Are we on the right path?

We have come to a generation filled with “high and advance technology” yet morally, our generation is filled with confusion. We do not know whom to believe as the devil is also working hard to lead people astray. Imagine, the coming of different Philosophies, concepts and values made our world so filled up with so many different ways and even Religions and gods. It has deviated our minds into different ways and many say “one way is as good as another.”  In marriage, it used to be sacred and the “living together” of two persons is based on vows and blessings from God. These vows were made with commitments in the presence of witnesses and of God.

Today, the sacredness of marriage is tarnished by many people who ignore God’s will. We often see men and women living together, changing partners often as they change their clothes. Children were raised without complete parents, and if with parents, they are not even legally married. If married, they change partners easily and children are often times not given consideration to have and see a life where family is at peace happy and intact. Oftentimes, I read articles about divorce and the pains of the family and children. Since divorce is easy to acquire, people have the convenience of cutting off the relationship to escape from “little problems” and hope to find peace with another person of his/her choice.  Worst than these, we see man and man – woman and another woman living together. WHAT A GENERATION!

Then we hear, WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE US? It seems like there is no more right and wrong in all aspect. It means “their happiness” is the most important and as long as it is not hurting anyone “Physically,” they can go on in their way. Is the world in the right path? Let’s start with the “Church in the Bible” as we seek for the truth.

Our Lord Jesus established a church. He died and bought it with a price. He said; “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ” (KJV) Matthew 16:18. There is only ONE TRUE CHURCH and that is what Jesus built! Satan introduced many churches for man to follow. These are not the church in the Bible. If the Bible is “God breathe,” this same Bible should be the bases for man to build a church. Stephane Maillet of Moncton NB posted in the Facebook his comment regarding religious division- creating so many churches saying “With love and respect I humbly ask all who care to seek and understand eternal truth (Jn. 8:32). Within the pages of God breathed New Testament law (from Matthew to Revelation), do we read of Jesus Christ our risen King (Lk. 24:2-3), … building a Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Wesleyan, Gospel Hall, Presbyterian, Mennonite, 7th day adventist, Salvation army, Community Church, House of Nazareth, and or any other of the thousands of denominations out there, is Christ divided? If so, please provide BCV to prove your case. If not, then why remain loyal to something God never built?”

Religious conflicts, division, disagreement or confusions were made by Satan to deceive man. 1 Peter 5;8 says; “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (ASV). Division is NOT caused by God himself. It is caused by people who ignored God’s word and are not afraid to mislead people. Tweeting with God article says; “It is therefore very painful to see that Christians are so divided. The main causes of this division in various churches and communities are the stubbornness, prejudices and sinfulness of the people themselves.”

Check the Bible if your church is found in the scriptures?
Check its teachings if its basically Biblical.

Open your eyes and see! Matthew 15:14 says; they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

If you have difficulty in checking and you wanted to be guided, please give us a call or contact our website so we can help you and respond to your needs.  We are also open for Bible studies anytime at your home or at Convoy Church of Christ building at Convoy Avenue, Halifax NS, telephone number 904-443-9628 or call us at (902) 410-8496. We at Convoy Avenue Church of Christ would be so willing to assist you in your search for the truth.

Brother David Cariaga is the pulpit minister at the Convoy Avenue Church of Christ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

wooden signpost near a path

Are you on the right path?

Jonah and Scottie Simmons are baptised!

What a joy to see family and friends gather to witness the baptism of their loved ones. The Convoy Church of Christ family had the blessing of witnessing Jonah and Scottie Simmons giving their lives to the Lord on the evening of Tuesday 15th August,2017. Here are some pictures and a video from the occasion.

 

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Jesus Our Leader to Follow

good shepherd

Leadership is an issue that we often see even in the Old Testament. Great leaders like David, Moses, Gideon and many others stood up for God to bring people to refuge. It is God’s desire that His people be saved from atrocities and sufferings. We know for a fact that God is our refuge. It enables us to freely trust and rely on Him. God dearly wants us to depend on Him even in situations that threaten our well-being, whether in a physical or spiritual sense. God is in control and He wants us to know that. So, the best place is to be, right with our God always.

The best example is the leadership of Jesus when He was here on earth, who was primarily interested of our relationship to the Father for man to have refuge. He taught us to be in subjection to the Father as Jesus himself submit to the Father’s will (John 6:37-39). When Jesus spoke, people discerned both His oneness with God and His genuine interest of our well being. Leroy Lawson said in his booklet “Jesus didn’t mince words; He certainly was not tactful. He was not manipulating their feelings nor appealing to their selfishness. He spoke from His heart to theirs from His close personal acquaintance with God’s will and His desire to see them in it. They believed Him” (My Way or God’s Way – Developing Christian character when no one else cares). However, Dale Roach said, the kind of leader Jesus is that He was not self-promoting (Mark 1:11). He was obedient to the Holy Spirit as He was led in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). He cast a vision with clarity, simplicity and directness (Mark 1:15). He was a team builder (Mark 1:17), a relationship builder (Mark 1:19), He engaged crisis head-on (Mark 1:30-31) and practiced daily prayer (Mark 1:35) (http://likeateam.com/9-characteristics-of-jesus-as-a-leader/).

Young people are needed to be built and encouraged in the church to see a bright hope and someday lead a Godly Biblical Church. We needed to study the examples we see in the Holy Scriptures and make that as a guide. There are written qualifications for us to follow, but building godly leaders is another factor to put into the plan. The young people who one day will take over the work of those who are already old should be groomed to be godly leaders in the future. It is essential to see young men fearing God not someone who simply professes faith, attends church but someone who fear and respect our Almighty. With the fear of God, all will follow. They become men of integrity, full of honesty and upright principles and views. To develop them in their role and make them skilled church leaders will help them become more efficient and effective leaders in handling the affairs of the church (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

 

shepherd

NS couples honoured for 50 years of service to the Lord

The Convoy Avenue Church of Christ kicked off their 2017 Gospel Meeting by honouring two couples who have been part of the church here in Halifax for 50 years.  Dennis & Carol Peters and Wayne & Shirley Taylor were acknowledged for “50 years in service to the Lord.”  They have been members of the Convoy Avenue Church since it was established at this site in 1967. 

In his message, pulpit minister David Cariaga described the challenges we face as Christians to serve our unchanging God in a world that is constantly changing.  We are so proud to have examples of such faithfulness in our congregation as the Peters’ and Taylors’.

GOD IS ALSO SEVERE

In the past, Love has always been the emphasis of our discussion. This time, I want you to focus on the severity of God. Many do not know God’s “severity” when He is dealing with people who REJECT and IGNORE Him. Severity is a subject people avoid to discuss. They prefer to believe in a God who will take everyone to heaven. The Scriptures clearly reveal otherwise. Jesus said only a few are on the road that “leadeth to life,” while many are on the broad “way, that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14). All those that “know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (II Thessalonians 1:8-9). Sadly also, many who profess to know the Lord will be dismayed at the judgment to hear Him say: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). God can be severe! (http://www.icr.org/books/defenders/7251).

People have always been depicting a merciful and loving God. There is no question about that as His nature is a merciful loving God. However, in the Old Testament, they refuse to show who God really is. God showed how He was furious with the sins of Sodom and Gomorra. Their sickening immorality (strange flesh), bestiality, homosexuality has made God angry mentioned in Genesis 19:5; 2 Peter 2;6-7; and Jude 7. God exhibited as an example the eternal fire. He burned Sodom and Gomorrah. The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur–nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger” (Deuteronomy 29:23).

In another instance, God was mad with the Egyptians who refused to let Israelites go from the bondage of slavery. His rage is described in Exodus 15:4-7 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deeps cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. And in the greatness of your excellence you overthrow those who raise up against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.” God was angry even to His own people whom He rescued from the Egyptians because they rejected His word and worshipped idols. Moses told them in Deuteronomy 9:7-8 Remember, and forget not, how you provoked the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord. Also in Horeb ye provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry with you to have destroyed you.”

With the very few verses showing God’s anger to those who refused to believe Him, one day, we will all be witnessing His rage on those who deserved His justice. For those humble and obedient to His Will, God will give their reward as Jesus will say; “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” Matthew 25:34.

DO NOT BE SHORT SIGHTED FOR THE COMING ETERNITY

I have mentioned one principle in my past article that “people are so preoccupied with something they do not know what is important.” People nowadays are so engrossed with their “own” work, worrying of their material future and forgetting the most important priority in life. They became shortsighted and could never see what is ahead of them.  Lou Reed in his words say; “I think life is far too short to concentrate on your past. I rather look into the future.” (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/loureed255101.html)

The future I am now dealing with is “the time to have Face to Face with God.” It is all about ETERNITY. For Christ’s faithful followers, we look forward to this great future because it will be a day of RECKONING. British Dictionary defined it as “a time when the effects of one’s past mistakes or misdeeds catch up with one.” It means “The avenging or punishing of past mistakes or misdeeds. It is synonymous to the word “summation.” It is God’s subsequent decision determining the final destinies of all individuals (Collins English Dictionary).

The Holy Scriptures say, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:8 NASB). Our eternal happiness is safe if we put our trust to him: all else is mere vanity, which soon will be done with for ever.  Men count time long, because they measure it by their own lives; but all time is as nothing to God; it is as a moment… Let us serve our God, and bear our trials, as those who believe that the end will crown all. (www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/mhcc/jam005.htm).

What about those who have not prepared for this “eternity” – Those who neglected God’s word and failed to make preparation? 2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. All the reminders were already made. And if people neglect or reject Christ’s word, we have no excuse. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says; In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: This would mean that the Lord will be appointing to each man what justice he must make. It is a choice we have made from the beginning and we deserve that in the end. As one saying says; “Heaven is a prepared place for those who are prepared to be in it.” Yet if we neglect and reject Him, we are going to be damned forever!

 

Lots of people do not like this way of approach because they think I am scaring them, but I have to be honest and give this reminder that our Lord will be so kind and gracious to His true followers but will give what is due to those who rejected His word. Prepare, for the time is at hand. Prepare to meet thy God (Amos 4:12).

DO WE CARE TO INVITE THE LOST?

This week, August 4 to 6 is our GOSPEL MEETING here in Convoy Avenue. I am reminding the Brethren at Convoy Avenue that we needed your cooperation. Your participation by coming and attending all meetings and inviting friends and family member means a whole lot to the work of the Lord. This will be a “one time” in a year activity and a one hour gathering every meeting. The church did not have activities like this in the past and this time we are given the time to have opportunity like this.

How can you cooperate? You can show your love for the Lord by coming yourself and bring your entire family and good friends with you! Just ask them to attend our Gospel Meeting. This is just a ONE TIME invitation for three days coming from you to the ones you are inviting. ONLY ONE HOUR which is not a whole lot to lose but be fed with the Word of God. Do not be ashamed for inviting your friends to come. Do not hesitate to invite more because this is the opportunity we can SHARE THE GOOD NEWS to the lost. We are following God’s command in Matthew 28:19-20. This command is not only for preachers and evangelists but for ALL CHRISTIANS. This is an opportunity to exercise our fervent dedication to our God.

Brethren, your concern for your soul and the souls of the lost will mean a lot to all of us and to the future of the church here in Halifax. You have no excuse why you can’t come and invite friends when you can even invite them in your house for a small gathering. You can spend for a small party and yet you can’t do that to promote the gospel? This is a good challenge. This time is our time to show we care for the lost. Please Support and Cooperate with the call to attend and bring someone.

“THE WORST THING TO DO IS REGRET”

Have we ever experience regrets in our lives? I remember many times have happened in my life that I could have decided and made it better later but because I did not act on it, the worst had happened. How many people have suffered because they neglect to attend to prepare themselves in future tasks? How many accidents have come because the preventive maintenance was neglected or ignored in their own cars? On an on we can talk about this and the bottom line is that we end up blaming ourselves.

In life, we have been told to prepare and many pass away from this world unprepared. What is in Spiritual Matters that turns off many? Many knew who the God we are supposed to serve yet, many find no interest in truly serving God faithfully. God has not been cruel and has always been reaching His hand to reach us, but often times we ignore His great love and go on with our “own hard headed way.” The question is, when will God stop reaching us out? Has He ever stopped? Why can we not see His mercy and greatness yet many would rather see the world and take the challenge to get what the world is offering? What is in us people that we go opposite to God’s word?  The Holy Scriptures say; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” 1 John 2:15-16. The Pulpit Commentary says; “In the one case “the world” means the sinful elements of human life. John is forbidding those things the love of which rivals and excludes the love of God – all those immoral tendencies and pursuits which give the world its evil character. Love of the world absolutely excludes the love of the Father. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Biblehub.com/commentaries/1_john/2-15.htm).

So what is the solution to this problem? Let us hear Apostle Paul’s admonition as he said; Wherefore, my beloved, …work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 KJV). No less than the our Lord Jesus said; “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND…” (Luke 10:27 NASB). “If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain. No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions says Matthew Henry. (www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhcc.xxxiv.x.html)

My dear brethren, if you are reading this article, never ignore and disregard God. Defensive maintenance for our Spiritual life is so important to be made. Cling on to Him and serve Him faithfully before we regret later we made wrong choices and God was the last in our choice to attend to. Before it is everlasting too late, listen to the wisest man Solomon’s advise who said in Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them” NASB).

ARE WE SEEKING GOD’S FACE?

Our world today is filled with so many people seeking for something that sometimes they forgot to know what it is. I come up with this title to ask ourselves if we are seeking for God. We all know God is so faithful to us that He loved us so much. He sends His only begotten Son Jesus for us to have the hope of eternal life. So to the question, are we doing our part in seeking for Him?

In seeking God’s face is putting our mind and heart toward Him in our daily lives. David’s song of thanksgiving says in 1 Chronicles 16:11 “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually” (KJV). David, in his song of thanksgiving advised the Jewish people the return of the Ark of covenant to Jerusalem. This will remind them how God was faithful to them hoping it will remind them also of their faithfulness and that men will always praise God. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, those that give glory to God’s name are allowed to glory in it. Let the everlasting covenant be the great matter of our joy his people of old, be remembered by us with thankfulness to him. Show forth from day to day his salvation, his promised salvation by Christ. We have reason to celebrate that from day to day; for we daily receive the benefit, and it is a subject that can never be exhausted.”

When we feel so comfortable in life and not hungry of seeking God, we at first unknowingly drift away, and our desire to study, come to worship, teach and being part of the Lord’s work means NOT IMPORTANT anymore! People who rejects and does not care to seek God are even likely to reject one another. Spiritually empty people tend to develop shortsightedness. They could either be spiritually detached, irritable, angry, demanding or morally unprincipled. In the end it seems to be a choice of self-destruction where unknowingly their souls are lost.

However, if we wanted to seek God’s face, look at our Lord Jesus and read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Apostle Paul said, that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15 ASV). “If you look closely, I think you’ll agree. As you read about Him your heart will leap, for though you may not know it, Jesus is the God you’ve been looking for all your life” (David Roper – “Seeing God” Our Daily Bread). We have to desire like David saying “Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10) It signifies a renewing of the inward man, or an increase of grace, and causing it to abound in act and exercise; and intends a spirit of uprightness and integrity, in opposition to dissimulation and hypocrisy; a spirit “prepared and ready” to every good work; “one firm” and unmoved from obedience to the Lord, by sin, temptations, and snares; a heart fixed, trusting in the Lord, and comfortably assured  in pardoning grace and mercy. (http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/psalms-51-10.html)

Is God Included in Marriage?

From the creation of the world God has instituted marriage and said in first book of the Bible   “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  When a couple gets married, they are meant to demonstrate by becoming “one” for the rest of their lives at the same time maintaining their individuality.  Marriage is a vow of male and female to become husband and wife. That vow is for lifetime. Marriam –Webster defined it “as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.”

Mary Fairchild in her article “What is the Biblical definition of marriage” says; there are three commonly held beliefs about what constitutes a marriage in the eyes of God:

  1. The couple is married in the eyes of God when the couple is legally married.
  2. The couple is married in the eyes of God after they have participated in a formal religious wedding ceremony.
  1. The couple is married in the eyes of God when the physical union is consummated when they lived together.

When vows are made in the presence of men and to the person whom they are marrying, they made the vows in the presence of God also. Marriage is a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God. It is given that as man and woman grow together in love and trust, they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind, as Christ is united with his bride, the Church (www.heapeyandwithnellchurches.co.uk/contemporary.pdf).

God is absolutely included in this deal. This is the main thing that concerns God’s will for one’s life and one’s potential spouse. Where does the will of God enter into all of this discussion? It’s central, it’s primary, and it’s the most important aspect. Let’s consider some of the steps involved in this process. The first step is desiring the will of God for your life. In doing this it means surrendering your life to God and asking Him to be the directing agent. The next step is developing relationships with believers, because marriages tend to develop out of existing relationships. This is a safeguard against marrying a non-Christian. Jesus said in John 1:7; “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (H. Norman Wright – Seek God’s Will Carefully When Choosing a Spouse). For a Christian to marry an unbeliever is not only to disobey God, it is to enter marriage lacking crucial ingredient. It has been described as a triangle with God. The closer each partner moves to God, the closer they move toward each other. The further each moves from God, the further they move from each other. As soon as Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced alienation from each other and Adam began blaming Eve for his problems (Gen 3;7,12). Broken marriages always involve at least one partner moving away from God. So the starting place in having a marriage according to God’s design is genuine conversation and a daily walk with God (https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-2-god-s-design-marriage-genesis-218-25).

God’s Special Love

The Holy Scriptures clearly says that God loved us so much despite of our sinful nature. He offers Himself to be our God not because we are lovable but because it is His nature that He is loving. He loves us by sending His Son Jesus for us to have hope of eternal life because that’s the kind of God He is. In the Old Testament, God chose Israel to be the recipient of God’s love but Israel forgot how loving God had been in making them His chosen people. They did not fear God. They do wicked things, worship idols, embezzle money or ignore a neighbors need.

In the book of Malachi 1:6-8 the people offered defiled food to God and God questioned “Where is my honor?…When you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your Governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary exactly says; “Our relation to God, as our Father and Master, strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. Those who live in careless neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God’s name in what they did. It is evident that these understood not the meaning of the sacrifices…; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away which did not turn to their profit. If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and dead in it, we bring the sick; and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls? In order to the acceptance, we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end” (Commentary on Malachi). If God’s special love is not reciprocated with honor, heartily, respect and sincerity, will God be pleased? Absolutely not!

How much does God love us? The answer is “so much” that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 1:8). Our sinfulness and rebellion toward God was paid with Love for us to see God’s great Love for us. If we have an avenue to understand how God loved us, we must be willing to understand how to accept the love of God. Imagine, we were created in His own image and likeness! What reason do we have to rebel and neglect Him.

This Love is so Great and Special that has to make God our priority. His patience and willingness to give is so great even giving His own Son’s life for us. But this will not continue until the appointed time. If we ignore and reject this love offered to us, God has a way in dealing with us. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says; “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God’s love gives us a choice to take our freedom seriously. We are accountable for our own choice whether to reciprocate God’s Special love or not and this will later be judged.