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



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 Wings of a Butterfly

We all live

and we all die.

God gives us some time in between.

By his grace, while we’re here,

like the butterfly,

we move our wings.

 

Just how much do we really matter?

How much could we really matter?

Ask a butterfly if the edies of air that are born

with the movement of its wings

can make a storm.

Ask a butterfly.

 

Gather some thoughts.

Build some words.

Add a dash of joy

from a praise song you’ve heard.

Reach up your hands

to the giver of life

Make all we are and will become

ever sanctified

to Jesus.

 

 

God always has a reason

For his sometimes mysterious ways

Since he chooses us to be his hands and feet

Why would we waste even a day?

 

Wonderful Father, almighty creator,

would that we, and all life

Move at the direction

of your loving and just hands.

 

Gather some thoughts.

Build some words.

Add a dash of joy

from a praise song you’ve heard

Reach up your hands

to the giver of life

Make all we are and will become

ever sanctified

to Jesus.

 

©Joel Tipple
#7/16

The Heart of Thankfulness

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What qualities do you admire most in people? Friendly? Funny? Outgoing? Kind? Intelligent? Certainly I think you’d discover one common denominator would be the quality of thankfulness. While the most miserable people seem best at finding the worst, the happiest ones have a way of tapping into an attitude of gratitude that buoys them even in difficult circumstances and similarly lifts everyone around them. No matter their physical appearance, they somehow manage to be the most beautiful people in the room.

In his first letter’s exhortations to the Thessalonians, chapter five, verses 16 through 18, Paul says to “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Note that he says, “in everything.” The circumstances may be horrible, but an attitude of thankfulness can keep hope, essential as breathing, alive even then.

How can we break out in thanksgiving
even in the middle of mourning, grief and pain?
How can we be there for the living?
If God’s commanded, he’ll surely provide a way
to be thankful.

Lord, maybe I’ve taken leave of my senses,
to be joyful, in a world missing paradise,
but since you’ve given me permission
I’ll swing for the fences,
and be so thankful.

No matter how the earth groans,
no matter whether man
tries to destroy all you’ve given,
I know you’re sovereign, Lord.
No matter how dark the news,
and evil seems to win,
I’ll search for the way…
to remain thankful.

I’ll enter your gates with thanksgiving.
I’ll enter your courts with praise,
for you are good and your love is eternal.
I will not fear what I can’t see in the night,
I won’t fear the dark in the day,
for you remain Lord no matter where or how I am.
For that and so much more I’m thankful.

Lord heap my heart
full of thanksgiving,
Heap it up till it overflows.
Heap it so I can’t keep it to myself,
The whole world has to know.

God’s word helps me to perceive,
we must be illuminators of his love,
justice and hope.
Circumstances will change,
our health may ebb and flow.
The world’s economy might fluctuate,
but that won’t change what I know.
So I’m thankful.

Whether we face plenty or hunger,
abundance or need,
we can do all things
through Christ who strengthens us.
He is our sufficiency
and we are thankful.

Though we’re persecuted, we will not be abandoned;
Though we’re struck down, we will not be destroyed.
we lift our hands and rejoice
because we look toward the one who does not change
and give our offering of thanksgiving.

Lord heap our hearts
full of thanksgiving,
Heap them up till they overflow.
Heap them so we can’t keep it to ourselves,
The whole world has to know.

Take over the places in me
that are not all about you,
like the place that calculates
what’s owed me
and from whom.
If you would, Lord, make it over… Lord, make me over.
You know God, we’re pretty selfish
and we’ve all got our wish lists.
It seems they’ve changed only little
from the days we were kids.
But Lord, among those qualities I value,
grow in my estimation that of gratitude.

Imagine the world like that,
thankfulness,
spreading like a good disease.
I can’t possibly overestimate
what it could mean.
All that taking turning into giving.
Ground zero right here.
That’s a funny thought…
infectious agents for Jesus.
Ha!

Lord, heap our hearts
full of thanksgiving,
Heap them up till they overflow.
Let the good news
from our overflowing grateful hearts
draw those we meet
to your kingdom.
Lord, heap our hearts.

©Joel Tipple
#13/15

My Condition

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My condition,
conditional faith.
My condition,
conditional prayer.
My condition,
conditional belief, as though,
I could choose
whether God is, or isn’t there.

But no matter how high I built my castle walls,
protecting treasure that was only fantasy,
God broke them down with love and a pardon.
Blessed reality.

My condition,
conditional service.
My condition,
conditional love.
My condition
seemed incurable until God healed me…
He made me whole by his mercy.

The birds of the air do not sow reap or store,
yet our Father keeps them all fed.
So why do we worry?
Why do we bury
ourselves in possessions
while we lust for more?

Our condition without Christ was lost,
but praise Him, we are found.
God’s will is not for some,
but all of our devotion.
By the light His word gives me
I am my heavenly father’s child,
unconditionally.

© Joel Tipple
#21/14

Center Stage

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“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. God this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

In our time there seems to be an epidemic of actors jostling for their spot on center stage. There are so many ways to promote oneself, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even blogs like this. While each of these have their place, they contribute to a message that no matter what your personal talents or leanings may be, in order to be successful in life you must promote yourself without ceasing. Widen your platform. Make some noise. The message society seems to be pushing has led to a widening sense of entitlement. “We” is often sacrificed at the altar of “me.” As in most things a sense of balance is called for. Promote yourself and your work? Yes, but even more, we are called to be servants, as Jesus was.

There are invisible
ties of love
linking those
who give all
for the sake of others,
who find
fulfillment
in a supporting role.
Never lonely
when they find themselves
standing at center stage,
gently pushed there
by those they pushed,
enveloped by gratitude’s glow.

© Joel Tipple
#18/14