A Prayer of FAITH (sermon audio)

 

This is the audio from the April 30, 2017 sermon, “A Prayer of  FAITH”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.

Text: James 5:13-16

Praying with faith is all about believing that God exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Prayers of faith seek to honor God and pursue His will rather than demand He accomplishes our will.  We pray with faith as we pray with . . .

Focus

Acceptance

Insight

Trust

Hope

. . . and praying with faith is a growing process in our life that ought to result in good works that glorify our Father who is in heaven!

An Unplanned Journey

I’m on a journey
     That I did not plan.
I don’t understand it,
     I don’t think I can.
My mind’s in a fog
     Most of the time.
So it’s a surprise
     That I’m finding this rhyme.

It should have been
     A day like the rest.
Where I go to work
     And give it my best.
But something was different,
     My office a mess.
(More so than usual,
     Something’s wrong was my guess.)

Someone had been here
     And they helped themselves.
To whatever they wanted
     From my desk and my shelves.
My computer was gone
     With the work I had done.
To redo it all
     Will not be much fun.

As I sat there that day,
     My mind started to fade.
As the stress settled in,
     I was very afraid.
Of what, I don’t know
     But the fear sure did last.
And into the darkness
     My mind descended fast.

I have to try harder
     To shake off this dread.
I kept telling myself
     While I’m lying in bed.
The harder I try
     The more I do fail.
The strong grip of fear
     Has me by the tail.

No strength I can muster
     Gets me through the day.
So I head to the doctor
     And follow his way.
My mind needs to heal
     And needs time to rest.
Before I am able
     To be back to my best.

Where this journey takes me,
     I really don’t know.
My family stands with me
     As through this I go.
My friends are all helpful,
     My wife is the best.
I do what I can
     And they cover the rest.

As much as I want to,
     I can’t do this alone.
In the midst of my darkness,
     God’s still on the throne.
His presence is with me
     On my darkest day.
His light shines down on me
     And shows me the way.

With His light within me,
     The darkness can’t last.
This valley will end
     And will be in my past.
The lessons I learn
     Will be helpful to me.
When others in darkness
     Need hope they can see.

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

I’m working on a sermon today for this coming Sunday and this poem showed up in my mind about this current journey I’m on. It is a hard and difficult journey but I’m trusting God to not only get me through it, but to use it for His glory.

In prayer,
Tom

The Storm

A storm is a brewing,
     the sky colors turn.
The temperature falls,
     the clouds start to churn.
Darkness descends,
     in the midst of the day.
It creeps across everything,
     that is in its way.
The sun disappears,
     it’s gone from my sight.
It looks and it feels,
     like the middle of night.

Could this be a sign,
     of what soon will be here?
The darkness is heavy,
     it’s creating great fear.
Out of the darkness,
     the lightning does flash.
The thunder resounds,
     with an echoing crash!
The wind starts to howl,
     with a horrible sound.
Out of the heavens,
     the rain strikes the ground.

In the midst of the storm,
     hope oft disappears.
The darkness is too dark,
     too great are the fears.
No end can be seen,
     chaos is in charge.
Destruction is great,
     the damage quite large.
Will we make it through,
     will there ever be light?
Am I stuck in this storm,
     will it always seem night?

We know the answer,
     we’ve been here before.
The darkness is great;
     the sun, so much more.
The storm may seem long,
     as we wait for its end.
But the rays of the sun,
     the darkness will rend.
When light overpowers,
     the darkness so great.
We rejoice that it’s over,
     it was well worth the wait.

More often than not,
    the storm is inside.
The darkness descends,
     you have nowhere to hide.
In your darkest hours,
     in the midst of despair.
Remember the One,
     who will always be there.
The storm may rage now,
     but someday it will end.
“My peace I leave with you”,
     when you are My friend!
© 2014 by Tom Lemler

An afternoon storm came up quickly today and I began thinking about the confidence I had that it would eventually pass. As I was spending time in prayer this evening, this thought was still on my mind as I considered the times of darkness that I experience in life. Even though I’ve seen God pierce through them many times, in the midst of the storm I often begin to believe that the darkness will never end. It was through these reminders that God put this poem in my mind. I pray that it honors Him and brings glory to His name as it accomplishes His purposes for it.

In prayer,
Tom

Rescued

It’s been quite a year,
     as I look back now.
It’s hard to describe,
     except to say, “Wow!”
You live for so long
     at the point of despair.
And it surely seems
     like no one does care.
You work really hard
     at all that you do.
Yet the credit is taken
     by those around you. 

You watch and you wonder
     what you might have done.
That others don’t see you
     and your gift they do shun.
When people speak poorly
     about that which you do.
There’s none with the courage
     to stand up for you.
And so you do come
     to the end of your rope.
You cry out to Jesus
     for a glimmer of hope. 

So, God gives you strength
     as the years linger on.
You pray for the patience
     to see hope’s new dawn.
You hold tight to Jesus
     in the midst of it all.
You listen more closely
     for the sound of His call.
The years of oppression
     are not wasted, you see.
God uses each moment
     as training for me. 

I hear Him more clearly
     because of the pain.
It drives me to seek Him
     and submit to His reign.
His voice is much softer
     and loving to me.
Than I ever dreamt of,
     or thought it could be.
At just the right moment,
     my God says to me.
“My child it is time,
     for you to be free.” 

All this reminds me
     of Joseph in jail.
He sat there for years
     for someone did fail.
To speak up for him,
     his story to tell.
The man only cared
     that his own life went well.
So Joseph was faithful,
     even though treated wrong.
He still sought His God,
     through the night that was long. 

But God was not absent
     or without a plan.
At just the right time,
     He prompted a man.
That man was the king,
     who had quite a dream.
It disturbed him greatly,
     or so it would seem.
He sought out the wisest
     from throughout the land.
But it fell to Joseph
     to tell what God planned. 

God lifted him higher,
     than all but the king.
His purpose through famine,
     was rescue to bring.
God rescued Joseph
     from out of his cell.
For He had a message,
     someone needed to tell.
He rescued Egypt,
     but not them alone.
For to Joseph’s family,
     great mercy was shown. 

So when you are struggling
     in a jail of your own.
I pray that these words
     are good seeds that are sown.
That you hold even tighter
     to God’s gentle hand.
And wait for the purpose
     that God’s already planned.
That you remain faithful
     in all that you do.
Let God fill your life
     with all that’s for you. 

But always remember,
     as part of God’s plan.
You’re called to share
     with your fellow-man.
God uses hard times
     as well as the good.
To teach us His ways,
     so we do what we should.
So when you are lifted
     from the pit of despair.
You can’t help but shout it,
     you know God’s great care! 

So back to the story
     that this poem began.
As much as we’d like to,
     trouble we cannot ban.
But it is our choice,
     what we do with it.
Does it bring us down,
     or do we grow from it?
Part of that growth
     is to let people know.
That the troubles they face,
     also help them to grow. 

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

As I was spending time with God in prayer, praising Him for the incredible opportunities He has been giving me recently, He put this poem in my mind.  This poem is a reminder of where I’ve been and of God’s great work of rescuing me.  His reminder from the life of Joseph is that my rescue is not only for my benefit, but that He means for it to be a help and encouragement to others.  The greatest rescue from bondage that we will ever experience is the rescue of us from sin that Jesus accomplished on the cross.  It is important that we share our stories so that those who are near despair will hear of a  God who rescues at just the right time.  I pray that this poem is an encouragement to you to remain faithful in all things.

In prayer,
Tom

 

God’s Presence

Sometimes I’m certain
      I’m holding God’s hand.
That’s easy to feel
      when things go as planned.
Even more certain
      when things aren’t “just fine”.
I have full assurance
      that He’s holding mine.
So whether I’m walking
      in dark or in light.
I trust in my Savior,
      He has me in sight.

I’ve seen some good times,
      some bad days as well.
Some times felt like heaven,
      some days seemed like hell.
One thing was constant,
      in joy and despair.
I was not alone,
      My God, He was there.
On days that it felt like
      I was left all alone.
Above all the dark clouds,
      His light still had shone.

So when you’re in darkness
      that’s worse than the night.
Start seeking out Jesus,
      for He is the light.
He won’t always remove
      the darkness you fear.
But His promise is true,
      He will always be near.
In the deep darkest valley
      of the shadow of death.
He’s walking so closely,
      You should feel His breath.

The breath of His Spirit
      that He gives to you.
When you are immersed,
      forgiven, and new.
To be filled with His Spirit,
      will help you each day.
To know that He’s with you
      as He leads the way.
(That is a key point,
      you won’t want to miss.
He must be leading
      to avoid the abyss.)

So when you are standing
      on the top of the mount.
Rejoicing in blessings,
      you simply can’t count.
Or crawling in darkness,
      so thick you could cut.
And wondering why,
      all the doors seem to shut.
Perhaps you are walking,
      with hardly a clue.
In all of these times,
      God will be with you.

His presence goes with you,
      it’s simply a must.
To walk through each day,
      when in Him you trust.
He will lift you up,
      on days you feel weak.
And fill you with courage,
      when you need to speak.
He’ll draw you to Himself,
      on all of your days.
So no matter what happens,
      His name you should praise!
©

The poems seem to have slowed down as God has directed my attention to a series of books He has been putting in my mind.  However, as I observed another gorgeous sunrise that God provided this morning, He put this poem in my mind about His presence that is always with those who seek Him.  I pray that you would recognize the presence of God in your life regardless of the circumstances you are in.

In prayer,
Tom

Friends

When a good friend is sad
     and feeling all blue.
Most of the time,
     we’re not sure what to do.
We want to be helpful
     and not cause more pain.
We’re not too sure how,
     so to help we refrain.
The problem is thinking,
     the pain we must cure.
Sometimes just listening
     will help them endure.

This problem’s not new,
     in fact it’s quite old.
Read the story of Job
     if you’re feeling that bold.
He had much more loss
     than anyone should.
His friends tried to help
     as any friend would.
They had a good start,
     as at first they just sat.
But it didn’t take long,
     to give up on that.

Their next course of action
     was some questions to ask.
To figure it all out,
     they took as their task.
There must be a reason
     for all of this loss.
He must have done something
     to offend the big “Boss”.
We know the ending
     and also the start.
The story’s much bigger,
     they only saw part.

The same may be true
     as we help a friend.
Always remember,
     you can’t see the end.
There’s things you may notice
     as they walk their road.
But you won’t see it all,
     so help carry their load.
You don’t need to solve it,
     or have the right word.
You just need to be there,
     so they know they are heard.

So how do you help them,
     the friends who are sad?
Be a good listener
     and the best friend they’ve had.
Help them remember
     the times from before.
When God has been with them,
     He’s opened the door.
And point to the future
     where God always is.
And remind them so gently,
     that they are still His.
©

Here’s another poem that came out of my prayer time for a friend. I pray that it helps each of us to remember to be the friend we would want to have.

In prayer,
Tom

Living Hope

I turn on the news
     and what do I see?
People are dying,
     even people like me.
We want to feel safe
     wherever we are.
But we’re often in danger
     even in our own car.
We think for a moment,
     but not for too long.
Would I be a hero,
     would I be that strong?

We’re looking for answers
     on how this all stops.
Perhaps if Big Brother
     would provide us more cops.
If we made it much harder
     for men to be armed.
Do you really think that
     we couldn’t be harmed?
For there’s always that someone
     who will still find a gun.
They’ll go out and shoot you
     ‘cause they think it is fun.

Before you’re too worried
     that hope can’t be found.
Go pick up a Bible,
     take a good look around.
On all of these pages
     that God chose to give.
Are words that should help us
     know just how to live.
Words that bring comfort,
     words that are true.
Words that when shared
     can bring hope to you, too.

In the midst of such heartache,
     in the midst of such loss.
These words point to Jesus
     as he hung on a cross.
“Father, forgive them”
     were the words that He prayed.
His heart had compassion
     on those who had strayed.
Before we look outward,
     we must look within.
Father, come cleanse me
     and forgive all my sin.

It’s only when we take
     God’s Word as the norm.
That we have a message
     with power to transform.
I pray that you’re living
     a life that is free.
So as people do watch you,
     it’s Jesus they see.
And as you encounter
     a world that’s a mess.
You share with them Jesus,
     who so wants to bless.
©

I’ve been using the local news as a prayer guide this morning and this poem appeared in my mind as a result. I pray that God continues to equip and encourage His people to be the light of the world wherever they are so that the world will see the true Living Hope.

In prayer,
Tom