Looking For a Better Way

I paused today to cast a vote.
And wished I could have left a note.
To every candidate, win or lose.
I pray that wisdom you would choose.

Yet as I prayed, my faith was small.
For I’ve not seen wisdom much at all.
Your TV ads have made me weep.
Thinking each of you is just a creep.

A “preacher” reads from God’s good Book,
then calls his opponent a dirty crook.
Back and forth the name calling goes.
I’m not quite sure what they think it shows.

They dig up dirt on one another,
and fail to see their sister and brother.
And through it all I failed to hear,
anything but a constant smear.

They say that’s how the game is played.
So just accept it, don’t be dismayed.
Yet still I think as I stop and pray,
there has to be a better way!

What if change would sweep this land,
and every candidate took a stand.
To speak the truth in all they say.
And not attack in any way.

To let the voters know their views.
So at the ballot they could choose.
To say nothing bad of the other side,
so on truth we could decide.

And so today I cast a vote.
And wished I could have left a note.
To all who come in after me,
I ask you pray for what you cannot see.

Then trust in God and not in man.
And place your faith in His grand plan!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

I voted this morning with a sour taste in my mouth as the months of negative campaign ads had convinced me none of the candidates were the statesmen that this country needs.  I’m not saying none of the candidates were right for this country, just all of them were so busy telling me what a rotten person their opponent was that they didn’t convince me they were any better.  It is so easy to say “the other side started it” or “my preferred candidate wasn’t as mean as yours”, but the truth is that somehow we have come to accept bullying as appropriate in the political realm even while demanding something be done to stop it everywhere else.  I pray that somehow “we the people” would say, “Enough!!” I pray that we would find ways to voice our beliefs and opinions without being mean to one another.  I pray that we would look to why people feel strongly about the issues they do rather than attacking them for feeling differently than we do.  I pray that God’s love would fill us with His grace to such an extent that we would find attacks against anyone to be completely and utterly unacceptable!

In prayer,
Tom
Finding  Direction

Finding Direction

When life seems uncertain
and each path looks dark.
You should probably quit driving
and put it in park.
As you sit on the roadside,
wondering which way to go.
It’s a very good time
to ask the One who does know.

For darkness can’t stay
in the presence of light.
And finding direction
is easier with sight.
Much time is oft wasted
when we won’t stop to ask.
For help from the One
who created our task.

“Be still and know”,
is what He does say.
But that’s hard to do
when I’m driving my way.
So I shut down the engine
fueled by selfish desire.
And I look for direction
from the One who’s much higher.

And each time I seek Him,
I find he is there.
As He leads me beside Him,
and shows me His care.
It’s not always easy,
but He’s given His Word.
And the voice that speaks from it,
is the sweetest I’ve heard.

And just like a lamb,
to its own master’s voice.
I hear from my Shepherd
and I have to rejoice.
I’m no longer lost,
for I have been found.
As I live in His presence,
where His light does abound!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

As one who has been known to drive in the dark for long periods of time as I’ve looked for a destination, I suppose this poem is for me.  But I also suspect God put it in my mind for someone else also . . . perhaps you.  I think sometimes we have so closely associated movement with progress that we begin to believe that moving in any direction, even the wrong direction, is better than sitting still.  I have literally added hours to my journey at times simply because I didn’t stop in the darkness and find out exactly where I was in relation to where I needed to be.  While that can be a waste of time and fuel when it happens on the physical roads of life, it can be even more costly when it takes place on the spiritual path we are on.  I pray that you and I would learn to “be still and know that [He is] God.”  When life brings indecision and darkness, put it in park for a while and look to the One that is the Light of the World!

In prayer,
Tom
Anniversary Poem

Anniversary Poem

It seems a moment ago,
or perhaps maybe two.
We stood face to face
and we each said, “I do”.
And the journey began
as we stood hand in hand.
With no real idea
of all God had planned.

Through the ups and the downs,
the happy and sad.
We kept moving forward
with all that we had.
Yet, through days that felt slow
and years that seemed fast.
All of a sudden,
thirty-seven years have passed.

So, Happy Anniversary
to my beautiful bride!
Life’s so much better
with you by my side.
And whether walking a trail
or some peaceful shore.
Here’s to the moments
of thirty-seven more!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

While some said we were too young and it wouldn’t last, today my wife and I celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary!  As I reflect on that accomplishment, I have to say it was God who carried us this far together and it is only He who can successfully carry us into the future.  And while I don’t know if either of us have another 37 years of life on this earth, we can always count on our walks continuing on a more beautiful shore once our time here is done!

 
With prayers and much love,
Tom
A Usual Day

A Usual Day

We woke up that morning
in the usual way.
With usual plans
for our usual day.
Our minds were quite filled
with the usual things.
As we were prepared
for what a usual day brings.

For some, change was instant
with life gone in a flash.
Yet others were changed
as toward the rubble they dashed.
Some called their loved ones,
as they would soon die.
Others were gone with
no chance for good-bye.

Some ran away,
but there was no place to hide.
Some ran toward trouble
to help those inside.
Some rushed the men
who intended such harm.
And found their life over
on a Pennsylvania farm.

And through all the horror
on an unusual day.
The nation did mourn
and gathered to pray.
We prayed for each other,
we prayed for those lost.
We prayed for the families
who paid the great cost.

Yet time has a way
of changing our view.
When the heartache and loss
are no longer new.
The prayers that we prayed
on those nights long ago.
Are no longer intense
for those we don’t know.

And slowly, but surely,
I think we’ve arrived.
To a usual day
with our usual drive.
And our usual mindset
that looks far ahead.
With no thought of preparing
for when we are dead.

So, I ask for a moment
on this usual day.
You stop and remember,
and take time to pray.
Pray for the families
of those who were lost.
Pray for the helpers
who still pay the cost.

Pray for your own life
and ask God today.
If you were to meet Him,
just what would He say.
Pray for your neighbor,
wherever they may be.
And live with compassion
so that Jesus they see!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

I think the events of September 11, 2001 are etched in the minds of many of us to such an extent that we couldn’t forget if we wanted to.  Yet, most of us woke up that morning with virtually no thoughts of anything but a “usual” day.  The horrors of 911 should not be the only thing unforgettable.  The heroes and helpers of 911 should be unforgettable.  The national leaders gathering to mourn and pray should be unforgettable.  The gatherings of people seeking God for help and asking for His forgiveness and protection should be unforgettable.  Yet outside of the anniversary date of 911, how many of us go about our “usual” days forgetting how quickly “usual” can turn into “unusual”.  I pray that you and I would not just remember the events of 911, but that we would always remember to turn to God in the midst of everything!

 
In prayer,
Tom

Questions

As I reflect on another year of life, I find that I often have many more questions than answers. Tomorrow I reach the “double-nickle” mark, at least as far as years go, and I pray that my pursuit of God honors Him and in some way helps others.

Since I’m getting old now,
I should be in bed.
But questions abound,
at least in my head.
Will my life matter,
when I come to the end?
When Jesus looks at me,
will He call me His friend?

Did my life today,
measure up to His will?
Did I listen intently,
taking time to be still?
Was there ever a moment,
that I helped someone up?
And poured into their life,
what was placed in my cup?

Do I lift other’s spirits,
or bring them down low?
Is my life lived with substance,
or is it all show?
Is there a way,
to walk home with God?
With my mind fixed on heaven,
and my feet on this sod?

The questions are many,
the answers seem few.
So I’ll trust God with the unknown,
and share this with you! 
© 2108 by Tom Lemler

 
In prayer,
Tom

Breaking News!

Today I read some breaking news.
And didn’t know that I could choose.
To keep my thoughts off printed page.
Instead of typing all my rage.
I really don’t know every fact.
But why should that change how I act.
I’ll write with such authority.
That minds will change, just wait and see.

And so I post my thoughts today.
And can’t believe what others say!
It seems they have opinions too.
Though obviously they can’t be true.
For I alone have got it right.
And what I share is great insight.
How dare anyone disagree.
I know it all, why can’t you see?

But what is this I hear You say?
There really is another way?
To hear some breaking news report.
And not reply, no bold retort?
To listen more and speak much less.
And not add to the ugly mess.
To sit alone and quietly pray.
Would be a wiser choice today!

© 2018 by Tom Lemler

It seems like anything and everything has become fuel for the divisiveness that plagues our nation.  It seems like nearly every news story posted on social media brings out people who have to “set the record straight”.  The temptation to comment or reply to someone else’s comment is strong and many times it even “feels” like the right thing to do.  I know, because I read things that cause every fiber of my being to want to jump right into the fray and “tell it like it is”.  Fortunately, it is obvious to me that doing so rarely, if ever, changes anyone’s mind and just adds fuel to an already volatile situation.  Yet when those emotions are stirred within me, I do have a choice.  And my choice is to seek God and pray.  I pray for whatever the news event is.  I pray for those who are responding to the event out of their own hurt, anger, pride, or other emotion.  I pray for the courage to be still when needed and to act when needed.  I pray that God would refine my choices and my words so they are helpful and not hurtful.  I pray that I would be mindful of the enemy’s attempts to engage me in a battle that is not mine to fight.  I pray for wisdom to always make choices that would honor Christ.

 

In prayer,
Tom

Kind  Words

Kind Words

Just think what could happen
in this crazy old world.
If hatred and insults
were no longer hurled.
If patience and listening
were themes for the day.
With kindness and love
in the words we do say.

Instead of just typing
that hurtful reply.
Ask God for His wisdom;
self-control to apply.
And when you start thinking,

“O, Lord, how much more?”
Be thankful in your life,
God’s not keeping score.

Healing for hurt
and kind words for hate.
Start it today
before it’s too late.
You don’t have to stoop
to the level of earth.
For you live much higher,
reborn through new birth.

This new way of speaking
changes more than you know.
As seeds of God’s grace
are what you now sow.
While it may not change
what others will do.
Truth said in love,
will surely change you!

©2018 by Tom Lemler

In the prayer guides I write each week, today’s focus was on encouraging one another.  As I was praying through that focus, I thought about how powerful are words are — whether spoken or written.  In the midst of these thoughts I had a nephew post about the ever-increasing tendency for people to demean and ridicule anyone who might have a differing opinion about anything.  It made me think about how different things could be if everyone would actually take the time to listen to one another and only speak words of truth in ways that would build up those who listen.  . . . And out of that, this poem fell out of my head. 🙂

 
In prayer,
Tom