Monday, October 31, 2011

Inkpots and Typewriters and Grace

They say Martin Luther once flung an ink-pot at the devil, leaving a stain on the wall. We might chuckle or say he was crazy, but have we turned history right-side-up as he did?

Luther discovered (re-discovered) the biblical doctrine of justification by faith: We're made right with God not by our many right works, prescribed by the church or the Pope, but by simply turning from our sins to Jesus the Christ, who died for sinners and rose from the dead. (See the Bible's book of Romans.)Today, the 31st of October, is Reformation Day, when many churches celebrate Luther's work.

When I was young, we used typewriters, not ink-pots. I went through a university using the same portable typewriter that my mother and her sisters had used in college. As a graduation present, I got a shiny new blue electric Smith-Corona typewriter. I went through theological seminary on it. Now I have a computer and an inkjet printer. I can write all I want, with ease, but have not sparked any severe persecution. Lord, have mercy on me, a coward.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

For other people's thoughts on this image, click here. For the image source, click here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flint Corn

From Blog11

An almost-Mondrian
Mosaic of colored corn
Tells of autumn abundance,
Of feasting after famine
At Plimoth Plantation.

The husks are swept back
Like grateful tears,
And at every movement
Whisper our thanks.

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!
--Psalm 97:12

Note: The swept-back husks also, less profoundly, reminded me of this.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When Tyrants Die

From Blog11
The celebration's high
When wicked tyrants die,
And yet I do not gloat.

      Each tyrant is a soul
      That could have been made whole--
      Not just some dog or goat.

      I grieve the twisted mind,
      The cruel heart--dead, blind,
      Eternally now lost.

      I also grieve the men
      They executed when
      They were in charge--dread cost!

      Let others jubilate
      And dance at ev'ry gate
      And sing a vengeful note.

The celebration's high
When wicked tyrants die,
And yet I do not gloat.

When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
    and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.

--Proverbs 11:10, ESV

Thursday, October 20, 2011


From Blog11

Pride is such a deadly snare,
Satan's own belov├ęd sin.
It can strip your spirit bare;
Leave you dark and dead within.

Are you proud of all you've done,
Your accomplishments, your ways?
All your good came from God's Son.
Your own works are smoke and haze.

Flee from pride. Yes, run--don't walk.
Ask the Lord to give you grace
To accept the lowest place
While your peers get praiseful talk.

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
--1 Peter 5:5 ESV

Sunday, October 16, 2011

As Easy as Duck Soup

"It's easy as duck soup," he said.

I thought of buying a duck
That hung in the market,
And of the work of making oodles of noodles
Starting with flour and egg,
And of the work of picking or pickling
Savory herbs for flavor.
I thought of simmering soup for hours.

Yes, it was as easy as duck soup,
And maybe I'd make it tomorrow,
But today my heart melts
With sympathies felt
For the duck.

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!” --Proverbs 22:13

Image courtesy Leon Benjamin. Click this link to see the full photo in its original location.
For more people's thoughts about dead ducks, look here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Abandoning All

From Blog11

Thoughts On Mark 10:28-31

Abandoning all
On hearing the call,
Nets now dry,
Boat up high.
They follow Jesus,
Go where he pleases,
Even toward Jerusalem,
Wondering--Will we die with him?
And all for what?
To be forgot?
Each sacrifice
Is repaid thrice
And dozens more.
God has in store
Yet in this life--
Both house and wife,
Abundant lands and sons--
And in the age to come
For all his sons (his friends)--
Full life that never ends.
What have you left behind?
What did you abandon,
Forsake, destroy, cut off?
Did you give up anything?
Did you give up dreams of wealth?
Did you give up this world's fame?
What have you left behind?
Did you give up all you were,
Your self-sustained morality,
Your pride, your prejudice, your gods?
What habits have you killed?
What did you abandon?
What have you left behind?
It's not enough to leave things behind.
We must also follow Jesus.
Not just go visit him now and then;
We must follow him.

    Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
--Mark 10:28-31 ESV

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Little Kings

We strut across our fleeting page
As if we'll last from age to age.
We think we're royalty, divine,
And everywhere we look, say, "Mine!"
And I'm a king, and you're a king,

And may our praises ever ring...

And yet we're really growing old
As fast as coffee's growing cold.

As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD
    is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children's children,
    to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
                          --Psalm 103:15-18 ESV

My thanks to Magpie Tales for the image. For other people's thoughts on the same picture, follow the link.
This original poem is public domain.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

An Elephant with Feathers

From Blog11

If you meet an elephant with feathers,
Do not ask about the weather.
That big beast might start to fly,
And if it crashed--well, you might die!
So, do not dawdle! Do not wait,
Or you just might be too late!

Just run away in ANY weather
If you see an elephant with feathers.


Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.

--Psalm 16:1, NIV84

Even small children can learn that the Lord is their safe place, their refuge when they face real and imagined danger.

This poem ©2005 by James L. Swindle, is from the book If I Had a Purple Horse.

For more people's thoughts about flying elephants, look here.

Monday, October 03, 2011


From Blog11
Black clothespins on a line,
A gossip of grackles
Cackles the latest
News from the wire.

Almost crowded,
They sit above the crowd of traffic...
Needing no gasoline,
Depending entirely on electricity.

Look at the birds of the sky:
They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Aren’t you worth more than they?

      --Matthew 6:26 HCSB

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Find the Truth

From Blog11
Find the truth that meets each test,
Not the lie that suits you best.
Lies may come in cleanest coats
So your fleshly nature gloats
In their glory (though there's none).
So, beware. Don't stand with them. Run!

Truth gets clearer day by day
As you walk Christ's narrow way.
Slowly see your light increase.
Grow each day in grace and peace.
Lies will flicker, falter, fade
As the fuller truth's displayed.

Rather, speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head,
into Christ...

--Ephesians 4:15

This original poem is public domain. The photo is ©2011 James L. Swindle