Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ancient Faith in the Suburbs

From Blog10

Ancient faith
New-built in the suburbs
In plaster and concrete, glass and metal
Of One who doesn't change
Ancient of days
His loving-kindness lasts to eternity

He never changes
Is always there
But the parking-lot gates are locked

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

This beautiful building is in the western suburbs of Houston. Although the gates were locked, I was able to walk around them and take photos. See here and here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Railroad Rights

From Blog10

Out where the railroad's arrow-straight
And flat as a line on plywood,
Rails stretch for ruthless miles.
Trees stretch too, for sun,
And try to reclaim their native land.

The railroad, proud Pharaoh,
Has won for now.
It owns the land--the timber, too.
But wait a thousand years (if you have them),
And my money's on the trees.

He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.

Job 19:10

Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

--1 Chronicles 16:33

Poem and photo ©2010 James L. Swindle

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When All the World Is Glittering

When all the world is glittering
With all that's new,
With all that's rich;
When mortal men are lifted up
And seem like gods,
And act like gods,
It's hard to se the one true God--
The highest One,
The nearest One.
The lesser brightness hides the best.
It hides the truth.
It hides the light.
So, thank you, Lord, for gloomy days
That show our need,
That show our sin.
Beyond the frowning gloom we find
The light of love,
The God of grace.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
--Romans 8:28, ESV

Poem ©2008 James L. Swindle. Written February 26-27, 2006.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Politician

From Blog10

I'm conservative--or liberal, as you choose.
I call you to fight for our deeply-held views.

We must work for change, renewal that will last
And preserve the glory of our wondrous past.

Let's fight hard against waste and bloat
And spend millions on a pleasure boat.

We must fully trust the people of this land
And require participation in my new plan.

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
--James 5:12

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jesus Visits His Home Town

From Blog10

Listen to that carpenter!
Where'd he get those mighty words?
Where'd he get those mighty deeds?
Not from scholarship, we know!
He's just ordinary folks,
Plain as us--no, plainer yet--
He's the guy who made my door!
We know his whole family...
All his brothers, sisters, too.
All of them are regular,
Nothing special, common, low.
Now he comes with men in tow,
Twelve who think he's something great.
He comes teaching, like he knows
More than us about the Lord!
Will he do some mighty work?
No, he can't! He's just like us.

That is how Christ's oldest friends
Missed Messiah in their town.

"...Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
--Mark 6:3, ESV

Now, what about us? Is pride keeping us from seeing the truth that's right in front of us?

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where's Any Help?

What do you say to a friend who's going through a challenging time? What do you say when someone feels all alone?

Recently, a Christian friend was going through one of life's many challenges: an exam or a court date or a surgery or a job interview or something similar. Friends and relatives left comments on Facebook. One wished her good luck. Another said, "I'm sure everything will turn out all right." Another said, "We'll be thinking of you."

The people who left those comments meant well, I'm sure. Their words were kind; they were compassionate; but they were not Christian. The Bible knows nothing of luck. It knows the sovereign LORD. The Bible doesn't recommend mere positive thinking. It certainly doesn't recommend worrying. It calls for us to pray to the LORD and to trust in him.

Where do you put your trust?

Proverbs 16:23 says,
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

Psalm 121 begins with these words:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Watch--The Time Has Come

"Watch," he said, "the time has come."
But what, then, did he mean?
The time has come for us to watch?
Or has the time come for the watch?

Look, now: The watch's time has come.
It's watched in cities and in towns,
At dawn and in the twilight
And in the deepest time of night.

Look again: Watch! The time has come!
It's time to turn your life around,
To turn and trust in Jesus Christ
Before He comes to judge your life!

"Watch," I say, "The time has come."

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
--Jesus, in Matthew 25:13

Photo credit: Magpie Tales.
Turning from self and sin ("repentance," in theology-speak) is both a duty and a gift. After you turn, you discover that the power wasn't your own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wishing for Something

I'm posting this photo as a test; I'll see whether it works with the new Blogger templates and Internet Explorer 8. This photo is posted twice; once by choosing "Hide Album Link" and once by clicking Blogger's Compose tab and then the Insert Image button.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In the Beginning

From Blog10

Before the countless worlds
Were ever yet unfurled,
Before the universe,
The Word was.

The Word was there with God--
There was no other "where"--
The Word was there with God
And was God.

So strangely Two yet one,
So strangely One yet Two,
And with the Spirit Three
And yet One.

Beyond all evidence,
Beyond our highest sense,
In burning innocence,
The Word was.

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
--John 1:1

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Face-to-Face with History

From Blog10

The past is all around us
And soon we'll be the past.
The present's always with us,
But it will never last.

Eternity is coming
Much faster than we think.
Our entire life is passing
And ending in a blink.

O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!

--Psalm 39:4

Note: The bust is of the explorer LaSalle. It's located in Navasota, Texas, and was a gift from the French Committee for the Bicentennial of the Independence of the United States and the Association France-Amerique to commemorate the 333rd anniversary of the explorer's birth in Rouen, France, November 23, 1976. LaSalle was killed by his own men, probably near where Navasota now stands.

Poem and photo ©2010 James L. Swindle

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Roadside Crosses

From Blog10

Roadside crosses     
Speak of the coming of the Lord     
Or of Edison.     

They speak of truth unchanging     
Or of things alternating as Tesla's current.     

They call us to forsake this world     
      and focus on the ethereal     
Or to look away from heaven     
      and focus on the electrical.     

Roadside crosses speak,     
Pointing this way...and that.     

"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
--Jesus, in John 12:32 (ESV)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Resurrection Morning Prayer

From Blog10

Father, may your people praise your name
May they glory in your beauty and your grace.
As they come into your presence, may they put away
In humility may they hear the words of life
      And treasure them
            And treasure you
                  And treasure one another
Until they're lost in wondrous celebration
And leave in newness
Through faith in your son Jesus,
Who is himself the resurrection and the life.


I will extol you, my God and King,
      and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
      and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
      and his greatness is unsearchable.

--Psalm 145:1-3, ESV

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Texas Flowers

From Blog10

This is the season when the bluebonnets and other wild flowers in east Texas are beautiful.

From Blog10

From Blog10

The cultivated flowers can be beautiful, also. My wife and I loved seeing this old rose bush.
From Blog10

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Lord's Supper

From Blog10

Blood of Lamb, poured out for us,
Shed upon a rough-hewn cross--
Price of sin, now cleansing us,
Purifying at great cost--

Bread of life, that broke for us,
Pierced upon a cross of wood--
Food for spirit, fresh for us:
Eat and live, friend, if you would.

Simple bread and simple wine,
Common as the rising sun--
But we meet here the divine:
Blood and body of God's Son.

Come with rev'rence; come with awe,
Share with others whom you know--
Free at last from sin and law!
Drink and live, then humbly go.

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."

                --Luke 22:19-20