John 3:16-17


(October 13, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares good advice…

Wayward children!

I know, I know… Psalm 127:3 says children are the blessing of God in that they are an inheritance from Him. ‘Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him’ (NLT). But… how they can cause parents trouble at times!

Some heartbroken parents shared with me recently that their child is an adult and, naturally, they have no control over them. Now they don’t want to tyrannically control their child… but, being good parents, want the best for their ‘inheritance’ regarding certain situations. Unfortunately the ‘child’ won’t be counselled by them!

I won’t go into a long list of things that are troubling these particular parents. However, some of you will relate to the following short list –

  • Don’t honour God as you brought them up to do.
  • Stopped going to church.
  • Into drugs and mixing with the wrong company.
  • Has a bad love relationship
  • Mentally ill but won’t seek good counsel.
  • Physically unwell, and you’ve only learned second-hand.
  • Under a cloud of darkness and depression.
  • Isn’t sharing if proper medications are being taken or not.
  • Won’t talk to you.

Am I right in saying this list goes on, worried parents? That when you try talking to your kids, they just won’t listen, may even abruptly shut you up!

Oh, I could give some workaround ideas. But… what if I agree with them, outrightly saying, You shut up.’ You’re probably reacting in horror, so let me explain how I see it.

You’ve been good to your kids, looking after them through all those trying years of growing up into adulthood;  through sicknesses, insecurities, job-hunting, opposite partner seeking.

And, as a Christian parent, you taught them to ‘honour their neighbours’ and seniors; always tell the truth; make good decisions about everything; know what sin is and that God forgives; pray and trust the Lord; know Him personally. You even taken them to church with you, bought them Bibles at an early age, and encouraged learning more about Jesus.

But they’re no longer children! Perhaps they’re away from home, have back-slain somewhat. And the biggest disappointment you’re presently facing is that they’re no longer that obedient little boy or girl you once could cuddle and share with, giving warnings and good wholesome advice!

And here’s the heart of what I mean if I’d abruptly said, ‘You shut up’… you have already done all the right things, given them good life-instructions, taught them how to make great decisions, and most importantly to trust the Lord.

So then… if they’re not listening to you, dear parent, instead of being downcast yourself, considered this: What can you say that’s new to them? They’ve heard it all before from you! And because they’ve made mistakes, they know exactly what you’ll say and won’t want to hear it all again! They’ll be thinking you’re judging, not caring.

Oh, you might be able to get them listening a little – and of course you should try! But ultimately they have to make that right choice. The ball is in their court now! From your own experiences or from helping others, you know what they should be doing – or not doing. They need to know themselves, and make their own decisions!

But don’t turn your back on them! Lovingly assure them that you’ll always be there for them, no matter what. That your door is always open, that they’ll always be yours. That you’ll always be thinking of them… and caring, loving.

You don’t necessarily have to add that you’ll be praying for them… they already know that! Do keep loving them, remember birthdates and special days. Above all, believe that the Holy Spirit will get through to them… He is the only source to getting them to come to their senses!

When troubled parents asked my help recently about their child, a wasteful adult, I shared the above. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit quickened to me wise principles that Jesus taught about  a similar situation.

Remember Luke 15 – ‘the lost chapter’? To me it’s as if beyond the salvation message here, Jesus tells a parable of a wise parent and a wastrel child.

Preachers, even non-Christians, refer to ‘the parable of the prodigal son.’ What is overlooked is that it is also known as the Parable of the Lost Son (the heading in my 1992 NIV)and, more importantly, the Parable of the Forgiving Father! In keeping with what I’ve shared above, I’ll call it the Parable of the Wise Parent.

Actually the whole chapter is about losses – sheep, silver and son – bringing great joy when found. Let’s consider the son and his parent…

1. Wilful Child – Wise Parent
Verses 11-12 tell of a witless son demanding what was not his to ask for: he was a second son and legally and culturally would only receive his inheritance after his father’s death, the first son having received his.

His father could have denied him, but instead allowed his wayward son to have what he wanted. I have no doubt that this parent was deeply upset… but he lets it all go. Sure there was much he could have said, but obviously saw the determination in his son’s attitude and this parent ‘shut up’ as it were. No doubt he realised his son had to learn some lessons the hard way.

Verses 13-14 tells us this wayward son would lose everything on wild living. Message Bible calls him a wastrel ‘… undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had.’ 

A severe famine hit the country he moved to and, moneyless, suddenly he’s in big trouble! He, a Jew, even hires himself to feed pigs and was so hungry he would have eaten swine food! But no-one offered him a thing. He’s trapped!

Jesus tells of the turning point in his wasted life… ‘He came to his senses’ (v17). I like how the NIRV puts it ‘… he began to think clearly again.’ Can you trust God that your wayward kids will come to their senses?

Let’s talk about this wilful son’s warm-hearted dad.

2. Wanderlust Child – Waiting Parent
Having sorted things out in his own mind, the wastrel son becomes a woeful one. He admits he has faulted not only before his earthly father but, first and foremost, his heavenly Father, and determines to return to safety and security (v 17b-20a).

What an amazing scenario verse 20b paints! ‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.’ 

How can I fully describe what I sense happened here? I can only put it this way…

  • His father hadn’t given up on his child (or on God, the only one who could do what he couldn’t): I like to think he’d always been looking for him, praying for him, caring for him and that’s why he saw and recognised him so quickly.
  • In the original language ‘A long way off’ means really distant… yet his dad saw him! Our heavenly Father sees us – all the way from his throne in heaven. God too is a waiting Father.
  • Before his son can say a word, his loving father doesn’t wait till his boy greets him with a meaningful embrace – he hugs and kisses his son! This is an affectionate embrace and when his boy tries to apologise, he’s cut short because his father is so happy he has returned.
  • As for the depth of this parent’s compassion… the Message Bible bests explains this almost unpronounceable Greek word (splagchnizomai) as ‘His heart pounding…’ Have you ever sensed the depths of God’s compassion for you? It’s an incredible sensation!
  • What compassion he had! He ran – that’s trekh’-o – to move hastily. If this son had been in a rush to leave, his dad is in a bigger rush to welcome him back!

3. Worthless Child – Welcoming Parent
This ever-so-warm greeting isn’t over!

The remaining verses of this chapter are a message in themselves. I’ll nutshell them by pointing out that this repentant child who admitted being unworthy is made worthy… by his parent!

Note the interruptive — dash in verse 21 of the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible): ‘I am no longer worthy to be called your son—’ 

If you like he’s now told to ‘shut up.’ Note too the welcome his parent gives him… the best robe, ring, and footwear! Plus the best feast! Verse 24 sums it up – ‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.’ Message Bible calls it ‘a wonderful time.’

There it is… what Jesus thought about wayward kids. Can you understand and accept this and be at ease, giving God time and doing our part – praying and expecting?

The heart of what I’ve written is this: At times no matter what wise advice we give to anyone, let alone our children, we can’t change them, can’t make them turn around – unless they decide to change.

And so there will be times when we have to shut up! We should back away slightly… still caring and praying especially for any wayward children we may have. And relying on the Holy Spirit to get through to them.

In all that Jesus taught here, He was emphasising His Father’s incredible, extensive, wide-ranging love.

Some scriptures about how wide, long, high, and deep is the Father’s love

  • ‘… the Father Himself loves you’ (John 16:27).
  • ‘… what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1).
  • ‘He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers’ (Malachi 4:6).

One last thing… in the end forgiveness is so important. This wise father didn’t condemningly comment on his wayward son’s faults. Neither does our heavenly Father when one asks forgiveness for sins committed! God is an encouraging Father, not a heart crusher!

Pastor Maureen McQuillan’s link for questions and encouragements is __________________________________________


(October 11, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares in-depth on what can be a distracting issue…

Here is a topic that has often distracted Christians and divided home Bible study groups – Did God select in advance those who would be saved or is the exercise of our free will to accept Jesus as our Saviour the deciding factor?  How many fruitless hours have been wasted in argument that has often been dogmatic, hostile and divisive!

The ‘Big Question’ which often stirs people is this: Is our salvation determined by God’s decision or by ours? The problem is finding an unambiguous and unequivocal answer because there is an apparent conflict between the biblical concepts of God’s sovereignty and human free will. Does God decide in advance who will be saved and who will be lost? 

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This is a massive theological issue that has been addressed in multiple books by many profound theologians so I admit that my comments here are most inadequate.  However I hope that they may be of some help.



(August 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges us not to forget…

Last Saturday in various countries throughout the world commemoration services were held reflecting the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945 which signified the end of World War 2.

World War 2
Below is a photo taken shortly after that day back then in which a celebration party was arranged for the children in the street where I lived in Belfast.

I just about remember that day… the street lined with tables filled with ‘goodies’ 
that, because of food shortages had been in limited availability during the war years, yet the mums somehow managed to turn the meagre supplies into a celebratory meal! I do remember the sense of joy in all the mums who, after six years of suffering, were so elated to celebrate this wonderful news with their children.

And what a time of suffering those six years were. My father worked at night in an engineering factory in Belfast and most nights German planes tried to bomb it. When my dad went out to work neither he nor my mum knew if he would be returning home the following morning.  Just before I was born, German fighter planes would try to shoot civilians; my parents described their fear as they covered my brother and the unborn ‘me’ with their bodies as they watched the bullets rip along the ground close to where they were under cover.

World War 2 was the most lethal military conflict in history. Around 75 million people died (that is about 3.3% of the world population in those days) and that included around 20 million of those who served in the military and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate slaughter, mass-bombings, disease, starvation and limited medical services.

We must not forget the horror and the social consequences of those years and the years that followed nor must we forget the sacrifices that brave men and women made to rescue us from ruthless domination.  It is right that we from time to time reflect on those events – lest we forget!

The Covid-19 War (more…)


(November 13, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, challenges us to be involved in God’s business – now

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come’ declares Matthew 24:14.                              

Too often we are prone to look for the end before we have really considered the allotted task – and before we have really done enough that is realistic about witnessing to even one nation, let alone all of them.

Nevertheless the end is ultimate! But between the beginning and the end there are many factors, including time, season, opportunity, and God’s enabling.

The certainty is that the gospel must be proclaimed in the entire world, nothing less, as a witness to all nations not one less, and then and only then, will the glorious end come. Then and only then…

  • Christ will appear in the clouds
  • The dead in Christ will rise
  • We (who are still living) will be caught up and together we will meet our Saviour Jesus in the air to be forever with him!

The biggest business on earth!
Meanwhile we must be about our Father’s business
. With his guidance, enabling and power, there is much work to do that must be done! (more…)


(August 26, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares on the most misunderstood book in the Bible…

The book of Jonah is probably the best known book in the Old Testament – but for all the wrong reasons! Most people think of it as a pleasant bedtime story for children about a man who fell off a boat and was swallowed by a whale. A few days later the whale spat him out and he walked off into the land of happy-ever-after.

But that is not what the book of Jonah is about. Its message is much more interesting, challenging and radical than that.  In fact it is one of the most revolutionary books in the Old Testament!

Background to the story
The story of Jonah is set around 2700 years ago and the people of Israel believed that they were in an exclusive relationship with God who loved only them. They had a kind of exclusive and territorial mentality about Yahweh.

God chose Jonah to ‘shake their world’!

Yet we do not actually know much about him. We know that his name means ‘Dove’ and that he came from a town near Nazareth.  He was given an unenviable task – to go to Nineveh, the oldest and most densely populated city of the ancient Assyrian Empire which was also considered to be one of the wickedest cities in the world and its people were known for their ruthlessness, cruelty, child sacrifice, sexual perversion and witchcraft.

1. The reluctance of Jonah
(i) Jonah’s call
God’s call to Jonah was personal and specific – ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me’ (1:2). (more…)


(June 26, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reminds us of scriptural bad news – and scriptural good news…

Nobody likes bad news!

But sometimes we need to hear the bad news if it urges or provokes us to do something that may correct a tragedy or help us avoid disastrous consequences.

In Australia each year bush fires cause heartbreaking devastation to trees, animals, towns and, of course, people. How hard it is to watch the horrendous and frightening images of out-of-control fires raging through trees and homes, destroying livelihoods, creating havoc, causing death, pain, sorrow and financial devastation.

Fortunately many lives are saved each year when advance warning is given that enables people to vacate their properties, perhaps save their animals and leave with some treasured possessions. The tragedies would be significantly worse if warnings were withheld because they represented ‘bad news.’ Therefore, sometimes we do need to hear ‘bad news’ in order to avoid even worse consequences.

Angry response
However, the fact remains that no one likes to be on the receiving end of bad news. Some people deal with it by denying it. Others respond by anger at the person who delivers it.

There is an old saying that states, ‘If you don’t like the message, don’t kill the messenger.’  This advice has been around for a long time. For example, in the middle of the 5th century BC, Sophocles, a Greek poet and playwright, wrote, ‘No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.’

However, in recent days we have seen a ‘messenger’ being savaged by the media and social media. Israel Folau, who quoted from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, has not only lost his employment as a rugby player but has also been roundly condemned as bigoted, intolerant, homophobic and so on.

But the bottom line is that what he tweeted is wholly in line with scripture. He was sharing a message that was not his and if the warning it contained was not to the liking of those who read it, he cannot be blamed for its content! (more…)