The House of Mourning

Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 7:2,
“It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to a house of feasting, for death
is the destiny of every man;
the living should take this to heart.”

Does this mean that we should seek suffering?
Maybe not, but, as inevitable as death,
so is suffering in this life. In suffering, however,
there is much that God would teach us,
if only we are willing to listen.

I’ve been to a few funerals
in my time. If we’re honest, they’re probably
not the sort of thing we look forward to.
Though, as followers of Christ, we know
we’ll see our brothers and sisters again.
So, we go to honor, mourn, and yes, rejoice,
when we know another soul has gone to meet our Lord.
But amid all those emotions regarding death
are vital truths about life,
the life God would share with his children.

Running from the feast of fools
toward the house of mourning,
seeking wisdom
through the pain.
From the mortal to immortal.
A curtain pull.
A door swing.

What of the other side?
What awaits?
The one who metes out righteous judgment
has the ultimate say.
Those who claim there is no justice
will discover their error on that day.
Choose well.
Choose life.
Choose Jesus,
the only way.

Then when it’s my time,
if you must play a dirge for me,
place within it a lilting note,
for when my time comes,
I’ll be traveling to my forever home
to be with those saints who’ve gone before
and wait for those yet to come.

Surely joy greater than our imaginings
or any verse in any poet’s tome awaits us there,
past the house of mourning,
where we pause to celebrate
and grieve
and pray.

To the house of mourning
we will bring a light
and invite the Lord,
holding back the night,
for the day,
for the day.

© Joel Tipple 12/16/2018


And he came to her and said, “Greetings oh favored one, the Lord is with you.”
Luke 1:28 ESV

A) Angel Gabriel, the messenger of God.
N) Naturally when you visited Mary you told her to not be afraid.
G) God sent you to greet and prepare Jesus’ mother for the miraculous birth.
E) Endless. The kingdom of our Lord.
L) Last. If I ever saw an angel, it’s likely the last thing I would see just before I passed out.

© Joel Tipple 12/13/2018

Words in the Letters (Mary)

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
Luke 1:46-49 ESV

M) Mary, the mother of Jesus,
A) a woman chosen while still a girl.
R) Random doesn’t apply to you, prophetic
humble servant, and protector of our Lord.
Y) You were witness to His miracles, but the first
was His birth.

© Joel Tipple 12/11/2018


“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
C.S. Lewis

When you view your reflection
in the mirror,
what you see
is largely up to you.
You can see your size
through God’s loving eyes,
or you can conjure a negative view.

You can see your heart
like that belonging to the Grinch,
several sizes too small.
You can see your height
as too high,
or maybe you believe
you’re undertall.
Unless you learn to see
what your mirror can’t see
you don’t know yourself at all.

Don’t cover up how God’s really made you,
by painting over it or willfully not seeing.
Thoughtful reflection
can overcome rejection
when you pause to reflect
on these things.

© Joel Tipple 12/8/2018


Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7 NIV

I trust my Father to give
and I stand, expectant to receive,
that which is good, beneficial,
what I need.
I pray first before I ask,
that my desires be made like His.
And that my attitude
is open hands
instead of closed fists.

© Joel Tipple 12/7/2018


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

When you seek peace,
it often eludes you.
The tighter you hold it,
like a fist grasping water
the faster it rushes away.
But the peace I give,
says the Lord,
the more you give away,
the more you’ll keep.
The peace I give,
you can’t exhaust,
the more the thunder shouts,
the more the waves are tossed.

© Joel Tipple 12/6/2018


On November 30, George HW Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away. Since that time, and including today’s national funeral, many have remembered his time in political office. Of the personal qualities that have been mentioned, his sense of humor has come up often. Here are some notables.

“I’m a conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.”

“I have opinions of my own, strong opinions. But I don’t always agree with them.”

“Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington are not bothered by heavy traffic.”

His biographer, Jon Meacham noted that during a campaign stop Bush mistakenly grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin, asking for its vote. When he realized what he had done, he said, “Never know, gotta ask.” Meacham also told about showing Bush the remarks he would be making at his funeral. Said Bush, “That’s a lot about me, Jon.”

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

“Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They’ll tell you.”

Finally, this story from his son and former president George W. Bush.  The father and son were sitting on a porch enjoying the ocean view. The younger Bush, who had been painting earlier and had gotten some on his pants, said he hoped this might be a moment he could glean perhaps some deep, personal insight from his father. “Beautiful view, isn’t it, dad? Yes, son, it sure is, his father replied, quickly following with, “Say, do those pants come in clean?”

© Joel Tipple 12/5/2018


I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:14-16

“Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.”
Marlon Brando

God gives to each a gift to express,
its type or size is immaterial;
That our gifts are given expression
is the thing.
Our nature seems to be to compare how we’ve been made
with others,
but that’s akin to comparing crocodile feet
with bird wings.
One is not greater,
or of higher quality
than the other.
They’re each perfectly made
for fulfilling their being.

© Joel Tipple 12/02/2018