Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fishing

From Blog09


Day by day
And night by night
You bring them near to us...
Unsuspecting, unaware,
Drawn to light but fleeing Light.

You've given us our fishing gear:
The boat of your church,
The oars of your love,
The bait of our testimony,
The net of your word,
And we must fish.

Other fishermen catch live fish
And leave them dead,
But we catch dead men
And leave them alive.

What grace, what love toward us,
To make us your fishers of men!


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

--Jesus, in Matthew 4:19

________________________________
Poem ©2009 James L. Swindle.
You may print up to 100 copies if you follow three rules:
*Include the copyright notice
*Don't sell them
*Don't alter the text

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aging

From Blog09


Lord,
Let me age gracefully--
Not with sad resignation
That gives up too early,
Nor with dyes and face-lifts
That pretend I'm 25,
But with honest lines
And sturdy gaze
And joyful expectation
Of eternity with you--
My body raised, revised
And clothed in latest holiness
Of your design,
Knowing you fully at last.

Dear friends, now we are God's children. What we will be isn't completely clear yet. We do know that when Christ appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is. So all people who have this confidence in Christ keep themselves pure, as Christ is pure.
--1 John 3:2-3, God's Word translation

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Need the Word

From Blog09

When Satan tempts--
My thoughts unkempt--
Deception's song
Calls loud, blares strong--
I need the word--
The sword I've heard--
To shine God's light
To put to flight
The devil's lies
And thus be wise.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.
--Colossians 3:16, World English Bible


Photo and poem ©2009 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies, so long as you include the copyright notice, you don't alter the text, and you don't sell them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More

From Blog09


Father, may I love you more--
    More than all my sin,
For I know my failing score;
    Need your power within.

Jesus, may I love you more--
    More than all beside,
For you are the Kingdom's door;
    You for me have died.

Spirit, may I love you more--
    More than self or health,
For you've opened up the store
    To all heaven's wealth.

Holy God, great Three-in-One,
    All! Take all of me,
And I know you have begun:
    You're the only good I see.

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

Photo and poem ©2009 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies, so long as you include the copyright notice, you don't alter the text, and you don't sell them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where's My Home?

From Blog09


No matter where I roam,
Nor what my riches are,
This world is not my home.
No, mine is greater far.

In heaven I belong.
Though I'm still living here,
I know it won't be long:
My Savior will appear.

The dead in Christ will rise
To meet him in the air--
I'll join him in the skies.
What joy in meeting there!

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ...
--Philippians 3:20, ESV

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

He Thunders in the Silence

From Blog09


He thunders in the silence
      of a child's calm sleep
      when fever breaks
and in the quiet of a peaceful Sabbath morning.

He roars in the pause before a baby's first gasp
And sings in the relief
      when cancer's gone
      or when the righteous is acquitted.

He shouts silently
      day by day
      and night by night.
He is near.
Do you hear?


From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made...

--Romans 1:20, HCSB


The idea for this poem came from Myra's blog.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Foods and Other Strange Teachings

From Blog09

I like food. Food is a gift from the Lord...yet food cannot make me holy. If I eat only organic food, or eat only kosher food, or eat only local food, I won't be one bit more holy than if I eat a bacon cheeseburger at McDonald's. I may be more healthy, but I won't be more holy. Yet there are people who make following such rules a major part of their morality.

People follow other strange teachings. I met a lady who thought that the best way to understand the Bible was to read it backward: start at the back; read the last page, then the previous page, and so on. There are people who think you cannot worship properly without an organ. There are people who think you cannot worship properly with an organ. There are people who think the essence of Christianity is taking lots of airplane trips to distant places to tell people that they should conserve energy. I met two young men who seemed to think they were more holy because they read only a "good cleaned-out King James Bible" with no notes. There are people who think they should do "temple work" to save their ancestors.

All of these are missing the point: Holiness is in the Lord. He can make us holy; we can sanctify ourselves (set ourselves apart as holy) to him. All of the strange teachings and rules of men won't make us any more holy. They will only make us odd and enslave us.

Are you holy? If so, how? By following strange teachings? Or by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Real Jesus

From Blog09


Give me no garage-sale Jesus,
    Pasted onto kitsch
    That matches my decor.
Give me the real Jesus--
    God and sweat,
    Mercy and fire.

Give me no corporation Jesus,
    Carefully groomed,
    Packaged in hypo-allergenic plastic.
Give me the real Jesus--
    God's pure image
    Dining with prostitutes.

Give me no philosophy-class Jesus,
    Limned in lofty phrases
    Signifying nothing.
Give me the real Jesus--
    Speaking God's deep truths
    In simple images.

Give me no politically-correct Jesus,
    Founded on fads,
    Sketchy on sin.
Give me the real Jesus--
    Convicted criminal
    Bearing my sin, not his.

Give me that Jesus, the real Jesus--
    Or no, don't.
    Already I'm his; he's mine.

Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
--John 14:6 HCSB

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
--Hebrews 13:8

Notes:
The photo is of a Bible from the year 1895. It's been re-bound and is still useful. How many science books of 1895 are still useful?
The phrase "garage-sale Jesus" is not original with me, but I found it striking.


Photo and poem ©2009 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies, provided that you include the copyright notice, you don't alter the text of the poem, and you don't sell them.