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Our Life's Heartwood

When I think of the wisdom and scope of his plan I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God - some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth - that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself. Ephesians 3:14-19 (TLB)

O Lord, my Strength and Fortress, my Refuge in the day of trouble, nations from around the world will come to you saying, "Our fathers have been foolish, for they have worshiped worthless idols!" Jeremiah 16:19 (TLB)

John Alter lives in Florida. The day after a hurricane he ventured into their backyard to check the damage. John found one sizable limb that had snapped off where it had joined the trunk of a 50-foot-high tree. The limb measured 15 inches in diameter, and John was puzzled why such a big limb had fractured.

As John looked at the base of the limb, he saw that the inside, its "heartwood," had rotted away. It had been held to the trunk of the tree by only the weaker outer bark and cambium portions of the limb. When its core had decayed, the limb was weakened; only the frail outer layers of the limb provided support. In the storm, that hadn't been enough.

The condition of the tree reminded John how we derive our inner strength from our relationship with God. If the core of our union with God is decayed and unhealthy, then we become weak and will not have the strength and resilience to handle the hard times of our lives. But when we have a healthy bond with God, we can remain strong in times of struggle. Through worship,, Bible study, and prayer we keep our spiritual heartwood healthy so that we can endure any storm.

Prayer: Strengthening God, help us to maintain a healthy connection with you so that we can endure the challenges that come our way, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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