Monday, December 29, 2008

Impatience

From Blog08


Impatience says, “I want it now!
Let others wait. I’m special—ME!
So move me past this line somehow,
And if you don’t, you’ll pay! You’ll see.”

Impatience comes from smelly pride
That’s thinking only of itself.
That pride may hide down deep inside,
But then pops out and shows itself.

The patient person waits in peace
Because the Father’s in control.
The wait gives time for sweet release,
For peace down in the soul.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience....
--Galatians 5:22

Photo and poem ©2008 James L. Swindle

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Mind

From Blog08


The demons want to own my mind
    and thus to own my soul.
They strongly want to make me blind
    to Christ who makes men whole.

The Savior comes to cleanse my mind,
    to make my thinking new--
Till some day by his grace you'll find
    it's stainless through and through.

Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
--Romans 12:2, WEB

"For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?" But we have Christ's mind.
--1 Corinthians 2:16, WEB

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God's law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can't please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.
--Romans 8:5-9, WEB

Note: I took the photo in a car at night while my wife was driving. Maybe we hit a bump. Anyway, I didn't get what I'd hoped to get (multiple airplanes in the sky), but I like what I got.

Much more important than the photo is the very real spiritual battle which often happens in the mind. Jesus sets us free. Temptation then becomes an opportunity to prove our swift obedience.

Answered Prayer

I'd mentioned awhile back my grief over separation from some whom I love. The Lord guided me to a book on fasting. I've tried a water-only fast a couple of times before in my life, for just 24 hours, and became ill both times. This time, I tried only fruits and vegetables and juices for 24 hours. For me, that was much more tolerable. That same day or the next, the key person in that relationship prepared a gift with a note and a card for us. We also had a very pleasant phone call from that direction this week.

This was a major breakthrough Am I taking credit for it? No. I think the Lord who guided me to fast was eager to teach lessons both to me and to the other party.

I praise the Lord who answers prayers. I'm eager to continue fasting gently from time to time in the future, as the Lord guides. However, I'm absolutely positive that fasting isn't the key to the successful Christian life. Jesus himself is the key.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas - Come to the Stable

From Blog08


Come to the stable.
    What do you see?
God in a feed trough for you and for me.

He's just a baby,
    Tender and small,
But He will be the King over all.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea
in the days of Herod the king,
behold, wise men from the east
came to Jerusalem, saying,
"Where is he who has been born
king of the Jews?
For we saw his star when it rose
and have come to worship him."

--Matthew 2:1-2, ESV

©2008 James L. Swindle

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tacky Gift Idea

From Blog08


This is one of the worst gift items I've seen for sale this season. If you're Roman Catholic, the idea of covering the Virgin Mary in fuchsia glitter may be offensive. If you're not Roman Catholic, the idea of a statue of the Virgin is probably offensive. Not until I got home and looked carefully at the photo did I see the next item on the shelf; the box of nuns.

Where did I find these? Not at some clearance outlet for bad toys. They were at my local Borders bookstore, right next to the feathered ball-point pens.

On a more serious note, can you imagine someone praying to this glittered statuette? That would be sad! However, it's just as sad when people pray to a beautiful, dignified statue. "For there is one God and one mediator between God, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all..." (1 Timothy 2:5-6). We don't need to pray to a statue. We can go directly to the Father, by means of his Son Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saved from Wrath

From Blog08


Under wrath, condemned to death,
Dying with our ev'ry breath,
We were hateful, full of sin;
Fetid filth both out and in.
We had nothing to commend us;
We had no-one to defend us.
Though we claimed that all was well,
We were heading down to hell
When our savior intervened,
Paid our debt and washed and cleaned--
Dipped us in the purging flood
That came from his very blood;
Made us new, his holy bride;
Choice and welcome at his side.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
--Romans 5:9, ESV

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Sin Gone?

I posted the following in a comment on Myra Johnson's excellent blog, Picture My Thoughts. This was a comment to her post "No Condemnation."

My sin all gone?
How can it be?
It stayed so long!
And now I'm free?

My sin? It's gone!
Christ died for me.
He'll lead me on
To victory.


..confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
--Philippians 1:6, NASB

Note: In re-posting the poem here, I revised one word.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Morning Prayer

From Blog08


LORD of all that ever was,
    Of all that is
        And of all that ever shall be,
Father, Son and Spirit,
    Ever three and ever one,
Rule in our lives this day.

Take each of us
    And all of us,
        Body soul and spirit,
    And use us for your glory.

May our lips be quick to praise you,
Our hands be quick to serve you,
Our hearts be quick to trust you
And our feet be quick to follow you,
That when evening comes
We may rest the rest of the faithful,
Not by the perfection of our works,
But by the depth of your grace.

Through Jesus your Son,
Amen

May the God who gives peace make you holy in every way. May he keep your whole being-spirit, soul, and body-blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
-1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, God's Word translation

Poem and photo ©2008 James L. Swindle

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Divine Appointment

From Blog08


My pastor's been challenging us for weeks to share the gospel with at least one person before Christmas. Yesterday I was at the gym in the shower. I prayed that the Lord would give me the ability to share the gospel with a man who'd spoken to me a couple of minutes earlier. When I got into the locker room and got some clothes on, he was still there. I spoke to him and quickly learned that he, too, was a Christian.

Another, younger man came in, steamy from the sauna. He was about 25 years old. He heard us talking of the Lord and started to ask us questions. First, he told us he'd never, ever been to church. He asked us whether if he died, he'd go to hell. He said he'd asked a lot of people that. We both told him, "If you believe in Jesus Christ, you'll go to heaven." He said nobody had ever told him that before. So, I did my best to tell him the gospel...forgetting some essential things, but still, the Lord was clearly there. The young man was very open to what we said, and was very honest about his reluctance to turn from his sin. I told him that he has a choice, and that the Lord commands him to believe. I told him that it's not just a matter of church, but invited him to church. Meanwhile, the other man was affirming what I said. It was a divine appointment.

Pray for this young man, that he will come to full faith in Jesus Christ.

Among the Dead

From Blog08


Father, all-alive,
    I walk among the living dead,
    The zombies of this world
    With souls alive but spirits dead.
    They follow pleasure for awhile,
    And pleasure serves them well
    Until it leaves them worn and dry,
    Trudging though a desert of sin,
    Climbing exhausting mountains--
    Deceptive mountains of self-actualization
    That lead to tar pits of despair
    And wildernesses of self-satisfaction.

    But your word can call the dead to life
    Can give the spirit bones and flesh
    And make it dance and sing for you.
    Release your word.
        Uncork our mouths.
            Unstick our tongues
    That words of life may flow out freely;
    That some now dead may live.


I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

--Jesus, in Luke 5:32

NOTE: I've altered the face in the photo. Could the living dead person be your neighbor? Your friend? Your relative? You?
What if that person came alive spiritually?

Photo and poem ©2008 James L. Swindle

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Take This Leaf

From Blog08


Lord,
I take this leaf
By your leave,
Not to grieve summer gone,
But to tidy up the lawn.


For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven.

--Ecclesiastes 3:1

Poem and photo ©2008 James L. Swindle

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Chorus - Christian poem

From Blog08


Angel chorus singing for us:
Peace, good will...
Then all is still.

Rush to find divine confined...
Flesh of God
Now on this sod.

Barn-born babe sweet-swaddled, stabled,
Light of world--
Bright burn in cave.


This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.

--Luke 2:12, HCSB

Poem and photo ©2008 James L. Swindle

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow!

We were delighted Wednesday (10 December, 2008) to have snow here in the Houston area. It was the heaviest snow we've had in the 14 years we've lived here.
From Blog08


From Blog08


From Blog08


From Blog08


Thank you, Lord, for the snow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Blessing

From Blog08


As you trust in Jesus the Christ...

May your heart burn with His zeal.
May your eyes look with his insight.
May your hands touch with his love.
May your lips speak with his truth.
May your mind think with his wisdom.
May your ears hear with his grace.
May your feet go with his persistence.
May your spirit, soul and body be kept with his purity.
And may your life shine with his glory.

...may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
--1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, ESV

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New Links

I've added a link on the right side to The Postman. It has solid Christian poems from a man in India who's a generation younger than I am. Also check our their church's web site, www.cfcindia.com. Under "Articles" I read the one on "My style of preaching." It's one of the best short summaries I've ever read concerning how to preach.

Poetry Where You Live is another link; poems by a lawyer in New Hampshire.

Prayer for Holiness

From Blog08


Holiness today--
For this, LORD, I pray.
Selfishness conceding,
My desires receding,
Each new action showing
Purity that's growing.
For this, LORD, I pray:
Holiness today.

For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves....
--Leviticus 11:44 ESV

Poem and photo ©2008 James L. Swindle

NOTE: Why do I copyright most of these poems? Not to keep people from using them, but so that if a publisher chooses to publish them some day, the publisher may have more of an expectation of making a profit. At this moment, if you want to print up to 100 copies of one of my poems for non-profit use, just include the copyright notice and "Used by permission." If you want to make other use of them, ask me first. Thanks.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Greeting

From Blog08


At this holy time of year,
May your heart be filled with cheer--
Not because your budget's right,
Nor because of twinkled light,
But because God's sent his son.
Sing his praise! Messiah's come!

...Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.
--Luke 2:11, HCSB


I wrote this poem for our family's 2005 Christmas greeting. You're welcome to use it if you like. --Jim Swindle

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Too Busy



Lord,
I'm too busy today,
Too busy to pray...
Got so much to do!
I'll never get through.
Can't do this alone.
Whoops! There goes the phone.
I can't concentrate,
So, Lord, can you wait?
I want to know you,
But...so much to do!

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.
--Mark 1:35 ESV

NOTE: This was written not as a prayer, but as a caricature. Too often my prayers (or non-prayers) have been too much like this poem. Today, before posting this, I'm praying that the Lord will use it to correct some of us. We have before us the amazing privilege of knowing and growing in our Savior.

Poem and photo ©2008 James L. Swindle