Feathers A Christian Poem About Letting Go of Fear and Worry

Feathers

The weight of the world
is a feather in the hand of its maker.
It does not burden, break, or bury
the one who reigns outside of Time and Space's domain.

Our behemoths are merely single barbs
attached to that weightless shaft 
that flutters like the forest's souvenirs
given to a child, fallen from the wings of a jay.

In his hand our juggernauts 
are not threats but specimen.
His palm is large enough
to hold worry ad infinitum.

Push the crushing fear
off your chest and rest,
knowing that it's but a harmless feather
fluttering in your father's hand.

Justin Farley

The Tragedy of The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Every time I read The Parable of the Prodigal Son I am struck by the behavior of the oldest son. Ever notice how we never really get a resolution at the end of the story? The story doesn’t close with the oldest son saying, “You’re right, Dad. I’m so glad my brother is home – let’s go celebrate.”

My gut feeling is that the oldest son storms away from both his dad and brother, allowing his pride and anger to get the best of him until his resentment grows and turns into hate. It becomes pretty clear by the end of the story that he always did what was right with the expectation of getting favor from his father and an elevated status in the household. As soon as that assumption is questioned by the father receiving the younger son with open arms, the older brother’s real motive comes out.

We often read the story through the lens of the younger brother, relieved that God is a father of love and mercy, ready to receive us back with open arms. What we fail to see, though, is that more times than not we are the older brother – judging and prideful. The younger brother did not just sin against the father; he sinned in some of the worst ways possible. He spat on his father’s reputation so he could have money to have sex with whores and live in squalor.

Most of us in the church have never gone this low. Sure, we’re not perfect, but we’re not included in the lowest wretches of society either. And the pride of every Christian loves God’s forgiveness in his or her own life but scorns it in elsewhere. Don’t believe me? When’s the last time you invited a recovering drug addict, abuser, murderer, rapist over for dinner? Which one of us would have no problem introducing a prostitute to all of our church friends?

You see, God’s love isn’t fair. It’s radical. So radical that it bore nails for people that torture children, rape the innocent, kill for fun. I’m being a bit extreme to make a point. But seriously. Those people have just as much right to the love of God as the most ardent churchgoer. All it takes is for them to recognize their sin and come home like the youngest son did. Ugh. That’s not the kind of grace we like. We like our moments of anger, our quick unclean thoughts, our occasional gossip to be forgiven….But murderers? Rapists? Sadists? Those people need to pay.

And there lies the pride that quickly puts us all in the place of the older brother. Are you happy to see the worst of society in your church? Do you run to embrace them and welcome them home? Or do you wonder what the hell the lady with the short skirt and tits practically out is doing in church? Are you appalled by the stench of liquor on the man sitting next to you?

I relate with the older brother. I hate the fact that God reserves the same place at his table for people who have drifted in sin all their life as for the saintly. I deserve a gold star if I wait in line the whole time and not just cut to the front. That man who killed his wife sure as hell better not get the same reward as me.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a relief but mostly, it’s a tragedy. We all like to think we’re the broken son who gets embraced by his loving father. We can even see God running towards us – smile on his face and his arms opened wide. Unfortunately, for the most part, that’s a fantasy. We’re the pissed off brother in the corner fuming, asking, “What about me?” We’re the one questioning the fairness of love that sees everyone equally. We’re the one saying, “How dare you not give me my due for all the time, energy, and devotion I gave you.”

No single sin disqualifies you from the love of God, but your pride disqualifies God from your love. It is the deadliest and most serious of all sins. Yes, even worse than murder. Maybe not in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of God. It is easy for a murderer to know he is wicked. Blood is stained upon his hands. If he wants redemption, he comes broken. “My God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” But for the “good” pride causes a major blind spot, we come to God with chin up, head held high saying, “I’m not THAT bad.” In order to receive the grace and love of God, you must first know you need it. Pride is deadly because it convinces us that we have nothing to be sorry for, that there’s nothing that we need from God. And paradoxically, the son who never walked away is still the farthest from the father.

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!

They Say…

They Say...

They say follow your heart,
but I'm thoroughly convinced
mine doesn't know where
the hell it's going.

They say the heart wants
what the heart wants.
Mine wants to pull down the shades
and get rip-roaring drunk.

They say love yourself.
I think if I love myself any more
I'm going to join Narcissus
at the bottom of that damn pool.

They say put yourself first,
but I'm so far in the lead
that there's no one left
for me to pass.

But He says 
I'm broken beyond belief,
that my heart is deceptive,
and can't be trusted.

He says that only fools
follow the desires of the heart
because they lead to
bottomless pits, never satisfied.

He says quit staring
at yourself in that mirror,
that my hope isn't found in self love,
it's in the depth of His love.

He says the first shall be last
and to love my neighbor as myself,
to help pick up the wounded runners
rather than worry about what place I finish in.

I love my heart,
which is why it's so painful to admit
that His Word sounds like truth,
and culture sounds like childish chatter.

Justin Farley

Wrestling With Sin A Poem About Sexual Desire Temptation

Wrestling With Sin
A Poem About Sexual Desire Temptation

I'm wrestling with sin
doing my damnedest not to give in.
But I feel my back pinned to the mat
knowing that temptation is going to win.

My life feels like a chokehold,
strangled beneath a force so strong and bold
that I've grown tired of attempts
to prevent what naturally seems to unfold.

In moments of weakness I'm another man - 
thirsting, yearning to fulfill my body's demands.
Oh, how does Mr. Hyde find a way to live
under Dr. Jekyll's straight and narrow commands?

How do I break free?
I know you haven't given up on me,
but how do I not give up on myself,
so prone to pulls from sin's gravity?

Do you understand my dilemma, Lord?
Burning with passion, yet unable to unsheathe my sword.
My heart longs to do your will but sometimes the cost
feels like more than I can afford.

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!

Living in Love Poem About Loving Yourself and Others

Living in Love

To live in Love
we must first accept
the imperfection within ourselves
before we can accept
the imperfection in others.

To live in Love
we must first bandage
our own wounds
before we treat
the wounds of the world.

I grant grace to you
in your weakness
to the extent that I allow
God to grant grace
to me in mine...

Such a simple request,
such a simple gesture, 
requires opening
such a tightly clasped lock
by speaking the hardest phrase
known to mankind:
"I need help."

Humility precedes Love - 
you'll never find Love
until you quit trying to fool yourself
into believing you don't need Love.

We grow in grace
by first accepting our mistakes.
Once we grasp the extent
of our own limitations and flaws,
we begin to see
the world, others, and ourselves
as we are - 
flawed and limited
but nonetheless deserving of love.

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!

How To Pray to God For Help and Healing

Recently, I’ve seen major spiritual growth and recovery in multiple “problem areas” of my life that I’ve tried time and time again to change for years. I haven’t tried harder – in fact I’ve probably never tried less. I have simply changed the way I pray for aid and guidance.

My prayers would often begin, “Lord, help me”, “Grant me the strength to”, or “God may I start”. I would pray often and fervently. And yet, I would fail over and over again. My motivation was able to push me through a few failures, but eventually, it left me in one of two camps: either I was filled with shame, regret, and was convinced I was a terrible person, or I would direct my frustration at God for setting up a world in which the wrong choices are so easy and the right ones are so hard (and on top of that He didn’t seem to be hearing my prayers).

It became hard to continue and was pushing me farther away from God, unsure of Him and myself. My prayer life ceased to exist. What good is prayer if all it leaves you feeling is a. shameful, b. mad at God, or c. doubting His existence at all? And so I sat at the crossroads, unable to move towards atheism but beginning to grow weary following God and tired of trying.

It wasn’t until I took a good look at my requests for aid that things began to change. Who was the main doer is all of my prayers? Me. I. Myself. My conversations with God came from the assumption that I’m doing the work and getting close to success, but I just need a little extra push to get myself up the hill. That’s not a savior. That’s just a friend you’d ask, “Hey buddy, you mind giving me a hand over here real quick?”

My breakthrough happened when I realized I am not truly in control of my transformation. The only part of the transformation I have any control over is my submission to God’s will. It was really in looking at Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous that inspired me. It states, “[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” And that’s what we are – insane in our sin. God can restore us to sanity but not by our own doing. It is God that does the doing within us.

Humility is the cornerstone of the Christian life and of the Cross itself. It is only in admitting that we don’t know the way that we find it. God doesn’t desire to be just someone who gives you a little push when you need it but a savior who rescues you from the pit of despair. Not because He needs to be the hero but because He wants to strip us of the delusion that we were making any progress up that hill to begin with. It is only by fully submitting to God that we become our true selves that He created us to be, wonderfully made in His image.

My prayers are now empty, void of my own desires. I attempt to only consent to the Spirit dwelling within me. Though empty, they are fuller than ever because I have come to believe that it is God alone who can restore me. I am not in control. It is not God who gets in the way of my healing, but I who gets in His way. My prayers are still far from perfect, but God is restoring me to sanity.

Work less and trust more. Fully submit to God and allow Him to push you all the way up the hill, resting in His love. It is amazing to see that the more helpless we realize we are, the more help we receive. I think as Christians we often equate “carrying your cross” with grunting through labor and bearing the burden. But the Cross had nothing to do with what Christ did but what he allowed to be done. He could have saved himself. Instead, he humbled himself and fully submitted to the will of the Father. Let us all submit to the Father’s will and let His will be done rather than our own.

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 Evangelism and the Great Commission

Vessels of Love

We are all vessels of love -
jars filled with tealights,
made to cradle your flame
and bring it to the darkness.

Our failure is not in missing the mark
but in failing to believe 
we play a part
in the chapters of your story.

You've imparted more power to us
than we often see;
to your own you've given 
the keys to the kingdom.

And while sovereign,
you've set us free 
and called us to a life
beyond bending the knee.

We've been commissioned
to raise the banner 
and march to war
to the ends of the Earth

armed not with swords of shame,
nor arrows dipped in guilt,
nor tongues like battering rams
designed to beat down doors that are locked,

rather dazzled with something foreign,
alien, a splendor only heaven could impart;
You've given us the shield of the Spirit
and placed in our hands the lance of love,

ready to engage both friend and foe
for both are worthy of you
because the battle for that right
was waged and won long ago.

We are all vessels of love
to bring hope and hang a light,
to give the lost something to follow
on their cold, dark night.

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!

My Chapbook Collection of Christian Poetry and Poems about God is Now Available for Sale

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!