Start Where You Are

easter flower
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:6-7

Start where you are,
no matter your dread
despite the ruminations
running ’round your head.
You’d like to be ready,
more than you find yourself now,
but God’s got a plan
and he’ll keep the vow
that he’s made.

God’s not surprised,
with God, there’s no lack.
He sees what you don’t see
and he’s got your back.
When you think you’re
found wanting,
or your giant’s too big,
God overcomes your deficits
and ensures all your debts are paid.

©Joel Tipple 05/25/2019

 

One Voice

20190311_083431
Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:22 English Standard Version

The Summer of 1972 I was 13-years-old, and in between falling in love with girls, I managed to fall in love with Jesus. It was the height of the west coast Jesus movement and the week-long church camp I attended that August was infused with joyful gospel music and the promise of an exciting life following the Lord. In the Fall several members of our church youth group formed a lunchtime Bible study and we experienced misguided pushback when the school told us we couldn’t hold our prayer meeting on school property. Looking back, I think this only served as encouragement for me. After all, didn’t this reaction from the adults in our life prove we young people were doing something daring and rebellious? Whether we fit the classic mold of rebels or not, God used those early experiences to bring many of us to what would become a lifetime commitment to seeking God’s way. I may not have felt like a revolutionary, but, as my faded blue jeans jacket with “Jesus Is The Way” on it indicated, I wanted everyone to know where I stood. In the years since, my devotion to God has waxed and waned, but true to His Word, the Lord always sought me out, drawing me back to Jesus, where I belong.

Today is truly a concerning time for those committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In some countries, societal pressures and trends have led to the watering down of God’s message, while others have taken a more direct approach by simply outlawing the gathering of Christians altogether, even threatening with death Christ followers who persist. However, attempts to marginalize, politicalize, or weaponize the Church have always ultimately been overcome by the simplicity of Jesus’ message. The power of the Bible lies in its mind-blowing resistance to change and misinterpretation, its ability to bring redemption to fallen man, no matter the forces arrayed against it.

They didn’t know, God,
when they drove you to the cross,
that the message they considered
as so much dross
would change the world.

They might have read, Lord,
their own prophets had preached,
but they lost their ears to hear
and shortened their reach
instead of taking hold
of the only lifeline that mattered.

But as the years continue,
Lord, we’re forced to ask,
how long our world has
before it’s taken to task?
We know you are patient
but now call for us to decide
to be gathered up
as your flock and bride.

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 New Living Translation

© Joel Tipple 5/18/2019

Respect

DSCN0843

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:17

My first job was working for our family business. In the little town where I grew up that happened to be a service station. Typical of small-town America, “Jack Tipple Motors” did everything from selling and servicing cars to fixing lawn mowers and pulling wayward motorists out of ditches. Beginning in my adolescence, I learned the subtleties of pushing a broom and as I got older did other jobs like running out to the gas pump when a car made the bell ding. That’s back when “full service” was the norm. My dad taught me by example and instruction the way I should conduct myself when serving the public. Although I never had the knack or inclination for the technical aspect of the business my Dad was in, I learned how to work hard, be reliable, and treat people with respect and courtesy.

One such learning opportunity came when a sales representative was visiting the shop one day. He had just finished showing my dad a display and I thought this would be a great opportunity to show off something witty I had probably picked up watching TV.  Although my dad had a sense of humor, I had not yet learned the art of when to speak up and when to remain silent. This was probably not the first, and certainly not the last time I would have to learn this sometimes painful lesson. As the sales rep wound up his talk I piped up and asked, “Got any more bright ideas?”  Everything stopped. Rather than the hearty laughter and knee-slapping I expected from the adults in the room, there was silence, an expression of hurt from the salesman, and anger from my dad. I had managed to simultaneously embarrass the salesman and cause my father to lose face. I don’t remember the details of what I was told after being marched off to our office. The lecture was brief, heated, and included my going back to the salesman and tearfully saying I was sorry. After all these years, the memory of that moment still makes me cringe.

Are you a miser?
Is respect your currency?
Do you dole it out
to those you think most godly?
Are you only a respecter
of those who stroke your ego?
Consider carefully…
before saying no.
Do you jealously guard
what you believe your place to be?
And who put you there? Was God the authority?

The love of God
we express for all we meet
must surely
generously
share a dose of dignity.
Befriend someone
who needs a friend,
but remember…
You can’t lift someone up
by looking down on them.

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
Winston Churchill

© Joel Tipple 5/4/2019