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Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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Come Inside My Love

Abide in Me…

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Abide in me…these words of Jesus remind me of the Minnie Ripperton song, “Inside my love”-  Minnie Ripperton sang of lovers becoming one.  Jesus talks about believers becoming one in faith with his Holy Word.  Lovers become one with one another.  Our physical love is an outward manifestation of an inner love.  Sometimes the physical aspects of love: desire, attraction, positive energy can cause a person to seek the oneness of physical intimacy and jump right past a deeper oneness of two hearts seeking to grow love on an emotional and spiritual level.  Listen to sister Minnie’s words:

Two people, just meeting, barely touching each other Two spirits, greeting, tryna carry each further You are one, and I am another We should be, one inside each other

You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love

My love, my love, my love My love, my love, my love

Two strangers, not strangers Only lacking the knowing So willing, feeling Infinite growing While we’re here, the whole world is turning We should be, one, fulfilling the yearning

You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love

Say that you’ll ride, inside this love with me Come ride, inside this love with me

You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love

You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love You can see inside me, will you come inside me Do you wanna ride, inside my love

Abide in me…these words of Jesus are words of eternal love.  Abide in me, in other words, become one with me in faith, hope and love.  Become one with me so that my values are your values, my principals are your principals, and my hope and joy are your hope and joy.  Jesus follows this promise with “ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”

Most people I know would like to get what they want from Jesus.  Jesus says you can have it all if you first abide in him and his words abide in you.  Jesus wants you and me to become one with Him.  Jesus wants you and me to stop fooling around with a half and quarter faith.  He wants us to give ourselves 100 percent to him.  This does not mean that you have to become a monk or a nun.  This does not mean that you have to live a lousy life and be a square.  This does not mean you have to live a life of poverty.  What it does mean is that the Lord wants your all.  Jesus wants you and me to dedicate our lives to him and literally become one with him.

 

John 15: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does in mean when Jesus says, “Abide in me”?
  2. What does it mean for Jesus words to “Abide in you”?

 

Prayer:

Lord, grant me the strength to abide in you.  Humble my heart that I might follow you.  Open my heart that I might fully receive you.  Pierce my heart that your words might abide in me.  Make me one with your Spirit.  Take me now Lord to a deeper faith, higher  hoper, and all-encompassing love.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Mike Daniels – “Baptism in the Detroit River”

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 15:7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Close the Wound and Spike the Ball

Close the Wound and Spike the Ball! –

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My Mother in law’s Sweet Potato Pie

 

Often when a football player scores a touchdown they will “Spike” the ball by throwing it straight on the ground of the end zone, only to let the pointed end of the ball bounce it in any number of wild directions.

For many of us, life can get pretty tough.  We work our work, raise our children, handle our singleness, go to church with a smile upon our face, yet there are times when our tears flow like a river beneath the protective skin our faces and it seems as though we are living with an open wound that refuses to be healed.  When healing occurs and the situation resolves itself, sometimes in the exuberance of our joy, it may feel natural to want to sing and dance to let someone know we fell like “Spiking the Ball.”  I believe that the woman in Luke 8 with a 12-year issue of blood, when she was healed after touching the hem of his robe, if she lived in our world, would be so happy that she might have “Spiked the ball!”  Jesus tells her to go in peace and she is healed.

Someone reading this spiritual blog might be living with an open wound.  You have tried everything else, now, I encourage you to try Jesus!  Give him your hurt, your shame and your emptiness and the Lord will bless you without ceasing.

 

Luke 8: 47 When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What “Open wounds” do you carry?
  2. Have you ever brought your “Open Wounds” to the Lord?

 

Prayer:  Lord, grant that I might have many opportunities to rejoice.  Make me uninhibited in my desire to praise and thank you.  Bind my wounds and heal my infirmity.  In the quiet, lonely solitude of my distress, hear my prayer.  Touch me and I shall be made whole.  Feel me and I will be renewed.  Speak to me and I shall listen.  Grant me a reason to rejoice and a faith that shall be restored.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

(Note:  I will be preaching about the story from Luke 8 this Sunday.  I hope to see you in church.

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 8:47–48). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

We Who Are Strong Ought to Put Up with the Failings of the Weak

We Who Are Strong Ought to Put Up with the Failings of the Weak-

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All summer I have been leading a Bible Discussion on the Book of Romans on Thursdays at 7 PM entitled, “Burgers and the Bible.”  This Thursday, we will be looking at Romans 14 and 15.  Paul spends most of chapter 14 talking about the Christian not losing sight of their faith because of different attitudes regarding dietary choices and other behaviors that are different than traditional Jewish customs.

Chapter 15 starts with Paul saying the following:

Romans 15 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.[1]

Life is funny in that the same person who is strong one day may be weak on another day.  Paul tells the Romans to be gentle in how the strong relate to the weak.  To me this can apply to much more than Christians and Jews arguing about dietary customs.

Over the course of a day, month or year, there will be times when in the context of someone else you may seem stronger or weaker.  Life is kind of like a chess match.  Depending on how you play your pieces, you may be able to choke your competition or adversary into submission.  There is a temptation in life to “Get back” at those who have hurt you, disspointed you, and let you down.

Sometimes people will look at love like a game of chess, checkers and Go.  Real relationships are different than table board games because real people have real feelings with real hurt and joy.  When in love, we should always maintain the kind of sensitivity that Paul speaks about in the first verse of chapter 15- we should be sensitive to the weak.  Unfortunately, we often assume an opposite view on life.  Rather than be sensitive to the failings of the weak, we sometimes rejoice in the failings of the weak and look for a way to “Pour salt on the wounds…” of the weak.  If we have any advantage in love, Paul is encouraging us to excel in tenderness and kindness to those who are “Over a barrel.”

Romans 15 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.[2]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think Paul tells the strong to put up with the failings of the weak?
  2. Who are the weak Paul is speaking about?
  3. Who do you think Paul is describing as “Strong”?

 

Prayer:  Lord, make me never so strong that I lose patience with the weak.  Grant me clarity of purpose and vision, but also a gentle heart towards those who are weak emotionally and physically.  Lord, I thank you for my strength.  Teach me to be gentle and kind towards those who are vulnerable.  Grant me the strength to forgive those who have hurt me with words and actions.  Lord, help me to rise and live on the highest of levels of faith, service and love.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Al Boswell

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.org

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 15:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 15:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Holy Spirit- “It Was Meant to Be!”

Holy Spirit- It Was Meant to Be! –

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Ray Manning (right) and me

 

As I walked from my office fidgeting with the batteries for my wireless microphone last Wednesday, I saw a man blocking my path, it was Ray Manning.  Ray is a friend who goes all the way back to New Orleans.  I met him when I was in divinity school doing a summer internship at the Central Congregational United Church of Christ.  He was dating Michelle Dejoie, the sister of one of Denise’s classmates from Yale.  Her mother invited me over for dinner and I met the three sisters, a brother, and Ray.  Ray was closer to me in age and we hit it off immediately.  He and Michelle eventually were married and lived for a while in Detroit.  We traveled with Ray and Michelle and had a lot of fun with them over the years.  Michelle died last year.  He and Micelle, Denise and I were good friends.

Ray has an architectural design firm in New Orleans.  Since Katrina, his firm has done many of the largest projects in that city.  He came by my church last Wednesday because he said his flight was canceled and he had some time to kill in Detroit.

Ray is the kind of friend you can stay away from for a long time, but when you connect it is as if you never lost a beat.  So, Wednesday, when I saw him standing in the narthex/lobby of the church, I knew it would be a good day.  After worship we stopped by Shinola to look at watches and bicycles.  We went next door to the Traffic Jam and Snug for lunch.  It was great catching up.  I introduced him to Carolyn Howard who along with her husband are the owners of the Traffic Jam.  She has a sister and brother in New Orleans who own a restaurant and bicycle rental business that are close to where Ray lives.  Small world!  As we walked out the restaurant, Ray got a serious look on his face.  He said, “Nick, let me tell you why I am in Detroit.  I came to Detroit to interview a young architect who I am considering hiring to work at my firm.”  I jumped the gun and told him about Kim Dowdell, a young female architect who is helping my church to design a columbarium to house ashes of cremains.  Ray’s head snapped, smiled and said, the woman I interviewed told me she was helping to design a columbarium for a church, but I did not ask her the name of the church!  It has to be the same person!  I told him how impressed I was with the young architect and was sure she would make a nice addition to him company.  When he learned it was the same person, he smiled and said, “It was meant to be!”

We talked a little bit about following the lead of the Holy Spirit.  It was the Holy Spirit that led him to my church.  The Holy Spirit that caused his flight to be canceled.  And, it was the Holy Spirit that opened his and my eyes.  I told Ray how I routinely listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I believe that in his own unique way, Ray also listens for the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12: Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What process do you use to determine if you are being led by the Holy Spirit?
  2. What does the Holy Spirit mean to you?

 

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, guide me.  Open my eyes that I might see where you are leading me and what you would have me to do.  Holy Spirit, humble my pride that I might better understand your direction.  Free me so I might become a better listener.  Loose me, so I might become a better follower.  Embolden me, so I might better stand up for you.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Henrietta Carson

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations written and taken by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Co 12:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Who Can Enter a Strong Man’s House?

Who Can Enter a Strong Man’s House?

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Dr. Herbert Smitherman and Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

 

In one of his movies, Richard Pryor is sentenced to prison.  As he is led down the cell block and prisoners are making cat-calls, with his fear rising, Pryor starts doing a “Pimp Walk”, talks to himself saying, “I’m bad, I’m bad.”  I came away with the feeling that he was trying to reassure himself that he could survive the prison experience, but deep down inside he is not so sure.  He is trying to portray himself as a strong man.

Strong men and women do not have to utter a word.  You know when you are in the presence of a strong man or woman.  They do not tell you they are strong.  The strong person does not have to flex their muscles or do a set of push-ups or sit ups.  A strong person is often a humble person.  The strong man or woman will bend down to help a child to show them the way.  The strong person will often give money to the poor.  Strong men and women demonstrate the capacity to be tender, loving and kind.  Weak men sometimes will hit women when they become frustrated with their frailty, will call them out of their name and insult them.

Jesus says you cannot enter a strong man’s house unless you first tie him up.  A strong man can become tied up with distractions, despair, disinterest and desertion.  I encourage you today to seek true strength, not an external strength that is internally weak, but a true strength that transcends time, wealth, and circumstance.

Mark 3: 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is your definition of a strong man?
  2. How would Jesus describe a strong man?

 

Prayer:  Lord, make me strong on every level.  Strengthen my body from the head to the toe.  Push me, so I might push my body.  Stretch me, so I might stretch in strength.  Make me agile and grant me balance.  Give me a strength that is deeper than my muscles.  Grant me an inner strength that is not dependent upon my arms or legs.  Grant me ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart to feel.  Make me strong enough to withstand evil, kind enough to overcome hate, and loving enough to move mountains.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Hon. Denise Page Hood

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mk 3:27). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sunday, Denise and I Celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary…

Sunday Denise and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary

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left to right:  young Paul, Rev. Paul Saddler Sr., Kim Saddler, Nick Hood, III,, Denise Hood, Dr. Lisa Brand, Atty. Eric Tucker, Rev. Denise Goodrich Neil, Wali Neel

 

Sunday, my wife Denise and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.  On a rainy Saturday in August of 1976 Denise and I stood before the altar at the St. Paul AME Church in Columbus, Ohio.  We had planned a backyard wedding at her house, but the Lord had other plans.  It rained the entire week before our wedding day and on the day of the wedding, the heavens opened up and poured like it would never end.  So, the wedding was moved at the last minute to her church.  Denise’s grandfather, Thomas Nelson Page, was a presiding elder in the AME Church who co-officiated with the pastor of the church, Rev. Thomas Liggins.

After the wedding we went downstairs and had a backyard wedding reception moved to the church basement.  I tell couples every chance that I get that the amount of money you spend on your wedding is not an indication of how happy you will be.  As I recall, we had: “Church red-punch;” two watermelons, scooped out, floating with grapes, melon and other fruit; chicken salad sandwiches; wedding cake and I think, maybe ice cream, and that was it.  We have done very well for 40 years with a “Church Red Punch” and watermelon wedding reception.

Friends and family came from around the country and we had a great time.

Sunday was interesting and special because this was our 40th anniversary.  The whole weekend was interesting, but indicative of the life I lead as a pastor and life Denise leads as the wife of a pastor.  Friday, we left Detroit late for Columbus, Ohio to spend the night with her mother.  Saturday morning after breakfast, we drove from Columbus to Cincinnati, Ohio for the wedding of one of our young church members.  There was a lot of construction on the road which almost made us late for the wedding.

During the drive to Cincinnati, we talked a lot about our marriage- the courtship, dating, and ultimately the wedding and 40 years of marriage.  We have been fortunate in that our marriage has been spared fighting, cussing and sleeping on the couch.  While we are not rich, we have similar values and do not spend a lot of money on frivolous things.  Both of us have accomplished a great deal and I am convinced that our marriage has served as the foundation for everything else that has come our way.  We have raised two successful sons and watched them grow in their maturity.  We have a wonderful daughter in law and granddaughter.  We are quite fortunate and extremely blessed.

I offered a prayer during the wedding reception and around 8:30 in the evening we drove to Cleveland, Ohio, where I would preach the next day at the Mt. Zion United Church of Christ, where Paul Saddler is the pastor.  We did not arrive in Cleveland until after 1 AM.  We spent the night with Lisa and her husband, Eric.  Lisa and Denise have been friends since junior high school.

After worship, we had dinner at a local restaurant.  We were joined by Kim and Rev. Paul Saddler, Rev. Denise Goodrich and her husband, Wali, Dr. Lisa Bruestine and her husband, Atty. Eric Tucker.

Each of the persons around the table has known us for most of our 40 years in marriage.  I asked each couple and individual to share their favorite, “Denise and Nick” stories.  Paul shared a couple of stories including one where he and Willard Hill (from New Orleans) set off the alarm at our house and greeted the police sitting on our front steps eating ice cream.  Each person and couple told their favorite memories, each was funny and fascinating to me what each person recalled.  Eric, the husband of Lisa, who has known us the least amount of time, she married him after her first husband died an early death, baked a chocolate cake in honor of our anniversary and the restaurant served it to us following dinner.  This was actually a great wedding anniversary, because the people at dinner, for the most part have known us our entire marriage.  True bonds of friendship will last a lifetime.  We did not plan the dinner far in advance, but it turned out really well.

This was a different kind of wedding anniversary.  Each of our anniversaries have been low key.  Usually, we go out to dinner, exchange small gifts, talk a bit about where we are in marriage and let the night take care of itself.  At 40 years, it seemed like we should do something a little more, so we shared time with a few folks who have known us most of those years.

The Bible has several Bible verses that have to do with marriage.  I share one with you today from the Book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 5: 18Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, [1]

Prayer: 

Lord, please bless this union, let it last a life time.  I thank you for the love you have brought together.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo set up by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III and taken by a guest at the restaurant

Additional Prayers, Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Pr 5:18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Hallmarks of a Friend

Hallmarks of a Friend –

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Saturday, I drove with my wife, Denise, to Cincinnati, Ohio for the wedding of one of the young women in my church, Kristen Smitherman, to the love of her life, Emilio Voltaire.  My role was simple and straight forward – to offer a prayer during the wedding reception.  The first people we saw when parking our car outside of the church were Leslie and Roy Elrod, Md. and their children.  They too, had driven from Detroit for the wedding.

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I was not surprised to see Roy Elrod and his family at the wedding.  He and the father of the bride, Dr. Herbert Smitherman are tremendous friends.  Both attend the church where I pastor.  On Sunday mornings, they and their families arrive at church and from the pulpit I can see the two of them “Catching up.”  It’s good that I have a well-defined ego, because they often sit outside of the sanctuary in the lobby of the church and have their conversations.  Saturday, I learned that in addition to being business partners and friends, Dr. Elrod is also the godfather to the bride, Kristen.

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As the bride and groom did what brides and grooms do at a wedding, and the younger Elrod’s and Smitherman’s had a ball with their peers, cousins and others, the older adults also had their conversations and where left to ourselves.  I took a photo of Herb and Roy during the wedding reception.  As I focused the lens on the two friends I thought to myself, “How wonderful it is to have a friend!”

A true friend knows when to show up.  A true friend will support you in your best and worst moments.  A true friend will offer advice that is meant to help and not hurt.  True friends will listen, laugh, learn and lean upon each other.  True friends will bear with you in your suffering, smile with you in joy, and let you know in their own unique way that you are alright and in their minds, great as a human being.

Job 12: 26     The righteous gives good advice to friends, but the way of the wicked leads astray. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What measures would you use to score the quality of your friendships?
  2. What are some of the challenges of providing advice to a friend?
  3. What can we learn from Jesus Christ regarding friendship?

 

Prayer:  Lord, grant me good friends.  Through your divine providence and inspiration, teach me to discern those who truly love and care for me.  Lord, show me how to be a better friend.  Whisper in my ear and let me know when to reach out to my friends.  Tap me on the shoulder and show me when to show up in support of my friends.  When words flee like the wind on a hot night, inspire me with your presence and make me a better listener. When communicating with a friend, make me honest and forthright.  When my friends could use a little help, make me uninhibited in sharing my time, money and thoughtfulness.  Make me this day a better friend.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Meditations written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Pr 12:26). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Think With Sober Judgement

Think with Sober Judgement-

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Rosalind McDuffie during the “Burgers and Bible” Discussion on Romans 12

 

Some of the worst choices we make in life are because we act before considering the full range of options.  Over the course of my life I have made my share of poor choices.  I am sure someone reading this piece can testify that you have probably made some decisions that were not the best.  This can happen on every level:  choices in: education, employment, love, housing, investments, politics and more.  Sometimes the choice is when to speak and when to keep silent, when to fight and when to stand down, when to move and when to stay put, when to write and when to read, when to date and when to quit dating and move to the next level – marriage or break up.  Some people end up getting killed or injured because they hung around people they did not need to be around, or went some place they did not need to be.

Think of the mistakes we make because we act before we have thought something all the way through.  I know of more than one person who quit a job too soon, or stayed on the job too long; demanded a divorce and then regretted the decision; had unprotected sex and ended up with a child they were unprepared to raise; invested in businesses they really did not understand; moved to a city that seemed attractive, only to be let down, and more.

My father often told me how much he regretted not staying with me when taking me in the 8th grade to an orthopedic doctor to examine my knee that was sore from football and basketball injuries.  My dad dropped me off at the doctor’s office, on Joy Road and Grand River in Detroit.  I limped into the office and agreed I would take the bus home.  As it turned out, my knee was in fact dislocated and the doctor placed my entire leg from the ankle to the thigh in a heavy cast.  He provided me with crutches and I took the bus home.  Neither my dad or I had any idea of the severity of my injury, so in our collective lack of sober judgement I was left to fend for myself.

Life is full of choices for each of us to make.  When we choose well, we do well.  When we choose poorly, we do poor.  The Apostle Paul is encouraging his readers to “Choose Well.”

The portion of the Bible several groups in my church are reading and discussing at the same time is from the Book of Romans.  Last week we dove into chapter 12.  Listen to what the Apostle Paul has to say about thinking with sober judgement:

Romans 12: but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned[1]  (Vs. 3)

As is the case with every verse in the Bible, the scripture above points to a larger section that talks not only about “Thinking with sober judgement,” but how the sober thoughtfulness of our judgement should better enable us to understand and appreciate the unique skill-sets of others.

Romans 12: For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. [2]

This Thursday at 7 PM, the discussion on Romans will continue with a look at chapter 13.  The lesson will take place in my backyard with a light cookout of hamburgers and hotdogs (turkey burgers too!), and if you are in the Detroit area, I encourage you to stop by.  Call 313-831-2460 for directions or respond to me online at nhoo996937@aol.com  Thanks for reading.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What process do you use to employ wisdom in your decision making process?
  2. How do you draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit in making your decisions?

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to think clearly.  Before I speak and before I act, fill my mind with sober judgement.  Slow me down so I might think before I speak.  Speed my mind so I might consider all options before I act.  Grant me wisdom in every decision that I make and every action that I take.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 12:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 12:4–8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Texting Naked Photos and What the Apostle Paul Might Have to Say…

Texting Naked Photos and Not to Think More Highly of Yourself Than You Ought–

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Baptism of Lisa Jackson in the Detroit River

 

Draymond Green, a basketball player for the Golden State Warriors recently was embarrassed by sending out a photo of his private parts on the Internet by mistake to his entire group of followers. He has since expressed some remorse for his action.  When I first heard about his situation I began to think about what the Bible might have to say to give him some encouragement.  I also thought about a fellow I ministered to locally who got himself in a similar situation.  I asked him, why would you send photos of yourself to someone else – who in his situation, when she became angry with him she forwarded it to others.  His response was, “Nick, that’s what people are doing now days.”  The technology is here and it is so easy to take photos and much more and send them out to whomever on the world wide web.  Sending naked photos is one of many ways to let others know how you feel about how you look.  While healthy self-esteem is important, it is also wise to keep your pride in check and hold on to your common sense.

I am leading a Bible Discussion each week this summer on Paul’s Letter to the Romans.  Last night we looked at chapter 12.  One of the verses that caught my attention was the third verse where Paul warns the Romans not to think more highly of themselves than they ought:

Romans 12: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.[1]

A lot of us in this modern world could learn from Paul because we often allow ourselves to get puffed up in relation to those around us.  It is easy to find another person who makes less money, drives a car that is not as nice as the one you may drive, has a smaller flat screen television, has smaller, less developed muscles, has a girlfriend, woman, man, husband or wife who you think can’t hold a candle to yours, and the list goes on and on…

Still, I hear Paul say, do not think higher or yourself than you ought.  Why?  For starters, even at your best, there is a high level you could reach for.  Sometimes in our best, we will find someone who is more talented, is more handsome or beautiful, is wealthier, and so on.  I think the Apostle Paul would say to each of us, keep your pride in check and recognize that there is something beautiful in each of us.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think Paul warned the Romans against, “Thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think?”
  2. What is the balance between healthy self-esteem and “Thinking more highly of yourself than you ought?”

 

Prayer:  Lord, grant me a healthy sense of self-esteem.  Encourage me to feel good about myself, proud of my achievements, accomplishments, and skill sets, but at the same time help me not to look down upon others.  Help me to see something worthwhile and of value in every man and woman.  Remind me, Jesus that each one of us is a child in your kingdom.  Lord, I want to be ready to see you face to face in that kingdom that has no end.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Mike Daniels

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 12:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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