Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kymani Update #2

I'd written earlier (here and here) of my young relative Kymani and his cancer. Some days after his surgery, they did a radioactive test using what's considered a reliable tracer, and found no more cancer. No further treatment was recommended, and he's gaining weight again. It's as good a health report for him as we could possibly ask.

Join me in thanking the Lord.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Payment

From Blog10

Lord, if I weep
And stern fasts keep
And say my prayer
Before I sleep,
I still can't pay
The price--too steep!--
That me will keep
From hellfire deep.

And if in praise
[With joyous phrase]
My hands I raise
To where you blaze
In ageless days,
This all still pays
For naught of days
I set my gaze
To spurn your ways.

You paid it all--
Sins large and small--
On cross so tall
Beneath a pall
Midst mockers' call
When wrath did fall
With bitter gall--
One death for all.

Then on third day
You rose to say
You broke death's sway--
And now we may
Go free and stay
Within your way--
No more to pay--
Through endless day.

We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all.
--Hebrews 10:10, GOD'S WORD translation

Thursday, August 26, 2010

100th Anniversary of Mother Teresa's Birth

Today (August 26, 2010) is the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth. She was an amazing combination of grit, compassion, courage and persistence. She's considered a saint by most. Yet (and in this I must disagree with my dear brother-in-Christ Romanós) there's significant reason to doubt that she really knew the Lord Jesus. I say that not because she was Roman Catholic, but because her theology and her practice were grossly deficient in several respects. She seems to have believed that all religions lead to eternal blessing. She seems to have depended on good works, not on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I don't claim to know what was in her heart, and I don't claim to have as much courage as she had. I don't desire to trash her memory, nor to deny that she was a remarkable woman from whom we can learn much. Still, unless a person is truly in Christ, that person is not in the Lord's kingdom. Did she really know Jesus? She showed sacrificial love, but she denied basic, elementary spiritual truth of Jesus. The Lord knows all, and will deal wisely with her as with all.

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1 John 5:11-12 ESV)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sin's Promises

From Blog10

Sin promises life,
    but it's dead.
Sin promises a straight path,
    but its path is twisted.
Sin promises light,
    but it's darkness.
It promises wholeness,
    but it's broken.
Sin promises truth,
    but consists of lies.
Sin promises freedom,
    but yields slavery.
Sin promises to take care of people,
    but it eats them up.
Sin promises wisdom,
    but it's foolishness.
____________________________________
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
    to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
    and let me not eat of their delicacies!

                --Psalm 141:4 ESV

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blurry

From Blog10


When your road's confusing--
Blurry signs ahead,
And you might be choosing
What will leave you dead,
There's a way of knowing
Peace that very day:
Trust God as you're going.
He will lead the way.


And your ears shall hear a word behind you,
saying, "This is the way, walk in it,"
when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

--Isaiah 30:21

This promise is for the obedient believer, not for the person who's just curious about the future but unwilling to obey.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Purify

From Blog10

Father, do a work in me,
Purifying more and more
Not just actions people see:
Purify my heart, my core.


Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

(Psalm 51:2 ESV)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Night Scene

From Blog10


Today, a fiction poem for you.

Beneath the curdled moon
Where dark and silver play
I tripped beside a tomb
That wailed for yesterday.

A statue stared at me
No shame, no gathered guilt--
As young as old could be
By long-past labor built.

It gave a windy moan
And whispered ancient lies
While dewy marble shone
From mold-mascaraed eyes.


Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

--1 Corinthians 4:5

Poem ©2010 James L. Swindle

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Generic God

From Blog10


You may be a religious man.
You may be a spiritual woman,
But if you don't know Jesus Christ,
You have never known God.

You may be a Bible scholar.
You may quote it perfectly,
But if you don't know Jesus Christ,
You have never known the Bible.

You may be respectable,
Honored by the world around,
But if you crave your own glory,
You've missed the glory that's from God.

You may justify yourself.
You may quote your favorite verse,
But if you're missing Jesus Christ,
You stand guilty, lost in sin.

(This posting is a paraphrase of Jesus' rebuke in John 5:37-47.

My pastor preached on that passage this morning.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aging



I'm getting older now.
My windows aren't as clear.
The shingles start to fall.
The paint has lots of lines.
The plumbing's getting clogged
And sometimes springs a leak,
And all the hinges creak.

But still I look ahead
To joyful, fruitful years
With Jesus Christ the King.
I see abundant life.
I see his faithfulness.
I see sufficient strength
And rising from the dead.

Even when you're old, I'll take care of you. Even when your hair turns gray, I'll support you. I made you and will continue to care for you. I'll support you and save you.
--Isaiah 46:4, GOD'S WORD translation

My thanks to Willow at Magpie Tales for the photo that prompted this poem. For other people's thoughts about the same photo, follow the link.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Building Pyramids for Pharaoh, or Building the Temple of the Living God

From Blog10

My online friend Romanós quotes Elder Païsios warning us that if we squander our strength on what's superfluous, then give God our tiredness and yawns when we pray, we may find ourselves building pyramids for Pharaoh.

How about you...this very day, are you building the Temple of the Lord, built of living stones (human hearts), or are you building pyramids for Pharaoh?


As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

--1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV

Lord, thank you for beautiful buildings and earthly successes (both our own and those of others), but forgive us for aiming at this world instead of the world to come; for aiming at the seen instead of the unseen. Open our eyes more and more to spiritual reality.

Monday, August 09, 2010

My Sin

From Blog10

I hate my sin.
It gnaws at my soul and soils my spirit.
It hides until I'm vulnerable,
    then jumps out.
It lies, manipulates, deceives,
    and yet it cannot win.
I've been bought
    and washed
        and sealed.
Some day I will see the One who rescued me--
    and on that day, my sin won't follow me.

But nothing unclean will ever enter it,
nor anyone who does what is detestable or false,
but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

--Revelation 21:27

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Watering Can

From Blog10

What's an old watering can to you?
Maybe not much. But to me it waters memories.
I see Grandpa and Grandma,
    masters of water in western Nebraska--
Watering by day, watering by night,
Channeling melted mountain snow water
    into fields of beans and corn and sugar beets
    that bought farms and educations
    and the house where the banker had lived,
    and helped build a church--
Watering gardens, watering flowers, watering house plants
    until one was taller than Grandpa himself.
This old can brings galvanized memories of generals in the war on drought.

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.

                            --Proverbs 11:25


I think the can in this photo was made by my wife's uncle Al, who was a tinsmith. He wasn't a good man, but judging from the can, I'd say he was a good tinsmith.

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the idea of writing about a watering can. You can follow the link to see other people's thoughts about watering cans.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Redemption



Redemption. The very word kicks me in my pride--
To think that I, so virtuous, should need to be redeemed!

Redemption is for things at a pawn shop
Or for smelly slaves--poor things!
But for me?
Sadly, yes. My sin's been black as hell,
And that's where I got my ideas,
Though I didn't know it or admit it.
I thought I was intelligent, reasonable, refined.
Little did I know that I was foolish, stubborn, blind.
Little did I know--but the Lord knew!
He knew my enslavement,
And he redeemed me!
Not only that, but the price was beyond my imagining:
His perfect son, mocked, tortured, executed...
To redeem me and others like me.

Redemption. It's my joy,
Now that I died with him
To rise to new life.
I love it and cannot live without it--
Redemption.

In overflowing anger for a moment
      I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
      says the LORD, your Redeemer.

--Isaiah 54:8, ESV

Kymani Update

Kymani's surgery went well. His tumor was cancerous. They're doing more tests. Pray that the Lord will continue to work in him and in his family.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Pray for a Child, Kymani

From Blog10

Here's a photo of my step-grand-nephew Kymani, who's 10 months old. He's scheduled for cancer surgery on Wednesday, August 4. Pray for him and for his family. I don't know of any of his close family who are Christians in the evangelical or Orthodox sense. May the Lord guide the medical personnel, and may he work in the whole family. May he also show me the best ways to love them.

Perfect and Clear

From Blog10

Perfect and clear as a bauble of glass,
So is the truth:
All of a unit,
All from one Breath,
All of it clear, clean and pure.
Only the bubbles of repetition
And deep pockets of enfolded truth
Make it less clear
To our limited eyes.

LORD, may we believe it
      and live it
            and love it--
Because, after all, it is the truth.


Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth.

--John 17:17

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

(John 14:6 ESV)