Easy Does It?

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 ESV

In 2005, the office supply chain, Staples, launched an ad campaign featuring the easy button. The idea was that Staples made everything customers could ever want in an office supply store easier, almost as easy as pressing a button. The commercials were funny, and featured everything from a child in class who doesn’t know the answer to his teacher’s question, to a cowboy wrangling a bucking horse, and a father changing his twin infants’ diapers. Have you ever wished for a button you could push to make life easier? Of course! It’s a tantalizing fantasy.

One of my dad’s favorite hobbies was wood working. He seemed to always have some sort of project going. His creations varied from small and practical, all the way to beautiful pieces of furniture that our family gets to cherish now in his memory. We even attached a little plaque to a curio cabinet he made our family with his name and the date it was made. I’m sure part of the enjoyment he derived from creating things was the work they involved. Making something can often be a hit and miss process of learning and improving. Even if no one else is grading your work, you are! Trying something, failing, then trying again, seems to be the way God made us. Grading our success at any endeavor gives us the kind of satisfaction any sort of participation trophy never could.

In our walk with God we often find ourselves running into walls of frustration as we try and sometimes fail to grow. God, our perfect judge, and Jesus, our perfect example, stand as measures of our progress as we live our lives. Searching God’s Word and approaching Him honestly and often are two of the best ways to know where we stand. Another important method is fellowship. Conversation with someone who is moving in the same direction, or is simply willing to listen, can help solve problems or cut them down to a more manageable size. Have you ever noticed how getting out of your head with someone’s help can give you better perspective?

Finally, one of my four favorite Beatles, George Harrison, wrote a song that includes the words, “You know it don’t come easy.” Even though I still occasionally find myself looking for that “easy button,” I guess I’m glad it doesn’t.

“… it is the greatest of all mistakes to begin life with the expectation that it is going to be easy, or with the wish to have it so.”
― Lucy Larcom, 


What to my eyes is a mountain,
might be to yours a hill.
My marathon might be
your short walk.
I’m overjoyed at successfully boiling water,
while you carefully tend your souffle.
No matter where you’re at
your work is your work;
Mostly, I’m glad
God made it that way.

Possibly off the subject:
“Women are the most wonderful beings created by God, they are easy to understand when you show them love but hard to understand when you don’t.”
― Bamigboye Olurotimi


©Joel Tipple 2/16/2020

Black Holes

I’m a Jesus follower. But loving Jesus, knowing God created everything, and cultivating a better grasp of what that means in your day to day life doesn’t mean you stop asking questions about all the Lord’s made, right? If anything, greater devotion to God should cause our sense of wonder to expand as we discover more about the world we know and the corners of our universe we are still coming to know. Now, the universe we’re able to observe (observe being a relative term) is estimated to contain 200 billion to two trillion galaxies. Yeah, I struggle to wrap my head around that too. Anyway, I heard in the news recently that astronomers have now spotted a record-breaking heavyweight black hole at the center of a galaxy known as Holm 15A. This black hole is estimated to weigh 40 billion times the mass of our sun. That’s heavy. That’s the kind of heavy no post-holiday diet could ever hope to put a dent in. Time for a rough definition of a black hole.
“A black hole is a place where the laws of physics as we know them break down. Einstein taught us that gravity warps space itself, causing it to curve. So given a dense enough object, space-time can become so warped that it twists in on itself, burrowing a hole through the very fabric of reality. A massive star that has run out of fuel can produce the kind of extreme density needed to create such a mangled bit of world. As it buckles under its own weight and collapses inward, space-time caves in with it. The gravitational field becomes so strong that not even light can escape, rendering the region where the star used to be profoundly dark: a black hole. You might expect to get crushed, or maybe torn to pieces. But the reality is stranger than that. The instant you entered the black hole, reality would split in two. In one, you would be instantly incinerated, and in the other you would plunge on into the black hole utterly unharmed.”
Amanda Gefter BBC Earth 5/25/2015

Up until now we’ve discussed gravity as it relates to black holes in space. And by the way, aren’t you glad you don’t live close to one? No, your neighbor’s back yard doesn’t count, no matter how out of control it is. What about the gravity (importance, or significance) of our lives? What about the black holes we experience here on earth, where our efforts and resources so often seem to be lacking, or even missing altogether? Frustration with our situation is not wrong in itself. We can use that emotion to propel ourselves to action. The key question at those trying times when we just want to do something is whether we use the emotions we’re experiencing to move closer to God or farther away.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12 ESV

“I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. He displayed this power in the working of His mighty strength.”
Ephesians 1:18-19 ESV


Knowledge of God’s nature and investment in the hope He inspires can drive us toward His will for our lives. As you encourage your habit to seek Him, your focus will shift from short term struggles to long term goals. God can and will produce amazing results in your life as you shift from selfish to selfless thinking. Using His Holy Spirit, God will answer your prayers to be led and utilized by building you up, shaping you, and opening a way.

“Don’t bother to give God instructions, just report for duty.”
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”
Corrie Ten Boom


Lord you’ve made all the worlds,
this little one,
and all those yet discovered.
You’ve filled the heavens,
surely you can fill
the black holes in our hearts.

Manufactured dreams,
focused just on me,
are short sighted and misguided.
It’s a universal problem
all we can see is our little part.

God, finish what you’ve begun
after all you sent your son
We can’t give as much as you did
you made us free.
But since in your image you made us
and paid all our sins through Jesus
I’ll follow, we’ll all follow where you lead.

© Joel Tipple 1/5/2020












Do That

Imagine you are near the end of your life.
Those you love are with you to say goodbye,
and you say I wish I had…

Do that.
Say that.
Be that.

I’ve said it before,
but it’s a drum worth beating.
God implants within each of us talents and dreams more real than we believe.
So it bears repeating…

Do that.
Say that.
Be that.

We are meant to add
something noble.
We are meant
to enrich.
Potential
is gold deep underground.
Until you’ve done the work
to bring it to the surface
and use it,
you’re not finished.

© Joel Tipple
380

Shopping for Gifts

Every day is a good day
to search for gifts to give.
You don’t always have to look far,
you can start where you live.
Give your family truth,
with a large side helping of love.
Use the example of Jesus,
who modeled His father above.
Give the gift of excellence at work.
Refuse to offer less.
Your work is your mirror.
Let it reflect you gave your best.
To the world give the gift of authentic hope.
To those who are drowning, send a life saving rope.

© Joel Tipple
344

For Your Favor

Let the favor of the Lord
our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the
work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of
our hands. Psalm 90:17 NASB

A man may work all his days.
Sweat and blood might cover
all he’s wrought,
but if not for your favor, Lord.
If not for your favor,
If not for your favor, dear Lord,
all is lost.

I may endure all hardship,
and fight through pain
of the body and mind
I may seek and share inspiration
and be praised by those I love,
but if not for your favor, Lord.
If not for your favor,
If not for your favor, dear Lord,
all is lost.

It’s so easy to waste time
chasing what we think
has intrinsic value.
But Your scales weigh what we discount.
When I consider the treasure You allow
a place
in Your storehouse,
I feel a change
begin in me.

Setting aside what consumed our minds
in favor of Your wonderful design,
We come before You Father
seeking
for Your favor, Lord.
For Your favor.

© Joel Tipple
324

Your “Work”

cropped-midnight-dandelion.jpg

Do you love what you do?
Do you do what you love?
Do you find inspiration,
motivation,
fulfillment?
Remember that though you need to
“get paid,” your needs go beyond
just paying the rent.

If your sparks don’t fly
from just getting by,
induce some magic
and escape the tragic
by creating in time
and finding your why
and why not.
What the child loved
and the adult
forgot.

Position: Independent

cropped-redwood.jpg

Tonight I’m writing a poem using dictionary roulette. It’s like the poems I’ve done where my family picks words I have to use within a specific number of stanzas. Tonight I picked words at random from the dictionary. Actually, my wife picked them because I suck at it. The words I picked were Horne, Lena & National Bank. After that, I let her pick. These aren’t great, but they’ll have to do.

I want a job I think you want too,
because this guy
(me)
writes his own job description.
It’s the sort of thing
everyone
could qualify for,
a peculiarly adaptive position.

It isn’t the kind of job you’d find
on Craig’s list
or in the paper,
nor is it criminal;
it doesn’t involve capers.
It doesn’t matter your sex,
be it lady or gent.
This job fits all
’cause it’s position independent.