Raise Your Hand

I wonder what would happen,
In a country such as ours.
If the rhetoric was silenced,
And locked away in jars.

If thoughts and words did matter,
And came from our own heart.
If listening to others,
Was where we always start.

If my response was guided,
By what you really said.
Instead of words that others,
Have planted in my head.

To see the hurt and lonely,
And hear their cries of grief.
To embrace an actual person,
Might change our own belief.

So instead of sharing,
That latest made up “fact”.
I pray I stop and question,
Just how would Jesus act.

I think I know the answer,
For I’ve read it in His Word.
He sits with the downtrodden,
To make sure that they’re heard.

He gives them what is needed,
Beyond what they might know.
For He gives Himself quite freely,
His love for them to show.

And so when you are tempted,
To attack “the other side”.
I pray you throw the rhetoric out,
And turn this awful tide!

And if you have no answer,
Know that is still okay.
Often an act of listening,
Means more than what you say!

But if you know the Savior,
Who can heal this broken land.
He is the only answer,
So it’s time to raise your hand!
© 2018 by Tom Lemler

I was praying and thinking this morning about how quick people are to share memes and unsubstantiated “facts” as truth if they fit our personal objectives. As Christians, we know the only lasting answer to the problems we both face and create is Jesus. When I was in school, many years ago, there was an eagerness among students to be the first to “raise your hand” when they knew the answer. Perhaps it is time for Christians to reject the rhetoric of the day and “raise your hand” as you lovingly share the answer of Jesus with those around you.

In prayer,

True Love

If I could have one wish for you,
I wish that this is what you knew.
That Jesus Christ from up above,
Has shown us what it means to love.

He chose to leave His heavenly throne,
And walk with those who feel alone.
The sick, the poor, the hurting ones,
Were not forgotten by God’s Son.

His life was lived for you and I,
He came to earth so He could die.
His death brought life and hope to all,
Who on His name would choose to call.

For though His body was in the grave,
He came to life with power to save.
His life and death and life again,
Has overcome the curse of sin.

So, back to heaven He did go,
And this is what I hope you know.
He’s coming back again someday,
For those who’ve claimed Him as the Way.

So as you live your life on earth,
I pray you know how much you’re worth.
That you would know the greatest love,
Expressed to you from God above.

And as you live your life today,
May it be words of love you say.
To those around who hurt and grieve,
May your love help them believe.

And when that day arrives at last,
When Christ’s return comes very fast.
I pray that many are with you,
When at last we’re made brand new!
© 2018 by Tom Lemler

I guess I shook my head a little too hard this morning and a new poem fell out.  I’ve been working on a prayer guide for next week while thinking about sermon direction for Easter Sunday, and I guess this is the result for the moment.

In prayer,

OPEN Eyes (A Poem Read by the Author)

This is the audio of my reading a poem God gave me to share at the conclusion of the Sunday morning worship gathering of the Deer Run Church of Christ on New Year’s Eve 2017.


On this final day
of twenty-seventeen.
Many will wonder,
“what did it all mean?”
There will be some things
that made no sense at all.
The appearance would say,
we did stumble and fall.

Then there were others
that weren’t quite as planned.
Yet we made it through them,
by God’s unseen hand.
After we look back
and have asked ourselves why.
It’s time to look forward
with a wide-open eye.

An eye that’s Observant
is a good place to start.
To pay close attention
to what’s in my heart.
To look with great Purpose;
to help, not condemn.
When my eye gazes outward
to focus on them.

And as I look forward,
I Expect God to act.
For the good of His people,
and that is a fact.
But perhaps most important,
is to see the great Need.
My eyes long for Jesus
and His healing indeed.

Some of the answers
that we still do seek.
Might lie in the future,
if we could take a peek.
Or perhaps we have missed it,
and just didn’t see.
That the answer God’s giving,
is to create a new me.

© 2017 by Tom Lemler


2017: Page 359

2017: Page 359

Page 359 was Christmas Day and with family gatherings the day before Christmas and the day after Christmas, it was a quiet day of reflection.  I began the day by writing yesterday’s page then headed outside to run the snowblower and clear the drive.  When I came in a poem showed up in my mind, so it will become part of today’s page.  In fact, I think the poem will take the place of the “thoughts and lessons” bullet points that I usually conclude a page with.

After lunch we drove up to Lake Michigan to see what we could find to photograph.  The wind was cold and fierce which made it difficult to stay outside very long but also made for some lighthouse-tall waves to photograph.  As evening arrived, we made our way home and I spent time going through the photos I took throughout the afternoon.  One of my favorite photos made today’s page as I captured the outer St Joseph lighthouse engulfed by a wave while its light is on.

As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:

Christmas day is here at last,
it’s time to have some fun!
So I fired up the snowblower,
to see if it would run.
I pulled it once, I pulled it twice;
it started with a roar!
And now that it was running,
I pushed it out the door.

Down the drive it slowly crawled,
snow flying in the air.
The wind would blow it back at me,
the snow was everywhere!
But with each pass the drive was cleared,
and pavement began to show.
When I was done, it looked so nice,
until the next big snow!

But that’s a lesson we should learn,
not just about the snow.
When “stuff” begins to pile up,
it really ought to go!
But just because we clear it once,
we’re never really done.
Until our life’s been fully cleaned,
by the blood of God’s own Son!
© 2017 by Tom Lemler


Every Day Christmas

Every Day Christmas

Christmas comes just once a year,
at least that’s what they say.
But think how different life would be,
with Christmas every day!

The things we do to celebrate,
would surely have to change.
To give each other “stuff” each day,
would really seem quite strange.

But what would happen if we gave,
the greatest gift of love?
And shared it every day we lived,
as we receive it from above.

The greatest gift of Christmas,
is not a shirt or tie.
Instead it was a baby,
who came to earth to die.

From One who really had it all,
the gift was not more “stuff”.
Instead the gift was His own love,
and that would be enough.

So when you’re feeling empty,
with nothing left to give.
Remember Christ, our Savior,
who came to earth to live.

He brought no treasure with Him,
no “pavement” from above.
But yet He kept on giving,
the abundance of His love.

For Christmas to come every day,
at least within our heart.
To share God’s love with everyone,
would be the place to start!

So, instead of counting dollars,
why not add up all God gives.
Then go out spreading peace and joy,
to everyone who lives!

© 2017 by Tom Lemler

As I began the work week leading into Christmas, this poem showed up in my mind.  Christmas is a time of year when the thoughts of many people turn toward giving — even if they are not all that inclined to give at any other time.  For many, great work and effort is put into finding “just the right gift” for each person in their gift-giving circle.  Yet what happens when Christmas is over?  Is it back to life as usual where it is all about me and what I can obtain?  I can’t keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year or I would go broke buying new gifts each day!  But what if I looked beyond the shopping and saw the real gift of Christmas is love?  You see, unlike the traditional Christmas gifts, love actually increases as we give it.  When the gift we give is love, we will always have enough to have Every Day Christmas!

In prayer,


2017: Page 351

2017: Page 351

Page 351 was a Sunday so I was able to sleep in compared to my usual wake-up time.  I did get up early and looked outside to see if it had snowed overnight, but with no fresh snow on the ground I went back to sleep.  When we were all up and ready for the day we headed to Sunday School where our group is beginning a study in Titus.  Today we began a journey through some background scriptures where we could see not only Paul’s influence on Titus, but the help and encouragement Titus was to Paul and to the believers he served.  God’s desire is that each one of us would learn from those who are faithfully walking with Him and that our learning would equip us to teach others to grow in their faith.  But none of these relationships are meant to be one-way.  Those we learn from, we are also to encourage and strengthen when they are in need.  Those we teach also have the responsibility to encourage and strengthen us when we are weak.  

After Sunday School, our worship gathering included a message by David about “The Story behind ‘The Story'”.  Much of the sermon was a look at the person of Joseph and his role in the Christmas Story.  The point, however, wasn’t simply so we would know more about this man but that we would ask of ourselves the same questions we might ask about him.  The questions we considered this morning were:

  • Who was Joseph (Or, who am I)?:  The scarcity of information in the Bible about Joseph would lead me to believe that he was a rather ordinary man.  Yes, he could trace his lineage back to King David but for a nation living under the rule of Rome, a royal bloodline really didn’t mean a whole lot.  Instead of living as royalty, Joseph worked as a carpenter.  But what we do know about him is the description given by God that “Joseph was a righteous (or just) man.”  In fact, it was this desire to do what was right according to God that led to the dilemma he faced about what to do when he found out Mary was pregnant.  He wanted to do right by God above all else, but also wanted to treat Mary with as much dignity and compassion as he could.  When we ask ourselves who we are, I’m not sure we could do better than to be known as a righteous and just person.  An ordinary person who lives with God’s righteousness can accomplish more than we can think or imagine.
  • What changed Joseph (Or, what changes me)?:  Joseph’s initial plan was to quietly break off the marriage to Mary so that he could maintain his righteousness while protecting her as much as possible.  It had to be a confusing time in the life of Joseph and we really don’t know who initially told him or how he found out about Mary’s pregnancy.  He wanted to do the right thing, but in his mind there was only one right thing that could be done and that was to call off the marriage with a certificate of divorce.  But if you know the Christmas story, you know that is not what happened.  It was an angel delivering God’s word that changed Joseph’s mind and actions.  The message from the angel actually makes it appear that Joseph’s initial decision was being driven by fear — “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife . . . “.  When we ask ourselves, “What changes me?”, the answer ought to be the same as what changed Joseph — God’s Word.  We’re not really that different from Joseph and often we need God’s Word to be present in our life to drive out the fear that keeps us from changing.
  • Why did God do what He did in the way/time that He did (Or, why does God do what He does in my life in the way/time that He does)?:  Probably even more common than the first two questions, is our constant desire to ask, “Why?”.  The funny thing to me is that once Joseph accepts the word of God from the angel, he doesn’t seem to do a lot of questioning — he simply does what God commanded.  Yet I would imagine that there were times from that point on that he had to wonder why him, why now, why this way, why, why, why.  At least that’s what would have happened if I had been Joseph because that is what happens even now with my being a servant of God.  The short answer, I suppose, is that we simply don’t know the things that God knows.  The Bible says that Jesus came into the world at just the right time — or in the fullness of time.  It doesn’t matter whether Joseph thought it was a good time, or Mary thought it was a good time, or the religious leaders thought it was a good time, or if anyone else agreed — God knew it was the best time!  When we submit to God with who we are and with how He has changed us, we can be certain that His plans for our life are always the right ones.  Each of us has work to do that God “created in advance for us to do”.  God not only could see what needs done and when it needs to be done, He could see us as being the ones to do it.  

After the church service, I had lunch with my family and then it has been a quiet afternoon as our daughter is not feeling well and continues to have varied seizure activity.  As she has been resting, I spent some time on the computer sharing some photos and continuing through the ones I have taken this year.  Today’s photo is one from earlier this year as we visited Bonneyville Mills County Park.  When I shared the photo, I called it “Back to the Future” as windmills have made quite a comeback in some areas.  Granted, they don’t often look much like this but there has been a resurgence in harnessing the power of the wind.  I grew up with a windmill outside our front door.  While the well was powered by electricity by the time I was born, the windmill set over the well pit because it used to be the power source.  This picture reminds me that just because we quit doing things in a certain way, it doesn’t mean that the concept behind it has lost all value.  Sometimes ideas and methods need updated in ways that maintain the original purpose rather than simply throwing out the entire thing because the “old way” isn’t working like it used to.

As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:

  • Even when there is no snow in the forecast, this time of year I still have to get up and check — you just never know.
  • All of us have someone that we ought to be teaching, training, and equipping in some way or another.
  • All of us ought to have someone that is teaching, training, and equipping us in some way or another.
  • Sometimes that “someone” is the same person.
  • We classify people in a lot of different ways, but in reality all God has available to work with are ordinary people — at least until He gets a hold of them and works through them.  
  • We are best changed by God’s Word but we are not really changed until we choose to obey His Word.
  • We can’t see the fullness of tomorrow — God can.
  • Just because something isn’t working in a productive way today, doesn’t mean that it never can again.
  • God’s the ultimate “recycle-er”.  Even when we make a mess of our life, He can take all of the brokenness and worn out pieces that we give Him and make something brand new. 


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,