Storms

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I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 ESV

When I was growing up there were essentially three places for us to get groceries: large, medium, and small. Large meant driving across the river and over to the next biggest town. Medium meant going up Main Street to our own town’s primary grocery store. Small meant going down our street and around the corner to what we referred to as “The Little Store.” The Little Store was the place my mom could send me to get that last minute item she needed to complete our dinner, like a half gallon of milk. One afternoon I was on such an errand. After making my purchase I got back on my bike for the short ride home and noticed the wind had picked up considerably. What you’d expect to be blowing across the street, like small leaves, had been joined by small limbs and roofing shingles. By the time I got home the wind was getting even stronger and over the course of that evening, the wind storm would continue to strengthen, taking out our electricity. The next day we learned many trees, telephone poles, and even several barns had succumbed to the wind. It would be a couple days before power was restored. Now, the reason I remember this particular storm so clearly is not just for the damage that it caused, but for how our household functioned while the power was out. The oven didn’t work, so we cooked on the Franklin Stove in our dining room. The TV didn’t work, so we played games and read by candlelight. We talked more. Even though technology hadn’t yet become the behemoth it is now that we all carry computers in our pockets, the lack of electricity meant living differently for a short period of time. And it wasn’t so bad. In some ways, it was better.

Storms of other kinds we encounter in our lives may be more or less disruptive than the one my family encountered that windy night. We can count on their arrival. We just can’t predict exactly when we’ll experience them or how challenging they’ll be. However, we have a guide. We have an advocate. We have someone to shoulder those burdens and disruptions in our lives that are too great for us to handle. Jesus, in fact, became human and sacrificed himself to bridge the gap between ourselves and God. In this way, we have both the means to bear this life and its storms and the promise of an eternity better than our ability to comprehend. This is the promise of Easter.

When our world
is breaking,
when what we thought was solid ground
gives way
and all we feel is the wind
rushing past
as we’re falling,
Jesus arrests our fall.
Jesus anchors our line,
He is our guarantor, protector
if we believe.
He came down to earth for us.
He lived,
died,
and defeated the grave
for us.
Your first and greatest step
is to receive
a new life,
then live a changed life,
learning better ways to climb mountains
and trusting Him to carry you safely
through your storms,
if you believe.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night,
Psalm 92:1-3 ESV

© Joel Tipple 4/20/2019

Your Words

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 ESV

When you’re pondering what
you could possibly give,
and the thought of God
using you
seems absurd
consider what you share
for good or for ill.
Think about the power
of your words.

Choose…

Words spoken in haste,
off the cuff.
Words soaked with anger,
too rough.
Words intended to defend
what shouldn’t get defense,
words thrown into the air
with uncertain intent.
We teach children not to play with fire,
then we fire off our mouths
and burn our families down.

Or…

Word spoken with thought
for the hearer.
Words that consider others
more dear.
Words spoken
slowly
with careful inflection,
words the Holy Spirit
prods us to mention.

If we’re wise we beseech
the author of wisdom
for the best direction
of our tongue.
A college degree won’t help you
if your heart and mind
hasn’t learned
the message of the Son.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:36-37

The right words spoken at the wrong time.
Words spoken when silence would be better.
Words written,
then sent
when wisdom says
burn the letter.

Words go to war
or make peace.
Words give dignity
to the least.
Words can separate
or cement
the marriage bond.
And the examples go on
and on.

Finally,
if you would know
what God would have you speak
when the Spirit says it’s your turn,
seek first the wisdom of God.
Rightly consider
His Word.

© Joel Tipple 2/9/2019

Peace

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

When you seek peace,
it often eludes you.
The tighter you hold it,
like a fist grasping water
the faster it rushes away.
But the peace I give,
says the Lord,
the more you give away,
the more you’ll keep.
The peace I give,
you can’t exhaust,
the more the thunder shouts,
the more the waves are tossed.

© Joel Tipple 12/6/2018

Worry

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.
Swedish Proverb

I’ve wasted the sun of too many todays
predicting dark clouds for tomorrow.
Anxiety rents space but never pays.
Facing this moment is all
God’s ever asked me to do.

I have my job
and He has his
and the blessed thing about it,
is His promises are true every day.

Every day, no doubt about it,
the Bible’s pages light up a path,
the leather’s worn, the pages thin
but when fear of the future has me in its grip
the security of God’s Word
weighs more than worry’s mass.

© Joel Tipple 12/01/2018

Don’t Leave

Don’t leave me yesterday,
when today
is when I need you.
How could you believe
leaving was easy?
It’s not easy.
It’s not easy at all.

Don’t leave me yesterday
when I had hopes
of getting to know you.
Maybe that was just a dream,
but it’s what I had.

It’s hard to stay,
I know.
And though I don’t understand
yesterday,
I want to.

Even the stuff
that’s hard to look at,
The heavy darkness
you feel powerless to share.
You think you take it with you,
but instead
of laying down in the grave,
it lingers in the world.

I wish
I could convince you
then
that peace and joy
is possible.

For now,
for those who struggle,
don’t give up,
and don’t leave them
yesterday.

© Joel Tipple 11/18/2018

Not So Pretty Prayers

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
Matthew 14:23 NASB

In the tumult of our lives,
the noise and chaos,
we don’t always take the time
to download peace.
Jesus was our model for connection
to our father, who would gladly hear our needs.
Our words don’t always have to be perfection.
God surely wants to hear our naked truth.
A genuine relationship is what he seeks from us,
so don’t try to sanitize your news.

© Joel Tipple 10/15/2018

It’s a Mystery

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Lord, so much baffles and confuses us,
causes consternation and pain.
Much like acid rain,
we insist on short term gain
to our detriment.

It’s our right!
and it’s a mystery.

We got really good at making,
and then at selling,
then consuming.

China was impatient
to grow too,
and so they did.
Now in their cities
they hardly ever see the sun
or blue sky,
but they’re getting so much better
at building fancy cars.

It’s their right!
and it’s a mystery

You have yours
so I’ll have mine.
Let me manifest my destiny!
Don’t get between me
and my ocean.

When did wisdom become
a dirty word,
or a stumbling block
to progress?
When did the law
and justice
become enemies,
the first for revenue,
the latter
to symbolically appease.

Might may make right,
but all fists
grow old
and lose their grip
on fortune.

It’s giants’ rights,
and it’s a mystery.

Is it just my sore knees talking
or the explosions in the news?
Why are so many
willing to kill
to express their views?

I confess to being weary
with us,
the human race,
the evil
too easy to express.
Father, help me lift up my head.
I’m not strong enough
on my own to abide,
so help me with Your Word
to find peace inside,
and believe that this all
will pass away,
and
a new earth
will replace
this way.

Lord, help us learn to build
instead of tearing down.
Help us practice solutions
and build bridges.
Let us replace Facebook rants
and political hate
with better choices
and level voices.
Let us be the men and women
we admire.
Help us to be quiet enough
to hear you speaking.

Let the mystery of
why so many harm
become the mystery
of why so many heal.
With your grace,
help us be the ones
who reveal
Your love for human-kind
through Your death
and resurrection.

Thank you Lord,
for listening.