Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In Sickness and in Health

I saw my friends, whom I'll call the Smiths, this weekend. Mrs. Smith, elegant as ever, told me that they'd just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Mr. Smith is one of the most cheerful people I know, full of the love of the Lord. He's also been in nursing homes for between a third and half of their married life.

Marriage isn't about staying together as long as it's convenient for both of you. Marriage is for keeps.

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.
--Matthew 19:6 HCSB

Saturday, July 25, 2009

All Your Life

From Blog09


Praise the Savior in your youth
While you have the chance.
Celebrate his grace and truth.
Clap! Rejoice and dance!

Serve the Savior when you're grown,
While you're working strong.
Work to make his glory known--
Work! It won't be long.

Trust the Savior when you're old
While you still are here.
Then, when flesh lies dead and cold,
Life will still appear.

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth...

--Ecclesiastes 12:1

Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD...

--Psalm 148:13-14

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garden and City

From Blog09

Lord, you started us in a garden,
Planted in Eden,
Watered well, abundantly fruitful,
And something within me is refreshed
Every time I'm in a well-kept garden.

Yet you're aiming us for a city,
Walled and floored,
Watered well, abundantly fruitful,
And something within me longs deeply
For that holy city, New Jerusalem.

Lord, let me enjoy the gardens
And keep them
And tend them toward fruitfulness,
But prepare me for your city.
May I practice being an urban gardener for you.

I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
--Revelation 21:2, HCSB

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies with this notice, so long as you don't sell them, don't change the text and include this notice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Than All

From Blog09


Here's a song for the Lord's Day.

More than all my needs,
More than all my tears,
More than all my griefs,
More than all my fears...

You, Lord, are strong.
You, Lord, are wise.
You, Lord, are good,
My only prize.

Not just for today,
Nor this week nor year;
Not just until death;
Eternally.

Surpassing time
And all I've seen
And all I've dreamed.
Lord, I praise you.

Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places...

--Ephesians 1:3, ESV

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies so long as you include this notice and don't sell them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

When the News Hits Close to Home

From Blog09


This morning there was a terrorist blast in Indonesia. One of the people seriously injured is a fellow I know slightly. Pray for him.

A few weeks ago, a Brazilian airliner went down. One of the people who died was a fellow that I think I'd spoken with on the phone a time or two.

A few weeks ago, a famous abortionist was killed. One of my relatives knew him.

What's all of this say to me? At least two things.

Our world is more and more interconnected. What happens in one place affects people in many distant places. What you do today, or what I do, may have an impact on people thousands of miles away.

We're also not guaranteed that we'll have this life tomorrow. Tomorrow, we may be injured or dead or severely ill. We don't have that guarantee, but if we have Jesus, we have the guarantee of eternal life with him and the guarantee that the Lord has plans for our lives.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
--1 Peter 1:8-9, ESV

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting for the Lord

From Blog09

Lord, it's hard to wait for you,
To turn away from work and plans,
Turning from the things I do
To put the whole in your good hands.

When my words won't organize,
My plans go bad, my hopes run dry,
Reputation's cut to size--
I must wait. You're still on high.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.
--Lamentations 3:25, NKJV

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle.
You may print up to 100 copies with this notice, so long as you don't sell them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Wisdoms

From Blog09

Worldly wisdom grows and shows
Brashest pride in what it knows.
It thinks everyone should note
All the scholars it can quote.
It can reason day and night
Without coming to the Light.
It can promise fame and wealth,
At the cost of the soul's health.

Godly wisdom will submit
To the One who fashioned it.
It is humble from the start,
Knowing that it knows in part.
It is waiting for the day
When the partial's swept away
In the light of God's own throne
When we'll know as we are known.

Jews ask for miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but our message is that Christ was crucified. This offends Jewish people and makes no sense to people who are not Jewish. But to those Jews and Greeks who are called, he is Christ, God's power and God's wisdom. God's nonsense is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
--1 Corinthians 1:22-25, GOD'S WORD translation

Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle
You may print up to 100 copies with this notice, so long as you don't sell them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just a Weed

From Blog09

It's just a weed:
Wily, wild, determined,
Growing unwanted--
Except by bees
Brought by its beauty.
Lord, creator of bees, of weeds, of me,
All your works are wonderful.
If the world devalues me,
Help me see
It's fine to be
Just a weed
For passing bees.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
--Psalm 145:10, ESV

In the Bible, weeds are used as a picture of those who follow the devil. Yet sometimes one man's weed is another man's precious flower. Those of us who follow Jesus are weeds in the world's eyes, but precious in the Lord's sight.


Poem and photo ©2009 James L. Swindle
You may print up to 100 copies if you include the copyright notice, don't sell them and don't change the text.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Humility

From Blog09

A man I'll call Ted (not his real name) and his wife joined our church a few months back. They and their children are consistently present--Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night--and consistently cheerful. Ted introduced himself simply as Ted. This week I asked Ted what is daily work is. He said he worked at a certain medical facility. I asked what he does there. The answer? "I'm an emergency room doctor." I'm impressed with the fact that Ted is an MD, but I'm more impressed with the fact that he didn't mention it until he was pressed to do so. Through all of his years of schooling and residency he's earned society's respect, but he doesn't go around telling everyone about it.

His humility shows me my pride. How about you--are you quick to list your qualifications, or are you content to let the Lord take care of your reputation?

Father, erase me,
Wipe out, efface me.
Put me on the shelf
And show forth yourself.


God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
--James 4:6, ESV

Monday, July 06, 2009

Grace in the Battles

From Blog09


Only by grace we enter,
But the wars must be fought and won.
Only by grace we enter,
And fight 'til the battle's done.

God gives the plan,
And God gives the land,
But ours is the victory,
And we must stand!

Stand firm, then, brothers,
Stand firm in the Lord.
March forth, then, brothers,
And take up your sword.

God gives you victory,
Joy and delight,
But gives almost nothing
Without a good fight.


And he said to the people, "Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD."

--Joshua 6:7, ESV

Poem written March 24, 1993, while considering Joshua.
Public domain.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day?

From Blog09

In government, not God,
      Is now our nation's trust.
Instead of Bel or Molech,
      The Fed's sustaining us.
We legislate compassion,
      Borrowing yet more,
And pray we'll never need
      To face our credit score.
We hate the liar's loans
      That left us crippled here,
But say folks need to spend
      Still more and never fear:
We're printing cash to lead
      To economic health;
We're borrowing our way
      To ever-greater wealth.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD...
Psalm 33:12

Note: If you think you detect a satiric tone in this poem, you're right. I love the good things about my earthly country, but am deeply concerned about the direction we're taking. We don't need just a change of which party's in power. We need repentance.

Photo ©2009 James L. Swindle
Poem by JLS public domain.