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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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You and Me - Just Like a Tree?!

The song "I Shall Not Be Moved" is considered by many to be a traditional folk song whose lyrics probably stretch back to to the slave era, though there is no indication of who wrote it. Research attributes the traditional arrangement of this song to Edward Hammond Boatner. More on the song in a moment. Last year I had an experience that reminds me of words in that song. I visited the farm and house in Giles County, TN, where my family lived during most of my growing up days, days that stretch back down the road nearly 60 years.  There were many changes, of course. A new shed or two, the old barn painted a different color, some new fences, etc. The brick house is still there, a lot bigger due to an addition or two by owners over the years. But one thing arrested my eyes and just wouldn't turn them loose — an old cedar tree standing about thirty feet in front of the house. A tree that was there the day my mom and dad moved into the old wooden country home that originally was there.

A tree that somehow survived a fire that burned that old wooden house to the ground about 1960 (none of the family was injured). A tree under which my brother and I played and plowed a million acres with toy tractors and plows, etc., during early boyhood years! A tree that stood there while a new brick house was built. I could hardly believe my eyes! That old cedar tree, still there! A tree already "grown" the first time I saw it as a boy. After all those summer suns and winter freezes, after all the wind and rain and snow and sleet, after all the thunderstorms and tempests that assailed it — that tree, still there! In the exact same place it was the day I first saw it at least 53 years ago! Now back to the song — "Glory hallelujah, I shall not be moved; Anchored in Jehovah, I shall net be moved. Just like a tree that's planted by the waters, I shall not be moved." Those words reflect a great Bible truth — God wants us to be like a tree! That is, if you are in Christ, don't move! Stay there. Stay put. Stay faithful. Stay in the church. Keep serving. Stay in the Lord. Stay in the truth. Don't move. Stay through sunshine and rain, in the summer seasons of your life, and when the cold winds of winter blow in. Stay in the Lord. Be determined not to be moved away from Him. Psalm 16:8 reveals a key: "Because He [the Lord] is at my right hand I shall not be moved." The apostle Paul once said, in the face of extreme stress and danger, "none of these things move me" (Acts 2:24). He wrote words that send a clarion call to us all: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). May 2013 find you and me like a tree: steadfast and immovable in our faith, love, and service to Christ and His church. Hats off to trees that don't move and steadfast saints!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ