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By Ken and Jan Merop

Cleveland, Tennesseeken and Jan Merop


A bear on a swing adds a bit of whimsy hanging from a tree branch in our front yard.

However, after several years of being out in the seasonal elements, the rope began to fray.  One day, my husband Ken remarked that our bear was hanging on a precarious angle because of the worn-out rope that needed replacing.

We contemplated a trip to a hardware store until Ken discovered a nylon rope in the garage that he thought would work.

“Do you mind a yellow rope?” he asked.

“No.  I think that would draw more attention to the bear.”

And, so, he worked to remove the frayed rope and secure the swinging bear with the yellow nylon rope that was actually much stronger.

As I looked closely at this rope, I saw three strands tightly intertwined.  Not only wouldn’t the nylon succumb to the weather, the three strands fortified the bear’s support.

In Ecclesiastes 4: 12 NLT it says, “…a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

The context speaks of companionship but is easily applied in situations that require strength and cohesiveness.

How would God have us look at ourselves concerning him?

First, we must come to terms with who we believe God to be.  After that, in the light of his word, who do we personally believe ourselves to be?  When these questions are answered, we come to know God more intimately.

We accept his love, kindness, goodness, justice, mercy, and grace.  This is only the beginning but leads to knowing him more and more through his other traits and attributes.  Within the scope of all he is, we see who we are…who he says we are.

God is a God of mercy.  He promises in Malachi 3: 17, “…they will be my own special treasure.”

If God sees us as a treasure, his jewels, then we can have healthy self-esteem because it is rooted in him.

So, one cord is having intimacy with him.  A second cord is a victory when we clothe ourselves in the whole armor of God.

But what about the third cord?  Remember that a cord of three strands is strong.  Jesus is the third cord that completes the picture.

With him, we have our identity…who he created us to be.  We have our victory through his indwelling Holy Spirit both now and for eternity…tightly tied together in our relationship with him and his presence with us.

Be secure in who he is, and who you are, and be tightly intertwined with the cords of his unfailing love.  Selah

Bear with me and I with you

Jan Merop

This bear is whimsical and fun.

He brings a smile to my face.

Yet, he reminds me of a command

to lift up, support, and comfort others.

Bear with them in good times and bad.

And, remember,

Jesus is our great burden bearer.

“Bear one another’s burdens,

And so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 NKJV


After six years in the mountains of Avery County, Ken and Jan Merop are now living in the hilly Tennessee countryside of Cleveland, TN…just outside of Chattanooga.  Ken’s photos can be seen at

Read more Christian news from Ken and Jan HERE.