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

2016: Page 7

I was thankful for no frost to scrape off the windshield as I headed to work early.  When I arrived at work there were no water puddles on the floor.  While that is good in most ways, it still means I haven’t discovered the source of the earlier leak.  With the arrival of snow, and students playing outside during the day, the floors require more attention in my morning routine.  With each round I made through the hallways, the amount of floor with shine began to overtake the dull-looking tiles.  When I am finished, the floors look nice and shiny but I know they won’t  have the same appearance by the next morning.

Most days I am a lot like those floor tiles and I suspect that so are you.  The traffic of life wears me down and takes off some of the shine that God’s Spirit has put within me.  It’s not that the surface is ruined, nor has it lost its usefulness.  No, it just needs a little time spent being refreshed and restored to its original beauty.  I find that the more often I take care of that, the easier it is to end up with the look that it’s supposed to have.  That is true about the floor and about your life and mine.  The more frequently we spend time with God in prayer and His Word, the less the “dirtiness” of the world has a chance to settle into our being making it much more difficult to remove.  I pray that each of us on a daily basis can say along with David the psalmist, “He restores my soul”.

Much of the rest of the work day was spent up and down ladders, trying to figure out some glitches in the building’s heating systems.  I’m not sure I accomplished a whole lot short term, but I continue to learn more about a complex and finicky system.  We all know some complex and finicky people, right?  How much time do you spend simply trying to get to know them?  Perhaps if you have a better understanding of who they are and how they work, you would have a greater opportunity to be an agent of change in their life.  And perhaps your understanding of them will be the method of bringing change to your life.

Each day seems to bring both challenge and opportunity.  I’m discovering that life works best when I go to God for wisdom in using both of these elements together.  It seems that opportunity with no challenge leads to complacency and challenge with no opportunity leads to frustration.  However, with God’s help, facing the challenge within you opportunity leads to fruitfulness.

The clouds may come and seem to overtake your life but often the recipe for beauty requires both sun and clouds.

DSCN6360

A Look Inside

Sometimes I wonder
     just how life would be.
If people around me
     could see what I see.
For good or for bad –
     could go either way.
There’s always a reason
     I say what I say.

My mind’s always thinking,
     I can’t make it rest.
It looks for the answers
     that always are best.
I wish I could say
     they always are found.
But some days I’m lost,
     just wandering around.

I’ve learned to examine
     these thoughts in my mind.
To see if their truth,
     in God’s Word I find.
If they don’t measure up,
     I know they’re not true.
They’re just random thoughts
     from out of the blue.

While something within me
     does long to be heard.
So often I’m silent,
     not saying a word.
For fear does take over,
     I’ve seen it before.
What if I speak and
     the response is ignore?

It’s happened too often,
     at least in my past.
The decisions are made
     before I’m even asked.
The pain is too great
     to think no one cares.
So my thoughts stay with me
     and they can keep theirs.

There is a problem
     with a conclusion like this.
To learn from each other
     too often we miss.
To speak and to listen
     are both hard to do.
Perhaps one for me
     and perhaps one for you.

So we make every effort,
     the bonds of peace to maintain.
Through the power of the Spirit
     and the Lamb that was slain.
We look at each other
     as a creation of God.
We may be unique
     but we’re surely not odd.

God has a purpose
     for someone like me.
I hold to this truth
     even if I can’t see.
He also has purpose
     for someone like you.
You’re His creation
     so I know this is true.

So when we differ
     in how we perceive.
Find our common ground
     in the One we believe.
Since we both have value
     that’s given from above.
Our response to each other
     should always be love.

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

I’ve been in the church building this evening cleaning and then waiting for some meetings to finish up so I can finish getting the building ready for tomorrow. As I waited, I went outside to walk the trails and spend time with God where this poem showed up in my mind. If I allow my mind to dwell in the past too long, it seems like I can find far too many times when I’ve tested the waters of speaking my mind or making my desires known only to end up with the feeling of being rejected as my requests are declined or I’m moved out of roles so they can be filled by someone with better credentials or pedigree. I’m not sure why God gave me this poem other than to offer the readers a glimpse into my mind — scary place that it is. 🙂 I pray that God uses it for His purposes and His glory.

In prayer,
Tom