The Light Shines In the Darkness – A Photo Taken at Dawn

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

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-Photo Taken by Justin Farley

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Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem About Helping the Less Fortunate

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As I was driving down the road the other day and came to a stoplight, my eyes fell upon a young woman begging on the side of the road. I must admit that often times I am quick to judge out of pride or wonder why they are too lazy to pick themselves up and get a job or get help for their addiction. Often times I put the blame on their shoulders and often times it may be. But that woman’s image flooded my heart with sympathy – her head was hung low, and it was clear that she was ashamed of herself and her situation. I found myself wanting to write her story…and not just hers, but for all those struggling in the world without a voice.

It is easy to judge, but much harder to place ourselves in the shoes of another. We all have issues we wish to keep hidden in the safety of our hearts and minds. And what we often times attribute to our strength, our character, or our success has nothing to do with our actions, but only the grace of God.

What would your life look like without loving parents, a loving spouse, a warm and safe home; without teachers, mentors, and other positive influences? What would your life look like if you were abused as a child, afraid of going home after school, or knowing there wouldn’t be anyone there to ask you how your day was or help you with your homework? What would your life look like without someone to help you through college, without an employer who was willing to take a chance on a young intern, without a friend to pick you up all the times you fell? I don’t know, but I think it would do us all a little good to keep our judgments hushed and our hearts open to the stories of the less fortunate people around us.

Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem

Sing a song for the brokenhearted
Whose hopes were snatched away like a thief in the night;
For those who’ve been burnt by the flames of love,
Their hearts charred and scarred no longer with the will to fight.

Sing a song for the prince of pain
Whose sorrows cast shadows upon the skies.
Sing, sing for the once crowned king
Whose tears fall like rain from dismal eyes.

Sing a song for fairy tales lost.
Reality stings like salt on an open wound.
Yesterday’s hours were filled with childhood play.
Oh, how the years pass away much too soon.

Drum a dirge for the divorcee,
Who was ill-equipped to hear the secrets that fell upon their ears.
The soul shatters like sheet of glass
When reality reflects the realization of your deepest fears.

Drum a dirge for dying dreams
That have been abandoned for monetary pursuits.
To live a life never meant for our hearts
Is is pull up your essence and chop it off at the roots.

Drum a dirge for the desolate and deserted
Who hobble hopelessly, begging on downtown streets.
Do not be quick to judge a stranger
Until you pick up their bags and take a ride in their seat.

Belt out a ballad for the afflicted,
For the addicted, and for the anxious minds.
Have sympathy for the struggle you might not understand,
For we each carry a story we wish to leave behind.

Belt out a ballad for the sick and suffering;
Share their tale of sadness and woe.
A kind smile and gentle hand is often the only demand
To make somber faces delight and glow.

Belt out a ballad for the fatherless,
Familyless, and utterly alone
Whose story goes untold, lost
Sinking to the bottom of life’s ocean like a heavy stone.

Have pity on the less fortunate people
Whose notes resound throughout life’s amphitheater.
We are all apart of one beating force,
One united, cosmic voice; one rhyme, one rhythm, one meter.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Hard Times via photopin (license)

There’s Wisdom In Silence – A Poem of Contemplation

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There’s Wisdom In Silence – A Poem of Contemplation 

There’s wisdom in silence;
Silence breeds seeds of wisdom.
Knowledge pours in like an flowing pitcher
Of water into an empty basin
When the heart is humble and the mind is tranquil.
When the tongue is mute,
The ears of the heart can listen.

The quiet is filled with more noise
Than the roaring downtown street traffic
Until the mind is stilled and becomes clear
Like the glassy surface of a calm lake.
But yet, silence is not silent.
For beneath the still surface,
Depths of movement swirl in swift currents of contemplation.
Silt is swept away by the forces of freedom –
Detachment from worldly bonds and chains.

Wisdom speaks in silence,
For she waits patiently until the listener is humble
Before she opens her mouth.
She knows there is no sense in wasting her breath
On ears that are clogged with distractions.
I asked wisdom what I must do to receive her blessing,
And the Lord answered:

“I will fill your pockets with wisdom,
But first you must put on clean clothes.
Rags only soak up and retain the delusions
Of the ego, bound like a slave to his desires;
The foolish feed their flesh.
Shed your stained dresses –
Evidence of all your failures and messes –
And wear my clean, white garment.
Wisdom lies dormant until you can receive
And hear this teaching.
As painful as it may be to your prideful heart,
Man never gave birth to knowledge himself,
But simply became aware of it in my being.
All that you are seeing are either products of truth
Of fallacies formed by the ego
To justify remaining in the dark,
Traveling blind down the wide and easy path.
It is not my wrath you should fear,
But the seeds you are planting
And the grain you will reap.
Your house is maintained or profaned
By the company you keep.
Every action forces fate’s hand
To set a chain of events in motion.
Do not give claim to the foolish notion
That free beings can refuse reproof and disdain discipline
And merely move along merrily without repercussion.
You need not my punishment.
For you punish yourself each time you scoff at truth,
Slowly watering, unknowingly growing
The roots of destruction that will choke you from within.
Wickedness knows no other way
Than to breed pain, emptiness, death, and decay.
I will fill your pockets with wisdom,
But you must first strip off your ragged clothes.
Perfection only comes from those under my atoning garment.
But to wear it, you must face being exposed.
For it does not keep in secrets;
It does not allow your selfish heart to plot.
It is a daily reminder of your inadequacy
That when you are swept away within the currents of life
You have not the power to save yourself, but must cling to the rock.
Wisdom walks unceasingly,
Wandering through the crowded streets.
But few have eyes to see and ears to hear;
Few are the faces that she greets.
If you want her knowledge,
You must also accept her reproof.
But if you remain humble,
You shall surely taste the splendor of truth.”

There’s wisdom in silence,
But she is not loose, but haughty.
She does not strip off her secrets
Or share her bed to just anybody.
She desires the humble, the meek, and the mild
With hearts full of shame, begging to be reconciled.
Few dare to enter the gates of silence.
For they fear what their hearts will hear.
So they continue to ignore wisdom’s silent warning
And dig their own destruction year after year.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: The Moon Legend via photopin (license)

The Lamp Light – A Christian Poem About Wisdom

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The Lamp Light – A Christian Poem About Wisdom

The lamp light is lit.
The atoning wick sucks up the anointing oil
And is overflowing,
Spreading a blazing fire within my chamber.
I am mesmerized with the knowledge of wisdom –
The calming vision that you lay upon my eyes.
Tear down these fragile, crumbling walls of pride.
Replace them with towering stones that reach up to the heavens –
A fortress of faith that is impenetrable, insurmountable, indestructible.
Place me in your royal castle of solitude –
The holy palace that glimmers in glory atop a hill.
Free me from my own destruction,
And protect me from the voices of delusion that come knocking at the gate,
Coaxing me to embrace the desires of the world, eroding my faith,
And attempting to convince me that I am a prisoner
That must be set free.
Grant me the eyes to see through the tricks of temptation.
Assure my soul that there is but one means of salvation –
That the often times lonely path filled with hardships
Is true because it is so.
Allow me to know your will when confusion strikes
And my will fights with all its might
To cling to what is temporal, easy, and immediately gratifying.
Keep this lamp lit, and may its flame never wane
Or dim against the breeze of change
Or the winds of the world.
May I call you Lord not simply in word alone,
But recognize, answer to, and serve you as a slave to master.
When disaster strikes prevent my fear from persuading me
To cut off these cords and place myself back into control.
May your lamp light my way through the often dark and confusing forest.
May its fires warm and heat my soul
In a blaze of immeasurable glory.
And may I live desiring only to live out your plans
And not to write my own story.

-Poem Written By Justin Farley


photo credit: Deepam. Festival of Lights, Chennai via photopin (license)

The Problem of Man – A Christian Poem

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The Problem of Man – A Christian Poem

You whisper to me in shades of sadness,
Silently stammering like a broken record
Skipping over the same ol’ speech.
What do I do with this madness –
This sinful desire that corrupts my heart with each new beat?

I welcome you with open arms
The moment pain wraps itself
Like a boa constrictor around my mind.
Plead for you to rescue me from harm,
But leave you in the shadows the second I’m doing fine.

Who but you could contain the mercy
To welcome me back time and time again through your door?
What is this unscrubbable stain marred in the depths of me
That shatters my affection for you whom I adore?

You offer me a freedom incomparable,
But my selfish heart only sees it
As a prison sentence locked in chains.
The tendency of man to wander from you is undeniable –
It’s observably obvious we’re all playing a losing game.

So how do we step up on the scale of justice,
Knowing that we carry a burden
Too heavy to counter on our own.
Left alone there is no hope for us –
The payment is much too costly for us to atone.

But in your infinite love
You sent a shepherd to track down your lost sheep.
The sacrifice we were unable to make stepped down from above
To keep the promises we are unable to keep.

Sin’s deep and dark sea you swallowed –
Vengeance poured out on the only one
Worthy to refrain from its sting.
You willingly walked to the gallows
To right the wrong and to repair our broken wings.

But yet still I am unable to turn from darkness,
My heart unable to renounce its ways.
Each time I make promises of righteousness
Your heart is time and time again betrayed.

I have the perfect lover
Standing, waiting with open arms.
Yet, still I seek another.
Still I delight in doing what I know is wrong.

Take this black piece of coal
That beats softly in my chest,
Restore it whole.
Give it the strength to pass the tests.

I once thought I was a lovely servant –
A shinning example of proper Godliness.
But I too have given ear to the serpent.
I too am weak like all the rest.

Master, keep us in your unending mercy.
Stir our hearts to seek your ways.
Give your blind children the eyes to see,
And let us incessantly sing your praise.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, love poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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My Conceited Heart – A Christian Poem About Turning Away From God

Is it your will that we should become strangers
The moment I become a stranger to pain?
The wind howls your lonely lullaby
As I drift on forgetting your name.

Your deliverance is a selfless act
Wrapped up and gifted as incomparable love –
Your omniscient knowledge knowing we will turn away
The second you stop the tears of our flood.

You have called my name
Across the darkness of countless restless nights,
But strangely my ears become mute
The second I step into the light.

Without anything needed,
My wicked heart is content to drift away.
For my love is conceited –
An expert of prayer, a novice of praise.

But your endless beauty transcends all,
Extending further into love than we can ever comprehend.
For we do not only call you Lord and Master,
But also lover and friend.

We are a lost flock,
Going our own way until the wolves close in.
But even in our weakness the Good Shepherd saves,
Dying for us while we were still under sin.

Master, may I count my blessings.
May I always remember from who they come.
May it not take the pangs of sorrow
For me to seek the glory of your son.

-Poem Written By Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, love poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/

The Battle of the Heart – A Christian Poem About Temptation

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The Battle of the Heart – A Christian Poem About Temptation

Oh Lord, my heart quakes with confusion.
My mind twisted with the delusions of desire.
I am a boat that wanders across the sea
Getting rocked by the waves day in and day out.
How do I stay afloat and stand tall
When the waters weather and tire me out?
I begin by leading a battle cry and shout with determination.
But temptation never dies.
It continues to pursue and gain ground
Until I throw my hands up in despair
And declare, “Enough! Do with me what you want.
I am your servant, bound by the chains of the flesh.”
Is this just another test that I’m failing
Or is it the enemy parading through my weaknesses,
Pulling my strings like a puppet without control?

Master, I know you are the water that restores and makes whole.
But what about tomorrow?
And tomorrow’s tomorrow?
How do I continue to flee and remain connected to the ways of the Spirit
When I am constantly being pursued from all sides?
Where do I gain the energy, the courage, Lord
To not just lay down and die?
I do what I hate.
But is this some kind of sick, twisted fate
That I must be constantly battling against myself?
I long for freedom, but freedom seems so far away.
With the dawn of each day
Desire returns stronger than yesterday
And determined to see my demise.
Do you see these tears in my eyes, Lord?
Do you understand my conflicting nature
That juggles back and forth like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
One minute I long to confide in you,
The next you are my enemy, the master who whips me
Into submission and whose power my heart secretly despises.

I know I can’t live without you,
But with you, I know it’s only a matter of time
Before the temptress of sin turns me away from you.
My Lord and my Savior, what am I to do?
You know I long for my heart to belong to you,
But it is so dark.
It pulls me out of the light
And delights in the satisfaction of the flesh
Until my pleasures are filled,
My plate cleaned,
And I feed on the desert of guilt and shame.
My God, how do I live in a world of fire
And not be burnt and consumed by its flames?

-Poem Written By Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, love poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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The Lamb Who Sanctifies – A Christian Poem

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The Lamb Who Sanctifies – A Christian Poem 

What peace, what hope
What incomparable growth
That sprouts from the True Vine.

What love, what joy
To be employed –
To do the work of the Divine.

Oh, the rapture brought forth from your pain.
Wrath appeased, the Lamb is slain.
Hyssop branches sprinkle your blood over our hearts.

Guilty the charge, but sentenced grace.
Slate wiped clean, our sins erased.
By your stripes we were ransomed and bought.

Heavenly Father, LORD of hosts.
You sanctify by smearing your blood on our doorposts.
Surely you are the Most High…the Great I AM.

Lord of all, yet our high priest.
The trumpet beckons to prepare the feast.
Until then we anxiously await the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

-Poem Written By Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, love poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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Follow Me – A Christian Poem About Following Jesus

small__13500195574The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him,“Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him,“Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  (John 1:43-51)

FOLLOW ME

You say follow me,
but I’m not sure where you’re going.
You say follow me,
as if you’re leading me out
of the chaos and confusion,
but the closer I follow,
the thicker the clouds of darkness seem to be
and the less comfortable my life gets.
You say follow me,
but insist I leave “me” behind.
You say follow me,
but wait just a minute.
Let me look you over,
examine you and ask, “just who are you?”
You say follow me,
and my heart knows it’s what I was born to do.
You say follow me,
but my head has different plans.
It sees the storm clouds you’re brewing
and the confrontation that arises
wherever you go.
My mind makes up excuses,
finds ways to dismiss you and remain in the lead.
But you say follow me,
and I see the goodness and living water that flows
from the river you’re providing.
I see the beauty of your face
and if what you say is true –
it’s the greatest story the world will ever know.
But you say follow me
and it scares me because there’s still some doubt.
But does that doubt have anything to do with you
or because I know accepting you comes at a cost,
knowing that I’ll have to die to myself
and admit I’m lost?
You say follow me.
Grant that I may be willing to take up my cross.

 

If you enjoyed the post, you may be interested in my other Christian poems or inspirational poems https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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Emmanuel – God With Us

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 7:14;9:6)

jesus in mangerIt’s very common around Christmas to begin hearing the word “Emmanuel” used. Many people even know it means “God with us.” But because of its frequent usage, I believe it’s lost a lot of its power and strength. Growing up around church, over the years I guess I’ve just accepted the Christmas story and Christ in general as something that’s expected. We’re weak; therefore, God had to come and save us. Of course God loved us enough to die for us. Of course God should be “with us”. We dress baby Jesus up in a manger and arrange figures of animals and wise men around him and envision it as this peaceful, perfect night. But it was anything but that.

For those who’ve ever been on a farm and around stables, you know that it is not the cleanest environment. It smells. It’s loud. There’s bugs. There’s manure everywhere. It’s much more realistic to think of baby Jesus being born next to a stinky, pile of crap and the animals causing all kinds of noise. Not quiet as holy and peaceful, huh? But of all the places in the world to be born, God chose a stable.

If a meager manger was good enough for God, what does that tell me about all my selfish desires and wants? From day one, Jesus was our “wonderful counselor”, showing us the example of humility. “…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil 2:5-6) He did not come into a perfect world through a perfect birth, but to a broken world through a lowly birth. Too often we forget that. We think it’s natural for God to come to us, but it’s not. When have kings ever left their throne to walk among the sick, beggars, and lame? Isn’t it that much more powerful that the King who hung the stars in the sky and breathed the universe into motion, came to us as a weak, innocent baby?

For us, it is natural to think of Jesus being born, but to the Jews it was a hard pill to swallow. Even though there are hints of the Messiah’s divinity in the Old Testament, the majority of the people believed that God would send them another ruler similar to David, who would rule by force and power. They never would have imagined that the Messiah would have been God himself. “God with Us” referred to giving the Jews a ruler to know that God cared and was on their side, not in the literal sense. The Law allowed only the High Priest to enter the Holy of Holies to be in the presence of God. We’re not talking about seeing God, but just being in his presence. If only one person was worthy to even be near God, why would they believe that God would become human and dwell among us? They didn’t, which is why so many Jews rejected Jesus.

But I believe we take it for granted that God is with us. He made himself nothing so that we could reach him. There is no other religion that believes anything like the divinity of Jesus. Either God is way too powerful and mighty to pay attention to weak, fallen humans, or we’re all apart of God and together we make up God. The religions of the East probably come the closest to Jesus through gods like Krishna who appeared in human form, but they were in form only. They were not fully human and fully God. And that’s what sets Jesus apart.

We have a God who loved us so much that he wanted to dwell close to us and close to our hearts. He humbled himself from day one, living as a divine example and a beacon of light in a world of darkness. Who can say that God doesn’t understand us? For he is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”, but most of all he is Emmanuel – God with us.