trusting God

VICTORY IN 2019 – ENCOURAGEMENTS FROM JOAB

(January 15, 2019) Brian Bell reflects on winning tactics against an enemy

We’re two weeks into 2019 already!

Over past months I’ve been reading and meditating on Old Testament scriptures and have been encouraged and challenged as the Lord has reminded me of encouraging  truths I can apply to my own life as I seek to victoriously move ahead in 2019 – as can the body of Christ, those believers who make up the church.

In particular I’ve been reminded of spiritual warfare and, knowing my own battles and that if the Lord tarries the enemy will continue to be active in 2019, I share some brief thoughts based on 2 Samuel 10: 6-13 that I trust may be helpful.

I won’t include a historical overview other than to say that Joab was King David’s general. In the verses I mention here, Joab has been sent by David to meet a large army made up of Ammonites, Arameans and others. The story opens as Joab approaches the place of battle… let me share from his winning tactics what I see as lessons for the church.

1) Appraisal
This thought is in the words of verse 9: ‘When Joab saw he would have to fight on two fronts…’

It’s good to be wise and not underestimate the approach and tactics of an enemy – as believers we need to remember that the ‘enemy’ is not ‘people of flesh and blood’ (as the apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12). So, for example, people with whom we may disagree even on some point of doctrinal theology should not be seen as enemies!

We can be sure the enemy will always seek to display his best and most subtle attack formation – the word ‘appraisal’ is a way of describing how Joab sized up the situation. (more…)

CHRISTMAS TIME TRUSTING

(December 14, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring Christmas comfort…

Forget about timewasting debates about when Jesus was actually born, the day, the month… no one knows! The point is that he was born and for many years the church has traditionally been celebrating this historic event of good news from heaven on December 25 and calling it Christmas Day!

With joy we praise our caring heavenly Father for his special  ‘Christmas gift.’ For Christians and the church the carol Tis the season to be merry is very relevant! Thank God for his love and goodness in sending Jesus!

Let’s be as happy as Mary and Joseph, the astounded shepherds and the faithful magi who came along later would have been. Precious people who were trusting God in uncertain times.

This is the month when one sees posters everywhere advertising cherry Christmas carolling either in churches (organised by churches) or in local parks (organised by councils or community-minded organisations)… a time of expected good cheer, family fun and caring friendship. Even several stores are playing pleasant traditional Christian carols relaxing their customers.

Christmas is indeed meant to a joyous time, especially for Christians and the church of Jesus Christ. But, sadly, we’ve been hearing from some folk that it won’t be so for them as some tragedy has hit them or their family hard… such as unexpected lost jobs, passing of loved ones, ministry upsets or abrupt changes, marriage problems, lack of godly pastoral wisdom/counsel, strange health issues, sleepless nights, troubled minds. And other nasties …

Some friends have also expressed concern over Christians being harassed, bullied, even imprisoned in India, North Korea and elsewhere – and about the increased crime rate in our so-called ‘Lucky country.’

Christmastime concerns can steal Christmas joy
Yet while we hear many people wishing one another ‘Merry Christmas!’ – as yet we haven’t heard one add the traditional ‘And a Happy New Year.’ Neither from Christians or non-churchgoers. It’s like the 2018 catchphrase of ‘moving ahead’ has done a back-flip with some people and a vision for 2019 just isn’t there. Yes 2019 will reveal fresh satanic attacks on Christianity and churches but our hope is always in the head of the church, Jesus, the one we praise God for at this Christmas season.

Personally we feel for everyone with heavy hearts at this time, who have lost their joy due to dwelling on negatives, unable to find comforting answers and good advice. These concerns can be so side-tracking and destructive. This week we ourselves had what immediately seemed a disaster drop on us out-of-the-blue that could have thrown us! (more…)

CHOICES

(August 7, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan ask a question that leads to a serious challenge…

It’s a simple question really: What does the word ‘choice’ mean, either in a dictionary or in the Bible? Well, it’s an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.

The reality of life is that every day we make choices. We have to! Begins each new morning… arising from slumber, deciding what to wear, what to have for brekkie. And that’s before we hit the street!

One thing is for certain… every day decisions have to be made in respect of our job, marriage, family, holidays, movie to see, TV program to watch, the home, purchases, clothing, meals… then along comes new car or home. The list goes on!

In reality very day we’ll all be making choices, hopefully good ones!

Let’s share a choice that I (Robert) made recently that proved a bad one… although there was a funny side to it! (more…)

7 CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES

(February 28, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan write…

Like this Gypsy Smith quote below? It’s from the cover of Stuart Reynold’s latest book, Getting Ready for Revival.

A challenge for every Christian, not to think ’Maybe I’ll do something later’ but to act on now!

Reawakening needed!
One of Oxford Dictionary meanings of ‘Revival’ is: ‘A reawakening of religious fervour, especially by means of evangelistic meetings.

It’s been many years since the days of genuine ‘religious fervour’ in churches with regular testimonies of sinners saved, lives changed, growth in one’s faith, sick people healed at every meeting.

Something has been missing for some time; church life has definitely changed! We’ve become too sophisticated, too locked into restricting ‘in-house’ systems, and the absence of the unchurched.

That golden oldie, Give Me That Old Time Religion, declaring salvation being good enough for everybody; loving one another; taking us to heaven;  and ‘it’s good enough for me’ had something going for it!

In respect of something being missing in many churches (not all of course, praise God!); perhaps the following is on your mind too … (more…)

WHY WORRY? IT’S CHRISTMAS

(December 14, 2017) Maureen McQuillan brings an encouraging Christmas linked thought…

Worrying doesn’t solve our problems or lift our burdens! In fact it causes us to ‘stew’ over matters and they hang around causing additional headaches and trouble minds and hearts!

Thought: It’s almost Christmas… think of young Joseph and the burdens that he could have been carrying some 2000 years ago and worrying over…

  • Newly married… to a young girl with whom he’s never been sexually intimate and discovers she’s pregnant!
  • Then has a strange notification by an angel that the baby was conceived by the very Spirit of God!
  • Has to take the pregnant Mary with him to Bethlehem to register for a census!
  • This approximately 160km trip would have taken them 8-10 long days of walking.
  • Probably a scary, uncomfortable journey for the young pregnant Mary, but what about Joseph?
  • Then at Bethlehem, he’s unable to find lodgings as the time of her delivery of this babe draws so close!

Joseph’s attitude
I like Joseph’s attitude to his uncertainties when he first contemplated what lay ahead if he honoured marriage with his beloved… like his forefather, David, he too was obviously a man after God’s own heart. (more…)