Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Wrong God - Christian Poem



Your god, your trust, the one you made,
The one you serve and lift up high above yourself,
Is just a lie.

The living God exists; was never made
By human will or human hands or human tools.
He is the truth.

Which god, my friend, will you now choose to serve...
The one you made, the one reflecting you?
Or him who is the truth?

They are turned back and utterly put to shame,
who trust in carved idols,
who say to metal images, "You are our gods."

--Isaiah 42:17, ESV

For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
--Psalm 96:5, ESV

"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
"Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other..."

--Isaiah 45:20-22, ESV

Photo and poem ©2008 James L. Swindle

Spiritual Maturity

A quote from my pastor's sermon last night (October 29, 2008):
Spiritual maturity is a divinely-given ability to see things as they really are.

In other words, the spiritually mature person is not deceived by the world; does not have separate mental categories for the Bible and reality. The mature person sees that the Bible is reality.


Those sermons are usually posted online within a few days after delivery.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Will You Be This Halloween?

From Blog08

There will be lots of costuming over the next few days. More important than the Halloween costumes are the "costumes" we wear every day. We try to look elegant or strong or beautiful or tough or prim or sexy. Yet, so often, what we try to portray doesn't fit our real nature any better than the outfit in the photo fits the nature of the one wearing it. We want to be Dorothy or the Wizard, but we're really more like Toto.

I no longer participate in Halloween, since I see it as more harmful than helpful, but too often I'm not all that I want people to think I am.

May this post serve as a simple reminder that we need integrity; our insides need to match our outsides, and vice-versa.


Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

--Psalm 51:6, KJV

Photo and poem ©2008 James L. Swindle

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who Designed the Dew?

From Blog08


Who designed the jewels of the dew
That dress the grass dawn by dawn
More richly than a king?

Who spread out ten million droplets,
With each reflecting perfection?

Who made them round and bright
To glisten in the morning light,
Each fragile as a saint's last breath?

Who appointed their moisture
To freshen the thirsting plants?

Who is the Lord of the dew?
I'm not. My wife's not. Are you?
No. I think you know who.


Does the rain have a father? Who fathered the drops of dew?

--Job 38:28, HCSB


Photo and text ©2008 James L. Swindle

Friday, October 24, 2008

Prayer for Cleansing

From Blog08


Take my passion, sin and pride
To the cross where you, Lord, died.
Wash away each bloody stain.
Wash me in your cleansing rain.


For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a special people, eager to do good works.
--Titus 2:11-14 HCSB

Photo and poem (c)2008 James L. Swindle

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To Walk By the Spirit

From Blog08

To walk by the Spirit--
Lord, that is my goal.
To follow your leading
And press toward the goal;
To love with your power,
To be pure within
Through your mighty cleansing
Abandoning sin.
Pursuing the holy
The pure and the good:
As you work within me,
What I never could.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
--Acts 1:8, WEB

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
--Galatians 5:16, HCSB

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm Not Fit

From Blog08


Holy God,

I'm not fit to come to you.
I have sinned and sinned again.
Every sin was fighting you.

I've looked back like Mrs. Lot,
Mimicking the ways of men,
Discontent with what I've got.

I've rebelled--yes, from the start,
Serving you yet tasting sin.
I've divided my own heart.

Free me from my selfish ways
May your Holy Spirit reign.
Free me, Lord, for your own praise.

Amen


Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Brothers, pray for us.


--1 Thessalonians 5:22-25, ESV

Note: The photo is posed, but I don't really deserve to be free, except for what Jesus has done and is doing in me. Do any of us?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Remind Us of the Christ...A Prayer

From Blog08


Remind us of the life of Christ--
Completely sinless, pure and clean
Our model with no guile, no vice,
The only one this earth has seen.

Remind us of the cross of Christ--
Where Jesus hung and bled and died
And paid for us the dreadful price
To make us, sinners, sanctified.

Remind us of the risen Christ--
Exalted high--Your joy, Your pride
Who will return for those born-twice
And with you, Father, we'll abide.


Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel...

--2 Timothy 2:8

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dew of Your Presence

From Blog08


Father,
All thanks for
Fresh dew of your presence
Perfect, peaceful drink for our lives
Refreshing
Until an enthusiasm of joy
Bursts into bloom
    Jonquil yellow
    Or daisy
Thrusting happy, trusting petals--
Fullness of joy from fullness of you,
Brightness for all who near.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
--Psalm 16:11

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hurricane

From Blog08


The wild wind waited
'Til after midnight,
Then flew with a fury we'd never known.
Trees trembled, then waved, then danced wild dervishes
Until it seemed they'd pull apart.
Some did.
Ancient pines akimbo,
Falling fatally or not--
They cared not what
Might lie beneath.
When daylight came,
The wind still blew-
The trees still danced--
And yet we knew
The worst was past.
The fence was down, the power gone.
Debris was strewn across the lawn,
But we were safe! Another day!



Note: The photo was taken a month ago (13 September, 2008) from our back yard. It shows two large trees down. For one tree, all you can see is the green grass around the root ball jutting up. The other tree rests on a smashed shed.



Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?

--Job 26:14, ESV

A Sermon on How to Treat Your Enemies

Last night our pastor preached an excellent sermon on how to treat your enemies. Much of it dealt with grudges. It's 49 minutes long, but worth the time, especially if you have a mental list of enemies.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Backward



Backward, backward in the faith,
Backward, backward, down toward death,
Heedless of their danger state:
Hell may take away their breath.

Sinning, sinning as they go,
Sinning, sinning their own way,
Still forgetting what they know
Until darkness swallows day.


They are called rejected silver, for the LORD has rejected them.
--Jeremiah 6:30, HCSB

For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God's good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
--Hebrews 6:4-6 HCSB

And see that there isn't any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal. For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he didn't find any opportunity for repentance, though he sought it with tears.
--Hebrews 12:16, 17, HCSB

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Song of Praise

From Blog08


Your love astounds me.
Your grace surrounds me.
Nothing confounds me.
In you I'm free.

Trusting and growing,
But little knowing
All you'll be showing
Daily to me.

For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
--Isaiah 55:9 HCSB

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Current Financial Crisis

Today's essay is totally different from what's usually on this blog. Feel free to skip it, if you wish, but I think you'll find it worth reading.

Here are a few thoughts on the current financial crisis.

• Our basic source of supply is the Lord. His promises are as good today as they were a month ago or a year ago.

• In the USA, the politicians acted like politicians, not statesmen:
o They didn’t ask the public to do anything in particular to improve the situation. They are hoping to “restore confidence” via the bailout bill, but they don’t say what that means in practical terms. What do they want the average man or woman to do? The politicians are willing to pass a bill that has a price tag of $17,000 per household, but they don’t even consider that several million people might also take action on their own, if the government told them what kind of action it wanted.
o Ms. Pelosi blamed the crisis on the Republicans. Some of the Republicans then refused to vote for the bill. If the bill was as essential to the national well-being as they said, the actions of both sides in that squabble were dangerously selfish and irresponsible.
o The final bill included all sorts of “pork.” Just why should extra funds for wooden arrows for youth, or special treatment of companies doing business in American Somoa, be a part of the bail-out? Any legislator who would vote for a $700 billion bill in order to get some funding for wooden arrows, is somewhere near treasonous. That’s the sort of greedy, me-first behavior that caused the crisis.

• None of the wealthy people have been donating money to the banks, saying that the banks deserve our charity.

• Much of the current crisis, just as much of the Enron crisis (I worked there for a few hours) and much of the Orange County, California, meltdown of the early 1990’s (I helped them track their investments) revolve around hiding risk. Organizations can often make huge profits by taking huge risks. They hide the risks, so that investors will think the huge profits come from superior knowledge. The eventual result is usually huge losses.

And no, I've never worked for a bank nor an investment house.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Resurrection Body

From Blog08


The bodies we have are the bodies we'll get,
Though they'll be transformed to what we've not seen yet.
They'll be re-assembled from ashes to bones,
Corpuscles springing from dust under stones,
Stomachs and livers and muscles with might,
Bones re-connected to dance in God's light.
Every detail renewed--us, the same,
Us, but transformed in Christ's powerful name.


Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.

--1 Corinthians 15:51-52, HCSB

Note: For many centuries, the Church has taught "the resurrection of the body." In the USA these days, may seem to believe not in the resurrection of the body, but in some form of reincarnation. They don't believe that the dead bodies of believers will be resurrected. They believe dead Christians will receive entirely new bodies. However, the Bible teaches that the body that dies is the body that rises, yet it is transformed, as a seed is transformed when it sprouts.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Let Your Songs Be New

From Blog08


Let your songs be new
    And your praises bold.
You are coming to
    The great God of all.

He's the king of kings
    And the Lord of Lords
Yet he lets you sing.
    Come--take up his sword.

Speak his word! Sing praise
    And lift up a shout.
Serve him all your days
    He will lead you out.

Sing a new song to the LORD; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
--Psalm 96:1, HCSB

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Old Man's Song



My youth is gone. My work is done.
So much I toiled for, sun to sun,
Is fading with the afternoon.
The darkness will be coming soon.

And after that? New day, I trust,
And resurrection from the dust.


So remember your Creator in the days of your youth:

Before the days of adversity come,
and the years approach when you will say,
"I have no delight in them";
before the sun and the light are darkened,
and the moon and the stars,
and the clouds return after the rain....


--Ecclesiastes 12:1-2, HCSB