Poem About the Grace and Mercy of God

The Questions of Life

Are we free or predetermined?
At the helm of the open seas
or merely indentured servants?
Why the trials, why the burdens
if life is as it’s meant to be,
if the future is certain?
But as for me, I’m determined
to believe that freewill
is your loving flame for us burning.
For without it grace becomes a meaningless word
instead of a powerful, raging current
instead of a powerful, raging current.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

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Grace – A Poem

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Grace – A Poem

I am awed by the way you move me
like freshly fallen snowflakes dusting across the frozen ground.
Some days I forget the barren tundra from which I came
and how you whispered by name, echoing across that vacant landscape
so that a lost soul could be found.

Some days time passes by me without a single thought
that each waking moment is a treasure –
a gift granted, light years away from being deserved.
But despite all my wrongs and all the foolish footpaths
I chose to walk, in my time of desperation I called
and without hesitation you answered.

Each single second is abounding opportunity,
a renewed possibility for new life.
My destination was one I was unable to arrive at
by the work of my own hands, but while I lingered,
withering away in the darkness, you nestled me
within your loving embrace and brought me back into the light.

The fact that I breathe and my heart beats
is a living testament to your endless love and grace.
May I never forget from where I came and that each day is a gift
that I should unceasingly praise and never waste.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Morning mist via photopin (license)

Build Within Me A Foundation of Thanksgiving – A Poem of Praise to God

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Build Within Me A Foundation of Thanksgiving – A Poem of Praise to God

May your rays of righteousness
pierce through the clouds and shadows of my heart.

May my mind give way to your fruit –
take up your shears and prune these vines that ensnare me.

Give thanks, give praise to the tree of life,
whose branches stretch out into infinity’s depths.

Give thanks, give praise to the tree of life,
whose leaves cover and provide shelter from worldly strife.

May wisdom flow like a river, filling my well –
knowledge of you soothing my parched lips and restoring my soul.

May I not walk by the power of my own two feet,
but make the journey through life on my knees, yielding to your majesty.

If I find nothing to be grateful for, nothing to praise you for,
surely my eyes are closed like curtains to the light of morning.

If my ears do not hear your name praised throughout the forest,
surely I am deaf to the songs and melodies of mother nature.

Build within me a foundation of thanksgiving –
a cornerstone on which my heart and soul rests.

Build within me an unquenchable thirst to praise your name,
never ceasing to be marveled by the brilliance of your glory.

Still the river of desire that flows through the heart of man,
unceasingly paddling down torrential waters, never satisfied, never able to rest.

Still the winds of lust, of jealous breezes,
our noses consistently sniffing for scents trying to sense what we don’t have.

Let our hearts not beat for what we’re missing,
but become firmly grounded in the grace which we already have.

Let our hearts not beat for foolish wishes,
but boil over with thanksgiving for your endless bounty and be glad.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

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)

It Is Finished – The Gospel of Grace

“After this, Jesus knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:28-30 ESV)

5763469323_b6ddd8750bThis weekend as we meditate on the Crucifixion and the Resurrection on Easter, the significance can easily be lost among the familiarity of the story and believing that Easter was nothing more than a historical event that happened nearly 2000 years ago. We become detached from it. In a way it can easily be lost to us and remembered like other events in a history textbook.

The Relevance of Easter

But Jesus’ death and resurrection is not only still relevant today, it is the path that leads the way, the light that guides us across our dark nights, and the hope that shatters the tragedies that are inevitable in our lifetime. Jesus is not just a good teacher. He is not a leader who simply came to give us more rules to follow and to teach us how to be good. Jesus abolished the rules of the law by fulfilling them!

The Gift of Grace

If you simply want a set of good moral standards to follow, there’s a whole handful of other religions to choose from. But frankly they all teach the same thing…do. When Jesus said, “It is finished” he was telling us…done. Absolutely done. Not a little bit. Not mostly. Paid in full. This is the one factor that divides Christianity between all other religions. It is the reason that Jesus claims that he is “the way, the truth, and the life”. Ultimate truth is divisive. It forces us to make a choice. If you believe that all religions are relatively the same, you don’t get it. This is not a statement of arrogance. It is an invitation to find out the Good News that Christianity offers.  The law has no chains on us anymore, but I think the majority of us (myself included) still keep trying to put shackles back on.

It is grace that separates Christianity from all other faiths. It is grace that nullifies any other religion. Not better, not worse..irrelevant. That doesn’t mean that people of other faiths are bad people; it simply means they are lost trying to fight a battle that no human being can win…except one. Jesus Christ was the only man who perfectly lived a good life. You and me, we’re flawed. By our own power we can never work or way towards God. But we still try, don’t we?

Quit Trying To Earn

We work day in, day out hoping that one day we will feel worthy. One day we will do enough “good” deeds to deserve a good reward. But someday never comes. For thousands of years human beings have been trying to earn their way and each and every one of us falls short. And somewhere in our heart we know it. We hate it. And often times it causes us to run away from God or pretend he doesn’t exist.

But this weekend, we are reminded that there is another way. Jesus Christ, God himself, knew we were not capable of paying the debt that needed to be paid. He could have simply ignored us and let us accept our fate, but he didn’t. He became a man and willingly suffered so that we might have life. On that cross, Jesus bore the world’s sin so that we didn’t have to feel condemned and unworthy any longer. He paid the price so that we could stand tall and approach the throne of grace and accept the gift owed – not by our own work, but by Jesus’ blood.

We can meditate on those last words of Jesus: “It is finished”. We can meditate and have confidence when we sin that we have a father that loves us and a Savior who has already paid the price for our sin. We do not need to be afraid. This is not an excuse to sin. Grace is a freely given gift that stirs our hearts to repay that gift with righteousness. If you feel grace is the freedom to sin without consequence, it is very likely you don’t yet understand what God did for you.

Being Reborn

Just as Jesus was resurrected, so too must we be reborn in spirit. We have our own death and resurrection to participate in. By dying to ourselves, we remove the shackles of human works and the exhaustion of trying to earn our salvation. Jesus says it is already done. There is nothing that you have to do but believe in him. We drudge through life trying to do good deeds out of fear and pride, but what Jesus did was show us another way. We accept the gift of grace which is freely given and out of joy serve and submit to God with love and gratitude.

The price of sin was paid nearly 2000 years ago. Are you still trying to make payments on a loan that’s already been paid? The word “gospel” literately means good news. Are you thrilled at learning the Good News of the Gospels? If not, I invite you to read them again. The reason that the disciples were so excited about this Good News was that they got it. We no longer have to pay what we owe! God himself loves us so much that he was willing to pay the debt! Easter is not a “past” event. It is a yearly reminder of the freedom Christ’s love bought us on the cross. That freedom was bought with a heavy price; don’t let it be squandered by putting yourself back under the prison of the law.

-Post Written by Justin Farley

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photo credit: Lamb of God 52 via photopin (license)