Poem About Being Content, Humble, and Joyful

Great Expectations

Joy can seize us
in the lowliest of places,
perhaps even easier
than in the loftiest ones.
Humble eyes are open wider
than those of great expectation, 
those muted of exultation
and closed to the blessings
that abound in the ordinary - 
it's commonness makes it no less miraculous.
It's easy to see the glory
of God stepping out
of the darkness of a cave. 
Far harder blind, perched upon 
an idolatrous mountaintop of our own making.
Great expectations cannot bring joy
for they are contingent on the false hope
that joy can be gained
from obtaining anything
of worldly worth.
Happiness is fleeting;
joy remains 
though the seasons change - 
in both the harsh, winter cold
and the warm, summer sun.
A joyful heart shoots for the stars
but is content if the Universe
wills for it to remain on Earth.

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 Gratitude, Having a Positive Attitude and Blessings

No Quarter

If I look, I'll find 1000 complaints,
but I've resolved to give no quarter to protest
when I've been so blessed
with gifts raining down from Heaven like manna.

If I find my vision
dull, dark, and gray
it's because I've chosen to stay
blind to how lucky I truly am.

Of course there's darkness.
But there's also an abundance of light
available when we keep our sight
fixed on our graces and gratitude.

Dark cloud, keep on moving. 
I'll no longer grant you quarter.
My attitude is back in order - 
my storehouse is far too full to harbor complaint. 

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!

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


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


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

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, or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/



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

Remaining Humble and Relying Upon God

king davidDuring my morning study, I read through David’s Song of Deliverance in 2 Samuel 22. I have been making my way through the Bible, determined to read it from start to finish this year. King David has been a familiar character through 1 and 2 Samuel, but this morning I was really struck by David’s reliance upon God. Here we have a king who is Israel’s most powerful leader, and he is admitting that he owes his strength to God:

“You save a humble people,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.
For you are my lamp, O LORD,
and my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.”
(2 Samuel 22:28-30)

David was not perfect my any means, but his life is a great example of humility and what God can do when we give him the opportunity. No one thought that a young shepherd stood a chance against the mighty Goliath, but David did. He didn’t believe that could defeat his enemy because of his great strength or his power, but because he knew that God was with him. David trusted in God and depended upon God to carry him through his darkest moments. And God never let him down.

The wonderful thing about David and why the Psalms are such brilliant pieces of poetry is that they are directed to the proper recipient of glory – God. It would be very easy for David to look at how great he’d become and write about how much he’d attained by hard work and strength, but he doesn’t mention those things. He continues to point back time and time again to God and tells us that in his weakness, God made him strong.

David also teaches us that the best leaders are first servants. David had numerous opportunities to take the throne from Saul, but he did not put his desires over the will of God. He respects the fact that God chose Saul and continues to remain a servant until it is his time to become king.

I think we can learn a lot from looking at David’s life. He had riches and power far beyond anything we will ever know, yet he still relied on God for his salvation and deliverance. This is no easy task, as most of us who live in western culture can attest to. When we get the big promotion, the big house, or the luxurious car, we want to pat ourselves on the back and pride ourselves on our hard work. But David doesn’t do that. He continues to say it’s you, Lord, who have given me all of this. It is you who has delivered me from the hands of my enemies, not because of my strength or might.

God gives us a great example in David of what he can do when we put our trust in him and let him control our lives. If the greatest king of Israel needed to depend on God, we surely do!


photo credit: Kong David (ca. 1976) via photopin (license)

Inspirational Poem About Helping Poor People, the Homeless, and Fighting World Hunger

Global Unity

Global Unity

As we go through our day to day lives, it is easy to think our way of life is normal – even expected and demanded. It is easy to think we have it harder than most people and to focus all of our attention on our needs, but our way of life is not the norm. The majority of the world deals with things on a daily basis that we can’t even begin to understand. Sometimes when I’m feeling selfish or even in a bad mood, changing my perspective and being grateful for what I have instead of lusting for more makes all the difference. That doesn’t mean that we should feel ashamed that we’ve been blessed, but that we become aware of the poverty, homelessness, and world hunger that is taking place around the world. It means changing our limited view and getting a change of perspective. Hope this poem inspires you. Thanks!

A Change of Perspective

As I wake on my soft, comfortable bed,
Another wakes to a stiff, sore back
From spending another night stretched out upon the ground.

As I get up and take my hot shower,
Another walks miles to gather putrid water
To soothe their dry, cracked lips.

As I pour my coffee and don’t think twice
About throwing my leftovers away,
Another searches desperately for table scraps
To keep their starving child alive one more day.

As I wander the darkness under the roof
Of my home and in the coziness of heat,
Another shivers unceasingly in the night
Without any cover from the elements.

As I drive to work and complain
When traffic keeps me from driving over fifty,
Another walks miles without shoes on their feet.

As I upgrade my big screen TV a few more inches,
Another must work like a dog for years
To earn the cost of my “necessity”.

As I gather to visit with my family,
Another visits theirs next to a tombstone
Because their wasn’t even money to treat
Their young child’s preventable disease.

As I worry about football scores,
Job promotions, and weekend plans,
Another worries about how they’ll find
Their next meal and stay alive.

As I contemplate holiday getaways
And vacation plans,
Another doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

As I walk free and don’t see the blessing
Of living in the United States,
Another lives as a slave, voice mute out of fear.

As I complain about my life and how bad I have it,
Another and 99% of the rest of the world
Deal with circumstances worse than mine.

Maybe it’s time
For a change of perspective.

– Poem Written By 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 71u8aqpia5lhappy 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!

I Am Not A Victim – The Courage to Change

4081041321_f8d89785beThe hardest thing about fighting back against any mental illness, addiction, mental limitations, or physical limitations is that there is not a direct enemy that you can see, that you rebel and fight against. I read “Unbroken” by Lauren Hillenbrand a few weeks ago and was inspired by the story. But it wasn’t the time Louis Zamperini spent as a POW that moved me. Yes, it took a lot of courage and strength to endure the horrifying experiences that he went through, but it is much more inspiring to hear of his real triumph and that didn’t happen until the war was over. His real triumph was when he overcame himself.

Human beings are naturally pretty good at withstanding lots of pain and hardship as long as it is coming from “out there”. There is someone to hate, someone to curse and your motivation revolves around pride, knowing that you’re going to do whatever it takes so that the enemy doesn’t beat you. But what do you do when the enemy is inside you? What do you do when the person to hate, to curse, and to triumph over is yourself? It is this internal struggle that requires more strength and courage than fighting any enemy on the outside. Why? Because in order to win, you’ve got to defeat yourself and that’s a whole different ballgame.

You can fight an external enemy and stay relatively the same person on the inside. Sure, it takes hard work and strength, but you’re pulling motivation from the “self” that is inside you. You have to endure, but you don’t have to change. With internal struggles, the sense of “self” is in direct conflict. Your mind is against your body, your spirit is against your mind, etc. You have to destroy the part of you that is causing the conflict and that requires more than just a little change. It requires a deep, painful metamorphosis like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly.

My biggest enemy is self-pity. Throughout my struggles with addiction and mental illness, I have always been my greatest enemy. If I’m honest, I don’t want to change. I want to stay the same as I’ve always been and stay in the comfort of the familiar. And I think everyone does, but the majority of people are never forced to change. I am. I can either take that as a blessing or a curse. Instead of accepting that, many times I fight against it, fighting against something “out there” whether it’s fate, God, circumstances, etc,  asking “why me?”, “haven’t I been through enough?”, “can’t I just live normally for once?”, distracting myself from the real issue and the real enemy – me.

I want to pretend that I’m helpless, that everything isn’t my fault. And in many ways, it isn’t. I can’t change the fact that I can’t stop drinking once I start, I can’t control the fact that I have panic attacks and my mind doesn’t function the way it should, and I can’t change the days when I’m filled with apathy or plagued by depression. But I still have a choice. I chose to stay in my comfort zone, blaming external circumstances, unwilling to change, willing to blame and curse the hand I’ve been dealt. I fear emerging as a new butterfly, unrecognizable and unfamiliar. Fear keeps me in my cocoon. I want to go back to living as a caterpillar, where everything was easy and where the majority of society dwells. But I am not called to be a caterpillar. I am called to be a butterfly and until I stop fighting against the external and start killing the internal, I’m going to be one miserable human being. It is not my job to decide how or why things have happened to me the way they have. My job is to pick up the pieces and put them back together. I AM NOT A VICTIM. It sure as hell isn’t easy, but I still have the choice to endure, to change, or to wallow in self-pity. The choice is up to me.


Photo Credit: jonycunha via Compfight cc

Thanksgiving – An Endangered Day of Thanks and Praise

4122078728_f9741947b7It is a tragedy that a day that was once remembered as a way to show gratitude and thanks, has turned into another way for businesses to make a quick buck and people to hunt down deals. Frankly, anyone who takes place in those activities should be ashamed of themselves. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for what you already have, not to think about what else you need in your life.

As a nation, we have moved so far from what this country was originally founded on – a country of morals, values, and yes, even God. When you throw those things out the window, you get what we have now – a dysfunctional country where common sense is no longer the norm and a place you’re worried about your children’s safety in. Isn’t is pathetic that we can’t even keep the one day of the year that is meant to be about family and gratitude “sacred” without it being tainted by material greed?

The condition of the heart determines the character of the person. Gratitude and thanksgiving lie at the very root of joy and happiness. But a world that is scared of the eternal looks to the external to mend its wounds and finds no contentment. We find real meaning in life by looking at the things that are not bought, but freely given – things like family, love, friendship, and faith.

As tainted as it’s become, America is still the best country in the world, and we should all be grateful to live here. It is by looking at how the less fortunate around the world live that we truly see how lucky we are. The things that we take for granted here are miracles in many parts of the world. We all have a tendency to expect that life should be perfect and without suffering. When our outlook never matches reality, we can easily become discouraged and even feel life owes us something. It is only by looking at life as it is, with all the joy, pain, and suffering, that we can begin to see how blessed we are.

I pray that tonight when I’m eating my Thanksgiving meal, I’ll remember that there are many on the street going without food, without shelter, and without water. Remember that there are millions across the world starving to death, millions who don’t have running water, and millions dying from disease, leaving their young children as orphans. Remember that there are millions who can’t practice their own religion or beliefs without fear, millions living in mental, drug, or sex slavery, and millions living without a family or anyone who loves them. My life is far from perfect, but when I remember to keep the proper perspective, the only logical response my heart can give is thanks and gratitude. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit: William Dalton via Compfight cc