Let me say first of all that wherever I go I hear you being talked about! For your faith in God is becoming known around the world. How I thank God through Jesus Christ for this good report, and for each one of you. God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to the one I serve with all my might, telling others the Good News about his Son.
And one of the things I keep on praying for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you and, if possible, that I will have a safe trip. For I long to visit you so that I can impart to you the faith that will help your church grow strong in the Lord. Then, too, I need your help, for I want not only to share my faith with you but to be encouraged by yours. Each of us will be a blessing to the other. Romans 1:8-12 (TLB)
Lead me; teach me; for you are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in you. Psalm 25:5 (TLB)
DeVonna R. Allison lives in Florida. A tree that she calls the Sister Tree grows near her home. It is twisted and bent with roots exposed where it comes in contact with the earth. DeVonna wonders what happened to it. Clearly it met with a violent force - perhaps a hurricane - that knocked it down and twisted it. It is a strangely beautiful monument to resilience, and DeVonna feels a strong kinship to it.
DeVonna's story has been complicated, twisted, and scarred by parental drug abuse, violence, and abandonment. She barely survived childhood. When she was young, DeVonna felt no hope for her future. Life had battered her.
But through the concern and kindness of believers who took the time to share the gospel with her, DeVonna learned of God's overflowing love for her. For the first time, she heard that her life had purpose and that she had value. Jesus died on the cross so that she could be made whole and enter into a relationship with God. At age 16, DeVonna embraced the message of the gospel and committed her life and heart to the Lord. Now she can celebrate her scarred and twisted past because it ultimately led her to God.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your deep love for us. Give us resilience and strength each day, in Jesus' name. Amen.