“We Learn As We Go and Take One Step at a Time”…

I like hiking in the mountains with friends. There are times we don’t know what it is going to look like around the next bend in the trail, or how much farther before we get to where we want to go.

Life is like that too. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we were not adequately prepared for in advance. There is no foolproof way to always know exactly every detail ahead of time. Life is a journey, sometimes with a lot of twists and turns. It is often not a straight line from point A to point B .Even though we are not in complete control of everything in our world, there are some things we can control. One of those, is how we respond and react to situations we encounter in life and trying figuring out what to do next.

One of the great life principles I have discovered through the years is what I like to call the “ Learn as we go and take one step at a time” approach. After dealing the initial shock of encountering an unexpected crisis situation ,take some time to get the proper information and and break it down into taking it one step at a time. Someone shared a great idea at a meeting I attended years ago and It has helped me make good decisions in difficult circumstances. This process is described with these letters “ S. T. E. P.”

S. Stop.

T. Take Time to really Think about the situation.

E. Evaluate your options.

P. Proceed with the best option.

This has been very helpful for me and I hope it be of some benefit to you today. Keep on keeping on. Don’t give up, as “we learn as we go and take one step at a time”…round the next turn.

Finding Strength in our Struggle

It is very important for us to find strength in difficult times. I really like this quote from Mikaela Shiffrin, U.S. Olympic Skiing Champion… “Things you don’t expect come up, and you have to adapt. You can’t let it throw you off. You have to cope. Those are really valuable skills in life and racing.” That is so true for us too. Here are some some valuable skills we can develop and do to help us cope:

-One of the surprising things we can discover about ourselves, especially during a prolonged difficult experience, is learning how we can adapt and adjust along the way.

-The process of changing our pace and daily routine and schedule.

– Learning to focus on the the things we can do instead of being distracted about what we can’t do at the present time.

-Acceptance of “It is what it is” for now, and making the best of it in the meantime.

In our instant gratification culture, there is a tendency for us to panic and give up on our faith too soon. Don’t let these difficult times do that. Our strength and confidence needs to be placed more in the Lord than just our limited ability to cope with unpredictable circumstances. Here are some encouraging words for us today:

-“The Lord is my Strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” – Exodus 15:2 (NKJV)

-“The Lord God is my Strength, He will make my feet like a deer’s feet, and He will make walk on the high mountains.” – Habakkuk 3:19 (NKJV)

-“You will get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. Don’t be foolish or naive, but don’t despair either. With God’s help, you will get through this.” – Max Lucado

We will get through this with God’s Help and Strength today and in the days ahead…

because ”Christ gives me strength to face anything.” -Philippians 4:13 (CEV)

A Place We Have Never Been Before

We are experiencing now in our lifetime, a place we have never been to before. We are dealing with Social Distancing, a very contagious Coronavirus, worldwide economic concerns, even a shortage of toilet paper all at the same time. We are in unfamiliar territory that is different in so many ways.

When we go to strange places we have never been to before it can make us feel…



Out of Place..


and Wondering What is Next?

Just like the old saying we need to “Get Our Bearings”, in other words we need to take some time figuring out how to deal with our present circumstances. Daniel Boone, was a famous pioneer who spent most of his life exploring and going to unknown places. He was asked once did he ever get lost. He replied: “I can’t say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered ( confused) once for three days.” I think we call all identify with that, these are also confusing and disorienting days for us too. So it is important for us to “Get our Bearings” as best we can each day to navigate through these crazy times. Here are some ideas I have been thinking about that can help you and me…

STOP and THINK about ways to take the precautions necessary for proper care of yourself and others.

FOCUS on what you can do Today, not just be obsessed about what you can not do right now. Maybe tackle some little home projects you have not had the time to do for a while. Call, email, or text friends and family to check and see how they are doing right now.

STAY informed with the latest updated information but also Keep your Faith updated. This is a time to seek and trust in the Lord by spending some time to pray particularity those infected and effected by this horrible virus and also for the medical and emergency services personnel and other people that working during this crisis to help people. This is also a time for us to be reading and listening to things that will help our faith grow. Dr. Charles Stanley has said “There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms may be raging all around, you will stand firm if you stand firm on His love.”

I have never been to Hyder, Alaska but someday I may get to go there. One thing is for sure, We all look forward to leaving Coronavirusville…

I will be praying for you and please be praying for me too. Thanks, JBH

God Is Not Quarantined! He is with us during this Difficult Time.

God is not Quarantined! He is not limited although we may be at this time. He is with us regardless of our circumstances, if you and I will just turn our focus and attention to Him. It is important that we take all precautions to be safe during this crisis and not do anything that would make this critical situation worse for ourself and other people. This a time for all of us to adapt and adjust our schedules and daily habits so that the Coronavirus Outbreak doesn’t escalate.

There have been times in my life that I was not able to do what I normally to do, yet those times became a good time to seek and experience God’s presence and peace in a deeper way. I like this insight from Bonnie Jensen…”Don’t let worry interrupt your trust in God today, they will be wasted moments.” Do not waste this valuable extra time, make the best of it and use it to draw closer to God and grow in your relationship with Him. Use this opportunity to spend some of your time with Him and reading and studying the Bible. Here are some encouraging promises from God’s Word to think about and focus on…

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His presence always.” -1 Chronicles 16:11

“The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.” – Psalm 34:18

“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

“For the Lord has said.. I will never leave you or forsake you.” – Hebrews 13: 5

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8

Use this time also, to talk with God by praying for yourself and for others. We may not be able to get out and go all the places we would like to go or be with friends as much right now but… our prayers can go anywhere. Prayer changes things, including ourselves and our attitude and outlook.

“The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world not able to do something, and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power, nothing too small for His love.” – Corrie Ten Boom

If we will just do these simple things, it will help us to remember that God is always with us… even when we are going through a difficult time.

The Road of Life…Is Not Always Easy

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”- Don Willams Jr.

Late one night, years ago, I was taking a “Short Cut” through the mountains of North Georgia. That was before the benefit of smart phones and GPS technology. I even ended up on a detour and I am still not sure where all I went, but I do recall driving by a monastery at one point. I eventually made it to the Interstate and managed to get home in Tennessee after adding two hours to my travel time.

The road of our life is seldom a straight line without detours, turns and curves along the way. Some of these we have had a choice in… while others not so much. How should we respond to these delays in our lives? Some times delays are just that, a temporary time of waiting. Delays are not necessarily denials. You keep going on a detour knowing that eventually you will be back on the main road. Sometimes disappointments will lead us to new opportunities we would not have discovered earlier. We can learn a lot about ourselves during these times of waiting. Stay focused on what you can do in the meantime is most helpful.

Dealing with delays requires us to slow down, which isn’t always a bad thing. Oftentimes, we can benefit from this by seeing things in a different perspective or to be mindful of things we are thankful for and take for granted. That is where it is good to remember to look to God and get His perspective on our personal journey… “ The Lord says I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you.” – Psalm 32:8 (NCV).

May we have the same attitude that God’s people traveling to Jerusalem to worship as described in Psalm 84:5-7(MSG)…“How blessed are those in who You live, whose lives becomes roads you travel; they wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain and at the last turn- Zion! God in full view!”

My Lack of Vocal Talent…made a Strong Impression on People and Dogs too!

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I couldn’t be great at everything that I tried to do.

One of the first memories of realizing this truth was during my seventh grade talent show. This was a big event at my school. I was part of a little band with some of my classmates. We were performing a popular song by The Beach Boys, who were known for their harmony. Of all times for the physical changes of puberty to attack my body and make my voice to change… it was during that concert! My “ou-we-ou” singing part sounded more like a hound dog barking off key! I distinctly remember one of my teachers, whom I had never seen smile before…laugh hysterically.

You may have been wondering if I ever sang in public again? Unfortunately, I did years later while visiting Aunt Mae, one of my church members. I went to see her at at an assisted living center where she was rehabing after a difficult surgery. I had intentions of cheering her up because I knew that she was discouraged. We sat and talked in the meeting room there for quite a while. I noticed that people were coming into the room. In a few minutes, I heard the chaplain say: “It’s good to have Jerry Bear with us today as we begin our chapel service, I’m going to ask him sing Amazing Grace for us!

I nervously went up to the front and I whispered to the chaplain that I could not sing. His response was “ Go ahead, most of them can’t hear well, they will not notice.” As I started singing the first verse, a local dog owner’s group were bringing in dogs to visit and cheer up the patients. When the dogs heard me singing, they went crazy by barking and jumping all over the place! Their handlers pulled them back out the door. I kept singing and they tried to reenter the building with the same reaction and they went back out the door. After I finished my solo, the handlers brought the dogs back in the building and this time there was no barking or adverse response from the canine group. When I went back and sat down by Aunt Mae, she was laughing and smiling.

I still can’t sing but at least I was able to cheer Aunt Mae up that day. I have also learned and accepted the fact that there are some things in life you and I are just not good at…and that’s okay. You don’t have to be great in everything you attempt in order to have a happy day or help other people to have a better day… and I am thankful for that.