Imagine

Sometimes I wonder
as I live life each day.
If today I met Jesus,
just what would He say?
Would He mention my Facebook,
or perhaps that “great” tweet?
Or would He question my absence
from the few at His feet?

Would He wink at that meme
that I knew wasn’t true?
But I just had to share it
to get back at you.
Would He ask why I’m so bent
on proving I’m right?
Did I honor His name
by joining that fight?

Would He ask any questions
that would give me a chance?
To explain the appearance
of my online “dance”?
I sidestep the truth
and I whirl around.
And get in my jabs
when opportunity is found.

Or would He just smile
and say, “Job well done!
You have lived life quite well
as you followed the Son!
You chose to use My Word
to help and to heal.
And stuck to its truth,
above how you ‘feel’”.

“My Word is a lamp
and a light to your way.
So stay true to it
in all that you say.
And be very careful,
when you say words are Mine.
That you’re not justifying
things you think are ‘fine’”.

“That lamp and that light
can only be lit.
When you speak Words of truth
and don’t add to it.
So, shine that light brightly
as you follow the Son.
And share My full counsel
with each and every one!”

© 2018 by Tom Lemler

As I was praying this morning during the morning building clean, I found myself seeking God regarding various social media posts, meme, and conversations that I’ve wanted to respond to over the past week or so.  While there is much good that can be accomplished through the tools of social media, there is a very real element of danger that exists in the ability to immediately share, post, or comment on things we’ve not spent any time talking to God about.  We see something that pokes us in one way or another and we “feel” that we just have to share it if we agree with it or comment if we disagree.  And far too often we use God’s Word out of context to add “power” to our opinion.  We play fast and loose with what He says His Word is about and instead of lighting a path so that people can see Jesus, we create confusion and conflict when there ought to be clarity.  Out of that prayer time came this poem as I considered what Jesus might say if He were to simply drop by my office for a visit today.  I suspect that the more deliberate I am about sitting at His feet and listening rather than having to have the “last word”, the more likely I will recognize His presence as I “walk in the light as He is in the light.”  I pray that you and I would be very careful in how we represent Jesus in all situations, but especially in our online presence.

In prayer,
Tom

Calming Touch

There are some times
I’m awakened at night.
To calm a sweet child
in the midst of her fright.
And often I realize,
words don’t mean as much.
As just being present
with a soft, calming touch.

I suspect that’s why God
placed us in family.
To be touched by His presence,
when each other we see.
To have someone with us,
through our darkest night.
Is not only calming,
it’s a beautiful sight!

So, as you live your life
and as I live mine.
May we each receive comfort
as we let God’s light shine.
And may all those around us,
be touched by our life.
In a way that brings peace
in the midst of their strife.

In the next interruption
of your comfortable rest.
I pray you are ready
to give others your best.
That you would be present
with just what they need.
And that they would see Jesus
in your very good deed!
© 2018 by Tom Lemler

There is very little that can get a parent’s full attention quite as quickly as being awakened by the sound of your child in distress.  In those moments, adrenaline can be a friend or foe . . . or a little of each.  As I was going about my work tasks and praying early this morning, I was thinking about the previous night and the care our daughter needed from my wife and I.  The first hints of a long night were the sounds of her throwing up in bed — which I can’t help much with without adding to the mess so it’s best I just stay out of the way if possible. 🙂  Once that was dealt with, it didn’t feel like we had done any more than just gotten back to sleep when it was the sounds of a seizure waking us up.  Part of the process of coming out of the seizure often includes a period of fear when help is wanted, even demanded, but words seem to do no good.  While quiet words may provide some comfort, it is really hard to tell, it is the soft, gentle touch that does the most to bring reassurance that we are with her.  Anyhow, that’s the background in my mind as I was praying this morning and this poem showed up to remind me of the power of being present in the lives of those who are frightened and suffering.  I pray that it encourages you and helps you to consider who God has called you to share His comforting touch with.

In prayer,
Tom
Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

I set up a “Giving Tuesday” fundraiser on my social media accounts to raise funds for the prayer ministry I direct.  

Giving Tuesday Facebook Fundraiser

I have to say the response so far, and the day is quickly coming to a close, has been much less than I had hoped for.  While I am indeed thankful for those who have given today, and for those who may yet give, this post isn’t really about them . . . rather, it’s about me . . . and perhaps about you.

Yet, even that paragraph only tells half the story of the day . . . if even that.  You see, there was another part to my Giving Tuesday involvement as it didn’t seem right to have a day called “Giving Tuesday” without my being involved in the giving.

“Tom Lemler” Amazon Author Page

In this part of my Giving  Tuesday, I ran a promotion on Amazon where all of the Kindle editions of my prayer-based devotional books were free.  It was here that my hopes for the day have been exceeded as nearly 100 copies of my books have made their way into the Kindle readers of people who will use them.  (By the way, that promotional arrangement with Amazon ends today so if you see this before Tuesday, November 27 is over, feel free to join those who are making use of these resources.)

If you’re still following me in this post, we’re finally getting to the title. 🙂  It seems it is easy for me to slide into a mode of praying “my will be done.”  If my will isn’t done, if my hopes aren’t fulfilled, I find that I can easily become discouraged.  Even when I finish the day with more available funds to do ministry than when the day began, it is easy to forget that fact when my will isn’t met.

And then God gently reminds me, “you’re not in this to make money or raise funds, you’re in this to help people grow in relationship with Me.”  He gives me a glimpse into how He is using the gift of writing He put within my life.  He reminds me that the writing is indeed His gift and that I am supposed to be sharing it.  He calls me to rejoice, not in dollars collected but in lives touched by the words He has given.  He reminds me of the prayer of Jesus that ought to be the prayer of you and I; “Not my will, but yours be done.”  And through it all He calls me to be thankful that it is His will being done and asks me to lift my eyes to Him as He helps me to daily surrender my will to His.

So I look again at the dollars raised and the books given and I thank God that while there is rarely excess, He has always provided what is needed to do what is His will.  I simply need to pay more attention and be more careful in seeking His will rather than my own.  I pray that you also would allow God to help you to see whose will you are really pursuing.  I pray that you would do your very best in everything you pursue, but learn to be content even if the results ends up being different than what you had hoped for.

Praying that God’s will be done and that mine becomes more like His each day.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

Thankful

Thankful

I pause to give thanks,
on this very day.
And when I would do so,
there’s much I should say.
The blessings of life,
we oft notice first.
But what of the things,
for which we do thirst?

I’m thankful for longing
to do what is right.
And thankful for faith,
which sees beyond sight.
I’m thankful for worship
that I long to give.
And thankful for God,
and reason to live.

I’m thankful for family
who walk by my side.
And gives me a safe place
when I need to hide.
I’m thankful for people
that I get to serve.
And thankful God gives me
what I don’t deserve.

And yes I am thankful
for His blessings too.
The turkey and pie
and time spent with you.
A family that loves me
and longs for my best.
And a God who prepares me
to enter His rest.

And so on this day
that we pause to give thanks.
I pray that it spreads
throughout all the ranks.
When a life of thanksgiving
becomes our new way.
We will find ourselves thankful
throughout every day.

©2018 by Tom Lemler

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, I’ve been praying about being more thankful.  It seems that even in the midst of much to be thankful for, it can become far too easy to complain instead of giving thanks.  As I was praying, this poem came to mind as I thought about being thankful not just for the blessings of God, but also for the desires that He has placed in my heart.  I share this with the hope and prayer that God will continue to grow a heart of thankfulness in each one of us!

In prayer,
Tom

Looking For a Better Way

I paused today to cast a vote.
And wished I could have left a note.
To every candidate, win or lose.
I pray that wisdom you would choose.

Yet as I prayed, my faith was small.
For I’ve not seen wisdom much at all.
Your TV ads have made me weep.
Thinking each of you is just a creep.

A “preacher” reads from God’s good Book,
then calls his opponent a dirty crook.
Back and forth the name calling goes.
I’m not quite sure what they think it shows.

They dig up dirt on one another,
and fail to see their sister and brother.
And through it all I failed to hear,
anything but a constant smear.

They say that’s how the game is played.
So just accept it, don’t be dismayed.
Yet still I think as I stop and pray,
there has to be a better way!

What if change would sweep this land,
and every candidate took a stand.
To speak the truth in all they say.
And not attack in any way.

To let the voters know their views.
So at the ballot they could choose.
To say nothing bad of the other side,
so on truth we could decide.

And so today I cast a vote.
And wished I could have left a note.
To all who come in after me,
I ask you pray for what you cannot see.

Then trust in God and not in man.
And place your faith in His grand plan!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

I voted this morning with a sour taste in my mouth as the months of negative campaign ads had convinced me none of the candidates were the statesmen that this country needs.  I’m not saying none of the candidates were right for this country, just all of them were so busy telling me what a rotten person their opponent was that they didn’t convince me they were any better.  It is so easy to say “the other side started it” or “my preferred candidate wasn’t as mean as yours”, but the truth is that somehow we have come to accept bullying as appropriate in the political realm even while demanding something be done to stop it everywhere else.  I pray that somehow “we the people” would say, “Enough!!” I pray that we would find ways to voice our beliefs and opinions without being mean to one another.  I pray that we would look to why people feel strongly about the issues they do rather than attacking them for feeling differently than we do.  I pray that God’s love would fill us with His grace to such an extent that we would find attacks against anyone to be completely and utterly unacceptable!

In prayer,
Tom

WISE Choices

My mp3 recorder malfunctioned so no audio today, but here is the outline and highlights from the November 4, 2018 sermon, “WISE Choices”, that I shared at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Matthew 7:21-29

Here are the main points from the sermon:

Jesus taught that many will say to Him, “Lord, Lord”, yet get a response of “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  His explanation for such an interaction reveals the importance of not just hearing the Word of God, but actually putting it into practice.  Every time we encounter the truth of God’s Word, we must choose what we will do with it.  It is my prayer that each of those times result in our making WISE choices.

A WISE choice is a  . . .

  • Willing Choice:  Psalm 119:108
    • God’s desire is that we are both willing and eager to do everything He has commanded.  Acting like we are forced to put the things of God into practice will do us no more good than it does for our witness for Christ.  When our choice to honor God in everything is a willing choice, then others will be able to see the joy we have through living an obedient life.
    • If you have to be forced, coerced, or tricked into it, it is probably not a wise choice.
  • Intelligent Choice:  Acts 13:7
    • Faith in God is not blind faith.  In fact, it is our faith that allows us to see the unseen as if it were seen.  Just because someone says something is from God doesn’t mean that it really is.  We must use the mind that God gave us in order to make intelligent choices that keep us in a life that honors God and helps those around us see a God that can be trusted.  Very few people want to follow someone who doesn’t know what they are doing and when we choose to understand and know God to the best of our ability, we find that we have much more than a “just because” answer to the questions people ask.
    • If you have to ignore clear teaching of scripture, it is definitely not a wise choice.
  • Sacrificial Choice:  Hebrews 13:15-16
    • By nature, sacrifice is difficult otherwise we wouldn’t call it sacrifice.  When we seek to do God’s will, more often than not we find we are called upon to make a sacrificial choice.  This should not come as a big surprise since the life of Jesus on earth can be best characterized as sacrificial.  Honoring God with our choices will mean that we look out for the needs of others even above our own.  Jesus said that unless we are willing to give up everything, we cannot be His disciple — it doesn’t get more sacrificial than that when it comes to the choices we ought to be making.
    • If it only looks out for your good and not the good of others, it is likely not a wise choice.
  • Eternal Choice:  Galatians 6:8
    • One of the reasons that we can make choices that are willing, intelligent, and even sacrificial is because we make them with an eternal perspective in mind.  The seeds we sow today will determine the harvest we experience later.  A huge part of that eternal harvest is not just about us making it to heaven, but it is also about the seeds we plant in the lives of others so that God can bring about the harvest in their life at just the right time.  When we apply an eternal perspective filter to the decisions we must make each day, it ought to change not only what we choose to do but also the how and why of what we choose.
    • If it only satisfies a temporary desire with no view toward how it will influence you and others for eternity, it most certainly is not a wise choice.
Finding  Direction

Finding Direction

When life seems uncertain
and each path looks dark.
You should probably quit driving
and put it in park.
As you sit on the roadside,
wondering which way to go.
It’s a very good time
to ask the One who does know.

For darkness can’t stay
in the presence of light.
And finding direction
is easier with sight.
Much time is oft wasted
when we won’t stop to ask.
For help from the One
who created our task.

“Be still and know”,
is what He does say.
But that’s hard to do
when I’m driving my way.
So I shut down the engine
fueled by selfish desire.
And I look for direction
from the One who’s much higher.

And each time I seek Him,
I find he is there.
As He leads me beside Him,
and shows me His care.
It’s not always easy,
but He’s given His Word.
And the voice that speaks from it,
is the sweetest I’ve heard.

And just like a lamb,
to its own master’s voice.
I hear from my Shepherd
and I have to rejoice.
I’m no longer lost,
for I have been found.
As I live in His presence,
where His light does abound!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

As one who has been known to drive in the dark for long periods of time as I’ve looked for a destination, I suppose this poem is for me.  But I also suspect God put it in my mind for someone else also . . . perhaps you.  I think sometimes we have so closely associated movement with progress that we begin to believe that moving in any direction, even the wrong direction, is better than sitting still.  I have literally added hours to my journey at times simply because I didn’t stop in the darkness and find out exactly where I was in relation to where I needed to be.  While that can be a waste of time and fuel when it happens on the physical roads of life, it can be even more costly when it takes place on the spiritual path we are on.  I pray that you and I would learn to “be still and know that [He is] God.”  When life brings indecision and darkness, put it in park for a while and look to the One that is the Light of the World!

In prayer,
Tom