Tag Archives: Trinity

Where My Love Comes From

I’ve been listening to Third Day’s new album Miracle for a while now. I have to confess that I don’t like this album as much as Move or Revelation, but a number of the songs have really started to grow on me.

One song that I am really starting to love is Your Love Is Like a River.

This life can be hard and we suffer hurt and darkness from every side. We are hard pressed to remain standing through it all. We need love, light, and stability just to survive. God’s love is like a river that never stops flowing if we let it. His love is like a fire that keeps the darkness at bay. His love is like a rock that is a firm and stable foundation for every day.

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV).

What this world needs is God’s love and they will know that love if we, His people, let that love flow from our hearts. We must always remember that He is the source of our love. This song reminds me where my love comes from.

Another thing I love about this song is the underlying message of the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The river is like the Father ever flowing throughout eternity; the fire is like the Holy Spirit who lights our way; and the rock is like the Son who provides a firm foundation for our faith.

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Music, Psalms

Comprehending Three in One for Trinity Sunday

According to the liturgical calendar used by many Christian churches, today is Trinity Sunday. This is the day that the Church celebrates the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It falls on the Sunday following Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit came upon the Church. Today I am doing something I rarely do on my blog, and that is to repost something. This article was originally posted on June 2, 2010, back when I had a lot fewer readers. Because understanding the Trinity is so important to the Christian faith, I thought it was time this post saw a little more readership.

The doctrine of the Trinity is one that causes concern for many people, and some churches that consider themselves Christian refuse to adopt this doctrine because they believe it involves the worship of three gods instead of the One True God. This is because of how the doctrine is typically explained. It is said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three persons of the Triune God. But how can three distinct persons be one? Christians are monotheists; we believe in one God, not three.

The problem with rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity is that to do so one must say that Jesus is not God. And yet that is exactly who He claimed to be. Jesus said to the people, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:24. Later in this same conversation, as the discussion turned to Abraham and how the people claimed Abraham to be their father, ”I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:58. The Jews of His day clearly understood this statement by Jesus to be His claim that He was God. As they plotted against Him and threatened to stone Him, they said, “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:33.

But why did this statement by Jesus — “before Abraham was born, I am” — lead the Jews to the conclusion that Jesus claimed to be God? To understand this, we must return to the Old Testament and the stories the Jews were intimately familiar with. When God sent Moses to rescue the Israelites from Egypt, Moses was afraid to go.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:13-14.

When Jesus said His name was “I am,” the Jews understood this to be His claim that He was God. Jesus went on to make six other “I am” statements as recorded in the book of John, and to also claim that He and the Father are One.

Despite this and other scriptural evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity, many have trouble with the concept because scripture also says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4. This past Sunday the guest pastor at my church spoke of the Trinity in a way that made this apparent problem or inconsistency a non-issue. It was a way of understanding the doctrine of the Trinity that I had not heard before.

The word “personae” that is translated “person” in most explanations of the Trinity is a Greek word that does not actually mean person. This is an incorrect translation of the Greek word. The word “personae” actually means “face,” “mask,” “role,” or “appearance.” One American Heritage Dictionary definition of the word is “The role that one assumes or displays in public or society; one’s public image or personality, as distinguished from the inner self.”

Used in this way, one can understand Jesus as the role God assumes or the mask He displays to humans who are not able to stand in the presence of God the Father. The Holy Spirit can be understood as the role God plays or the face He displays within the hearts of believers to guide them in their daily living. Each “personae” of the Trinity serves a different purpose or role, but He is only One God. God’s appearance as Jesus here on earth served a specific purpose, and His indwelling in the hearts of believers as the Holy Spirit serves another purpose. But always He sits on His heavenly throne in all His glory and splendor as the Father.

The Christian band Third Day sings a song called “You Are So Good To Me” that is a song to the three personae of the Trinity. Whenever I hear the closing reprise, I better understand this complex but simple way in which God reveals Himself to us:

You are my Father in Heaven
You are the Spirit inside me
You are my Jesus who loves me

When I sing along with this song, I know that the “You” I sing to is One God, and He is all three of these wonderful things to me.

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Pondering How Three Can Be One

Over the past few days I’ve been pondering the doctrine of the trinity and how three can be one. The Bible tells us that there is only one true God, so how then can our Father in Heaven be God, Jesus the Son be God, and the Holy Spirit be God, all at the same time? There are certainly monotheistic religions that reject the doctrine of the trinity because of this mystery. But I believe that the Bible and experience provide us ample evidence to support this central doctrine.

There are numerous scriptures in both the Old and New Testament that support the doctrine of the trinity, but I want to focus on just a few today, along with the train of thought that’s been going through my mind the past few days.

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” You and I are created in the image or likeness of God. By looking at our nature, how we were made, we can learn something about God.

Each human being has a body, a mind, and a soul. Each of these components of the human being serves a different purpose. They are distinct, yet they are not separate.

The body is our physical representation. In the same way, Jesus is the physical representation of God. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NIV).

The mind, though it cannot be seen, is where our thoughts and intelligence reside. In the same way, God the Father is where the thoughts and intelligence of God reside. In Isaiah 55:8, we read: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.”

The soul, also invisible, is the very essence of our life. In the same way, the Holy Spirit is the very essence of the life of God. It is the Spirit of God that was breathed into Adam to give him life, and it is the Spirit of God who gives new life to the believer. “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 (NIV).

It is a wondrous mystery that each human being is composed of body, mind, and soul. We simply do not exist as a whole human being if even one of these components is missing.

It is an even more wondrous mystery that our God is composed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To believe in only one of these components and reject the others is to strip God of His essential being.

God created us in His image, in His likeness, so that we might be in relationship with Him and understand who He is. Pondering how I am body, mind, and soul, but am still only one human being, helps me to understand the nature of the One true God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three truly can be One.

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The Trinity – A Poem for My Tuesday Three

For My Tuesday Three today I decided I wanted to write a poem about, as Don McLean calls them in American Pie, “the three men I admire most: the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.” I think of the Trinity whenever I write a Tuesday Three post, so I thought it was high time I devote a post to the Triune God – One God in three persons. (For another good post on the Trinity, check out this post on Comprehending the Trinity.)

The Trinity

God, the Father
Creator of all
Divided land and water
Placed the stars, sun,
and heavens above
Formed plants and animals
in perfect balance
Breathed life into Adam
and created Eve his mate
Gave His only Son
to redeem His Creation

God, the Son
Jesus, the Christ
Born of a virgin
in humble surroundings
A teacher, prophet
and friend of sinners
who needed Him most
Turned water to wine
and gave the blind sight
Willingly gave His life
to redeem His Creation

God, the Holy Spirit
Wonderful Counselor
Promised by the Father
Reminds us of the words
taught by the Son
Source of wisdom, faith,
patience, kindness,
and all good things
Helps us to pray
Draws all people to the Son
to redeem His Creation

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry, postaday2011

Appreciation x 3 – A Poem

Yesterday at work I received my invitation to our annual Employee Appreciation Luncheon. It’s a wonderful event at which employees who have reached various milestones receive awards and the entire staff of the organization is treated to a delicious lunch with games and lots of visiting. Appreciation is a great synonym of thankful, and so I decided it would be the subject of this week’s Thankful Thursday acrostic poem.

This is kind of a silly poem, and each of the four stanzas is a bit different. The first stanza is about my appreciation for my faith and all that it entails. The second stanza is about some foods, flowers, places, and other things I appreciate. The third stanza lists people in the Bible who contributed to the story of God’s relationship with His creation. The last stanza departs from the acrostic style and sums up my thoughts on having an appreciation for all the blessings in my life.

APPRECIATION x 3

Abba, Father, the source of all good
Prayers of family and friends
Prayers of our Lord in heaven
Ransom paid for you and for me
Eternity with loved ones
Christ on His throne and in my heart
Incarnate Deity, Word made flesh
Atonement for the sins of all
Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Indwelling Holy Spirit to comfort
Only Son of God, our Lord
N
o condemnation for those in Christ

Almonds, artichokes, and apple crisp
P
ears, pineapple, and parfait
P
eople, pets, and popcorn
R
oses, rosemary, and rhododendron
E
ggs, egg salad, and egg noodles
C
arrots, cauliflower,  and candy
Iris, Impatiens, and ice cream cones
A
rizona, Alaska, and the Atlantic Ocean
T
raveling, the Tetons, and trails to hike
I
nteresting ideas and inventions
O
atmeal, oranges, and onions for cooking
N
ature, nachos, and notes from a friend

Abel, Abraham, and Amos 
P
otiphar, Priscilla, and Phoebe
P
eter, Philip, and Paul
R
achel, Rahab, and Reuben
E
lijah, Elisha, and Elizabeth
C
aleb, Cleopas, and Cornelius
I
saiah, Isaac, and Israel
A
ndrew, Anna, and Ananias
T
homas, Titus, and Timothy
I
mmanuel
O
ur Righteousness
N
ame above all names

Appreciation, Appreciation, Appreciation
For things seen and unseen
An attitude of appreciation
For people, places, and things
Appreciation for life
Is like a song we can sing
Appreciation for salvation
A gift from the King

What do you appreciate today? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. In fact, I would really appreciate it. :)

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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Comprehending the Trinity

According to the liturgical calendar used by many Christian churches, last Sunday was Trinity Sunday. This is the day that the Church celebrates the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It falls on the Sunday following Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit came upon the Church.

The doctrine of the Trinity is one that causes concern for many people, and some churches that consider themselves Christian refuse to adopt this doctrine because they believe it involves the worship of three gods instead of the One True God. This is because of how the doctrine is typically explained. It is said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three persons of the Triune God. But how can three distinct persons be one? Christians are monotheists; we believe in one God, not three.

The problem with rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity is that to do so one must say that Jesus is not God. And yet that is exactly who He claimed to be. Jesus said to the people, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:24. Later in this same conversation, as the discussion turned to Abraham and how the people claimed Abraham to be their father, “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:58. The Jews of His day clearly understood this statement by Jesus to be His claim that He was God. As they plotted against Him and threatened to stone Him, they said, “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:33.

But why did this statement by Jesus — “before Abraham was born, I am” — lead the Jews to the conclusion that Jesus claimed to be God? To understand this, we must return to the Old Testament and the stories the Jews were intimately familiar with. When God sent Moses to rescue the Israelites from Egypt, Moses was afraid to go.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:13-14.

When Jesus said His name was “I am,” the Jews understood this to be His claim that He was God. Jesus went on to make six other “I am” statements as recorded in the book of John, and to also claim that He and the Father are One.

Despite this and other scriptural evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity, many have trouble with the concept because scripture also says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4. This past Sunday the guest pastor at my church spoke of the Trinity in a way that made this apparent problem or inconsistency a non-issue. It was a way of understanding the doctrine of the Trinity that I had not heard before.

The word “personae” that is translated “person” in most explanations of the Trinity is a Greek word that does not actually mean person. This is an incorrect translation of the Greek word. The word “personae” actually means “face,” “mask,” “role,” or “appearance.” One American Heritage Dictionary definition of the word is “The role that one assumes or displays in public or society; one’s public image or personality, as distinguished from the inner self.”

Used in this way, one can understand Jesus as the role God assumes or the mask He displays to humans who are not able to stand in the presence of God the Father. The Holy Spirit can be understood as the role God plays or the face He displays within the hearts of believers to guide them in their daily living. Each “personae” of the Trinity serves a different purpose or role, but He is only One God. God’s appearance as Jesus here on earth served a specific purpose, and His indwelling in the hearts of believers as the Holy Spirit serves another purpose. But always He sits on His heavenly throne in all His glory and splendor as the Father.

The Christian band Third Day sings a song called “You Are So Good To Me” that is a song to the three personae of the Trinity. Whenever I hear the closing reprise, I better understand this complex but simple way in which God reveals Himself to us:

You are my Father in Heaven
You are the Spirit inside me
You are my Jesus who loves me

When I sing along with this song, I know that the “You” I sing to is One God, and He is all three of these wonderful things to me.

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Filed under Faith, Life, Music