Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The End of Man

From Blog10

My friends, to bring sad news
Is not a joy to me, but you must know
That while we were not looking,
While we were busy with our work and play,
Our worship and our cooking,
Mankind died.
Every prince and princess,
Every common workman,
Every seamstress, every cleaning lady,
Every policeman, every temptress...
Man himself has disappeared
Into ungendered oblivion.
Is there still time to wake the dead,
To call for manly deeds made civil
By the application of a woman's grace?
Is there still time to call on God the Father
To restore our manliness or femininity?
By God's grace, it must be so.
He does the things impossible
And made a perfect woman
From manly Adam's rib.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

--Genesis 1:27

Monday, December 27, 2010

Humble Saints

From Blog10

Humble saints
Do God's work--
No complaints,
Build the church.

Will not boast
Over men.
Trust God most;
Flee from sin.

They won't swerve
Left or right.
They just serve,
Day and night.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. --Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV

The photo is of Priscilla. She and her husband have been married for more than 60 years. Both sing in our church choir. Priscilla decorates two bulletin boards each month.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bible Scholarship and History

My wife and I had recently recorded most of a History Channel program about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the spread of Christianity. It was hosted by Simcha Jacobovici, whom I'd not viewed before. The man is a compelling storyteller and a shoddy scholar. He would take a few shreds of evidence and make sweeping conclusions. He repeatedly said or presumed that nearly all of the Christians in Rome at the time of the eruption (79 AD) were Jews. Yet in Romans 16, written 22 years earlier, most of the people whom Paul greets have Greek or Roman names, not Jewish names.

Jacobovici trusted ancient graffiti (and his own theories about the ancient graffiti) completely, while ignoring the Bible's own testimony.

The secular world is offended by fanciful scholarship, but is generally much more offended by simple Christianity.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cold Snap

From Blog10

Here is a charming poem by a Christian singer/songwriter named Andrew Peterson. I know little about him, but I like the poem. I hope you will, too.

The photo above is my older brother. The ceramic frog in his lap was already about 25 years old. It now sits in my breakfast room.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You Can't Buy Christmas Down at Wal-Mart

From Blog10

You can't buy Christmas down at Wal-Mart
Or even at the Macy's store.
No, God gives Jesus and a new heart
That loves him always more and more.

You can't find meaning in the wrappings
Or in the finest candy cane.
You can't find Christmas in its trappings
Or in a year-end stock price gain.

You can't make peace with just some holly
And some whiskers and a big red suit.
You can't be saved just being jolly
While you're planning your next sex pursuit.

You can't buy Christmas down at Wal-Mart
Or even at the Macy's store.
No, God gives Jesus and a new heart
That loves him always more and more.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. --Romans 6:23

Monday, December 20, 2010

To Live Is Christ

From Blog10

For me to live
    Is life in Christ.
For me to die
    Is better yet.

Ye, if I live,
    I'll serve the LORD,
And if I die,
    I'll live with him.

To be with him
    Is much preferred,
And that will be
    My final lot.

Through Jesus Christ
    I'm clean; I'm new.
He washed me clean.
    He made me new.

      --         --         --

To be with You
    Day after day...
To be with You--
    That's where I'd stay.

To learn your ways
    And know your grace--
At last to gaze
    Upon your face,

Eons the same
    By your throne's fire--
This is my aim,
    My deep desire.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
--Philippians 1:21

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Handel's Messiah

From Blog10

Last night my wife and I and friends went to a presentation of Handel's "Messiah." It was excellent. It's some of the most glorious choral music ever written, and the words are all scripture. I'd recommend listening to it--live, if possible--the next time you have an opportunity. We went to the presentation at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Houston. If you don't have an opportunity to listen live, you can listen to a broadcast of it on the KHCB radio network (also available online) at 1 PM Central time on Sunday, December 19, 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How You Came

You could have come in majesty,
With splendid crowns and royal robes,
But came a simple, helpless babe
To people who were very poor.

You could have had a kingly bed
With satin sheets and silver posts
And golden netting up above,
But chose a feeding trough instead.

You could have had the emperor
Attend your coming on his knees,
But chose instead some shepherds who
Were ordinary as the night.

You could have saved the very rich
And left the rest to rot and burn,
But chose to come for all of us
Who'd turn to you in simple faith.

You showed us that the finer things
Aren't really very fine at all
When they're compared with just a babe
Who's very God in very flesh.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...
--John 1:14 ESV
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
--Luke 2:7 ESV

As you can tell from the poem, the striking photo is a huge misrepresentation of the Lord's birth. My thanks to Magpie Tales for the photo. Follow the link for other people's writings, based on the same photo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Wilderness of Words

From Blog10

A wilderness of words
So subtly blurs the truth
That men rejoice in lies
They learned in Sunday School
Or trust in fables read or
Learned at mothers' knees.
The lies grow plump and ripe
And hang from all the trees,
While myths bloom all around
And doubts float on the breeze...
And yet the sword of truth
Can hack away the brush
And shine and flash with life,
Alone in victory.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness...

--1 Timothy 4:7 ESV

For the source of the title phrase, look here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

God's Knitting

From Blog10

God's knitting
Isn't socks and sweaters and caps.
It's stars and cedars and Lapps.

He doesn't use yarn.
He uses nothing.

He doesn't use knitting needles.
He uses his word.

He never drops a stitch
Or has the wrong size
Or forgets to finish what he started.

Thank God for his knitting
All things together.

You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.

--Job 10:11

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Snow Day

Cold winds blow
Then comes snow
All is white
Bright at night
Morning sun
Calls for fun
School is out
Children shout
Clear blue sky
Snowballs fly
Sleds flash past
Wow! That's fast!
Great play's chosen
Until frozen
Ears and toes
Fingers, nose
Call us in
Peel off skin
Of gloves, boots
And snow suits
And at three
Drink some tea

God thunders wondrously with his voice;
      he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
      likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.

--Job 37:5-6 ESV

Poem ©2010 James L. Swindle
My thanks to Magpie Tales for the wonderful image. Follow the link to see other people's thoughts about the sled.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Global Warming

From Clean Cartoons

Coming ice age
Global warming
Climate change
      Changing buzzwords
      Of our fears

Humble dominion
      Better buzzwords
      Of our faith

Coming judgment
Global burning
Climate gone
      No more buzzwords
      Of our own

A new heaven
A new earth
      Not mere buzzwords
      Solid hope

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Open on Christmas

From Blog10

Not a baby and a virgin in a stable,
But some cigarettes and a clerk in a convenience store
Are the new religion of so many...
    A pleasure here,
        A dollar or a hundred there,
    And God is soon forgotten,
Relegated to some upper channels on the TV
    Where hucksters hawk
        And preach a faith
            That's made them rich.

Please tell people once again
Of God in flesh
    Who didn't come down the chimney in a red suit.
Bring them to the stable,
    To the Christ child,
That they may eventually go
    Not just to the convenience store
But to the heavenly city.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14 ESV)

NOTE: "Immanuel" in Hebrew means "God with us."

This particular post is public domain. Copy or reproduce the photo or the text any way you wish.