Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

From Blog10

Monday is Memorial Day in the USA. It's a day when we remember those who died in our nation's wars. Patriotism can be a good thing if we remember that any goodness in our country is merely a dim reflection of the perfection of the Lord's Kingdom.

Here's a poem I wrote some years ago for Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


From Blog10

Please don't splat
Stretch full length
Feats of strength
Next you try
Soaring high
Whirl around
Down to ground
Preen and prance
Do a dance
Juggle balls
Not one falls
Then--that's that!

Are You Ready to Be Holy?

Are you ready to be holy,
Trusting Jesus Christ alone?
Are you ready to be wholly
At his service, not your own?

Are you ready to be hated
For the message that you bring?
If they twist the truth you've stated,
Will you grouse, or will you sing?

Will you be a holy witness
Both by day and late at night,
Though they call you vile and witless
And attack your shining light?

Are you ready to be solely,
Wholly, praising Jesus' name?
Are you ready to be holy?
If not, slink away in shame.

When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful,
for he had great possessions.

--Matthew 19:22 ESV

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
--1 Thessalonians 5:22-23, ESV

The thoughts in this poem challenge me. I present them aimed not just at you, but also at myself.

The photo is ©2010 by James L. Swindle. This particular poem is public domain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Henry VIII

Henry was an athlete king,
Crowned with gold upon his head,
Never lacking anything,
Wealth nor wives to grace his bed.

England shook at his command:
Even at his whim they must
Do the bidding of his hand...
But now he's sleeping in the dust.

Gone is all his royal pride
And his great pomposity.
Look--A spout sprouts from his side,
And he waits to serve us tea.

The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!

--Lamentations 5:16

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Walking Duck

This friendly duck was walking, but it's wonderfully suited to swimming and to flying. The duck does all of those naturally, without attending any formal classes.

If we've really come to know the Lord, we've received a new nature. We'll start to walk like a Christian. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We may not follow our new nature perfectly, but it's real, and it does show.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Catching Dead Fish

When I catch fish, they come alive.
I find them dead. They leave alive.

I find them--beautiful or crude--
But they are dead. They're not alive.

The Fisher calls them, and they come--
Float to my nets and wake--alive!

His Spirit swiftly cleans them all;
Removes their scales; they see--alive!

The sea has fish I'll never catch.
They will not hear; won't come alive.

Yes, there are fish forever dead
That float, despising those alive.

When I catch fish, they come alive.
I find them dead. They leave alive.

And he said to them, “Follow me,
and I will make you fishers of men.”

--Matthew 4:19

Bonus: Here's another, totally different take on the photo.


Imagine that you're poor and hungry. Someone offers you free much as you want. You glance on tables in the distance and see stacks and stacks of fish. You thank the person from the heart and walk over to the table, only to find...that they're not real fish at all. They're artificial, excellent models, but just models. You don't need decor. You need a meal. You stumble on bitterly. You come to someone else. He offers you a fish, just one...but it's a real fish, and he's even cooked it for you. This time, you thank him, and your stomach is filled with the gift of a fish.

Jesus said, "...For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:8-11)

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the photo and for prompting me to write about fish; also to Nothing Hypothetical for the format of the poem.

Friday, May 21, 2010

When Dreams Wait

From Blog10

Sometimes dreams are packed away,
Boarded up to stand and wait,
Hoping for another day:
Will it come? Is it too late?

Dreams of men may come and go,
Rise and soar or wilt and die;
But God's promises, I know,
All are truth. They never lie.

You can lean on them, full-strength,
Resting on them your full weight.
You will see them true at length--
Each fulfilled! Not one too late.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end--it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.

--Habakkuk 2:3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thanks After a Year

One year ago today, a young friend of mine received a kidney transplant from a non-relative living donor. The doctors said it was as good a match as a sibling would usually be. Today my friend's feeling like a normal, healthy teen. Transplant recipients usually have one or more rejection episodes in the first year. He's had none. We give thanks to the Lord.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I know little of affliction,
Little of the pain of paying
For the force of my conviction.
So, then, am I only playing?

No. If martyrdom is nearing,
Brought with waves of persecution,
Then, rejoicing and not fearing
May I face my execution.

Millions walked this way before me,
Holy, facing deadly strife,
Walking straight the road to glory,
Death the door to enter life.

If such trials skip on past me
And I never face the sword,
May I, dying to myself, be
Faithful to the only Lord.

Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
--2 Corinthians 1:7

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blue China Plate

The blue China plate
From which we all ate
So many years ago
Now sits on its edge,
And only to dredge
Quick memory...or slow.

The love that we spoke
And the cups that we broke
Now all come back to me
And serve up a meal
That seems fresh and real
...Yet it's a memory.

The faces we knew,
Those years that we grew,
Are gone and in the ground,
But I see them still;
Inside me they will
Still speak without a sound.

So, whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.

--1 Corinthians 10:31

This poem is fiction, based on an idea from Magpie Tales, from which I borrowed the photo. I'm NOT saying that we should listen for messages from the dead nor that we should talk to the dead; the Bible warns us against those practices. (See Isaiah 8:19.) Yet there can be something healthy in remembering days long gone, especially if it reminds us that our days here are limited.

Consider this particular poem of mine public domain.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't Just Try

No more trying to repent--
    Just repent.
No more trying to love--
    Just love.
No more trying to evangelize--
    Just evangelize.
No more trying to worship--
    Just worship.
No more trying to trust--
    Just trust.

Jesus didn't just try to do anything.
    Whatever he did, he did--
        Without hurry,
    Without worrying about success or failure.

We're tempted to make excuses
    Claiming we're trying.
It's time to quit trying and start doing--
    By his grace.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
--1 Corinthians 16:13
The main idea for this post came from a post by RomanĂ³s. I´d wanted to give credit, but had forgotten where until he reminded me in a comment.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Frazzled Christians

Our nerves are frayed
And we just grope
For any hope
(No faith displayed).

Then love casts out
That tyrant Fear.
Christ draws us near--
All peace, no doubt.

Pure hope's alive
Beyond the fear
That choked us here:
In Christ we thrive.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
For fear has to do with punishment,
and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

--1 John 4:18

Father in heaven,
we hand you our worries and our fears,
trusting you to deal with each situation
for our ultimate good and for your glory.

©2010 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies for non-commercial use, so long as you include the copyright notice. For other uses, contact the author.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Today, a look at unusual signs.
Be sure your street's name implies that only wealthy people live there.
From Signs

Or maybe not.

Always be sure your crawfish knows where to park.

Be sure to park in the right lot.

Eat healthy food.

Keep on the straight path.

And always make sure your message is clearly understood.

Hmm...what kind of signs do people see in my life?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lonely Moon

From Blog10

A lonely moon rose slowly through the trees--
A giant paper lantern
In frosty haughtiness,
Witness to a million stories
It's never told.

It kept its icy silence once again,
But whispered to the cats
That if they watched closely,
They might see a mouse.

He made the moon to mark the seasons;
    the sun knows its time for setting.
You make darkness, and it is night,
    when all the beasts of the forest creep about.

            --Psalm 104:19-20, ESV

Photo public domain and poem ©2010 James L. Swindle

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Message in a Bottle

From Blog10

Bottle's scuffed and stained,
But the message came through, safe.
Message from another time,
Message from another shore--
Oddly distant, oddly current:
Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Words I've heard before
In the Book, from the Savior,
After the tower of Siloam fell and killed twelve men
(No worse sinners, they)
And also from a friend whose repentance failed,
Whose life collapsed.

Now there's a message in a bottle once again,
Or really, not even a bottle--
In a clay pot, chipped and cracked,
Nothing fine to look at.
Same message, different vessel:
This time, I'm the bottle, the pot,
And you?
You just opened the message.
What will you do with it?

I hear that the divine bottle-washer
Is happy to clean up bottles like you.

With credit to Writers Island for the idea of writing about a message in a bottle.
Photo ©2010 and poem public domain by James L. Swindle


From Blog10

The armadillo wears his armor
Everywhere he goes.
He's prepared for far more
Danger than he knows.

We've been given armor, too--
Shield and belt and sword
That can keep us safe and true:
Armor from the Lord.

We'll be ready when the fight
Hits us hard and sore
If we wear it day and night--
Soldiers fit for war.

"...take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days."
--Ephesians 6:13, God's Word traslation

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