Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lord and Shepherd

Jesus, ruler of each ransomed heart,
Be our ruler, Lord and king.
Set our souls, our entire lives apart…
Clean to serve in each new thing.

   Gracious ruler, faithful shepherd,
   You are more than life to us.
   Gracious ruler, faithful shepherd,
   You are more than life to us. 

Jesus, shepherd of each re-born soul,
Shepherd us in pastures green.
You can keep us safe, secure and whole
So your glory may be seen.

   Gracious ruler, faithful shepherd,
   You are more than life to us.
   Gracious ruler, faithful shepherd,
   You are more than life to us.

This could be sung to the tune usually used for "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us."

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me...." (John 10:14 ESV)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Journey to Bethlehem

Bethlehem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, Joseph, must you go to Bethlehem?
And if you go, then why must it be now?
The baby's due to come so very soon!

You know, my love, that I'd do anything
To keep you and God's holy baby safe--
But I must go. It's Caesar's own command,
And us? We don't ask why. We just obey.
But come along with me. I'll keep you safe.
Yes, come with me. The Lord will give us strength.

And so they packed a little bag and left.
They walked along the dusty road for miles.
At first, adventure filled their minds--and hope.
But by the middle of the second day,
The newness now long gone, just hope remained,
Sustained by faith in their all-faithful Lord.

They walked on still. The miles now seemed to stretch.
The third and final day wore down to dusk.
At last, they entered little Bethlehem,
And Mary knew her time had almost come.
Now Joseph hurried, rushing to the inn,
But found no room for Mary's birthing hour.

Discouraged, he then found a quiet place
Where animals, not men, had often slept.
He thought he'd failed, but Mary looked at him
With love and said, "Oh, Joseph, it's enough."
And so they found themselves, that strangest night,
In Bethlehem beside a feeding trough.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 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 2:6-7 ESV)
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Saturday, December 05, 2015


Image: "Anger" by Saurabh Vyas. Some rights reserved. 

Do they hate you for your message?
Do they rage against the gospel
With the devil's fiercest lies?
Do they label your love hatred
As they call their hatred love?
Do they say you're narrow-minded
And a danger to their lives?
Do they throw you into prison?
Is there murder in their eyes
Caused by hatred of your Jesus?
Praise the Lord! You've been found worthy
To be wounded for your Lord.
By his grace, you'll surely triumph.
Live and death are in his hands.
You are safe within his mercy.
You may die in his great cause,
But your life will not be wasted.
You are his, and he is Lord.

See Acts 17.

But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. (Acts 17:5 ESV)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Adoration of the Coming Lord

Holy is your name, O Lord--
Perfect, bright and true.
In you, we have been restored.
You make dead things new.

All your ways are clean and pure--
Nothing bent; all straight,
Leading to an end that's sure--
You, Lord, won't be late.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 ESV)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

God of Stars and Moons and Space

God of stars and moons and space,
Lord of everything I see
And of all I cannot see,
I see glory every place.

Wing of bird and morning sky,
Rocks and hills and each fresh fig,
Tiny ants and storm-clouds big,
All reflect you, Lord most high.

Lord of cactus, Lord of tree,
Lord of chickens, Lord of limes,
In whatever days or times,
Be, O God, the Lord of me.

For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
--1 Corinthians 3:21-21 ESV

The photo reminds me of some frigid moon of a distant planet. Really, it's a rutabaga. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day

From Blog12

The young man heard his country call
      And boldly went to war
      Upon a distant shore.

He saw his closest buddy fall
      And saw the life, the blood,
      Flow out into the mud.

He wondered if the war was right,
      And sometimes he would scream
      When waking from a dream...

But, still--a soldier, he must fight
      And serve his country well.
      In ways that seemed like hell.

The veteran is older now,
      His aging hair as gray
      As this November day,

And yet there burns a light somehow,
      A shining in his eyes,
      Each time "Old Glory" flies.

Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
--Luke 3:14, ESV. In this case, "him" refers to John the Baptist, not to Jesus.

This photo is ©2011 James L. Swindle. The poem by JLS is public domain, 2012.

Friday, October 30, 2015



You own my nose.
You own my ears.
You own my toes.
You own my fears.

You own my hands,
My tools, my ropes.
You own my plans.
You own my hopes.

You own each bone,
Each day, each night.
Nothing's my own,
Nor mine by right.

You own my best.
You own my worst.
I yield. I rest.
You, Lord, are first.

...yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
(1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are There Demons on the Prowl?

Are there demons on the prowl,
Out to lie, enslave and kill?
Do they grumble, snarl and growl?
Christ the Lord is faithful still.

Do we fear he's not enough?
He won't meet our deep desire?
Do we worship all our stuff,
Though we know it's doomed to fire?

Jesus calls us to believe
He will give from his great store.
Jesus calls us to receive
Wealth that lasts forevermore.

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. --Psalm 81:10b

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Prayer for the Church

Father and maker of the universe,
We've wanted this world's wealth,
Wandered into this world's ways,
Forgotten the future,
Lived for the moment,
Lived for our flesh and ourselves.

Give us repentance.
Give us true death to ourselves,
The death that shows life--
True life that's from you.

Build up your church--
Not for our glory,
Not for our wealth,
Not for our comfort.

Yet we do seek glory and wealth and comfort
Ahead in your kingdom
Both for ourselves and for millions of others.

Speak truth through us.
Speak life through us.
Though we may die in the cause,
Speak your eternal fresh words.
Speak and bring life to the dead
Who are slaves of bright lies
That give but a prison of pleasure
With pain that continues
When pleasure has died.

Pour out your Spirit again.
Use your strong word
To shatter the rock,
To kill unbelief
In heart after heart,
Expanding Christ's body on earth.

All this we're asking through his holy merit.
Use us or kill us or both.
Give us no more and no less than we need
To accomplish the things you've prepared,
Good works that you'll work out through us
And through millions who serve you this day.

Yours is the glory.
Yours is the praise
Through billions of days.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Jesus, in Matthew 16:18 NET)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Falling and Rising

The falling leaves are telling me
Another year is winding down,
   Winding down,
      Winding down.

The years are bright with godly hope,
And yet my days are growing short,
   Growing short,
      Growing short.

My days, like leaves, fall one by one.
They fall. They fall and won't return,
   Won't return,
      Won't return.

And yet, one day, my Lord will come
And all at once his saints will rise,
   Saints will rise,
      Saints will rise.

Saints rise to meet him in the skies.
I'll see and serve him ever more,
   Ever more,
      Ever more.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16 ESV)

Sunday, October 04, 2015


Let us never drift
Slowly into sin,
For the Lord will sift
All the souls of men.

Those who walk away
From God's holy Son
Won't end up in day.
Their dark's never done.

Friend, I beg you now--
If you're in a slide,
Run! Escape! Here's how--
Run to Jesus' side!

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. ... how shall we escape if we neglect such a great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:1, 3 ESV)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Prayer for the Church

Father, most amazing God,
Thank you for your holy power
Working through your stumbling church
So we grow by your own grace.

Give discernment to resist
Shiny Christian baubles, bright
Promises of holiness
That we purchase--no cash down.

You're the source of holiness,
Inner fire, a heart that burns
Only for your glory, Lord,
Only by your Spirit's work.

Holy Spirit, burn in us.
Burn away our smelly pride
Until you are all that's left
And for us, to live is Christ.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015


When we are young,
Life seems so long.
We climb each rung,
And we are strong.

But years go by
And soon we’re old
And then we die
And flesh is cold.

Is this the end?
It cannot be.
Around this bend,

And I surmise
Beyond the clay
God’s saints will rise
To endless day.

But woe to those
Who hate his Son.
Their anguished woes
Are never done.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life;
whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life,
but the wrath of God remains on him.

(John 3:36 ESV)

If you're not sure what all of this is about, click here for the best news ever.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Far Away

Father, I feel far away from you,
And you have never moved.
Grant me fresh repentance, deep and true.

Does my piety all stink to you
Of phoniness and moods?
Make me give my all, since all is due.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. 
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
(James 4:8 ESV)

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Striving for Holiness

1.  Because it’s God’s will for you. (1 Thes. 4:3)
2.  Because it’s God’s command. (1 Thes. 4:7)
3.  Because it fits the nature of your God, who is holy. (1 Pet 1:15-17)
4.  Because of God’s impartial judgment. (1 Pet 1:17)
5.  Because it reflects honor to him. (1 Cor 6:30 and 10:31)
6.  Because you were ransomed by the blood of Christ from the futile ways that you inherited from your forefathers. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
7.  Because those peoples who don’t know God live in passion of lust, not in holiness. (1 Thes 4:5)
8.  Because God’s Spirit is the Holy Spirit. (1 Thes 4:8)
9.  Because God has given you the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
10. Because of the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb 3:13)
11. Because of the wiles of the devil. (Eph 6:1)
12. Because of the eternal rewards of the righteous. (Prov 4:18; Matt 13:43-49; 1 Cor 9:24-25; 1 Pet 1:3-5)
13. Because of the temporary nature of sensual pleasures. (Heb 11:25)
14. Because of the freedom of walking in the truth. (John 8:32)
15. Because of the evil days you live in. (Eph 5:15-16)
16. Because you died to sin. (Rom 6:1)
17. Because you’re no longer a slave to sin. (Rom 6:5-7)
18. Because the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)
19. Because you’ve been told to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:24)
20. Because presenting your body as a living sacrifice is appropriate spiritual worship. (Rom 12:1-2)
21. Because holiness produces more holiness. (Rom 6:16)
22. Because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 6:19)
23. Because you belong to God, not to yourself. (1 Cor 6:20)
24. Because it’s right and honorable. (1 Thes 4:4)
25. Because if you disregard it, you’re disregarding God. (1 Thes 4:8)
26. Because the Lord is an avenger of those who are wronged. (1 Thes 4:6)
27. Because the apostles’ lives demonstrate that it’s possible. (1 Thes 2:10)
28. Because joy is a fruit of being filled with the Holy Spirit. (1 Thes 1:6; Gal 5:22)
29. Because you’ve been taught that you must be holy. (Eph 4:20; 1 Thes 4:1)
30. Because Jesus prayed for you to have it. (John 17:17-19)
31. Because it leads to unity in the church. (John 17:21)
32. Because it’s the aim of the apostle Paul’s teaching (1 Tim 1:5)
33. Because without holiness, no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Last, Best Word

Long ago, as you know,
God's own word had been heard
Many ways, many days--
Words divine, line by line
Through God's men. That was then.
In our days? Give God praise!
Time's fulfilled, as God willed.
One last Word has been heard,
And that one is God's Son
Whom God's called heir of all.
He is best. All the rest
Will not do. Christ makes new.
God, after He spoke long ago
to the fathers in the prophets
in many portions and in many ways,
in these last days has spoken
to us in His Son,
Whom He appointed heir of all things,
through Whom also
He made the world.

(Hebrews 1:1-2 NASB)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Morning Prayer

Lord and Father, Friend,
Fill our thoughts this day.
You're our source, our end.
Lead us in your way.

May we see how free
We are now, reborn.
Give us eyes to see
More each dawning morn.

As we seek your face,
As we seek your will,
Soak us in your grace.
Strengthen, guide and fill.

Any good we'll do
Isn't us alone.
No. We're washed, made new,
Men sent from your throne.

...I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. (Psalm 59:16)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Not By My Works

All my works could never buy
A crumb of what you offer
Freely as a gift of grace
To all who trust the Savior.

Lord, you knew my weight of guilt
And gave your Son to bear it.
Now it's gone, and I am free
To serve you, clean, forever.

Why your love extends to me
Is more than I can fathom.
I just praise you day by day
And marvel at your mercy.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

(1 Timothy 1:15 ESV)

Monday, August 03, 2015

Nights of Weeping (Based on Psalm 6)

Nights of weeping, days of pain
And my cries unto the Lord…
Why’s my suffering still remain?

He has heard and seen my tears.
Someday, joy will be restored
When the Lord himself appears.

Men’s vile boasts will turn to shame.
God will crush that evil horde.
All will tremble at his name.

Praise the Lord! He’ll win somehow!
Dance, rejoice and celebrate!
Praise him! Praise him, starting now!

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
--Psalm 6:6 ESV

Read the whole Psalm here.
I'm not personally going through a desperate time right now, but many people are. If YOU are, this is for you. In your worst times, run to the Lord and run to the Psalms. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Forest

The forest is electric now,
With trunks of steel
That never feel
The soft imprint of children's climb.

The children are electric, too,
With thumbs that brush
But never touch
The pages in electric books.

But grandpa still is real today,
With tales retold
And arms to hold
The child who dares to touch, to feel.

Then [Jesus] took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." (Mark 9:36-37 NKJV)

Sunday, July 19, 2015


You're purified my heart.
I'm washed from ev'ry sin.
Now, all I am--my ev'ry part
Flows from your life within.

Yet I must fight to grow
In love and purity
In all I do and think and know
Till you are all I see.

And when my life is past,
Kept clean by your strong grace,
I'll enter near your throne at last
And see your glorious face.

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)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lord of the Armies of Heaven

Lord of the armies of heaven,
I am your soldier today.
Whatever task I am given,
May I fulfill it, I pray.

My life and my reputation
Aren't really mine in the end.
All's for the good of your nation.
Your kingdom's what I defend.

Yes, I'm aware of my weakness--
Flabbiness all the day long--
But Christ in me brings completeness.
When I am weak, then I'm strong.

Fear, then, you hosts of the devil.
Your work may fail in a flash.
Jesus will conquer all evil.
Satan will fall with a crash.

Lord of the armies of heaven,
I am your soldier today.
Whatever task I am given,
Let me fulfill it, I pray.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV)

Poem and photo ©2015 James L. Swindle

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Hidden Treasure

I wonder and I ponder, Lord
How mysteries so bright
Lie hidden in your holy word--
Yet just beyond our sight.

We'll never see them while our eyes
Are blinded by our sin.
Unblind us, Lord, and we will prize
Its treasures deep within.

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
(1 Peter 2:1-3 NKJV)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sign of the Past

A sign, proud and new,
once spoke
of something...

Bright, bold
for everyone.

But it's been
these many years.

Its rusty skeleton
still speaks...
but speaks of what?

As I ponder that old sign, I'm reminded that all I write, all I buy, all I build, will pass away, but there's something that won't.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. --Jesus, in Matthew 24:35 ESV

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Entertainment seems so empty
When we get a glimpse of life
That is lived with holy purpose,
Warring in God's kingdom-strife.

There are demons yet to conquer,
Mighty battles yet to wage,
People yet to be delivered
And God's praise from age to age.

Tell me, how could we sit wasting
Days and nights and months and years
Till the peoples all are tasting
Jesus, till the last man hears?

Watch yourselves,
so that you may not lose what we have worked for,
but may win a full reward.

(2 John 8 ESV)

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Abraham's Test

Abraham was old past old 
When he faced his hardest test--
More to trust and more to know--
This, the hardest, highest price--
One last fearsome sacrifice.

Could he give his treasured son?
Could he bind him like a lamb,
Put him on a pile of wood,
Raise his finest, sharpest knife,
Kill him—kill him—as a gift
To the Lord who gave that son?

Abraham, with aching faith,
Was determined to obey.
If the Lord has promised seed,
Entire nations from this youth,
Yet commands this sacrifice,
How can he fulfill that word?
He must raise young Isaac up.
So, in faith, he raised his hand--
Raised the deadly, sharpened knife.

Thus, our father Abraham
Pictured more than he could know--
God the Father’s sacrifice
Of his precious, only Son
Who would die, a holy lamb,
For the sins of all who trust--
Trust with sheer obedience--
Trust in Jesus, killed for them--
Killed and risen, reigning now!

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:13-14 ESV)

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. (Hebrews 11:17-19 ESV)

Monday, June 01, 2015

Our Monuments

We build our mighty fortunes
Or build a famous name,
But fortunes disappear
And fame goes up in flame.

We build our pillars higher,
Deep-planted in the ground
To last for generations
For everyone around.

But monuments can totter,
Fall flat and sink in mud.
The only thing that's lasting
Is life through Jesus' blood.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.     (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

The beautiful monument with the leaning top is at the well-kept Pennington Point Cemetery in Illinois. I don't know the story of this particular monument, so don't know whether the poem is appropriate or totally inappropriate for the person whose grave it marks. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Do You Love Me More Than These?

Jesus questioned Simon once,
"Do you love me more than these?"
Peter’s answer became clear:
Yes, he loved his Lord the most,
But I sometimes love my fish.

Lord, you’ve seen my misplaced love—
Love for wealth and earth’s success,
Love for food, a belly-full.
Love for signs, not just my Lord.
Love for shiny, dying fish.

Burn away that fishy love.
Let me feed the lambs you love.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15 ESV)

It's also very possible that Jesus was really asking Peter, "Do you love me more than these other disciples love me?" If so, he wanted Peter to realize that what was important was not the comparative strength of Peter's love, but the reality of it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Subdue Our Sins

Subdue our sins
Until we shine
Bright as finest crystal.
Still our souls
Until we're whole:
Healed and holy,
Solely yours.

He will again have compassion on us, 
And will subdue our iniquities. 
You will cast all our sins 
Into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:19 NKJV)

Monday, May 11, 2015


Has the LORD appointed you
To fill a lower role?
If you say, "It just won't do!"
You risk your very soul.

Do not grumble at his will.
Obey his holy voice.
God has made us, and may fill
Each role with his own choice.

As you take that lower place,
Rejoice! Be glad for those
Who, like you, will see his face.
God welcomes those he knows.

And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also?

(Numbers 16:8-10 ESV)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coming Storm

Peals of thunder
Rumble under
Dark and darker skies.

Doves are mourning--
Giving warning:
Trouble this way lies.

Eerie quiet--
Can't describe it--
Brace before the storm.

Rain's arriving,
Fierce and driving,
But we're safe and warm.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14 ESV)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

My Life

Father, take my strongest longings
And re-shape them as you will.
Keep your kingdom coming, dawning.
Bend me. Break me. Use me still.

Fill me with a holy passion
Brightly burning in the night
Mixed with tender, strong compassion--
Merciful, with truth and light.

Make me strong with manly action--
Fierce as fire and soft as lamb--
With no cowardly subtraction
From the saint you say I am.

Your great work won't be suspended
If I'm old or tired or weak.
Till my present life has ended,
May I seek and find and speak.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

(Romans 12:1 ESV)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

War on Sin

Help, Lord!

I've made peace with my sin--
And not fought it, to win.
It's been buried at times
But it stubbornly climbs
Right back out of the dirt
And back into my shirt
Where it's eating a hole
'Way down deep in my soul.

It has festered and grown
From bad seed I have sown.
I must kill sin--right now!
But the question is,"How?"
Let me one more begin.
May I, Lord, kill my sin!
I'm not worthy to ask,
But enable that task.
I am yet prone to slip:
Father, break sin's foul grip.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13 ESV)

Friday, April 10, 2015


The season's young, with freshness all around,
But I am old and stooping toward the ground.
My paint is chipped or maybe scratched.
My youthful heart, though, can't be matched.
You see, my friend--and it's the truth--
Deep down inside, I'm still a youth.

I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. (Psalm 37:25 ESV)

I really don't feel quite as old (or as young) as this poem suggests, but this is what the photo seemed to say.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Resurrection Morn - Mary Magdalene's View

Days of darkness, nights of gloom—
Our Lord’s dead now, in a tomb!
We come early, bringing spice,
Even though men don’t live twice.
We’re together, but alone.
Who will roll away the stone?
Will there be an awful stink?
Just to ask it makes me sink.
Ground is dewy—feet get wet.
Can you see the tomb just yet?
Look! The stone is rolled away!
What can happen worse today?
Then a young man, all in white,
With a face that shines like light.
He says Jesus isn't dead!
That he rose, just as he said!
Lord, what’s happened? He's not here?
I’m a mass of hope and fear!
Mary, Salomé, come see!
He is risen! Can it be?

Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. (Mark 16:1 NKJV)

Saturday, March 28, 2015


The end is bitter.
The end is sweet.
He's gone forever,
His Lord to meet.

We'll not be grieving
As others do.
Beyond his leaving
He'll be made new.

Our hearts are aching.
And yet we'll cope--
Despite such taking,
We're filled with hope.

In our deep sorrow
We look ahead
And see tomorrow
Life from the dead.

For if we have been united with him [that is, with Jesus Christ] in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5 ESV)

Written some time back for a friend's funeral. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

O, To Know You!

O, to know you!
O, to know you!
Jesus, Master, Savior, friend!
Draw my wantings closer to you
So I'll know you in the end.

Worldly pleasure
Without measure
Can't compare to all you are.
You're the richest, deepest treasure--
More than all this world by far.

When I see you,
At last see you
And the wonders you have willed,
I will find that I am like you--
Clean and pure, all joy fulfilled.

...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
(2 Peter 3:18 NKJV)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Frog On My Shoe

Frog on my shoe,
Tell me...what's new?

Have you found flies?
They are a prize!
Have you, Sir, seen
A Mrs. Green
Frog just like you?
What do you do
When it is night?
Without the light,
If it's your mood,
Can you find food?

Frog on my shoe
Tell me...what's new?

And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25 NKJV)

Poem and photo ©2015 James L. Swindle

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Look at Jesus - A Hymn Based on Psalm 2

Look at Jesus, set to reign
From Mount Zion—holy hill. 
Look at him: no spot, no stain,
Reigning, ruling, reigning still…

Full of power, full of worth,
Jesus, Lord and Master, King,
God’s begotten, now on earth,
Firmly ruling everything.

At his glance, the earth’s kings fear—
Lest his words, a sharpened sword,
Slice them through from ear to ear.
They were kings, but he is Lord.

He is ruler, Christ and Lord.
Do not even ask God “Why?”
He deserves to be adored!
Kiss him humbly, let you die.

Once you’re bowed before his feet,
Heart submitted, prostrate there,
You will find him rich and sweet.
Rest! Rest safely in his care. 

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Drip, Drip, Drip of Rain

The drip, drip, drip of rain
Falls from lead-gray skies.
It's weeping with our pain,
Pooling with our why's.

There's not a wasted tear
From the ones God knows.
He has the kindest ear.
Mercy freely flows.

I know we'll see the sun...
Skies will yet be blue,
And all that God's begun
He'll finish--all made new.

And yet, today the sky
Drips and drips some more.
Right now, I won't ask why.
God knows what it is for.

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20 ESV)

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A Man of Joy

Make me, Lord, a man of joy.
Pry the baubles from my hands--
Each bright, useless, tempting toy
That denies your good commands.

May I live by your strong grace,
Walking in a way that's new.
Shine your glory through my face.
Joy and glory come from you.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; 
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; 
Let those also who love Your name 
Be joyful in You.
(Psalm 5:11 NKJV)