Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Not Ashamed

Jesus was cursed,
Despised and rejected,
Accused of using the devil's power.
He was executed as a criminal.

Some people still curse him,
Despise and reject him,
And make him their devil.
They'd kill him again if they could.

But I'm not ashamed of him.
I know him,
And he knows me,
And I trust him.
I trust him with my very life--
Body, soul and spirit--
Confident that he who defeated death
Can and will keep me
Both now and forever.

Ashamed of him?
No, he is my glory.
He is my only hope,
My sure hope.
He rescued me from my guilt and my shame.
How could I be ashamed of him?

          --Jim Swindle, 2006.   Public domain.

Yet I am not ashamed, for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed to him until that Day.
--2 Timothy 1:12

Monday, December 25, 2006

Prayer for Renewal

Renew my zeal,
My love for you.
Stir up my heart
To beat for you.

Possess my thoughts.
Consume my days.
Fill up my life.
Direct my ways.

--© 2007, Jim Swindle
Non-profit reproduction of up to 100 copies along with this notice IS permitted.

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
          --Isaiah 30:18, ESV

Seeing the Savior

Come to the manger.
Worship and pray.
Jesus, your Savior,
Is given today.

Come to the temple.
Stand now in awe.
Jesus, the youth, now
Is living the Law.

Come to Golgotha.
Fall on your face.
Jesus, your Savior,
Now dies in your place.

Come to the grave-site.
Break forth in praise.
Jesus, the Victor,
Today has been raised.

Wait for his coming.
Look up and pray.
Jesus, your Savior,
Will come back someday.

Live in his presence,
Seated in heaven.
Jesus has saved you.
Your sin is forgiven.

--© 2006, Jim Swindle
Non-profit reproduction of up to 100 copies along with this notice IS permitted.

"Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."
--Hebrews 12:2

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
--2 Corinthians 5:17, HCSB

Note: I believe much of the first stanza of this poem came from someone else's poem. So far as I know, the other stanzas are original.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jesus, Risen Lamb

Jesus, risen lamb, once slain,
Now alive to cleanse each stain,
Flood and wash our sinful hearts,
Not to praise by fits and starts,
But to worship faithfully
And to serve you cheerfully.
Free our tongues to sing your praise.
Guide our feet in kingdom ways.
Use our hearts, our minds, our hands
In your holy kingdom plans.
Then receive us at the last
When this present life is past.

--© 2006, Jim Swindle
Non-profit reproduction of up to 100 copies along with this notice IS permitted.

...he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit... --Titus 3:5, ESV

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Living in Truth

Your message, Lord, begins with you--
With holiness revealed.
It reaches us and takes away
The sin we'd long concealed.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
--1 John 1:5-7, ESV

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Thoughts 2006

See the sparkling Christmas lights
Softly glowing dim and bright,
Pointing to the brighter Light
Who was born for us that night.

Hear the ringing Christmas bells
Chiming out, “There’s news to tell!
You’ll find Jesus, Lord of all,
Newborn in a cattle-stall.”

Rush to see his tiny face.
Bow before him. Seek his grace.
Then return with hearts made new,
Praising God who’s come to you.

--© 2006, Jim Swindle
Non-profit reproduction of up to 100 copies along with this notice IS permitted.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
--Luke 2:11

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Abandoned by Evangelicals

For more than 30 years I've thought of myself as an Evangelical. I identified with these people. They believed the Bible, trusted Jesus, held on fast to the basics of the faith, and were flexible about the things over which Christians have disagreed for centuries.

Now, I'm ashamed to be known as an evangelical. Many of the American evangelical churches have sold out to consumerism. Worship services are replaced with sensual entertainment. Study of the Bible is replaced with study of books about how to deal with life problems. Sin is replaced with mistakes. Salvation is replaced with success.

In all of this, I don't think it's that I have moved so far from where I was 30 years ago. No, the evangelical movement has abandoned me...and has in many ways abandoned sound faith in Jesus Christ.

Why did that happen? I'm not sure of all of the reasons. Is it that we were too afraid to separate ourselves from false believers? Is it that we were too hungry for acceptance, popularity and power? Is it that we were too proud of our scholarship and of our broad-mindedness?

Whatever the reason, I thank God that he's beginning to open my eyes to the tragedy of current American evangelicalism.

Lord, enable me to see things more and more as you see them, and to trust you at all costs.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Totalitarianism's Legacy of Deception

Cristian Barbosu, a pastor from Romania, was interviewed by Trinity Magazine (of Trinity International University) in the fall of 2004. He said, "...to survive under a totalitarian system you chose to beat the system using any kind of means, including duplicity, to achieve the end. Now, with freedom, people still use the same means. So it takes time to work in the hearts of people to change mentalities, behaviors, and beliefs--to overcome these legacies."

A person who grows up in such a system may get into the habit of lying to get out of unpleasant situations. He or she may value loyalty above truth--even when the purpose of the loyalty is no longer protecting the person's life from a totalitarian government, but is simply protecting the person's pride. Even a Christian with such a background can think that if you're not willing to lie to back up his deceptions, you're lacking in love or loyalty.

The old habits die hard.

Lord, may your truth and mercy prevail. Teach your people to walk in truth.