A Life of PRAYER

A Life of PRAYER

I had the opportunity to preach yesterday but didn’t remember to take my mp3 recorder with me, so no audio to share this time.  As I practice, and teach about, a lifestyle of prayer, there are a number of things that I find happen through such a way of life.  I’ve prepared several sermons that highlight some of what a lifestyle of prayer is, and yesterday’s message was one of them.

Many times when we try to describe something we skip the most obvious part of it because it is so obvious we think everyone must know that much about whatever we are describing.  In an attempt not to do that, the message I shared was “A Lifestyle of Prayer is a Life of PRAYER”.  But not only is it a life filled with prayer, it is a life filled with the results of prayer and that is what the sermon focused on — some of those results.  With no audio to share, here is the outline and some of the main points from the message.

A Lifestyle of Prayer is a Life of . . . 

  • Peace:  The Bible teaches that it is through a continual process of presenting our requests to God through prayers and petitions that we can replace anxiousness with peace.  Prayer may not bring an immediate change to the circumstance that has caused you to be anxious, but it should serve as a reminder of who is really in control of the situation.  Our prayers should fill us with peace as we grow in our trust of God to carry us through, and beyond, the anxious moments of life.  
  • Respect:  As we live with prayer as a lifestyle, we find that our approach to God grows in regard to the respect we give Him.  It seems our respect often fluctuates based on how real we view God to be.  When we are consistently engaged in conversation with Him through prayer, we find that He not only demands respect but that He deserves respect.  It is this life of respect that continually reminds us that while prayer is a conversation, it is no ordinary conversation — it is communication with the living God.
  • Answers:  This is the part of prayer that we often desire most and can be the most likely to wreck our prayer life when it doesn’t happen according to our expectations.  Yet a lifestyle of prayer is a life of answers — some “yes”, some “no”, some “not right now”, and some so far removed from the answer we wanted that we fail to see it.  When our prayer life is sporadic, we often fail to “connect the dots” of God at work and thus miss the answers He is providing.  But the more that prayer is woven into every aspect of our life, the more we begin to notice that God has been answering all along in ways that are for our good.
  • Yielding:  In nearly every relationship we have, the more time we spend with someone the better we get to know them.  An active prayer life is time spent with God both talking and listening so that we begin to become familiar with the things of God that He has revealed by the power of His Spirit through His Word.  In a life of prayer, the yielding is often interwoven with the answers as we learn to accept that His answers are better than ours.  When we can pray, “not my will but Yours be done”, and really mean it, we find that we will be more likely to yield to the answers that God provides as we learn to trust Him.
  • Encouragement:  A life of prayer can bring great encouragement — not just to those who pray, but to the people that see and hear of the mighty work of God that takes place in the lives of those who pray.  It is this encouragement that not only emboldens the life of the one who prays, it often causes others to consider what a life of prayer would do for them.  While we ought to pray just for the privilege of talking with the creator of everything, many times it is the benefit that prayer brings into our life that keeps us going back to God.  Let’s face it, if every conversation we have with a person makes us feel poorly about our self for some reason, we will likely not seek to continue that relationship.  However, when our time with God brings daily encouragement to both us and those around us, our desire to pray ought to grow each day that we live.
  • Renewal:  Isaiah wrote that “even youths get tired and weary, but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”  A lifestyle of prayer can result in a life of renewal as we continually seek the “new mercies” that God promises each morning.  The Bible teaches that we are to be transformed by a renewing of our mind, and prayer is a major part of that change of mind that can bring about a godly transformation.  When we allow a growing lifestyle of prayer to bring peace, respect, answers, yielding, and encouragement into our life, we will find that we are indeed being renewed daily by the power of God’s Spirit and through the truth of His Word.

When we live a lifestyle of prayer, we ought to find that these qualities are growing in our life.  And as they grow, we find that we are more drawn to prayer as a way of life each day that we live.  It is my prayer that each one of us would grow in our desire to live a lifestyle of prayer that results in a life of PRAYER!

In prayer,
Tom

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In the Morning, When I Rise . . .

In the Morning, When I Rise . . .

I woke this morning with a song in my mind that, well, that seems fitting to start any day.  The verse that has been running through my head says, “In the morning, when I rise; In the morning, when I rise.  In the morning, when I rise; Give me Jesus!”  The song has made me think about the days when I consciously choose Jesus at the start of the day compared to the ones that I don’t.  It’s not that I’m rejecting Jesus on any of the days, at least not deliberately, it’s just that there are days that I let the hectic pace of life push Jesus to the side.  When that happens at any time, but particularly at the start of a day, it isn’t long before my attitude and priorities begin to slide in a direction that isn’t productive to me or anyone else.

While choosing Jesus has to be a continual commitment, doing so when I rise each morning helps set the standard for the decisions that will come throughout the day.  Scripture says that “His mercies are new each morning” and it does me well to recognize and lay claim to the application of that in my life.  When I seek Jesus at the start of each day, I am made more aware of His presence because I’m looking for it.  While Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake His children, I have a choice as to how much I acknowledge and welcome that presence each day.  I believe that a practice of seeking God that includes a deliberate request each “morning when I rise, give me Jesus!”, prepares us for the final verse of the song, “When it’s time to die; O, when it’s time to die.  When it’s time to die; give me Jesus!”

As I said earlier, some days are easier to remember my need to seek Jesus when I rise.  For me, being up to see the beauty of God’s creation in the early morning hours serves as a visible reminder of His presence and fills me with a desire to seek Him.  The photo below is from a recent trip to northwest Ohio where I was able to watch the sun rise over Lake Erie and be reminded, “In the morning, when I rise; In the morning when I rise.  In the morning, when I rise; Give me Jesus!”

It is my prayer that you and I would desire and seek Jesus at all times and particularly each morning when we rise.

In prayer,
Tom

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Favorite Quotes (3)

Today is day three! 🙂

I was nominated to participate in the Quote Challenge.
The rules of the challenge are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote each day for three consecutive days.
  3. Nominate three bloggers each day to do the same.

I partially accept the challenge 😉  😀 !  If you read this and want to participate by sharing three of your favorite quotes over the next three days, great!  If not, no worries. 🙂

  1. A big thank-you and a shout out to A Different Perspective for the nomination. Go check out the site and leave a nice comment (you might even feel compelled to follow!)
    ~
  2. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.”  ~ Jesus (John 10:10)
    This might just be my all time favorite quote!  It reminds me of God’s desire that my life be lived and lived to the full.  It also helps me to recognize, and stand against, the true source of that which tries to steal, kill, and destroy my joy in life.
    ~
  3. Have at it!  Use your blog to share your favorite quotes!

Favorite Quotes (2)

I was nominated to participate in the Quote Challenge.
The rules of the challenge are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote each day for three consecutive days.
  3. Nominate three bloggers each day to do the same.

I partially accept the challenge 😉  😀 !  If you read this and want to participate by sharing three of your favorite quotes over the next three days, great!  If not, no worries. 🙂

  1. A big thank-you and a shout out to A Different Perspective for the nomination. Go check out the site and leave a nice comment (you might even feel compelled to follow!)
    ~
  2. “No matter what the background of a child, camp opens doors, exposing children to possibilities and opportunities they might never know could be theirs.  Camp…takes kids away from things they value, to teach them the things of real value.”  (Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner)
    I worked at a Christian camp for nearly 5 years and this was my favorite quote about the impact of summer camp.  While the first part is true, it is the last line that really hit me with the intensity of its power.  And it’s not just true for children . . . many times it is not until we lose the things we value the most that we learn what really has value.
    ~
  3. Have at it!  Use your blog to share your favorite quotes!

Favorite Quotes (1)

I was nominated to participate in the Quote Challenge.
The rules of the challenge are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote each day for three consecutive days.
  3. Nominate three bloggers each day to do the same.

I partially accept the challenge 😉  😀 !  If you read this and want to participate by sharing three of your favorite quotes over the next three days, great!  If not, no worries. 🙂

  1. A big thank-you and a shout out to A Different Perspective for the nomination. Go check out the site and leave a nice comment (you might even feel compelled to follow!)
    ~
  2. “Just as a child cannot do bad coloring, a Christian cannot do bad praying.”  Brennan Manning in “Ragamuffin Gospel”.  This is probably one of my favorite prayer quotes of all time!  On refrigerators all across America, artwork is displayed that will probably never win a prize yet it is often considered by the person who put it there to be the best artwork of all time.  God wants His children to come to Him in prayer and live a life that is in constant communication with Him.  When we do so, He’s not concerned so much with our form or even our words but more so with our presence.
    ~
  3. Have at it!  Use your blog to share your favorite quotes!
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