Not Too Far From Grace


I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 ESV


For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John 1:17-18 NIV


If you think your sin’s too great
and God can’t look you in the face
all he sees is Jesus
you’re not too far from grace


Works alone won’t take you home
to stand before his throne
Changing power’s God’s to give
if you’ll claim it


You’ve never been too far from the Father
the cross has followed you all these years
Not a moment’s been wasted
searching for his presence
God would never
let you drown in your tears


The more we cling to each promise
you have given
and surrender to your loving face
the more unified and sanctified
you make us
and this all due

to your astounding grace

“If people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.”
Charles Spurgeon

©Joel Tipple 9/7/2019

Really, God?

I’ve wondered sometimes whether God has ever had occasion to think we all just might be a bad dream. That maybe if he hit the snooze button one more time he might have a better one. A dream where his creation didn’t waste so much time fighting with each other and indulging in ever more imaginative sinful selfishness. But no, God is awake, aware of his creation, including all its flaws, and it’s clear he loves us infinitely, since he sent Jesus to open our way to eternity. We have the freedom, with all the responsibility that freedom entails, to choose a relationship with God on his terms, or to go our own way. I’m convinced the overwhelming crush of evidence supports the argument that God is real, and rewards those who seek him. However, this is a fallen world we live in, where terrible things happen, and not just to people who haven’t chosen to accept eternal life and pursue a closer relationship with God. Although I’m just as susceptible to grief and outrage when bad things happen to good people, I’ve never accepted the premise that being good buys us out of awful stuff. As God’s creation, I believe we never shine more brightly than when we turn to God in the midst of tragedy instead of away.

For the sake of this ministry, we toil tirelessly and are criticized continually, simply because our hope is in the living God. He is the wonderful life-giver of all the children of men, and even more so to those who believe.
1st Timothy 4:10 TPT


For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20 ESV


Some Say

I’ve heard some say, “God is dead.”
How could they be so led?
Look around,
at all he’s breathed to life.

I’ve heard some say, “God can’t see.”
But he’s painted so much majesty,
he must know what delights our eyes.


I’ve heard some say, “God can’t hear.”
But I know he counts our words dear,
and responds,
though we judge his sense of time.

I’ve heard some say, “God can’t feel.”
But he knows our burdens
and we’re not left to deal alone.
Because he lives,
we needn’t fear to be alive.


©Joel Tipple 8/24/2019

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.”

On Empty

(Just because we feel empty, that doesn’t mean we are)

For this reason, I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

If you’ve driven for long, chances are you’ve discovered that the empty mark on your vehicle’s gas gauge isn’t always an accurate indicator of how far you can actually go before you run out. There is usually some reserve left in your tank. Again, that amount will vary, and it’s always a good practice to fill up sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, I found myself discouraged. Some setbacks, together with a lack of sleep, combined to put me in a funk. I reached out to God and asked Him to throw me a lifeline… an auxiliary tank, so to speak. “God, I need you,” I said.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I’m feeling that way, it’s a little like I’ve failed. “Here I am again, Lord, unable to handle this on my own. What’s wrong with me?” Admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness though, it’s a necessary part of a healthy relationship with the Lord. Just as we long to be there for our children, God longs to be there for us.

From the depths of my discouragement,
from the place where I have need,
from my lack of resource,
fill me up.

I’ve nothing to repay you God,
but I’ll go where you say.
Just teach me to listen to your voice.
Then the next time I journey,
and I’m planning for the miles,
let your direction be my first
and not my second choice.

© Joel Tipple 10/23/2018