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?

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A Man of God is a Man of Prayer

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7New King James Version (NKJV).

The times we are living in are difficult. We are often trapped by our unbelief and fear. Prayers should be with full trust. Many times if not sometimes, people give little thought to God’s ability to take care of us. The more we trust God, the less we trust our own understanding. The enemy would have us think that to place our trust wholeheartedly in God is a sign of weakness. This is the world’s thinking, but what the Bible says:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Debbie Przybylski said in her article “A Prayer for Trust to step out in faith” that “we all want God to answer our prayers. We believe in the power of prayer, but when it comes down to our own individual lives and problems, we often don’t have the faith to believe that God will answer. Our lack of faith and our fear of stepping out in dependence on Him are what get in the way. The truth is that the things we do for God should be outside of our own abilities; they should be evidence that we are trusting in His supernatural ability.” (http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/a-prayer-for-trusting-god-in-hard-times.html )

In times of happiness and in times when we are desperate, we must have an attitude of thanking God or leaning on toward God for help. Psalm 27:1 shows a perfect pattern of trust when it says: “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” In times where things are desperate, we should turn to God for help.

Prayers must not only be trustful but also thankful. “Thankfulness is one of the graces by which the believer reveals the state of his spiritual health. Thankfulness adds a new dimension to all our blessings. Our food tastes better when we have given thanks; our common blessings loom larger; our eternal destiny shines ever more brightly, and life becomes correspondingly more serene.” (Charles W. Koller – Expository Preaching without Notes plus). God appreciates a thanking spirit. It pleases Him. It is one of the ways we show Him we truly love Him. When we give to God our thanks, we also benefit by being close to Him. The things we give to Him is our praise and worship, our sacrifice of time, energy and money. Basically, we give our lives to Him with thanksgiving. This brings us closer to Him, to grow spiritually and can transform our attitude, mind, and spirit. We can only claim to be Man of God when in everything, we are prayerful.

Salvation is For All!

It has been the way of thinking of the “old” that only Jews can be saved and that the salvation was intended only for their race. If you notice the early times of Christ, the Jews had no social or religious dealings with the Samaritans because they regarded them as having departed from Judaism. “The hatred between the Jews and Samaritans was fierce and long-standing. In some ways, it dated all the way back to the days of the patriarchs” (https://bible.org/illustration/hatred-between-jews-and-samaritans).

The God we are worshipping will not save a man simply because he is a Jew, or because he is famous, or because he is prosperous; nor will he reject a man because of his education or race or characteristics. All people, of whatever condition in life, will stand before God as equal; and is entitled to the same privileges. God regards men today, not on the basis of their skin or nationality but on whether they are faithful and obedient to His will.

Romans 10:12 says; “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him.” Barnes’ Note on the Bible says; For there is no difference – In the previous verse, Paul had quoted a passage from Isaiah 28:16, which says that “everyone” (Greek, πᾶς pas) that believeth shall not be ashamed; that is, everyone of every nation and kindred. This implies that it was not to be confined to the Jews”(http://biblehub.com/commentaries/romans/10-12.htm). Here the word “Greek” is made to stand for all not Jews. And in verse 13; “for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Dr. Taylor says; “Believing in Christ, or God, Romans 10:11, and calling upon God, Romans 10:12-14, are in effect the same thing; as calling upon God necessarily connects and supposes faith in him: and he who duly believes in Christ has such a sense of his dependence upon Divine grace, that he looks unto God and trusts in his power and goodness alone for happiness: which is the true religion of the Gospel” (Clarke’s Commentary on Romans 10:13/http://www.godvine.com/bible/romans/10-13). All may be “one” in Christ, and fellow-heirs in the same body, through obedience to the same gospel. (Romans 1:16-17).

We have to know that God desires everyone to have the hope of Salvation. However, it is a sad truth that not all people are or will have it. Our Maker has put conditions upon that salvation. We too must first imitate Him as – “He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:8-9). The simple truth is that there are just people that do not want to obey God’s will. God wants them to be saved–and they can be saved, but they have to turn from sin and keep God’s commandments. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14).

Jesus is our ONLY WAY!

The world has so many good offers and it makes you feel good. At the end of it, the Lord’s offer will prevail. Think of it, it is the best that man can have. He gave His Life for us to achieve the offer to be in Heaven. Oftentimes, men brush aside our Lord’s offer. It has been that way since the time He came to this world. Our Lord Jesus came into this world to be born and live like us. He shared the Gospel’s message that His Father wants us to hear and embrace. He was bringing His Father’s will so that souls will have the hope of eternal life. Yet many people plotted against Him. They ignored and rejected Him. They mocked Him and would even want to kill Him. They knew He is the way as many pieces of evidence were shown to prove His deity. He claims to be the Son of God and proved it with His miracles and teachings. Yet, men were still so stubborn and continue to be hard in their ways.

Many Roads? Yet, there is ONLY ONE ROAD! Jesus said, “I am the WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There is only one way to go to God. It is ONLY through Christ. Ellicot Commentary for English Readers say; “The pronoun is emphatic. ‘I, and none besides Me.’ ‘The way’ is again made prominent, reversing the order which Thomas had used. He and He only is the means through which men can approach to the Father” (http://biblehub.com/john/14-6.htm).

Many times people go to “detours” in following Christ. Ron Bennet in his article “Discovering God in the Detour” says; When confronted with a detour in life, several emotions seem to emerge: anxiety, impatience, frustration, disappointment, and even confusion. Unable to make progress toward our goals, we may feel that we are wasting time, no longer in control, and very unsure of the future” (http://www.navigatorchurchministries.org/Blog/August-2014/Discovering-God-in-the-Detour). This is so fatal for people to resort to anything outside of God. If we follow the Lord’s pattern, His word and direction, we will not become tired and discouraged. We have to keep an eye on “The Way” for us not to be lost and can endure all obstacles. We have to know that the world offers many detours to avoid potholes. If we are patient, we can endure and in the end, we will be victorious. Let us always remember Jesus when He said; “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23).

Is Heaven Your Destination?

There was an argument about “Man’s Destination” that one says “man has no capacity to determine where he is heading. It is only God who makes that decision.” It seems like the man cannot decide where he should be with that kind of reasoning. Predestination is even foreign in the Biblical terms which seem to be their argument. What did the Bible say?

Heaven or Hell? C.S. Lewis says “The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Hell is the place prepared for the devil and his angels. The Devil’s nature is to tempt and often times we believe that by engaging with that temptation, it will give us something. It might make us feel good, meet a perceived need or be pleasurable. Eve thought God was holding out on her when she wanted to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She didn’t believe God’s warning when He set a boundary and placed the garden as off-limits. Satan wants you to impugn the nature of God. He wants to cause war in heaven and bring all humans to revolt against God the Father (https://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/18644-how-satan-entices-people-into-sin).

God has revealed our enemy and wanted us to be aware of his scheme. He gave directions for us to follow and never fall into Satan’s trap. Most of all, He warned us and should be affected by the fearfulness of hell. Jude 22-23 says; “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Wouldn’t it be shameful for us just to save ourselves and not include others by telling them of God’s plan? Aren’t we given a choice to choose for our salvation or not? Should we be not affected also by the terror of the Lord in the coming judgment? 2 Corinthians 5:11 says; “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

If Heaven is our destination and we obey the Lord’s guidance by entering the “strait or narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13), we should not only fear the “appearance and punishment of Hell” but we should be “more” motivated to work for our salvation (Philippians 2:12) because the life in heaven and eternal happiness to be with our Lord will help us overcome sufferings and trials. Jesus promised us a place in His Father’s house where we can enjoy the absence of sorrow (Jn. 14:2-3). This offer is not for a week or month but for eternity! To think of that, we would barter what we have now just to be in Heaven – right?

Going back to our question, where is your destiny? The ANSWER is HEAVEN! We can do it and work for our destination. Peter said, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” 2 Peter 1:10. Apostle Paul did the same encouragement by saying; “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. If Hell does not scare you, remember, hell is a place which even the demons themselves, who know their destiny and wish to avoid as long as possible (Mt. 8:29).

What Causes Us to Forget God

The problems our world is facing is because of the root of all – “People do not know God.” This problem has started since the Old Testament that God was not recognized nor remembered. It caused them to live in a chaotic life. The same is happening today in our world to many people.  Prophet Hosea warned the people of God’s warning that they ignored God. He said in Hosea 8:14 “For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.” God made a way to write down His laws to be followed by men. He used prophets to spread His word. However, the people ignored the call of God. Matthew Henry Commentary says; “they cared not to know, and would not obey God. So long as men despise the truths and precepts of God’s word,… will be unto them for sin; for those services only are acceptable to God, which is done according to his word, and through Jesus Christ” (http://biblehub.com/hosea/8-14.htm).

In another instance, the prophet Isaiah warned the people of their situation. He said in Isaiah 17:10-11 “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants and set them with vine slips of a strange god.  In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in, and in the morning you bring your seed to blossom, but the harvest will be a heap in a day of sickliness and incurable pain.” When people forget God, people no longer need Him. People get so “self-absorbed” to think to be no longer needed, God. This has caused the man to forget about God while man exalts himself and be rebellious to the Maker putting himself equal of God or do not recognize His existence at all.

America today, according to Skip Athey in his article “The Consequences of Forgetting God” saying “there is a generation of people who do not know the Lord or the works that he has done for America. Many who call themselves Christians do not speak of the Lord in their homes, they do not worship together as families and they have forsaken the assembly of believers together in the church. Our generation has forsaken God and adopted the lies of the culture we live in as the truth, we have ordered our families the same way the pagans do and for this, we all are suffering the consequences.” (http://buildingfaithfulfamilies.blogspot.ca/2008/07/consequences-of-forgetting-god.html)

Here are few reasons why people forget God: 1. Rebellion 2. Laziness 3. Indifference/ Disobedience 4. Not giving God importance at all.

Surely, something is missing today. People do not realize that the very thing they ignore, mock and run from is what they needed. It should scare us to see this generation today and more so the generation to come. This generation has fallen too far away from God. Let us go back and do what Jesus has been doing to save the coming generation. The scriptures say in Matthew 9:35-38 “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (KJV)

Christians Must be Willing to Support: The Church or Ministry

From the start, “total submission” has been the main thing our God is looking from every individual who are called “followers of Christ.” Our Lord Jesus says in John 15: 6-8; “If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, proving yourselves to be My disciples…” (Berean Study Bible). When we come to accept Jesus as our Lord and savior through baptism, we are willing to submit ourselves and commit our lives to the Lord. We know the work of the Lord is to spread the gospel. The “soul-saving message” must be shared to many and the lost souls will have the Hope of eternal life. We certainly would like to see the Lord’s kingdom grow in our area or in different places where there is no church. However, we have to be willing to give “cheerfully” to support the work of the Lord. In the Bible, Apostle Paul graciously thanked the Philippian brethren in Philippians 4:14-18 for their support of the needs and work he was doing. The church at Philippi shared Paul’s burden of the work by sending their help.

 

When we brethren feel the responsibility of sharing the burden by helping the programs of the church, the church can do its work more efficiently and effectively. We have to be reminded again of the principle Jesus said “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Matthew Henry Commentary says; the opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this (cheerfully-heartfelt giving); they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also (http://biblehub.com/acts/20-35.htm).

 

Amie Streater says in his article “Why Give to the Local Church?” saying; “giving to the local church isn’t merely one good option among many. It’s an imperative for every Christian. The problem for most believers is not that they don’t have enough to give, it’s that they’re not wisely managing what they already have so that they can be generous with others. I believe that if we live within our means and give generously both to the local church and to outside ministries, we will have more than enough to meet our families’ needs” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2013/spring/why-give-to-local-church.html).

Please take what Jesus said; “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6: 38) The grand characteristic feature of the society of his followers must be generosity. They must be known among men as givers rather than judges. Boundless generosity, limitless kindness to all, saint and sinner – that is what he, the Master, would press home to those who would follow His lead (see 3 John 1:5, 6) (Pulpit Commentary).

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.