I hope you can see this photo clearly.  I took this of the beautiful California Redwoods.  Can you see the two vertical trees that have grown from the horizontal branches of this Redwood?  Isn’t that magnificent?  They are all part of the same tree!  I was simply amazed and in awe of the Lord’s handiwork.  In all of creation, there is an object lesson.  This particular picture brought today’s post to mind.

~1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

~Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

~1 Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

~1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

Who does one follow when it comes to the things of God?  Does one follow church leaders?  Does one follow the Bible?  What if the Bible says one thing and the church leaders say another? What does one do?

Some churches say that their church’s traditions and church fathers’ writings are additions to the word of God and more recent. Therefore, they must follow these traditions. Some believe that God’s word is the foundation only and traditions and church fathers’ writings are building blocks which must be obeyed. Hmmmm! That ought to be a red flag! (Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18)

Paul wrote several times in today’s text that we should follow God – and if we follow a church leader, that church leader must be following God and what His word commands.  In other words, we should not be following after a leader who goes against the scriptures.  The scriptures are our measuring stick.  If our church leaders say one thing and the Bible says another, we are to follow the scriptures.  Paul had the opportunity here to tell us to follow leadership even when they are wrong or even when they make up doctrine that goes against Scriptures.  However, Paul emphatically stated that we are to follow after leaders who follow after God – and God reveals His will in His word! Many churches are extremely against following the scriptures only. (Jeremiah 23:32, Matthew 22:29, Hebrews 3:10)

Read these verses and ask yourself if the church you attend falls under these guidelines.  There are fundamental beliefs in Scriptures that cannot be compromised – salvation is one of them.  What does your church leader teach about salvation?  Read your Bible – compare the two.  If there is any difference, your church leaders are not heeding Paul’s exhortation.

~Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Just how important is God’s Word in our lives? If we take Luke’s passage, it seems that it must be very important because Luke says that we should live by every word of God. Who would know better than a physician like Luke? People today trust their doctors and follow their instructions impeccably. Why won’t they trust the Creator of the Universe’s words? It stands to reason that our all knowing God would know what to teach us, how to guide us down the paths of life, correct?

Let’s allow the Bible to speak to us today. The Word has been in written form for thousands of years. Scrolls and parchments were kept and preserved through the generations. Just reading the history of what Scribes had to go through to copy the Torah, one sees how it is not by chance and mistakes were not made in the Bible’s preservation. God spoke and man wrote down what the Holy Spirit told man to write.

Here’s what God’s own Word has to say about His words:

~1 Samuel 9:27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.

~1 Kings 12:22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

~1 Chronicles 17:3 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,

~Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

~Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

~Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

~Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

~Luke 8:21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

~Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

~John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

~Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

~2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

~2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

~Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

~1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

~Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

~Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

~1 John 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

~Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Jesus Christ came to earth to speak His Word to us and to teach us about His Father’s great love. His Holy Spirit lives with believers and teaches us from the words that He moved men to pen. The Word of God has power to transform lives if we allow the Spirit to change us.

Those who do not believe that the Bible is God’s own Word miss out on one of the most wonderful experiences Christians have on a daily basis! It amazes me still to this day that I can ask God a question and He gives me an answer in His Word! His Word is living – it never changes – it is eternal.

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Gleaning Gold

~Ephesians 3:17-19, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Nuggets of Truth

Rooted and grounded in love … just what is Paul teaching us here?  To be grounded in our faith is to base our faith on Jesus Christ, our foundation.

~1 Corinthians 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

With Christ as the foundation, a believer now has the opportunity to grow as a Christian as he reads the Word and allows himself to be taught by the Holy Spirit.  Like a plant, as the believer grows, his spiritual roots grow deeper and deeper and he becomes stable and well planted in his beliefs.  As we glean from Ephesians 3:17-19, we find that the love of God is the center of the very life of the believer.  It is this love that permeates every level of the believer’s life.

~1 John 4:16-17 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

When someone claims to be “born again,” it becomes evident in his actions.  The act of dwelling implies permanence in these verses in 1 John.  Anyone who has experienced the love of God cannot help but to expose that love in his actions and words.  Anyone who has experienced God’s mercy in their lives cannot help but share that mercy with others.

Refining the Gold

~2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

As we build on the foundation of Christ and root ourselves in His Word, we find ourselves dwelling in God’s love.  As a result, we are able to stand fast and hang onto what Christ has taught us.  We are not blown about with the wind of false doctrine but we hold to the traditions taught us in the Word.  Not the traditions of men, as some “religions” teach, but the traditions based on the foundation of the world, Jesus Christ.  Christ is seen in and revealed throughout the Old Testament and these “traditions” from the Word are the very foundation of the Christian church.

In these end times, it is all the more important for us to follow these instructions.  Let’s be rooted – let’s dwell in God’s love – let’s stand fast and hold to what we have been taught in God’s Word!  God, in His great love, has promised us consolation, good hope and comfort during these upcoming trials which will come upon the whole world.

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The catholic church and its leaders will be accountable to God for much. Most of catholic beliefs stem from the traditions of men – but they call it sacred tradition. There is nothing sacred about contradicting what God has said in His Word. In fact, the Bible calls it blasphemy!

~Matthew 23:23-24 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (23) Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (24)

Romanism is famous for straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. The poor catholic is bombarded with sacraments, prayers, penances, indulgences, traditions, catechism, etc. but their leaders are just as lost as they are. They pray the rosary and much words but yet never speak to God.

~Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

The Word of God is the whole law – it brings judgment upon us and reveals our sin to us – it shows us the mercy of God and His salvation to us – and shows us how to be saved, through faith and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast!

Does this not sound like the catholics picked up exactly what the Jews/Pharisees were doing? Romanism has its members wrapped up in doing just that.

~Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

~Matthew 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

~Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

~Matthew 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

~Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

~Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

~Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

~Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

~Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Peter himself encouraged the believers to do as the prophets had done and to search diligently for themselves and not to take the word of mere man.

~1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

~1 Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

~1 Peter 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

~1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

~1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

~1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

~1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

~1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

~1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

~1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

~1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

If Peter was the first pope as the catholics proclaim, why would he encourage the believer to be “in the Word” and to search things out and to obey those who followed after the Word and not after the traditions of men? What Peter exhorts the believer to do here is totally in contradiction to what the catholic church claims.

How can you follow after a church that teaches so many things that are contrary to what God’s Word says? Where do you draw the line?

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