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The Kingdom of Heaven and the Sowing of the Mustard Seed

043Kingdom of Heaven and the Sowing of the Mustard Seed –

 

The late Rev. Obie Matthews used to say, “Some folk are so heavenly bound, they are no earthly good!” I am thinking today about his big, boisterous laugh at the well-intentioned Christians who simply get the faith wrong. Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that is sowed in his field. Let’s break this parable down.

Jesus starts by saying, “The kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven is at least two dimensional. The first level is here on earth. I believe Jesus came to earth not just to prepare us for life beyond death, but also to show us how to live. What good is a heavenly death if we have not learned how to live? It bothers me to find some Christians who will look the other way and put up with racism, sexism, and fascism, all in the name of things will be better when we get to heaven.

This week, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, who championed the civil rights for all people. Dr. King believed in heaven, prayed for heaven, and died in the faith of going to heaven, but he also believed that all persons should be treated equal with the same rights to receive a public education, access to public accommodations like lunch counters, and the right to vote. To Dr. King, the kingdom of heaven, was not just a prize to be obtained upon death, but right here on earth!

Matthew 13: 31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” [1]

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to the sowing of a mustard seed. It was not only the faith of the mustard seed, but the sowing of the seed. The seed must be selected, planted, watered and watched, and eventually, with the help of the sunshine, the seed grows into a productive plant and if left alone long enough, a big tree. This is a great analogy for how we must work toward the building of God’s kingdom on earth. You and I and other people of good will and faith must work to convince the world of the power of love, equality and justice. As we work to establish a world order in the spirit of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God will become a reality, not just in death, but also in life.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How would you describe the kingdom of heaven?
  2. Why do you think Jesus compared the sowing of a mustard seed to the kingdom of heaven?
  3. Is it the seed or the sowing of the seed that should be compared to the kingdom of heaven?

 

Prayer: Lord, grant me the faith, energy and commitment to sow faith in your word for the building of your kingdom. Lord, make me proud to be a witness for you! Make me proud to tell the world what you have done for me! Make me unashamed to admit that when I was down, you lifted me up! When I was lost, you came for me and found me! When I could not see my way, you gave me direction. Help me to pray right, live right, love right and do right in your sight. In Jesus name. 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/

More about the ministry, missions, prayers and publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

www.puccdetroit.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 13:31–32). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Keep Alert, Stand firm, Be Courageous, Be Strong!

Keep Alert, Stand Firm in Your faith, Be Courageous, Be Strong!

Denise and me in Ethiopia (2005) on top of one of the underground churches at Lalibela, Ethiopia

 

My wife and I, and a couple of others traveling with us and the Ethiopian North American Health Professions Association, as part of a health mission, I believe the year was 2012, were driven to a worship service that met in the backyard of a household compound. The yard had a wall around it, and the entrance was a locked gate. Worship was spirited. The denomination was Meserte Kristos, which grew out of the Mennonite Church. At some point we were told that while we were driven to the place of worship, most of the worshipers walked by foot. We were also told that going and coming to worship, sometimes the worshipers were pelted with rocks from Christians who did not believe in their worship tradition. Worshipers were truly suffering for their faith! As I heard this, I began to wonder how many members of my church would continue to attend church if they were pelted by rocks? What would you do if your path to worship was full of obstacles?

2004 Ethiopian Mission in Lalibela

We know an Ethiopian woman who was physically held face down in a fire of burning coals because she converted to the protestant church in Ethiopia.  Her faith is incredibly strong, and in her own way has become a tremendous witness to her family members and others.

The Apostle Paul tells the church at Corinth to, “Keep alert, stand firm in their faith, be courageous and be strong.” The early church had its detractors and road blocks in a much different way than many of us experience. For many in the west, our biggest road block to church is ourselves. We are derailed by television shows, sporting events, and the comfort of our bed.

However, as I have taken note of some of the countries were persons read this blog, some of you may read the words of Paul in a more intense way than those of us in America and the west. Perhaps you are reading this piece from Russia, China, Iraq, Iran or some other country where Christianity has its challenges. I am interested to hear from you regarding how this verse speaks to you. My encouragement is that we all stay alert, stand firm in our faith, be courageous and strong.

1 Corinthians 16: 13 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think Paul ends 1 Corinthians with this verse?
  2. What is the relevance of this scripture for the modern Christian?

 

Prayer: Lord, keep my mind focused upon thee. Regardless of my comfort or discomfort, keep me alert. Make me alert and aware of danger. Make me alert for opportunities to witness for you. Make me alert for ways to transform suffering into joy, dead-ends into door openers, mean-spiritedness into love. Make me firm in my faith, courageous in the fight against evil and a strong witness for you. 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 can be viewed at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Co 16:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

In Deep Water!

In Deep Water –

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Sanctuary Beach, California

My message today is about trusting God, even when we are challenged to follow the Lord into deep water! From my youth, I have enjoyed the water. I like swimming and playing in the water. I like sitting by water and watching the waves go by. The sound of water, forming waves from the wind and current, gives me a sense of inner peace and calm. I like letting the water in an ocean or big lake, hit me and drag me out towards the deep. In that moment, I know that I am helpless and totally dependent upon the grace of God. As a little boy, my parents took me and my younger brother, Emory to Jones Beach in New York. A wave hit me, knocked me down, and the current dragged me over the rough sand out toward the sea. I survived the current, but even now, I think about the awesome power of the waves and my helplessness to fight back. When I consider the depths of the waters, I am filled with the knowledge that I am only a small part of the creation of God. It humbles me and puts my life into perspective.

At the beginning of his earthly ministry, Jesus preaches and teaches to a crowd near Capernaum. Jesus steps into a fishing boat, owned by Simon Peter. The boat provides Jesus with some personal space which he uses to speak to the masses. They are only a short distance from the shore. After the crowd leaves, Jesus tells Simon Peter to “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

Peter loves Jesus, but it seems as if his response to Jesus goes something like this: “Jesus I love you and accept you as Lord and Savior, but with all due respect, what do you know about fishing? I have been fishing all my life. I am aquatinted with every inch of this lake. My brother and friends and I have been fishing all night long and we have not caught many fish.

Jesus insists that he put out into the deep water and he will find a great catch of fish. Eventually, Peter gives in and the rest is history. They put out into the deep of the lake and there are so many fish the nets begin to break. What are some of the lessons we can learn from this story?

First, Jesus knows more than we do. Peter thought he knew it all, but Jesus showed him something about the fish in the Sea of Galilee he did not know.

Second, even though he doubted Jesus, Peter trusts Jesus enough to put out into the deep.

Third, sometimes like Peter, we are reluctant to go into deep water. Deep water is dangerous water, but like Peter, if we want to be successful, we need to get beyond our fears and arrogance and humble ourselves to follow the direction of Jesus.

Jesus uses the example of the great catch of fish to let Peter know that if he follows him, he will make him a “Fisher of people.”

To me, this text is saying, trust the Lord and he will show you blessings far greater than anything you ever could have imagined!

Luke 5: When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are some of the greatest tests of faith you have experienced?
  2. Have the tests to your faith strengthened or weakened your faith?

 

Prayer: Lord, teach me to trust you. Lord, increase my faith that I might follow you. Lord, grant me strength and courage to believe in you, hope in you and love unconditionally without fear. 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, Photo and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.org

 

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

Jesus and the Father with the Epileptic Son

Jesus and The Father with the Epileptic Son –

 
With Father’s Day approaching, I want to focus on stories from the Bible that feature fathers. The story I am lifting today is the one of a father who brought a sick son to Jesus. He began with the disciples, but they were unable to heal the boy. Jesus heals the boy and tells the disciples that the boy’s illness was such that only prayer and faith could heal him. The concluding remark from Jesus was that “nothing is impossible with God.”

14 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15 and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17)

 

Here are some of my reflections and lessons from this story. First, the father brings the child to Jesus. The mother could have brought the boy, but it is the father. In America today, the father often gets a bad rap. However, in this story from the Bible, it is the father who is the advocate for the son.

Second lesson from the story – when the disciples cannot heal the boy, the father keeps pushing until he has a face to face encounter with Jesus. You and I should press on until we have a personal encounter with Jesus.

Third lesson from the story – Jesus tells the disciples that when their faith and prayer life is enhanced, all things will be possible. The same is true for us. As we develop our faith-life and prayer-life, all things are possible!

Matthew 17: 14 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15 and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water.[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What can we learn from the father of the sick son who came to see Jesus?
  2. What does this story tell us about the love and power of Jesus?

 

Prayer: Lord, grant me faith to believe that you can do all things. When I am afraid, bless me to believe that all things are possible. Teach me to love my children, even as I love myself. Through the wind, through the fire, through the storm and rain, happiness and pain, I give my heart to you. Lord, have mercy on me. Lord, shine upon me. Lord, save me. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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

More about the ministry, mission, prayers and publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at http://www.nicholashoodministries.org

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 17:14–15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Increase Your Spiritual Bandwidth!

Increase Your Spiritual Bandwidth! –

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On the beach near Monterrey, California

 

Bandwidth provides the computer user with the capacity for the computer to process information. The faster the bandwidth, the faster a computer can download, upload and work multiple functions at the same time. Just as a computer is faster or slower because of the available bandwidth, in like manner, our spirituality depends or flatlines based upon the foundation of faith upon which we have built our lives. If you will, it is our “Spiritual Bandwidth” that enables us to learn more of God, trust Jesus and to rely upon the Holy Spirit.

So, one of the things the believer must do is always check and grow their “Spiritual Bandwidth.” The greater our faith, the greater our ability to handle the ups and downs of life. The greater our faith, the easier it is to trust God in all situations. The greater our faith, the greater our ability to “Walk by faith and not by sight.”

There are several steps a person can take to build their “Spiritual Bandwidth.”

  1. Acquaint oneself with the Gospel stories of Jesus Christ
  2. Try to see Jesus in every situation, everything and every person
  3. Pray often and regularly
  4. Attempt to love as Jesus has taught us to love.

When Jesus showed his scars to Thomas, who previously said he would not believe that Jesus had risen from the grave until he saw the nail prints in his hand, Jesus told him that those who believed and had not seen the scars would be blessed.

John 20: 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” [1]

Look at the larger scripture that talks about Jesus, Thomas and the other disciples:

John 20: 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” [2]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What would you tell a person who wanted to increase their faith?
  2. What are some of the major stumbling blocks in building faith?

Thank you for reading this piece about, “Increasing Your Spiritual Bandwidth.” This also happens to be the title of my sermon, Sunday. If you are in the Detroit, Michigan area, I hope you will stop by the church at either 8:30 or 11 AM. – Plymouth United Church of Christ 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit, Michigan 48201

Nick

Prayer: Lord, increase my faith! Help me to believe, even when I cannot make sense out of death, disappointment and despair. Lord, I need your presence. Lord, I need more faith. I cannot run this journey alone. Speak to me and I will listen. Hold my hand and I will follow. Breath upon me and my lungs will be filled with your power and your glory. 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). (Jn 20:29). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 20:26–29). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“Fear Not, for I am the First an dthe Last”

“Fear Not, I am the First and the Last”

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Sanctuary Beach, California

 

What would you do if you saw the Lord up close?  Would you run to him?  Would you bow down and worship him?  Would you fall down in fear?  John, the author of the Revelation, writes that in his vision from the Isle of Patmos, he saw Jesus and it terrified him.

As a boy, growing up on Fullerton Street on the west side of Detroit, I would talk to the Lord in the middle of the night as I made my way down the dark steps to the even darker front hallway and kitchen.  My mission then, as it still is now, was a search for a cold glass of water.  The whole way to the refrigerator I would talk to the Lord and ask the Lord to show himself to me.  I was terrified of the dark, but even more terrified of what I would do If the Lord popped up in the kitchen and engaged me in late night conversation.  The Lord never forced an encounter with me in the dark kitchen on Fullerton Street, and my faith has continued to increase.

The Book of Revelation is a mystery to many in today’s world.  However, during the time of John, and the first century church, the Revelation was quite clear.  I believe, as do many scholars, that John was writing a revelation he had received in a kind of code language that would be easily understood by Christians in his time who were persecuted under the authority of the Roman government.  The members of the early church knew exactly what John is talking about.  The Roman government did not know what he was talking about.  Perhaps his guards thought he was a nut.  John is the only apostle who is thought not to have been martyred.  Some think he survived being killed for his faith because he was in prison.  John tells us early on that he is imprisoned on the Island of Patmos.  He clearly states at the beginning who the revelation is intended – seven churches.

Revelation 1: I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” [1]

In our focus verse for today, John speaks about being overwhelmed with fear when he sees Jesus face to face.  What would you do if you saw the Lord up close?  Would you run to him and embrace him, or would you fall down like John?  The Lord reaches out and touches John, talks to him and touches him:

 

Revelation 1: 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last[2]

Take a look at John’s description of the Lord.  It is an awesome vision of the glory of God.  Again, I ask, what would you do if you saw a vision like the vision of John?

Revelation 1: 12 Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force. [3]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does this passage of scripture say to you about overcoming your fears?
  2. What does the image of Jesus being the “First and last” mean to you?

 

Prayer:

Lord, help me with my fears.  Grant me a new sense of self-confidence.  Remind me that you are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all things.  Put your hand of reassurance upon me.  Wash me and make me clean.  Touch me and make me whole.  Speak to me and grant me your peace.  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/

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 1:9–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 1:12–16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“Bouncing Back from a Broken Heart”

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Bouncing Back From a Broken Heart

What do you say to a person who has been wounded in love? What do you say to the young woman who gives her heart and body to a fellow who is more attracted to her body than the inner workings of her mind? What do you say to the guy who has become disappointed with dating, discouraged with women who desired someone else and now wonders if there is something wrong with his very being as a human created by God?

In Paul’s letter to the believers in Christ in the city of Thessalonica I believe there are words of hope, reassurance and a road map to bouncing back from hurt feelings and a broken heart. What I hear Paul saying is that the way to bounce back from hurt, shame and disappointment is to maintain a positive spirit, do good to all, rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in joy and sorrow. With this attitude, we develop the capacity to rise from sadness and continue to feel good about ourselves and move on think and act positive in all situations.

I encourage you to take a look at the following words of the Apostle Paul and ask yourself, how can this attitude help me to handle disappointment in love?

1 Thessalonians 5: 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How might you use this Bible verse to help a person bounce back from a broken heart?
  2. What steps do you think a person must take to bounce back from a broken heart?
  3. What about our faith in Jesus Christ will help you to regain your self –confidence when your heart has been broken?

Prayer:

Lord, I need your reassurance. Lord, I need your direction. When I have opened my heart and allowed it to drown in dashed disappointment and despair, touch my spirit and rekindle self-confidence and self-love. Lord, teach me to choose wisely in who and how I love. Teach me to understand that not everyone I am attracted to is right for me. Lord, give me someone who loves me above everyone else. Lord, give me someone who wants to share my hopes, share my dreams, and share my frustration, fears and faith. Lord, give me a love that is real. Lord, help me to bounce back in love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we 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/

More about the ministry of Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (1 Th 5:15–18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“Those Who Know Your Name Will Put Their Trust In You!”

Those Who Know Your Name Put Their Trust In You

Cross and Altar - Thessaloniki, Greece
Cross and Altar – Thessaloniki, Greece

Psalm 9 is labeled a “Psalm of David.” Although he is remembered most often as the greatest of all of the Israelite kings, we must also remember that much of the life of David was either on the run from Saul, fighting other enemies of Israel and fighting his own internal demons of doubt and despair. In this Psalm, David rejoices that those who sought his destruction were swallowed up in defeat. He gives continual thanks to God for every blessing, every victory, and every near defeat.   David is without doubt that it is God and God only who has secured his steps and his victories.

Unfortunately, there may be times in our lives when people and situations might cause one to wonder where God is and if God can be found what God could do to take away our misery, hurt and pain.

Let me make this a little more plain. It is difficult to explain illness and death. It can be hard if not impossible to understand why love may not work out, employment may be difficult and why someone may be able to get away with breaking into your home and walking away with your hard earned possessions.

Life can make a person cynical about God. King David found God as a youth. The faith of his youth stayed with him until his old age. One of the reasons I support the Sunday School and other youth activities at church is that I believe once a children is introduced to the Lord they will have a difficult time leaving Jesus.

Psalm 9: 10   And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does it take to put your trust in God?
  2. How does one learn the name of the Lord?
  3. How does the believer seek the Lord?

 

Prayer:

Lord, I put my trust in you. I cannot see the way, but I know you are there. Sometimes it feels like the water will rise above my head, but you have never let me drown. The waves are high, but you are higher. The depth is deep, but you are deeper. Lord, I know you and put my trust in you. You have never forsaken me and when I have sought you, you were always there. Bless me. Keep me. Strengthen me. Hold me in you care. Through Jesus Christ my Lord and savior I pray.   Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III – altar and cross, Thessaloniki, Greece

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

More about Nicholas Hood III Ministries – http://www.nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ps 9:10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Walk by Faith and Not by Sight!

Walk by Faith and Not by Sight!

Welcome ceremony  at  airport  in  Mbandaka, Democratic Republic  of  Congo 2010
Welcome ceremony at airport in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo 2010

When you take off in an eleven seat plane and make it to 10,000 feet only to run into a rain storm so thick and strong above the River Congo, so intense, so daunting, so frightening, and all you have to guide you are the instruments on the control panel of the pilot, it gives new meaning to the words of the Apostle Paul that “we walk by faith and not by sight.”

In February of 2010, I traveled with a small delegation to observe missions of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ that was organized by Global Ministries. After arriving in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, we boarded a small 11 passenger plane to travel hundreds of miles up the River Congo.

Welcome ceremony  at the Airport  at Mbandaka, Dem. Rep. Congo 2010
Welcome ceremony at the Airport at Mbandaka, Dem. Rep. Congo 2010

I sat next to the pilot so I could take photos. After about 20 or 30 minutes it began to rain so hard that we could not see anything out the windshield. The pilot calmly watched the instrument panel and turned on the auto pilot. Even though I was scared to death, I calmed down when I realized that the pilot knew what he was doing and was not in the least bit overwhelmed by the challenge.

As we inched our way through the pounding rain and cloud cover, I thought of the words of Paul to the Church at Corinth: 2 Corinthians 5: for we walk by faith, not by sight.  When we landed in  Mbandaka, we were greeted at the  airport by children who danced and sang to welcome us home.  Had the pilot not trusted the instruments  in the plane we would  never  have made it alive.

When in your life have you had to trust your “Instruments”? Has there ever been a time when you could not see your way, so you trusted in the Bible as your navigational system and let your faith guide you home? To me, this is what our faith is all about:   trusting God and in our blindness, feeling our way home.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does “Walk by faith and not by sight” mean to you?
  2. What is the difference between faith and foolishness?
  3. Other questions?

 

Prayer:

Lord, help me to trust you more completely. I cannot see the end, but your word is enough. I cannot feel the bottom, but I do not worry because you are my anchor, my bounce and my lift. I trust you, Lord, because you have never failed me. I follow you Lord, because you have never forgotten me. I believe in you, even when others mock you, because in the end I expect to see your salvation face to face. I praise you Lord, because my sins have not overwhelmed you, and you continue to give me new opportunities to get things right. Hold my hand, Lord, while I walk by faith and not by sight. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

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

“The Test, The Strength, The Endurance and the Way Out”, a new book of prayers and photographs written and taken by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org (only $15)

Book cover
Book cover

 

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