Monday, June 28, 2010

The Pearl

From Blog10

I found the priceless pearl,
So vast and perfect, bright--
The finest in the world,
It radiated light.

I liquidated all--
It seemed an easy thing--
To answer its sweet call,
To hear this rare pearl sing.

I bought it as my own
And brought it home with me.
Since then, my home has known
Such light! Come in and see!

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
--Matthew 13:45-46

If your sort of Christianity hasn't cost you everything,
then it probably isn't worth anything.
On the other hand, if your Christianity is something you earned yourself,
Then you don't need Jesus, and you aren't really a Christian.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When My Flower Fixed Her Hair

You should have been there...
First she cut and dyed;
Then she washed and dried.
Then she gelled and combed
'Til not one hair roamed.
Step by step--she knew--
Her great beauty grew.
Oh, if you'd been there
When she fixed her hair!

From Blog10

Consider the lilies, how they grow:
they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,
even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.
--Luke 12:27

Thursday, June 24, 2010


From Blog10

Lost and broken, dead, undone,
I was Satan's evil son,
Headed to a sinner's grave:
I myself could never save.

But the Lord looked down to me
And in mercy set me free.
Sacrificing his dear Son,
He my victory has won.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

--Colossians 1:13-14

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why I Dance

From Blog10

In the middle of my serious faith--
Nations' destinies,
Eternal verities--
Came shouts of celebration,
Joyous whirling dance,
Songs of jubilation.
Who dare such sudden state
Of self-abandond partying?
No happenstance
This whirl of dance:
The LORD himself--
He'd started it.
How could I cling to my cold piety
Or keep my deep respectability?
He'd broken all my rules.
So, that is why I dance.

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Path Through the Sea

Jesus: exhausted
Yet never exhausted
Made his disciples
Leave by boat
While he dismissed the crowd.

He loved the crowd
He loved the disciples even more
And love the Father most of all

He was with the crowd
When they ate their fill
He must have eaten with them
But he was still hungry
Deep in his soul

He had to get away
To get alone
To go up the mountain to pray

We'll never know what was said
Nor what was left unsaid
In the depths of silent knowing

Did Jesus know how he'd re-unite
With the Twelve...
Or did he just obey, not knowing
But knowing his Father?

He prayed
That's all we know
That's all we need to know

He saw that they were struggling
Painfully plying the oars
Against the wind
And so he came to them
Late in the night

He simply walked out to them
Held up by water and faith
In the authority his Father had given him

He walked
And would have passed on by
But they cried out
Of a watery ghost

He calmed their fears
Climbed into the heaving boat
And all was calm
Except their beating hearts

Utterly astounded
They simply stared

...When they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."
--Mark 6:49-50

Friday, June 18, 2010


From Blog10

When a nation trusts in luck
Or in happy-thinking pluck,
It is "running out of luck."

When it thanks its lucky stars
(Maybe Jupiter and Mars),
It will soon have yet more scars.

Those with eyes begin to sense
After all the evidence,
Luck's a sham for Providence.

The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord.

--Proverbs 16:33 ESV

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stone Hearts, Sometimes Broken

From Blog10

I saw courage yesterday. I spent time with some street preachers. They go to places where people are waiting for something, and then they preach.

They preach loud.
They preach about God's law and our deep guilt.
They preach about the final judgment and the fires of hell.
They preach about God's provision of his own son as a sacrifice for us.
They preach about turning from our sins to Jesus.
They preach about new life in Christ.
They speak truth...and yet most people are not thankful to them.

Hearts of stone all sooty black
Still pretend a righteousness
Bargaining for peace and life
Hanging on to paths of death
Hearts of stone can't know they're dead
Swimming in sin as fish in sea

Jesus calls to life--breaks hearts
Just to fill them with himself
And then to use them as he wills.

When was the last time you told someone the good news of Jesus Christ?

...and they were all scattered...except the apostles...Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
--Acts 8:1,4

NOTES: The photo is of a quieter, one-on-one sort of street preaching. For more info about street evangelism, see this link.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coronation Souvenir

No matter how lofty the man,
No matter how fine the event,
A king can be shrunk to a span--
In moments his life is all spent.

No more does his word induce fears.
His power has passed with his days.
Outlasted by mere souvenirs,
Bright-colored while he fades to grays.

You return man to dust and say, "Return, O children of man!"
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning...

--Psalm 90:3-5, ESV

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the image and for the idea of writing about a coronation souvenir. For other people's writings on the same topic, follow the link.

When the Devil Shouts Your Name

From Blog10

When the devil shouts your name
Offering both peace and fame,
Calling you to come and dine--
"Do step in. The pleasure's mine"--
Resist him then with words of steel,
Quoted truth--not what you feel.
God's pure words will spoil his fun,
Make him turn his tail and run.
You will find the victory
Through the Lord. Believe and see!
The Lord will rescue you. You'll be
Safe and clean. He'll set you free!

So place yourselves under God's authority.
Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.
Come close to God, and he will come close to you.
Clean up your lives, you sinners,
and clear your minds, you doubters.

--James 4:7-8, GOD'S WORD translation

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Beautiful Places

From Blog10

Beautiful places refresh the soul,
Helping to make people fresh and whole.
They don't provide us eternal peace,
But they can give us a brief release
From all the ugliness life can bring.
Yes, they can help us rejoice and sing.
Thank God for places designed with grace;
Then still look forward to God's own place.

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
--Revelation 3:12

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Statue of Praise

To sing in a grand choir
with joy forever
eyes heart voice
lifted in praise
tasting the wonder
the majesty
the glory
of the All-Holy...

to know the relief
of sins forgiven
memory of forgottenness
depth of gratitude
for an execution
not mine
but mine
by faith
all this--my amazement

while television
demands a focus
on the temporary
one-day sale
breaking news
coming up next
more details at ten

all very definite
but not as concrete
as my song

...we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
--2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the image, which prompted this poem.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Mark, Prune, Fill

Mark me, Lord. Yes, mark for life
And not for death. Come, wield your knife
And cleanly slice my sinning heart
To cut away the wicked part.

Prune me, Lord. Yes, trim me clean
So fruit will come and not just green
Of showy leaves and shiny lies
All less than nothing in your eyes.

Fill me, Lord. Yes, fill me all
So full that any time I fall
Your grace will spill on all around
And splash on some 'til they are sound.

Mark me, prune me, fill me, Lord,
That I may claim the great reward
Of serving you with all I am
And singing praises to the Lamb.

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
--John 15:2 ESV

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
--2 Corinthians 1:21-22, ESV

©2010 James L. Swindle