A Gift that is WISE

What kind of gift
     should you and I bring?
When we come before
     the One who is King.
We think and we ponder,
     we search high and low.
We sift through the clues
     that might help us know.

We want the best gift
     and one that is WISE.
Forget all the fruitcakes
     and those ugly ties.
To find the right answer,
     we go back in time.
And examine the Magi
     in the rest of this rhyme.

A gift that is Wanted
     is a good place to start.
And God wants true worship
     that comes from the heart.
The Magi sought Jesus
     to honor as King.
And their gift of worship
     was the first they did bring.

An Intentional gift
     has thought behind it.
It’s not just the first thing
     that you think might just fit.
The Magi did travel
     with one purpose in mind.
Their intent was to honor
     the King they would find.

A Sacrificial spirit
     doesn’t think twice.
It gives of itself
     no matter the price.
The Magi gave gifts
     of time and great worth.
Gifts fit for a King
     as they traveled the earth.

A gift that’s Enough
     would surely be wise.
To meet every need
     without a surprise.
The gifts from the Magi,
     perhaps were the key.
To provide for this family
     when they had to flee.

So, what is the gift
     that God Wants from you?
And what’s your Intent
     on seeing it through?
Will you Sacrifice self
     and all of its cries?
Knowing that is Enough
     to be a gift that is WISE!

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

As I sat at my desk last night and went through the sermon I’ll share the next morning, this poem began to form in my mind.  I pray that it encourages you and helps you to think about how you can give a gift that is WISE to others and to God.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler

A Christmas Story

‘Twas the night before Christmas
     and all through the land.
People were traveling
     at Caesar’s command.
The roadways were busy,
     the towns they were packed.
But available lodging
     was something they lacked.

Some young weary travelers
     did look for a place.
Where they could rest for the night,
     and perhaps wash their face.
They went inn to inn,
     and perhaps door to door.
But there was no place,
     not even a floor!

Their search did continue
     for someplace to stay.
They were offered a stable,
     out back with the hay.
It sure wasn’t much
     but it’s all they could find.
So they made themselves comfy
     where the livestock had dined.

In the midst of the night,
     the traveler awoke.
With an urgent whisper
     and not so gentle poke.
The words were direct,
     perhaps tinged with some fear.
Now is the time,
     the child’s almost here!

And so it did happen,
     a child would be born.
As Mary and Joseph
     faced that Christmas morn.
Whenever it was,
     whatever the day.
The Christ-child was born
     and placed on the hay.

And out in the darkness
     on a hillside that night.
Some shepherds encountered
     a frightening sight.
An angel from heaven
     spoke out in the night.
To hear such a thing
     filled the shepherds with fright!

Do not be afraid,
     I bring news of great joy!
In the city of David
     has been born a boy!
The One that was promised
     so long ago.
He’s asleep in a manger,
     wrapped in cloths, so you know.

And while they were thinking,
     they must have said, “Oh, my!”
For the heavenly hosts
     did light up the sky.
Saying, “Glory to God
     and peace to all men.”
Now go find this child
     born in Bethlehem.

So the shepherds did hurry,
     there was no time to waste.
They were filled with such joy,
     that they ran with great haste.
They came to the stable
     with a manger as a bed.
And found all the details
     just like the angel had said.

They left that encounter
     and spread the good news.
Telling all who would hear,
     they had nothing to lose.
As they went their way,
     singing praises to God.
They didn’t care
     if people thought they were odd.

And all of the while,
     by the sweet baby’s side.
Mary did treasure
     and ponder inside.
All the joy and the wonder
     of what did occur.
And all that the shepherds
     had spoken to her.

So, this night before Christmas
     what have you planned?
Are you spreading good news
     throughout the land?
Are you so overwhelmed
     by the birth of this Boy?
That you’re praising God
     with the greatest of joy.

When we encounter
     the One born our King.
The question remains,
     just what gift will we bring?
There’s only one gift
     that He wants to see.
That gift is the life
     of you and of me.

©2015 by Tom Lemler

I was asked to read a poem at a Christmas Eve service so I planned on sharing something I had written a year ago.  I arrived a work early in the morning on Christmas Eve and the starlit sky drew me to the river to spend time with God in prayer and worship as I photographed the rising sun.  As I walked and prayed, this poem began to from in my mind.  I believed it was meant to be shared at the Christmas Eve service so I kept repeating it to myself so it wouldn’t leave my mind before I could get back to a computer to type it out.  I don’t know if this was the original version, but enough of it stayed in my mind so that I had a fresh poem to share tonight.  I pray that it encourages you and that it accomplishes all of the purposes for which God gave it.

In prayer,

Promises Kept

Christmas is over
     but I must repeat.
The day is about more
     than just what you eat.
More than a party
     and more than a song.
It’s a message of hope
     that should last all year long. 

We sing “Joy to the World”
     and “Happy Birthday”.
But where is that joy
     when we go our own way?
We gather with family
     and share a great meal.
But do we still share
     when it’s not how we feel? 

Christmas reminds us
     that God keeps His word.
No matter how long
     it has been since you heard.
God is not slow
     as some people say.
Rather He’s patient
     ‘til we see His way. 

In the beginning
     when God spoke to Eve.
And said from this garden,
     now you must leave.
You listened to lies
     and gave in to sin.
But there will be a day
     when your seed will win. 

Throughout generations
     this answer was sought.
As the centuries went by,
     perhaps God forgot.
But in all generations,
     there were always a few.
Whose faith remained strong
    because God’s word they knew. 

And then at a moment
     that was just the right time.
God sent forth a son
     and said, “This one’s mine.”
And while you remember
     the time of His birth.
Don’t ever forget
     why He came to earth. 

When this baby was born
     and in the manger He slept.
The promise to Eve
     soon would be kept.
The message of Christmas
     to which we must cling.
Is that God came to earth,
     salvation to bring. 

As we share our gifts
     with the people we love.
We remember the greatest
     gift came from above.
The baby that came,
     did grow as a man.
And lived without sin
     as He fulfilled God’s plan. 

So the celebration,
     we begin Christmas day.
Should grow so much bigger,
     as we hear Him say.
“Father forgive them.”
     and “It is complete.”
As the enemy of death
     went down in defeat. 

While God come to earth,
     really is a big deal.
It was His greater purpose
     that allows us to heal.
So when it is Christmas,
     and you celebrate.
Remember God kept His promise;
     on time, never late. 

So when He does say,
     “I’ll come back for my own.”
Know He’ll keep His word
     when the right time has grown.
We must be watching
     and ready alway.
So that He finds us faithful
     when the time is today!

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

It has been a great Christmas season of celebrating, healing, and remembering the birth of Jesus!  As I was praying and thinking about how quickly people tend to forget the whole concept of “Christmas Spirit”, God gave me this poem to share.  I pray that it is an encouragement to you as it accomplishes the purposes for which He gave it.

In prayer,

A Visit From The King

‘Twas the eve before Christmas
     and all through the land.
All the people were doing
     just what they planned.
Their laundry was hung
     where everyone could see.
It all went online
     as they said, “Look at me!”. 

The children were somewhere,
     no one seemed to care.
As long as they managed
     to stay out of my hair.
The parents were busy,
     each in their own way.
As they try to make Christmas
     mean just what they say. 

Then deep in my heart
     I could hear a faint call.
Just a gentle whisper
     is what I recall.
I fell to my knees
     and opened the Book.
As I listened more closely
     and took a good look. 

And to my surprise,
     just what did I see?
God’s love came to earth
     as a tiny baby.
His love looked so small
     in this human form.
As He arrived in a barn,
    not even a dorm! 

The announcement was made
     far out on a hill.
By an angel of God
     on a night that was still.
God spoke to some shepherds
     who were out on that night.
And gave them good news
     in the midst of their fright. 

The angel was joined
    by a great heavenly host.
Who gave the message
    that they needed most.
All glory to God
     who reigns from above.
And peace to all men
     who rest in His love. 

The message was so great
     that I tagged along.
To see what was meant
     by this heavenly throng.
We went into town
     to a stable forlorn.
And found in this place,
     a child had been born. 

As we walked on in,
     I felt like a stranger.
Until I did see
     this baby in a manger.
The baby was wrapped
     from his toes to his head.
In swaddling cloths,
     like the angel had said. 

We knew at that moment
     that this was the King.
Who had come down to earth,
     salvation to bring.
As we left that stable
     and went on our way.
We told all who would listen,
     what took place that day. 

The town filled with wonder,
     the people were amazed.
At the things we did tell them
     as God’s name we praised.
That night was something
     that we never forgot.
As we went back to work
     and lived out our lot. 

I’m sure there was more,
     but I seemed to wake.
From a dream that was real,
     no way this was fake!
A King came to visit,
     I was there at the start.
Now He asks me to love Him
     with all of my heart. 

More than a baby
     did I meet that day.
It was the presence of God
     that showed up that way.
He grew as a child
     and lived as a teen.
He was pleasing to God
     and to all on the scene. 

As His time came near
     to complete God’s own plan.
He started to teach
     like no other man.
He spoke of a kingdom
     that He would reveal.
And the way to this kingdom,
     His own blood would seal. 

As I did listen,
     I thought of that day.
When I heard with the shepherds
     what the angel did say.
The babe in the manger
     was no ordinary birth.
It was God dwelling with us,
     a King come to earth!

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

I was asked to share a poem at the Christmas Eve service at our church.  The hope was that I would write a new poem for the service.  I explained that I don’t really write poems I just collect them as God gives them to me in my prayer times.  The request then changed to asking that I pray about the Christmas Eve service and listen to God as they prayed that God would give me a poem. 🙂  Out of that prayer time (mine and theirs) God has given me two poems today and there are still two more days before the Christmas Eve service — God only knows if there is anything else to come!  I pray that it encourages you to consider Jesus as your king.

In prayer,

Christmas Purpose

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
     you’ve heard the rhyme.
But it will be different
     when you hear it this time.
No “All through the house”
     nor on the rooftop.
But in a long-ago time
     we’ll make our first stop.

Perhaps even further
     than what you might think.
When mankind did sin
     and God did not wink.
The result was not good,
     the outlook was grim.
For Adam and Eve,
     who disobeyed Him.

They tried to hide
     but it got much worse.
When sin brought to man
     a life-ending curse.
But God had a plan,
     so long ago.
To come down to earth,
     His love He would show.

The months went on by,
     the years flew right past.
Then centuries later
     it was the right time at last.
God sent us His Son
     to show us His love.
The King came to earth,
     leaving heaven above.

It’s so very easy
     to celebrate a birth.
To be filled with joy
     that God came to earth.
“Away in a Manger”
     and “Oh Holy Night.”
We sing for a season,
     then they’re out of sight.

The week after Christmas,
     our mind shifts a gear.
Then this talk about Jesus,
     no longer we hear.
Our life gets so busy
     and soon we forget.
That a Savior was born
     in this baby we met.

So, the eve before Christmas
     we gather to sing.
Songs filled with worship
     for the One who is King.
But it’s not just tonight
     that we sing Him this song.
We should give Him our worship
     all the year long!

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

I’m not sure if this poem is finished, but it is all God has given me so far. I pray that Christmas has purpose in your life all year as you remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus who came to earth as an expression of God’s love.In prayer,


Christmas Reminder (Matthew 25)

Christmas is here,
     the day’s finally come.
When people will gather
     for good family fun.
As you come to dinner
     and pull up your seat,
There are people are out there
     who have nothing to eat.
You have two choices,
     what to do with that news.
Sharing with others
     is the one that I choose.

God tells us clearly 
     to help those in need.
But often I fail to
     because of my greed.
I need reminded
     to care for the weak.
To stand up and speak out
     for those who can’t speak.
It doesn’t take too long
     to notice out there,
Someone who’s hurting,
     then show them you care.

To visit the lonely
     and care for the sick,
Give food to the hungry,
     and the message might stick.
It’s all about doing
     what God said is best.
To hear Jesus tell you,
     “Enter into my rest!”
I pray that this Christmas
     you’ll clearly see,
Hope is for everyone,
     not just you and me!

I pray that you consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 this Christmas as you celebrate the birth of Jesus. His birth, death, burial, and resurrection was meant to be good news for all the people! What are you and I doing to make that good news known?

In prayer,


Elementary Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas
      and all through the schools,
Not a student was listening
       nor following the rules.
Their minds were all elsewhere
      and thinking with joy,
That Christmas might bring them
       the latest new toy.

Then quite unexpected
       and out of the blue,
the meaning of Christmas
      came shining right through!
They sang of sweet Jesus
      and remembered His birth,
that very first Christmas
      when God came to earth.

It was quite a lesson

      I pray we did learn,
The real gift of Christmas
      was given, not earned.
These lines are over,
      the rhyming is done.
My prayer for each person,
      that we’d follow the Son!

I pray that you find some joy and encouragement through these words.  I’ve not even made an attempt at writing a poem since high school English when I was required to.  Yet as I considered the school and preschool children that are in the building every day as I work, these lines just flowed from my mind.  I figure that God put them there and He brought them out, so He has a purpose to use them in someone’s life.  I pray that someone is you!  🙂

Merry Christmas!

In prayer,

Tom Lemler


Returning The Gift

I’ve been posting discussion questions from the Wednesday evening small group I am leading through the book of 1 Samuel at Deer Run.  I am going to begin writing a series of blog articles to correspond with each week’s discussion questions.  Some time back I wrote the first article, Caution: Objects In Life May Not Be What They Appear, dealing with lesson 1.

This blog post contains some thoughts connected with lesson 2.

It is easy to get surrounded by, and caught up in, the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Christmas parties, events, concerts, and programs all clamour for our attention at a rate that often makes it hard to even catch our breath.  In the midst of all the busy-ness, many of us struggle to find just the right gift.  We want something full of meaning and value.   Something that will be cherished and held on to for years to come. 

Imagine receiving that perfect gift — the one you have been longing for your entire life.  Experience the joy, the satisfaction, the relief of having your long-standing request answered.   Okay?  Do you have it?  Now give it back!

I can hear you because the sound is an echo of me.  WHAT!?!?  Are you crazy?

That tends to be my reaction to the stuff of “value” that I receive, but what about the things of real value?  In the book of 1 Samuel, Hannah is childless and longs for a child.  We find her pouring out her heart to God asking for the one thing she wants most.  God hears, and answers, her prayer by giving her a son — Samuel.  But wait . . . part of her request was a promise to give this child back to God.  She seemed to know that this gift she was asking for would not be hers to keep.  Her willingness to not only make the promise, but to keep it and give Samuel to the service of the Lord was a blessing to the entire nation as Samuel would lead them in an extended time of peace.

So, what have you asked of God?  What have you received from God?  Are you grasping on to it, trying desperately to keep it to yourself?  Or are you returning it back to God for His use?  The Bible teaches that “every good and perfect gift comes from above”.  God is the provider of all good things.  His desire is for us to return them to Him and allow Him to use them in ways that far exceed what we could do with it on our own. 

One of the great gifts we have is our life.  God has given us life itself and He asks us to trust Him enough to give our life back to Him.  Jesus said, “whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”  God can, and desires to, do great things in our life if we will surrender fully to Him.  The apostle Paul puts it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) 

God’s greatest gift to mankind was the sending of His son Jesus to be born, to live, to die, to rise again so that payment could be made for my sin.  It is my choice to return the gift of my life for Him to use according to His great design and plan.  How about you?