moving on

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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PROPHECY, DREAMS AND VISIONS

(March 10, 2021) Brian Bell shares a meditation…

Scripture often speaks of these three topics. It is not my intention to ‘major’ on them as individual topics but to share some thoughts from those well-known words of Joel 2:28 (NLT 1999) where the prophet says – ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophecy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.’

Prophecy
It is generally accepted that prophecy falls into two general categories… ‘foretelling’ when God gives an insight to what is yet to take place. And ‘forth telling’ when God gives a word speaking into a specific situation very often to bring encouragement to his children.  Prophecy is also a gift of the Spirit which several exercise today: God’s word, however he chooses to speak it, is foundational.

Take, for example, Joel 1:16(NLT) where the prophet declares, ‘No joyful celebrations are in the house of our God.’ I believe he was speaking of an experience prevailing at that time. The people’s spiritual experience of God had waned. Could it be that we see a parallel in our recent experiences?

For many months there hasn’t really been the same joyful celebrations in the house of God – wherever that may be for you – as in the best interests and well-being of our congregations we have resorted to live streamed services conducted by a small number of people in a controlled environment. Or to a computer application such as Skype or Zoom or similar tools which enable ‘virtual’ meetings.

I know that many faithful believers have struggled with this, saying we should never have given up our liberty to meet in fellowship. Whatever view we may take, the most important aspect is that our personal relationship with the Lord must be encouraged and enriched, as we continue to live for him without the support structure, we were used to in our church fellowships (which, God willing, we may soon resume, perhaps with renewed appreciation and enthusiasm). (more…)

MOVING ON… AND NEW STEPS IN FAITH

(February 21, 2021) David McGuire, missionary to Romania, shares a memory of God’s encouragement and challenges…

In the autumn of 2011, a new step of faith and direction from God was forming when I was asked by the Manna church to attend the national leaders’ conference in the west of Romania.

Now, to be honest, I was a bit out of my usually ‘energised drive’ to serve God, so I listened to the speakers intently, wondering what God might be saying to me.

Serving God isn’t about ‘titles’
Among many things I’ve learned about serving the Lord as a missionary is patience! Now I was relearning as it was six months later before a new direction in our ministry began to open up. It started with the church asking me to be an elder and my wife Rodica entering joint worship leadership.

Now I didn’t feel anything different generally as I just did what serving God wanted me to do, ‘title’ or not. But slowly I received more prophetic dreams and words from the Lord… and new responsibilities came across my path.

I was commissioned to run a men’s group at a particular centre which, as well as being a Bible study, would offer food… meat and chips with some pop, tea and coffee. I consented, but the first week no one came along – nor the next!

Nevertheless, I enjoyed doing deeper study with God on my own, even if no one else turned up. Rodica thought that if no one came third week, I should just come back home instead of waiting around as I had been doing. As it happened, no one came that week either and so I did as my wife had suggested… but I had no peace at home.

Commitment means being committed
Then I sensed God was teaching me something important… How could I expect commitment if I were not committed myself? (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…)

RECOVER YOUR LIFE WITH JESUS’ HELP

(February 04, 2021) Carol Round, having experienced an exhausting moving home time, encourages us to relax in Jesus…

Packing! Moving! Unpacking! I questioned, once again, Why did I have so much stuff?’

It’s not the first time I’ve moved in almost 20 years, it’s the sixth! I know others who have moved more times than I have, and I don’t envy them. I’m still trying to recover from my latest move.

I’ll confess! If I’d had my way, I’d still be in the first place I moved to four years before retiring from my 30-year teaching career in 2001. My post-teaching career plans included freelance writing for area newspapers and continuing my 20-year photography business that exploded when I went digital.

But Jesus had a greater plan for me. That’s the reason behind my many moves. Although it took him nine months to convince me to move the first time, I’ve learned to say, ‘I want your will, not mine.’

Obedience means surrendering
Each time I’ve moved, it’s been in obedience to his calling on my life.

I don’t take it lightly. For someone like me, who was used to being in charge, and thought she was in control of her life, it meant surrendering. Even though I still struggle sometimes, I’ve learned his way is the only way to live freely and lightly. (more…)

‘WE ARE FREE!’

(February 1, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share …

‘We are free!’ That was the rapturous cheer by so many flag-waving Britons today, happy that their country is exiting from the EU after almost 50 years of union with Europe.

Thousands had flocked to a muddy patch of grass outside parliament on Friday night to toast their moment of history, singing patriotic songs and waving Union Jacks.

‘The crowd erupted into cheers as the clock hit 11 pm, the moment of Britain’s exit. After a barrage of fireworks, smoke filled the area as onlookers hugged, popped champagne corks and filmed the moment on their phones’ reports Elizabeth Howcroft and William James, Reuters.

Choruses of God Save the Queen and Land of Hope And Glory swung round Parliament Square, where revellers toasted in a new post-Brexit dawn.

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TAKE UP YOUR CROSS!

(April 23, 2019) Carol Round shares an after Easter reflection…

‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ wrote Paul in Galatians 2:20 (ESV).

Can you feel his pain? With eyes closed, can you imagine the sounds, sights and smells of that bleak Friday, when our Saviour and Lord was nailed to the cross, not for his transgressions, but for ours?

Have you ever sat quietly, considering what he did for you and become overwhelmed by the thoughts of his sacrifice? Did you ever ask why he willingly gave up his life for yours?

Not my will, but yours
‘And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will”’ (Mark 14:36).

Jesus’ words, as well as his actions, the night before his crucifixion reveal a life of obedience. He knew the pain he would face, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He accepted willingly the cross he would bear for all mankind.

What Paul understood
The apostle Paul understood the sacrifice made by his Saviour. However, it took a mighty act of God –being struck blind on the road to Damascus – to open the eyes of this persecutor of Christ’s followers.

After Paul’s life-changing experience on that dusty road, he was baptized and instructed in the Christian faith. The most determined of the apostles, Paul suffered brutal physical pain, persecution, and eventually martyrdom. What was Paul’s secret to enduring a lifetime of hardship for the sake of the gospel?

We can do all things
Paul’s secret can be ours, too. In Philippians 4:13TLB, he says, ‘. . . for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.’ (more…)

LIVING IN FAITH

(April 6, 2017) Tim Edwards brings another timely kingdom word…

When we hear from God to move ahead in something new and we obey, we take a step forward and we become more conscious of our personal growth and development in the Lord.

And guess what?

At that exact time we can be assured that many of us will start to face trials and tests in our lives. Why? Because it is often at times of growth in our lives that we find ourselves being stretched!

Anyone in that category right now?
As we stretch and grow – which is ultimately fantastic by the way – and as we are tested and find ourselves in new and strange situations we need to know what is holding us together; what is sitting in our foundations. We need to look more closely at what is happening in our heads and hearts and ask ourselves what we believe and what exactly we hold to be true. (more…)

HANDLING THE BLACK DOG OF DEPRESSION (July 31, 2016)

Fred & Betty EvansFred and Betty Evans share good news…

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the western world affecting 40 million adults in the United States alone or 18% of the population.

According to Beyondblue on average, one in four people will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. Over two million Australians experience anxiety.

Recently a good pastor friend of ours, Ian Parker, preached a sermon on this subject which we thought was a succinct prescription of how to deal with this malady.

Here are some of his notes on how to deal with this often private and painful subject:

Depression is the most common form of emotional pain. There are levels of depression. Normal – Clinical – Manic. While some depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, most is caused by unfulfilled expectations. (more…)