“They’ve finally come up with the perfect office computer. If it makes a mistake, it blames another computer.”
Milton Berle

“I must tell you I take terrible risks. Because my playing is very clear when I make a mistake you hear it. If you want me to play only the notes without any specific dynamics, I will never make one mistake. Never be afraid to dare.”
Vladimir Horowitz

Not to compare ourselves with God but an average parent can imagine how God might feel about the human race. You could nickname most of us Will because we have a tendency to exert our wills throughout our lives for better and for worse. I will study this subject until I have it down. I will grab that hot skillet at an age when I’ve yet to know for myself what hot really means. I will use prayer, love, and reason to grow healthy relationships or I will engage in selfish and unhealthy behavior to the detriment of myself and those around me. To be sure, all of us Wills will make mistakes, some intended and some unintended. How do we deal with the mistakes we and the others around us make? What reaction should we then expect from God, and how should that model prepare us to meet the challenges mistakes pose in our lives?

When I consider how God feels about our mistakes, I think he’s the perfect example of an ideal parent. First, he gives us plenty of room to grow and learn from our mistakes. A good parent is able to set boundaries while creating an environment the child can thrive in. Learning our way into being our best selves always involves some trial and error. For some of us, a lot of trial and error. Sometimes we even have to go to trial for our errors! God’s grace, forgiveness, and attitude of forbearance do not remove natural consequences. That hot stove will still burn. Traffic school might be the best you can hope for if you decide to set your own special speed limit. Your spouse may have married you for better or for worse but not, for example, felony murder. What you will find with God though, is he never runs out of grace. His love and forgiveness are always enough and more. If you trust in Christ, you’re part of the family. Period.

 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9

God, there you are
before and after my mistakes.
I learn. I grow.
Always you forgive.
When I’m afraid to move on
and lack faith in myself,
I lean deeply into you
because you live.

©Joel Tipple 6/28/2020

A Better Broken

I once made a foolish mistake that caused me to ruin my car. I made a sudden u-turn just before an on-ramp and the car in back of me didn’t have enough time or room to avoid plowing into my side. Thank God, no one was hurt, but my car was totaled, broken beyond the reasonable cost of repair.

Have you ever felt like that? Irreparably broken? Was it due to one major event that turned your life upside down? Or was it a long list of trauma, some bigger, some smaller, just piling up one on top of the other until you were simply so weighed down you felt unable to move?

Many of us at some time in our lives feel broken… maybe so badly we couldn’t believe anyone would want to invest in us, love us, value us. We buy into the lies the world tells us about who we are and what we should or should not expect to be possible in our lives. Before the hands of time have barely moved, we assume they’ve passed us by.

While where we find ourselves in life is certainly a combination of circumstances within and outside of our control, it’s never too late to turn our lives over to God. Beginning with recognizing our need for salvation and inability to save ourselves, we begin a new life. As God searches out and heals those broken areas of our life we discover our need to be… broken.

Although we can claim salvation the moment we recognize our need and ask for it, becoming a follower of Jesus is a daily journey. Every day we seek God. Every day we look for ways to find God’s will for our lives and do what He asks. But even when we know in our hearts our decision making ability is at best a distant second to God’s, out of habit and our still active sinful nature we keep trying to impose our own will. At its core, being broken and contrite before God is realizing and acting on the knowledge that God is God and we are not. For most of us being broken means the constant need to consciously surrender our will to Him. Not the broken we were when we came to God,
a better broken.

You took me in when I’d thrown myself out.
Words weren’t enough to save me.
Psychology and self help couldn’t breach
the walls I built to hide me.

Then God, you pushed through all my barriers,
and my fear of being exposed
fell away before your love and mercy.
Before your light my shadows fled.
Now I’m not afraid to be the me you made.

No longer broken,
but seeking a better broken.
Lord please exchange my will for yours.
You’ve kept all your promises,
though I often faltered.
Your guiding hand helped me through the door.

A better broken, Lord.
Lord, a better broken.
A better broken, Lord.
Lord, a better broken.

When I built my life with pride,
a stubborn stance on feet of clay,
from such a lofty height
came my greater fall.

But when I’m broken,
that’s when God can reach me.
When I’m broken,
my noise just fades away,
like fog dried by the sun,
then swept into the sea.

Struggles take on new meaning
when I’m broken.
Hurdles only mean I’m closer still
to the destination you saved for me,
toward your will
and design.

No longer bitter,
better broken.
by the words you’ve spoken.
A better broken, Lord,
a better broken.
A better broken, Lord,
a better broken.

©Joel Tipple

Person in the Pew


Dear person in the pew in front of me,
I’ve got a problem with my vision,
not because you’re six-foot-three.
It’s not anything about you, person in the pew,
it’s what’s inside of me. Don’t move.

I need to be
centered in God,
right in line.
Fed by love that’s grown on the vine.
Feeding other believers as they feed me
and seeing what God sees.
I’ve got to move.

I can’t sit around and wait until I’m more spiritual,
or whatever it is that I think I’m not.
Newton’s first law of motion’s
conflict with my emotions
has to stop.
It’s gotta stop.

Centered in God,
right in line.
Fed by love that’s grown on the vine.
Feeding other believers as they feed me
and starting to see what God sees.
I have to move.

That habit of independence,
that lie I believed,
that a lone ranger Christian
is just as or more free
restricted my use in the body of Christ
and hobbled what God could do with me.
Then I moved.

Centered in God,
right in line.
Fed by love that’s grown on the vine.
Feeding other believers as they feed me
and starting to see what God sees.
On the move.

Meeting face to face in a small group
and not treating church like entertainment I subscribe to.
Instead of holding up point scores for sermons every Sunday,
I’m now a functioning part of the body.
Hey brother in the front pew,
turn around.
I’m glad to know you.

© Joel Tipple

Jesus Strong

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A day in the world can take you down.
Let alone serious life events,
I’ve seen simple drama,
things less intense
turn your good days
all the way around.
Stop looking for the answers
in a bottle or a body,
the top 40
or a shiny new car.
Anything the world gives
will tarnish in time.
So listen up my brother,
it’s time to draw the line.

You’ve been
majoring in the minor leagues,
looking for worldly guarantees,
living your life on the cheap
so long.
I played
that foolish game
way too long.
I got tired of the lies
and the pull of the throng,
a crowd going places
I didn’t want to go.
I made up my mind
not to go along.
I got Jesus strong.

Old days to new days.
Old ways for new ways.

A lot of people assume that since Jesus
preached a message of compassion and peace he was weak.
But this carpenter was not only strong physically, he
was strong mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
He spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan
and emerged victorious. He never took the easy road
and He told those who would follow Him that their road
would not be easy either. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus said:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Jesus meant
that like a sword severs, so some families would be severed by
the choice to follow Him. Following Jesus can
mean making hard choices sometimes. In this way we daily
pick up our own cross. But before we ever picked up ours,
Jesus picked up his.

Old days to new days.
Old ways for new ways.
Old to new…

Jesus build a man in me to weather the storm.
From my hands to my spirit make me tough.
But let your strength resound so that I never boast.
Because where my strength is not, Your strength is enough.

© Joel Tipple

Hold on?

birdfeeder 024

I have this preference for plants
that prefer to be ignored;
I’ve found the worst thing I can do to them
is to bring them indoors.
They’re sort of like people
in their own way I suppose,
though I’ve heard it said
from the supposedly better bred
that a rose is a rose is a rose.
It’s my experience,
though your’s may not be the same,
that people and other beings held too tightly
tend to resist those reins.
What is held too near
may lack the atmosphere
conducive to proper growth,
and what’s good for one
when all is said and done
may not be good for most.

A Yard of Adventure


In my yard
for I am six
is great adventure
sailing ships
full of ants
oh so brave
who cling to life rafts
made of eggs
flower borders
with bits of glass
from castles broken
many years past
this bit belonged
to a maiden fair
perhaps she held
this bit there
a cup for tea
passed round and shared
next put on cloak
you’re Robin Hood
chased by the Sheriff
but you’re too good
hidden in
your grove of trees
with your men
a family
adventures many
like books you’ve read
then Mom calls
and it’s time
for dinner
more books

Here on Earth


Dreaming of heavenly things
my mind is blown by what God brings
and then I spy that bathtub ring
Just what am I supposed to do
when it’s clear that I have so much more to view

You came down to earth to show there is life
beyond what we see with our two eyes
You gave up your life so we could live
so why can’t we see past all of this
here on earth

Morning devotion with the King
some days God my mind is filled with other things
like wash the dishes pay the bills fight the yard
instead of being thankful
I complain that it’s so hard

You came down to earth to show there is life
beyond what we see with our two eyes
You gave up your life so we could live
so why can’t we see past all of this
here on earth

Just what is it that we deserve?
dear God how can we even say that word?
All I ask is water to wash my eyes
so that I can see what I

You came down to earth to show there is life
beyond what we see with our two eyes
You gave up your life so we could live
so why can’t we see past all of this
here on earth
here on earth
here on earth

Not so fast

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when you’re tired and you just want it over.
when the words will be harsh.
when your mind screams how unfair it is,
and you want a re-counting or re-slicing or
It’s not about
has it
or even the same.
This is between
God and you
whether you ever
get the sun or the rain.
Well done good and faithful servant
are the words you’re waiting to hear,
and then you won’t remember the pain.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20