What Courage?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

What comes to mind when you hear the words “encourage” and “discourage?” Merriam-Webster says of encourage, 1 a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : HEARTEN // she was encouraged to continue by her early success. Of discourage, 1 a : to deprive of courage or confidence DISHEARTEN // was discouraged by repeated failure

While for all practical purposes we can agree there are right times to encourage and discourage, I argue there is a real lack of encouragement in our world generally, sometimes even coming from the people who should be the most encouraging of all, followers of Jesus. After all, who has better cause to encourage? Among our promises from God are direction, help, and comfort in this world and salvation in the next. You won’t find an encouraging package like that anywhere else; it’s a Jesus Christ exclusive.

So what is that root word, courage? Using the dictionary again, we find it defined as : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Everyone needs courage of some kind. For one it could be the courage to rescue someone from a rooftop in a storm. For another it might be stepping into an elevator. For you it might be telling someone the source of your hope. There are all kinds of courage. The best source of Godly courage will always be Jesus.

It has always been a strategy of the enemy to convince us that as we are at this moment is not enough, that the situation we are in or task at hand is greater than us and the God who has prepared us to this point. But God has not given us a spirit of fear, and the next step he wants you to take has already been prepared beforehand. With God there are no surprises and there is never a lack of resource. So take courage! And by all means, give it too.

When desperate and faltering
I found myself
by what I considered my lack
I searched the best source of courage
to make sure my feet on the path

I found my guide and strength in Jesus
who prepared the way before
He became my light and compass
so I needn’t fear anymore

Christ gave me courage to carry
but it wasn’t just for me
it was a lamp to show the way
so more captives could be freed

©Joel Tipple 9/14/2019

Jesus Strong

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A day in the world can take you down.
Let alone serious life events,
I’ve seen simple drama,
things less intense
turn your good days
all the way around.
Stop looking for the answers
in a bottle or a body,
the top 40
or a shiny new car.
Anything the world gives
will tarnish in time.
So listen up my brother,
it’s time to draw the line.

You’ve been
majoring in the minor leagues,
looking for worldly guarantees,
living your life on the cheap
so long.
I played
that foolish game
way too long.
I got tired of the lies
and the pull of the throng,
a crowd going places
I didn’t want to go.
I made up my mind
not to go along.
I got Jesus strong.

Old days to new days.
Old ways for new ways.

A lot of people assume that since Jesus
preached a message of compassion and peace he was weak.
But this carpenter was not only strong physically, he
was strong mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
He spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan
and emerged victorious. He never took the easy road
and He told those who would follow Him that their road
would not be easy either. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus said:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Jesus meant
that like a sword severs, so some families would be severed by
the choice to follow Him. Following Jesus can
mean making hard choices sometimes. In this way we daily
pick up our own cross. But before we ever picked up ours,
Jesus picked up his.

Old days to new days.
Old ways for new ways.
Old to new…

Jesus build a man in me to weather the storm.
From my hands to my spirit make me tough.
But let your strength resound so that I never boast.
Because where my strength is not, Your strength is enough.

© Joel Tipple

Stand Up


24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27 ESV

My friend,
the message to men
has been
a man holds his ground
and never gives in.
But if you want
release from strife,
a relationship with
the author of life,
and the living water’s
you’ve got to
stand up,
stand tall
and surrender.

To stand up and surrender
is to know you’re not the center.
You don’t have to pretend you’re tough,
playing the paper tiger.
It takes a stronger man
to hand the reins to God
to risk ridicule and rejection
when the world finds you odd.
But the world can’t own you
if you’re already sold out
and no one has a better corner man
when you’re fighting life’s bouts.

© Joel Tipple