Nov 092014
Sam discusses life with Oak

An interesting character along the path

Sam and I went for a hike in the National Forest yesterday.  Since it was a beautiful day at a popular spot, the trail was pretty busy.   We met several interesting characters along the way,  but one of the most interesting was a rather old looking individual that was standing beside the path.

As we walked past the spot where he was resting, we commented about how large, strong and tall he was.  I did a double take then recognized him as one Mr. Oak Tree.  Sam, being the friendly guy he is, stopped and struck up a conversation. “How long have you been resting here?” he asked.

“A lifetime,” said Oak with a playful rustle.

Sam and I glanced at each other with a quizzical look of disbelief.  This character had to be at least 100 years old.

I turned to Mr. Tree and suggested he might want to move along the path and see more of the world, to which he replied, “The Creator instructed me to wait here, so that’s what I’m doing.”

We stood and stared for a moment, but Oak didn’t seem to mind.  As a matter of fact, I think he almost enjoyed the attention.  After I took a picture, we turned and headed on down the path. Looking at Sam I commented, “Don’t you wonder what made him so big and strong?”

Oak can evidently see and hear a lot from his height because he heard me and replied with a windy, one-word sigh, “Obedience.”



Mar 182012

Our dog Charlie died.  It is a sad time at the Spruill house, but I knew it was coming.  He wouldn’t stay in the fence.  He wouldn’t stay on the run.  He escaped from most any collar.  If he pushed his way out the door, he would take off running, ignoring our calls and whistles.  He seemed to enjoy being defiant and running away.

We would call for him, but he wouldn’t come.  He would run all over the neighborhood.  On more than one occasion, we chased him through the neighbors’ yards, trying to get him to come home.  We would run after him and he would take off when he saw us coming.  He was about the least obedient dog I have ever owned.  And I knew that someday, it would get him killed.  Two nights ago, he escaped out of the house and ran off.  It was dark, so Tammy couldn’t see well enough to even attempt to find him.  Nor could the driver see soon enough to avoid him when he dashed across the highway.

Obedience would have saved his life.  Staying within the boundaries would have saved his life.  All the fences, chains, collars and schemes we worked to try to keep him safe certainly did prolong his life.   But in the end, he kept insisting on having it his way, and it caught up to him.  It always does.

God, if there are dogs in Heaven, let Charlie be there.  But just so I don’t meet him there too soon, please, keep the fences high, help me stay obedient, and don’t give up on me, no matter how dark it gets.

Mar 172011

I hope this post doesn’t sound too “preachy.”  It is something that has been on my heart and although I mentioned it in my post about the Haiti trip, I find myself feeling the need to unload my heart just a little bit more.   So, here it is.  Read or ignore, but at least I have gotten it out.  I’ll be glad to post scripture references if someone wants them… but many you can find just by doing a search for “peace” in your bible.

Lately I have been thinking about peace and it’s relationship to humility.  Lest I disprove my own point, I will say that I could be wrong, but personally, I am convinced that you can not have peace without humility.  I’m not talking about happiness.  In fact, I think if you are determined to find happiness, you are destined to never find peace.  After all, it is the ultimate act of self service to demand your own happiness.  Peace is predicated on humility.  You can never have it while concerned with self; while things are under your control.

Things that drain my peace all begin with “I” or “My.”  My feelings are hurt.  My rights are challenged.  I am afraid things may not turn out the way I want.  I might be embarrassed.  I might lose it all.  Real peace comes when you give up the “I” altogether.  When you are crucified with Christ.  When, as Peter wrote, you “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God . . . casting all your care upon Him.”

If it is your life, then you must fight for it.  If you have given it over to the one who controls the universe, then you can relax.  Jesus himself is our peace.  Through His humble death on the cross the Prince of Peace has reconciled sinful man to a holy God.  This is the Gospel of Peace in a nutshell.  If you are a Christian, then you are not your own.  You were bought with a price.  The same Jesus who humbled himself to a death on a cross is the same Jesus who said “My Peace I give to you.”

All of this is not to say there won’t be trials.  There most certainly will be.  But if you can humble yourself enough to place everything, including yourself and your rights, under “the Mighty Hand of God” then you can accept whatever comes your way as under His sovereign control.  Sure you may have to fight, but not for yourself.  You are already His.  On His cause alone should we focus our efforts, leaving the outcome to Him.  Then as Paul said, we can have contentment in whatever state we find ourselves, realizing that to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

The Kingdom of Peace awaits.  But we must be willing to give up our rights, humble ourselves and cast our cares on Him.  Only then can we truly let Peace rule.