War and Peas

When I was a kid I basically had two strategies for vegetables I didn’t like. One was to smother them with a sauce or somehow incorporate them with another food that I did like. The other was to hide them under or in something else on the plate that I could get away with not eating. A hollowed out potato skin was classic camouflage. But my parents, who didn’t miss as much as I thought they did, were probably on to my ruse. It was a foolish little battle I would fight with the food lovingly prepared for me.

One of our granddaughters stayed over at our house last night, and when she came in she was crying. When I asked what was going on, I found out it was because she needed to take some cold medicine. The bad taste, or what she was afraid would be the bad taste, was so abhorrent to her she was that upset. Even though the medicine would alleviate some of her symptoms, she was ready to go to war to avoid taking it.

When I was a young teenager I answered God’s call for my life and began the process of discovering what God intended for me. Later, as an adult, I decided to put myself in charge and relegated God to the backseat. But experience and knowledge of God’s nature teaches that he doesn’t belong in the back, or even riding shotgun. He wants to drive. I’m so thankful God was patient with me while I learned the lesson that took years to play out. The truth is, we never really stop learning until we enter heaven. We hope to come to know which battles are worth fighting and who should always be our general. We can spend forever pushing around on our plate the good things God has for us, or we can simply dig in and accept his leadership, healing, and love. For ourselves, and for our families, it’s essential.


I alone am this living Bread that has come to you from heaven. Eat this Bread and you will live forever. The living Bread I give you is my body, which I will offer as a sacrifice so that all may live.
John 6:51 TPT


I Choose You

In this moment I choose You
and the next
and the next
in mundane times
when all I long for is creation
I turn around and You’re there chasing me
it’s beyond all reason

I know You seek me
as You’ve sought all since the fall
sometimes a choice
is a hundred small choices
sometimes Your voice
is a thousand small voices
and I’m listening


©Joel Tipple 9/28/2019

Jarring Change

Nope, this isn’t a financial post. Although that’s a good subject too. This week I’m writing about change. Okay, timeout. The picture is of a jar of change, and you’re writing about change, but you’re not writing about money? Exactly, and consider reading this an investment. Stop!

If you’re like me, you come home with some extra coins. None of us like standing in line, and the extra time it takes to fish change out can require some patience, both from ourselves and maybe the other folks in line. “Did you say 38 cents? Okay, here’s a quarter, a dime, and three pennies. Wait, I want to use the rest of these pennies. Make that a quarter, a nickel, and one two three four five six seven… Oh, shoot. Do you have a penny?” As Charlie Brown would say, “AAUGH!” Or maybe you just like saving your change. Sort of a rainy day or vacation fund. It all adds up, and voila! One day you have some real money.

But this is about another kind of change, the change God begins in us from the moment we begin to follow Jesus. You may have heard, “God loves you just as you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way.” While that may be true, the changes he puts us through are not always big ones. He made you, after all, and he knows sometimes the best and most lasting changes we can make are incremental ones. Dropping small habits might represent a few coins. A bigger issue might be worth half a jar! While you may be going through a season of painful change, or a relatively quiet time, it’s worth remembering you never have to go through it alone. Jesus, your advocate, knows you better than you know yourself, and he will see to it that the changes you go through will never “break the bank.”

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV


Our relationship
with Jesus Christ,
is not predicated
on our ability
but on surrender
of sin gravity
that holds us down

All glory and honor
to the Spirit
that empowers
our journey
that nourishes
and refreshes
our souls


© Joel Tipple 9/21/2019



What Courage?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV


And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25
ESV


What comes to mind when you hear the words “encourage” and “discourage?” Merriam-Webster says of encourage, 1 a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : HEARTEN // she was encouraged to continue by her early success. Of discourage, 1 a : to deprive of courage or confidence DISHEARTEN // was discouraged by repeated failure

While for all practical purposes we can agree there are right times to encourage and discourage, I argue there is a real lack of encouragement in our world generally, sometimes even coming from the people who should be the most encouraging of all, followers of Jesus. After all, who has better cause to encourage? Among our promises from God are direction, help, and comfort in this world and salvation in the next. You won’t find an encouraging package like that anywhere else; it’s a Jesus Christ exclusive.

So what is that root word, courage? Using the dictionary again, we find it defined as : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Everyone needs courage of some kind. For one it could be the courage to rescue someone from a rooftop in a storm. For another it might be stepping into an elevator. For you it might be telling someone the source of your hope. There are all kinds of courage. The best source of Godly courage will always be Jesus.

It has always been a strategy of the enemy to convince us that as we are at this moment is not enough, that the situation we are in or task at hand is greater than us and the God who has prepared us to this point. But God has not given us a spirit of fear, and the next step he wants you to take has already been prepared beforehand. With God there are no surprises and there is never a lack of resource. So take courage! And by all means, give it too.

When desperate and faltering
I found myself
by what I considered my lack
I searched the best source of courage
to make sure my feet on the path

I found my guide and strength in Jesus
who prepared the way before
He became my light and compass
so I needn’t fear anymore

Christ gave me courage to carry
but it wasn’t just for me
it was a lamp to show the way
so more captives could be freed

©Joel Tipple 9/14/2019

Not Too Far From Grace


I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 ESV


For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John 1:17-18 NIV


If you think your sin’s too great
and God can’t look you in the face
all he sees is Jesus
you’re not too far from grace


Works alone won’t take you home
to stand before his throne
Changing power’s God’s to give
if you’ll claim it


You’ve never been too far from the Father
the cross has followed you all these years
Not a moment’s been wasted
searching for his presence
God would never
let you drown in your tears


The more we cling to each promise
you have given
and surrender to your loving face
the more unified and sanctified
you make us
and this all due

to your astounding grace

“If people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.”
Charles Spurgeon

©Joel Tipple 9/7/2019