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

Words

Words can hurt
and words can heal.
Words can give
and words can steal.
Words divide
and words unite.
Words bring peace
and words can fight.

Words are good
and words are bad.
Words make you happy
and make you sad.
Words are quiet
and words are loud.
Words sound humble
and they sound proud.

And if you still
are not too sure.
Words are dirty
and words are pure.
Words are smooth
and sharp as a knife.
Words restore
and cause much strife.

Words are love
and words are hate.
Words are early
and words are late.
Words are empty
and words are full.
Words will push
and words will pull.

And if you think,
“How can this be?”
Just open your heart
and you will see.
The words themselves
are not to blame.
It’s how they’re used
that causes shame.

I pray this poem
will help you know.
As from your mouth
the words will flow.
Where words are many,
sin will abound.
But it’s through listening,
peace can be found.

And so I pray
the words you use.
Would be words
that Christ would choose.
And as you listen
to the One above.
I pray you speak
His words of love.

© 2018 by Tom Lemler

It has been a tough day and it seems like they have been that way more than not lately.  There is not much that gets me down quicker than hearing words which make me feel like I don’t measure up.  It seems like throughout my life those are the words that stick with me no matter how hard I try to shake free from them.  I began the workday at 6 AM and will likely not be finished until 10 PM or later, so I took a 2 hour lunch break in the middle of the afternoon and sat by the river with God.  As I sat, this poem showed up in my mind and stuck with me until I got back to my office.  I pray that I would be able to focus on the positive words that God would have me to hear and that I would be one who uses the positive words God would have me to share.

In prayer,
Tom

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,
Tom

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,
Tom

Seeking the LOST!

Seeking the LOST!

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:10 (NIV)

I’ve been preaching a sermon series through the book of Luke with a focus of looking at the life and teachings of Christ to see how we ought to live as Christians.  Tonight we reached chapter 15 which contains the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost (prodigal) son.  As I looked at this chapter, I was reminded of the importance that seeking and saving the lost is to Jesus.  

I’m guessing that most, if not all, of those reading this would agree about the importance of the lost to Jesus.  The bigger question for those of us wearing the name Christian is if the lost are that important to us.  I’m afraid far too often we are more concerned with seeking people just like us than we are about seeking the lost — if we even think about seeking anyone!  

So, what do the lost look like that Jesus would be seeking . . . and because of that, we ought to be seeking as well?  I share the following outline as a starting point in our work of seeking the LOST!

  • Seek the Lonely

  • Seek the Objectified

  • Seek the Sinner

  • Seek the Tired

I am confident that no one would have to look very far to find a person that is in each of those categories . . . we may just need to look in the mirror!  As we realize that these describe people who Jesus came to seek, we must make it a priority of our life to seek them as well.  To live like Christ means we must also seek like Christ.  To seek like Christ means that we must seek the LOST that are all around us with the message of hope through the good news of Jesus.

In prayer,
Tom

Stop!! . . . Or Not.

What do you do when you see a stop sign?  Do you come to a complete stop, roll through, or simply disregard it?  Why?  How about other rules or laws?  How do you decide what to obey and what not to?  What is your “acceptable level of disobedience”?

I’ve been doing a lot of walking on the area sidewalks along the river and one section of the walk is through a fairly residential section of town.  There is a stop sign at each intersection along the river road to try to keep traffic slowed down rather than having people use it as an express thoroughfare.  On a recent walk I observed about thirty vehicles come down the street and encounter the series of four stop signs.  Out of this number only one vehicle actually stopped at each sign!  Most treated the signs as simply a suggestion — or perhaps as a yield sign.  They slowed down and appeared to look for approaching traffic (or police cars) and then simply drove through without stopping.  A couple of them didn’t even slow down and I have no idea if they even looked for the potential of crossing traffic.

As I watched, my mind kept going to the one guy that did stop and I wondered what was different about him.  Why did he stop?  What was his motivation to obey the law?  Why do people decide to do what is right even when no one is looking and it would seem to make no difference?  Is it because of the law, or something more?

How about God’s laws?  Do we follow them?  Do we ignore them? Or do we do some version of pick and choose — keeping the ones we like and ignoring the ones we don’t?

I think the answer to the “why” of the driver at the stop sign and our own obedience to God’s commands may be unnervingly similar!  Many times we live life in the “slow down and look” mode.  If we think no one is watching then we simply go ahead and do what we want.  If someone is watching then we do the right thing for the sake of appearance or to stay out of trouble.  Our obedience to the law is based out of fear.  Occasionally we become so calloused that we don’t even care who is watching or what they think — we simply go on with what we want no matter what.

I believe the correct response in both scenarios is an obedience based on love and respect for the law-giver!  When our obedience is built on this foundation then it is never up for question.  We do what is right when people are watching and when they are not.  I believe this is how Jesus could keep the law to perfection as he lived on earth as a man — he had perfect love and respect for His Father who established all law through Him.  When I realize that God’s commands are for my good and to my benefit then I am eager to keep them even when I don’t understand why.

So what do you do when God’s Word says, “Stop!”?  When His Word says, “Go!”?  Do you slow down to see who is watching?  Do you just fly on through life and ignore it?  Or do you obey willingly out of love and respect for the One who issued the command?

I pray that you and I would be doers of God’s Word because of our love and respect for Him through our relationship with Jesus.

In prayer,
Tom

Encouragement

Do not be afraid
      but take courage now.
It’s a message from God
      yet we wonder how.
Sometimes life is full
      of things that cause fear.
We’re so overwhelmed
      that God we don’t hear.
We should not be alone
      when we are afraid.
We have His Spirit
      and the friends we have made.

Sometimes we forget
      the friends God will give.
He puts them around us
      to help as we live.
A cord of three strands
      is not easily broken.
It’s not only true,
      it’s what God has spoken.
Everyone needs help
      when we get knocked down.
To pick us up gently
      and straighten our frown.

It is a good thing
      when we have each other.
To carry the load
      as sister and brother.
When one who is weak
      is helped by the strong.
It gives us great hope
      that we all do belong.
Sometimes we’re strong
      and sometimes we’re not.
It shouldn’t matter
      if a good friend we’ve got.

To carry a burden
      as if it’s our own.
Is a godly result
      of the seed that was sown.
My life’s not an island,
      I don’t live it alone.
When friends do surround me,
      each other we hone.
As we sharpen each other
      at work and at play.
We look more like Jesus
      each and every day.

So what’s growing in you
      as you look around?
Will you pick up a brother
      when he’s on the ground?
To help those who help you,
      is only a start.
To love the forgotten,
      you must open your heart.
And as your heart opens
      to let others in.
God’s courage will fill you
      and a victory you’ll win.

Before fear takes over
      and courage does end.
Take a good look around
      at who you call friend.
This may be a time
      when they really need you.
It’s also a time
      when you need them too.
So when fear arrives
      take a good look above.
And thank God for friends
      who show you His love.
©

I attended a ministers’ prayer time and fellowship this morning that I am privileged to be a part of every two weeks.  As I was thinking about the encouragement I receive from these guys, as well as the Deer Run congregation, I was praying that God would use me to encourage them as much as they encourage me.  As I was praying, God put this poem in my mind to share.  I pray that it encourages you and brings glory to God.

In prayer,
Tom