t come out of the coma (her eyes were fixed), hospital staff approached the family October 20 and asked them to make the hardest decision of their lives: Take Lisa off life support. (more…)

DARK NIGHTS OF THE SOUL

(March 10, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan touch on something not many are open about…

The poem Dark Night of the Soul begins with ‘In an obscure night…’ and the third line mentions ‘a hapless plight.’

Written by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St John of the Cross (although he didn’t actually title it himself), it has been regarded by many as some deep spiritual, painful depression.

Depression, as Geraldine Brandt points out (The-Too-Hard-Basket) indicates, among other things that a person is low in their spirit,pressed down.’

In modern terms… hampered by what we term a downer!

Reality
As we’ve ministered to church people at the altar prayer line sometimes someone – wrongly feeling ashamed and not wanting anyone else to hear – would whisper that he (or she) was suffering from depression, experiencing dark nights of the soul.

And, not just what’s badly termed as ‘ordinary Christians’ but as it happens, we’ve had to encourage a number of leaders to look beyond troubling dark nights of the soul experiences that have (are) hindering them in their ministry.

Geraldine Brandt writes about hampered ministers needing our prayers. And theologian Dr Jim McClure points out that Depression – or any aspect of mental illness – is not something of which we should be ashamed. Nor should it be kept hidden’ (Mental-Illness-Realites).

We would add this – If depression were to hit, it’s definitely not something to be quiet about in case someone accuses us of having lost our faith. If they do, that’s their problem, not ours!

The reality is that anyone – church attender or leader – could become afflicted with depression. (more…)

THE DAY JESUS WAS DISAPPOINTED

(February 19, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan zero in on an attitude problem…

December’s article Time-of-Confusion-and-Uncertainty highlighted how so many are touched on getting a smiling ‘Thank you.’

Often, it’s someone with problems blessed on hearing such expressions of gratitude… their mind being distracted from issues heavy on the heart.

Gratefulness
The reality is that we humans really do expect to hear a thank you when we help someone (we even make a point of teaching our kids to say thank you).

After all, it’s kind, thoughtful and courteous to honour whoever has touched our life in some way, small or nor not so small.

With that thought in mind, have you ever considered how Jesus must have felt when after he touched lives in a big way, he wasn’t immediately thanked? Such as that occasion when he miraculously helped ten lepers and they chuffed off thanklessly (Luke 17:12-19).

But wait… one did come back, expressing gratefulness with thanks and praising God!

This thankful outcast had such a grateful heart that he…

  • Returned ‘…shouting his gratitude, glorifying God (v15Mge).
  • Was so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough’ (v16Mge).
  • Unreservedly ‘…threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him’ (v16NIV).

Gratefulness is a matter of attitude! Being grateful, saying thanks indicates a right attitude, a characteristic Christians are supposed to have – and demonstrate! (more…)

MOVING OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES IN 2021

(February 08, 2021) Maureen McQuillan shares …

Carol Round shares this month how important it is to drop hindering baggage in following the Lord’s leadings and moving ahead (See Recover-Your-Life-With-Jesus-Help).

Spot on, Carol!

Yielding to God
I believe that in this new year of 2021, God is wanting to move many of us out of our comfort zones – and I would encourage us not to hesitate.

Let’s be bold and allow the Lord to stretch us further and not be afraid of taking hold of opportunites ahead (whatever they may be!). You’ll be amazed at the results as well as the joy and satisfaction your ‘leap of faith’ will bring.

Now, I know, I know… we’re very human when it comes to change – we don’t generally like it! But life is all about change! Now we don’t change from fundamental biblical Christianity principles but we may need to change our attitude regarding yeilding to God’s directions!

Comfort zones and change
Comfort zones… Admit it: We all know what these are – and how we love feeling comfortably
safe and at ease because they require little effort. But, sadly, comfort zones don’t always yield results that God wants.

Change… now this requires determination, a turnaround in our thinking. Dictionaries tell us that change basically means to alter; it’s likewise in scripture!

So… if we’re going to move on, move ahead this year, change can mean altering our attitudes when we’re called on to move out of our comfort zone(s)! (more…)

THE BRAIN LIZARD’S BIG LIES

(January 29, 2021) Robert McQuillan shares on Satan’s reptilian lies…

Don’t you feel very disturbed within when you discover someone, especially someone you’ve always trusted, someone you’ve believed in, has lied to you?

Whether it’s a work colleague, business associate, salesperson or worst a best friend or child, our ‘little boat’ gets rocked as if in a storm!

Lying indicates trickery and deception – no one likes lies and being lied to. Hence, we teach children to value truth (and set personal examples by never lying!) and that one’s word is to be regarded as a person’s bond.

Unfortunately, because of sin, lying and lies are part of the human nature resulting in broken or unfulfilled promises (Something else we must warn their kids about).

Lying is not of God!
Lying is not in God’s character. The Bible is the word of the God who never lies (Psalm 33:4; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 2:27; Hebrews 6:18) and has several warnings and important things to say about lies and lying. For example, the Bible speaks against lying –

  • Vanities (Jonah 2:8)
  • Lips (Psalm31:18)
  • Ways (Psalm 119:29)
  • Words (Jeremiah 7:4)
  • Divination (words, witchcraft – Ezekiel 13:6)
  • Hearts (Acts 5:3,9)
  • Wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Note this one well, gullible Pentecostal/charismatic-oriented Christians. Test everything!

God detests lies!
‘Lying’ – that’s shehkar in the OT Hebrew – indicating falseness, sham, untruth, wrong, deceit, feigning. The NT Greek pseudos says it all in one word – falsehood! (more…)

DETERMINED DECEPTION

(January 20), 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Lately we watched reports inferring that aftereffects/possible side effects of certain proposed medicines aren’t always fully explained. That it’s yet another case of ‘Following the Money’ as so many more millions are spent of advertising medicines than on the actual research! Ie: An inferred sort of deception due to insufficient information.

Something similar happened yesterday when we tried paying a utility account by phone. Despite several calls to different supposedly ‘helpful consultants’ none would accept payment, each insisting we use an automated service. This auto-service we tried repeatedly but it (no ‘real person’) kept refusing our data. On complaining by email finally an authority figure explained that as all operators are working from home due to covid-19 and couldn’t be accept phone payments. Not one ‘consultant had explained this!

  • Disinformation was a Nazi WW2 deception weapon – today it’s Satan’s big trick! Let’s talk about spiritual disinformation…

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