Friday, February 26, 2010

I Wait

From Blog10

I wait for splitting sky
And blaring trumpet,
For this age ended and next begun.
I wait for archangelic announcement
And for the Lord himself
  Descending
       With the clouds.
I wait for graves cracked open,
   Empty chrysalises.

I wait for rising up to meet him in the air.
I wait for being with the Lord
    Forever.
I wait and purify myself
(Though really he's the one
Who purifies me.)
I wait until that day.

And so, come, Lord Jesus.

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

--1 John 3:2-3

Photo ©2010 and poem public domain by James L Swindle

Note: In discussing 1 John 3:3 with a friend, I learned that he and I saw it differently. Does seeing God as he is cause us to be pure, or does being pure enable us to see God as he is? The commentaries, it turns out, are split. Matthew Henry saw it both ways. I'm not sure which way the apostle John meant it, but both possible interpretations lead to truth.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Treasures for the Taking

From Blog10

The Lord gives treasures for the taking.
Freely strewn, they're all around--
These priceless gifts of his own making--
Whether clouds or weedy ground.

Do not despise his gracious giving.
Lift your voice in hearty praise
For that grace by which you're living.
Celebrate his wondrous ways.

And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so.
--Genesis 1:11

Pray for a Child, Continued

My 8-year-old friend, Mason, who has a brain tumor, is back in the hospital and declining rapidly. Pray for him and for his family. He, his father (a single parent) and his mother have all been baptized in the past 14 months. These have to be horribly difficult days for all of them and for Mason's twin brother.

Pray that they will hang on to the Lord, no matter what happens. We've all prayed for healing, of course, but the Lord has not granted that, at least not yet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Photos: Patterns (a day late)

From Blog10

There's beauty in order, even in pattern-upon-pattern. I like this combination of three patterns: The pressed wood, the wood grain, and the shadows of the blinds. The Lord can take the existing patterns of our lives and turn them into something amazingly beautiful. He built the grain into you. Are you now letting him shape you and shine on you and reflect back from you until the beauty shines?

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. --2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pre-Dawn Wind

From Blog10


The house rattled nervously in the wind,
Waiting for the dawn.
A cat couldn't settle down.
His nose and his ears
Were overwhelmed with smells
And sounds of distant places,
While my wife and I lay awake in bed,
Each pretending to sleep,
So as not to wake the other.

He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.--Psalm 78:39

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter Olympians

From Blog10

Athletes training, straining
Toward a goal,
Always aching, breaking,
Never whole.

Twisting, jumping, pumping
To a music beat;
Wildly racing, placing
In a heat.

Legends spinning, winning
Bronze or gold,
But soon aging, raging--
Bodies old.

...for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
--1 Timothy 4:8

Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.
--2 John 1:8

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Photo: Every child's a gift from God.

From Blog10


Don't forget to be thankful for children. Don't forget to learn from them. The Lord tells us that we can't enter the kingdom of heaven unless we become like little children. Trust God with simplicity.

Unholy Trio

From Blog10


The world has a mantra that pulls on our lust:
    It looks good!
    It feels good!

        and
    You will be proud!
This unholy trio has worked since the day
When Satan tricked Eve and she ate of the fruit
That God had forbidden on stern threat of death.

The devil's still using that trio of lures:
    It looks good!
    It feels good!

        and
    You will be proud!
They still pull men's lusts, and they still lead to death.
Resist them. Resist them. Resist them and live!

Come helpless to Jesus. Believe on his name.
    The LORD will give goodness
        And pleasure
            And life.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. --1 John 2:15-17, NKJV

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Burn, Holy Fire

From Blog10


Burn, holy fire.
Kindle full flame,
Bright with desire:
Must praise God's name!

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
--Ephesians 5:18-20

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Temptation

From Clean_Cartoons

The demons bait the lure and tie it to the hook of sin.
They cast the line and wait for our response,
Knowing that the bait will match
The warped desires within our souls.
The Lord provides a way of escape,
A lifeline for our tempted souls.
We face a choice:
To trust the Lord
Or to chomp the bait,
And with the bait the hook,
That wicked hook of sin and death.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
--James 1:13-14

Friday Photo: Reflected Shore (a day late)

From Blog10


"...they found rich, good pasture, and the land was very broad, quiet, and peaceful..." --1 Chronicles 4:40

We can find our peace in the Lord, even when life's storms swirl around us.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Life Savings

From Blog10

All the things I think I must /
Accumulate may turn to rust. /
Earthly goods--all mine today-- /
Flood or fire may sweep away, /
Leaving me a refugee, /
Homeless, wrapped in misery. /
But the things I give away /
Store my wealth for God's great Day. /

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
--Matthew 6:19-20, ESV


Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.

--Proverbs 19:17, ESV

Photo ©2010 James L. Swindle. Poem by JLS is public domain, 2010.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Baptism in Ephesians 4:5

Craig, on his blog "Just a Simple Guy," has written concerning the meaning of "one baptism" in Ephesians 4:5. The verse says there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." What is that one baptism?

Most commentators say it's baptism in water, into the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Some commentators say it's baptism in or by the Holy Spirit.

Craig has leaned toward the view that it's the baptism Jesus underwent for us when he died on the cross; that it's Jesus' identification with us. (I'm simplifying here.)

I've leaned toward the view that it's baptism into the Name of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, which has two parts: the part where someone baptizes us with water, and the part where Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.

I commented there, including a summary...
Whatever interpretation we take, I think we can agree on certain things:
1. Baptism should unite, not divide, true Christians.
2. Baptism is the God-given initiation into life as a believer.
3. There’s a sense in which Jesus is baptized for us, a sense in which Jesus baptizes us in the Spirit, and a sense in which someone baptizes us in water as a sign of new life in God (especially in Jesus).


Do you have any further insights for Craig or for me? (If basically for him, leave it on his blog; if basically for me, leave it on mine. Remember that neither of us will permit you to use our space for bashing sound Christians who don't fully agree with you.)