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‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’   Joshua 1:9

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Thought for the Day 4th May 2020 from Peter Hemming

Joshua 4.1 to 5.1 and Luke 9.51 to end

How much does it cost, what has it cost, you to be a disciple of Jesus? Think, what has God’s call cost you?
… financially, economically, socially, for your family … ?

Jesus is pretty direct about it in Luke’s account here. It costs something to everyone, and there’s to be no looking back.
How has God called you?

God calls each one of us – to something. Yet, it seems that Jesus wants to put everyone off becoming disciples. No home, no regular place to sleep: Ignore your family commitments. “In life no house or home, my Lord on earth might have, in death no friendly tomb, but what a stranger gave...” was Samuel Crossman’s take on it, (My song is love unknown – verse 6.) Not an attractive call!

In Joshua 4 we read that the Israelites crossed the Jordan, (were therefore in enemy territory, and vulnerable to attack,) and God then instructs Joshua to have all the young males circumcised – leaving them very vulnerable indeed! God’s timing was perfect, as everyone was terrified of the Israelites and were not going to attack: but they were not to know that then. Does God’s call leave us vulnerable?

The experiences of the Israelites in the Promised Land (the fall of Jericho etc) and the experiences of the Early Church (read on from Sunday’s reading for Pentecost in Acts), show me that ‘If God is for us, who can stand against us’ (Romans 8:31). When we respond to God’s call, go and follow where He is calling, He honours that choice we make.

If the call costs, there is a recompense: but the Call to serve and follow is still there.

Will you come and follow me?

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Thought for the Day 3rd June 2020 from Hannah Lievesley (St Chad’s) Joshua 3

Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: “When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.” Joshua 3:8

I doubt I’d have much liked the job of a priest in Joshua’s time. Lugging the ark through the desert and then being sent with it, ahead of the people, into the rushing flood waters of the Jordan. But the book of Joshua challenges us to another level of trust and obedience.

Joshua was the new Moses. He was appointed by God to take the people across the Jordan river to the promised land on the other side. God had already promised him success (1:7-8), but that success was dependent upon two things: The people’s trust in God promises and the people’s obedience to His law. Trust and obedience.

The ark of the covenant represented God’s covenant promises: promises to be ‘with’ and ‘for’ his people Israel. The stone tablets encased within the ark were the stipulations of that covenant: the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The priest’s job was to represent the people to God, and God to the people. So there’s something very symbolic in that picture of the priests stepping into the rushing waters of the Jordan gripping tightly to the ark of the covenant. As if to say to those watching, this combination of God’s promises to the people and the people’s obedience to God’s law is powerful. So powerful it can stop raging floodwaters in their tracks.

When God is ‘with’ and ‘for’ us, and we are ‘with’ and ‘for’ God, amazing things can happen.

How might you demonstrate today that you are ‘with’ and ‘for’ God?

What signs do you see that God is ‘with’ and ‘for’ you?
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Thought for the Day 2 June 2020 from Canon Bob Shaw

Luke 9:28-36

Were we expecting the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration today? It’s a bit of a surprise because it’s normally celebrated on 6 Aug, the same day that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima before WW2 came to an end. We could do with an end to our own life-threatening conflict couldn’t we? But what kind of peace can we hope for in our world today?

That’s a big question so let’s put ourselves in the shoes of those 3 disciples, Peter, James and John, who accompanied Jesus on a journey to the top of a high mountain. St. Luke tells us that Jesus went up there to pray, away from the noise of the crowds and all the hustle and bustle of city life. It was there in isolation from normal life that the 3 disciples had a one-off experience of Jesus’ divine status. Like them we are also in isolation undergoing a life-changing experience.

Fortunately, and in spite of appearances, we are not alone either because Jesus is with us sharing our suffering. By following his example in stillness and prayer we too can be enlightened and transfigured to overcome our fears and continue on our earthly pilgrimage in spite of this global pandemic.

May the Holy Spirit guide us in prayer to overcome the weapons of this world and find the peace that passes all understanding. The Lord’s own prayer is such a powerful resource. You may also find psalm 23 and this prayer of St. Richard of Chichester helpful today.
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