Questions

DOESN’T GOD CARE?

(January 29, 2023) Maureen McQuillan seeks to comfort a distressed sister…

Dear Pastor Maureen

I’m going through a difficult time. I’ve prayed and prayed but don’t seem to be getting answers, or help. I want to  believe that I can trust God but I just feel He hasn’t heard my prayer. My heart is sobbing, I cry myself to sleep. Doesn’t God care? I am a Christian, I have accepted Jesus. Bella.

Dear Bella

Oh yes, God does hear our prayers… your prayers, and yes, He does care! I’ll be open, honest with you, won’t mislead you… becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we’ll have a carefree life. Yes, we will have a good life, sins forgiven and an assurance that we’re heaven-bound. But… presently we’re still here and things can go wrong, even for God’s children! Accidents, sicknesses, disappointments, marriage and family troubles, sudden loss of loved ones, even disasters.

But we can keep trusting God, we can bank on His love, provision, protection in that He will help us and bring us through whatever the issue is! Your prayers are heard by God (1John 5:14-15, 1 Peter 3:12). 1 Peter 5:7 is particularly precious: ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.’

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CHURCH LEAVERS

 (January 26, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages a troubled young believer…

Dear Dr Robert

This may be nothing…  or something! Maybe it’s because I‘m feeling a little concerned. It’s just that some of our key people, including the minister, have suddenly left, or are leaving. I feel a little bit uneasy. Grant.

Hi Grant

I know how you’re feeling. Long time ago in the early days of my Christian journey, there were a lot of things I didn’t know about, didn’t understand, hadn’t worked out. Maybe if I share as follows, it’ll help you…

People, key people or others, do leave church at times, even a great church such as the one you attend. In a nutshell, this is life – it happens! I’ll give you some reasons –

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SPECIAL CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

(December 21, 2022) Maureen McQuillan responds to a thoughtful friend…

Dear Pastor Maureen

Just curious, my friend… I know you have lots of memories of experiences with God and life itself. Was wondering what special memories or thoughts come to you at this Christmas season? Rebecca.

Hi Beccie

Gosh, what can I tell you? I have quite a few… but, apart from great church carol services as a child praising God for the gift of His Son, Jesus, I’ll tell you of the two major ones that always come back to me, indeed I’ll always remember them, and have written about them before! (And a thought.. number three).

Number 1… Christmas Day itself
I can never forget Christmas Day way back in 1962!
Our precious daughter Wendy was born! Robert and I were so young, still regarded as kids in many ways, even though we were in our very early twenties. With the Lord’s help everything went well, including a miracle and other delights…

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MINISTRY HICCUPS

(December 20, 2022) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages a troubled pastoral couple …

Dear Dr Robert

I apologise that this is going to be a long letter.

My wife and I are ministers, like you and Maureen. We’ve always enjoyed this calling, despite challenges that are involved – many of which we can’t or won’t share with our church. I’m sure you too have found that some church members can be very unkind and unthoughtful when they learn their ministers have needs. I don’t mean financial ones, although to be honest sometimes we can be disappointed when we hear some members don’t contribute to our church, but donate heavily to ‘prosperity doctrine’ preachers.

No, I’m particularly thinking of other concerns – we’re not as young as we used to be and both seem to get attacked by sicknesses we never thought about before. In fact we used to pray for people going through similar sicknesses and God would gloriously answer our prayers. Now we find ourselves not wanting to mention our needs in case we’re accused of losing our faith!

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CARING AND CARRYING

(November 29, 2022) Dr Robert McQuillan warns an ‘over-caring’ Christian…

Dear Dr Robert

I care for people and I follow that command of Jesus to care for, to love anyone who is mt neighbour. Some of those I’ve been interceding for, praying for, has me thinking a lot about them, even during the day and sometimes awakening to do so during the night. They have what I call heavy problems and… well, I can only describe what’s happened this way. I’ve been feeling heavy myself, deeply sensitive to their hurts and it’s as if I feeling their burdens on my heart. This making me feel down – yet some of them seem to be getting free of their problems. Am I making myself clear here. Maybe this all sounds too mixed up. Sorry. ‘Weary Will’ (not real name).

Dear ‘Weary Will’

Hold it right there! Yes, I understand you, how you’re feeling, that heaviness that you’ve encountered. To help you, I’ll go straight to the point! The problem is that you’re not just caring, you’re wrongly carrying!

Yes,  you’re doing right in caring – as all Christians should for anyone that we consider ‘Luke 10:25ff neighbours’ and in every way we can. But one thing we can’t do is this: we can’t carry them! This is a mistake that Satan has lured well-thinking Christians into and it has eat away at them, stealing their own happiness, even causing sickness.

I urge you to recall that you’re a servant of Jesus, not our Lord Himself! Only Jesus can care to the extreme of carrying sicknesses, heartbreak, hurts and  burdens that we humans experience.

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TRANSITION

(October 27, 2022) Dr Robert McQuillan responds to a concerned friend…

Dear Dr Robert

You’ve helped me before and I want to share something with you that has me confused. I really love the church I’ve been attending for the last few months… the preaching is great, the teaching is soundly Bible-based, and the pastor really cares! Nothing is wacky! But  recently I’ve felt somewhat uneasy. Nothing wrong with the church, but I don’t feel to become a member, or to be involved in any ministerial way that would commit me. I started thinking what’s wrong? Then last week while enjoying the service, I heard that ‘inner voice’ whisper one word… ‘Transition.’ Transition? Would you please help me here. Harold

Hi again Harold

Yes, I believe I can. I’ve come to know you and suggest you take a step back and see the bigger picture. I believe what’s happening to you gels with what has happened to some certain others in their Christian experience, even myself. Let me paint the picture as I see it.

The word ‘transition’ means the ‘process of changing, or a change from one from or condition to another.’ Now you won’t find the word in scripture – unless you read the Message version of Hebrews 9, that chapter that talks about the Calvary death of Jesus and the new covenant. It actually combines verses 16 and 17 as one, and begins ‘Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one.’

Scripture tells of God transitioning chosen ones into new positions or locales… Abraham, Moses, Gideon (His being supernaturally called by God, such as in Judges7:9 is very interesting).

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CALLING ELDERS TO PRAY FOR THE SICK

(October 27, 2022) Maureen McQuillan responds to a very earnest, thoughtful friend…

Dear Pastor Maureen

I was really blessed by your Experiences testimony (T’was a Cold Wintry Night, Nere a Sound was Heard), it touched me in many ways. Great to learn how the Lord touched you miraculously through the ministry of those elders so long ago.

That aspect – your mother actually requesting the elders to anoint you and pray for you, quoting James 5:14 – is special to me as it has been on my heart for some time. I mean, the thought that when people are sick, they should call for the elders to pray over them, just as James wrote. I mentioned this to my pastor and he agreed, saying that people don’t and he wished they would. What are your thoughts? Tom.

Hi Tom

I’m glad my testimony blessed you. In that church I mentioned in my testimony, troubled people had no hesitation in calling for the elders to be anointed with oil and prayed for. It was ‘the in-thing to do.’

People took that scripture you mentioned at face value… they called for prayer. ‘Call’ here is a word meaning ‘to invite.’ There’s an inference that anyone sick should make a point to doing this. In fact, most translations say, ‘should call.’ NASB reads ‘must call.’

Traditionally this was the done thing. Elders, or at least the minister, would be invited – that is asked –  to visit sick people at home to pray over them. Or, as was the case with me, elders might ask that the sick be brought to the church.

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WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

(September 23, 2022) Robert McQuillan responds to a friend despondent about caring for someone.

Dear Dr Robert

I’m having trouble with a friend. Well, I better explain it this way… he keeps on doing wrong things, believing wrong things and isn’t living his life as he should. And he’s a Christian! Over and over I’ve pointed out to him that he’s not thinking straight, he’s being blind to so much. He’ll say that he’s sorry and won’t do such things again. I’ve even prayed with him. But again and again he phones me or calls and tells that he’s either done some ‘old thing again’ or made some other mistake. I find myself praying each day for him but it’s heavy on me. What else can I do? Harold

Hi Harold

I know what you’re expressing above. I’ve found myself in the same situation at times – even recently – sharing commonsense, scriptures, giving warnings and, what I know from experience, is good advice. And just as you did, I’d pray with the troubled brother or sister-in-the-Lord. But although the person I’ve talked to would agree (even nod their head if present with me), either they would come back later to confess not having done as we’d discussed, or I’d hear it from another source.

  • Harold, I’ll keep this reply as short as I can… because the truth is that you’ve done all you can.
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‘HELP, HOLY SPIRIT!’

(August 30, 2022) Maureen McQuillan recalls a bad incident, and shares her favourite prayer…

Dear Pastor Maureen
This is a thank you for your article,  brrr-baby-its-cold-outside. It so encouraged me. Caroline.

Hi there, Caroline

So glad to hear that my little article blessed you. The Holy Spirit is always there to help us, encourage us. Many times something comes up out-of-the-blue, so unexpectedly and it’s great to know that we can call on Him to help.

This reminds me of a really unexpected catastrophic incident I encountered when visiting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania quite a few years back…

Our very hospitable hosts had taken us to their favourite Rotary restaurant and afterwards decided to show us a few local sites. One was the famous Duquesne Incline and we really enjoyed travelling up and back down, seeing the beautiful panoramic night views of the city.

Unfortunately, as we were walking back to their car chatting away, I stumbled over some uneven paving I hadn’t noticed and had a very painful fall! My ankle immediately swelled up and I hurt so much.

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PRAYING TO AND TRUSTING GOD BRINGS BLESSINGS

(August 29, 2022) Robert McQuillan encourages caring for others, Christain or not…

Dear Dr Robert

This isn’t a question but a thanks to God! I’ve learned that my article – Lost at Sea has blessed readers, including a pastor friend who had a similar experience and has emailed the following: ‘I really related to and enjoyed reading your article realising you had a good outcome like I did back in the early 90’s. God certainly has watched over our lives and we still get to experience His goodness every day.’

So, I thought I’d let you know… and also add the following that I didn’t know about at the time— On the same night (A hundred kms down the coast) sadly another man was not as fortunate as I was and didn’t return to his family but got lost and caught in the severe storm that came through at 1am. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-27/missing-search-fisherman-ian-gray-suspended-wa-police/101275878. You only realise the true danger when actually faced with it. I am so blessed to be alive. This unfortunate man’s family needs our prayers. Andrew.

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