Archive for the ‘Parenthood’ Category

A man who was both very successful and widely admired was approached by his young daughter, Allison, during a brief (and all too rare) moment between his vigorous business trips. She climbed into his lap and hugged him with the earnestness that only a small and adoring child can effortlessly muster.

“Daddy,” she began, her large brown eyes searching her father’s face. “You travel so much, I’m afraid you won’t come home one day. If something happened… to you I mean, would you go to heaven?”

For a moment he hesitated. Caught off guard like that, he was suddenly aware that he didn’t really know the answer to that question. “Well sure, honey. I’d go to heaven,” he finally replied, trying to be reassuring, but inwardly feeling a twinge of guilt as if he were lying. He knew he wasn’t a bad person as people go, but he also knew that there were places in his heart with corresponding moments in his past that had left a stain that he wasn’t sure God could overlook if that moment were to arrive. “Yes, I’d go to heaven,” he said again.

“That’s a relief, Daddy,” Allision chirped. She hugged him, climbed down and ran away to play. Her father stood up and quietly began packing for his next trip, profoundly disturbed.

That night, in his hotel room, he found a Bible. He opened it and began reading, his eyes finally running across Jesus’ parable in Luke 12 about a rich man who had big plans. When he read verse 12, his heart skipped a beat. “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”

He lay in his bed that night finding it difficult to sleep. Eventually, drowsiness overtook him and his eyes closed in slumber. Then he began to dream.

He dreamed that he was traveling along a highway with many lanes of traffic all moving in the same direction. At first the sky seemed clear but the farther he traveled the darker and gloomier it became. He looked to the right of the highway and occasionally saw exit signs which seemed to indicate a safer road to travel to a surer destination. Every so often he could see people taking such an exit to that surer road.

At first, he laughed at them and thought them foolish for missing out on all the opportunities that the fast-paced and well-traveled road offered. He glanced around him and felt reassured that he was not alone but was surrounded by countless others all traveling as he was. He noticed that those around him were accelerating and so he too began to speed up as he strived to keep up with the others. But distant voices seemed to call to him, appealing to him to leave the road he was on and to take the exit to the safe road. He ignored them, but noticed that the exits were becoming fewer and instinctively felt that the other drivers about him were determined that he remain in their midst.

His car sped up more and was then forced to the lane farthest from the exit ramps. Many of the drivers around him who had told him that he was wise in choosing the broad, well-traveled way now laughed openly at him, while a few others seemed to be as trapped and as frightened as he felt.

He noticed that the voices from the other road seemed either to be growing fainter or were being drowned out by the roar of cars charging along on the broad way. His eyes caught sight of another exit ramp and he realized that he could just make it if he would only turn. A pair of hands floated above him ready to take control and guide him to safety if he would simply release control to them. But he hesitated. After all, most of the other drivers were still traveling the broad path apparently without worry and he didn’t wish to look foolish to them. And he wasn’t sure that he was quite ready to give up control of his direction to anyone. He passed the exit sign.

Suddenly the road ended. He was alone and surrounded by nothing at all except gloom and an eerie silence broken only by the faint echo of mocking laughter from a shadow that had hidden in his back seat all along, urging him along this path to destruction and away from the safety that the guiding hands would have granted him had he only yielded.

He wanted to blame the shadow for encouraging him along the path that he had chosen. He wanted to blame the other drivers for trapping him in the lane away from the exits. He wanted to blame those who had taken the safer road for not warning him soon enough or loud enough. He wanted to blame the hands above him for not grabbing control and taking him to safety.

He wanted to and even tried to. But he knew down deep inside that he was the one to blame. He was the one who had made the choice to remain on the wide and easy way. The darkness intensified until it was an inky blackness. It surrounded him and began to smother him in painful tentacles of regret and grief. He realized that he was alone, utterly and inescapably alone and would always be so forever after. He cried out in despair.

He awoke screaming. His eyes opened and he sat straight up in bed. He looked at the alarm clock. One thought flashed through his mind. “I can still get off that road,” he thought. He remembered the cross of Jesus Christ and realized that he had found the exit ramp. He yanked the covers off himself, knelt down beside the bed and began to pray. “I don’t really know how to pray,” he said aloud, clenching his eyes shut. “But I know that You can hear me. I’ve avoided You all my life, trying to do what I thought best on my terms. I thought I could put You off or that maybe somehow I could measure up on my own merits. I know now that I was wrong, that I was rejecting You and what You did for me as You died on the cross. Please forgive me and be Lord of my life now.”

He stopped and took a deep breath. He opened his eyes and glanced up at the bed side table on which he had placed the Bible the night before. He picked it up and opened it to a verse that he had read earlier.

“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV). He glanced at the alarm clock. It glowed 7:15 in bright red numbers. He smiled and picked up the phone and dialed his home.

“Good morning, honey,” he said when his wife answered. “Yes, I know it’s a bit early but I wanted to let you know that I just switched roads.” He chuckled at the sounds of confusion on the other end of the phone. “No, I’m in my hotel room. I just mean that I’ve given my life to Jesus…. Yes, I’m serious. Thank you for being patient with me… and for your prayers. Will you tell Allison when she wakes up? Tell her that I know for sure that one day I’ll definitely be going to heaven.”


Copyright © Thom Mollohan


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My children, over the years, have enjoyed my wife’s cooking immensely, almost as much as I do in fact. Comparatively, when their mother has on occasion decided to trust me with her kitchen, they could only tolerate mine. I enjoy occasionally trying my hand at various meals, but my experiments have usually involved lots of meat and potatoes (in other words, a bit more grease than is probably ideal). My kids could appreciate only so much of said grease, and even though they might politely sample the fare, they could sometimes do little more than pick at it. Alas, cooking has never been my forte! So when I would cook, you could definitely count on lots of leftovers!

I don’t really mind that they would just “pick” at what I set before them. I also would much rather eat my wife’s cooking than my own. But I think that it’s a real shame that God’s children seem to have a tendency to do the same thing with the banquet of blessings that has been prepared for them. When we do little more than pick at our spiritual food, we miss out on the exquisite feast of spiritual treasures that He has for us. By being just “church attenders”, for instance, we’re just “playing with our food”. As a result, we get little more than a few measly sips of the “spiritual basics” and miss out on the nutrients that build us into healthy spiritual beings. In fact, the Church, in our culture is as a whole rather malnourished and ill-prepared for the vigorous exercises of faith required of it in today’s world.

Too often we come to our church meetings seeking to only nibble at the “desserts” of forgiveness and other positive language we do indeed find in the Bible, but we inadvertently cheapen them because we use them selfishly. As a result, we habitually fail to move on to the meaty but satisfying dishes of genuine discipleship. Sacrifice, perseverance, holiness, and mercy for others are all well and good, we deem, but we’d much rather have another helping of uplifting music and encouraging devotional thoughts.

Now don’t get me wrong! We need the “treats” as well as the “meat and potatoes”. My children, growing up, have known that I believe strongly that desserts make the meal fun and they are convinced that my passion for cookies and cake is off the chart. But I have always wanted something more filling than just desserts in my meals and I certainly want something more filling than a mere dabbling in Christianity can afford me.

By not giving God’s “meals” a chance, we miss out on deeper experiences with God, greater victories in our struggles, and wider opportunities for influencing others towards the kingdom of light!

Of course, the irony is that God is a great cook (if you will pardon the expression)! By not giving His meals a chance, we miss out on deeper experiences with God, greater victories in our struggles, and wider opportunities for influencing others towards the kingdom of light! It’s sad but our propensity to want to try and live only on either the basics of the faith or the “fluff” is that our spiritual lives become powerless and lethargic.

But if we truly do hunger for more, then let us allow Jesus to become our passion! Let us permit His Word to fill up our lives with His love for the Father! Let us drink deeply from the cup of grace and then share from its bottomless depths with those around us who are parched for hope and famished for truth as we prayerfully seek practical ways to touch their lives! Let us flex muscles of courage and wisdom as feeding on His Word “beefs us up”! And let the humility of Jesus grant us a daily grace that whets the appetite of those around us for the life-changing hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

The Church (which is made up of anyone and everyone who genuinely receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) should want more than superficial spirituality. Many who leave the Church think that there isn’t anything more than the rut and routine of attending service or sparse participation. But there is. We’ve just barely scratched the surface. We’ve only begun to sample the meal that God has prepared for us.

Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. Seek out the infinitely satisfying Savior Who died but rose again from the dead so that you could have “life to the full” (see John 10:10). Discover what He longs for you to know, that trusting God with all aspects of your life is wonderfully filling and delightfully nourishing!

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst’” (John 6:35 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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A few years ago the facilitator of a leadership conference for a large corporation asked the group “Who are the world’s most influential leaders?” After some discussion and thorough rethinking on the topic of leadership in light of the things that they had learned, the group unanimously announced that mothers are the most influential of leaders in the world with fathers following at a close second.

Insightful, don’t you think? Laws may be instituted in legislatures, but they’re only created and pursued when someone has conviction (or a marked lack of it) about something. Public policy may be shaped by polls and petitions, but these too are merely the fruit of someone’s sense of justice and fairness (or, at the other end of the spectrum, their selfishness).

So, if we might look out on spectacle of politics, where can we hope that genuine conviction is forged? If we are dismayed at the immoral and cowardly antics of those who would be our leaders, what hope do we have for tomorrow? Where will a true sense of justice and fairness be molded? Where will one’s sense of right and wrong or one’s drive and motivation get rooted though we may not see its fruit until its ripening and the time for harvest has come?


A mother has unparalleled opportunity in influencing a life in matters of faith, godliness, love and hope. God has appointed you, O mother, to partner with Him in the building of a soul.


It’s in the home. It’s in the cradle. It’s in the arms of the one by whom one’s impressions and earliest recollections are first laid and established. The thoughts and images that shape the personality and perspective of adults and secure for them a worldview that moves them onward and upward or leaves them wallowing in defeat are delivered first through this one called “mother.”

When our oldest son was still a baby, there were times when he needed his mother… not because he was hungry; not because he was cold; not for any reason other than he simply needed to hear her voice and feel her touch. A sweet elderly lady next door of the apartment we rented, upon observing the calming effect of my wife’s presence upon our boy, softly reflected, “There’s no place like mama’s arms, is there?” I could only agree as I watched his tears dry and heard his crying fade into the sounds of peaceful contentment.

We learn first about love and warmth, acceptance and belonging from godly mothers. Fathers may have the unique calling and role of radically shaping a child’s perspective of God (another subject for another time), but a person’s foundation for his or her take on life and his or her sense of worth begin with his or her mother.

This is not to say that other things don’t have the power to challenge that foundation. They do. How anguished is a mother’s sorrow when she has done “all the right things” only to find her child wandering into a wilderness of confusion or a pit of destruction?

Mothers, nonetheless, have the power to pour a footer of encouragement and acceptance for their children’s ultimate victories. It’s a lot easier to want to do what is right or persevere in hard times when one knows that there is someone who is rooting for him and believes in him no matter what the world thinks or does!

We may rejoice when we have experienced the blessing of godly mothers! Have a care to not take such a blessing for granted either! If that has been your experience, then God has granted you a precious treasure, the worth of which is “far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10b). Thank Him for that treasure and honor her this weekend!

Mothers may rejoice too in knowing that they have unparalleled opportunity to influence a life in matters of faith, godliness, love and hope. God has appointed you, if you’re a mother, to partner with Him in the building of a soul.

Also, we may grieve when, for one reason or another, we are deprived of such a blessing. Losing a mother is painful for anyone, but it is an anguish to see a young child lose his or her mother to death.

Even more tragic though is the loss of a mother to the world when she is swallowed up in busy-ness… or worse, abandons the child in order to pursue other “interests”. In the instances where I’ve observed this, my heart has broken to see the devastation that this has caused in people’s lives.

But this doesn’t have to be. May we see a renewal in our roles as parents and know that we shape the future when we give ourselves to the shaping of little hearts and minds. Mothers, you influence the world when you influence the lives of your children. God offers you an opportunity to be His means of challenging fear, hatred, and injustice in the world. One day soon our children will receive the mantle of stewardship of our communities, our town, our nation, and our world. While there will be problems (of that, we can be sure) how those problems are handled and whether or not our children will be slave to them is being decided right now.

When those days dawn, O mothers, may your “children arise and call (you) blessed” (Proverbs 31:28a) for you have loved them, you have accepted them unconditionally, you have prayed for them and you have done all to prepare them to meet life victoriously. Bear well the mantle of motherhood.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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When our children were much younger, it was not unusual that as the shadows of night deepened to darkness and the quiet stillness of slumber finally filled our home, our children would begin to rest from all their cares and worries only when they were lulled to a place of peace by the gentle melody of their mother’s singing.

And when the day’s first light would once again begin to spread its fingers across the sky, one often heard the sound of more quiet singing in our home. When the little ones in our arms nestled their little heads against us, my wife and I couldn’t help but sing. Such singing soothed the inexplicable fears and anxieties that beset our small children but it also gave utterance to the joy and love we had (and still have) for our beloved offspring.

Song of our Father

The love song that our Heavenly Father sings over the ones who rest their weary, anxious hearts in Him is one of peace, renewal, acceptance and strength.

And so our Heavenly Father sings to us a heavenly love song that only the ears of faith can hear. He sings of how He would have us set aside worry and fear for ourselves, trusting both His goodness and His great and glorious power to sustain us, protect us and guide us in our daily living.

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (Luke 12:27-31 ESV).

Ever does His Holy Spirit softly sing the notes of the melody of His love for you if only you will listen with ears of trusting obedience. Ever does He beckon you to lay your head upon the bosom of His love and hearken to His lullaby of grace.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 ESV).

The song of your heavenly Father, pleased as He is to give you the Kingdom through faith in His Son, is a song of joy and delight. Indeed, all of heaven sings in unabashed celebration when anyone turns from sin and selfishness and embraces the Father’s call to “come home” to Him.

“…I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Jesus in Luke 15:10).

Are you ready to come home to the heart of God? He is more than ready to receive you. Are you ready for the healing touch of the Father? He is more than willing to wash your sin away and set you free. Though you may feel unwanted, unloved, rejected and shut out of life, He yearns to hold you to Himself and sing you the love song that is borne out in the laying down of His life on the Cross of Calvary.

The love song that He sings over you as you rest your weary, anxious heart in Him is one of peace, renewal, acceptance and strength. His voice drives away the dark shadows of worry, fear, sorrow and loneliness. Nowhere else can one find such a reassuring melody than the one our Heavenly Father sings to us through the loving gift of His “only begotten Son” (from John 3:16). Learn to listen with ears of faith and you will find an unparalleled “rest for your soul” (from Matthew 11:29).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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As our daughter nears ten years of age, I find myself reflecting on what Jesus said in John 13:20, “I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One Who sent Me.” While this certainly has to do with receiving the good news of Jesus Christ and entering into God’s great Salvation, it is also an admonishment for any who are Believers to humbly receive God’s love through the loving administrations of caring people.

For months of uncomfortable and perilous “expecting” our daughter’s arrival, my family had been the object of a great outpouring of love and support from family, friends and church family. And then, as our new daughter arrived on the scene dangerously early, my wife’s doctor supportively walked with us through the difficult situation while nurses in the maternity area gently and attentively tended to our family. We know indeed that each loving gesture and every caring word was sent from Him. We joyfully praised Him for all those who had a part in the arrival of this wonderful new life.

Little hands and little feet;  A fragile life when first we meet!

Little hands and little feet;
A fragile life when first we meet!

Oh, and how we celebrated that precious little girl! “Little hands and little feet; a fragile life when first we meet….” Naturally, we already knew our new addition in so many ways before she even “arrived.” Ultrasound pictures, for example, helped to introduce us. Those “windows on the inner world” settled for us, by the way, the age-old question, “Do babies suck their thumbs in the womb?” In case the answer interests you, this one did. She also practiced gymnastics and did some occasional “kick-boxing” (much to my wife’s vexation). Also, all of our children occasionally had the hiccups in the womb, this little girl being no exception (much to my amusement).

Did you know that the Biblical perspective on life (Old Testament as well as the New Testament) is that all human life is precious? Every life, even that in the womb, is an amazing work of God, a gift to the world that no one else has a right to mar or destroy.

Did I say a “Biblical perspective?” Absolutely! For does not the Scripture say in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We are created in the image of God whether our bodies are sound and whole or crippled with disease. Black and white, male and female, we were created in the divine image, our first ancestor receiving the very breath of God and becoming a living soul.

Dear one, you also are marked with the image of God. What the world has done to deface that image in you with the horrid “graffiti” of hurt, hate, fear, and bitterness, cannot erase God’s image and the fact that you have unimaginable worth.

“Biblical perspective,” did I say? Truly! The Bible is God’s megaphone as He proclaims, “…before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5). Dear one, you have “God-given purpose” and a divinely appointed significance.

We live in such a strange age though. This is an age in which life is not really esteemed as all that important. It seems so bizarre to me to know that we live on the very brink of an era in which human embryos can be harvested for stem cells as though each tiny life were nothing more than a lab-grown culture of bread mold for penicillin.

But I don’t buy it. God doesn’t look at any human life as a commodity whether we’re speaking of slavery or aborted unborn children. Each life counts in God’s Book. “For You (oh, God) created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

How wonderful! How amazing! God knew you before you came to be! He saw you while your body was just taking shape in your mother’s womb! You have had value and purpose in the heart of God all along!

As Christians we celebrate and honor the sanctity of human life… the life of the healthy and the life of the sickly; the life of the wealthy as well as the life of the one who has no home; the life of the strong and the life of the crippled; the life of the seeing, the life of the blind; the life of the young and the life of the old; not to mention the life of the born as well as the life of the unborn.

Each life is sacred, even the life that appears to have little to give to our short-sighted and narrow-minded eyes. Each life is sacred, even when the world tosses it aside, calling it worthless and unwanted. Each life is sacred, each with a world of beauty inside just waiting to be tapped by God to show to the world. Each life is sacred, dear one… including yours.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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On one occasion some years ago, my three sons stood in line with me and their uncle (my brother-in-law) as we all scrutinized the sign before us. “You Must Be This Tall To Ride This Ride,” it said. The older two were in the “safe zone” but the youngest just barely “measured up”, so to speak. After breathing a hearty sigh of relief, he began to leap up and down in excitement. In between bounces, he managed to ask me why there was a rule about how tall one has to be.

“It’s to keep you safe,” I answered. “The ride is a very dangerous thing for someone who isn’t ready for it.” Although I suspect he would have found it far less satisfactory if he hadn’t been able to ride it, the answer seemed to satisfy him and he turned his attention back to watching those who were already on it. But as we stood there, my own thoughts remained on the subject, shifting ever so slightly to the ways that families thrust their children spiritually “onto rides” for which they’re simply not ready emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Children, for example, are exposed on a regular basis to the emotionally charged and confusing themes that typical evening television broadcasts into typical homes in our world. Sexual themes, cruel and selfish behavior (often masquerading as comedy), and social ills labeled as “alternative lifestyles” are regularly presented without sufficient parental guidance to guide children in the “digestion” of them. Left to fend for themselves, our young people will have little to no alternative to assuming that the situations being painted on the silver screen before their eyes are the way life really is.

The most important “signs” our kids have to help them navigate the dangers of this world are their parents.

The most important “signs” our kids have to help them navigate the dangers of this world are their parents.

As I continue to consider that lamentable pattern of parental failure, the titanic stupidity of our failing to guide and guard our children strikes home to me. It is no small thing to be given the charge as father or mother to the children that God has entrusted to us. And we must expect an ultimate accounting of our job as parents to God Himself. While He knows that we are imperfect and doesn’t expect us to be perfect parents, He won’t wink at our neglect if neglect characterizes our parenting.

And we of course want to be wary of neglect in ALL its forms. Not only do we nurture our children physically, academically, and athletically, we also are called to guide them in matters of morals, justice, character, and (most importantly) spiritual things. But if you are intimidated by being that kind of mentor and guide, the anxiety that you’re feeling is the right emotion (that’s exactly what I feel).

You and I must therefore learn to depend upon the help of God in the rearing of our children. After all, He has promised that “we can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13). “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).

We each must become a “student” of God’s Word so that we might learn His heart, His ways, and His purposes and then in turn share them with our children. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7 ESV).

Neglecting to actively engage this most high calling of nurturing our children towards the things of God is to choose to be agents of damnation for these that God has entrusted to us. And we obviously cannot expect our children to begin to demonstrate any commitment or interest at all to things that God esteems if we haven’t taught them to do so and modeled it to them ourselves. After all, honesty, courage, love, compassion, mercy, faithfulness, and sacrifice have their source in Him. If we never work to connect our kids to the source, then we shouldn’t expect to see those things come to fruition in their character.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it…. But a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Proverbs 22:6; 29:15b).

As we think about how morally and spiritually perilous the world is, let us confess to God the sin of failing to rear our children in His ways and let us turn to Him, wholeheartedly committing ourselves to not only walk in His ways, but to rear our children in His ways also. And as we consider how heavy but wonderful mantle of parenthood is when God places it upon our shoulders, let us remember that God Himself will be our strength and provider of wisdom as we lean on Him and let His Word shape who we are.

Since there isn’t a sign on each opportunity presented by the world to our children saying, “You Must Be This Tall to Ride This Ride”, the only “signs” our kids have to help them are their parents. Let us then be the best, most Godly parents that we can be. After all, the world “is a very dangerous thing for someone who isn’t ready for it.”


Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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To my sons, Ben, Zach, and Andrew and to my daughter, Hannah… God has deeply blessed me through you with awesome joys that I cannot begin to describe!  In addition to the laughter and tears, adventures and fears we’ve faced together, there are countless, but beautiful ways His grace and mercies delight your mother and me through you!  Thank you for being you!  Thank you for letting His love shine through you!

When you turn from sin to walk with Him,

            it makes this father proud.

When courage you find for each daily climb,

            it makes this father proud.

When love you show to those you know,

            it makes this father proud.

When in grace you live, quick to forgive,

            it makes this father proud.

When your integrity lights the lies of night,

            it makes this father proud.

When you help the weak find strength to seek,

            it makes this father proud.

When you press on though you tire to reach ever higher,

            it makes this father proud.

And when each day that you live to your heavenly Father you give,

            it makes this father proud.  Very proud indeed.


“And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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