Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sanctification

From Blog09

Father,

Heal this soul of mine...
This soul not mine but yours
May I be a sign
Of wholeness--sign of yours

Wash polluting grime
Away in holy flood
Flowing since the time
My Savior gave his blood

                            Amen.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?...And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
--1 Corinthians 6:9.11, ESV

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Simplicity

From Blog09

The highlight of summer
   so many summers
   many summers ago
Was the week or two
   at the "old home place"
   with Grandpa and Grandma
   where time almost stopped.
No phone
No indoor toilet
No gas stove
No fancy things at all--
But Oh, what wealth!
   Skies and spaces
   chickens and dogs
   aunts and cousins--
   and uncles, too--
   wonderberries and gooseberries,
   tomatoes and cukes,
   irrigation ditches,
   dahlias and kittens,
   Grandpa and Grandma
   and lots of love.
And love was enough,
More than enough.

...he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.
--Psalm 107:41, ESV

Note: "Wonderberry" was the name used for a dark purple-black berry that's a version of the nightshade. There's a similar nightshade berry that's deadly poison, and rumor had it that the berries we ate were poison if not ripe. The berries grew well in harsh conditions and made great dumplings.

From Blog09


Poem ©2009 James L. Swindle

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Death of This World's Famous





As I wrote this, the day's news was full of the deaths of two famous entertainers. I have great sympathy for their loved ones. Did those entertainers trust God's grace through Jesus at the end? I'd want that to be the case, but have not heard that they did. If they died without the Savior, what happened?

When tens of millions know your name
And honors swarm about your head
And fortunes rest on your great fame
And then you die--
    Well, you are dead.

When you've been great beyond degree
And slept with fame and danced with pride
And you've become an industry
And then you die--
    Well, then, you've died.

Your fame and wealth won't buy a place
In God's eternal realm of light.
No, that's found only by his grace,
And you chose self--
    Worm, fire and night.

'Son,' Abraham said, 'remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony.
--Luke 16:25, HCSB

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Fruits of a Long Obedience

From Blog09

The fruits of a long obedience,
Like the fruits of a well-kept garden or orchard,
Are slow and good and sweet.

They don't need to advertise.
They don't need to boast.
They hang in abundance from the branches of those
Who have tended their souls
As a farmer tends his crop.

People are blessed
In an simple, extra-ordinary way
And the Lord is glorified.

And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams."
--1 Samuel 15:22, ESV

The photo is of our friend Al in his garden. He and his wife love the Lord and love people and love each other.
From Blog09

Poem and photos ©2009 James L. Swindle

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Right-Side-Up Life

From Blog09

Chosen by God and choosing him,
Losing earth and gaining heaven,
Loving people and being hated,
Seeing my sin and being forgiven,
Being totally broken and healed,
Dying to self and living to God...

All by the grace of Jesus,
All for the glory of God.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
--Romans 6:11, ESV

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hole or Whole

From Blog09


Lord Jesus, fill the hole
That's gaping in my soul--
That's shaped just like the sin
I've ushered out and in
A thousand times and more
(My weak repentance score).
Such cycling won't do!

Yet in that hole I trace
The shape of your own face--
That you will fit the hole
That's gaping in my soul;
That when I'm full of you,
My sinning days are through.
You fill that gaping hole.
You make my spirit whole.

If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, the whole body will be full of light, as when a lamp shines its light on you.
--Luke 11:36 HCSB

Note: This photo shows the result of accidentally getting too close to a cactus.

Photo and poem ©2009 James L. Swindle

Monday, June 15, 2009

Listen

From Blog09

Listen!
Listen, said the Lord.
      But, Lord...
      I am busy now.
Listen!
Listen to my word.
      But, Lord...
      Let me watch TV.
Listen!
Listen to my voice.
      But, Lord...
      I've got lots to say.
Listen,
If you are my child.
      Yes, Lord.
      I will listen now.

Whom can I speak to? Whom can I give a warning to? Who will listen? Their ears are plugged, and they aren't able to pay attention. When the LORD speaks his word to them, they show contempt for it and object to it.
--Jeremiah 6:10, God's Word translation

Photo and poem ©2009 James L. Swindle

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thrown to the Lambs

From Blog09


Peter Thinks...

Among the fresh-lambed hills
Where salivate coyotes,
Where bears pillage,
    Lions prowl,
        Thieves walk
And wolves wear shepherds' garb--

Among the lambed unmanned hills,
Beside the sea of my failure,
    Of his success,
Jesus asks me, "Do you love me?
    Love me more than these?"
Zing! He knows my lying heart
That boasted brash above brothers
And lied, denied Him once...
    Twice...
        Thrice.

And yet--
    "Yes, Lord, You know that I love you."
Lying now won't do.
He asks again
And asks again.
    I answer yes
    And "Yes, you know my heart."
And He--my friend, now Lord--
He didn't cast me to the wolves.
In grace He threw me to the lambs.


When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

--John 21:15, ESV

Poem ©2009 James L. Swindle
Photo ©2009 Gail C. Swindle

Saturday, June 06, 2009

My Shadow

From Blog09

Everywhere I go
My shadow follows me,
Though I may not know
Just where that guy will be.

He may be ahead--
To miss him I'd be blind--
But then, as I said
He sometimes lags behind.

All day he has sped
To catch me in the park,
But at night, in bed,
He leaves me in the dark.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

--Psalm 139:11-12 ESV

This poem was based on a half-remembered poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

God's Choice

From Blog09

Before the worlds whirled
Or the sun shone
Or the moon moved,
God was
And God knew
And God chose those
Whom he'd rescue.

I don't know how.
I don't know why.
But I know why I don't know.
He's God.
I'm not.
Amen.

...He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ...
--Ephesians 1:4-5 ESV