Captive Thoughts

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NLT

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:15 NIV

Once I was in a bible study and the leader brought that last verse up. I immediately found myself confused and overwhelmed. “Wait,” I said.” I have no police or military training. I’m not even sure I’m qualified to perform a citizen’s arrest! Besides, we’re talking about arresting thoughts. How? Should we be contacting Ghost Busters?” A brief group discussion ensued regarding whether this particular bible study was appropriate for me. After I agreed to some ground rules which involved my raising a hand and only speaking an agreed upon number of times per class, I was given some instruction which began to clarify the issue for me.

Seriously though, it’s clear God is telling us the battlefield of our mind needs a lot of attention, the kind of attention which calls for continued prayer and attention to the Word. Challenge what passes through your mind and the concepts you allow to shape your mental and spiritual life. Changing our discussion’s locale, consider your mind a garden. Something will definitely grow there. Either you choose that something, or you can wait to see which weeds volunteer. How do we choose what grows? First, identify the behavior and customs God would have you emulate and compare and contrast those with that of the world. As you identify and quarantine those thoughts which war against you spiritually and mentally, allow God to make you a new person. Make yourself a student of the master gardener. Finally… Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV

Lord, your gracious promise to us is to finish what you’ve begun
by the blood soaked sacrifice on the cross rendered by your Son.
Jesus, you gave us victory when you died and took death’s keys.
I will be forever grateful to You for this gift to sinners like me.

© Joel Tipple 11/23/2019

This Accidental Earth

This accidental earth,
who would have imagined?
This fortuitous birth,
No intelligence planned it?
Just think of the biological speed dating required!

This accidental earth,
no, not an accident.
Science can take us far,
but its explanation
falls short of the spark.

This purposed earth,
this oasis of birth,
God’s creation, served.
As caretakers, we’ve been found wanting.

Outcasts from the garden,
from judgement, by grace pardoned,
as His children we are never alone.
Respect our planet,
our earthly world as God planned it,
until we move on to our heavenly home.

© Joel Tipple




The Gardener’s Tree (Keeper of Memories)

Once there was a gardener who kept a great estate for a wealthy client. The gardener was very talented and did amazing things with his client’s grounds. He was especially adept at taking care of diseased plants. In fact, his reputation grew to the point that he often traveled to diagnose problems that other master gardeners could not fix. Over time his relationship with the estate owner grew so that he became like family to the man. He moved into a fine home adjoining the estate and was given an inheritance of the estate orchard when the owner passed away. This orchard was immense, and the gardener earned a good living, but he had a special relationship with a beautiful large apple tree in the center of the orchard. You see, it was the first thing he planted when he began working on the estate and he always treated it in a special way, with love and reverence. He even crafted a large tree house for his children in it. Whenever the family got together for picnics during fine weather, the tree was witness. Then, one season the tree began to exhibit some symptoms of disease. The gardener treated them, but eventually he realized that the tree’s sickness was beyond even his great talent. Eventually, the last leaf fell and rain in the form of the gardener’s tears touched the ground beneath where the apple tree’s branches yielded tasty apples and relief from the hot sun. Some time later the gardener began a project that kept him busy in his workshop for hours on end. He stayed up late many evenings until finally the project was completed. It was a beautiful curio cabinet with intricate scroll work and inlaid glass for shelves and doors. He placed it at one end of the family dining room where everyone would see it when they shared meals. Inside he placed all of their favorite photos, the children growing up, graduating, getting married, loved friends. And so, the apple tree lived on, sheltering the family as it always had.

Memory Tree come shelter me,
in God’s orchard when I am gone.
Show heaven’s stars through your leaves once again,
then rustle with the wind at dawn.
Be the meeting place as my friends and family
move on to their reward.
You are God’s gift to me in heaven as you were on earth.

© Joel Tipple

The Reader


You overlook the garden
and the porch handrail.
Together with your ravens,
off on a sail.
Though I’ve never seen a page turn
or heard a sound from your birds,
I thought for sure you glanced up once,
just at the moment I turned.
You three sail the world
with your concrete tome.
Though as anyone can see
you’d find it difficult to roam.
I take those journeys also,
but I’m jealous of your commitment.
But then perhaps you are jealous of me,
living my life not cemented.

© Joel Tipple

My Name is Cactus


Hello, my name is Cactus. I’ve lived here for some time.
A little girl planted me with her papa.
The next line doesn’t rhyme. (Oh, it does)
I live under a bush they call Rosemary.
They almost forgot I was here.
But then, Rosemary got a good trimming,
maybe too good, I fear.
The norm is they take a little,
but this time they took a lot,
and here I was just waiting,
with my mouth open wide in a gawp.
Like I said, behind me is Rosemary,
her front open wide like a cave.
But I’ll guard her from interlopers,
with my spikey mouth and arms splayed.

© Joel Tipple

Blossom To Be

cropped blossom

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NASV)

Did you think you knew better,
blossom to be?
Your gifts are still held within.
You mistakenly guessed your time had passed,
but hoarding the gifts
God gave you is sin.
We were designed for His expression,
His joy made manifest.
He would use each of us to make His church complete,
that we all would share and be blessed.

© Joel Tipple

God’s Show-offs


Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Luke 12:27 ESV

They’re just a bunch of show-offs,
a pretentious bunch with no modesty at all.
Given license to reveal,
with no incentive to conceal,
they come forth winter spring and summer,
even fall.

While plain hued plants are quite content
showing greens and browns for their rent,
flowers put petal to the metal all they can.
That it runs in the family is the truth,
and they yearly offer proof.
I’m bedding they continue with
scentsational demand.

© Joel Tipple

Iron Dragonfly


Your name belies your disposition, not hard at all. You started life catching wind on a poorly designed chime.
Now you adorn the door to the backyard shed. When you landed here, the shed’s paint was dark gray. Now the paint
is peeling and faded, every bit the hue of battleship gray, after the battle. No, you aren’t hard, but you do endure.
You do endure.

© Joel Tipple