What Power?

  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 NIV


When Dorothy’s house flew in from Kansas to land on the Wicked Witch of the East in the “Wizard of Oz,” Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, asked Dorothy, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Glinda assumed Dorothy had been the one responsible for killing the evil witch, so she wanted to know whether Dorothy’s motivation for using her house as a weapon was to rid Oz of a bad witch, or simply to replace one bad witch with another. Glinda already assumed Dorothy was powerful and using her power intentionally. She simply wanted to know what kind of power Dorothy was in the business of employing. Whose side was she on? A good thing to know, right? Here’s what I think. When houses are falling where we live, whether political, economic, or health related, the better question is, are we trusting in the power of the Lord?

We’re informed in our world daily of the push and pull of power. All kinds, good, evil, and as yet to be determined. In their personal and professional lives, people are constantly in the news for using or abusing their power. Because this is the world we live in, Christians must somehow square the moral equation of power use with how God would have us live. As we approach the dilemma of power discernment, it’s clear we must constantly seek God for wisdom. Without God’s view on the various powers at work in our lives, we run the risk of being blown about by every twist of influence and doctrine. The best shelter we can run to is the Bible, where God’s intention and ground rules for living are made clear.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:14 ESV


“There is a signature of wisdom and power impressed on the works of God, which evidently distinguishes them from the feeble imitations of men.–Not only the splendor of the sun, but the glimmering light of the glowworm, proclaims his glory.”
John Newton

The power
that formed us from dust,
and found remedy
for our rebellion
is the author of countless stories
of impossible-made-possible redemption.
Because the prayer of the pauper
is equal
to that of the king,
because no matter
how many times I give up on myself,
I know He’ll never give up on me,
I know and I trust in the power
of the all powerful God of all,
The One who redeems.


©Joel Tipple 2/1/2020






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

Walk In It

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6


There is power
in saying yes.
There is power
in saying no.
There is power in expressing God’s truth
as His word reveals it to you.
Walk in it.

There is power in being
the person God says you are
and moving in the direction
He’s told you to move
even if when you turn around,
no one is following you.

There isn’t always a script,
or a well-worn path.
You may feel as though
you’re falling through clouds,
but He’ll catch you.

© Joel Tipple 11/2/2018