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Patriarch The Podcast

Patriarch The Podcast

By colinpiper
A free serialisation of Colin Piper's novel telling the story of Abraham

Abraham was rich, but wealth meant little to him.
He loved his wife, but betrayed her twice.
He took an army to war, but wasn’t a soldier.
He headed up a household, but failed to hold his family together.
He was a hero of faith, but all too fallible.
Patriarch is a faithful retelling of the Bible story of Abraham. Available as a free audio book in approx. 15 mins segments, it is read personally by the author, Colin Piper, from his croft up in the Scottish Highlands.
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Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 3

Patriarch The Podcast

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Coping with Change with Colin Piper & John Prockter
Today, Colin and John are talking about coping with change. What we hope you'll find interesting about this episode is that Colin works on the world stage, whereas John works in and with local communities. In this episode John and Colin discuss what we're struggling with, the guilt we often feel and how we can find peace in the difficulty.
34:45
May 29, 2022
Patriarch Chapter 9
Well this is it! The end of the story. Thank you so much to all of you who've journeyed with me, for your encouragement and insight. Do continue to feed back- I love it! And via www.biblenovels.com and the Biblenovels Facebook group, I'll keep you up to speed with what's coming next. I'm working on another Biblical character, but this time one you've probably not heard of or at least registered, which is crazy given how like Wally he just seems to keep popping up. But for now, it's time to say Goodbye to an old wonderful friend.
23:10
June 01, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 8 Part 6
Surely the most romantic episode in the whole story: as Isaac meets Rebekah for the first time, "she became his wife and he loved her". As we approach the last couple of episodes, I can think of no better ending! We've waded through some pretty tough stuff on the journey, so let's indulge in a glorious human tale, as old as time itself: love at first sight! www.biblenovels.com  
22:42
April 27, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 8 Part 5
When I first wrote this episode I had  moment of self doubt and wondered if I had been a bit over indulgent. Was I making more of Rebekah as a confident self assured young woman than the text allowed? But then when I returned to the Biblical account, I realised afresh the space given to the story and the chapter that emerges through it justified my reflection that here is a woman who respected culture and traction and yet still had a voice. Listen, read and see what I mean!
24:16
March 22, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 8 Part 4
We're approaching the end of the story but we still have time to introduce a remarkable young woman: Rebecca.  Her servant heart, her sense of adventure. Her voice mattered, and that says a lot about her and what she had to say. Listen in and you'll see what I mean. There is something about Rebecca. www.biblenovels.com  
19:40
March 15, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 8 Part 3
If you still think Biblical characters are intimidating, though hopefully by now you can see their humanity a little more clearly, imagine what it was like to be one of their kids. We pick up the story of Isaac, and the issues of single parenting that the newly widowed Abraham has to grapple with. Do leave your reflections on the bible novels facebook group, and visit www.biblenovels.com Thanks for joining me on this journey!
21:52
March 05, 2021
Patriarch The Story Behind The Story Part 2
Colin answers more questions about why God chose to speak to and use Abraham and how he imagines Abraham responded to what God was saying. For more of the backstory behind Patriarch, some Bible reading notes and other extras visit www.biblenovels.com  and tell us what you think on the Biblenovels facebook group.
20:36
March 02, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 8 Part 2
We continue to walk with Abraham through his bereavement and grief, and in the midst of it, remarkably, we find hope and fulfilment of the purposes and plans of God. Such are the eternal purposes of God, that they can redeem even the most wretched loss! If you need a window of hope right now, this might be it. www.biblenovels.com  
19:20
February 22, 2021
Patriarch: The story behind the story Part 1
Colin takes a break from recording Patriarch for a conversation with Simon Tuck and give us insights into why and how he wrote the book, what are his favourite bits and how they've shaped him. If you're enjoying Patriarch, you'll love this. If you haven't got into it yet, give this a quick listen and you just might!!!! www.biblenovels.com  
21:34
January 25, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 8 Part 1
There is one terrifying human experience we all share: bereavement. And whenever that pain is fuelled by regret, it can become, humanly speaking, unbearable. I spent some time reflecting upon a relatively short passage in the Genesis account, because these experiences are timeless and transcend culture. Faith in God doesn’t take away the pain. Often it accentuates it because of the depth of relationships and an openness to feel, which accompany a faith filled life. But faith does bring hope and comfort in loss and any regret. The reality of Abraham’s grief is evident, but the experiences of intimacy with the God, who can and does raise the dead, provide a safe and sure backdrop for this grief. I pray this podcast brings comfort to some and hope to all. 
18:08
January 18, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 7 Part 4
There are passages of the Bible which come alive and speak to all the senses. This is one such! Perhaps it is the renaissance art I’ve admired over the years or perhaps its the heart cry of one very flawed father to the perfect Father. But when I read of the sacrifice of Isaac, I see the dagger Abraham holds over his son and the glint of the sun as it catches the blade and travels 2000 years through time to bring light upon the darkness when a spear was thrust in the side of another Son on this spot. It is with relief I hear the Angel of the Lord cry out, and turn with Abraham to see not a glorious angel but an ensnared lamb. He has done it. Isaac is saved by the lamb. As am I. As are you. It is finished. www.biblenovels.com
16:28
January 12, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 7 Part 3
It was worth the wait. It’s taken 30+ podcasts to reach this point but yes, it was worth it. This podcast tells of a father who is prepared to sacrifice his son on a hill overlooking a city we’ll come to know as Jerusalem, and of a son who entrusts his life to his father. And it all took place a thousand years before Christ went to the cross on this very spot. If it was a Hollywood script it would be written off as corny. And yet it is history. His story: As the Father gives us a glimpse of what Christ's death would cost both of them. Every time I read the story, faith rises in my heart. It is the glory of scripture. May faith rise in your heart too. www.biblenovels.com  
24:10
January 04, 2021
Patriarch Chapter 7 Part 2
It’s worth saying at the outset of this podcast, that I did my research and consulted some Biblical experts, before daring even to intimate that Abraham and Sarah were in any way estranged. But it seems that for a season at least that possibly was the case. Later the fact Abraham wasn’t present when Sarah died and had to travel some distance to attend to her funeral suggests this estrangement could even have been permanent. It shouldn’t surprise us given these are very human characters and the pressures they were under were so immense. But all the same it is on the one hand sad and shocking. On the other hand there is an encouragement here, because whether estranged or not, this wasn’t the end of the story for either of them. God didn’t give up on them, nor were their journeys of faith over. In fact Abraham’s greatest faith triumph was still to come. Be encouraged!
23:46
December 17, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 7 Part 1
Anyone who has had a family celebration go bad, will relate to this podcast. What should have been a celebration turned into a nightmare. In fact it was so bad, we’re still talking about it, 4000 years later! Now that’s what I call a bad party! Family dysfunction does that. Unless dealt with, it lies dormant beneath the surface ready to erupt without a moment’s notice. Class, culture, and sadly often even faith doesn’t mitigate the pain and damage done; though of course in the case of faith it could and it should. It’s worth reflecting as you listen what could have been done to prevent the blow up, and then ask what do you need to do to prevent your potential blow up! 
23:44
December 14, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 6 Part 4
One story, three players. It is fascinating to reflect upon what was going through the minds of each, as the scene unfolds in this part of the story. We’re all on  journey of faith. All of us, from the apparently secular or pagan, to the evidently Godly. It is true we can remain unmoved by God by what we experience in life, and sadly often do. Worse still it is possible to regress, and slip and slide backwards. But then even the greatest challenges can provoke, inspire and move us, regardless of who we are and where we’re at. In deed the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity to move ahead in our understanding of God. In my reflection of this part of the story: Abraham struggles, Sarah blossoms and Abimelech, the pagan king, surprises us all. Each day, every experience is an opportunity for you and me to move on. Let’s take this opportunity.
22:40
December 07, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 6 Part 3
Well done for sticking with this story! it doesn’t make easy listening! But then we don’t live in the small small world of Disney. We live in a hugely complex world in which we need to make decisions with significant consequences not only for ourselves but those we love. And to make matters worse we only get one shot at life. Blow this one and there is no rewind button. What we do have though is a Father in heaven to whom we can turn for guidance through those decisions and help to navigate the messes when we get them wrong. The Bible and stories like that of Abraham reveal something of His heart and mind and teach us how best to respond in our culture and context. 
24:36
November 23, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 6 Part 2
On the face of it this isn’t the most uplifting of episodes. Desperation and doubt, failure and fear: all lead to a series of poor and at times quite hideous decisions. We’ve just seen how absolute God’s judgment is. And yet here, as everyone tries to get on with life in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we see how low life can get without Him. Ordinarily both God’s presence and His absence is a fearful thing, albeit for very different reasons. But in Christ, we can know Him in all holiness and beauty, both intimately and safely. And then life has a purity and purpose again. There is one character in this episode who foretells something of the promises of life in all its fulness that we find in Jesus; it’s joys and hopes despite our circumstances. For Sarah her dreams are about to come true, albeit in the context of being badly let down by her husband again!
22:24
November 17, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 6 Part 1
The aftermath of God’s judgment on Sodom was desperate. Lot was broken by it. And Abraham sets out on the road again, with more tragic consequences. Was he running away? Well you couldn’t blame him. All he could see was what lay in front of him and it was awful. I’m reminded once more, as so often with Abraham’s story, of the cross of Christ. How terrible was the darkness the morning after Christ’s crucifixion. Again the scene of God’s judgment, this time focused on His Son. The horror, confusion, and utter abject loss. Never was a darkness quite so dark. And yet it was not the end. Light would shine in darkness, hope would spring again and eternally. In fact it is in walking through the valley of death that we know and learn to appreciate His presence. As the hymn writer says t is as we trace the rainbow through the rain, we know the promise is not vain: that morn shall tearless be. You can find free daily bible reading notes on the story of Abraham at biblenovels.com
23:40
November 09, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 6
If you’re listening from a western context at least, you’re likely to find this podcast pretty counter-cultural. It deals with God’s judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we’re simply not used to judgment these days. To judge is to imply you and your opinions are superior to others and you have the right to impose them upon others. This we see as arrogant and presumptuous. We judge those who judge severely! And yet, the Christian gospel is one of judgment. It tells of a holy God who demands perfection. Our failure to live up to expectations is punished most severely. And yet our God of perfect holiness is also the God of perfect love, and He takes that punishment on Himself so we can go free, forgiven, absolved absolutely.  To miss or underplay this truth is to cut the very heart out of the gospel and it’s glorious impact upon our lives. To understand it fully, we need to read and reflect upon passages like this. It is though our privilege to do so through the lens of the cross of Christ, and in so doing the we grasp that bit more of the wonder of the cross of Christ. biblenovels.com
18:20
November 02, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 5
This is one of a handful of really tough episodes in the story of Abraham and his family. I simply can't empathise with a man who offers his daughters up to be gang raped. And yet the story is here in the Bible, and that I suppose is one of the reasons I love scripture. It is real. It doesn’t read like a fairy tale. Awful things happen and it doesn’t always turn out well. The Bible often leaves us with more questions than answers, and as frustrating as that sometimes is, it reminds me this isn’t a book made up to tell a quaint myth, but rather it is inspired to tell of life in the raw, and how to find a real God in the midst of it all. I feel I should apologise for the content of this podcast, but that would be to apologise for the Bible story, and I can’t do that. As the dark underbelly of our humanity is exposed, the glory of our holy God shines brightest. Around the world children are exposed to trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse. It is a vile fact. And yet through some heroes of faith, the power of God reaches out, rescues, brings healing and restoration. One reason I’m offering these podcasts for free is to make known these modern day stories of redemption. There are many Sodoms around the world but the church is wonderfully at work in these hellholes. Visit www.biblenovels.com to find out more and do tell others of this podcast.
24:55
October 19, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 4
It’s time to catch up with how Lot is doing. And sadly it’s not well. I find Lot’s story probably the saddest of them all. Of course I don’t know if I’m being fair to him by casting him as a somewhat superficial man of the moment. Although his choice of Sodom as a home would suggest this was the case. But his story lurches from one crisis to another, be that capture by a foreign king, attack by threatening neighbours, flight from the city and loss of his wife, or fear finally forcing him to live alone in the mountains. And sadly it even manages to get worse from there. He ends up a pitiful wretch of a man. But still at this moment in time, remarkably he is still considered righteous by God. And that gives us all hope. The downward spiral is never inevitable, never irremediable. Not with God in the equation. This isn’t obviously the most inspirational of episodes and the next one is even worse. But in the darkness there is hope. www.biblenovels.com
24:04
October 14, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 3
This is a glorious episode in the story of Abraham. It explores the mystery of prayer, reveals the red hot passion, wrath and mercy of God’s nature, and then suggests the unthinkable. I loved reflecting upon it, writing it and recording it. It filled me with a sense of awe for God, and energy for life. I pray it does the same for you. Do check out biblenovels.com or the Facebook group: Biblenovels.
30:52
September 30, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 2
Although called Patriarch, this is as much Sarah’s story as Abraham’s. And in this short episode we meet a woman battered by life, it’s expectations and apparently broken promises. A woman whose laugh is no longer carefree but cynical, who hides away in tents, awkward in social engagement and lost in faith. But a woman who the Lord knows, seeks out and believes in. A woman who was beginning a new journey of hope and fulfilled dreams. It may be a short podcast but it’s not a bad one!!
11:04
September 21, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 5 Part 1
What’s it like to encounter God! Sometimes the Biblical accounts don’t help because they tell the whole story. Sure, they tell of the encounter themselves but we have to work out the state of mind of the people involved in the lead up and the context in which the supernatural invaded the natural. I’m not sure renaissance art helps either, beautiful though it is. My hunch is when Abraham met with the three supernatural visitors, it was just another hot lazy early afternoon. I guess by this time too, Sarah at least had grown tired and probably cynical in her faith. She  would be truly remarkable not to have done so. And it is into the familiar, the mundane, the questioning, the pain, God loves to appear. It was true in 2000 BC, it was true in 0AD and it is true today. For you and me. So before you give up, give this podcast a listen. biblenovels.com F: Bible novels
25:14
September 14, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part 7
Here’s the dream. What if our identity can be shaped by an intimate encounter with the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and our destiny be worked out in response to His call and direction. That is life in all its fulness. This episode of the story of Abraham tells how a life can be shaped and empowered by such an encounter. It isn’t in the Bible to tease us. The writer to the Hebrews when retelling the story of Abraham wraps up by saying: "God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they [the old Testament saints] be made perfect." (11v40). Dare you believe this is true? Listen with open ears and open hearts, and see!
24:10
September 04, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part 6
Another reality check: teenagers! The harsh reality is they expose our every weakness as a parent. There can be no respite. And often they come into our lives at a time when we’re already dealing with too much other stuff. Doubts, disappointments and questions are beginning to take root as we hit middle age. Perhaps past certainties of faith have become blurred. We have little time or inclination for God, probably just when we need Him most. The good news is as we see in this podcast, however far we drift from God, is never too far. He waits patiently and when we’re ready, will reveal His love to us again. www.biblenovels.com
19:15
September 01, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part 5
It’s hard for us to accept that characters like Abraham and Sarah were as human as you and me! Stress tested their marriage, and their faith would have had its ups and downs too. The Bible allows us to see the flaws of a David, Peter or James and John’s mum come to that! And it does so, because otherwise we tend to think we’re beyond hope; somehow not made of the material God used in the Biblical stained-glass window saints! The Prince of Lies would love us to give up on anything holy, like marriage or faith. He wants us to focus on our failings and poor decisions. Our Father wants us to focus on His faithfulness and restoration through Christ. This podcast isn’t action packed or feel good. It is though real, and I pray you will find hope through affinity. www.biblenovels.com   
18:10
August 20, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part 4
The story of God meeting a pregnant runaway slave dying in the desert and speaking faith, hope and love into her life is more remarkable than we can ever truly comprehend. As I narrate my meagre attempts to describe it, I’m reminded again just how inadequate my words are. We so take the incarnation of God in Christ for granted, that His love and grace have lost their mystery and wonder. Stories like God meeting Hagar at Beer Lahai Roi help re-affirm the glorious truth that God knows and loves us just as we are, and wants to save and transform us into who He purposed us to be. There is no mess or failing too big for the power of His love. By the way I love the fact that it is the servant girl who isthe first person He meets with after the fallout from Hagar’s pregnancy by Abram. He will meet with the Patriarch and Matriarch too, but He starts with the most insignificant and vulnerable. He doesn’t mince His words, and there are consequences to the chaos we create, but that is down the road. Right here and now, this is a story of revelation and love by the the Lord of Heaven to the lowliest maidservant. 
21:48
August 14, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part3
This is the story of how sex and power can destroy relationships, how failure, hurt and humiliation ferment guilt, bitterness and pride, and of the brokenness and chaos that results. Desire once unleashed is hard to tame, weakness once exposed is hard to cover up, power once discovered is hard to control. Humanity may have advanced in so many ways, and modern culture may have increased expectations and aspirations; but when we put our heads on our pillows at the end of the day, the thoughts that race through our minds are probably not so very different from those of Abram, Sarai and Hagar. Their questions are very similar to ours, and the answers lie in the same place too, the one to whom the story of Abraham ultimately points: Christ, and Christ alone.
17:38
August 10, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part 2
Paul Anka’s song "My Way" is perhaps the saddest song ever written: Regrets, I've had a few, But then again, too few to mention, I did what I had to do, And saw it through without exemption, I planned each chartered course, Each careful step along the byway, But more, much more than this, I did it my way. What makes this song particularly tragic is that it is such a popular choice for funerals. My biggest regrets, and I have many, are my choices, particularly when I did things my way, and not God’s. And as Sarah was to find out, nowhere is this more true than in our most treasured relationships. Be warned this is a tough tough episode. I tried to edit it to make it more palatable in the second edition but couldn’t. There is no easy way to tell this story. Let me know your reflections, via Facebook or the website, and do encourage friends to follow the story of Patriarch. Spoiler alert: there is hope even in the midst of the messes we create!
21:20
August 06, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 4 Part 1
Our poor decisions tend not to just happen. Even the spur of the moment ones often have their origins in mindsets and habits of behavior formed over a lengthy period. Sarai and Abram's decision, (and yes both must take ownership, because Abram really can't say: The woman made me do it!) was probably formulated over time, justification fermenting the brew until it was ready. The impact on the three principle players must have been marked. However we may seek to explain things, we tend to know when we're making a poor decision. It is just we make another poor decision to ignore what we really know. Then we have to deal with the consequences, most of which impact all those around us, and often impact those who come after us too. In Abraham's case, it would impact all of history. Listen and reflect: what deicsions am I seeking to justify today and why. I pray it saves you and many others from deep pain.
23:48
July 21, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 3 Part 6
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” As much as we may crave to experience God, I doubt any of us have the slightest idea what we’re asking for. The holiness and love of God are intrinsically linked so coming into His presence is both glorious and fearful. This is certainly Abraham’s experience here, as God makes the most formal of contracts with him. But even this was only a precursor of Christ’s covenant with us who believe. I wrote this section with a sense of holy awe and wonder, that honestly has never left me. Experiencing God would leave Jacob walking with  limp. It is at the same time cripplingly intense and yet also gloriously liberating. A true encounter with Him leaves us marked and yet whole. Perfectly balanced- neither weirdly intense or flippantly superficial. Thoroughly in the world but not of it. More approachable and relatable but irrefutably different. The true woman or man God intended us to be. Life in all its fulness. 
31:39
July 13, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 3 Part 5
The story of Abraham is a thumbing good read, on pretty much any level. But the more you reflect upon it, the richer it becomes. And nowhere is this more so than when Abraham met Melchizedek. This mysterious man came from nowhere, interacts briefly and disappears again. But the rest of scripture from the Psalms to the Gospels to the letter to the Hebrews acknowledges something profound happened in those few moments. Talk about making an impact! For Abraham, I think there was just relief to find someone who understood his journey. For the rest of humanity, including you and me, there is the extraordinary assurance that history isn’t haphazard, but there is a driver behind it all, a God who knows all things, is all powerful and ultimately is…. love! Perhaps a thousand years before the first passover, two thousand years before the last supper and four thousand years before our regular taking of Holy Communion, Melchizedek offers up bread and wine. A king, a priest, a fellow pilgrim. For Abraham, came the encouragement of physical fellowship, for you and me, the encouragement of historical rootedness and belonging. Who we are and what we do has a mystery and a continuity, which suggests a destiny ordained in heaven from the outset and worked out in heaven at the end of time. It’s glorious. Only bread and only wine, and yet...
20:50
July 06, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 3 Part 4
It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. It’s even more amazing what you can do when you put God’s mind to it. I’m glad I became a Christian when young. I’ve had a lifetime to discover what it means to have Christ in me, the hope of glory. I look back humbled, thankful and in awe at what God has done in and through a very flawed human being. it’s all too easy to lose the magnitude of a few verses of scripture like this little episode. Abram, a shepherd, who’d never been to war, saw off four  previously unconquerable Kings. In sporting terms this is like San Marino beating Brazil at football, or the Cook Islands beating the All Blacks at rugby. But… what if supernaturally a world beating gifting comes upon the players of the San Marino or Cook Island teams, then the odds change somewhat. Enjoy this episode and reflect upon how it’s amazing what God can do, when you put His mind to it. (By the way the  website tells some stories of what God is doing through some wonderful young leaders across the globe: www.biblenovels.com)
24:54
June 30, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 3 Part 3
Honestly, I had meant to cut this episode from the revision of Patriarch. But then as i came to it, I realised again that it is intrinsic and vital to the understanding of the story. And isn’t that the deal about life! We get bored with the mundane. We don’t see the point. Yet it is in the mundane that foundations are laid, and imperceptibly attitudes forged, passions lost, and directions set. When Abram and Lot separated they set out on  paths which took them to very different places not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. The Bible tells us not to despise the day of small things. In fact one of the wonders of the Christian faith is that there is no such thing as the mundane… at least as long as Christ is in it. Every moment, every day, has purpose and potential. We can redeem it and take it with us into eternity. Or waste it, miss it, and worse still let it distract us. In Christ every moment is a holy one. 
21:54
June 26, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 3 Part 2
I’ve heard first hand of people’s experience of hearing or even seeing God in miraculous ways. Refugees who’ve had visions of Jesus, and just this morning at a celebration of a young girl’s life, a father telling how Jesus had appeared to his terminally ill daughter. There seems to be a rule that you know it’s really Him because the revelation is life changing!    Abraham’s life seemed to be one revelation after another, although of course they were actually spread out over a lifetime. Each equipped him for what was about to come, and left him richer and with a fuller appreciation and fairer perspective on life. Melissa and I have a simple prayer: Father give us your Spirit of wisdom and revelation that we might know you better. That is the secret to life in all its fulness. It is a road well travelled for thousands of years, a path struck through the undergrowth by Abraham. This podcast tells of one such revelation.
17:49
June 22, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 3 Part 1
Splits happen and are normally very painful. Most of us carry the scars of broken families, friendships and churches. Some of them we caused, whilst in others we might justifiably claim to have been the innocent victim. Mostly though it is rather more complicated than that. I’m beginning to sound like a broken down record but just because Abraham lived 4000 years ago doesn’t make his split from Lot any less painful or problematic. What I love from this part of the story is how Abraham handles the conflict and split so openhandedly. We’re now truly beginning to see the fruit of faith in his life. It doesn’t shield us from conflict, pain or hurt, but does something even more glorious- it carries us through with dignity, grace and love. Somehow it even manages to use the conflict, pain and hurt to enrich us, so we can eventually say: I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It builds faith so we can go on, and love again where ordinarily breach of trust should leave us stuck in bitterness and regret and unwilling ever to be vulnerable again. Listen in to Abraham’s story.
28:04
June 19, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 2 Part 4
I’m of an age where I’m beginning to look back as much as I look forward, and I’m surprised just how much I enjoy these reflections. Of course there are the regrets, mainly caused by my stupidity. But even here, I see God's grace and redemptive work, which humbles me and fills me with awe, wonder and praise. He truly is the God of History. He knows all things and works all things for the good, even my mistakes, failings, downright sin. He never gives up on us.    We don’t really know why Abraham ended up in Egypt. We can guess why he let Sarah end up in harem, but it is only a guess. What we do know for certain is that whatever the why’s and wherefores of those decisions, God didn’t abandon them to suffer the consequences alone. He was there with them both throughout, and supernaturally intervened to lead them out. My reflections on the past strengthen my resolve for what’s left of my future on earth. Going forward, I want Him to work with me not in spite of me for the good. And I can only imagine Abraham felt the same as he headed home from Egypt, humbled and wiser.
24:48
June 15, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 2 Part 3
The reason I wrote Patriarch was because it is a story of God revealing Himself to ordinary people just like you and me. It is hard sometimes to appreciate Abraham and Sarah were ordinary, frail, fickle human beings. We read Hebrews 11 and can’t imagine the writers of the Bible talking about us in these terms. We look at the stained glass windows or Biblical art, and don’t see anyone at all resembling us pictured there. And yet they really were human, with all our fears, insecurities and selfishness. It seems almost sacrilegious to suggest as much. But actually, to suggest less is sacrilegious. The glory of Abraham and Sarah’s story belongs to God. What He shaped in their lives over the course of their lives is  a testimony to His grace and love. Just as what He shapes in your life and mine is the same. Enjoy this podcast telling the stories of real people coping with very extraordinary circumstances. For the first time, in this little section of the story, we see God intervening supernaturally in Abraham and Sarah’s life.    Do join the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/biblenovels or follow this podcast on www.colindpiper.podbean.com
21:08
June 11, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 2 Part 2
I love nature. Always have. As a kid I had an aviary and bred canaries. These days I live in my Father’s aviary. The Scottish croft from where I record Patriarch is set up as a nature reserve and is so full of crazy creatures, that at times I feel as though I’m in a muppet movie! So imagining Abraham climbing over the hills to look down upon the Nile hinterland was one of my most fun times writing Patriarch. I drew on my privileged experiences across the globe, (including watching Bee-eaters on the Nile), to describe the exotic vibrancy of the scene. But even this wasn’t enough- David Attenborough and others had prepared me for some of what I saw, but not so with Abraham and the Hippo! Nature has a habit of soothing anxiety, and distracting us from grievance, but sadly these things don’t so easily go away. Somewhere, somehow Abraham and Sarah encountered Pharaoh’s harem. That too would have been a remarkable sight, though as with the cultic Canaanite worship, not particularly easy to describe in a Christian novel! I’ve tried to walk sensitively, as we lay the foundation for the first of a number of crises to befall Abraham and Sarah. Do check out the bible reading notes at biblenovels.com and if you’ve time some of the ministries this podcast supports. Thanks Colin.
25:04
June 05, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 2 Part 1
My personal pilgrimage story is that I so often seem to have to go round and round in circles until finally I’m ready for what God has for me. It’s so frustrating but always necessary. Abraham had made it to the land where he would ultimately settle but that time was not yet! We don’t know why Abraham headed off to the Negev and from there to Egypt where he faced huge personal challenges. It was probably a whole mix of things, including fear and uncertainty, as well as the need to deepen his walk with the God he was still getting to know. My hunch is the hostility and downright evil he experienced in Canaan probably exposed these frailties. Abraham was moving from agnosticism to a personal faith through God’s revelation of Himself. He was on a journey, and the cultic worship he would have encountered in Canaan would have been a shock. It’s hard for us, particularly westerners like me, to comprehend this. Our exposure to spiritual things is limited at the best times, and few in my culture talk about powers of evil and a spiritual battle. But it is real, and the battle in Canaan was hotting up. Abraham began to worship far more publicly and this must have elicited a response from the cultic priests of the day. Once again I’ve sought to downplay the details of what this confrontation could have involved. But we are in a battle between good and evil, far more hideous than any of us could ever imagine, and we need to be wise to the fact. Our walk with God isn’t through meadows with pastel skies. It’s trench warfare. I’d love to hear your reflections at biblenovels.com or the Biblenovels facebook group.
20:30
June 02, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 7
Abraham had made it to the land where he would ultimately settle but that time was not yet! My personal pilgrimage story is that I so often seem to have to go round and round in circles until finally I’m ready for what God has for me. It’s so frustrating but always necessary. We don’t know just why Abraham headed off to the Negev and from there to Egypt to face huge personal challenges. It was probably a whole mix of things, including fear and uncertainty, as well as the need to deepen his walk with the God he was still getting to know. My hunch is the hostility and downright evil he experienced in Canaan probably exposed these frailties. Abraham was moving from agnosticism to a personal faith through revelation. He was on a journey, and the cultic worship he would have encountered in Canaan would have been a shock. It’s hard for us, particularly westerners like me, to comprehend this. Our exposure to spiritual things is limited at the best of times, and few in my culture talk about powers of evil and a spiritual battle. But it is real, and the battle in Canaan was hotting up. Abraham began to worship far more publicly and this must have illicited a response from the cultic priests of the day. Once again I’ve sought to downplay the details of what this confrontation could have involved. But we are in a battle between good and evil, far more hideous than any of us could ever imagine, and we need to be wise to the fact. Our walk with God isn’t through meadows with pastel skies. It’s trench warfare. I’d love to hear your reflections at biblenovels.com or the Biblenovels facebook group.
20:24
May 22, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 6
I wanted to rewrite this episode for the second edition. I don’t like it! But at the end of the day, I couldn’t, because bluntly it is intrinsic to the rest of the story. It begins so wonderfully on the shores of Galilee. I often sit on our shoreline wondering about the Celtic missionaries who sailed past our croft those centuries ago. The stones are the same stones they would have scrambled up: true rocks of ages! Did Jesus reflect upon Abraham’s journey through his backyard in the same way? I imagine so. He was, after all, to fulfil the promise made to Abraham to bless all peoples on earth through him. But that was 2000 years hence! Right here right now, Abraham faced a barbarous land full of barbarous people, the extent of which is barely fathomable to us. And yet we need to understand something of it, if we’re to appreciate just why the God of the Old Testament seems so uncompromising towards the occupants of the land He was giving to Abraham. Otherwise the paradox of wiping out a people before Abraham so He can be a blessing to all peoples makes no sense. Even so, I’ve tried my best not to overstate the evil of the cultic worship. Ultimately Abraham was a fallible human being, just like you and me, but as he walked by faith, stumbling and falling along, God watched over him, picked him up, and shaped him into the patriarch of faith. That's my story too, and perhaps yours. I’d love to hear your reflections at biblenovels.com or the Biblenovels facebook group.
17:02
May 20, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 5
Revelation from God is pretty amazing, even when it is less dramatic than Abram’s! The only problem comes when you need to explain what God has revealed to those around you. It’s a recurring theme through scripture. When you get to heaven ask Mary! For Abram it was doubly difficult because his beloved Sarai not only hadn’t personally experienced the revelation but struggled to believe the message. It just rudely and crudely exposed her life- longfailing. It was a cruel joke that all God promised Abram would be dependent upon her delivering what everyone knew she was incapable of.   The spiritual chasm between the two at this point in their lives was bottomless. One hoped and believed. The other despaired and doubted. And yet somehow they soldiered on. Ultimately Sarai would need God to speak directly to her cynicism. However right now she just had to pack up and carry on. This is my take on the resilience of a remarkable lady.   For the latest news from Colin and Melissa and a daily devotional guide visit www.biblenovels.com
20:23
May 07, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 4
But for me the really interesting journey is the spiritual one. The one upon which Abram was embarked. The complexity of selling up, moving on and settling down is a mere backdrop to something far more profound- one man’s quest for God, and God’s revelation of Himself to that man. Remember Abram had few signposts on his journey. It really was into the unknown. Paul in Romans tells how mankind is without excuse because God’s invisible qualities are clearly seen (that’s a fun concept!) in creation, and our consciences deep within tell of His nature. Christ invaded time and space to reveal in history what the world round about us and the convictions of our heart has told every generation of humanity everywhere is true. And this was pretty much all Abram had to go on. But go on he did. And God simply can’t resist someone who seeks Him. The quest might be a long one, because the journey is an important point of the discovery. However, the destination is assured. Seek and you will find. And what you find is richer, fuller, fairer than anything you can conceive or imagine.  For the latest news from Colin and Melissa and a daily devotional guide visit www.biblenovels.com
19:10
May 05, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 3
And now it’s the turn of the women to enter the story, most significantly Sarai.   I love the characters of Genesis and particularly the women. Despite the cultural context into which they were born, they were obviously strong personalities. My personal favourite is Rebecca, but Sarai is right up there too. Rarely are the women overwhelmed by their partners, but rather they complement and often seem to complete the men in their lives, as well as being very able to stand on their own two feet, when they needed to. Their relationships are complicated but true love is normally very evident. None more so than in the case of Abram and Sarai. If you’re not familiar with the story, you might need to take my word for it at this stage in the telling, but you’ll soon see what I mean.   The problem with characters in a story set millennia ago in a land, for most of us, far far away, is that we struggle to appreciate their humanity- their fears, hopes, dreams, and above all their loves. So stop reading the story through the stained glass window you saw in church, but rather through the bathroom mirror. Then even if your appreciation of the characters will still be flawed, it will still be significantly more real, down to earth and human.   Sarai was obviously a very beautiful older lady, but at the time that mattered little, while she was still childless. As with Abram, her value, purpose and identity was limited. She was a failure. Of course it might not have been her fault, but she was still to blame. The fertility test of the day was simple- get a second wife and see if it goes differently. And yet Abram didn’t do this. You can only believe his desire for his wife trumped his desire for a son. And that is extraordinary. It suggests a very very special bond between Abram and Sarai, albeit one that was to be sorely tested and probably broken. But that’s down the line, Right here right now, that bond was strong enough to compensate for what was glaringly missing.  Patriarch isn’t just a story of God’s revelation of His love for a man, but also a man’s love for his wife and her’s for him. It bumbles and stumbles along, as Abram and Sarai’s flaws are exposed but the soundtrack which constantly recurs in the background has a melodious depth and romantic rich refrain.  For the latest news from Colin and Melissa and a daily devotional guide visit www.biblenovels.com   
20:47
May 05, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 2
Having set the scene, it’s now time to introduce the other main male characters, and what fascinating lead players they are.   Terah and Abram we've met. Nahor is Abram’s older brother, and like Abram, he’s seeking to come to terms with being childless in a culture where identity and legacy are intrinsically linked. He’s just going about it in a very different way to Abram. Nahor does pop up from time to time in Genesis and comes across as cautious and predictable- a safe pair of hands. Perhaps because he’s trying to compensate for not producing grandchildren for Terah, he seems to perform the role as the dependable family man. I can’t see that he and Abram had much in common or in deed much to talk about. Then there’s Abram’s nephew, Lot. Whether or not Nahor was the practical one and Abram the thinker, you can be pretty sure Lot was neither. All that can be said about Lot’s decision making was that it tended to end in disaster. And yet there is obviously a greater bond between Abram and his nephew than Abram and his brother. You don’t sense in any way they are kindred spirits, and yet there is a bond. Lot may have been a pain in the neck to Abram but you never sense he tired of him. He may have won his way into Abram’s affections as the son he never had. But perhaps he stayed there, because of the life Abram never lived: seemingly carefree, but actually chaotic and crisis ridden! Who knows?  What we do know is that a prosperous family’s comfortable life was about to be turned utterly upside down, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when it happened! This is how I imagine it unravelled. Enjoy!  For the latest news from Colin and Melissa and a daily devotional guide visit www.biblenovels.com 
17:37
May 05, 2020
Patriarch Chapter 1 Part 1
Patriarch is a novel retelling the remarkable story of Abraham. For five years I lived and breathed his journey. Come and walk his road of faith with me. It’s been fun revisiting Patriarch after a fourteen year break, in order to re-record the new audio version. It’s good to be back.  For those five years I wrestled with questions like: who initiated the initial journey to Haran- Abram, his father Terah, or maybe both- albeit for very different reasons. I spent months trying to get beneath the skin of the two patriarchs, aided by research into the remarkable city of Ur and the context of the time. Of course, I can’t be at all sure I got the feelings or motivations of either men right, but the more time I spent with them those years ago, the more the Bible and this particular story came alive. And now that I’m back, I know I will go still further on and deeper in. Oh, how I love the Bible for that! I still open it with a sense of awe and wonder, fondly remembering what it has taught me before, and excitedly anticipating what new might be revealed.   The Bible tells the story of real people living real lives in real places. Dare I say it, essentially, people just like you and me. They wrestled with the same issues albeit contextually and culturally different. So, I’m pretty confident I haven’t transposed and imposed my feelings and thought processes onto them.   I see an old man, Abram, wrestling with legacy, and an even older one, Terah, wrestling with mortality. Both are unsettled by their quest, no longer able to acquiesce complacently in the superficiality and futility of what their society valued. One looked up, outside of his experience, in the quest of a higher being. The other looked back, to his past, to find the comfort of the familiar. I relate to both, but know only one- the revelation of God Himself, can provide eternal answers. Neither knew God, and my guess is only one found Him. And he was the one to find legacy, meaning and life as a consequence. 2000 years later Jesus was to tell some equally clueless men that God is the God of the living Abraham. This is the story of how Abram found eternal life, and how he paved the way for us to find life in Christ too. And it all began in the dust and dirt of a city called Ur, approximately 4000 years ago.  For the latest news from Colin and Melissa and a daily devotional guide visit www.biblenovels.com 
19:30
May 05, 2020