Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gehazi

Hanging around
On sanctified ground,
Gehazi waas greedy...
Spiritually needy.
Telling some lies
To get a big prize,
He got the reverse:
An unending curse.

You can read the story of Gehazi here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Undecided

From Blog11

Are you neutral, undecided?
You won't stay that way for long.
You must serve the risen Savior
Or oppose his name as wrong.

He won't bless the undecided.
He will judge them...spit them out.
Will you trust Him? Seek His favor?
Or stay buried in your doubt?

Do you think you'll choose him later?
That's a foolish game to play.
He is Lord as well as Savior.
If you hear him, now's the day.

You can't come without his mercy.
Don't presume upon that grace.
You may die. Your heart may harden.
Either way, there's hell to pay.

Come to Jesus. Come for mercy.
Throw away your fear and doubt.
Come to Jesus. If you're coming,
He will never cast you out.

Are you neutral, undecided?
You won't stay that way for long.
You must serve the risen Savior
Or oppose his name as wrong.

He won't bless the undecided.
He will judge them...spit them out.
Will you trust Him? Seek His favor?
Or stay buried in your doubt?

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
--1 Kings 18:21

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Odd Churches

From Blog11

Thanks be to God
For churches odd
Who worship wrong
With weirdest song...
Who sit or stand
In ways unplanned;
Whose teaching's strange,
Beyond my range.

Whatever's done
Through Christ, God's son,
Is for the Lord,
And he'll reward
Those churches odd
Who serve our God.

For the one who is not against us is for us.
--Jesus, in Mark 9:40

Notes: What's odd to me may not be odd to you, and vice-versa. It IS important what churches believe and how they worship. There are limits beyond which they cannot go, if they are faithful to the Lord. Yet those limits certainly extend beyond my denomination, and they often extend beyond my comfort range. My guess is that at least one of the churches pictured seems odd to you, but the one that's odd to you may not be odd to the next reader of this post.

From Blog 11 Added Illustrations


From Blog11

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Would You Love Me?

From Blog11


Would you love me once you'd seen
That my feet were big and green?
Would you love me if my nose
Was all crooked, bunched in rows?

Could you love the kind of fellow
Who had fingers bright and yellow?
Will you love me when I'm old
And I'm wrinkled, or I mold?

If you can't see past my skin,
I don't want to let you in.
Can you see what's down inside?
Tell me. I don't want to hide.

For the Lord sees not as man sees:
man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart.

--1 Samuel 16:7

Poem and photo ©2011 James L. Swindle

Monday, February 14, 2011

Salt of the Earth



They say he's the salt of the earth.
He looks very proper and straight,
But sometimes he winks when I'm late.
I wonder, though, how much he's worth.

His truck looks all dented and tired.
His jacket? The elbows are bare.
His hat's not as good as my spare,
And yet...he still leaves me inspired.

He loves everyone from their birth
And loves them right up to their death.
There's purity right on his breath.
I'd say he's the salt of the earth.


In Matthew 5:13, Jesus said to his disciples, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty?"

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the image. For other people's thought about salt, follow the link.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hypocrisy

From Blog11


I hate my hypocrisy
The all's-well smile
The pious look
That often has hidden
A heart where demons
Were frequent visitors
Or ruled the night

Forgive me for wanting
My reputation
More than your glory
My pride
More than your holiness

Drive out the devil
Banish his minions
Flood to the full
And heal my heart whole

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

(Psalm 51:2 ESV)

I wrote this after reading a friend's courageous Facebook post about his struggles with particular sins. In writing it, though, I was thinking of my sins, not his.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Unroll the Scroll

From Blog11


Unroll the scroll
Release the word
To speak from parchment
Into human hearts

Proclaim the name
Of Christ who came
From heights of heaven
Down to live on earth

Declare the snare
Of Satan's lies
That would pollute us
Just to block our prize

Unroll the scroll
Release the word
To speak from parchment
Into human hearts


Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.

      --Jeremiah 15:16

Monday, February 07, 2011

Rockwell's America



A scene that looks like Norman Rockwell's America reminds me of Mr. Rockwell's life. His paintings were delightfully cheerful. They depicted a hopeful place, even when dealing with racism. And yet his personal life was anything but ideal. His first marriage ended in divorce, back in 1930 when divorce was rare. His family moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, not for the quaint scenery, but so that they could be near the psychiatric hospital where his wife was treated. He himself received psychiatric care. His second wife died unexpectedly when he was in his mid-60's. He then married a third time.

Amid all of this pain, he brought much joy to others with his thousands of painting.

Was he a phony? In a sense we're all phonies, but I prefer thinking that he chose to emphasize the joy, not the sadness; that the happy places and people he painted helped him cope with the sadness around him.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
--Philippians 4:8

For other people's thoughts about this photo, click here.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Frozen Fountain

From Blog11

The fountain wears its icy wedding dress
In frozen flounces.
      Stilled motion,
      No emotion...
Waiting through the longest night
For the fiery kiss of morning sun.


By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.

--Job 37:10

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pavement Here and There

From Blog11


As I walk this aged street,
Stone and bricks beneath my feet
Have a beauty; strong and old...
But they're not the street of gold.

Will I walk a street of gold?
Will I sing a never-old,
Joyous, fresh and holy song
That will last the ages long?

If not that, then something more!
There's no limit to God's store.
Holy gifts flow from his throne,
Piled-up blessings for his own.

Yet the finest gift I'll see
Won't be things he's saved for me.
Here's the greatest gift of grace:
Simply seeing his own face!

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
--Revelation 21:21

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
--1 John 3:2

Are the promises of the New Jerusalem quite literal? My conviction is that if they are not, then there will be something even better than the literal--something for which our words and our thoughts are not adequate. I would desire for you, my reader, to qualify for entry. Eternal life and the New Jerusalem are a gift to all who turn from sin and who trust in Jesus. Will you?

For other people's pavement thoughts, click here.