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In The Damage Path?

May 21, 2013

Greetings,

Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5: 43-48

Yesterday a massive tornado destroyed the southern suburbs of Oklahoma city, killing dozens of people including many children.  Today we pray for all the families attempting to come to grips with their profound loss and we hope that somehow more survivors will be found in the wreckage and rubble.

It really bothers me when people want to blame or credit God for natural disasters such as this tornado.  It is perfectly normal to ask why things like this happen, but I have come to believe that most times there is just no acceptable answer.  However, I just hate it when so called religious leaders like Pat Robertson and others label such events as “God’s judgement or wrath upon ..you name it.”   God did not directly create this tornado, but He is certainly in the storm always working for our good.

I do not believe that God directed the path of this tornado and somehow orchestrated the deaths of those who lost their lives.  I say this because I do not feel that God is a micro-manager in any sense.  HE knows what is going to happen, but that does not mean that HE controls all of the events that occur in this lost and fallen world.  I know that HE does not micro-manage the choices I make in my life and I am a strong believer that God grants us all free will and that we are all responsible for the decisions we make in this life. ….And all of those decisions have consequences…both good and bad.

Back on topic now….. God loves everyone and He doesn’t play favorites.  Saved, unsaved, pagan, heathen, Muslim, Christian…those labels don’t matter to Him.  God loves everyone equally!  He causes the sun to rise on both the evil and the good and He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Sometimes we are in the path of the storm, sometimes we are not; but His love for all of us NEVER waivers.  Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us….in doing so we are then sons of The Father.  According to Jesus we are supposed to love everyone equally and we are not to play favorites.  When we love just the lovable we are no different than the pagans.  We are all called to be “perfect” just as our heavenly Father is perfect.  The Greek word for perfect here means…whole, complete and mature.  In order to attain that we must be a people who love others without discrimination.  Tornadoes leave a wide damage path, and in a like manner the path we leave behind us in this life should be a wide path of Love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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72 Comments
  1. okay, this is just “logic” speaking here, something to ponder.

    If God doesn’t “send the storm”….but DOES “send the rain on the just and unjust”, isn’t that not only contradictory, but illogical? Or is there somewhere that says God stops with the rain (as Martha Stewart says “That’s a good thing”, in most cases?) and can’t calm the storms (whether literally or figuratively)?

    I struggle daily with the idea that either God is in 100% complete control of everything, or that He controls little or nothing, and it’s all up to us.

    Just something to think about.

    • "BK" permalink

      Hi, Debi. Maybe I’m not understanding exactly what you said. I don’t think it’s that cut a dried i.e. all or nothing. Or that it’s all up to us. I see God as orchestrating (if that’s a good word ?) storms or not at varied times, according to what is best for our life at any given time. I do think He’s intimately involved with our lives, but not to the point of micromanaging. I believe the beginning is predestined (no choice that we were born in sin) and the end (He didn’t ask our permission to reconcile us to God….He did it while we were still enemies!); but the journey in between is decided by our choices and how & when He chooses to intervene along the way. Does that make any sense at all? “BK”

    • debi…i did a post on what th Lord revealed to me about th wind and rains if you are interested…th wise master builder and who is th foolish builder… http://overflowingwine.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/jesus-the-christ-or-the-other-jesus/

      th sun and rain that comes on good and evil, just & unjust, is God bringing th fruit thereof, so that it will be knwne whter its good or eveil, just or unjust…the tree is known by its fruit…

      it always amazes me that when disaster strikes…ppl are quick to decide either that God did or didnt do it, or that He saved some and left others in torment on th earth, which actually is completely against th flood of noah, which, when God sent th flood, th wicked perished and only noah and fam weresaved…God didnt leave parts of families or whatever, alive after th flood to tryna rebuild thier lives knowing God hated em and sent a flood, u knwo? hope this is clear…and also…th judgement of God? not gonna end with ppl tryna pick up th pieces and rebuild …u know?

  2. Hi Chris-

    I’m taking a break from my hiatus now! (Seriously–lots to do and life moves pretty quickly)

    I have a couple of questions regarding your post, and I hope they make sense.

    “HE knows what is going to happen, but that does not mean that HE controls all of the events that occur in this lost and fallen world.”

    1. Does he have exhaustive knowledge of all events? If so, how did He arrive at that knowledge? And is there a biblical category for events that happen outside of God’s decree to create?

    “…I am a strong believer that God grants us all free will…”

    2. Can you direct me to where the Bible specifically states that our will is free?

    “…and that we are all responsible for the decisions we make in this life.”

    3. Were the Romans held responsible for killing Jesus (even though God ordained and predetermined His crucifixion)?

    “God loves everyone equally!”

    4. In light of Eph. 5:25, is God allowed to have any differentiations or gradients in His love for people? IOW, if my love for Heidi (my wife of 30 years) is greater than my love for you (or my kids, for that matter!), do we then not allow for Christ to have a greater love for His people?

    “According to Jesus we are supposed to love everyone equally and we are not to play favorites.”

    5. Upon what basis does God elect some people unto salvation, and leave others in their sin?

    Debi- you wrote: “I struggle daily with the idea that either God is in 100% complete control of everything, or that He controls little or nothing, and it’s all up to us.”

    I understand your struggle, and if the Bible didn’t address these things, I don’t know where I’d come down on it either!

    Check out 3 passages that contextually speak to the topic: Gen. 50:19-20, Isaiah 10:5-19, and Acts 4:27-28. In each of these examples there is one sinful and wicked act, and yet there are two reasons behind the act: God’s ordination that it takes place and man’s sinful desires.

    Tim

  3. Tim, I will have to get back to you on those questions, but this I know for sure..I do not want to get into a long drawn out conversation on the merits and flaws of Calvinism. I do not want to use this venue for that debate.

    Love,

    Christopher

  4. My brief attempt to answer Tim’s questions concerning this blog today:

    1. Does he have exhaustive knowledge of all events? If so, how did He arrive at that knowledge? And is there a biblical category for events that happen outside of God’s decree to create?

    Chris replies :Yes, I believe God is all knowing. Because He is God.

    “…I am a strong believer that God grants us all free will…”

    2. Can you direct me to where the Bible specifically states that our will is free?

    Chris replies: Off hand In Luke 13:34 Jesus laments He is unable to save Jerusalem, because they “were not willing” indicating that they had free will. Jesus also says in JOhn 7:17 “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God….” Indicating we do have a choice to follow God or not. Joshua 24: 15 “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”

    “…and that we are all responsible for the decisions we make in this life.”

    3. Were the Romans held responsible for killing Jesus (even though God ordained and predetermined His crucifixion)?

    Chris replies: I feel the religious leaders were responsible for killing Jesus

    “God loves everyone equally!”

    4. In light of Eph. 5:25, is God allowed to have any differentiations or gradients in His love for people? IOW, if my love for Heidi (my wife of 30 years) is greater than my love for you (or my kids, for that matter!), do we then not allow for Christ to have a greater love for His people?

    Chris replies: Within relationships there are likely different depths of love, but love in general should be given to all

    “According to Jesus we are supposed to love everyone equally and we are not to play favorites.”

    5. Upon what basis does God elect some people unto salvation, and leave others in their sin?

    Chris replies: I do not believe in a limited atonement. God desires that all be saved and He offers everyone a way out of their sin. This goes back to free will or the ability to choose.

    That is all I got tonight. Thanks for participating

    • "BK" permalink

      1. Does he have exhaustive knowledge of all events? If so, how did He arrive at that knowledge? And is there a biblical category for events that happen outside of God’s decree to create?

      Chris replies :Yes, I believe God is all knowing. Because He is God.
      “BK” here: A ‘biblical catergory’? That has a pretty sterile sound; God is living and creative, not a rule book. (or maybe I missed what you were trying to ask?)

      2. Can you direct me to where the Bible specifically states that our will is free?

      Chris replies: Off hand In Luke 13:34 Jesus laments He is unable to save Jerusalem, because they “were not willing” indicating that they had free will. Jesus also says in JOhn 7:17 “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God….” Indicating we do have a choice to follow God or not. Joshua 24: 15 “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”

      “…and that we are all responsible for the decisions we make in this life.”
      “BK” here: In the short term, yes, Jerusalem was destroyed due to their ‘choice’; in the plan of salvation they had no choice in His reconciling them to the Father while they were still enemies. I don’t see John 7 so much a statement of ‘choice’ as a statement of ‘if you do His will you’ll see the teaching is correct because it does as claimed. I know I’ve said this before but we had no choice to be born in sin (in Adam) nor did He ask our permission to reconcile us to God, to save us. HOW we get to that end is determined by our choices along the way.

      3. Were the Romans held responsible for killing Jesus (even though God ordained and predetermined His crucifixion)?

      Chris replies: I feel the religious leaders were responsible for killing Jesus
      “BK” here: At work so I can’t find the place at this time but I believe the Scripture does tell us it was both.

      4. In light of Eph. 5:25, is God allowed to have any differentiations or gradients in His love for people? IOW, if my love for Heidi (my wife of 30 years) is greater than my love for you (or my kids, for that matter!), do we then not allow for Christ to have a greater love for His people?

      Chris replies: Within relationships there are likely different depths of love, but love in general should be given to all
      “BK” here: I don’t think Eph 5:25 is speaking of loving your wife more than anyone else; and yet as Chris says relationships can vary. When we start trying to determine who God loves the most we can open a dangerous door.

      5. Upon what basis does God elect some people unto salvation, and leave others in their sin?

      Chris replies: I do not believe in a limited atonement. God desires that all be saved and He offers everyone a way out of their sin. This goes back to free will or the ability to choose.
      “BK” here: I don’t believe in a limited atonement either. Not only does God ‘desire’ all to be saved, but He made the way, and started in motion already (while we were still enemies). Speaking from my own experience, sometimes He ‘leaves me in my sin’ until I vomit the quail out my nostrils and then when deliverance comes I’m sure I don’t want to go that path again.

      So that would be my little part in this conversation so far, “BK”

      .

  5. David permalink

    Hi guys,
    sounds to me like good ol’ Aristotle is confusing us again. Let me explain: Aristotelian logic states that A is equal to A, A is not equal to B, A is not equal to not-A. This is a fancy way of saying that if one thing is true, then the contradictory thing is not true.

    Take free will and pre-destination. They are two contradictory positions. Aristotelian logic forces us to choose one of these as true, as the other must be false.

    But, our brothers the Jews give us a different type of logic to deal with these problems; Block logic.This basically works like this: One argument forms Block A. A second argument, which may contradict Block A, forms Block B. Block C reconciles these two blocks together,

    For example: Block A: Man is predestined. Block B: Man has free will. Block C: God knows the end from the beginning, He sits outside time and space. This means He knows the choices we will make and so He can write it down before it happens.

    A great video to explain this can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU6aTdjgKOk

    Here’s a quote from http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=3324

    “The Angel that announced the birth of Sampson asked the parents, “Why is it that you ask me my name seeing it is beyond your comprehension.” If an angels name could be beyong our comprehension- why would we continue to reduce the truths of God with the sword of Greek logic? Greek logic is mans attemp to understand something that is spiritually discerned. It is like putting your faith in a strait jacket.”

    Hope that helps!
    David

  6. “But, our brothers the Jews give us a different type of logic to deal with these problems; Block logic.This basically works like this: One argument forms Block A. A second argument, which may contradict Block A, forms Block B. Block C reconciles these two blocks together”

    That’s Hegalian dialectics…

  7. You know: “Thesis–antithesis=synthesis

  8. Hi Chris- Again, I’ve been running around a lot, but I thought it would be OK if I interacted some more. Cool?

    * Tim: “…how did He arrive at that knowledge?”

    “Chris replies :Yes, I believe God is all knowing. Because He is God.”

    That’s like saying that He’s all-knowing because He’s omniscient, and He’s omniscient because He’s all-knowing. It’s a tautology, and it didn’t answer the question.

    * Tim: “Can you direct me to where the Bible specifically states that our will is free?”

    Chris replies: Off hand In Luke 13:34 Jesus laments He is unable to save Jerusalem, because they “were not willing” indicating that they had free will. Jesus also says in John 7:17 “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God….” Indicating we do have a choice to follow God or not. Joshua 24: 15 “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”

    Lots of indicatives, but nothing explicit or specific. We have to assume man’s ablility in order to prove that the aforementioned passages actually teach that. I would argue that every time the Bible speaks of man’s ability to obey God, let alone please God, it is in the negative.

    John 6:44: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” “No one can”- that is an emphatic negative regarding man’s ability.

    Rom 3:10-12: “…as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

    Rom 8:7-8: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (“cannot”=unable)

    Eph 2:5-6: “…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”

    …and so forth.

    * Tim: “Were the Romans held responsible for killing Jesus (even though God ordained and predetermined His crucifixion)?”

    Chris replies: “I feel the religious leaders were responsible for killing Jesus”

    The Bible says it was ALL of them.

    Acts 4:27-28: “…for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

    So, to follow-up: were they held responsible for their sin when the exact same event was according to the decree of God?

    * Tim: “In light of Eph. 5:25, is God allowed to have any differentiations or gradients in His love for people? IOW, if my love for Heidi (my wife of 30 years) is greater than my love for you (or my kids, for that matter!), do we then not allow for Christ to have a greater love for His people?”

    Chris replies: “Within relationships there are likely different depths of love, but love in general should be given to all”

    I totally agree! But that didn’t answer the question.

    * Tim: “Upon what basis does God elect some people unto salvation, and leave others in their sin?”

    Chris replies: “I do not believe in a limited atonement. God desires that all be saved and He offers everyone a way out of their sin. This goes back to free will or the ability to choose.”

    Sorry, bro- didn’t answer the question.

    • Tim, those are the only honest answers I can give. If they don’t answer your questions I don’t know what else to say unless I make something up.

  9. "BK" permalink

    I just have to say it again……when we reduce God to logical formulas and theses we have taken the life out of Him. He is much more than that. I believe that’s what David was saying ? “BK”

    • David permalink

      Yep, that’s it “BK”. I think that Aristotelian logic especially does not help us understand God and the scriptures. In one passage the Bible tells us that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, while in another passage, God hardened Pharaohs heart, for example. Aristotelian logic, or at least a strict adherence to it, forces us to accept one as true and the other as false. This has caused huge problems amongst Christians in the past and continues to do so.

      But Jewish, or Hegelian (it’s ok if one wants to argue about the origin), logic allows for greater understanding between head and heart.

  10. I think that those last 3 replies demonstrate that traditions are sometimes impossible to discern. It’s not so much a matter of ‘logic’, but a matter of God’s revelation in His Word.

    David- you brought up something that you consider to be a conundrum or a “both/and” (the hardening of Pharoah’s heart), and really gave no answer to the question. You also said that “Aristotelian logic…forces us to accept one as true and the other as false.”

    Sorry, but that’s simply not accurate. Christians throughout the centuries have understood God’s decrees and man’s responsibility in terms of being compatible with each other. In fact, it is only in those terms that we ‘rightly divide’ the story of Joseph being sold into slavery, God’s use of the wicked Assyrians to judge in Isaiah 10, and the ultimate evil of the crucifixion.

    In each of these cases there is one sinful and wicked act.
    In each of these cases man is held responsible for his sin.
    In each of these cases it is God who ordained that the act take place.
    In each of these cases the perpetrator wanted to sin (God didn’t FORCE the person to sin).
    In each of these cases there were two very different intents.
    In each of these cases man’s will acts in perfect accordance with God’s decree, and accomplishes exactly what God intends.

    It’s the same with Pharoah–God had ordained what would take place, and Pharoah is held responsible for breaking his word to Moses–and in his case God prevents him from simply aquiescing to the pressure that plagues and frogs and locusts can bring (you know, letting the people go just to make it stop!) in order to fully plunder the Egyptians.

    God has spoken and sometimes we don’t like what He says.

    • "BK" permalink

      Tim, I have to say when you say again and again, “That didn’t answer the question” it would be better stated, “You didn’t answer according to what I believe.” Your demands to accept your words as THE words make it impossible to discuss. Your ‘discussion’ rings with “you listen and I’ll tell you how it is and where you are in error.” I’m sure (or at least I hope) you aren’t aware you come across that way, but wow, you sure do. Knowledge truely does puff up, charity truely does edify.
      Just my perspective, Having said that, I found it interesting last night that my husband, knowing nothing of this particular conversation, began speaking last night at fellowship about how you can’t put God in a box and He is so much more than written words on a page. One place He says rebuke a fool, another one, rebuke not a fool. I love how the Spirit (‘blood’ of the Body) flows through the body without ever needing to know who’s been saying what! “BK”

  11. Again, the words of Scripture aren’t enough, and all this talk of not “putting God in a box” is ultimately a refusal to deal with the actual text itself.

    You said that I should have put it thus: “You didn’t answer according to what I believe.”

    Help me out here, but when someone asks you something specific, and you reply with some general belief that isn’t even being addressed, then that is simply evasion, plain and simple, and doesn’t asnwer the question. It has NOTHING to do with what *I* believe.

    Example:
    Q. Do you you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity?
    A: I don’t believe on three gods.

    Didn’t answer the question, and it just removed it back one step. I’m beginning to think that you guys don’t really want ‘free and open’ discussion unless it’s couched in uncertainty.

    • "BK" permalink

      Sorry you feel that way, Tim. Actually your example A IS an answer to your question. Then you would respond with what ‘specific’ would you like? Discussion is just that, Tim. You say or ask something; I respond. You respond, then I respond. It takes alot longer than actually talking face to face, but with patience we can have ‘open’ discussion. I love the Bible, Tim, but Jesus didn’t say He would send a little black book called the Bible that would be the ultimate guide and text to nail down every issue. He said He would send the Spirit and HE would guide us into all truth. And, for the record, I don’t believe He is a person. Love you, brother, “BK”

    • David permalink

      Why are we arguing about logic, when the whole point of my post was to bring less confusion. Instead all you do is go on and on and on about something that does not matter.

      • "BK" permalink

        Hi, David. I don’t think the discussion is regarding your comment on logic; but that Tim feels Chris did not answer his question. “BK”

  12. In my example I asked a simple ‘yes or no’ question and it was met with a qualifier. Duscussion doesn’t need to be evasive.

    “…Jesus didn’t say He would send a little black book called the Bible that would be the ultimate guide and text to nail down every issue.”

    Hence the disconnect between me and most of you folks. MOST, not all…but most.

    “And, for the record, I don’t believe He is a person.”

    Therefore you don’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity…

  13. But Tim BK is right is she not when she says: “…Jesus didn’t say He would send a little black book called the Bible that would be the ultimate guide and text to nail down every issue.”

    Her statement is true yes?

    I do not believe in the “doctrine” of the Trinity either. However, I do believe in one God, who expresses Himself in three very distinct ways.

    Seems to me that most folks tend to over complicate issues like this, when in fact following Jesus is extremely simple.

  14. “…Jesus didn’t say He would send a little black book called the Bible that would be the ultimate guide and text to nail down every issue.”

    No, He didn’t use those exact words. But that’s not the point, either: He sent apostles who finished the task of founding the Church and writing down the revelation that God intended for us to have.

    It’s a matter of apostolic authority, and like I’ve said over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again: It always ALWAYS comes down to Scripture in these discussions. One of us has a sole and infallible apostolic rule of faith, and one of us doesn’t.

    “I do not believe in the “doctrine” of the Trinity either. However, I do believe in one God, who expresses Himself in three very distinct ways.”

    Do you believe that the Father is God? That the Son is God? That the Spirit is God? And there’s one God? And that each person of the Godhead has always been God? Do you believe that the Son existed prior to the incarnation? If you’re a ‘yes’ to all of those, then you do.

    “Seems to me that most folks tend to over complicate issues like this, when in fact following Jesus is extremely simple.”

    It’s right there in the Bible, Chris, and that’s not ‘over complicating’, that’s belief, plain and simple.

    “Has God really said?” is always the serpant’s question, and I for one say “Yes- God HAS really said!”

  15. So very, very, sad Tim. It is not a matter of apostolic authority. Jesus is the sole authority.
    You are free to worship and follow only the bible Tim, but I will in all things follow the Spirit and serve Christ alone. Love and….. Kirk Out !

  16. “You are free to worship and follow only the bible Tim…”

    Ka-WOOOOSH! There goes your straw-man, Chris. What part of “All Scripture is God-breathed” don’t you assent to?

    And you don’t believe that the apostles had the authority that the Bible says they do? Or the authority that Jesus gave them? No WONDER we disagree so strongly on the nature and extent of God’s Word.

    One observation: I think that it’s pretty obvious that you don’t want any serious interaction here. Hey- it’s your blog and it’s your call, but let’s get real: When you say “Let’s get things going” or “let’s mix it up”, that extends only as far as you’re willing to allow or are comfortable with.

    I’ll answer any question that you ask, but it seems that you don’t HAVE any questions–only assumptions, as we saw in a few of your responses earlier.

    Let me ask this: Do you believe that the “red letters” carry more weight than the rest of Scripture?

  17. Tim, Be fair, if I did not want serious interaction here we would not be continuing the current conversation and I would not be approving your current comments. I offer only the answers I feel led by Him to give, so I am not sorry that they do not meet your specifications. Tim, do you really feel the need to actively control all the conversations you enter in to? To answer your latest question I do tend to appreciate the words of Jesus more than the rest. Conversation is a give and take operation and needing to control the parameters hinders the process. And yes, I do beleive that all scripture is God breathed.

  18. Me? I enjoy discussing things with people who offer their own unique perspectives on the matters we are conversing about. I want to hear from their experience instead of them just towing the party line with pat biblical answers. I fully embrace diversity and desire to hear everyone’s portion of the truth. Most questions have more than one simple right answer.

  19. But what does the Bible say about________? That’s where I want to go…

  20. I hear you Tim, but the bible can say something with different nuances to and through His people. I want to know what the Spirit is saying about all things including what we find in the bible. I love and enjoy encountering different facets of the rare and precious stone.

  21. But if the Bible speaks with clarity (and it does) and that’s not ‘good enough’ for you, then you’re walking in unbelief.

    If the Jesus gave His authority to the apostles (and He did–they speak FOR Christ), and then you turn around and say that you don’t acknowledge their authority, then you’re (again) walking in unbelief.

    You like nuance? Great–so do I–but when the Bible (inspired by the Spirit, remember) speaks with prophetic clarity, then nuance becomes skepticism.

  22. But Tim, one man’s clarity can be another man’s roadblock.

  23. Sorry, but that’s a red-herring, and is self-refuting (as in, even what you just wrote is a “roadblock”, so…)
    And you didn’t address the issue of the authority of the apostles–why not? That’s the real rub here…

    The truth is that the Holy Spirit Who enables Christians to believe and Who assures us of our relationship to the Father through the Son and Who leads Christians and by Whose power we are enabled to keep God’s law…

    …is the same Spirit who inspired the writing of the Scriptures.

  24. yes it is th same Spirit…so what is th debate here? th same Spirit that moved apostles to speak and to write is th same Spirit present in His ppl this day…and moves us to speak and to write and to share in fellowhsip…th authority if th apostles as man is not greater than th auhtority of ht Spirit tha moves them…niether are any men greater than th Spirit…i dont get th debate here…

    its not posslble to understand th Scriptures by flesh bc they are not wrote by flesh…only th Spirit gives understanding, which is that they testify of Christ…and as Christ is in His ppl…th same Christ as is testified in Scripture, then we are moved by His Spirit also, as was all of His ppl who are called out from among them…

    th same Spirit that wrote th tablets of stone now writes on our hearts…as paul and others wrote epistles, we are living epistles, which also he said too…by th Spirit…

    there is no contradiction in God’s Word…not anywhere…but to say one must hear first from what is wrote on paper, does not acknowldeg what is wrote on th heart …both wrote by th same God who works in all of His…

  25. OK, I’ve sat back and just listened to the discussion for several days now.

    Tim, whether or not you meant to sound arrogant and like a know-it-all, you did, and still do. You said, in direct reference to me:

    “I understand your struggle, and if the Bible didn’t address these things, I don’t know where I’d come down on it either!”

    which statement I took to mean, that since the Bible does (in your opinion) ‘address these things’, and since I said I struggle with (it) sometimes, it SOUNDS like what you are saying is that I wouldn’t have any struggle if I only knew/read the scriptures. Perhaps you are perceiving that I don’t “know or read” the scriptures (or value them), particularly since we disagreed initially about whether to be led by the Spirit, or whether be led by the Book. Struggling with something is not the same as having no understanding…but I can’t really go into that in this post.

    A few posts later, after your valiant attempts to set everyone straight according to YOUR doctrinal position on what you believe the scriptures say, BK then said to you:

    “Tim, I have to say when you say again and again, “That didn’t answer the question” it would be better stated, “You didn’t answer according to what I believe.” Your demands to accept your words as THE words make it impossible to discuss. Your ‘discussion’ rings with “you listen and I’ll tell you how it is and where you are in error.” I’m sure (or at least I hope) you aren’t aware you come across that way, but wow, you sure do. Knowledge truely does puff up, charity truely does edify.Just my perspective…”

    Whether you agree or not, BK (and some others) have correctly ‘discerned’ your H E A R T attitude, and we have a responsibility as your brethren to call you out on that.

    Tim, aside from all of the discussions of ‘this’ topic, or ‘that’ topic, the bottom line is that in every discussion, you come across as someone who thinks that they have ALL the answers to everything, simply because ‘you’ read the scriptures, and have formed some doctrinal position that makes YOU ‘right’, and everyone who disagrees with you ‘wrong’. That isn’t the Holy Spirit, it’s a “religious” spirit, and at this point, I’d have to say that it possesses you.

    The scripture “says” many things, but if it were true that all we have to do is just read the “clear and plain language” in which you (and many like you) say that the Book is written in, that ALL people would be in one accord concerning not only the words, but the meaning of the words as well. That is NOT the case at this point in time. There are so many contradictory points of view regarding so many different scriptures that we have created thousands of denominations dividing us because of attitudes like yours: “I’m right, you are wrong, and I’m leaving you behind because you don’t believe the same way I do”.

    People don’t care WHAT you know, until they know you care, Tim, and you have come across to more than one person on this blog as being nothing more than a rigid Pharisee who has reached a conclusion and demand that all others come under the umbrella of your doctrine/denomination, or they are heretics.

    Pride goes before a fall, Tim. Every single other person here can humbly (and has humbly) said they don’t know everything, and are open to talking about many things. Except you. You have always got what you think is the right answer concerning every topic. The more you talk, the less we listen, because we know you just want to be “right” about everything.

  26. Gianna- you wrote: “th same Spirit that wrote th tablets of stone now writes on our hearts…as paul and others wrote epistles, we are living epistles, which also he said too…by th Spirit…”

    “there is no contradiction in God’s Word…not anywhere…”

    Amen- you’re absolutely correct. The ‘pull-and-tug” occurs when that which someone claims to be direct new revelation doesn’t match what has already been revealed, and there’s where all the ‘that’s just your interpretation’ talk starts flying around, usually without any commensurate discussion of the test itself. I think it’s both laziness and a dissatisfaction with Scripture that’s at the heart of it, but either way it’s not honoring to God to skeptically question His infallable Word.

    Debi- my concern isn’t about how I ‘come across’ (although nobody should be rude or offensive in their tone)- my concern is for truth and in the honoring of God’s Word. I don’t get much interaction here…

    Proverbs 16:2
    “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

    1 Corinthians 4:5
    “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”

  27. debi elmore fields permalink

    Tim, can I ask you a “yes” or “no” question?

    Are we supposed to be like Jesus?

  28. Yes.

    What does the Bible say about being like Jesus?

  29. "BK" permalink

    Tim, based on Proverbs 16:2, could it possibly be true that you aren’t always the one with the ‘pure’ ways? Or do you always have it? Is it possible that some of your answers are ‘straw man’, as they seem to be; or are you always the one on the Rock? You are correct, I don’t believe in the trinity (I though Chris explained it quite well and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard him express his thought on it). I wonder, if the Holy Spirit is a person, why, did the angel tell Mary when He overshadowed her, that Holy thing would be called the “Son of the Highest” (the Father) and not ‘the son of the Holy Spirit”?

  30. Possible–of course. Who can discern his OWN motives, let alone those of others? But “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Is. 8:20)

    So the Trinity is up for grabs with you… that is just amazing. I just taught on this very subject last week, so forgive me if I am not dispassionate about it!

    In John 15:26, Jesus says to His disciples in the upper room on the night in which He was betrayed, “When the helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.” Notice, first of all, the personal pronoun. Not, “I will send the Spirit and it will bear witness,” but “He will bear witness of Me.”

    But more than that, there are personal properties that are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will come from God and He will do what? His job will be bearing witness of Jesus Christ. Now, an “it” can’t bear witness, only a person can. So Jesus is describing the work of the Holy Spirit here in terms that can only be fulfilled by a person. The Holy Spirit, in other words, will do precisely what the Father does. The Father bears witness of Christ; that’s been one of the great themes of John. So also, when the Son sends the Holy Spirit, He will bear witness of Christ. It is as if He will cast a spotlight on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will turn the floodlights of God’s word on the Person and work of Jesus Christ in order to illuminate them to our understanding and our faith, that we might embrace them and trust in Christ for salvation as He is offered in the gospel. The Spirit will come to bear witness to Jesus Christ.

    Then turn forward to Acts 5:1. We see again in the story of Ananias and Saphira, that the Spirit is a Person, not a thing or a force, and that He is divine. “A certain man named Ananias, with his wife, Saphira, sold a piece of property and kept back some of the price for himself with his wife’s full knowledge. And bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the price of the land.’” You can’t lie to an it. You can’t lie to a force. You can’t lie to a thing. You lie to a person, and notice, he says to Ananias, “You’ve lied to the Holy Spirit.” Once again, we see the Holy Spirit as a person.

    But we also see the Holy Spirit as divine. Peter continues, “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” In lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias had lied to God, and so we see from Scripture that the Holy Spirit is both personal and divine. He is a Person and He is God, He is the third Person of the blessed Trinity.

    • debi elmore fields permalink

      As to the false doctrine of the Trinity….men were made in the image of God, and I don’t see “three Tims”…but only ONE. Now certainly there are three PARTS of each one of us…..a body, a soul, and a spirit, just like the Bible says. Our God, HE….HE…SINGULAR HE….IS ONE. Not THEY are one, but HE. HE is one, but with three aspects, not three separate and distinct “persons”. Of course, most religious folks can’t or won’t go against their doctrinal mentors and really consider the absurdity of such a sacred cow, but so be it.

  31. The bible never uses the word trinity and never says the Spirit is a “person”. You have to read into the text to come up with that doctrine.

  32. Honestly–I didn’t know you went so far as to deny the doctrine of the Trinity.

    “The bible never uses the word trinity and never says the Spirit is a “person”. You have to read into the text to come up with that doctrine.”

    Says the man who apparently didn’t agree with my last post… I mean, seriously–did you even read it?

    The word trinity is not in the Bible–true. However, neither was “prodigal” prior to the publication of the New King James Version in 1979. Do you object to using the word “prodigal”?

    Chris, if this is what you believe, then maybe you could clear some things up for me.

    Is the Holy Spirit impersonal? (Given your second assertion)

    Is Jesus God?

    Did the Son exist prior to the incarnation?

    Is the Son eternal?

    • Tim,

      The Spirit is personal

      Yes, Jesus is God

      Yes, Jesus existed

      Yes, Jesus is eternal.

  33. Debi wrote: “HE is one, but with three aspects”

    You mean like having 3 traits or qualities? Really? Is Jesus then praying to one of His ‘aspects’ when He prays thus: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”?

    Or is Jesus telling His disciples that He and the Father will send one of His ‘aspects’ when He ascends back to the Father, as in: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”

    It’s interesting that the Spirit (the “he” in the preceding verse) is referred to here as a person by the use of the personal pronoun “he”, and not “it”.

    I’m sorry, but you wear your arrogance on your sleeve when you refer to godly men and women as “religious folks can’t or won’t go against their doctrinal mentors and really consider the absurdity of such a sacred cow…” if they fully embrace and love the revelation of God’s Tri-unity.

    Polycarp told a story:

    “John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.”

    Cerinthus also denied the Trinity, and while I don’t know if any bath-houses are currently in danger, I don’t think that either of you are in good comapany regarding your denial of the Trinity–a most necessary consequence of biblical theology.

    • debi elmore fields permalink

      Well, Tim, I’m only trying to be biblical. “The bible sez” (exact words) “Our God He is one.” Right there in black and white. Doesn’t it say that? More than once, even. Don’t you claim the Bible is the final authority on matters of faith and practice? So why don’t you believe what is written, that our GOD (singular), HE (singular) is ONE (again, singular).

  34. “The Spirit is personal
    Yes, Jesus is God
    Yes, Jesus existed
    Yes, Jesus is eternal.”

    So how do you square that with what you wrote earlier:

    “You have to read into the text to come up with that doctrine.”?

    Does this mean that you are reading into the text?

    So help me out: Earlier you wrote :”I do not believe in the “doctrine” of the Trinity either. However, I do believe in one God, who expresses Himself in three very distinct ways.”

    It sound to me like you actually DO believe all the particulars regarding God’s ontology, but you don’t want that equated with the word ‘doctrine’ or the word ‘Trinity’. And do you agree with the following definition:

    1) There is one and only one God, eternal, immutable.

    2) There are three eternal Persons described in Scripture – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. These Persons are never identified with one another – that is, they are carefully differentiated as Persons.

    3) The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are identified as being fully deity—that is, the Bible teaches the Deity of the Father, the Deity of Christ and the Deity of the Holy Spirit.

    ?

  35. Tim,

    I don’t agree with number 2

  36. Which part, and why not?

  37. "BK" permalink

    You do realize, Tim, that there are many, many Bible scholars out there (and in history) who don’t believe in the Trinity? Not just the few of us here who don’t (and I had no idea how anyone here had believed on that). There are those who believe in the “oneness” doctrine (who believe Trinity believers go to hell….sigh); and there are those like me who believe there is the Father and the Son (Stephen saw them when he was stoned) and the very essence of life that they are made up of and flows throughout the Body of Christ. As far as the “he” being used, I’m sure you are educated in language enough to know a feminine/masculine rendering is used in many languages and it doesn’t make something a person. Even in scripture this is true. Other than that, I’m not real concerned if you see one or three or two; we can only see as we feel the Spirit has shown us and what our studies of the scriptures has borne witness to us. It will be up to the Lord to straighten us out if it becomes important enough to Him to do so. Love, “BK”

  38. “You do realize, Tim, that there are many, many Bible scholars out there (and in history) who don’t believe in the Trinity?”

    But how is that relevant to this discussion? I’m trying to get at the foundation of Chris’s belief, and you’re appealing to heterodox scholarship. It doesn’t matter what they think or believe–what matters is God’s revelation of Himself as found in Scripture.

    • "BK" permalink

      It is relevant in that we can discuss it all day from a ‘the scripture says this and that’ and if the Bible scholars down through time couldn’t come to a satisfactory decision as to ‘who is right’ it is doubtful that we will. They, too, believe what matters is God’s revelation of Himself as found in scripture and they they still don’t agree. As I said, I’m not that concerned that you are passionate about the doctrine…I’m just passionate about Him, whether He’s number two or three, or one. Love, “BK”

  39. Tim, I do not need you to diagnose my belief. You do not seem to understand that other people have searched and studied Scripture and have come to different conclusions regarding God’s revelation of Himself. It is arrogance to believe that your perspective is the only valid one. I care about what other people think and believe even if I may disagree with them. It is alright to discuss differences of opinion as long as we do not see ourselves as the Doctrine Police. You may have special authority in your “church”, but here you are out of your jurisdiction.

  40. “Tim, I do not need you to diagnose my belief.”

    Hey–I’m just in the process of evaluating ANY future relationship that we have.

    “You may have special authority in your “church”…”

    Only insofar as I am an elder in a local assembly. Some of the qualifications for being an elder is:

    “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:9)

    So–he must:

    1. Hold firm to the Word as taught
    2. Give sound doctrinal instruction
    3. Rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine

    Nothing here about whether this is limited to a local assembly or not. The ONLY authority I have over you is as a fellow-believer, and that is what is at stake for me in this discussion. I’m under no illusions–you’re going to do exactly what you want to do, no matter what transpires here.

    I’ll just ask once more: Specifically, what don’t you agree with in the following statement?

    “There are three eternal Persons described in Scripture – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. These Persons are never identified with one another – that is, they are carefully differentiated as Persons.”

  41. Tim, again…I believe in one God who expresses Himself in 3 distinct ways…as Father, Son Jesus and Spirit, I just am not certain that the Spirit is a person. This is the only answer I can give to your question Tim. I am being totally honest and forthright.

  42. To Debi:

    “Well, Tim, I’m only trying to be biblical. “The bible sez” (exact words)”

    You’re in good company- that was the exact position of Marcion, Sabellius, Cerinthus, Arius, Apollinaris, the Docetists, and other heretics who refused to ‘rightly divide’ the Word and who were bound by their traditions.

    “Our God He is one.” Right there in black and white. Doesn’t it say that? More than once, even.”

    Amen and amen. When did I EVER say that there were three Gods? Deut. 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”; “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.” (Is. 43:11), etc…

    “Don’t you claim the Bible is the final authority on matters of faith and practice?”

    Not only that, but it’s the “final INFALLABLE authority”…

    “So why don’t you believe what is written, that our GOD (singular), HE (singular) is ONE (again, singular).”

    But I do believe that there is only one God. Honestly, it’s like you don’t understand what the doctrine of the Trinity really is.

  43. Chris- you wrote: “I believe in one God who expresses Himself in 3 distinct ways…as Father, Son Jesus and Spirit, I just am not certain that the Spirit is a person.”

    Earlier you said that you believed that the Holy Spirit is personal. Now, if the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit in personal terms, and you believe that He is personal, how can you then turn around and say that you’re not sure the Holy Spirit is a person? It’s seems kind of arbitrary and confused to me…

    • "BK" permalink

      Hi, Tim. I just thought of a few scriptures that explain my heart in doctrinal discussions. They are
      Rom.14
      [1] Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
      [2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
      [3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
      [4] Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
      [5] One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
      [6] He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

      Verse 5 is especially good when it says ‘let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind’. We should let each one be free to hear the Spirit speak to them and ‘persuade’ them. As I have said before, and experienced, God is God and if He wants an honest heart to see something different He is able to speak to them and give revelation, whether in confirmation or correction. In the meantime we gather to Him, adore Him, look to HIm and we will find unity of Spirit in the bond of peace. Just thinking as I work today…..”BK”

  44. Tim, I have a personal relationship with my dog, but my dog is not a person either. Not meaning to be arbitrary, but yes your stance confuses me. And sometimes I am confused about different aspects of my faith, because I am human and in no way have complete understanding of God and HIs ways. I am no where near any sort of perfection. I am just a regular guy trying to love and serve Jesus as best as I can. I don’t object to your belief in the trinity, but I just don’t believe the same way you do.

  45. “Tim, I have a personal relationship with my dog, but my dog is not a person either.”

    But that IS arbitrary–the relationship isn’t ‘personal’ in that sense at all, except maybe as a projection of sentiment. You’ve confused the categories in that analogy.

    And BK–it would be great if that section was talking about doctrinal issues–but it’s not. Paul is referring there to the continuing practices of some of the Jewish Christians in distinction with those Christians who were from a Gentile background.

    Since Paul told both Titus and Timothy to refute those who opposed sound doctrine, then there must be a standard by which to measure whether a particular doctrine is “sound” or not. It’s not a matter of ‘letting go and letting God’, as if God hadn’t provided a means by which false teachers would be exposed and rejected.

    • debi elmore fields permalink

      Tim…..I just want to make sure I have this straight. From the last few posts, it appears to me that what you are saying is this: You have stated that your current position in whatever religious organization it is that you are a member of, is that of an elder. And as such, it is your duty and responsibility to rebuke those who don’t have or hold to (quote) “sound doctrine”. This apparently means that since you have accepted that position, that you believe you are solely in possession of all sound doctrine. Furthermore, it is your calling and mission to correct any and all persons who disagree with your doctrinal position on……well…..everything.

      So, let me make this perfectly clear to you. I don’t belong to your church, and I have not voluntarily OR involuntarily placed myself “under” YOUR religious jurisdiction. I have one husband, who is Christ, and I do not need a protestant pope such as yourself usurping the place of my “head”. So inasmuch as I am concerned, you are released from active duty as my covering, and stand down. Open discussion with you has proven to be an exercise in futility, for you do not have either humility, or a teachable spirit. Jesus had some choice words for those religious minded legal scholars full of zeal for the scriptures, but couldnt recognize Him with their blinded eyes. Use the Word as a mirror, Tim, instead of a billy-club to beat up your brothers. Goodnight, good luck, but your job here is over, as far as I’m concerned.

    • "BK" permalink

      Those were the ‘doctrinal issues’ of their day….and those instructions are still good for us today. “BK”

      • "BK" permalink

        Speaking of Romans 14 being still good for us today.

  46. “And as such, it is your duty and responsibility to rebuke those who don’t have or hold to (quote) “sound doctrine”. This apparently means that since you have accepted that position, that you believe you are solely in possession of all sound doctrine. Furthermore, it is your calling and mission to correct any and all persons who disagree with your doctrinal position on……well…..everything.”

    Now there’s some hyperbole, straw-man argumentation, and rash conclusions.

  47. “Those were the ‘doctrinal issues’ of their day….and those instructions are still good for us today.”

    Actually those were questions of ‘practice’, as in “Should we continue the practice of observing the Jewish food laws or not?”

    I agree that Romans 14 is still for today–absolutely. But you wouldn’t find someone denying the deity of Jesus Christ being told that it’s alright for them to do so since they needed to be “convinced in their own mind”. No, they would have been taught the truth (by elders if need be), and if they persisted in their opposition to sound doctrine, they would have been rebuked and eventually put out of the fellowship.

    • But Tim, no one here has ever denied the deity of Jesus. Not even close. Is not agreeing concerning the “Trinity” in the same league as that in your eyes? It is definitely not something I would break fellowship over.

  48. Tim, it really isn’t a rash conclusion, that is just the way you actually come across in your comments here online, you may not desire to come across in this manner, but I think you do and so do several others here.

  49. “But Tim, no one here has ever denied the deity of Jesus. Not even close.”

    Chris–I was only using that as an example of how Romans 14 could NOT apply. IOW, you wouldn’t go to Romans 14 to correct a Mormon’s heresy, would you? Or a Jehovah’s Witness? No, you would go to the relevant passages that specifically deal with the issues that they are messing around with.

    Regarding my tone: Confidence can seem overbearing to skeptics. I have yet to see any real engagement or give-and-take from the biblical texts that I try to present (“BK” is the exception), and it ends up in this malappropriated “you’re a Pharisee” talk. Those folks were excoriated for following their traditions and for not recognizing the God of their Scriptures.

    Regarding the Trinity–you asked “Is not agreeing concerning the “Trinity” in the same league as that in your eyes?”

    Yes–absolutely–it is necessary for understanding the relationship between God and man, and without it you deny the very essence of God and how He is to be worshiped. All “Christian” cults start with the Trinity–day one, issue front-and-center (and based on an external authority, too).

    Now, I don’t know why it is that you or others deny the Trinity ( I have an idea, but it’s just speculation), but since you DO deny the Trinity, then I must either conclude that you’re willfully and stubbornly confused about it, and unless I hear otherwise, I can’t engage with you any longer.

    • That is so sad Tim, I am actually in tears. To divide over such a non-essential doctrine, Jesus is not pleased with this, the bible speaks out against division in numerous places. SIGH…………..

    • debi elmore fields permalink

      Tim said: “Unless I hear otherwise, I can’t engage with you any longer.” Seriously, Tim, I hope you mean that, because your pride, arrogance and traditions of men will NOT be missed.

      Chris, BK, let him depart, and when he finds himself lined up on the left with the other religious goats, who just couldnt see their own serpent in themselves, he can go through the same refining fire we went through. Jesus had no use for those who claimed they could ‘see’ and comsidered everyone else except themselves as the blind ones, the ones they called heretics. We are just going through the same thing Jesus did.

      • "BK" permalink

        Thank you, Deb. I appreciate your thoughts. I do accept we go through that which Jesus and the apostles did; it’s just that for me (and probably Chris) I continue carefully and thoughtfully, trying to actually re-consider the other side of an issue based on their thoughts; and then leave it lay if the Spirit so leads me. Not saying I do it perfectly everytime, but Paul contended with Jews and Greeks alike….other times just walked on. My experience is the Lord usually is pretty good at letting a person’s own spirit take them on their way, and then, yes, I have learned to not chase them unless He says so. That isn’t to dis what you said; hope it doesn’t come across that way. Love you, “BK”

  50. "BK" permalink

    So, Tim, then you would break fellowship with someone who held to the Oneness doctrine instead of the Trinity? You state the responsibility of one to rebuke one with unsound doctrine….you do realize that those who do not see the trinity in the Scriptures see that doctrine as unsound? And I echo Chris….no one here has denied the deity of Christ in any way. You said, “Actually those were questions of ‘practice’, as in “Should we continue the practice of observing the Jewish food laws or not?” State it as you wish; it seems you accept statements easier when you can phrase them in your own words. Glad you could agree it is still good for us today. “BK”

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