Why It Matters – The Trinity

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Why It Matters – The Trinity

Twenty years ago, as a teenage boy, I sat in a school gym and listened to a passionate West Texas preacher expound on various Christian beliefs. I was a Christian, but I was also a teenage boy, so while I was comfortable sitting and listening to his strong raspy voice explain the things of God, my mind also wandered to and fro. Today I can’t recall much of what he said, but I can tell you this: at one point in his sermon, he made an analogy that has stuck with me ever since, and has even been profound in shaping the way I think about the nuanced beliefs of different Christians.  In his deep Texas drawl, he said,

“Boys, Christian beliefs are like two kinds of trees. Oak trees and willow trees. Willow tree beliefs are things like styles of worship, kinds of baptism, or even predestination and free-will. Just like a willow tree, we can flex and bend in the wind, and good, God-fearin’ people can disagree about ‘em. But some beliefs are oak trees. Where they are planted by God, they must stay, never movin’ no matter how hard the wind blows. Oak tree beliefs are ones like the authority of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, salvation by grace alone, and the Holy Trinity.  Them are oak trees – and always will be.”

I’ll never forget that preacher, and I’ll never forget his words.

In this blog series entitled “Why It Matters”, we will be taking a look at some oak trees of Christianity. The goal is not to offer an exhaustive theological explanation of each oak tree tenet. There are many volumes by much more qualified authors that do that already.  Rather, the primary goal is to explore just one reason – among many – why these theological beliefs matter. After all, being able to name our theological beliefs is one thing; being able to think about them and understand why they matter is another.

The Trinity: What it Is

Did you know the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible? How is it then that we believe something that isn’t even mentioned in Scripture?  While the word Trinity is missing in Scripture, the doctrine is not. Contrary to popular belief, the Bible is not solely a book of doctrines about God. The Bible is a story. It’s a narrative that through story-like histories tells us who God is, who we are, and what we are to do about it. In that narrative we find truths, revealed and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, that become what the Church knows and teaches about God. The Trinity is one of the most important of those beliefs.

To believe in the Trinity is to say that you believe in one God that exists, and has always existed, in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. While each is different and has varying roles, they are equal parts of the whole. God the Father does not act independently of the Son. Jesus, the Son, does not act independently of the Spirit, and the Spirit does not act independently of either Father or Son. So, when Adam and Eve encountered God the Father – when the disciples encountered Jesus – and when you have encountered the Holy Spirit – each was an encounter with the Trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in one.

The Trinitarian nature of God is seen regularly throughout Scripture. Multiple times in the Old Testament, God is plural. He is the epitome of the “royal we.” When creating men and women God says, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” (Genesis 1:26 NLT, emphasis added) God continues to speak of himself as a plural being in response to the Tower of Babel (“Come, let us go down…” – Gen 11:7) and through the words of his prophet Isaiah (“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’” – Isaiah 6:8).

The three persons of our one God are revealed more clearly in the New Testament. In Mark 1:9-11, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make an appearance at Jesus’ baptism. In John 1:1-5 we are taught that Jesus is the “word made flesh” and was present with the God the Father and the Spirit as he laid the foundations of the world (Gen 1:1-2). Jesus commands his disciples to make new disciples and baptize them “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19-20) This pattern of unified relationship continues as Jesus promises the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-20) and prays (John 17:20-23), as the apostle Paul gives Trinitarian salutations (2 Corinthians 13:14) and writes of Jesus’ divinity (Colossians 1:15-20), and Jesus’ dear friend John begins the Revelation with a greeting in the name of the Trinity (Revelation 1:4-5).

So the Trinity is God in three persons. But so what? The Trinity may be fundamental to Christian belief, but why does it matter?

The Trinity: Why it Matters

My church is currently on a “Life Group” kick. Your church may call them Cell Groups, or Small Groups, or Home Bible Studies, but whatever the name, the concept is the same. A group of people meeting regularly in someone’s home or at church to study Scripture, talk, and pray together. The goal of these small groups is the same as many of the church’s other programs: to build small communities of people in loving relationships. In fact, that’s one of the goals of local churches: worship, Bible studies, outreach teams, groups for youth, young adults, married people and seniors. Each group is designed to facilitate community and any church should stress the need for community and provide ways to build it.

Being involved in loving and serving relationships isn’t an invention of the Church. It’s at the very core of the identity of the God who created the Church.

That is why believing in the Holy Trinity matters. Our belief that God is one God in three persons is a belief that the God of the Bible exists in perfect, loving relationship. He always has, and he always will. So lovingly investing ourselves in others, and allowing them to invest in us, is not just living as God wants us to live, it’s living as God actually lives! Remember in Genesis 1:26, God tells us that we were made in his image, and in Genesis 2:18, he tells us that it’s not good for us to be alone? Put these two truths together and you get a picture of God reflected in his creation – his people bearing his likeness as they live in loving community. Scripture echoes the design for community throughout (Ecclesiastes 4:12, Proverbs 15:22, 18:22, 27:17, John 17:22-23, Acts 2:42).

You’ve heard the phrase, “do what I say, not what I do”, right? The opposite is true with God. God never asks of us that which he hasn’t already done or is not already doing.  He loved us, and tells us to love others. He forgives us, and asks us to follow suit. He exists in community – the Trinity – so he teaches us to live that way too.

God calls us into community, into relationship, not because he thinks it’s good for us, but because he has personally existed in relationship as the Holy Trinity for all eternity past, so he knows it’s good for us.

Believing in the Trinity is a belief about church, about small groups, about marriage and about family. It’s a belief that to live as God lives is the very best way to live. It’s the belief that our happiness is found by entering into a relationship with God and with others.

Why does the doctrine of the Trinity matter? Because in it we see that living in relationship – even though it is difficult and counter-cultural – is the very best way to live. God does it, so why not you?

Trinity: More to Think About

I’ve offered just one reason why the Holy Trinity matters, but there are definitely others. What do you think some of them are?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

Trinity: Read About It

Book titles for reading about the Trinity….

King’s Cross – Timothy Keller (Chpt 1)

Theology for the Community of God – Stanley J. Grenz – (Chpts 2, 3)

Holy Trinity, Perfect Community – Leonardo Boff

The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three – Cynthia Bourgeault

God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life – Catherine M. LaCugna

The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God – Jurgen Moltmann

To read more posts by Chris sign up for our Narrow Way Daily Devotional here.

About The Author
Chris Greer
Chris Greer
Hi y’all! My name is Christopher and I live in Costa Mesa, CA with my amazing wife, Kerry. I’m a writer and a Young Adult Pastor at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA. And this is how good God is: I was born in the greatest state in the Union (Texas!) and I now live, work, and write in one of the most beautiful places on the planet (Southern California!). Life is good. I am excited that you have found Trochia, a place online to be mentored through God’s grace and truth. God has used mentorship relationships to change my life. Keenan, my friend and former boss helped me to see that my work and relationships were about far more than just “getting the job done.” My current mentor, Stan, is a Christian author who has taught me that Christians (no matter what age) can be intellectually engaged with God and culture in a way that is current, fun, and makes disciples. And I’m forever thankful to God for my parents who are my most influential mentors in faith, marriage, family, and life. Without mentorship, I would not be the man I am. That is why mentorship, along with God’s calling for us to “make disciples” and “teach them to obey everything that [He] commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20), is part of everything I do as a writer and as a young adult pastor. I hope that Trochia will be a resource that helps you receive God’s grace and understand His truth, so that you can take one obedient step after another and mentor others along the way. Check out my two latest devotional books: Easter Is Coming and Christmas Is Coming, available through Amazon.com.
79 Comments
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  • Michael Banka
    May 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Great stuff Chris. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Doris Davis Miles
    May 7, 2013 at 8:46 am

    all 3 is one and name is Jesus

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  • Consuelo Castañuela Helbling
    May 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    ssshhh don’t tell Jehovah Witness’ their foudner thought the Holy SPirit too hard to understand, so they tossed Him to the side.

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  • LindaOShea
    May 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    thanks for the clarification in down to earth language. Blessings and peace to all..

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    • WCGCali
      May 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      @LindaOShea You’re welcome Linda!  The Trinity is such a beautiful and powerful aspect of God, but not always the easiest to understand, so I’m glad this was helpful!

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  • Carol Downey
    May 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    God the Father sent his only Son as “the perfect lamb sacrifice” to die for all of mankind’s sins so that we who have accepted this free gift shall have eternal life. Jesus while here on earth said he and the Father are one. He was trying to get his disciples to realize that he and the Father were one in the same. He said,” if you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Before Jesus ascended to heaven he said he would send a comforter; the Holy Spirit. Jesus was seen by us.The Holy Spirit is not seen by us, but is a very real presence to those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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  • James Powell
    May 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Nowhere in the bible does it mention trinity

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  • Byron L Johnson
    May 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    well the Trinity has always been, and always will be, and the best ceviche’ used to be at that little cafe, 2nd floor overlooking Newport harbor…..and as well in Native American beliefs, which date back before Christ, they new God, that there would be a son, and tremendously respected the Holy Spirit, as there were 4, one for each direction….Thomas Mails, an Episcopalian Priest, noted author of the Native Nation of America….who actually lived with the Legendary , Chief Fools Crow, to write his autobio, an amazing read, Chief Fools Crow, noted as the most Spiritual Leader of the Native Nation at that time by Mails

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  • Sharon Hall Nusbaum
    May 9, 2013 at 1:17 am

    The word “Trinity” – like “incarnation” – is not found in Scripture; however, it aptly codifies what God has condescended to reveal to us about His nature & being. Scripture clearly portrays subject/object relationships between Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

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  • Joe Teran
    May 9, 2013 at 4:39 am

    G-D did not create a CIRCUS…..SORRY…….

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  • Tony Smith
    May 9, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Trinity is the belief that Christ did not actually die on the Cross, that He did not actually cease to live for the three days that He was dead in the tomb. Trinity makes the faith of Jesus unto death a mockery and nothing more than an Oscar-worthy performance.

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  • Joe Womble
    May 9, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Jesus Is Lord!!!

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  • Joe Womble
    May 9, 2013 at 4:41 am

    Joe you better read.Prayers!!!

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  • Lamonda Pope
    July 6, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Yes Indeed..

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  • Lenise Rodriguez
    July 6, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Amen

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  • M van Beethoven
    July 6, 2013 at 6:31 am

    This always makes my head spin. Jesus has always existed and waited thousands of years before coming to earth to be sacrificed. I can’t even begin to imagine a super-Being like that, but I’m grateful that I know Him.

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  • Alvin Peebles
    July 6, 2013 at 6:36 am

    My understanding is because the first Adam failed in their responsibility given to them by God, all of mankind born after the fall was cursed to die with them ,but God already had plan of redemption settled in heaven ,He had a sacrifice already accomplished , for our sin ,and it had to be sinless for true justice ,and the next Adam ,a new beginning for mankind , All who come after Him ,with Him ,have Endless Life , so the phrase born again…..

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  • Alvin Peebles
    July 6, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Only God is sinless ,and only a sinless man could die for our sin ….

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  • Barbara Ward Decker
    July 6, 2013 at 7:35 am

    AMEN…..

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  • Diane Tryon
    July 6, 2013 at 9:42 am

    AMEN

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  • Donna Burland
    July 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

    amen

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  • Snookie Sparks
    July 6, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    HE WAS 100% GOD AND 100% man

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  • Linda DeGuair
    July 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    The Blessed Trinity

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  • Cathy Mills
    July 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    HE means JESUS was with God in the beginning

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  • Linda Dixon
    July 6, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    The way God speaks this is the most captivating truth you will ever hear – Isaiah 48: 16-17 says … “Come near to me and listen to this … From the time that it was (the beginning) – there I AM . And now the Lord God (one) – and His Spirit (two) – hath sent Me (three). THUS (thus means in the way just spoken … 3 in one – ) THUS saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel , I AM THE LORD THY GOD . . . which teacheth thee . . . which leadeth thee by the Way that thou shouldest go “. . . AND WHEN PEOPLE WONDER “Why do those Christians think of Jesus as God?” – – – The being that was sent into the world was and is JESUS CHRIST of NAZARETH . The incredible beauty also is . . . keep reading from Isaiah 48: 16-17 thru Isaiah 49 – 50 – 51 – ( Isaiah 52: 14-15 is what the Passion of The Christ Movie was made from) – and ISAIAH 53 all REVEALS the Life Of Jesus who was SENT INTO THE WORLD – . . . ” hath sent me ” …

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  • Rolando Bunyi
    July 7, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Amen

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  • Jennifer C. Lugo
    July 9, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Really?

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  • Carmen Magana-Stalker
    July 9, 2013 at 6:02 am

    yes

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  • JoHannah Reardon
    July 9, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Good article about the importance of this concept, even though the word doesn’t appear in the Bible.

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  • Pastor Freddy A. Viscarra
    July 9, 2013 at 6:06 am

    yes, God will reveal you his being, ho thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God

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  • Joy Reed
    July 9, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Yes it is not there. Nor is the truism of me, myself , and I being one. Pretty much like I am spirit, soul, and body.

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  • TJ Wilson
    July 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

    the word trinity is not there because the books of the scriptures were either Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek.

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  • Larry Myers
    July 9, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Yes.

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  • Christopher Broglie
    July 9, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Because there I’d no Trinity. All created things r 1 and the same we r spirit as is god

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  • Billy Connally
    July 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

    No,but it His Name is praised by many in the Bible as God the Father;God the Son & God the Holy Ghost.Showing a trinity or the triune God head.One God in 3 persons;hence the trinity.

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  • Evelyn Seese
    July 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Yes.

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  • Helen Dungee
    July 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Such verses do show that the New Testament Faith is a Trinitarian faith. While God is one being, he exists eternally as three coequal and coeternal Persons, whom we know as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. there are three whos within the one being of God, that is, the three divine Persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Because that specific word isn’t in the Bible does not prove there is no Trinity.. There are many words that’s not in the Bible, such as the word Bible….. NEXT…

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  • Janine Pope Barker
    July 9, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Triune is…

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  • Lois Price
    July 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Yes, only found in the Catholic Church’s version along with the false teaching on purgatory…

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  • Tang Sisavath
    July 9, 2013 at 10:34 am

    YES GOD will we thank you for our father SON & HOLY SPIRIT 3 in 1 & AMEN !!!

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  • Juanita B Mcclanahan
    July 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

    no I didn,t.

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  • Joyce Mucha
    July 9, 2013 at 11:59 am

    soooo???? What’s your point??

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  • Regina M. Ibanez
    July 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    yes

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  • LassieMettler
    July 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    No.  Yahowah is ONE; Yahowsha is a ‘part of Yahowah’ set apart from Him to serve us; the Spirit is also just a part of Yahowah, She is set apart from Yahowah to serve us.  They are all part of One Yahowah.

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  • LassieMettler
    July 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I Am Yahowah; there is no saviour besides Me.  Yahowsha is a very small part of Yahowah who is qodesh, qodesh, set-apart twice– a diminished manifestation of Yahowah; He is the part of Yahowah that we can ‘see’.  Yahowsha is not co-equal with Yahowah, He is only a ‘part’.

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  • Margaret Brown
    July 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Yes

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  • Robert Goins
    July 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    this is so true just use your brain for this is it God the father the son and the holy spirit is this not a trinity the word trinity is three

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  • Barbara Jones
    October 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    today

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  • Carol Joy
    October 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    beautiful

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  • Susan Spencer Bruscia
    October 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Amen!

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  • Donald Cates Sr.
    October 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    This is so beautiful… Amen

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  • Patricia Lopez
    October 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    its fairly continuously .

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  • Linda Davis Ledlow
    October 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    All the time.

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  • Scarlett Hutchinson
    October 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    AMEN

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  • Kathy Conley
    October 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Amen

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  • Liz Burrell
    October 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Amen

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  • Linette Sherrod
    October 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    That looksr me to have~i believe every moment in “GOD”~He’s able, He is more than able.~Hallelujah~

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  • Linette Sherrod
    October 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I THINK ABOUT MY BELIEFS EVERY MOMENT. KNOW WITH “GOD ALL AND EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. LOOK LIKE “GOOD” IS SHOWING ME MY NEXT RESIDENCE. I LOVE THE TREE AND FLOWERS ALL AROUNF IT. GLORY Hallelujah~i I DECREE IT DONE. FOR MY LIFE. IN “JESUS” PRECIOUS NAME~Halelujah~

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  • Barbara Woodberry
    October 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Every second of every day that I wake up. I say thank you Lord for another day. I am very Blessed. I have a wonderful husband that saved my life. Beautiful children and 13 fantastic grandchildren.

    0
  • Evelyn Skinner
    October 28, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Today and everyday when I wake up and I go about my day I include my Lord in all that I do, and again at night before I go to sleep and give Him Praise for all that I am and all the Blessings I have in my life., Amen

    0
  • Donald Yeakel
    October 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Amen

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  • Manuel Bonilla
    October 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    every day

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  • Nova Teresa Young
    October 29, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Amen. Thank you Lord

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  • Christine Smith Bangert
    October 29, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Daily!

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  • Malia T Fidow Lauvao
    October 29, 2013 at 3:26 am

    The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen!

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  • Luz Barrett-Hayes
    October 29, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Amen,I think about it everyday when I wake up and see another day,and all that beauty He created for us to enjoy He’s amazing,wonderful and I am so blessed to have a mouth that keep on praising Him..

    0
  • Claudia Quigg
    October 29, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Daily!

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  • Jo Jo Jones
    October 29, 2013 at 6:02 am

    right on!

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  • Joyce Thacker Mitchell
    October 29, 2013 at 6:06 am

    AMEN

    0
  • Barbara Word
    October 29, 2013 at 7:21 am

    amen.

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  • Larry Kehring
    October 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    thats good to practice studyour beliefs and make adjustments when need be

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  • Carolyn Jean Gerlach
    October 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Amen

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  • Carmen Leticia Rodriguez Nava
    October 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    The Father, The Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit amen

    0
  • Linda Dixon
    November 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I don’t think I really “Think” – about them … for they are as real as breathing out, and breathing in. When I wake up in the morning, the first sound I feel in my mouth is “Thank you Jesus” – and it feels so right to say it . I think of Him off and on all day – and talk to him off and on all day. The last sound I feel in my mouth at night is “Thank You Jesus” – I will never be able to thank Him enough for what he has done for me and my loved ones. And one more thing I am waiting for Him to do – I don’t know how He will do it – – – but I know HE knows how – and that is all that matters to me. And I can’t wait to see His Beautiful face.

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  • Muriel Palmer
    November 4, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    all the time…

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  • Bonnie Dodd Johnson
    March 31, 2015 at 9:28 am

    AMEN

    0
  • Myrna Melton
    March 31, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Amen

    0
  • Gary Davis
    March 31, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Amen!

    0

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