Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Windy Day

From Blog11

I love a windy day.
I love laundry flapping furiously,
Flags standing triumphantly at attention,
And hair instant-combed downwind.

Walking in the wind
Makes my pulse beat quicker.
Smog vanishes, the sun is bright,
And my joy's as clear as the sky.

Don't grumble about the wind.
Come celebrate with me.
We'll say hello to some nodding trees
And wave to a passing butterfly.

He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

--Psalm 135:7

Poem and photo ©2011 James L. Swindle. You may print up to 100 copies for non-commercial use.

Friday, March 25, 2011


From Blog11

My ambition's to be last--
Without riches, without fame,
With no titles by my name,
No huge funeral when I've passed.

Jesus, Jesus must be first.
Then his finest saints come in;
Next, the ones who'd hardly win.
Then at last am I, the worst.

To be least within his gate--
In that bright and holy land
Where it's all as he has planned--
Is a high, exalted state.

To be last right here, right now,
Is a fine, a worthy thing.
It can make me dance and sing.
To be last--but saved somehow.

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35 ESV)

Does the attitude of this poem shock you? It's fine to aim at rewards in the life to come, though I don't see anywhere in the Bible that I should aim at having a reward that's greater than yours. What should shock us is all of the "Christian" talk that tells people to love themselves, to esteem themselves, to be confident in themselves, to win over others at any cost.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Weapons

I have weapons you know nothing of,
Weapons far beyond mere polished swords.
And my shield? It's stronger far than steel.
As I use it, it gets stronger still.
Yet the most amazing, awesome thing
Is that these aren't really mine at all.
God provides the weapons for his war,
Weapons that exceed the devil's power.
I don't fight against mere flesh and blood.
Thus, my shield's mere faith in Jesus Christ;
My strong sword's the very word of God.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. --2 Corinthians 10:4

Image courtesy Magpie Tales. Click the link for other people's thoughts on weaponry.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ancient Paths

From Blog11

Ancient paths call me home.
I'll no more rébel roam.
I have tried grown-up sin:
Walls of death boxed me in.
I'll return to the Truth,
To the God of my youth.

I can't earn life at all,
But I come since You call.
Circumcise my dull ears.
Make me now one who hears.
Lord, avert your great wrath.
Set me on Jesus' path.

Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
      they cannot listen...

                  --from Jeremiah 6:10

Thus says the LORD:
      “Stand by the roads, and look,
            and ask for the ancient paths,
      where the good way is; and walk in it,
            and find rest for your souls.
      But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

                  --Jeremiah 6:16 ESV

Monday, March 14, 2011

When Patrick Came to Ireland

From Blog11

When Patrick came to Ireland,
As brave as he was good,
He told the folk of Jesus
As truly as he could.
He preached in love among them
Until they understood
The sacrifice of Jesus
Upon a cross of wood.

When Patrick came to Ireland,
As good as he was brave,
He lived the word among them,
As humble as a slave.
He showed a way of living--
A whole new isle he gave
By giving them the message
Of Jesus, strong to save.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
--Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV

My thanks to Magpie Tales for prompting me to write about Ireland. Follow the link for other people's thoughts about Ireland.

You can read more about the life of St. Patrick here and here.

Wonderful new hymns are being written by Keith and Kristyn Getty (from Ireland, but now living in the USA).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bread and Wine

From Blog11

Broken bread,
Simple wine
Speak to us
Things divine.

Jesus Christ
Was for us

Through his death,
God's own Son
Has made us
Pure and one.

Now we yearn:
He for us
Will return.

Can you hear?
Turn and think!
Come with us.
Eat and drink.

Bread and wine--
Nothing more?
Christ for us,
Heaven's door.

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. --Mark 14:22-24

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vine and Fig - New Season

From Blog11

You may wonder why this blog is called "Vine and Fig." Besides the fact that every blog needs a name, it's an allusion to the Bible's various mentions of them, especially
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
(Micah 4:4 ESV)

That verse speaks of the restoration of the Lord's people during his coming kingdom. There are also references that speak of the devastation that comes when the people sin.
It has laid waste my vine
and splintered my fig tree;
it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down;
their branches are made white.
(Joel 1:7 ESV)

I enjoy plants. There's a fig tree in my yard, and this is the season when new leaves and new little figs appear.
From Blog11

This year I also planted a couple of grape vines. They don't even come up to my knees, but maybe there will be deep purple grapes one day.
From Blog11

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Day of Darkness, Day of Light

From Blog11

Hopes were dashed.
Dreams were smashed.
Death had won,
Killed the sun.

It was night,
But would light
Bring a dawn,
Fresh joy spawn?

Morning came
Dark the same.
Gloom ahead,
Christ still dead.

The third day--
Quake and sway
Angel knows
Jesus rose.

Space and room
At the tomb:
Body gone
On that dawn.

He is not here, but has risen.
--Luke 24:6a

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Never Fight a Fork

From Blog11
Never, ever, fight a fork.
To fight a fork is just bad news.
If you fight one, you will lose.
They're designed for stabbing pork.

He has preserved us and given into our hand
the band that came against us.

--1 Samuel 30:23

Here's another person's perspective on the danger of forks. He doesn't share my Christian faith, but is a gifted writer.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Day of Wrath

Cry of prophet Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusa...Image via Wikipedia
Worldly wisdom won't avail
In the LORD's great day of wrath.
Nothing, nothing will avert,
On that Day, his zealous fire.
Wars will devastate the land--
Cities flattened, fields laid waste,
Mountains shaking, sky gone dark,
Men so scarce they can't be found,
And the birds all fled away.
Stop provoking Him! Repent!
He still offers grace today.
Flee his wrath. It's not too late.

See Jeremiah 4:19-21.
The prophet Jeremiah told of a day of judgment coming.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011


From Blog11

If truth's not true,
then truth's a lie.
If something's relatively true,
True to me, not you,
Then it's positively false.
If there is no truth,
If nothing's truly true,
Then there's no meaning.
Nothing matters.
If there's no truth,
Then you don't matter
Any more than dust.

In 1 Timothy 3:15 we read of "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.