See Me

(Sometimes it only takes a moment to make a difference.)

Jesus was our model for care.
Only He could have seen those attributes
in each of the disciples
that the Holy Spirit would use
to change the world.
Until Jesus came along,
the people whose lives he touched
most probably saw their story
already written.
We need to see
with His eyes.

Look at me.
Take a moment longer.
Allow curiosity
to make you dig beneath
the shell I show to the world.

See more
than the attributes
I was born with.
See more than clues
pointing to success,
or failure,
investments made well,
or poorly.
See more than the time
I spend in the gym
or the knit cap
that might hint at chemotherapy.
See more
than my carefully
mapped life,
or the scar from the head-on collision
that changed the future of several families
in an instant.

See beyond my bumper stickers
or habitual responses
to standard questions.
Take the risk.
Probe deeper.

Look for something
I’m guessing most people are too busy
to care about.
Work to allow concern
to overcome your own shyness.

Do the work,
because the weight of apathy
can cause more damage
than anger.

© Joel Tipple 10/27/2018

The Armor of God (Part 7: The Sword of the Spirit)

(Exploring aspects of “the armor of God.”)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10-17

Today I let my armor slip,
left myself undefended.
Without defense,
I found myself rended.
But God has prepared for us
suits suitable to protect,
then as soldiers in a spiritual war
His conditions of battle dress
we’ll have met.

The belt of truth,
Jesus Christ,
the foundation,
upon which
our armor rests.
In a world which insists
truth is elusive,
The truth of our Lord
is that upon which we rest.

The breastplate of righteousness,
stamped with the name of Jesus Christ,
given to protect our heart and soul
from evil and deception.
We could not protect ourselves
on our own.
The more we put on this armor
the more our righteous maturity will grow.

The shoes of the “gospel of peace,”
cover the feet of the bringer of good news.
Ready, prepared, protected,
sharing the greatest truth.
How beautiful the feet,
the bringers of peace,
those who walk,
telling of the kingdom.

The shield of faith I hold
all the while, it goes before me.
The strength of this protection lies
in unyielding belief.
Satan’s attacks will fail
to successfully assail,
though the blows may come
from above or beneath.

The helmet of salvation,
our eternal and best defense
against whatever weapon
the enemy would devise.
God, however, would
protect us, especially our
minds, against Satan,
and his ruthless lies.

The sword of the Spirit,
the Word of God,
that which gives us strength
and the power to withstand,
attacks by the accuser,
when he dares to lift his hand.
But wielded by God’s children,
none can withstand this blade,
for the same reveals our salvation
the price with His blood
Christ has paid.

© Joel Tipple 11/01/2018

On Empty

(Just because we feel empty, that doesn’t mean we are)

For this reason, I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

If you’ve driven for long, chances are you’ve discovered that the empty mark on your vehicle’s gas gauge isn’t always an accurate indicator of how far you can actually go before you run out. There is usually some reserve left in your tank. Again, that amount will vary, and it’s always a good practice to fill up sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, I found myself discouraged. Some setbacks, together with a lack of sleep, combined to put me in a funk. I reached out to God and asked Him to throw me a lifeline… an auxiliary tank, so to speak. “God, I need you,” I said.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I’m feeling that way, it’s a little like I’ve failed. “Here I am again, Lord, unable to handle this on my own. What’s wrong with me?” Admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness though, it’s a necessary part of a healthy relationship with the Lord. Just as we long to be there for our children, God longs to be there for us.

From the depths of my discouragement,
from the place where I have need,
from my lack of resource,
fill me up.

I’ve nothing to repay you God,
but I’ll go where you say.
Just teach me to listen to your voice.
Then the next time I journey,
and I’m planning for the miles,
let your direction be my first
and not my second choice.

© Joel Tipple 10/23/2018

Hide His Word

(For despots, it’s probably the most dangerous book in the world.)

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11

I wonder if the Psalmist considered, that thousands of years after it was written, God’s children would “hide His Word” so well they would misplace it? A foolish thought, right? The verse refers to making God’s word a part of us, knowing it intimately, knowing it so well and loving it so much that the thought of pulling away from it in disobedience is anathema. But is it possible that we might become so familiar with the Bible that it would begin to lose its meaning? In my own life, I’ve found there is nothing like a crisis to drive me back to the Bible, looking for answers. We’ve all had our prodigal moments, haven’t we?  In those moments of desperation, when we run back for His promises and guidance, we hide God’s word in a place where it can’t be lost… so we won’t be lost.

© Joel Tipple 10/22/2018

Think on These Things

(Consider your mind)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV

If you find yourself sick,
you might wonder…
have I been around someone
who was sick too?

When it comes to a healthy mind
the same principle applies,
so negative exposure
can make you blue.

Guard your heart,
guard your mind,
dream well, read well, think well,
God’s children.
Be sure to train yourself,
You know, God wants you well
Christian pilgrim.

The journey’s hard enough
wasting time
on stupid stuff.
There’s plenty of pain
without standing out
in negative rain
with no umbrella.

© Joel Tipple 10/21/2018


Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15 ESV

Empathy  1the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

I’m spending time
trying to see the world
through another’s eyes.
I’ve spent a lifetime
seeing it through mine,
so I’ve got that down.

If I’m fortunate enough
to get to listen to someone
being real with me,
I don’t rush to convene a jury of one.
I don’t give priority
to rendering a verdict
regarding their circumstances.

Can you imagine yourself in my position
no matter what matter of person I am?
I know it must be hard for you,
I’ve seen you…
and it’s hard for me too.

© Joel Tipple 10/18/2018


Note: Don’t be afraid to investigate (dig).

Sometimes you just have to unplug
or maybe remove
the batteries.
Whatever’s pushing,
what’s coming through the wires,
isn’t always alright.

Don’t worry,
don’t hurry,
to don your protective
foil helmet.
I’m just saying…
work a little,
read a little.

If all you wanna hear
is an echo of yourself,
you’re unlikely to discover
anything you don’t know.
The bible’s survived intact all this time
’cause truth can handle some blows.

© Joel Tipple 10/17/2018