Identity

Who are you? The answers to this question might range all the way from simple to deeply philosophical. We are more than our name, our parents, where we live, who we love, or what we do. We are more than any of the traditional definitions of identity, whether grouped together or set apart.
Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. One interpretation of this verse is to encourage children in the way of their natural talents and abilities. Yes, parents should provide godly instruction and moral foundational training their children take with them the rest of their lives, but just as important is the insight a parent can give that will help a child fully develop the unique qualities God has planted within them. While we all spend our lives searching for and developing what it is that makes us special, those most responsible for our growth and development should give special prayerful attention in this way. Has a parent or someone else in your life made an effort to help you grow your talents and discover your best self? What an invaluable gift!

What’s in a name?

Often there’s a story behind someone’s name. Were you named after your parent or another family member? Do you have an unusual name? Does your name reflect a wish from your parents that you would inhabit a particular quality or trait? In some cultures the strongest driving force motivating individuals is protecting the honor of the family name. Last names are often changed following marriage. Sometimes people change their names to change their story. There are many instances in the Bible where God changed an individual’s name for just that reason.

You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram, your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.  I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you”
Genesis 17:4-6

“That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”The man asked him, “What is your name?”“Jacob,” he answered.Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome”
Genesis 32:22-28

Later, in the New Testament we find Jesus has changed the name of a fisherman named Simon, revealing the new course his life will take.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”
Matthew 16:18-19


No matter what your name is now, God has a plan for you. That plan may not involve a legal name change, but without a doubt, there are many names he will give you, like: loved, overcomer, redeemed, chosen, forgiven, son, daughter, saved.

Who do you call me, Lord?
A name I didn’t know,
that didn’t know me.
Who do you call me, Lord?
I’m full of joy and expectation
because you call me Free.
If you’d asked before I knew you
and the moment you called me friend
I might have said the only hope I had
was someday it would end.
But now that you have named me,
I’ll never face this life alone,
for all of my todays
and the day you call me home.


© Joel Tipple 7/19/2020






Creature of Hope

cropped blossom

You were drowning in despair,
just waiting for the end.
Then you came up for air.
A message from a friend
spelled new beginning for you.

Now you’re a new creature,
a creature of hope,
a child of Jesus,
giving out warm
as the world grows colder.
You can’t contain it.
Why would you want to?
And so, you’re growing bolder.

This is victory,
now you can see
beyond you.
Your eyes open wide,
seeing possibilities
you never saw before.
God is alive in you.

Feed the flame, feed the flame.
Call out His name,
creature of hope.
Feed the flame, feed the flame.
Call out the name of Jesus,
creature of hope.

Let the world know
for them the stone was rolled,
creatures of hope.
For those who were healed,
to those the truth revealed
share the message
of death, resurrection, and new life…
Creatures of hope, creatures of hope.

© Joel Tipple
#19/14