Present

To be a gift
you must be present…
not a perfect present,
a present perfectly real.
Show me you,
the unique you God made.
Show me strength
that bends
instead of brittle, breaking.
Show me love
that can share my sorrow,
not only my joy.
Don’t just show me what you think,
show me what you feel.
Please don’t show me
what you own
and in the showing reveal
what owns you.
Oh, be owned
most definitely be owned.
But be owned
by the ultimate sacrifice,
the ultimate present,
the giver of life.
Be the gift
by giving yourself
to the present.

©Joel Tipple
#8/16

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Journey

i’d never have wanted to live this life alone

to hear the sounds with just my ears

to touch the textures with only my two hands

see only my eyes in the mirror

hold my hands until they’re all wrinkled

lined with the story of our life

hold me up as I hold you too

carried to the other side

No Prisoners

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“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 ESV

Love, as God’s gift to us,
is not merely decoration,
and not in league with money,
cares nothing for our station.

Love whispers confidently.
It has no need to be loud.
It radiates confidence
without the bluster of the proud.

When it enters a room
it becomes the natural center.
It is attractive without insisting,
force not being its nature.

Love is always active,
dispersing darkness with its light.
It’s the warmth of a healing fire
when we’re surrounded by the night.

Love mostly eludes definition
giving without being owned.
The food of all good growing,
the harvest of all good grown.

But love defined itself best
as the Son of God on Calvary’s tree,
when instead of taking prisoners
love set the captives free.

© Joel Tipple
#13/14

Don’t Keep the Faith

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It’s so tempting to keep your salvation to yourself,
protecting it, like a beautiful bird in a pretty cage.
But God’s love really flies out in the real world.
You need to let it show; don’t keep the faith.

Don’t keep the faith, don’t keep it, all locked up inside you.
Don’t keep the faith, growing cold, away from the sun in the sky.
Don’t keep the faith. That anthem always had it wrong, I believe.
Because a glass of water held under lock and key…
will still go dry.

Now the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He doesn’t go knocking down doors.
He goes where He’s invited and empowers the children of God.
Those born again, are given a part in the great commission
and that doesn’t involve keeping Him on a shelf like a set of laws.

Don’t keep the faith, children, don’t keep it, all locked up inside you.
Don’t keep the faith, growing cold, away from the sun in the sky.
Don’t keep the faith. That anthem always had it wrong, I believe.
Because a glass of water held under lock and key…
will still go dry.

Release it. Sonshine. Release it. Now is the time.
Release it. Sonshine. Release it…
Don’t keep the faith.

© Joel Tipple
373

The Gravel Pile

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There was once a very nice home at the end of the street in an average small city neighborhood. Where the house once stood there is now a small mountain of pebbles. None of the stones are larger than the end of your little finger. It stands as something of a warning to those who remember the couple who lived there, and sadness, like a blanket of fog, still lingers over it.

The man and woman who lived there once were happy, and looked forward to having a long peaceful life together, raising their family. They would pour their lives into each other and their children, and someday, they hoped, look upon this house as the place where their fondest memories had been.

One day, the man noticed his wife had a habit of dropping her wet towels on the floor of the bathroom. He told her it was a bad habit, and she should stop doing it. A pebble fell into the yard. But no one noticed. The man had a bad memory about some things, like taking out the trash. His wife told him she was tired of reminding him. Another pebble clicked onto the roof and startled the bird perched on the gutter. Other than the bird, no one saw it. As time went on, the list of things the couple disliked about each other grew. Each time a complaint was added without the compensation of love, the pile around the house grew. The couple didn’t stop to wonder where the pebbles were coming from. They only considered it something else to complain about, since outside maintenance was a duty they shared. In fact, it was an activity they once enjoyed doing together.

Eventually the neighbors noticed their friends’ property taking on the appearance of a construction dump site. The couple would fight their way into the house and fight their way out, through the gravel mounded up like snow drifts. But no one took the responsibility to clean it up, since that would be admitting it was his fault or her fault. Then, one night, when they couldn’t remember all the wonderful qualities they once admired in each other, only those things that were annoying, the decision to divorce was made. By now the pile of pebbles reached the eves of the house, but when the couple left for good, a small avalanche fell and covered what was left of it. The noise made everyone in the neighborhood who was home at the time step outside to gawk, but again, where the pebbles had come from that erased the home, no one knew.

After the home had been vacant for some time, a few neighbors were standing around near the gravel pile talking. The subject of whether the couple might ever reunite and move back came up. “I don’t think so,” one man said. “Why not?” said another. “It just all looks so heavy,” he replied. Then a woman at the edge of the group chimed in, “I don’t know. What if they just took away a little at a time?”

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 ESV

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9 ESV

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 The Message

© Joel Tipple
357