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 Thought for the Week

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In October 2008 our church launched a series of ‘Thoughts for the Week’ for our fellowship. This will take the form of a weekly publication of thoughts, which in the main will be based around the lectionary readings for the week in question.  The thoughts will consist of scripture readings, thoughts/reflections and short prayers. A number of other organisations and churches have adopted this approach with great success.

These thoughts will try to bring a local perspective to a range of scripture readings and hopefully will have real relevance to our own church community. A number of people have initially volunteered to write these thoughts, although hopefully as the initiative develops others may wish to get involved as writers.

The thoughts will be circulated by e-mail each week.

If you would like to join, e-mail Adrian Miles and ask to be added to the list!

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Thought for the Day Sample Material

Based on Genesis 12 and 13

This week's thoughts look at some of the early experiences of Abraham following God's call to him.  In these chapters, Abraham is known as Abram (`exalted father'). It is not until Chapter 17 of Genesis that he is called Abraham (`father of many nations'). For the sake of familiarity, I have referred to him as Abraham in these thoughts.



Bible verses: Genesis 12: 1-3

The Call

 1 The Lord said to Abram, "Leave your country, your relatives, and your father's home, and go to a land that I am going to show you. 2 I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation.  I will bless you and make your name famous, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.  And through you I will bless all nations."

 Now read on to today's thought and prayer.

I wonder what you look forward to at the beginning of the week. Perhaps like me you think of those things you need to do either at work, home, church or socially and have some sort of plan as to when you are going to do them.  After all we all like a bit of order and stability in our lives don't we? Not so for Abraham! God just comes along and tells Abraham to leave everything he has ever known and go to a foreign land. What a challenge! God is asking Abraham to take a leap of faith and follow his call.  It must have been a shock to his system.  But God also makes a set of amazing promises to Abraham and re-assures him that he will be there with him and that the rewards will be priceless.  We may not be challenged today in quite such a dramatic way, but are we open to God's call this week? Whatever our call might be and however challenging it might seem, we can be sure that God is with us.

Prayer for today

Father God, help us today to be ready for your call.  Please give us the faith to say yes to your call in the knowledge that whatever you want us to do you will be there right beside us. Amen

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Bible verses: Genesis 12: 4 – 5a

The Adventure begins 

4 When Abram was seventy-five years old, he started out from Haran, as the Lord had told him to do: and Lot went with him. 5a Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the wealth and all the slaves they had acquired in Hara, and they started out for the land of Canaan.

Now read on to today's thought and prayer.

These verses are a great reassurance for all those, who like myself, are now into retirement years! God chooses a seventy five year old to lead a great adventure which was to change the face of the world. Seventy five Old Testament years may not be the same as our years, but we can assume that Abraham was no spring chicken! He was also clearly a successful man with a good deal of wealth, perhaps the equivalent of his retirement lump sum! But there was to be no easy retirement for Abraham. God had other plans. The journey ahead of Abraham to Canaan was some five hundred miles, full of challenges and dangers. Abraham's response was one of obedience and faith. He gathered all his belongings and household and went. God has plans, adventures and challenges for all of us too no matter what our age or circumstances.  I don't think there's any such thing as an easy or boring life in God's service – there's never a time to put our feet up!

Prayer for today

Father, just like Abraham, you have a mission for all of us. Thank you that that you value the contribution which all of us can make to your kingdom whatever stage of life we are at or whatever circumstances we might find ourselves in. Please give us the strength of faith to rise to that challenge. Amen

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Bible verses: Genesis 12: 5b – 7


5b When they arrived in Canaan, 6 Abram travelled through the land until he came to the sacred tree of Moreh, the holy place at Shechem. (At the time the Canaanites were still living in the land). 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "This is the country that I am going to give your descendants." Then Abram built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.

Now read on to today's thought and prayer.

Interestingly we don't get any details of Abraham's journey from Haran to Canaan. It must have been tough and tiring, but the writer focuses not on this but on Abraham's relationship with God. We have a glimpse here of the special relationship that existed between God and Abraham and a familiar pattern emerges. God again re-assures Abraham of the plans that he has for him.  I am not sure Abraham would have fully understood these, particularly the promise of descendants, since at fairly advanced ages he and Sarah had no children. However, in typically faithful fashion, Abraham responds by building an altar in thanks and praise to God. I think we can all learn from Abraham. Perhaps when we are confused about God's purpose for our lives, rather than asking him for clarity, we should simply give him praise and thanks for all that He is and does for us and move forward in faith.

Hymn for today

We of this generation on whom God's hand is laid,

Can journey to the future secure and unafraid,

Rejoicing in God's goodness and trusting in his word:

That `You shall be my people and I will be your God'.

Judith Peters 1984 (Rejoice & Sing 553)

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Bible Verses: Genesis 12: 10 – 13

A Wobble in Faith?

10 But there was a famine in Canaan, and it was so bad that Abram went farther south to Egypt, to live there for a while. 11 When he was about to cross the border he said to his wife Sarai, "You are a beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will assume you are a beautiful wife, and so they will kill me and let you live.  13 Tell them that you are my sister; then because of you they will let me live and treat you well."

Now read on to today's thought and prayer.

I must admit when I first read these verses, I was a bit surprised.  We know Abraham as a man of great faith and so he was, but here Abraham's faith seems to have a bit of a wobble - or two to be precise. God has promised Abraham the land of Canaan, but when famine comes along Abraham decides to do his own thing and go to Egypt where things look better.  Well, perhaps we can understand his thinking, but what's all this subterfuge around Sarah being his sister? If you read till the end of the chapter, these wobbles in faith did indeed get Abraham into difficulties and it was God who rescued him. Curiously enough I find these wobbles of faith re-assuring to know that Abraham and myself both have this in common.  The marvellous thing is that God stuck with Abraham through difficult times because he could see inside Abraham and knew that he would prove to be a great man of faith.  I know my faith will never match Abraham's but I also know that God will stick with me and rescue me when my faith wobbles too.

Hymn for today

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with thee;

Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;

As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

T.O Chisholm (1866-1960) Rejoice & Sing  96

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Bible Verses: Genesis 13: 14-18

The Great Promise

14 After Lot had left, the Lord said to Abram. "From where you are, look carefully in all directions.  15 I am going to give you and your descendants all the land that you see and it will be yours forever. 16 I am going to give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all; it would be easy to count all the specks of dust on the earth! 17 Now go look over the whole land because I am going to give it to you." 18 So Abram moved his camp and settled near the scared tree at Hebron and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Now read on to today's thought and prayer.

Wow! What an amazing promise to Abraham. This promise or covenant, followed hot on the heels of Abraham getting things wrong in Egypt, but clearly God is not going to have his plans knocked off course.  We see once more God's faithfulness and again we see Abraham's faith acted out when he builds another altar to God.  This is truly an amazing promise from God and it is from Abraham that the key descendant from Abraham was to come – Jesus. Through Jesus I find it almost unbelievable that we too can claim to be descendants of Abraham, part of a family tree that goes back some 4,000 years. This relationship cannot be summed up better than Paul does in Galatians (v. 29) `If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendents of Abraham and you will receive that God has promised'.

Prayer for today

Thank you Father that through Jesus we can lay claim to be one of Abraham's descendants.  Help us to have faith in our living Lord Jesus so that we can share in the heritage that you have planned for us since the day of Abraham.  Amen. 

Adrian Miles

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