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Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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Love is Strong as Death!

Love is Strong as Death

          Song of Songs 8: 6       Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. 7     Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned. [1]

         If over the course of life, we may meet at least one person who ignites the spark of passion, infatuation and love, we are those who are most fortunate.  Once you find love, you know it.  You do not have to tell a person all the time that you love them, but, you know it and they know it.  You know it because you may not talk for years, but when you connect, you feel it and are reassured that the person on the other end of the line loves you, cares for you, thinks about you and is glad to hear your voice.

           I shared this thought with one of the members of the church I pastor who is still rolling with grief in the death of his wife.  It was a second marriage for both persons.  Not only was it a second marriage, but in the context of both previous marriages, it was exceptional!  In their 70’s both persons were delighted and absolutely giddy in finding love at such a mature age.  After only a handful of years of marriage, his beloved wife was swallowed in the hands of death.  Death at any time can be ferocious, but during the pandemic we currently are experiencing, it is especially tough, because we are prevented from working out our grief in the traditional ways we have become accustomed – funerals are sometimes limited to 10 persons, social distancing makes it difficult if not impossible to have a traditional family hour.  So, we express our grief with, “Drive-By,” car caravans , Zoom, “Conversations” and other less personal opportunities to say we love you and express our sympathy.

         The Song of Solomon in the Bible is a love song between lovers.  The passion between the two is intense and builds to a rising crescendo in the eighth chapter where the wisdom writer pronounces, “Love is strong as death.”  I invite you to re-read these words as you reflect upon the love you have experienced over the breadth of your life.  I encourage you to think about love, reflect upon love, and smile about the love you have known.  If you have tasted love at least once over the course of your life, you are a fortunate person.  Thank God for your love, what you have enjoyed, what you have known, the intimate secrets you can never tell, and smile with joy, sweet memories and a pleasant sensation in your stomach that nothing in this present life can disrupt or remove.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about this portion of the Song of Solomon?
  2. Do you agree that, “Love is strong as death?”  Why?
  3. How many times in your life have you found a special love like the love described in chapter 8 of the Song of Solomon?
  4. What happened to that love?
  5. What are your regrets in love?
  6. What are your prayers to God regarding a “Love that is strong as death?”
  7. Other thoughts about love?

Prayer:  Lord, I pause today to say, thank you.  I thank you for love. Thank you for the memories.  Thank you for friendship. Thank you for the joy you have made available for me.  Thank you for a love that accepted me as I am.  Thank you for secrets I cannot share with anyone else.  I thank you for a love that is strong as death.  I thank you for love that will not quit.  Thank you for responsive love, remembrance in love, and renewal in love.  I thank you for a love I could taste, smell and feel in the most personal of ways.  Walk with me Lord in your strength, faith, hope and love.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.                                   

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                                

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3           

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (So 8:6–7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Ezra 6 – The Decree from Darius

The Decree of Darius

Ezra 6 Then King Darius made a decree, and they searched the archives where the documents were stored in Babylon. But it was in Ecbatana, the capital in the province of Media, that a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of his reign, King Cyrus issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices are offered and burnt offerings are brought; its height shall be sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, with three courses of hewn stones and one course of timber; let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. Moreover, let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple in Jerusalem, each to its place; you shall put them in the house of God.”

“Now you, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and you, their associates, the envoys in the province Beyond the River, keep away; let the work on this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God: the cost is to be paid to these people, in full and without delay, from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province Beyond the River. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests in Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, 10 so that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his children. 11 Furthermore I decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of the house of the perpetrator, who then shall be impaled on it. The house shall be made a dunghill. 12 May the God who has established his name there overthrow any king or people that shall put forth a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13 Then, according to the word sent by King Darius, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what King Darius had ordered. 14 So the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of the prophet Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished their building by command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

16 The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 Then they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.

The Passover Celebrated

(Cp Deut 16:1–8)

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles kept the passover. 20 For both the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were clean. So they killed the passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by all who had joined them and separated themselves from the pollutions of the nations of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 With joy they celebrated the festival of unleavened bread seven days; for the Lord had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.  [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What did you learn from reading the 6th chapter of Ezra?
  2. What is the significance of the scroll with the decree from Cyrus being found in a province in Media?
  3. What does the pronouncement of Darius do to the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem?
  4. What lessons can the modern day manager, supervisor or parent learn from the decree of Darius?
  5. What does this story tell you about “Reparations” for wrongs against a people?
  6. Other lessons or thoughts from this chapter?

Prayer:  Lord, keep me on task, on point, and on focus.  Sharpen my vison that I might see.  Sharpen my ears that I might hear.  Sharpen my taste, that I might savor your goodness, filled with your flavor, and satisfied with your blessings.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.                    

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                                                

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3                      

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ezr 6:1–22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

How My Church Built Affordable Housing

Reparations, Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the Providence of God!

Reparations a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the Providence of God blog post

Ezra 1: and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.” [1]

In our scripture for today, Ezra details a process for reparations after the Babylonian Exile.  80,000 Jews were carried away to Babylon in Exile.  In 439 BC, Cyrus of Persia liberated the Jews, allowed them to return to Israel, and gave them silver and gold that was plundered in the Exile –  in other words, Reparations!  Not everyone was happy with the return of the Jews!  In like manner, not everyone is happy with the concept of Reparations for descendants of enslavement – including some black people!

I am a descendant of African who were enslaved in America.  My great-grandfather on my father’s side of the family was William Bryant Hood, a slave owner in Kentucky, brother of Col. John Bell Hood of the Conferderate Army.  The question often comes up, what would happen if reparations were paid to the descendants of slavery?  My brother, asked me to look at the long line of cars during the pandemic that wait in the drive through for the spicy chicken sandwich at Popeys Chicken, and the long lines at McDonalds and Wendys drive through and give him my opinion if every African American was given $1 million, how would people respond?

I shared with my brother an observation from my missionary travels to Ethiopia.  Each trip began in Addis Abba with members of my church, Dr. Ingida Asfaw and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Asfaw and their missionary group, Ethiopian North American Health Professions Association.  The first trip for me was in 2005.  I have made four trips to Ethiopia.  The last trip was in 2012.  One of the things I noticed on each trip was how the more the economy improved, the more I noticed that the number of paved roads, trucks, resturants, hotels and resorts were opening.  I told my brother that I think the same thing will happen In America – the more money people have to spend, the more they will figure out what to do with the money!

America has a history of reparations.  After killing native Americans, the country set aside a network of “Reservations.”  In 1946, Congress created the Indian Claims Commission, a body designed to hear historic grievances and compensate tribes for lost territories. It commissioned extensive historical research and ended up awarding about $1.3 billion to 176 tribes and bands.  The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 established a land trust for Native Hawaiians and allowed people of one half Hawaiian ancestry by blood to lease homesteads from the federal government for 99 years at a time for a total of $1.  In 1973, for example, the U.S. began an attempt at reconciliation for the Tuskegee Experiments, in which 600 black men were unknowingly left untreated for syphilis after being misled by officials who involuntarily enrolled them in a “treatment program.”  In Florida, where lawmakers passed a bill that paid $2.1 million in reparations to survivors of the Rosewood Massacre, a 1923 incident in which a majority-black Florida town was destroyed by racist mobs. Or Chicago, which created a $5.5 million reparations fund for survivors of police brutality aimed at black men during the 1970s and 1980s.  After World War II, 80,000 Japanese who were detained were given $20,000 (Civil Liberties Act of 1988)

For African Americans, General Sherman promised reparations, but withdrew the offer which has never been fulfilled!

This Sunday, I plan to preach a sermon about Reparations and a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the Providence of God.  Sunday afternoon, I will place a video from the sermon here at this blog site.  Thanks for reading and remember, I am praying for you!

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ezr 1:3–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Questions for Reflection: 

  1. What are your thoughts about reparations?
  2. Do you see a connection between reparations in the Bible and reparations in America and around the world?
  3. Do you think the Christian has a responsibility to provide reparations?
  4. Other thoughts on this concept?

Prayer:  Lord, make me honest and compassionate.  In my integrity, teach me to address my wrongs.  In my compassion, teach me to feel for the suffering of others, even those in my ancestry, ethnic and racial heritage.  Help me to keep others honest to acknowledge the wrongs of the past, but also the opportunities for racial harmony and national prosperity.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.         

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                                                

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3                      

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick

The Eye of Their God Was On Them!

Restoration of the Temple Resumed

(Hag 1:1; Zech 1:1)

In the 5th chapter of Ezra, the Jewish people mustered their courage and continued to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  Adversaries rose up against them and like school children, tattle-tailed to the new king of Persia, Darius.  To their credit, the Jewish people wrote a letter to Darius and challenged him to research the decree of his predesor, Cyrus, that was in the records in Babylon, where the Jewish people had been released.

There are several lessons from this story:

  1. Keep a record of all-important transactions and decisions.
  2. Know where the records are.
  3. Defend yourself based on the records that are maintained.
  4. Do not let adversaries tempt you into forsaking your purpose.

Ezra 5 Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set out to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.

At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus, “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?” They also asked them this, “What are the names of the men who are building this building?” But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until a report reached Darius and then answer was returned by letter in reply to it.

The copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates the envoys who were in the province Beyond the River sent to King Darius; they sent him a report, in which was written as follows: “To Darius the king, all peace! May it be known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built of hewn stone, and timber is laid in the walls; this work is being done diligently and prospers in their hands. Then we spoke to those elders and asked them, ‘Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?’ 10 We also asked them their names, for your information, so that we might write down the names of the men at their head. 11 This was their reply to us: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But because our ancestors had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. 13 However, King Cyrus of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. 14 Moreover, the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, these King Cyrus took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. 15 He said to him, “Take these vessels; go and put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site.” 16 Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem; and from that time until now it has been under construction, and it is not yet finished.’ 17 And now, if it seems good to the king, have a search made in the royal archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by King Cyrus for the rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king send us his pleasure in this matter.” [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about this chapter?
  2. What are the modern similarities between the adversaries of the Jews and people in today’s world?
  3. What are your thoughts about Darius as the successor to Cyrus?
  4. What are your thoughts about the adversaries seeking proof that Cyrus has allowed the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem?
  5. Other thoughts on this chapter?

Prayer:  Keep your eye on me, Lord!  Keep your eye on me and keep me straight.  Keep me from harms way.  Keep me diligent to the purpose you have planed for me.  Keep me humble.  Keep me faithful.  Keep me hopeful and keep me loving.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.   

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                                                

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3                      

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ezr 5:1–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Ezra Chapter 4 – When People Lie on You and Talk About You Behind Your Back!

In this chapter, the plot thickens! Ezra and the Hebrews have been released from Babylonian captivity to return to Jerusalem. Adversaries are concerned that they do not want the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt, so on their own, they wage a disinformation campaign with “Fake News”, asking Cyrus of Persia to stop the construction. In this chapter, there is a copy of the disinformation that was send to Cyrus. We can only imagine how disappointed the Jews were when they learned of what was being said to Cyrus. I invited you to join me in reading this chapter. At the conclusion of the chapter, I will offer some questions for your consideration. Thank you for reading!

Ezra 4 When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of families and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of King Esar-haddon of Assyria who brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of families in Israel said to them, “You shall have no part with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus of Persia has commanded us.”

Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and made them afraid to build, and they bribed officials to frustrate their plan throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.

Rebuilding of Jerusalem Opposed

In the reign of Ahasuerus, in his accession year, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to King Artaxerxes of Persia; the letter was written in Aramaic and translated. Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows (then Rehum the royal deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the envoys, the officials, the Persians, the people of Erech, the Babylonians, the people of Susa, that is, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River wrote—and now 11 this is a copy of the letter that they sent):

“To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the people of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now 12 may it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now may it be known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be reduced. 14 Now because we share the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king’s dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, 15 so that a search may be made in the annals of your ancestors. You will discover in the annals that this is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from long ago. On that account this city was laid waste. 16 We make known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.”

17 The king sent an answer: “To Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now 18 the letter that you sent to us has been read in translation before me. 19 So I made a decree, and someone searched and discovered that this city has risen against kings from long ago, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. 20 Jerusalem has had mighty kings who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid. 21 Therefore issue an order that these people be made to cease, and that this city not be rebuilt, until I make a decree. 22 Moreover, take care not to be slack in this matter; why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?”

23 Then when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum and the scribe Shimshai and their associates, they hurried to the Jews in Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease. 24 At that time the work on the house of God in Jerusalem stopped and was discontinued until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about the disinformation that is leveled against the Jews who were intent on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem?
  2. How does the disinformation in the time of Ezra seem similar to modern disinformation campaigns?
  3. Why did the Jews not want the assistance of their adversaries in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem?
  4. Other thoughts about this chapter?

Prayer:  God grant me wisdom, that I might discern the heart and spirit of those I meet.  Lord, enhance my ability to hear, desire to understand, and courage to act in the pathway to justice and peace, truth and mercy, and love which does not fail.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.                                       

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                     

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ezr 4:1–5:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Like a Father Has Compassion Upon His Children

As a Father Has Compassion on his Children

              Psalm 103: 13    As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. [1]

              In the United States, this coming Sunday is a day where the “Fathers” are celebrated.  Even in a pandemic, gifts will be exchanged, some will visit the graveyard where their fathers are buried, perhaps dinner will be cooked, and in some instances, the fathers will be taken out to eat.

            While I realize that not everyone feels good about their father, in an ideal world, the father is supposed to be loving, kind, supportive, protective and generally, a nice fellow.  This is the image that is portrayed of God in Psalm 103.  God is compared to a great father who has children upon the children.  You and I are the children.  God is the father.  Listen to the Psalm, and look for the analogies to the good father:

Psalm 103

Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness

Of David.

1     Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name.

2     Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and do not forget all his benefits—

3     who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

4     who redeems your life from the Pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5     who satisfies you with good as long as you live

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6     The Lord works vindication

and justice for all who are oppressed.

7     He made known his ways to Moses,

his acts to the people of Israel.

8     The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9     He will not always accuse,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

10   He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11   For as the heavens are high above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12   as far as the east is from the west,

so far he removes our transgressions from us.

13   As a father has compassion for his children,

so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

14   For he knows how we were made;

he remembers that we are dust.

15   As for mortals, their days are like grass;

they flourish like a flower of the field;

16   for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

17   But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

on those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children’s children,

18   to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

19   The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

20   Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his bidding,

obedient to his spoken word.

21   Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

his ministers that do his will.

22   Bless the Lord, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. [2]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. In what ways will you honor your father on “Father’s Day”?
  2. What are your thoughts about the analogy of God as a superb father?
  3. How do you feel about your father?
  4. Other thoughts about God as a father and the reading of Psalm 103.

Prayer:  God, I thank you for my father.  I thank you that he made it possible for me to have life.  Bless me to live up to the expectations and hopes my father had for me.  Grant me your favor, that I might leave the world in a better place.  Bless me and do not forsake me.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.                                

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                                                

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3                      

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 103:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 103). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Ezra 2 and 3 – Rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem

Ezra 2: List of the Returned Exiles

(Neh 7:6–73)

Ezra 2 Now these were the people of the province who came from those captive exiles whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia; they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, all to their own towns. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the Israelite people: the descendants of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy-two. Of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two. Of Arah, seven hundred seventy-five. Of Pahath-moab, namely the descendants of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred twelve. Of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. Of Zattu, nine hundred forty-five. Of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty. 10 Of Bani, six hundred forty-two. 11 Of Bebai, six hundred twenty-three. 12 Of Azgad, one thousand two hundred twenty-two. 13 Of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-six. 14 Of Bigvai, two thousand fifty-six. 15 Of Adin, four hundred fifty-four. 16 Of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, ninety-eight. 17 Of Bezai, three hundred twenty-three. 18 Of Jorah, one hundred twelve. 19 Of Hashum, two hundred twenty-three. 20 Of Gibbar, ninety-five. 21 Of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty-three. 22 The people of Netophah, fifty-six. 23 Of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight. 24 The descendants of Azmaveth, forty-two. 25 Of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three. 26 Of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one. 27 The people of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two. 28 Of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three. 29 The descendants of Nebo, fifty-two. 30 Of Magbish, one hundred fifty-six. 31 Of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. 32 Of Harim, three hundred twenty. 33 Of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-five. 34 Of Jericho, three hundred forty-five. 35 Of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.

36 The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy-three. 37 Of Immer, one thousand fifty-two. 38 Of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty-seven. 39 Of Harim, one thousand seventeen.

40 The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the descendants of Hodaviah, seventy-four. 41 The singers: the descendants of Asaph, one hundred twenty-eight. 42 The descendants of the gatekeepers: of Shallum, of Ater, of Talmon, of Akkub, of Hatita, and of Shobai, in all one hundred thirty-nine.

43 The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 44 Keros, Siaha, Padon, 45 Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, 46 Hagab, Shamlai, Hanan, 47 Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, 48 Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, 49 Uzza, Paseah, Besai, 50 Asnah, Meunim, Nephisim, 51 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 52 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 53 Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 54 Neziah, and Hatipha.

55 The descendants of Solomon’s servants: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, 56 Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, 57 Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth-hazzebaim, and Ami.

58 All the temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants were three hundred ninety-two.

59 The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their families or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: 60 the descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, six hundred fifty-two. 61 Also, of the descendants of the priests: the descendants of Habaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai (who had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name). 62 These looked for their entries in the genealogical records, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean; 63 the governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim.

64 The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred sixty, 65 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven; and they had two hundred male and female singers. 66 They had seven hundred thirty-six horses, two hundred forty-five mules, 67 four hundred thirty-five camels, and six thousand seven hundred twenty donkeys.

68 As soon as they came to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of families made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. 69 According to their resources they gave to the building fund sixty-one thousand darics of gold, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly robes.

70 The priests, the Levites, and some of the people lived in Jerusalem and its vicinity; and the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all Israel in their towns. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is the first impression that comes to your mind when reading this chapter?
  2. What do you make of the numerical amounts given to each family?
  3. What does the last verse inform you regarding where the returning families settled near Jerusalem?
  4. What are your thoughts regarding families offering free will offerings?

Ezra 3 When the seventh month came, and the Israelites were in the towns, the people gathered together in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his kin set out to build the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as prescribed in the law of Moses the man of God. They set up the altar on its foundation, because they were in dread of the neighboring peoples, and they offered burnt offerings upon it to the Lord, morning and evening. And they kept the festival of booths, as prescribed, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the ordinance, as required for each day, and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the sacred festivals of the Lord, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from King Cyrus of Persia.

Foundation Laid for the Temple

In the second year after their arrival at the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their people, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work on the house of the Lord. And Jeshua with his sons and his kin, and Kadmiel and his sons, Binnui and Hodaviah along with the sons of Henadad, the Levites, their sons and kin, together took charge of the workers in the house of God.

10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, according to the directions of King David of Israel; 11 and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of families, old people who had seen the first house on its foundations, wept with a loud voice when they saw this house, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted so loudly that the sound was heard far away.  [2]

Questions for Reflection:

  1.  Why do you think the Hebrews worshiped on the altar before the foundation was laid?
  2. What do the shouts of praise of the people tell you about the Hebrew people?
  3. Why do you think the priests and Levites were given authority to oversee the rebuilding of the temple?
  4. Other thoughts about the rebuilding of the temple?

Prayer:  Lord, make me circumspect in my faith.  Make me to take my faith in you seriously.  Take away the distractions.  Take away my fears.  Free me, so that I might make you number one in my life!  Sharpen my focus.  Sharpen my faith.  Sharpen my love.  Make me circumspect in my faith.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                                                

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3                      

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ezr 2:1–70). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ezr 3:1–4:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

At Some Point, Each of Us Will Need a Friend Like Cyrus of Persia!

At Some Point, All of Us Need a Friend!

Ezra

In the year 539 BCE, Cyrus of Persia united the Median and Persian empires.  The following year, 538 BCE, Cyrus conquered Babylon and issued an edict that allowed the Jewish people to leave their exile in Babylon to repair the temple in Jerusalem.  The prophet Jeremiah had prophesized that one day the Hebrews would be freed to return to Jerusalem.  Little did any of the Jews realize that their liberation would come from a conquering king of a different land, Persia.  One of the most touching historical markers in Israel is in the Knesset where all of the leaders of Israel are listed in chronological order.  Included in that list is Cyrus, “The Cylinder” of Persia, who made it possible for the Hebrew people to be liberated from Babylonian Bondage.  One of the lessons and reminders to be from this historical moment is that at some point in life, each of us will need the help of someone else.

End of the Babylonian Captivity

(2 Chr 36:22–23)

Ezra 1 In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared:

“Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of those among you who are of his people—may their God be with them!—are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem; and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.”

The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites—everyone whose spirit God had stirred—got ready to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors aided them with silver vessels, with gold, with goods, with animals, and with valuable gifts, besides all that was freely offered. King Cyrus himself brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. King Cyrus of Persia had them released into the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. And this was the inventory: gold basins, thirty; silver basins, one thousand; knives, twenty-nine; 10 gold bowls, thirty; other silver bowls, four hundred ten; other vessels, one thousand; 11 the total of the gold and silver vessels was five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar brought up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is your impression of this chapter?
  2. How do you think the people felt when they read or heard Ezra say that his Word was foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah?
  3. What is the significance of Cyrus of Persia in the release of the Jewish people from Babylon?
  4. What do you learn from the speech or edit Cyrus makes to the Jewish people in Babylon?
  5. Has there ever been a person in your life who performed a role similar to Cyrus?
  6. Other thoughts?

Prayer:  Release me Lord.  Release me from those things and people that keep me from the life you have ordained that I should live.  Release me from the prison of my mind.  Release me from temptation to do wrong.  Release me so I might praise you, trust you, hope in you and love others as you have taught me to love.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Written by Pastor Nick Hood3                                                     

Photo by Pastor Nick Hood3

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Pastor Nick Hood3 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – You Tube Spiritual Videos at Rev Nicholas Hood and on Facebook

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1st Samuel, 2 Samuel, Proverbs, the Gospel of John, Acts of the Apostles, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Colossians, Titus, Revelation and more as well as Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

Also, on Google Podcasts at Nicholas Hood3

Now on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/1fQTqugJtGj6FCgHaGuG

Thank you,

Nick

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