Bridges Needed

300th Combat Engineers Co. B poses following bridge completion.
Photo: Riel Crandall

During World War 2 the U.S. Army utilized combat engineers for various construction and demolition tasks. Many of these jobs focused on bridges, both for the purpose of advancing our own military and impeding the enemy’s. Under a deadline, and often under deadly conditions, these engineers performed near miracles to give control of transportation and supply lines to allied forces.

Though we may not always realize it, and whether we serve in the military or not, the rest of us are at war too. The difference is our fight is for the souls of men and women to be brought to God. Most important, in our day to day encounters, are we building bridges with those we meet or destroying them? The relationships we all form with those we meet create the bridge between them and the gospel. The people in our lives have to see Jesus in us before they can begin to picture Jesus in their own lives. Is our focus largely on small personal battles that may detract from our primary message and goal, or do we seek to bring people together under the banner of Jesus Christ? The battlefield is littered with the denominational flags and petty theological arguments of those who put the primacy of their organizations before that of winning souls. God’s actively seeking volunteers. Will you put other lives before your own? Will you put yourself under the authority of Jesus Christ? Will you be a bridge builder?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 ESV


Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-11 ESV


Here I am,
a volunteer before you God.
I hear the age I am
is the age you want.
Though I’m no engineer
I hear you’re looking
for bridge builders.
The world seems to be
a fighting place.
It’s hard to find peace
in this human race.

The love of money
and its kin
gets ahead
of what you said
is important.
So use me
to build a bridge,
make these hands clean.
Give these eyes a view
for eternity.
Give me
all you know I need
to be a first class
bridge builder.


©Joel Tipple 11/16/2019




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

Ode to Wormwood (Inspired by The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis)

Your job is not difficult,
junior worker for the dark.
Your task in the main
is to hinder your subject’s work
for the enemy.
It’s no secret
the war is lost
but we have many battles
which we may yet win,
so do your best for the company.

You’ve reported
he is passionate.
Well, that is fine,
passions can be redirected.
His enthusiasm for
memorizing scripture,
sharing his faith,
or uplifting others of the opposition
can be channeled toward innocuous pursuits
the moment they are detected.

You say he persists in meeting with his ilk,
sometimes more than twice a week.
This simply indicates you’re lazy.
How hard is it to suggest alternatives to him?
There are dozens of human sports being played on Sunday.
You can encourage him to stay up too late on Saturday.
If you fail to keep him from raining on your weekend,
talk him into believing that’s holiness enough for one week,
or your scorecard may be grim.

Finally, beginning agent,
among your allies,
in addition to the usual vices
are those modern conveniences
such as the internet.
Oh sure, it’s a portal to all
sorts of invaluable sin,
but the not so obvious boon to our business
is its ability to keep him harmlessly busy.
Keep those hours high,
and you may make senior grade demon yet.

© Joel Tipple
#17/14

when you get home

panzies 002

when you get home
when you get home son don’t you tarry don’t you tarry
young men like you should marry when you get home

when you get home
I’ll be waiting in my chair
with the candle burning there when you get home

when you get home
the fences need some mending and the cattle need some tending
when you get home

when you get home
your mom she sighs so there with her knitting in her chair
when you get home

when you get home
the politicians oh the fools keeping young men out of schools
for old men in their suits
when you get home

when you get home
when you get home son don’t you tarry don’t you tarry
young men like you should marry when you get home
when you get home
when you get home

© Joel Tipple
362