Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mental Illness and the Bible Concordance

The Scriptorium has an interesting short item on Alexander Cruden and his concordance. His concordance was, for a couple of hundred years, one of the two best word-indexes of the King James Bible. I used it in the days before computers. How did his mental imbalance relate to his masterpiece?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Underneath Me

From Blog09

Underneath me, all around me,
All your mercies, Lord, astound me.
They are now the place, the nation
Where I live in your salvation.

Whether I'm awake or sleeping,
I am here within your keeping.
Since you guard me in life's struggle,
I will nestle, I will snuggle.

Then, because you strength and send me,
I will go, and you'll defend me.
Men may hate, may kill, defame,
But I am living in your Name.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
--John 10:27-29, ESV

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies for non-profit use, with this notice.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rescued

From Blog09

I drifted down a haze of days,
A maze of ever-twisting ways,
Until the Spirit showed my sin,
The evil living death with
My slyly stubborn, rocky heart.
He came clear in and filled each part;
He knew and blew and drew me to
The Lamb, I Am, the Savior who
Redeemed, deep-cleaned me through and through.

Give glory, honor! Stand and gaze
At Him, the Ancient One of Days
At Him, Who deigned thus by his grace
To wash a wretch, to shine my face.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins...
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...

--Ephesians 2:1,4-6, ESV

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Night Visitor

A cat and I were awake, side-by-side on the sofa, around 3 AM. There was a noise outside somewhere between the front door and the chimney that's in the same wall. I figured it was the other cat, wanting to come in.

I opened the door, heard noises under the bushes, but couldn't see any animal in the dark. I stepped inside, heard more noise, and stepped back out.

I turned on the porch light, but it's one of those CFL bulbs that takes a minute to get to full brightness. Still I saw nothing, but the noises continued. I came in, being sure the door was shut, and ran to grab the flashlight. (That's a torch for you in Britain.)

I went out again, turned on the light and saw an armadillo under the bushes. I ran back inside, traded the flashlight for my camera, and ran back out to the armadillo. By this time, I could smell it. (More on that in a moment.)

I tried to photograph the armadillo, but the camera's auto-focus didn't work in the dark. Back inside to pick up the flashlight. With flashlight in one hand and camera in other, I was able to take a couple of good photos.
From Blog09

What's there to know about armadillos, other than that they live in Texas and that they look odd?
--They are fairly harmless, since they have small mouths, move fairly slowly and are not poisonous.
--They stink. They really stink. The smell is sort of like a cellar with old potatoes.
--They're nocturnal. If you see an armadillo in the daylight, it's usually dead, hit by a car or truck.
--They have an armored back, but are vulnerable to cars. I've heard that when frightened, they may jump straight up into the air. This is not a good idea if a car's bearing down on you.

As near as I can tell, the best thing about an armadillo is its oddness. Maybe they show the Lord's sense of humor.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Made New

From Blog09

Holy Lord, great God of all,
Hear us, help us as we call.
Turn us from our sin and pride.
Change us, Father, deep inside.
Wash us. Shape us. Make us new.
Fill us with the smell of you.

...whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind, that they may fear you and walk in your ways all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers.
--2 Chronicles 6:29-31, ESV

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Transplant Update

My friends Kevin and Chris came through the transplant surgery well. Chris's new kidney is functioning. Thanks for prayers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Transplant

From Blog09


Chris Jackson and Kevin Niemeyer, who are my friends and fellow-believers, are in the hospital. On Tuesday morning, May 19, 2009, Chris (a young man of 12) is to receive a kidney transplanted from Kevin (a husband and father who's probably in his 30's). Join me in praying for these two. Thank God that the doctors say Kevin is a very good match, as good as a sibling is usually. Thank him also for the doctors and other medical personnel, and pray for the Lord's work in and through them.
By some mystic medic arts
Living kidneys, moving parts...
Precious gift beyond all wealth:
Kevin may give life and health.

Father, hear our simple prayer:
Wrap them in your loving care.
Doctor-skill alone's not much.
Give them, please, your healing touch.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book
    before one of them had taken place.
How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God!
    How vast in number they are!

--Psalm 139:16b-17, GOD'S WORD translation

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Praying, Knowing and Doing the Father's Will






From Blog09

I gave a sermon Sunday to a small group of people. Here's an outline, based on Mark 1:35-39 NLT.
The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. They said, "Everyone is asking for you."
But he replied, "We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too, because that is why I came." So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and expelling demons from many people.
Knowing and doing the Father's will can require...


  • Getting away from people
    • An inconvenient time
    • An inconvenient place
    • Are you listening to him?
    Thank God for such times and places.

  • Praying
    • Even Jesus needed to pray.
    • Not merely when you're in trouble
    • Praying until you know what He wants you to do next.

  • Rejecting the will of the crowd.
    • Not being addicted to the drug of popularity
    • Not being compelled to please people
    • Not giving in to success
    • Not giving in even to success in ministry.
    Can you stand alone?

  • Rejecting the will of your close friends, associates and loved ones.
    • They may love you.
    • They may want what they think is best for you.
    • Their advice may be very useful
                ("in many counselors there is wisdom"),
    • but they may also lead you astray
      if they have not been praying and
      searching the Lord's word.
    Again, can you stand alone?

  • Remembering your purpose.
    Every Christian's purpose:
    • Love God
    • Love people
    • Make disciples of Jesus
    Your special purpose
    • Using the gift(s) he's given you
    Are you serving him? Or are you serving yourself?

  • Going places you've never been
    • Other towns
    • Strangers
    They are part of the Lord's purpose for your life.
    Which way are you heading right this moment--your own, or the Father's? Do you love the Father enough to pray to him? Does his will take precedence in your life?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Manly Things

From Blog09


I sing a song of manly things:
Of risky jobs and sturdy boots,
Of bushy beards and business suits.
I sing of workers in a mine
And soldiers marching in a line,
Of playing soccer in the park
And being faithful in the dark.
I sing of prophets' fiery gleam
And fishing in a mountain stream,
Of big machines and bulging arms,
Of falling for a maiden's charms.
I sing of leadership that's strong
And gallantry as kind as song.
Whatever shape the outward part,
Thank God for manhood in the heart.

From Blog09

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

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In My Place

From Blog09

Pierced by nails and thorns,
Whipped, abused and scorned,
Bearing in himself my sin,
Jesus hung despised, condemned.

Now I rise to make
Music for his sake..
Free from guilt, from gnawing shame--
Holy now, I praise his name.


He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; by His wounding you have been healed.

--1 Peter 2:24, HCSB
From Blog09


Poem and photos ©2009 James L. Swindle.
You may print up to 100 copies for non-profit use, so long as you include this notice.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Paradoxology

From Blog09

Our Father is older than we are...
    Full of wisdom
    Full of authority
    Full of maturity.

Our Father is younger than we are...
    Full of joy
    Full of energy
    Full of creativity.

Our Father is beyond time...
    Never older
    Never younger
    Never different.

Our Father is in our time...
    Calling to us
    Saving us
    Growing us.

All praise to our
    old,
        young,
    timeless,
        timely
God.

"As I kept watching, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was white like snow, and the hair of His head like whitest wool. His throne was flaming fire; its wheels were blazing fire.
A river of fire was flowing, coming out from His presence. Thousands upon thousands served Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him."

--Daniel 7:9-10a, HCSB

Credit is due to RomanĂ³s and to Fr. Milovan Katanic who quoted an idea from G. K. Chesterton and got me to thinking along these lines.

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle
Non-profit printing of up to 100 copies is permitted.