The “Talking Bear” at Mount LeConte

The ” Talking Bear” at Mount LeConte…Once upon a time, I went with a hiking group from our church to spend the night at the Lodge at Mt. Leconte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were called the “Path Pilgrims” and what an adventure we had… all kinds of weather, from sunshine, rain, sleet, snow and fog. We left the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain with sunshine and comfortable temperatures. As we ascended up the trail, we were hit with a cold front, with strong winds and a storm. There is a part of the trail where you are hiking along the rocky side of the mountain. The path is very narrow and metal cable attached to the rock to get you from falling of the side of the mountain. When we reached that part,the wind was gusting so strong that rain was literally pushing up the mountain instead of raining downward as it normally does. I told some of the group that it reminded me of being in a tornado when I lived in Texas. That wasn’t very comforting to them, especially when they told me that this was their very first hike!

That night after dinner, I gave a devotional talk to our group in a larger building. Clouds and fog had surrounded the mountain top that night and you could only see a few feet at best. I counted the cabins on the way to big building to make sure I would get back to the right cabin. After the meeting, I went out the door and down the path to my cabin. I could hear people talking inside but when I went to open the door it was locked. I knocked on the door while shouting “Let me in!” Then I heard someone inside asked “Who’s there?” I replied “Jerry Bear!”…They replied “Who?” By this time I’m getting frustrated by their lack of sensitivity. “I’m Jerry Bear, let me in!”… Then I realized I had came out a different door from the building and I wasn’t at my cabin!… I was talking to strangers who weren’t with my group and they evidently didn’t know my name was “Jerry Bear”! 

I tried to explain the situation to them…but they never opened the door. 

I can imagine when they got home they told others about the “Talking Bear at Mt. LeConte.” 

It’s easy to get confused in the fog. In life, we all go through times that seem like that way too, not knowing what to do next or where to go…life can be so confusing sometimes. That’s when it is so important to look to the Lord for guidance and encouragement. I like how David described it in the Bible: ” I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from ALL my fears”. – (Psalm 34:4). May we look to Him when we are lost in a fog of doubt and confusion. He will get us through it..and by the way, His door is always open, just talk to Him in prayer anytime and any place…

Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change… “For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under Heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
“If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continuinally renewing itself, you can’t help but learn from it.” – Bernie Siegle
I am fortunate to live in an area of the country where we have fall, winter, spring, and summer. Each has a distinctive beauty of it’s own. There are things I really like about each season and some things… not so much. Regardless of the weather (which none of us can control), I try to make the most of it and adapt and adjust to it.

That is also true of the seasons of our life. There are some days I feel ageless, feeling like I’m 30 something, then there are other days I wake up and wonder how did I get this old so quickly. I like what my friend Clell King has said …”I’m not old, I’ve just been here a long time.” Billy Graham has said: “Don’t resent getting older, many are denied the privilege.”

My Pastor, Dan Spencer calls me “The Oldest Teenager”, that’s quite a compliment, kinda reminds of a lyric from a Bob Dylan song…”I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” I’m not going to try be something I’m not but I’m am going to strive to be the best I can be with wherever I am at in life. I chose to embrace the seasons of life, realizing every day is truly a gift from God. I chose to keep learning new things, enjoy the little things, and stay focused. I keep adapting and adjusting to the changes in my life, instead of sitting around complaining, having a continual “woe-is-me pity party” (which no one wants to attend).

Dr. Henry Cloud, noted Christian Counselor states that …“Everything has seasons and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season.” I am so thankful, that with all the changes we are all constantly dealing with our lives, that God is always there with us. He continually gives us renewed energy and strength; not just to survive but to thrive each day, regardless of our present circumstances. One of my favorite Bible verses is “Those who wait for the Lord’s help, find new strength; they rise up as an eagle in the sky, they will run and not need rest, they will walk and not become tired” – (Isaiah 40:31). May we all, regardless of our age or stage in life look to the Lord for strength, guidance, and peace.

Let Heaven and Nature Sing!

John Muir said,” in every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks”. I have found that to be true many times. I enjoy taking walks in the mountains, by a lake or by a stream. It is refreshing to see all the beautiful little details and the unparalleled beauty that God has created for us to experience in nature. As St. Jerome stated, “We marvel at the Creator, not only as the One who made Heaven and Earth, but also the small creatures.”As I see the loving care God gives in nature, it reminds me how much more God cares and loves you and me. Because of that great love He has given us, it should motivate us to trust in Him more in our personal lives. Emerson described it this way…” All that I have seen, teachers me to trust the Creator, for all I have not seen.”I hope, that whenever you can, you will take the opportunity for a walk and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. It will rekindle and encourage your faith. Jesus said…” If God gives such attention to the appearance of flowers, don’t you He will attend to you, take pride in you, do what is best for you?” – Matthew 6:30 (The Message). Amen … And let Heaven and nature sing in our hearts and minds today!