Worthy For a Purpose

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

I have a Christian friend who, truth to tell, I look up to. He knows his bible very well and is one of the most self-sacrificing and loving people you will ever meet. But… there’s something he says that bothers me. Often, when we haven’t seen each other for some time, I’ll ask him how he’s doing. His response is often, “Better than I deserve!” It makes me cringe. Now, I know where he’s going with it, and I’m not bothered that it’s a pat response. We all say things without thinking, and greetings often fall into that category. I know when he says he’s doing better than he deserves he’s referring to the grace that God has extended to humanity through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. My friend is saying he once was lost, but thanks to God’s offer of forgiveness and his acceptance, he is now saved from the fate he deserved.  So, if I understand my friend’s greeting, why does it bother me? It bothers me because just as God loves us enough to want us to give up our sinful ways, he also wants us to change our old view of ourselves, and that includes the worth God places upon us. If we fail to embrace how God sees us, in light of Jesus’ sacrifice, we run the risk of never fulfilling the purpose He has for each of our lives. We are indeed worthy of the purpose for which God has preordained us. Why? The same reason your finally exasperated parents gave when they had run out of other reasons… Because He says so.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
John 1:12 ESV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Have you been conditioned
like me
by the world you live in?
have you tried filling
that God-shaped place
with counterfeit feelings
and things?
There’s a way for you to go home.
though for too long you have roamed.
Because the Bible tells me so,
Jesus is the means.

Take on
His worthy purpose.
He’ll answer your questions
for existence in time.
Beginning with salvation,
new ownership,
and management,
his business will become your own,
as will mine.

With gifted strength
from God,
fulfill His purpose,
though you can’t see the goal
from your own endzone.
Give the fight to the Lord,
He’ll help you endure.
God has promised
you won’t have to get there
on your own.

© Joel Tipple 03/09/2019
Author of Written in the Light.

 

Impossible Advice

faith

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God For all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10:37 ESV

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
Walt Disney

Have you consulted an impossible advisor? Their offices abound.
They specialize in discouraging,
and harumph is their favorite sound.

They see a lack of reason
in every Christian’s step forward in faith.
For them, there is no good season
to favor the boldest way.

You’ve searched God’s Word,
and prayed, and sought good counsel,
but fear could stop you
from serving the Lord
by stealing the wind from your sails.

The assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen,
the fuel of faith gives you power
on those hard
and harder days.

Don’t let impossible advisors
get in your head.
Don’t subscribe to their social media,
don’t take their calls,
block them instead.

Look for encouraging,
Jesus loving friends,
who see more beginnings
than ends.
Godly advice helps you stretch
beyond self-imposed boundaries.

Adventure awaits you
brothers and sisters
when you’re willing
to seize your dreams.
When you step out in faith
the din of fear will fade away
and you’ll experience
what victory means.

© Joel Tipple 2/16/2019
Author of “Written in the Light.”

Measure

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1st Peter 2:9

God, I’d like to be
the measure of a man
you would have me be.
Close my ears and eyes
to how the world defines me.
For when I look
to the left or right
of the road you’ve set before me
suddenly I stumble.

Season my speech
with words wise and giving,
an attitude of joy,
one of great thanksgiving.
If by chance someone hears
some of what I say
I pray my focus
is on the Holy Spirit
because I sought Him
and prayed.

There was a time, Lord,
when the mirror used to be
something other than my friend,
and there was a sad moment in my life
when I prayed for a sooner end.
Thanks for holding off calamity
with your loving hand
and saving me.

If we don’t turn off the news
sometime
with its
relentless
negative
auto-repeat,
we risk rendering our witness worthless
to the point, we cannot speak.
But no matter how dark
the world may become
if we turn our eyes to you
and the sacrifice of your son
we will be saved.

You Lord,
the one who measures rightly,
the one who made the world,
and all its wonders
will always bring us back
from the brink
when we call.
Even though we’re prodigal
and have nothing at all
to earn it,
you’ll forever
heap upon us
so much devotion
we can’t help but share it.
Thank you, Lord.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
for sharing
so much
it could never
ever
be measured.

© Joel Tipple 1/26/2019

The Past

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own, but one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

I’ve got a new perspective now.
The past isn’t what it used to be.
God’s pointing my head in a new direction.
Is this what it means to be free?

Instead of taking inventory
of possessions,
I remind myself
to whom I belong.
Instead of bemoaning
all the reasons I’m weak,
I claim the One
who makes me strong.

© Joel Tipple 10/10/2018

 

Courage to Breathe

It takes courage to breathe
when your lungs feel like glass,
when your heart feels like paper,
when your mind is like a thousand blades of grass
waiting for the wind to blow.

It takes surrender
to the God of Heaven and everything,
who can give you breath and help you sing,
who will heal the places you’re afraid to see,
and make the mountains in your life
climbable.

It takes courage to breathe
when the air around you is toxic
when the people in your life
tell you God is dead
or has run away.

It takes courage to stand
when you’re afraid you will waver,
and steps forward are only a dream.
How do you dare…
or risk being counted
as a believer,
a holder of his name?

But you can breathe,
and you can stand.
then even run.
God will be your security detail
for the journey.
You will climb up through the clouds,
where the doubters tell you not to go.
And they’ll call you a fool for climbing.

But God will meet you there
like He promised…
because you had
the faith to breathe,
the temerity to breathe,
the courage to breathe.

© Joel Tipple 10/8/2018

Be Still

    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 NIV

When storms of war are raging,
when all you see is strife.
When every bit of news seems bad
so you’re afraid to step outside.
Remember the battle is the Lord’s,
He alone holds high ground.
So listen closely, Pilgrim
for the trumpet sound,
and be still.

Be still, and know I am God.
I didn’t bring you to the battle
just to leave you.
Be still. I have your back.
I know your destination, oh.
Be still, be still.
My child, be still.

Just because you can’t see around the corner
of your block, let alone the future,
that’s all the more, reason, to rely on the one
who knew you…
before…
anyone knew you.

Be still, and know I am God.
I didn’t bring you to the battle
just to leave you.
Be still. I have your back.
I know your destination, oh.
Be still, be still.
My child, my own, be still.

©  Joel Tipple 10/07/2018