Contemplating and Discerning God’s Will

On my daily walk this morning, I was struck by the stirring of the Spirit as I was meditating on God’s will. I guess I’ve always imagined my contribution to society would be grand. Whether that has been my inflated ego or God speaking all these years, I don’t know.

We can never know with absolute certainty what God’s will is; we can only do our best to keep an open place in our mind and heart for the Spirit to speak to us, constantly revising where we’re headed based upon His promptings.

But regardless, I often find myself irritated by the mundane aspects of life- changing diapers, cleaning the house, helping with homework, watching kids, etc. because it feels like it is keeping me from realizing greatness. How am I going to be able to create a grand piece of art that changes the world if I rarely ever have time to write?

But what if the grand is keeping me from realizing the great? What if God’s will is simply for me to be a great husband, a great father, a great teacher and preacher to my children? Maybe the grand artist is my will and not God’s.

We can never know with absolute certainty what God’s will is; we can only do our best to keep an open place in our mind and heart for the Spirit to speak to us, constantly revising where we’re headed based upon His promptings.

Better to live by the Word of God hidden from the world than to be elevated by the world without it.

My job is not to elevate myself. The world will one day forget that I existed regardless if I become “famous” or not. But hopefully the work that I do contributes to preserving the name of Jesus Christ so that thousands of years from now people will still know His name. There is no shame living a life that the world never notices if it is well lived, measured not by the world’s standards but by God’s. Better to live by the Word of God hidden from the world than to be elevated by the world without it. Teresa of Avila provides a lovely mantra to live by: “whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

A life that brings even a single soul closer to God is a life of greatness.

This philosophy allows us to enjoy life and live fully, content in the present moment. It is folly to strive to make something out of YOUR life. Rather, live in a way that makes something out of His life. A life that brings even a single soul closer to God is a life of greatness. Don’t be blinded by the grand. Excel in the everyday, ordinary tasks, and the grand will occur if God wills it.

The more seriously you take yourself, the less seriously you take God. For when you become master, you bind yourself in chains of action, always striving harder and harder, less and less sure you’ve done enough to create a lasting legacy.

…the only time our souls are full and content is when we live in the Spirit and join in the centripetal, ever-revolving, relational love of God

But the more seriously you take God, the less pressure you have upon yourself. Laugh at yourself and the ridiculous, pompous thoughts of the human ego. God didn’t create you to glorify yourself; God created you to glorify Himself.

So love life and the people in it. Love the fact that God is going to help come to fruition His will whether you’re completely on board and do everything right or not. God doesn’t need us to glorify Him but knows the only time our souls are full and content is when we live in the Spirit and join in the centripetal, ever-revolving, relational love of God.

We are infinitely cherished and special beings while simultaneously being utterly unnecessary in the grand plan of God. This allows us to live with purpose yet pile all the weight of the world onto the Cross, onto the only one this world truly needs.

Justin Farley



My first chapbook of collected poems is available now! I hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.


You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Conversion Poem About the Love and Grace of God

Conversion
A Poem About the Love and Grace of God

I began divided.
Quite selfish with a heart hungry for evil
yet filled with a deep longing brewing
below the surface that never seemed fulfilled
by anything other than you.
So what was I to do - 
in love with myself and my selfish desires
but realizing more each day my need for you?

I opened my ears to your voice
but kept my heart safely distant.
You told me to follow you.
And I obeyed...
at a snail's pace,
slowly inching my way towards your grace.

The closer I came the louder my name
reverberated from your lips.
Though the louder too were my selfish longings.
Lust ran high in the dry, dusty desert of restraint
and tried to pull me back
into the slavery of gratification.
 
I gave in time and time again
but refused to allow my sin
to convince me to hide in shame from you.
For at the core of my being,
I knew you held something true - 
an answer to a question about the essence of life itself
that couldn't be answered along any other path but yours.

So I continued hauling my heavy shell behind me
and sluggishly crawled onward,
but the way forward didn't get any easier.
I only found myself more divided,
fragmented into forces fighting within myself.

My head became a bed for commotion,
tossing me to and fro like the waves of the ocean.
The inner struggle only made me more aware
of the seriousness of my situation:
I had a head full of God
and a heart unwavering it its insistence
upon serving itself.

It was daunting,
haunting me in its clutches
and causing me to lose sleep
like a nightmare stuck on repeat,
waking me up in the night
to the harsh realities of life.

How was I to serve two masters
and attend to both of their matters?
My ego wasn't lulled to sleep
nor cowered to the call for its destruction.
But raged and rattled the cage
your spirit had created for it.

I trusted that your grace
was vaster than all the stars
shinning forth forgiveness in the dark
to the farthest corners of the universe;
surely my sin was no match for your goodness.

I resolved to stop worrying
so much about "do nots"
that I never seemed capable of obeying
and to focus on following through on the "dos"
I was perfectly capable of undertaking.

And there your spirit freed
a seemingly unsavable prisoner
from the bondage of self
and turned me towards the Divine.
For you kept me so busy doing your will
that I forgot about mine.

Justin Farley

Silence Speaks Poem About Listening in Nature

Silence Speaks
Poem About Listening in Nature

Silence comes swiftly
with the sudden breeze
quietly untangling the mind
and piercing the restless heart.
The rustles of the leaves in the trees
let light fall like raindrops
each time nature's canopy is shaken.

There's a presence here unnameable,
indescribable, ancient and older
than the tallest oak.
Found in the remote places
away from the clangs, bangs, rattlin' brain of the city,
lost but not forgotten.
Hidden like shoots of green
beneath the decaying debris
of crumbling leaves, fallen twigs, and toppled trees
crushed beneath the weight of a summer storm.

There's treasure buried here,
secrets desperately awaiting your discovery.
Your heart knows it.
Feels it.
Your mind contains the map
if it is hushed.
If it is clear.
Silence speaks.
But do you hear?

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Fasting in the Desert A Godly Poem About Contemplation and Selfishness

Fasting in the Desert

Strip yourself naked,
unclothed of selfish desire.
For it requires fuel to burn
just as a raging fire.

If all thoughts
revolve around me and mine,
how am I to hear the voice of God,
how am I to feel the presence of the Divine?

It's by starving addictions
that we discover the depth of their roots.
Sometimes we must endure pain and misery
to prepare our hearts for grander pursuits. 

Contentment begins 
when we step into Silence's abode.
Here we find all we need
and her blessings are bestowed.

For comfort comes
not from out there but from within
and fasting in the desert
is where the search for God begins.

Justin Farley

What Should I Do With My Life Poem About Life Purpose

A Life's Purpose - A Poem

Busyness is not success. 
Nor is achievement.
Nor accolades
of power, status, or wealth. 
Success is measured
by how closely we live out
our life's purpose -
the king who was called to live
as a pauper is poor.
What good is earning the riches of the world
if they cost the betrayal of our heart
each and every day?

You know the voice.
You've heard it speaking
in the depth of your soul,
trying to point you
back to your blueprint,
trying to realign you to your design.
We don't chose our calling;
it chooses us.
Fail to accept it
and you are thrust,

thrown down a path of emptiness
where the shrieks of the soul
become so loud
you must unceasingly engage in activity 
to distract yourself from the reality
of your failure.
Before do, you must answer who
you are
or all your doing
is nothing but steps
that lead you farther and farther
away from your true self.

Poem by Justin Farley

The Cloud of Unknowing A Poem on the Dark Night

The Cloud of Unknowing

To be free from the desires of the mind
step out into the night,
outside of space and time.

Wear the darkness, clothed like a dress.
In your unknowing,
you're truly blessed.

What you seek lies farther than eyes can see - 
step after step
faith must lead.

Like a flower, like a seed,
in the darkness
is where roots feed.

We need not act but only be open to receive
gifts that are imparted
but which the mind is unable to perceive.

Justin Farley




Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Poem About Intimacy with God

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Intimacy With God

Speaking in the silence,
waiting in the midst of contemplation,
listening on the other line of prayer
awaits the answer
to the relentless yearning of the human heart.
Do not come seeking secret knowledge.
Do not expect divine visions,
to become enlightened,
or to transcend physical reality.
But come to the silence
simply desiring and longing for
intimacy with the Divine,
experiencing God’s love and mercy directly,
which we, in turn, share with the world.

Poem Written by Justin Farley

You can find some of my other Christian poems by clicking here

Everyday Miracles – A Poem About Finding God in Ordinary Things

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Everyday Miracles – A Poem About Finding God in Ordinary Things

The clamor of your wisdom claps
like a thousand hands in unison throughout the forest,
calling from every treetop,
and whispering within every breath the north wind blows.
Your wisdom can be found in the simplicity of a dew drop
and within the caw of a congregation of crows.

You are an invisible hand, always laboring,
opening and closing doors as you see fit –
not always on my time frame,
not always giving me access to the rooms I wish,
but often times I find ignorance is bliss.
For the paths I most yearn to walk down
you wall off, knowing they lead to my demise.

You are the wise King,
always leading, but serving unceasingly.
With each new day you bring,
I am astonished at your beauty –
as long as I make the time to open my eyes,
as long as my awareness is focused on you
and turned away from the desires of my mind.

Your miracles come in small packages,
constantly sent, but rarely opened.
I look for you in grandiose experiences,
but you keep gently tugging at my sleeve,
urging me to put on my leather gloves
and dig for you in the dirt of the garden.

If I’m not careful,
I can become oblivious to the everyday mystery –
the beauty of a daffodil,
the way sunlight rests upon my windowsill,
the spirit that speaks when my mind gets still,
and the non-coincidental meetings of strangers,
sharing the exact conversations I need to hear.

Open my eyes when they are blind to your majesty,
so that I may witness your glory
in every root, rock, river, and ravine.
May I read the love letters you’ve written
upon every stump I pass in the forest,
every deer that crosses my path,
and every squirrel that leaps from limb to limb.
May I marvel at your everyday miracles
and find your fingerprints upon every piece of evidence
in this case called life.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Ontelaunee Creek Tributary (1) 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
Or 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)

A Prayer of the Heart

river at sunset A Prayer of the Heart

You, Oh Lord, are the wellspring of wisdom that is never empty and is always rising to the lips of those who are thirsty. When my worldly eyes go blind and walk towards the cliffs of destruction, you await to halt me – to reattach my spiritual blinders. Man walks by the heart, but is easily strayed from your path by the ways of deceit. But in the midst of chaos you never leave. You remain as a nagging, shouting whisper that beckons me to your presence. And when I come before you…all is revealed. My mistakes, my falters, the ways in which I have followed the desires of the heart and not the desires of the Lord.

The feelings of the heart feel good. That is why they are quick to lead us astray. It is man’s seductress who dresses up in skimpy clothes and asks to be joined. Who can resist? No one without ample prayer and counsel . The heart wants what it wants and will blind us by any means to get what it wants. But you, Oh Lord, are a God of Mercy; A God who waits for those who wander and a Shepherd anxiously waiting to gather your lost sheep and return them to the fold.

When I am led by my heart, stop me! Stall me in my tracks and weigh my intentions against your law. May you no longer let me stray without warning. Open my ears to the still, quiet voice that beckons to be heard. For your wellspring only flows wisdom and from wisdom, truth. Truth pulls back the shades and reveals the world and it’s people as they truly are. But most of all truth pierces my heart and turns me from my worldly pursuits, to your face.


photo credit: Sunrise (HDR) via photopin (license)