Separation Anxiety

Holding my daughter, Christmas 1986.

My childhood memories of going to the grocery store with my mom are not entirely pleasant. When we went shopping I had a tendency to get distracted by something and wander off. Sometimes I’d only be around the corner from her when I realized I was on my own and panic. Although you’d assume this is a fairly common occurrence with children, I apparently made an impression in one particular store. At an age when I could legally buy alcohol, a checker remembered me as the little boy who was always getting lost. How embarrassing! Truth is, to this day I still don’t have the best inner compass. My wife will know which door we came in. Me? I’ve got a decent shot if I can consult my phone’s GPS. How about you? Do you have a good sense of direction? There are definitely survival skills you can learn that will help you find your way home should you get lost, but all sorts of circumstances can present themselves which make that more difficult. Sometimes… we need to be rescued.

A different kind of lost is being lost spiritually. I’ll bet a lot of people are familiar with Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep, even if they didn’t learn it in Sunday school.
So he told them this parable:  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Luke 15:3-7
ESV

There is a unique tension, an anxiety in each of our lives that will persist until its resolution by God’s only son. God values each of us so much that He sent Jesus Christ to make a way for us to come home. No matter how far you wander, no matter how many self-help or self-discovery books you consult, in the final analysis there is only one shepherd qualified to bring you home. His name is Jesus.

When morning has broken
what night tried to repair,
and the confidence I sought
turning in
disappears
in the crisp morning air,
Jesus, don’t let me be lost.
I’m treading in
waters of trepidation.
My arms and legs are tired,
and I can’t catch my breath.
Feels like I’ll die from hesitation
if I don’t reach out to you.
Don’t let fear keep me
from the right destination.
Take my hand,
guide me with your truth.


©Joel Tipple 12/9/2019




Shelter in Place

Have you ever been forced to live on the street or in your car? I haven’t, but whenever I see someone I think may not have a home, I wonder how I would feel if I was in their place. It’s easier to imagine you’re strong when you have enough to eat and a safe place to be. Thank God for places like the Eureka Rescue Mission, where people, who, because of circumstances, poor decisions, or a combination of both, find themselves homeless, are able to take advantage of a safe, temporary shelter, where they are able to eat, get warm, and obtain Godly direction. Though you may have worked hard to be able to afford to own or rent a home, the realization that your situation could change in a heartbeat should cause you to reflect and be thankful for what you have and empathize with those who are not in your situation.

Webster’s Free Online Dictionary defines “permanent” as: continuing or enduring without fundamental or marked change and “shelter” as: something that covers or affords protection. So, a permanent shelter is something durable (enduring) that provides cover or protection.

When disaster strikes an area, public safety officials sometimes give advisories or orders to the population within that area to “shelter in place.” That is, finding a safe location indoors and staying there until you are given an “all clear” or told to evacuate. This may also be called for during a time when violence or the threat of violence is present.

There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
Isaiah 4:6 ESV


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 ESV


We use weather references a lot when we talk about how our lives are going. Christians especially talk about storms when discussing the trying times we all go through. During those times of great upheaval in our lives it’s critical we know how to shelter in place spiritually. Our shelter then is our experience of knowing God through prayer, scripture, and teaching. If we have built a strong foundation by seeking God when the sun is shining, we will have a safe and reliable place to go when it isn’t. More than that, each of us needs to carry a spiritual shelter that can provide refuge and protection for those around us. For those who follow Jesus we need Godly wisdom and knowledge to best help them with their walk. For non-Christians we need to pray for opportunities to lead them to the Lord.

God, you’ve always been home when I needed shelter. You also sheltered me when I didn’t know how vulnerable I was. Help me to never take for granted the refuge of the shelter I know and the shelter that is there for me wherever I am.
Amen


© Joel Tipple 10/19/2019



Relationship

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:2-3

I’m not a mistake, God wasn’t mistaken
when He made me,
this particular creation,
and when He made the woman,
who in grace took my hand,
the next permutation
of His divine plan
for this couple came to be.

To God be the glory.
Together, came to be,
the next chapter in the story,
together, came to be.

No, marriage isn’t for all,
and God is sovereign and faithful
to reveal to each their own unique plan.
If we seek Him in faith,
believing He will answer,
He’ll reveal His best purpose in time.

But what of this home
and this family,
beginning with these two?
Without God love is such an unruly word.
Show us what it means. We don’t have a clue.
God, we need You!

Football games and carpet stains,
budget and relation strains.
Misunderstanding and forgiving.
You scratched the car but it’s just a thing.
Children are here and then they’re grown,
visiting with their own.
It was the future, now it’s past.
How on earth did it go so fast?

And if we’re not careful,
we’ll miss the now.

God, in His grace, through His Son,
has brought us to and taught us
a saving relationship.
His Word keeps our home
and provides a forever one too.
Those He lets us learn from are precious,
So guided by gratitude,
we seek God’s view,
and prayerfully choose,
and prayerfully choose.

© Joel Tipple 2/23/2019
Author of “Written in the Light.”

You are Not Enough

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you are not enough
you are not all you need
designed by God, we are meant to be
dependent upon Him
part of community

on belay, with God as our anchor
to arrest our fall
we invite our peril
when we separate
independent of all

we are conquered
when divided
we may withdraw on a whim
but Jesus calls us back and back
home to be with Him

© Joel Tipple
#15/14

There You Go

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(For a friend)

Remember, when I was a child
and you were on your way out the door,
and I said please, can I go too?
Well, now feels like before.

There you go, out the door and to the Lord.
Praise God, it’s heaven’s gain,
but though I’m so full of joy for you,
It’s joy accompanied by pain.

But thank God for blessed memories…
in albums and frames on the mantle.
Those times you celebrated with me.
The times you handled what I couldn’t handle.

I grew older and it was my turn
to open and walk out the door.
You were braver the dad than I was the child,
but behind your eyes there was more.

The grief, now that you’re gone,
is married with joy and pride
for your legacy and the expectancy
I’ll see Jesus at your side.
We’ll look back at the front door together,
this time left open wide.

© Joel Tipple
#7/14

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
#3/14

 

 

 

Living the Dream

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Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6 NLT

Living the Dream

I’m living the dream, but it’s not because I’m a dreamer.
I’m living in anticipation of my home.
You see when I read about God’s promises,
I took that dream on for my own.

Surely your goodness,
Surely your goodness, Lord
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me.

Surely your goodness,
Surely your goodness, Lord
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life.

There’s nothing I would ever hold on to,
nothing that could ever tie me down.
Nothing would ever hold me to this world
when it’s time for you to call me home.
Sweet Lord, when it’s time to go.

Surely your goodness,
Surely your goodness, Lord
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me.

Surely your goodness,
Surely your goodness, Lord
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life.

Sweet sweet Jesus, that place beyond the horizon
Sweet sweet Jesus, your everlasting arms
Sweet Jesus, you know that’s where I’m bound.

Surely your goodness,
Surely your goodness, Lord
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life.

I’m living the dream, but it’s not because I’m a dreamer.
I’m living in anticipation of my home.
You see when I read about God’s promises,
I took that dream on for my own.

© Joel Tipple
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