Still Thankful?

The holiday is over,
we’ve all said our thanks.
So we rush to the stores
to fill up their banks.
I need this and
some more of that.
Leave me alone,
I’ve no time to chat.
You want this,
but so do I.
So drop it now
or get a black eye.

How did we go
from giving thanks to this?
What was the point
that we surely did miss?
A heart that is thankful
should be content.
And our actions should show it,
if that’s what we meant.
So, on this “Black Friday”;
and all other days too.
Keep on being thankful
for what God’s given you.
© 2017 by Tom Lemler

As I’ve seen the annual “Black Friday” news reports of fights, brawls, and bad behavior from people rushing out to obtain the things they “absolutely have to have”, this poem showed up in my mind. I pray that you and I would live a life of contentment every day as we consider all that we have in Christ.

In prayer,
Tom

 

Change of Plans

My mind feels quite swirled,
almost inside out.
And settled within it
is a pile of doubt.
Did I hear unclearly?
Did I chase my pride?
What forms the confusion
that has settled inside?

Some time ago,
I was given advice.
When you’re sure in the daylight,
when it’s dark, don’t think twice.
It is so very easy,
when my plans fall apart.
To question my listening
and how they did start.

Did I talk myself into
what should not have been done?
Or am I learning a lesson
that isn’t much fun?
Do I have to see clearly
why things are this way?
When I go back to God
to hear what He will say.

I know God works all things
together for good.
For those He has called,
with Him they have stood.
So, as I regather
the thoughts in my mind.
I search more intently
so His thoughts I find.

Then I cast on Him
the cares of this day.
And trust He’ll provide
all that I have to pay.
But more so than money,
I hope I will see.
this failure won’t change,
His great love for me!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

Sometimes I have poems show up in my mind that I am eager to share with others — this is not one of them.  But as I finish out a weekend that didn’t go as planned, this poem took up residence in my mind and it doesn’t seem like a good idea to keep it trapped inside.  I know I have people who follow my blog and social media postings who want everything to be positive and uplifting all the time, but even in Christ that isn’t how life is — at least not for me nor for the majority of people I know.  Life is full of failed plans, broken promises, unmet expectations, and even concern for what others will think.  I know I can’t control how others respond to God’s promptings and leading in their lives, and I’m not even the one who says what those are for them, but sometimes it is difficult to move forward in what feels like confident obedience only to have the work seem to be a total failure.  As I’m sitting in a costly cabin, not only did my primary plan become a complete flop, but my secondary plan hasn’t yielded the resulting work I had hoped.  Even in this, I am confident that God was not caught off guard by any of what has or hasn’t happened so I wait as patiently as possible for the if and when there are lessons from this weekend that He will reveal.  I do pray that my posting such a transparent look into my mind is a help and encouragement to others whose plans don’t always turn out as expected or hoped for.

In prayer,
Tom

 

A Relative Mess

If three is now two,
and twelve is now four.
Could you be certain
that nine is not more?
Many will call things
whatever they wish.
But that still won’t ever
make a bear be a fish.

You’re probably thinking,
“This poem is absurd!”
This just might be close
to the craziest I’ve heard!
But there is a movement
that makes this seem sane.
A movement that’s spreading
like wind-driven rain.

You see, right is called wrong
and wrong is called right.
What was hidden in darkness
is now done in daylight.
I have my freedom,
I can do what I choose!
Are words that are spoken,
not knowing what we lose.

When freedom of choice
means I am in charge.
It isn’t long
before my problems get large.
If I set the standard
between right and wrong.
The lines become blurred
and it doesn’t take long.

No, three is not two
and twelve is not four.
For truth is still truth,
right down to the core.
The choice that we have,
is in who we believe.
The One who is Truth,
or the one who deceives.

When we use our freedom
to choose what is right.
We find ourselves living
in freedom’s true light.
So choose now today,
to cling to God’s Word.
Choose right over wrong
and truth will be heard!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

As I was cleaning this morning, my eyes rested on some of the alphabet and number charts on the classroom walls.  Even as our culture moves further and further away from absolutes in the way we do life, and even within many aspects of our educational systems, there are still some basics that we hold onto — at least for now.  You know what this paragraph says, even if its meaning is unclear to some, because we agree on what these symbols I’m typing mean.  Anyone who knows the English language can read this and come away with at least a basic understanding of what I hope to convey, simply because the letters and words mean the same thing to each of us. 

Anyhow, the absolutes of our “A B C’s and 1 2 3’s” began to put this poem in my mind as I thought about the chaos that would exist if we could each make up a value that we wanted to for each symbol.  The bigger problem is, we’ve had a tendency to do that within our culture when it comes to a belief that truth is somehow relative — that what you accept as true can be just as true as what I accept as true even if they are completely in disagreement with each other.  No wonder there is so much chaos in the world today.  When our freedom of choice results in our choosing to make our self god by who we put in charge, we actually lose everything that is good and right.  I pray that you and I reject this “relative mess” and cling to the truth of God’s Word as good and absolute in everything. 

In prayer,
Tom

 

The Ark of God’s Presence

I drift alone on open sea.
Where waves of darkness cover me.
And as I drown within my mind.
There is no peace that I can find.

The water tosses me about.
Will it hold on or throw me out?
With each new crashing wave I feel.
I lose more hope that I can heal.

Yet in my darkest lonely hour.
The waves are not the only power.
I feel it near, though faint it be.
I’m not abandoned to the sea.

As I ride these wild waves.
I call out to the One who saves.
Lord, I need help; I’m too tired to swim.
I raise my voice and call to Him.

And while the waves still crash about.
And often I’m not lifted out.
I look around, and look above.
And know the presence of His love.

The crashing waves don’t seem so dark.
When I view them from His ark.
They’re still around me, this is true.
But I have His love to see me through!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

I know there are people who don’t think I should write about the struggles I have, yet these poems show up in ways that make me feel it would be terribly wrong not to share them.  I don’t know why my mind functions, or doesn’t function, in the way that it does, but I do hold fast to the One who created it and understands how to use if for His glory.  This poem was one that just showed up in my mind and it wasn’t until I was typing the end that I realized God was using it to remind me that He has prepared the ark of His presence to carry me through the storms of life so that I don’t have to ride the waves alone.  I pray that He would use this poem to encourage others as He has encouraged me through it. 

In prayer,
Tom

 

Just a Moment

If just one more moment
was all that we had.
Would it bring joy,
or would it be sad?
And while you do ponder
just which it would be.
There’s a larger picture
I want you to see.

Our life’s filled with moments,
they all do pass by.
Some we have planned,
others make us ask why.
There are moments we notice,
and some we ignore.
Some make us excited
and some are a bore.

But back to the question
of happy or sad.
You get to choose
which moment you had.
For even in darkness
and bitterest thought.
You can make the choice
to do what you ought!

The moment is changed,
not by what you receive.
But by the gift you do offer
because you believe.
When you share God’s love
in just a moment of time.
You open a window
to a moment sublime.

So, seize this here moment,
it may be all that you have.
And speak of God’s mercy
like a cool, healing salve.
Be kind to a stranger
and strengthen the weak.
Then you’ll find that your moment
is the one you did seek!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

This poem rolled out of my mind this morning though I’m not sure what prompted it nor what God will choose to do with it.  I suppose that is how the moments of life are — we either share them with others as an act of encouragement, or we keep them to our self and miss the blessing that God wanted to give us as well as someone else.  I pray that no matter how bad things may appear, that my moments are made better by what I give to others.

In prayer,
Tom

 

Not Alone

Every day can be a journey
as we travel down life’s winding road.
Each step is somewhat different
as we walk beneath our load.
Sometimes the path seems easy,
the load feels rather light.
But other times it’s heavy,
as we journey through the night.

And in those nighttime hours,
the darkness makes us feel alone.
Like no one walks beside us
and there’s no signal on our phone.
We’d call for help, but what’s the point,
for no one is around.
Our path has led to hopelessness
where despair is all that’s found.

But if we listen quietly
within that darkest hour.
We will start to feel the presence
of the One who’s filled with power.
He is walking right beside us,
He has never left our side.
But His help was pushed away
by our selfish, stubborn pride.

And in those quiet moments
as we listen to His voice.
He promises to be our light,
if that would be our choice.
And if we choose to listen
and pick up our heavy load.
We find it’s not so heavy,
as He carries it down the road.

So, I follow in His footsteps
as darkness turns to light.
And I see the others also,
who have been there through the night.
They too are walking freely
as our loads have now been shared.
So we bear each other’s burdens,
lightened by the One who cared!

The help we give each other,
is help we have received.
And it’s not too far away,
if we only would believe.
Our load is made much lighter
by the One who reigns above.
So that we can care for others
and show them God is love!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

I am currently in a season where my mind does unfriendly things to my body.  Something internally gets out of balance and the heightened anxiety and panic soon snowballs into a lot of restless nights, which only makes the anxiety and panic attacks worse.  I never want to make a bigger deal out of these than what they are, so I often willingly travel this road into the darkness thinking with each step that, “it’s not that bad . . . I can still see well enough to function.”  I am learning though.  I am learning that there is a point that I can’t manage it on my own and I need help.  I am learning that just because I can’t see others around me in the darkness, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there — many have walked a similar road. I’m learning that turning to, and finding the Light, in the darkness is news that I ought to be sharing and that is difficult to do without also talking about the shared darkness.  I pray that God uses this poem, which showed up this morning after my getting some help for some of the “darkness” symptoms, to encourage others to seek both God’s help and the help of people to find the light that He wants you to walk in.  For me, part of that help is having the humility to listen to my family and my doctor in taking some anxiety meds for a season while the mind heals and is restored.

In prayer,
Tom

 Matthieus State Park 027

We Said

Hang on to your hat
as time rushes by.
The days crawl along
but the years, they do fly.
A long time ago,
seems like just yesterday.
We stood in a church
and “I do”, we did say.

We had each other,
what more could we ask.
At that moment in time,
there was no greater task.
But what did we know,
could we see ahead?
To the days filled with joy,
and the ones filled with dread?

We pinched every nickel,
and squeezed every dime.
As we started our life
with a steep uphill climb.
But climb it we did,
and continue to do.
Until we reach the top,
for a heavenly view.

There are things we did wrong,
and a few we did right.
But when God looks at us,
I hope He’s pleased with the sight.
The future’s not promised,
though we plan and we dream.
And nothing can stop us
when we work as a team.

The hurdles behind us
are more than a few.
Sometimes we tripped over them,
sometimes barreled through.
I would guess they’re not over,
there are more up ahead.
But we’ll face them together,
because that’s what we said!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

Promises don’t always mean a lot to many people in our world today, so some find it remarkable that any marriage lasts for very long — or the ones that do, must have somehow been easy and avoided all the difficulties that can make marriage hard.  As I think this week about being married and muddling my way through so many difficult circumstances, this poem showed up in my mind as a reminder that we got through those circumstances together as we both honored our commitment to God and to what we said, “I do” — no “I might” or “I’ll think about it” or “I’ll try”, just a simple but profound “I Do!”.  So, as the 36th anniversary of our wedding day approaches, Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!  

In prayer,
Tom