Saturday, February 28, 2009


From Blog09

        not completely,
        but in every part
    broken by sin
but for God's glory.

        for completion
        for wholeness
    but still
quite surely broken.

        this completely
        in every part
    washed by Jesus
and for God's glory.

        sing hallelujah
        forgiven now
    and filled
and my pride broken

        still such failing
        still much weakness
    with forgiveness
for me the broken.

        for Jesus coming
        with clouds descending
    I'll rise to serve him
no longer broken.

Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.
--1 John 3:2 HCSB

Note: This post is a response to and an affirmation of posts on this theme by two of my favorite bloggers, RomanĂ³s (note that it has sound) and The Postman.

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ancient Lace

From Blog09

Ancient lace speaks of comfort and of order,
Of beauty and of cautious work by hands now dead.
A flower that bloomed in her mind long ago
Now blooms on my table
In fading sun at end of day.

The one who made it--was she young or old?
Where did she live? I do not know,
But her simple legacy of beauty and of grace
Now blooms on my table
In fading sun at end of day.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 ESV

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Monday, February 23, 2009

Creation's Witness

From Blog09

If he guides the insects that die in a day,
My Lord then can guide every step of my way.
If he hung the stars and the planets in space,
He's wise beyond measure, beyond all I face.
If he made the fish and the whales in the sea,
Then he is much bigger than troubles I see.
If he keeps both atoms and planets a-whirl,
Then nothing's too big or to small for his world.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name....
--Amos 5:8, ESV

Note: In our area, we have lots of these insects at this time of year. They look like mosquitoes, but much larger. They do not bite. I think they're called crane flies.

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kansas Childhood, 1950's: Pleasures and Terrors

The pleasures were simpler back then:
A chalkboard—all green—and some chalk;
A cat that was bad and a dog that was good;
An over-cooked meal with canned plums for dessert.
Yes, pleasures were simpler back then.

The terrors were simpler then, too:
Don't fall through the grate in the floor!
Be careful—don't drop in your toys.
What falls through that grate in the floor
May fall all the way to the fire.
Yes, terrors were simpler back then.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

1Corinthians 13:11 ESV

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Don't do this to a cell phone

From Blog09

I ran over my cell phone with a lawnmower.

No, I didn't plan to do it, but I had not taken sufficient care to keep it from falling.

I seem to recall someone saying, "Don't lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Give Us Hearts

From Blog09

Give us hearts
full of you,
full of love,
service, too.

May our heads
think for you,
thinking well,
think what's true.

May our arms
work for you,
strong to help,
faith in view.

By your grace,
Lord, you do
make us whole,
make us new.

We thank you.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
--Ezekiel 36:26 ESV

NOTE: This scripture verse is addressed to the house of Israel, but I believe it can fairly be applied to all who trust in Jesus and are thereby grafted in to the spiritual Israel of God.

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kansas Childhood, 1950's: Wind

From Blog09

The essence of Kansas was wind--
Wind in the morning, wind at noon,
Wind in the evening, wind at night.

Some days were bright and shiny
As the foil Christmas cards that rich people sent us.
Some were stormy with cumulo-nimbus clouds
That reached thousands of feet into the sky
And drove us to the basement.
Some were hot—happy for the tomatoes in the garden,
But not for me, sweating as I played under the redbud tree.
Others were so cold that even with snow-suit
    and overshoes and cap and scarf,
We'd come in red-faced, drippy-nosed,
    with hopes of warmth from the radiator.
Whatever the weather, the weather was good.
It was good to live in Kansas in the 1950's.
Life was safe in the family, and the wind blew.

What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

--Job 38:24 ESV

Rainy Night

From Blog09

It's raining--
    not a delicate, misty rain,
    but thousands of gallons
    sloshing and plopping
    with lightening and thunder.
Dry land's dry no more.
All is watered, wonderfully washed
    by wave on wave of driving rain.
Wash us, too, Lord--
    softening parched hearts
    insistently, relentlessly
    until we flow with your Holy Spirit.

...he saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal.
--Titus 3:5, God's Word translation

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The True Gospel and the False

My on-line brother The Postman left a comment pointing to a remarkable article on The True Gospel and the False. While I'd place more emphasis on some of the first six distinctions than the author does, he points out just what is radically wrong with much (maybe most) modern Christianity.

What Makes a Man?

From Blog09

What makes a man a man today?
A jewel planted in his ear?
Drinking an athletic beer?
What makes a man a man today?
A pony tail? Italian shoes?
A Harley and some big tattoos?

No! Manhood is an inward thing,
A river from a hidden spring.
True manhood flows with artless art
From deep within a true man's heart.
It simply knows God made it so;
It doesn't need an outward show:

Men take responsibility,
Submit to God, and then live free.
They help the good, protect the weak;
They listen well, then boldly speak
The truth regardless of the price:
Despising lies, however nice.

That's the way a true man grows.
And pretty soon, his whole world knows
That man's a man on any day.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
--Genesis 1:27, ESV

Poem written about 1994. Public domain. Photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Which Gospel?

From Blog09

Yesterday a certain group came to my door. They wanted to tell me that Jesus returned in the year 1914, that Jesus is not God, and that only their organization has the truth. There are other groups that seem either more or less confused, each with its own "gospel."

There's a positive gospel that puffs people's pride
And tells them they're naturally good down inside.
There's a negative gospel that's rooted in law,
With rules that it claims can avoid every flaw.
There's a compromised gospel with nothing unique--
With Buddha, Muhammad and Jesus to seek.
There's a gospel in white for the folks who are white
That tells them they're better, that might is their right.
There's a gospel in black for folks who are black
That tells them they need to be proud and fight back.
But the only true gospel is found when we look
And believe in the Jesus we find in God's Book.

I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different "good news"; and there isn't another "good news." Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any "good news" other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed.
--Galatians 1:6-8, WEB

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Friday, February 06, 2009

Clothed in White

From Blog09

Clothed in white
Pure--radiant, bright
We shall stand
At His right hand
Full of praise--
His glorious ways!
Awed to own
This view of throne
Radiant bright
And Him Who's light.

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

--Revelation 3:4-5 ESV

My friends, remember that not everyone who claims to be a Christian receives these blessings. Live before him in purity--not by your own power, but by the power of his Holy Spirit. Confess your sins, turn from them, receive forgiveness, and go in his name. Your purity will stand out from the world around you, just as the egret's white plumage stands out.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sunset Beauty

Father, you've kept your best display
Until right now, the end of day--
Painting the sky with strokes of light
Yellow and purple, dark and bright.

So may my life bring joy and praise
More as I reach my ending days.
Paint with my life, with all I do--
Ever-increasing light of You.

As all of us reflect the Lord's glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
--2 Corinthians 3:18, God's Word translation

Sunday, February 01, 2009

No Returning

From Blog09

How very often we return
To him who's wounding us,
To Satan who is full of lies
And miseries and death,
Instead of turning to the LORD,
The Holy One, our Father God
Who simply asks us to depend
On his abundant daily grace!
And yet, if we'll turn to our God,
The Father of our Lord and Christ,
We'll find he has prepared our days
For heights of joy and depths of praise.

On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no longer depend on the one who struck them, but they will faithfully depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

--Isaiah 10:20, HCSB

My friends, do you faithfully depend on the LORD?
Or do you depend on him when it suits you?
May you--and I--be faithful to him this day.