Counting Days or Days That Count?

Counting Days or Days That Count?

Because I post and share a lot of photos on social media, I often get asked how I find the time to photograph the things that I do.  The answer is not all that complicated to give, but it can be pretty difficult to put into practice.  It has a lot to do with priorities and what I call making days count rather than living life counting days.

It is far too easy to go through life counting days until whatever the next thing we are looking forward to will take place.  And if we’re not doing that, we are counting the days until whatever we are in the midst of is over.  While keeping track of when things will happen or when they will end is not necessarily a bad thing, the problem comes when our focus of counting days keeps us from living days that count.

It is not an easy journey, and for most people the step from counting days to days that count is precipitated by an event, or series of events, that cause them to see the uncertainty of life.  And it’s not a decision that is made once and life is different from that point forward . . . no, for me at least, I have to decide often if I’m going to do something today that makes the day count.  Because it’s a daily decision, and often multiple times in a day, it is not an easy path to walk.  Many times the decision really rests on whether my choice for the day is about me or about someone else.  I’ve found, that while it may not always look like a decision that would make the day count, basing the day’s choices on what helps others or makes them happy is much more likely to end up being a day that counts.

The photo below is from one of those days that count — it counts because it was spent with my family and brought joy to all of us.  It’s also a good example of what it might take to make your days count.  It was a last-minute, beautiful day opportunity and it required some sacrifices of time in getting work done that needed to be completed.  But the point is that we didn’t focus on counting the hours of what needed to be done, but rather we focused on making the day count and dealing with the hours as needed.  Yes, the climb up the dune to this overlook was difficult and the trip meant I would have to wake up very early the next morning to get work done, but the scene was spectacular and created a moment that helped to make the day count.

I pray that you would consider the people who are important to you, and even those that aren’t but maybe should be, and find ways to make your days together count rather than just spending your time counting days.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

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My Mom

The cleaning is done
and I’m ready for the day.
So, as I sit down
I have something to say.
To a godly mother,
no one can compare.
She cares for her family,
their burdens to bear.
 
She does what she can
with the hands of her own.
And prays oft to God
for the seeds which are sown.
Some days she acts tough,
and some days are sweet.
As the needs of her children
she struggles to meet.
 
But meet them she does,
with God’s help and might.
As she calls out to Him,
by day and by night.
He strengthens her hands
for the work to be done.
And fills her with joy
from daughter and from son.
 
You may read these lines
and think, “What does he know?”.
Well, these are the truths
that my mother did show!
Her life of strength,
and tenderness too.
Helps me see Jesus
as God shines right through.
 
And so as you ponder
just what you should do.
I have a message
that might be for you.
Honor your mother,
whether gone or still here.
By being a person
that would bring her great cheer.

© 2018 by Tom Lemler

 
After cleaning the church building to get ready for the Sunday service, I sat down and the opening lines of this poem fell out of my mind. I wasn’t sure where it was headed as I typed the words out, but I offer them in honor of my mom on this Mother’s Day! I’m sure my mom didn’t always understand me (I don’t even always understand myself 🙂 ) but she continues to be a great encourager and example to me.
 
In prayer,
Tom
Spring Reflections

Spring Reflections

I enjoy taking photographs of items that are reflected in various bodies of water.  As I’ve done this, I’ve discovered at least two key ingredients to a good (and accurate) reflection.  One is the stillness of the water and the other is the purity of the water.  In nature, both ingredients are highly variable even from one day to the next in the same body of water.  The photo below is one I’ve taken many times and sometime the water is calm and pure giving a clear reflection of the spring house, and other times there is no reflection at all.  The source of the water comes from a spring the little house is built over — thus a “spring house”.  The water is pure and clear coming from the spring, but once out in the open it doesn’t always remain so.

I suppose the same is true in my efforts to accurately reflect Christ so that He is seen when others observe me.  The source, Christ, is unchanging in its purity and clarity so any imperfection in the reflection has to come from me.  My ability to be still and know Him as God will be a determining factor in how well He is reflected in my life.  The purity I live my life with will either help people see Jesus in me or cloud their view of Him.  As I spend time at the well of Living Water and allow His Spirit and His Word to continually wash over me, I find that the turmoil and impurity of life no longer gets in the way of others seeing who resides within.

I pray that you and I would desire our lives to accurately reflect Jesus.  As we live out that desire, I pray that we would be both still and cleansed so we would not become a distraction to the reflection of Christ others should see in us.

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Hold On To Instruction

Hold On To Instruction

I write a weekly prayer guide that I publish online and send out via email.  Each week I put together a series of daily prayer points that cover different aspects of a topic.  This week’s focus is about some things the Bible says we ought to hold on to.  The emphasis for today is to hold on to instruction.

“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”
Proverbs 4:13 (NIV)

Perhaps you live by the old adage, “When all else fails, read the instructions.”  For many, that seems to be a common approach to life.  It is not until things become difficult, or go very wrong, that we stop long enough to check on how we were supposed to be living.  God tells us that we ought to hold on to instruction . . . but not just any instruction, His instructions!  When we choose to follow the instructions of God’s Word, we find that there are some difficulties that we are able to avoid and others that we become equipped to endure because of the life we obtain in Christ.  While following God’s instructions doesn’t exempt us from the troubles of life, doing so gives us a life that can see beyond the troubles to a greater hope and promise.

My prayer is that you and I would find a life in Christ that is worth holding on to.  I pray that we would not take the instructions of scripture lightly, but that we would cling to them as the true source of life.

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Time For a Break

Time For a Break

After two years and nearly three months of writing a daily page, I’ve decided it is time for a break.  I’m not sure how long the break will be and I’m not sure if I will go back to a daily page when the break is over, but it just feels like this current writing adventure needs a break.  I do suspect I will still write and post from time to time but it will be based on having something to write rather than simply on it being another day.  For those who have followed these daily blogs, thank you for the encouragement!

Given that I enjoy taking photos of the moon, it was probably fitting that there was a full moon shining brightly overhead as I took trash out tonight.

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2018: Page 88

2018: Page 88

Some thoughts, lessons, and/or reflections from the day:

  • It felt like a very short night as I was up for a time during the night as another seizure took hold of my daughter.
  • Even with the interrupted night, I found myself awake shortly before the alarm clock was due to go off.  While continued sleep would have felt nice, work doesn’t get done by itself so I headed that way and went about the morning cleaning and building prep as I prayed for my daughter.
  • The day felt long as my eyes were heavy from a lack of sleep, but as I took care of the building I also worked on the sermon for Sunday and worked ahead on the prayer guide for the following week.
  • The prayer guide that will go out on Easter Sunday is about new life but the one I worked on today for the following week is about being renewed.
  • I suppose the topic was helped along by my weariness today, but it seemed like a good follow-up as God not only wants to give us new life, He also wants to renew us in the times when we become weary.
  • It was an interesting combination to be working on a sermon about being fully alive and a prayer guide about being renewed, but I think God’s ability to renew us each day is a part of what makes being fully alive even possible.
  • At various times today I’ve found myself thinking about the difference between being needed and being wanted.  I’m afraid there are many times when people put a lot of effort into trying to be needed because they don’t believe they will ever be wanted.
  • I am thankful for a God who is not in need of anything, including you and I, but wants us with such a passion that He not only made a way through Jesus to give us new life, He promises to renew us as we daily put our hope in Him.
  • Today’s photo is from yesterday as I didn’t take any new ones today.  It made me think of God’s promise that “they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength and mount up on wings as eagles.”

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