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Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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A Glad Heart Makes a Cheerful Countenance!

A Glad Heart Makes a Cheerful Countenance-

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Richard Bennett in the Forbidden City, China

 

In the Book of Proverbs there are several verses about joy, cheerfulness and happiness. Walking through the “Forbidden City” in China, in the middle of taking photos of so many fascinating images, as I looked in the faces of many of the persons in our China 2017 Tour, sponsored by the church I pastor, the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan, it was clear to me that all the persons who made the trip were full of joy that they were in China. A smile can tell you much about how a person feels. By the same token, sorrow and sadness makes it difficult to smile.

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Kendra Cook in the Forbidden City, China

 

I try to find something to smile about every day. By the same token, when I am called upon to preach a eulogy at a funeral, I try to find at least one exemplary characteristic about the deceased. A funeral is often sad, but it also should be a time of great rejoicing, because the “Souls of the righteous are in the hands of God” (Wisdom 3:1)
There have been times when people have expressed to me their disappointment in love. It hurts to be rejected in love. When dating, and hopes begin to rise, if the other person crushes our spirit for any number of reasons, I share with the wounded person that they should thank God that the found out what the person was like before they committed to marriage. Even so, a wounded spirit takes time to heal.

In the 15th chapter of the Book of Proverbs it reads:

Proverbs 15: 13      A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What encouragement from scripture in the Bible would you share with a person who has a “Broken spirit?”

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the joyful moments of life. Every day, I see encouragement in your Word, encouragement in your personal support of my dreams and aspirations, and your physical and emotional support that you provide for me. You make my heart glad, Lord. In your Word, I have found direction and sustenance. You are my joy. 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/

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

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Pr 15:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

What is Man that Thou Art Mindful of Him?

What is Man that Thou Art Mindful of Him? –

 
Psalm 8: 3    When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars that you have established;

4    what are human beings that you are mindful of them,

mortals that you care for them? [1]

 
Yesterday, was the last 24 hours of the China 2017 Tour. Denise and I went with five other persons on a day trip to a waterfront community. Along the way, our group stopped at a beautiful beach along the China Sea. It was such a beautiful, awe-inspiring sight that all I could do was to think about the creative love and mercy of God. The sky was beautiful, the sand was sandy, the water was warm, and with mountains behind and beside us, I thought to myself the words of the 8th Psalm:

Psalm 8

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

1    O Lord, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

2      Out of the mouths of babes and infants

you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,

to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3    When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars that you have established;

4    what are human beings that you are mindful of them,

mortals that you care for them? [2]

Prayer: Lord, I see you in everything! I see you in the mountains. I see you in the valley. I see you in the sunshine. I see you in the heat of the day, but I also see you in the cool of the night. From the dry, desolate solitude of the desert to the fresh expanse of the ocean deep, from the little inch worm and bird, to the large animals of the land, and most of all when I think of human beings, what are we in the scheme of things, yet you have made us little lower than the angels! Lord, how excellent it your name! In Jesus name! Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo of Judge Denise Page Hood by Kristyn Brundidge

Additional prayers photos meditations and publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

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

 

Note: We fly back to Detroit later today, tomorrow, for those of you in Eastern Standard Time. If you live in the Detroit area, I hope to see you in church on Sunday. My sermon is entitled, “The Clock on the Wall.” The theme of the sermon will be about time and a sense of urgency in terms of how we use the time the good Lord has given us. I hope to see you in church Sunday and I hope you will bring a friend!

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 8:3–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

Take a Knee for the Lord!

On Taking a Knee for the Lord –

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Psalm 106: 3 Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times. [1]

Around ten years ago, I challenged a police officer in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Our two sons were in town and we had traveled in two cars to visit church members at their home, they in one car and Denise and I in the other car. Our visit was pleasant, and after saying our goodbyes, we got into our separate cars to head home. Our sons turned left on Walnut Lake Road. We waited for what seemed like only one car to pass, and then I followed our sons by turning left as well on Walnut Lake Road. They were only not more than thirty seconds ahead of us. To my surprise, when I made the left turn, I saw a police patrol car with a big spot light trained on our sons car. Both sons had their hands in the air, the older sons hands were on the steering wheel, the younger one had his hands on the dash board. My first thought was, “Who taught them to put their hands on the steering wheel and dashboard?” My second thought was, “What could they have done in thirty-seconds to warrant being pulled over by the police?” I pulled in front of them, put my stingy brim black leather hat on, with a short black leather jacket, opened the door to my car and started walking toward the police officer. The officer yelled on the loudspeaker, saying, “I don’t know who you are, get back in the car!” That’s when I knew I had the officer. The car my sons were driving was registered in my name. I am not a big shot, but there are a lot of people in the Detroit area who are familiar with my church and frankly, me. My ministry has been public, and when the officer said, “I don’t know who you are,” I thought to myself, he’s nervous and lying because he knows exactly who I am.” I just stood there looking at him and thinking, “We could all get shot, but if I should die, I want my sons to know I died standing up for them and not like a chump on my knees, whimpering like a baby.” As it turned out, the police officer was embarrassed because he almost ran his car into the car our sons were driving. The officer’s lights were off and he was driving recklessly. In his nervous embarrassment, he allowed our sons to drive off without a ticket.

 

After sharing this story with several members who live in Oakland County, Michigan, I learned that a lot of black men, and sometimes black women have been harassed by the police in the communities in which they live. They do not like to talk about it, but it is real.

I am sharing this little story, because as I consider the professional football and basketball player who have chosen to “take a knee” during the singing of the national anthem, as a way of protesting police brutality against African Americans, I am proud of what they are doing. They are young, college educated, highly skilled at what they do, and rich. Yet, for all their status and wealth, they are just as susceptible for getting pulled over and harassed, and maybe even killed as the brother on the street. So, they are making a statement, and I love it!

The athletes are making a statement, not so much about the flag and the singing of the national anthem, but racism in America. In their own way, they have forced a national discussion on race and bigotry, and I love it!

The Bible talks about justice, from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. As people who believe in Jesus Christ, we should never become so comfortable that we turn a blind eye to fairness and equality. We are taught in the Bible, that the one we should bow down to is God, and God alone. If we are willing to humble ourselves before God, our human relations become easier to figure out, and the desire for justice will become a guiding light.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How does the Bible inform your sense of justice?
  2. What are your thoughts about the protests on the sports field and the struggle for justice in America and throughout the world?

Prayer: Lord, grant me the courage to stand up for truth, to be an advocate for the poor and oppressed, and guided by mercy, grace and love. 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/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 106:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Jesus Sense of Urgency!

Jesus Sense of Urgency –

Dr. Gina Orton and Kristyn Brundidge in China

My sermon this Sunday is about living life with a sense of urgency. The sermon is entitled, “The Clock on the Wall.” Procrastination can start from several directions: laziness, forgetfulness, absent mindfulness, and hopefulness that the challenge or crises will just go away.

I have come to learn that those things that I put off rarely disappear. When I am ready to deal with the situation, it is right where I left off, or worse.

At my present stage and age of life, I am trying to do as much as I can right now, because I do not know if a year from now if my legs or heart will be able to carry me. Every time I walk from my car to a hospital room, or roll my bags from an airport parking lot, or roll my garbage dumpster to the curb, I think about my dead father and how over the last ten years of his life, his mobility, strength and ability to physically exert energy declined to his eventual death- and it frightens me, because I wonder if my end will be similar.

Yes, I go to the gym and exercise outside several times a week, but I am uncertain of how the end will be. That is why I am trying to do as much as I can, as often as I can, when and where I can, because I know one day I will go the way of the world. This is one of the reasons I am making this trip to China. I write you today from sunny Hong Kong. The trip is almost over and has been eye opening in several good ways. One of the reasons why I wanted to make this trip is because I wanted to see China and experience China while I could still walk, climb the Great Wall, see the giant panda bears up close and eat authentic Chinese food with not one egg foo young plate!

When I think of my present sense of urgency, I think about the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ who insisted that people repent of their sins because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. I believe that part of the reason the Christian faith has grown so rapidly is because of this sense of urgency. I encourage you to think about your life and your sense of urgency. Are you approaching life with a sense of urgency or are you lazy in your faith, lazy in your hope and lazy in your love? How long will you live and what do you think your legacy will be? My encouragement to you is that you make the most of every day, every minute and every moment of life!

Mark 1: 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”[1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How “Urgent” is your faith?
  2. What is it that prevents you from living your faith and life with a greater sense of urgency?
  3. Why do some people procrastinate more than others?

 

Prayer: Lord, grant me a sense of urgency! Teach me to be urgent in my faith, urgent in my hope and most of all, urgent in love! Help me to repent of my sins and believe more fully in your grace, mercy and salvation. In Jesus name, 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/

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

 

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

Worship the Lord With Gladness!

Today is our last day in Shanghai. 31 persons are traveling with me through China on a tour sponsored by the church I pastor, the Plymouth United Church of Christ of Christ Detroit. Tomorrow morning we are scheduled to fly to Hong Kong.  

Last night, several in our group went to see an acrobatic show at the  theater.  There were jaw-dropping high rise balancing acts, juggling, contortions, and a dose of magic!

The special tour today was in the Shanghai waterfront community.  We learned that Shanghai has over 300 rivers.  We separated into groups of six in gondola styled boats for a 10 minute ride deep into the waterfront community.

Our tour guide led us on an hour and a half walk to experience this historic community. Our rendevou spot was a Starbucks on the river.

Next, we took a short walk to a local restaurant which was also on the river.  After lunch, we walked back to the bus for an hour and half ride back to the hotel.

I think I can safely say that everyone on this trip would say that this has been an extraordinary and exceptional experience. 

 

Now that the trip is winding down, I would like to share a little prayer of thanks.  Some back home expressed concern about safety.  However, we have been received warmly, and in our own way have helped to further international good will and harmony.

Psalm100:2 “Worship the Lord With Gladmess”

Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for this day.  I thank you for every opportunity, every new experience and every challenge. Lord, you have made me Glad!  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood3

https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

http://www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

http://www.puccdetroit.org

God Saw that it was Good!

The China 2017 Tour, sponsored by the Plymouth United Church of Christ spent last night and today in Shanghai.  We just returned from a silk factory.  Starting with the little bitty silk worm we were told how silk is produced.  Tonight we will see a performance of Chinese acrobats.

As I listened to the talk about the silk worm, I thought to myself about the magnificent majestic and awe inspiring handiwork of God, which can transform a worm into something wonderful. 

Genesis 1:25 “God made the wild animals of the earth…and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind…and God Saw that it was good.”

Prayer: Lord, grant that I might see the power of your awesome, vast, and beautiful kingdom- from the silk worm to the human being!  God, I see you in everything!  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nick Hood3 

Photo by Rev. D f2f.  Nick Hood3 

https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

http://www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

If it Had Not Been for The Lord on our Side!

As I look back over my life, I have to admit that the hand of the Lord has led me, supported me and sheltered me.  My life’s story is not unique.  God is with each of us.  Yesterday, on the ‘Bullet Train” into Shanghai, I sat next to two young women from Vietnam.  When I shared with them that our tour is sponsored by our church, they lit up, smiling and told me that they are also Christian 

We did not speak long, because traveling at 190 miles per hour, our ride was only 7 minutes!  The bond of faith in Christian Unity is a wonderful thing that transcends race, culture and nationality.

Psalm 124 says, “If it Had Not Been for The Lord on our side…we have escaped like a bird…our help is in the name of the Lord.”

Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for this day and all that it will bring.  In Jesus name.  Amen

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III 

https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

http://www.nicholashoodministries.org

The Kingdom of God Does Not Depend on Talk, but on Power!

1 Corinthians. 4:20 ” the kingdom of God depends not on talk, but on power”

Rev. Dr. Nick Hood3 

https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

The Clock on the Wall

Psalm 89:47 “Remember how short my time is…”

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