The Wings of a Butterfly

We all live

and we all die.

God gives us some time in between.

By his grace, while we’re here,

like the butterfly,

we move our wings.

 

Just how much do we really matter?

How much could we really matter?

Ask a butterfly if the edies of air that are born

with the movement of its wings

can make a storm.

Ask a butterfly.

 

Gather some thoughts.

Build some words.

Add a dash of joy

from a praise song you’ve heard.

Reach up your hands

to the giver of life

Make all we are and will become

ever sanctified

to Jesus.

 

 

God always has a reason

For his sometimes mysterious ways

Since he chooses us to be his hands and feet

Why would we waste even a day?

 

Wonderful Father, almighty creator,

would that we, and all life

Move at the direction

of your loving and just hands.

 

Gather some thoughts.

Build some words.

Add a dash of joy

from a praise song you’ve heard

Reach up your hands

to the giver of life

Make all we are and will become

ever sanctified

to Jesus.

 

©Joel Tipple
#7/16

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The Heart of Thankfulness

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What qualities do you admire most in people? Friendly? Funny? Outgoing? Kind? Intelligent? Certainly I think you’d discover one common denominator would be the quality of thankfulness. While the most miserable people seem best at finding the worst, the happiest ones have a way of tapping into an attitude of gratitude that buoys them even in difficult circumstances and similarly lifts everyone around them. No matter their physical appearance, they somehow manage to be the most beautiful people in the room.

In his first letter’s exhortations to the Thessalonians, chapter five, verses 16 through 18, Paul says to “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Note that he says, “in everything.” The circumstances may be horrible, but an attitude of thankfulness can keep hope, essential as breathing, alive even then.

How can we break out in thanksgiving
even in the middle of mourning, grief and pain?
How can we be there for the living?
If God’s commanded, he’ll surely provide a way
to be thankful.

Lord, maybe I’ve taken leave of my senses,
to be joyful, in a world missing paradise,
but since you’ve given me permission
I’ll swing for the fences,
and be so thankful.

No matter how the earth groans,
no matter whether man
tries to destroy all you’ve given,
I know you’re sovereign, Lord.
No matter how dark the news,
and evil seems to win,
I’ll search for the way…
to remain thankful.

I’ll enter your gates with thanksgiving.
I’ll enter your courts with praise,
for you are good and your love is eternal.
I will not fear what I can’t see in the night,
I won’t fear the dark in the day,
for you remain Lord no matter where or how I am.
For that and so much more I’m thankful.

Lord heap my heart
full of thanksgiving,
Heap it up till it overflows.
Heap it so I can’t keep it to myself,
The whole world has to know.

God’s word helps me to perceive,
we must be illuminators of his love,
justice and hope.
Circumstances will change,
our health may ebb and flow.
The world’s economy might fluctuate,
but that won’t change what I know.
So I’m thankful.

Whether we face plenty or hunger,
abundance or need,
we can do all things
through Christ who strengthens us.
He is our sufficiency
and we are thankful.

Though we’re persecuted, we will not be abandoned;
Though we’re struck down, we will not be destroyed.
we lift our hands and rejoice
because we look toward the one who does not change
and give our offering of thanksgiving.

Lord heap our hearts
full of thanksgiving,
Heap them up till they overflow.
Heap them so we can’t keep it to ourselves,
The whole world has to know.

Take over the places in me
that are not all about you,
like the place that calculates
what’s owed me
and from whom.
If you would, Lord, make it over… Lord, make me over.
You know God, we’re pretty selfish
and we’ve all got our wish lists.
It seems they’ve changed only little
from the days we were kids.
But Lord, among those qualities I value,
grow in my estimation that of gratitude.

Imagine the world like that,
thankfulness,
spreading like a good disease.
I can’t possibly overestimate
what it could mean.
All that taking turning into giving.
Ground zero right here.
That’s a funny thought…
infectious agents for Jesus.
Ha!

Lord, heap our hearts
full of thanksgiving,
Heap them up till they overflow.
Let the good news
from our overflowing grateful hearts
draw those we meet
to your kingdom.
Lord, heap our hearts.

©Joel Tipple
#13/15

My Condition

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My condition,
conditional faith.
My condition,
conditional prayer.
My condition,
conditional belief, as though,
I could choose
whether God is, or isn’t there.

But no matter how high I built my castle walls,
protecting treasure that was only fantasy,
God broke them down with love and a pardon.
Blessed reality.

My condition,
conditional service.
My condition,
conditional love.
My condition
seemed incurable until God healed me…
He made me whole by his mercy.

The birds of the air do not sow reap or store,
yet our Father keeps them all fed.
So why do we worry?
Why do we bury
ourselves in possessions
while we lust for more?

Our condition without Christ was lost,
but praise Him, we are found.
God’s will is not for some,
but all of our devotion.
By the light His word gives me
I am my heavenly father’s child,
unconditionally.

© Joel Tipple
#21/14

Center Stage

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“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. God this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

In our time there seems to be an epidemic of actors jostling for their spot on center stage. There are so many ways to promote oneself, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even blogs like this. While each of these have their place, they contribute to a message that no matter what your personal talents or leanings may be, in order to be successful in life you must promote yourself without ceasing. Widen your platform. Make some noise. The message society seems to be pushing has led to a widening sense of entitlement. “We” is often sacrificed at the altar of “me.” As in most things a sense of balance is called for. Promote yourself and your work? Yes, but even more, we are called to be servants, as Jesus was.

There are invisible
ties of love
linking those
who give all
for the sake of others,
who find
fulfillment
in a supporting role.
Never lonely
when they find themselves
standing at center stage,
gently pushed there
by those they pushed,
enveloped by gratitude’s glow.

© Joel Tipple
#18/14

Start Again

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 ESV

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8 ESV

Start again.
Oh, go ahead and do it.
Set aside
the doubts lingering at your mind’s door.
Begin again.
There’s nothing for it.
Who’s to say that’s all there was and nothing more?

Putting one foot in front of the other
isn’t so simple
for those who cannot stand.
But you’ve got to trust God.
You’ve got to know God
will hold you steady
on your world of shifting sand.

Jesus, I trust you…
my pilot, yes, my guide.
Through the murky waters of this life
You have brought me and will bring me,
almighty, sanctified.
Jesus, I love you,
please hear and be pleased by my praise.
These hands you’ve always held
will forever be raised.
Forever Lord, my hands I raise.
Forever Lord, be praised.

© Joel Tipple
1/14

The End of the Beginning

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Sometime around Christmas of 2012 I decided to challenge myself by posting at least once a day for a year beginning January 1, 2013 to a newly created blog. From the beginning the toughest part of this challenge has not been posting “something” each day. Posting something I was truly happy with, now that has been a whole other bottle of ink. So, I made up my mind to make this year a training ground of sorts. I would allow myself to experiment with various styles of poems, devotions, short stories, editorials… really, any sort of writing that I could come up with in a day. I made it as fun and meaningful as I could, both for myself and anyone who cared to take the journey with me. I tried to not pay too much attention to the number of people reading or “liking” each post and I tried to give myself enough room to fail now and then. One of my favorite lessons to take away from the Bible is that God expects us to fall down once in a while. Anyone who has gained a reasonable amount of life experience knows that’s part of the process. I failed just enough to learn some, I think.

My prayer throughout this year has been that I might be an instrument of God to bring healing to those who need it. That sounds like a lofty goal, and I guess it is. If I may be bold enough to say so, I think followers of Jesus bear the responsibility of expressing healing words to those we encounter every day, whether they are spoken in what we might consider an artful manner or not. I don’t consider myself to be that sophisticated. Most of my training in writing has been to write clearly and succinctly. Conveying thoughts through the various means of creative writing can be tremendously therapeutic for the writer, as well as (it is hoped) for the reader.

So what will I do for 2014? To begin with, I will continue to post here at least once a week. Going from seven days to one will allow me to branch out into other projects. I would like to publish my first book before the year is up. Naturally, you want to know what kind of book I have in mind. Right now I’m considering that. Using a word I learned reading Mark Twain, I’m “cogitating.”

To those of you who followed this blog during the last year, I want to express my deepest appreciation. Thanks for reading, commenting and just hanging in there to read again when you had no idea where I was going. Thank you very much indeed.

© Joel Tipple
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