The Sovereign God is Writing the Story

“But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?’ As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:19-21 ESV

“But Job replied, ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.” Job 2:10 NLT

The story of Joseph, Jacob’s favored son, is a powerful example of God’s sovereignty on full display. I’ve often reminded myself that I can literally read the entirety of Joseph’s life story in a matter of minutes, or hours. However, he lived it. He lived all of it. Years of trauma. Years of frustration. Years of unfulfilled dreams. When we finally see Joseph come to power in Egypt as Pharoah’s second in command, he’s not a dreaming kid in a colorful coat anymore, and his visions of bowing wheat sheaves have all but faded. It’s really an incredible story. A story only the Master Story Writer could pen.

There’s no denying the hand of God on his life, carrying Joseph through various hills and dark valleys. I think we sugarcoat the difficulties he endured and downplay his demonstration of utmost integrity. We often think it was basically a walk in the park with a couple of unpaved paths perhaps. However, there is no downplaying his summary statement to his brothers, “God did it.”


I wonder if Joseph ever told them the whole story, the drama of it all. I wondered if he told his brothers how he earned his place as top-slave in Potiphar’s house. How he resisted the temptation of Potiphar’s skanky wife. How God granted him the insight to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker. I wonder if his brothers rubbed their heads with mouths open as he told of being brought from prison after two more years to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh himself. It really is an incredible tale. But not necessarily one that I would personally characterize as a “favored” journey, right?

I mean, do you think Joseph was a little hesitant when Potiphar and his wife came asking for food during the famine? Did Potiphar’s wife wink at him when she stood in line? I don’t know. There are so many questions I have… I digress.

Joseph’s acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty is astounding. Saying to his brothers, who sold him — instead of killing him because that would’ve been unreasonable…insert eye roll— “God actually brought me here to save us. It was His plan.” 

Breathtaking. I think there should be a “Selah” after this verse!

I find myself literally speechless.

This moment in history is only rivaled by Job’s response to his severe loss and terrible suffering. Job says, “God gave it to me to begin with, and He can take it away whenever He wants. Praise Him!”

I’m sorry. What??

The realization that Job never receives any explanation in his lifetime is utterly astonishing. At least Joseph sees a full circle, but Job, not a word.

Who are these people who worship a God that does what He wants?

Who is this God who …does what He wants? …and without explanation?

He is the Sovereign Lord, Creator of Heaven and Earth.

He is the King of all kings.

He is worthy of all praise.

He is the Master Story Writer, the Master Composer, the Master Artist.

In the midst of your suffering and turmoil, you can trust Him.

Worship Him.

A Fresh Start

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 

If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” 

And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:14-15, 19-21

Joshua divides up the land, gives to each tribe their allotment, charges them to serve God, tells them to continue taking possession of the land, and then, he dies. In my reading today, I finished the book of Joshua and began Judges. As I turned the page from Joshua 24 to Judges 1, I found myself hesitating, mourning over what I know will happen not only through the book of Judges, but the continued downward spiral as the people of God do not look or act like the people of God. 

The hope and faith of Joshua’s generation is palpable as he nears the end of his life and his term as their leader. When you consider all they’ve been through with Joshua at the helm, the weight of his death is truly significant and quite devastating. These grown-up children who walked the desert with their unbelieving parents, stand in the Promised Land with renewed hope and steadfast faith in their hearts. They want to do right. They want to serve the LORD God. They believe, in this moment, that they will continue as God’s people who worship and obey God. 

Joshua’s death is the ending of an era, an era of faith and new beginnings. He led them into the Promised Land. He fought as their Warrior-Captain. He wasn’t perfect by any means. He made mistakes and took wrong turns, but here they were. They were in the very tangible promise that God had made to their ancestors, milk and honey dripping from their mouths.

At the beginning of a New Year, we can’t help but think of fresh starts and new beginnings. We tend to consider our mistakes and build new goals. We evaluate our missteps and look to new plans. A fresh clean calendar. A new planner. New workout clothes. New running shoes. A fresh budget. A new one year Bible plan. A new journal. All the things! There is hope and a sense of a clean slate. It is encouraging, right? We proclaim with Joshua’s generation, We will serve the Lord. We will do better. We will do right. Hallelujah and amen.

But… grouchy Mondays still come. The bills still need to be paid. The house still gets messy. The car still needs fuel. And, even in the new year, a cinnamon roll with a large frappe is still not the best choice for helping us in our health journey. We falter. We oversleep. We skip our session at the gym. We get bored reading through the genealogies, and grossed out reading Leviticus. And, low and behold, we are still sinners this year just like we were last year. 


Wow! Thanks, April. This is so uplifting for a New Year’s blog post, encouragement from The Word. 


Here’s the good news. Our lives in many ways, resemble the habits of those Israelites who will live and die during the times of the Judges. 

We, like them, will forget the goodness of God. 

We, like them, will neglect our worship of God. 

We, like them, will worship other things besides Almighty God.

Where’s the hope? Why can’t we keep it together? Why do I falter? Why do I still sin?  

Well, Hope is on His way. The Truth is coming.

Joshua, in all his integrity, was not perfect. He was a great leader. He was a powerful warrior. He was obedient to what Moses had instructed. But he was not Jesus Christ. He could not remain perfect. He could not fully and completely follow the Law without fault. He grew weary in his old age. He could not completely conquer the land. He fell short. All the things we need, all the things Joshua and his people needed, only Jesus Christ could be. 

This year, when you find yourself setting a few new goals and pursuing new habits, and then falling back into old patterns all over again, look to Jesus. He’s the only One who can enable you to truly serve the LORD. 

It’s That Time of Year…

The other day my precious, Jesus-loving friend sent a group-text to me and several of our momma friends. She wanted to share a verse from her daily Bible reading and hoped it would be an encouragement to all of us. She shared Leviticus 22:24…! (I’ll let you look it up.) 😉 We got a good giggle, not to mention the joking that followed for some time… and then we encouraged one another to press on.

It’s early March and I’m wondering today if you’re sticking with your commitment to read the Bible through this year. I know right now it’s tough because maybe you’re still pounding through Leviticus, or not quite sure if you can count anymore Numbers. Perhaps you’ve chosen a reading plan that has you rolling your eyes or scratching your head at Job’s longwinded friends. I want to encourage you to press on.

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Even Leviticus…?!? Even Leviticus. 

The time you’re spending in the Scripture right now is profitable. Plodding through passages that seem to be so irrelevant or out of reach, sometimes boring — or embarrassing, the Scripture is training you. Be corrected. Be instructed. See the hand of Almighty God at work…even in the Numbers. Look for the hints of what is to come. See the foreshadowing of the Messiah, of who Jesus will be and what He will do. Watch for those things that God makes provision for within The Law that have connections with your favorite Bible stories and characters. (Hint: Mine is Ruth. See Leviticus 19:9-10.) And all the while, hear the voice of Moses as he sits down to teach the children who grew into adulthood while wandering the wilderness one last time.

Press on. Keep reading. Keep studying. And on occasion, text your friend about “the warp or the woof.” (Leviticus 13) 😉

Don’t grow weary! Stick with it! All scripture is useful!


In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’   Exodus 13:14a

As a child sitting on a pew, I remember watching the tears fall gently down my mother’s face as she held the small cracker and the little plastic cup of purple grape juice in her slender hands. I looked intently into her face, leaned into her ear, and asked her why she was crying. I was concerned, and curious. She told me because of the meaning…all that it meant, the implication of those two little things, and all they represented. How they were a reminder of all Jesus had done, and all He was going to do.

In all honesty, I do not remember her exact words that day in church. I cannot recall the precise description or the heart-felt explanation of her tears. However, I can tell you this: I was never the same. The bread and the cup became so sacred, so precious, such a treasure from then on. I longed to experience what she was experiencing in that moment.

CommunionBaptistNow, as a mother myself, it’s rare that I take the bread and the cup without tears falling down my face. The treasure of the moment stirs a joy deep in my soul. And, it is also my turn to look into a concerned little face, with whispering lips, and lean my ear toward a curious child…asking, “What does this mean?” And just as my mother did all those years ago, I tell my child how by the “strength of His hand, the LORD” has done marvelous things.

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it,

gave it to the disciples,

and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks,

he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you.

For this is my blood of the covenant,

which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28

Although I’ve experienced one Passover Seder, I remember very little about the details of what was on the Passover Table that last time Jesus sat with his closest followers just hours before his betrayal by Judas and subsequent trial, scourging, and ultimately his crucifixion. However, there are two items I will never forget: the Bread and the Final Cup.

If my memory is correct, during the meal, the middle of a stack of three unleavened pieces of bread is taken and broken as it is passed and shared. Jesus said, “This is my body.” The disciples were the first to hear this new line in the Seder script, this revelation that had been concealed for hundreds of years was now unveiled to them, and would become so utterly tangible in the days to follow. The unleavened bread cracks and snaps in the hands of those at the table. His body would be broken for them – and for us. This symbolic meal, a foreshadowing in ages passed would be fulfilled, lived out, and demonstrated in living, vibrant colors in the days, hours ahead. No longer would the symbol be a veiled-foreshadow, but forevermore, a completed fulfillment of all the Law, all the requirements, an accomplished work, and a bright vantage point of view of our final redemption and salvation. The breaking of the bread at the table that night would be part of the forever confirmation that Jesus Himself was the Yes and Amen to all the promises of God.

I’m confident there is no way the disciples would or could have grasped in the moment everything that was actually happening; but as you and I can now sit and read the account of this holy meal, do we see the significance? Can we grasp the gravity of the moment? Holy Spirit, enlighten our minds.


After the bread, next comes the cup of that deep-red liquid from the crushed fruit of the vine. The color of the communion grape juice has always been a favorite of mine. The combination of the red, purple, almost black and blue holds such depth in that little plastic cup I hold between my fingers at my church pew.

When Jesus lifts the cup and declares it to be His blood of the New Covenant, I can’t help but wonder if Abraham and Moses were leaning off the front porch of Heaven, recounting in their own minds the impact of that cup, the impact of a New Covenant, the significance of a New Covenant with the Covenant-keeping God, and the stark realization that there is no covenant made without the shedding of blood.

Although the words of the Seder script in this portion I cannot recall, there is one line in the Holy Scripture that catches my attention every time I hear it. There’s this one thing Jesus says that draws such a strong reaction from my heart every time I take the cup that I almost cannot contain my emotion…

He looks at his disciples and says,

I will not drink this again until I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. (Matthew 26:29)

Let that sink in.

Jesus is about to face the most intense, horrifying, grueling, strain of physical and spiritual agony and punishment; and yet He’s already talking about the victory that lies on the other side. He’s already talking about the banquet. He’s already talking about the true end of the story. He’s already looking beyond the betrayal. He’s already smiling past the beating. He’s already over the isolation He will experience. He’s already forgiven and finished the task. He’s already thinking past the grave. He’s already casting the vision for a new earth…the old will just not be there.

In that moment, He is preparing them for a kingdom mindset.

In that moment, He is training them for kingdom work.

In that moment, He is giving them victory for a battle yet to be fought.

In that moment, He is the Yes and Amen of all the Promises of God.

Anticipating that cup.

Do this in remembrance of Me.  1 Corinthians 11:24-25

A God Whose Plan Will Not Be Detoured

Pharaoh then commanded all his people: “You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile…” Exodus 1:22

The evil that seeks to destroy life has existed in our world for a long time. The powers of darkness have been ordering the murder of sweet babies for thousands of years. Yet, like many of you, I’ve watched in absolute shock and horror as arrogant politicians have intensified their pursuit of pro-abortion legislation. Seemingly with blind vengeance, modern statesmen grant permission to slaughter human life without so much as a wink toward apology. It is unnerving, disarming, infuriating, depressing, and quite frankly, demoralizing.

Where is the light? Who are the good guys and where are they? Is there an end to the darkness? This is not new news and these are not original questions. Although shocking perhaps, this depth of evil is not a novelty in our earth’s history.

At the beginning of the book of Exodus, the Bible tells us the Israelites (or Hebrews) were multiplying in the land of Egypt. The family who began as seventy persons has grown to an innumerable people. The God of Israel has blessed them, just as He promised Abraham He would. However, as often goes the historical theme and plot, there arises a ruler who is unaware of the history of this people, and the strong ties between his very existence and this great family. He doesn’t know the story. He wasn’t listening in History class.

The Bible tells us this powerful Pharaoh concocts an evil plan to lower this blessed population by conjuring fear and paranoia in the hearts of his own people. He plants seeds of imagined conflict and fabricated betrayal, which leads to his precise and only solution: Kill all the baby boys of the Hebrews.

Phase One in the Pharaoh’s murderous plan was to have the Egyptian midwives do his dirty work. He orders them to kill the baby boys of the Hebrew women in the midst of their delivery, but he underestimates the character of the midwives. They fear God and, in defiance of Pharaoh, they protect the lives of the baby boys. The Bible tells us God blessed these precious midwives because of this.

When the evil monarch’s plan with the midwives proves unfruitful, he sends orders out to all his people: You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile.

That’ll do it.

Can you imagine the chaos and the pain? Can you hear the sounds and feel the agony of those days? The broken cries of mothers. The desperate weeping of fathers. The painful confusion of big brothers and older sisters. It must have truly been an absolute terrorizing time for the people of Israel. One minute you are celebrating, the next minute you are mourning. One moment you are happily living your life, the next moment life has so dramatically changed that you hardly recognize it. The grief must have been unbearable. All peace and sanity was lost. Precious little bodies floating facedown in the strong current of the Nile. Surely the angels wept as their heavenly nursery filled so quickly.

What is it about power and position that can turn a human heart so dark, so evil? What could possibly overcome this murderous level of darkness?

Is there a light, some light, any light?

They say there is something special about the moment just before the sun peaks over the horizon. They say the sky in that moment, just before the light breaks through, is at its darkest. The people of Israel had reached their darkest night indeed.

The light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.    John 1:5

A ray of light comes from a courageous and cunning Hebrew mother. The Bible tells us in another passage that there was a man named Amram, and he married a woman named Jochebed. We know from the Scriptures they had three children, the youngest being a beautiful baby boy. Now Jochebed is diligent to hide her baby son as long as she can, but ultimately, she takes an unspeakable risk and concocts a shrewd plan of her own. The baby-basket-blanket-161534Bible tells us she made a basket, coated it to seal it like a small ark, placed her beautiful son into that basket… and then she placed that basket among the reeds along the riverbank of the Nile.

I wish I could have heard the whispers Jochebed spoke to herself and to that sweet baby boy in those desperate moments. The words she would’ve rehearsed… “Well, he’s in the Nile. I put him in the Nile.” The petitions she would’ve prayed… “Oh God of my fathers, remember Your servant Joseph. Remember Your promise.” The story she would’ve told of Noah in the ark… “And God closed the door. And God saved Noah inside the ark…”

I can almost feel her pounding heart in her ears.

I can see her brimming tears, then falling down her cheeks.

I can hear her lips pucker for the gentle kisses against baby skin.

I can sense her resolve as she placed her young infant into those reeds.

I can see her waiting… rocking in her chair… cradling her face in his blanket.

Did she know what would happen? Was her placement of the basket a strategic one? Or did she hope to hide him for an hour, and then go get him out again? Or had she practiced with Miriam, the big sister, what she was to say? Did she know the princess would be bathing close by?

Heart pounding. Prayers lifted. Tears brimming. Promises reminded. Chair rocking.

I have found in my few years of reading the Holy Scriptures that no one paints a story like the Ultimate Author. The twist in the plot. The unseen hand. The page turn that you didn’t see coming. The light in the darkness.

The Bible tells us that Pharaoh’s daughter went to bathe in the Nile, and she saw the little basket among the reeds.

Heart pounding. Prayers lifted. Tears brimming. Promises reminded. Chair rocking.

When the princess opened the basket, she saw the child… he was crying.

Heart pounding. Prayers lifted. Tears brimming. Promises reminded. Chair rocking.

MosesRescued_FromTheNile“Poor little thing. He’s one of the Hebrew babies!”

Did time stand still for just a second? What would she do? The Bible tells us her servant girls were all around her. They all saw the baby. They all knew what Pharaoh had ordered.

Then comes my favorite part…

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go call a Hebrew woman who is nursing to nurse the boy for you?”

“Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. (Exodus 2:7-9)

Only the Ultimate Story-Maker, the Creator-God could pull the heartstrings of compassion inside the breast of a pagan princess, and then pay a mother the wages to nurse her own son.

The light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness has not overcome it.   John 1:5

This is not the end of the story. It is only beginning. It is only part of the story.

There is hope in the midst of despair.

There is light in the darkness of chaos.

There are midwives who defy an evil ruler.

There is a mother weaving a basket.

There is a pagan princess who will show pity.

And there is a God whose plan will not be detoured.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.



Aritcle #3 in April Kyle’s series on 1 Peter.

Thoughts on 1 Peter…

“…not with perishable things…”

Milk BottlingThe milk in my fridge has an expiration date. The loaf of bread in my pantry has an expiration date. Even the bag of tortilla chips that I must purchase with the necessary jar of salsa has an expiration date. These things are perishable. They’re going to go bad. They’re going to grow moldy or stale or clumpy or…well, you get the picture. And quite frankly, that is not shocking to me…these things will not last forever. They will – and are – perishing. Heavens knows if some of them will not perish by the end of the week.

Think of the things in your house that are fading and perishing. Books on the shelf with covers faded and pages torn. Photographs of little people who are now taller and hardly recognizable; or photographs of loved ones who have passed on. Old t-shirts and ripped jeans; faded wood flooring striped by sunshine pouring in through the window. Even looking in the mirror, there’s a whole lot of perishing going on there…! All these things we live in and around from day-to-day. Our stuff is fading. Expiring. Perishing. And yet, truth be told, this is not too shocking really. We know our stuff is getting old.

In contrast, I checked the inside of my gold wedding band and it does not have an expiration date. There’s no timeframe of when I should expect it to crumble off my finger. I don’t anticipate the perishing of my gold wedding ring or the perishing of the diamond sitting so sparkly on my left ring finger. I think of these things lasting forever…as I fully anticipate my marriage doing, but that’s a sermon for another day. I would be all-together shocked and very upset if my diamond stud earrings were to somehow dissolve or disintegrate. They’re made of gold! The real stuff…in my earthly vernacular. I do not think of my gold jewelry as perishable!

Good o’ Peter sets me straight however. He uses this word perishable to describe the silver and gold of this world. He sets my perspective aright. He says my inheritance was not purchased with the perishable stuff like silver and gold. He says my living hope was not established by the acquisition of mere silver and gold. He says my sanctification is not achieved by the trading of cheap metal like silver and gold. He says that what I have in Christ is not going to perish – not like bread and milk – but it’s not going to perish like silver and gold perishes.

Somebody better shout Glory! Amen.

food-3190171_1280The Word of God has a way of setting our priorities straight, does it not? So often, I’m caught up in my perishable stuff. I lose sight of the imperishable things of Almighty Eternal Creator God that are a part of what makes me His royal kid. I forget that this earthly home is fading, expiring, crumbling. That it is in reality perishing.

Peter tells us the inheritance that belongs to the child of God is imperishable and is being kept in the un-expiring all-glorious ever-preserved Heaven. This non-perishable item was purchased by the raised-back-to-life-pouring-out-mercy Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Peter says that I no longer exist in an “empty way of life” but that I have a new way of living that was redeemed with non-perishable items. And again he compares this to “things like silver and gold.” I mean, Peter, what could possibly be more imperishable, more non-perishable than silver and gold…??? Peter, I have to question your knowledge here! Silver and gold. That’s the good stuff.

Peter says that I have been born again of imperishable seed. The life I now live is no longer perishable. He even says my faith, my character is being refined into imperish-ibility!!! (yes, I made up that word…) I no longer live in a fading, expiring, crumbling existence. I’m called to, established into a non-perishable, imperishable life.

This world can get my attention off these truths. This earth is so…crumbly.

The gold of my ring – hardly 19 years old – is already scratched and bent. It will fade away one day. The milk in my fridge needs to be dumped out.

But my inheritance, not expiring.

The living hope I live in, not fading.

The faith I hold is being made more valuable.

My eternal home has no cracks in the walls.

The fountain from which I drink deeply will never run dry…or sour.

The position I hold is imperishable.

Praise be.





Peter: Chosen & Holy


(If you haven’t read April’s first article on Peter, check it out here.)

Thoughts on 1 Peter… continued.

As mentioned before, Peter uses the word chosen several times in his letter to the exiled Jewish believers. It seems such a contrast to how they must’ve been feeling though…these believers are exiled from their home! They’re suffering persecution. They’ve fled for their lives. They’re experiencing everything but “chosen-ness” at this time, are they not?

However, herein lies the beautiful tension of being a chosen people of God, we are chosen to accomplish much more than our own narrow plans, our personal agendas, our finite purposes. We are chosen for the glory of God, to glorify the One who has indeed chosen us. And then there’s more

The richness of Peter’s letter begins early on in just the first few verses. He says these believers have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit

And there’s the more… The sanctification process.

He’s working to make me holy.

He’s working to conform me to the image of His Son.

He’s working to sanctify me by the Holy Spirit.

I recently finished reading through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and on into Numbers. God is teaching the children of Israel how to be His people, how to live as holy. He gives them the guidelines and demands of receiving His blessings within this chosen community. And, He’s giving them the Tabernacle where He will dwell with them.

Image result for public domain picture tabernacle utensilsThe utensils in the Tabernacle are deemed as holy and are set apart, sanctified, for service in the Tabernacle. So often those utensils and other pieces were sanctified or made holy by blood or even fire. The process was intense and – if I may say so – quite gruesome at times. In order to purify an instrument for service, blood had to be shed, and sprinkled or applied or poured; a fire had to be lit while the instrument or the sacrifice itself endured or was consumed by the flame.

From the beginning, God has demonstrated to us that holiness doesn’t come by way of sheltered pampering and soft caresses. No, not at all. It comes in a violent way. Fire. Blood. Pain. Struggle. Trial. And if I may be so bold, we shrink back from this because we are not aware of the un-holiness that lies within, the depth of our un-cleanness. We cannot possibly recognize and acknowledge our colossal need for the strenuous cleansing that is required to make us holy. Glory to God for His abundant Grace. Amen!

Peter knew these things and he knew his fellow Jewish believers simply needed reminding. The trouble is seeing by faith the holy outcome while we’re in the midst of the fiery making. He reminds them, “You’re being sanctified by the work of the Spirit. Hang in there. The outcome will be worth it.”

So often we lose sight of these precious truths. The truth is we are a chosen people. The truth is we are being made holy. The truth is that God is working on our behalf and for His glory.

In the midst of the trial, there is a Craftsman and He knows exactly what He’s doing.









Bringing Peter

You gotta love Peter.

Well, if you struggle with putting your foot in your mouth, you gotta love Peter.

And, if you have an overly passionate personality, you gotta love – and identify with Peter.

…all my friends are either nodding their heads at me or rolling their eyes, AT me.

As an apostle of Jesus Christ, Peter is without a doubt a key figure in the Gospel narrative. He was chosen along with the other 11 men to follow Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. We know Peter was charged with leading the movement, to usher in the early stages of the Church. He was, he is a prominent figure in Church history and a vocal patriarch of our Christianity. He led the way.

Recognizing all of this now on this side of his story, there’s an important detail that, looking back now almost seems strange. Looking back, knowing Peter’s personality, it’s odd to think… Peter’s story did not begin with a dramatic sprint toward Jesus, shouting down the streets declarations of unabated loyalty and devout allegiance, while drawing a sword to defend His King and cut off any ears of those who dare defy… No.

Andrew brought Peter to Jesus.

Andrew, his brother, brought Peter to the Messiah.

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him [Jesus].

He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “we have found the messiah” (which is translated the Christ), and he brought Simon to Jesus… John 1:40-42

As I write, this week the earthly body of Billy Graham has been laid to rest. There’s no denying the impact of this modern-day preacher, a godly man. As “America’s Pastor” (as some have called him) Billy Graham preached the Word of God and proclaimed the Good News to literally millions of people. But you have to consider, who brought Billy to Jesus? I wonder if Mordecai Ham considered the profound impact, the chain reaction he would ignite when he proclaimed the Gospel message into the ears of young Billy Graham, a teenager when he heard those sermons about the sin in a man’s heart.

2 Timothy 2_2.pngIt’s definitely something to consider. Who am I leading to Jesus? What is the possible impact for the Kingdom of God? I wonder what Andrew would say to us today…

So Peter, here we are, a couple thousand years later and the rest is history, a living-breathing-ever-powerful history. The power of God moving through a man, penning the Word of God that you and I hold and contemplate today.

It’s a weighty reality that God uses a human being to work His plan, to accomplish His purposes; and although He gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7), our Father places us in the work. Andrew and Peter demonstrate this so well.

In his first letter, Peter uses the word chosen at least five times. His recognition of the powerful choices of God, to use what God chooses to use, comes through in his message to the believers who are exiled and dispersed. He tells them they have been chosen by God to do what they’re doing, to endure this time of suffering, and then to step into the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)


That utterance brings great solace to my heart, as I hope it does to yours.

I’ve often pondered the grace that chose me…all the while knowing, I would not have chosen me. Ah, the grace of God that reaches down to choose whatever He wills. In His infinite mercy, I’m forever grateful for so many of His choices.

And to think, Andrew was part of God’s work! He brought Peter – THE Simon Peter – to the Messiah. God could’ve brought Peter to Jesus all by Himself; but Andrew was part of the plan! I want to be a willing part of The Plan. The impact is so far beyond imagination.


Holy Oatmeal

One of my favorite authors often refers to the pot of oatmeal cooking on her stovetop during the early morning hours as her family prepares for their busy day running a farm. The way she describes the scene, the sounds of the low bubbling and the nurturing way she stirs in preparation of serving her family, has always drawn me to think that oatmeal is simply wonderful. Without a doubt, oatmeal must be the breakfast of wonderful people. I want to be one of those wonderful people.

I’ve heard that oatmeal is healthy too. Exactly.

Pondering this beautiful scene, I set out to create my own wonderful-ness this morning. I cooked oatmeal on my stovetop. I could literally sense the anticipation in my mouth, and my heart. This was going to be life-changing.

holy-oatmealI carefully followed the directions on the side of the canister. The boiling and bubbling began. I decided to add a little butter. Then, I added a little brown sugar. After one little bite, I decided it needed a little – lot – more butter… and maybe a pinch – large pinch – or two – more of brown sugar. Oh it looked so pretty! I scooped some into my new big soup mug. Took a little bite… Then I thought maybe it needed a little vanilla… or perhaps some mini chocolate chips.

Are you following me here…?

After an exorbitant amount of butter, brown sugar, and more than several sprinkles of mini chocolate chips, I dove into a large spoonful.

Then, I decided that oatmeal is just NOT for me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I like the idea of oatmeal. I like the idea of the warm bubbly nutritious good-for-your-heart-health breakfast.

But I don’t really…actually want to eat it… I just want a picture of it posted to my Instagram account, with my Bible in the background.

In his letter, the apostle Peter wrote these words: As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

I so sincerely want to conduct myself in a holy manner. Correction: I like the idea of conducting myself in a holy manner. Because when I’m NOT hungry and tired, I really want to BE holy. When it’s NOT too late for the kids to still be awake, I really want to BE holy, to conduct myself in obedience. Not to mention when someone does NOT pull out in front of me and does NOT begin driving so very slowly in order to purposely ruin my life, I’m really thinking about BEING holy in my conduct. However, when I’m rested and healthy and cared for and my car is shiny fresh out of the carwash, I am especially in tune with holy conduct…

Really… I mean really?Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Let me first say that I have been made holy, been made righteous by the precious blood of the Lamb; but walking worthy and being “holy in my conduct” is something I would prefer with butter, brown sugar, and mini chocolate chips on top.

Peter says to be as “obedient children” and to be holy in my conduct. He never mentions sweet and easy living.

I was made new in Christ for many things like precious freedom and sweet fellowship, but also obedience and holy living. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I desire to look like My Father, to conduct myself in a way that causes others to see Jesus Christ; therefore I’m called to a standard of living that is beyond my former desires.

I’m just glad Peter didn’t require oatmeal.


As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16


by April Kyle

John 9:1-7 (ESV) – The Man Born Blind

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

jesus20and20a20blind20manThis story has been a fascination of mine for some time… well, for almost nine years now.

Watch the beginning, how the Holy Spirit chooses to lead you into this story…

The disciples ask Jesus whose sin has caused this man’s blindness, his disability. Were his parents diehard trespassers who were punished by a physically hindered son, as opposed to a healthy, seeing son?

Did he do some wrong to bring this predicament upon himself?

“Who sinned…?”

Reminds me of Job’s friends… Job knew he was clean and guiltless before his God; but his buddies couldn’t comprehend such tragedy coming by any other vehicle than that of the consequences of sin. The Bible says that Job held to his integrity. Pretty intense.

“Who sinned…?”

I said this passage has fascinated me for some years now…

I have a niece who was born with some hindrances, some restraints. She was diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome, as well as esophageal atresia – that’s a fancy word for when the esophagus and stomach do not meet. Pretty intense.

“Who sinned…?”

I remember praying for that sassy girl with such intensity, such fervor, pleading, crying out for God to work a miracle.

“Who sinned…?”

…reminding God how as a family, we stood blameless – not perfect mind you – but faithful to all God had called us to. We were trusting Him to do what He does for good people. At least, that’s what I was trusting Him to do.

You see where I’m going with this…

Good things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad sinners. God works miracles for us good kids. He saves the tragedy, the heartache, the disabilities and birth defects for the wicked.

That’s how we think, isn’t it?

Oh my, we wouldn’t dare say it aloud, but deep down in our heart of hearts, that’s exactly what we think.

“Who sinned…?”

It’s shocking really. Jesus’ answer is really rather earth-shattering, life-altering. It rocks traditional thinking to its very foundation. Typical Jesus.

Much to the dismay of Job’s friends, Job stands blameless before them. In the end, they get the real scolding.

Much to the astonishment of the disciples, nobody’s sin has caused this blindness; nobody’s sin has deserved this punishment.

Then why?

Why is this man blind?

Why was he born blind?

Why does Job lose everything?

Why does he sit in a garbage heap, scraping his sores?

Why does my niece have Down’s syndrome?

Why does she wear scars from too many surgeries?

“Who sinned…?”

“No, guys,” says Jesus. “This one isn’t about sin. This one isn’t about punishment. This isn’t a public display of judgment.”

Then what? … and why!?

“This is about glory, God’s glory. His mighty acts and deeds. His glory. No one will miss God’s glory today.”

I’m not sure if I picture Jesus with a slight smile, a glimmer in His eye, and a “watch-this” glow on His face; or if He’s wearing that determined-to-praise-my-Father-on-the-Sabbath-rebel’s jut in his jaw. (Jesus is totally awesome.)

At this point, Jesus does something very spiritual…NOT.

He totally spits in the mud! I cannot even imagine what the blind guy is thinking. I mean seriously. Ewww.

(You know Jesus couldn’t have done it this way if this had been a blind GIRL. We would have been like, “No thanks, Jesus. I’ll pass on the spit/mud remedy.”)

Hilarious. (You know Jesus thought it was funny.)

Jesus heals him. To God be the glory. No other explanation.

You know, Job got possessions bestowed upon him a double portion. He even had more children and then grandchildren… and more. The Bible even says that his daughters were the prettiest in the land. But, nonetheless, he suffered like no other…outside of the perfect Lamb of God upon that rugged cross; no one knew unwarranted suffering like Job.

God used the wonderful doctors at Vanderbilt to repair my niece’s esophagus. She can put away some chips and salsa, and she loves pretzels. Oh that girl. But, she still wakes up every morning with Down’s syndrome.


I’ve asked that question a bazillion times…

The Answer is always the same…

Glory. God will get His glory today, and everyone will see it.

Praise be to His name!