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)

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