Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Power of a Little Wren

It is human tendency to give ourselves far more credit than we deserve.  We habitually see ourselves as more powerful and wise than we really are.  I often wonder what it will take for us to truly understand that:

None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.
~ Benjamin Whichcote

When we are attentive enough to recognize it, Father often demonstrates, through His creation, our weak position and need for wisdom.  He used the power of a little wren to teach my brother, Art such a lesson!

Art loves nature and has a tender heart toward God’s creatures.  One day while weed-whacking around the clothes-line pole, he noted a wren’s nest, full of babies, on the ground!  Uncertain why they had fallen to the ground, Art assumed that momma wren had cleverly crafted this little home in the hollow of the pole.  Concerned for their well-being, leaving them in the nest, Art ever so gently returned the little ones to their secret place.  The next day, his curiosity got the best of him.  He wanted to see if the little family was doing ok.  Grabbing it with both hands, he pulled himself up to eye-level with the pole.  As if peering through a telescope, he closed one eye and positioned the other to the end of the bar.  In defense of her little family, Momma wren darted out of the nest and nailed the perceived predator right in the eye!  The power behind that tiny, protective momma was so forceful that it knocked Art to the ground.  Holy Smokes!  When Art shared this story, my heart went out to him.  How startling and painful that must have been!  Yet, what keeps coming back to my mind time and again is this: a strong, grown man was forced to the ground by a tiny wren!  I can’t think of many better examples of being knocked-down to size!

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall
(Proverbs 16:18).

Being humbled, no matter the tool used, is always painful, but the lessons in dying to ourselves are necessary.  Why?  Because “…with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2) and according to Proverbs 8:11, “wisdom is more precious than rubies”.  In fact, wisdom is so invaluable that in finding it, we find life and favor from our Lord (Proverbs 8:36)!

So…, how do we find this wisdom?  What is it that we are to be looking for and how do we know when we have found it:?

1)      The Lord gives wisdom when we search for it as if searching for a treasure (Proverbs 2:4-6).
2)      The wisdom given by the Lord is not “wisdom” in this world’s estimation.  The wisdom of God is coming to an understanding of the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:5-6, 9:10).
3)      We know that we have found it when we come to understand who God is and who we are not!

Wisdom is standing before God, with all pretenses removed, and humbly admitting that in His presence, we are nothing!  Wisdom is being in that place where we can say with genuine humility, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him (Psalm 8:4).”  Pride simply does not exist in this place!  Nothing compares to this wisdom!  That is why we are instructed to seek it above all else!  In fact, Father’s hatred toward pride and arrogance is so fierce and His desire for us to find wisdom is so passionate that if we don’t get it the first time, His next tool just might be a pileated woodpecker!


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hide And Go Seek With God

One of our turkey hens has been sitting on 11 eggs for a few weeks now.  On August 15th, Gary’s and my wedding anniversary, she gifted us with two poults.  The next day, she hatched two more.  She now has quite a job on her hands.  She desires to stay sitting on the remaining eggs, yet is trying to keep an eye on four active little ones!  Yesterday, when we went out to see if there were any new arrivals, the babies had found their way through a hole in the coop and were playing in the grass!  They marched in and out of the coop, trying to decide, “Is the grass truly greener on the other side?”  In the meantime, momma paced nervously from the eggs remaining in the nest to the edge of the coop where she could see her babies.

Just a few days ago, I saw a beautiful, but likely hungry hawk in the woods near the barn.  Last spring, villainous coons destroyed our entire chicken flock, except one!  While it was fun to watch the baby turkeys playing, Momma turkey is obviously aware of the dangers that her babies face when they are away from her protection.  I knew that we needed to do something quickly to make sure that the babies remained under her wing.

As I pondered the situation, I was reminded of the many times in my life that I had one foot on each side of the fence; playing in the green grass, yet staying near enough to my Protector to be assured that He was still there.  Not unlike the turkey poults, I really had no clue of the dangers lurking around the corner, just waiting for the right moment:

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

As much as she may have felt compelled to do so, momma hen could not venture into the dangerous territory to rescue her babies.  She was penned-in.  Consequently, her babies were able to get out of her sight and were a predator to come; momma peering through the coop would have been no help at all!  Our Creator, on the other hand, is so powerful and sovereign that there is comfort in knowing that we can’t get out of His sight.  We cannot go any place where He is not present.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there.  If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast (Psalm 139:7-10).

We can be assured that when we wander off into the enticing tall grass,
He knows where we are.
But, like a “game” of Hide and Go Seek,
He will come “looking” for; and “find” us.

And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).

And He will provide protection from the predators who are watching and waiting while we play.
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:3-4).

A “game”?  How dare I call it a “game”?  Are you retorting, “Playing where the predator can snatch us is not a game”? 

While it may not be a game in the way in which we understand games, if there is no person, nor power which shall ever be able to overturn those whom God has chosen, isn’t evil only a pawn in God’s hand?

 (John 10:27-29).

I’m not saying that we should all go out and purposefully “play” in evil territory; however,
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8: 38-39).


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Power of a Loose Tongue

We’ve all been disappointed when others have failed to live up to our expectations.  Our tendency is to be angry, resentful and condemning.  Oh, but what opportunities to reflect the love of Jesus!

I was made aware of a situation where some family members were upset with others because they had failed to attend their annual family reunion.  In situations like this,

We have two choices when it comes to how we portray someone to others:
to shed the best light possible on the person we are talking about
to make their life, with details that we do not know or understand,
our business and shed a bad light on them in the face of others.

In this situation those two options would look something like this:
·        lovingly and positively putting them in a good light:  “I haven’t talked to them so I don’t know why they are not here.  But, I’m sure that they have reasons that are important to them.”
·        hatefully and arrogantly putting them in a bad light:  “I guess they think that what they are doing is more important than family.  We don’t need them here anyway.  We’re the ones who are doing the right thing by being here!”

Unfortunately, the latter option was chosen in this situation:  One family member was so upset that he blurted out something hurtful about the missing members in front of the entire crowd and immediately wished he hadn’t said it.  Another family member took it upon himself to get on the phone to find out why the missing members weren’t there and then proceeded to share with those in attendance the “poor excuse” that the black sheep had for not being there!

I’m not writing about family reunions, necessarily.  Instead, I’m writing about the power of a loose tongue.  I hope that my response to being made aware of this situation can be helpful to those who find themselves in any situation where they have an option to build up or to destroy another person.  Here was my response:

While I’ve missed a lot of family reunions, I have been at some.  At those reunions there were other family members who were not there.  It never dawned on me to be upset with them because of that.  Why would I be upset?  I don’t get that!  It never dawned on me to call them and ask them where they were.  While I may have missed seeing them, I never considered it my business to know  where they were or why they weren’t there.

We are all at different places in our lives as a result of the various experiences that we’ve had, how our personalities deal with things, what’s important to us, etc.  Because of this, we all respond to situations differently (attending or not attending family reunions is the example at hand) and we deserve that right.  No matter what our reasons are and whether others agree or not, those reasons are important to that individual.

·        Maybe they weren’t there because there is something/someone at the reunion that troubles them and they are not ready to deal with it yet.  Isn’t that ok?
·        Maybe they weren’t there because physically or emotionally it is too much for them.  Isn’t that ok?
·        Maybe they weren’t there because they woke up that morning and said, “You know what?  I don’t feel like doing this today.”  Isn’t that ok?

Whatever their reasons, those reasons are ok in my eyes.  In fact, their reasons for not being there may be healthier than why some people feel a need to be there!  Regardless, according to His Word, it is our responsibility, as God’s children to cover what we perceive as another’s offense:

Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Proverbs 17:9

Shedding the best light on others in every situation helps to build them up and prevents division not only between you and them, but between them and others.  Shedding a negative light on others breeds destruction first and foremost in our relationship with our Creator (Isaiah 59:2 & Matthew 5:23).  In addition, it breeds destruction of not only that person, but between you and them and between them and their relationship with others. 

“The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eats it fruit!”
Proverbs 18:21


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I Just Can’t Get to You

I was visiting with our grandson, Dominic on the phone the other day.  Dominic, who is five, had all kinds of excitement to share.  It was so fun to hear his stories.  Living hours away, Dominic has yet to visit our new home.  I told him that I missed him and that it would be really neat if he could come to visit us and see his horse friend, Wonder.  When I asked if he thought he might do that some day, Dominic quickly and emphatically responded, “No.”  “Oh, why not,” I asked?  “Because you live far, far away and I just can’t get to you,” he asserted sadly.  My heart sank.  In Dominic’s little mind, Grandpa and I are alive, we are out there somewhere, but no matter how badly he wants to, no matter how hard he tries, he could never ever get to us.

Dominic’s mindset reminds me of where my heart has been numbers of times in my relationship with God.  While I’ve trusted that He is alive and “out there somewhere,” it seemed that no matter what I did, I just couldn’t “get to” Him.  Hours of prayer and intense study of His Word not only seemed fruitless, it activated further frustration and deeper longing.  I’ve heard it said that God is within us, so I even spent a great deal of time trying to be still in order to find God within.  The harder I tried the more questions developed.  The confusion and frustration was over-whelming at times.  Those around me didn’t seem to understand.  My questions were irritating to more than a few.  On one hand I was warned to stop asking all these questions and simply trust; on the other hand many admitted that they were also disturbed by the allusive answers to such questions.  Consequently, they’d rather I keep the questions to myself.  I suppose I could do that, but… something inside of me compels me to ask:

While it might be humbling to admit, who of us really “knows” God?
Isn’t there great pride and arrogance in assuming that we can?

  • Can we possibly know and understand the One who brings both life and puts to death, who both heals and wounds (Deut. 32.39) and who sets both blessings and curses before us (Deut. 30:3)?
  • Are we capable of understanding the One who “make(s) peace and create(s) evil (Isaiah 45:7)?
  • How do we rectify that evil and good come from the mouth of God (Lamentations 3:38), yet evil does not dwell with this same God (Psalm 5:4)?
  • What do we do with a God who is Love (1 John 4:8), yet brings evil upon those He created (Amos 3:6)?  Why do we blame evil on another when Scripture clearly reads that it comes from the hand of God (Job 2:10)?

I’ve heard the standard answers.  Dare I say that I’ve “left no stone unturned” as I’ve deciphered the “supporting” Scriptures many times, but when the rubber meets the road, the supports are quite shaky and there seem to be no reasonable answers.  How dare I challenge God’s Word and question God?  Some would go so far as to question my “Christianity”!  Let me give you a Scriptural example of a person who dared to do such a thing.  In doing so, I will also give you an example of those who give all the “pretty,” prepackaged answers, but fail to honestly ask the questions.

In his effort to understand God, Job went so far as to question and accuse God.  Job’s friends, on the other hand, mouthed knowledge, but it was not living knowledge of the God whom they claimed to honor.  In their piety, they would never, ever consider questioning God.  Instead, they simply accepted and trusted in what they had been taught.  As much as we might want to believe and portray that we are “good Christians,” the reality is… this is much more risky than questioning and accusing God.   Why?  Because, while God left Job to wrestle in the confusion and frustration manifested from his genuine desire to know and understand his Creator, Father’s heart was touched by Job’s hunger for Him and answered his prayers.  On the other hand, God was angry with Job’s arrogant friends who assumed they had a handle on their Creator.  In fact, He would not even hear their prayers (Job 42)!

I realize that the questions are unsettling.  I understand that the seemingly inconsistent Scriptural references can be more than we want to consider.  But… it is necessary.  While the wrestling may never bring clear answers in this life, it seems that it is necessary preparation for the next.  Wishing I or someone else could help you through the process?  I will do everything in my power to make it possible for my precious Dominic to get to us, but neither I nor anyone else can give you the answers for “finding” God, any more than Job’s friends could help Him.  We all have to go through our own process of questioning and searching.  I can assure you that, as much as this long lonely road seems fruitless at times, our Creator declares,

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me, (Jeremiah 29:13).


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.

             Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, August 1, 2013

“You Nasty…” and Other Challenges a Crown Bearer Faces

My sister-in-law, Marcia is a berry pickin’ queen!  When she goes out, she’s prepared!  She doesn’t leave the house without a cane and a pair of nippers, along with her bucket.  Decked out in long pants, long sleeves and a scarf on her head, Marcia uses the cane to pull distant brambles toward her and to find the luscious succulents hiding under branches near to the ground.  She uses the nippers to cut those old razor sharp brambles that aren’t producing anything except annoyance.  Brilliant!

While she’s quite a berry scout, through her years of experience, Marcia has learned that berry pickin’ can be risky business!  The story goes that, one year, she returned to the house with her bucket full of berries, but the back of her shirt was ripped to shreds, appearing as though a bear had attacked her from behind!  Now those are some wicked brambles!  Last year, she nearly fell into the swamp groping for the dangling temptations just out of her cane’s reach.  She is one dedicated berry picker!

There isn’t much conversation when we are picking berries together.  Except for the ecstatic, “Oh, my gosh!  Look at these,” an occasional “Ouch!  You nasty …”, and “Holy cow, it’s hot out here,” reaping our harvest is mostly business.

While it does have its trials, I love picking berries.  I could and do pick for hours!  Not only do I love being outside, I appreciate the free fruit and I enjoy dreaming about all the delicious berry recipes that will soon be filling our home with homemade freshness!  And… although it may seem foolish to most, I love the challenge of getting to the most “unreachable” berry.

Speaking of foolish… I wonder how many people have free fruit in their back forty and don’t even know it or worse yet, they know it, but don’t care.  “Too much work,” they say, “why in the world would I risk falling into the swamp, having my shirt torn off my back and frying in the hot summer sun when I can simply go to the store and just buy ‘em?”

Easier; yes, but where’s the adventure?  Where are the stories?  Where are the lessons learned?

Sadly, most of us look at life the way that we look at picking berries.
We’ll go to great extremes to skirt around anything that may be
somewhat prickly and treacherous in order to avoid discomfort.

We expect life to be easy and we get discouraged when it is not.  In fact, typically we attempt to pray away anything that resembles suffering.  However, according to Scripture, it seems that this expresses a misunderstanding of the purpose for life:

Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:1-4

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to come to the end of life and discover that, while I may be old, I’m immature in my faith and lacking the greatest gift because, at all costs, I worked to avoid a little discomfort.  Instead, my heart’s desire is to be,

Blessed (as) the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

So... quit whining and get out there!  Use a “cane” to get through those rough spots in life, if you have to.  Who knows, you just might find yourself wearing a crown!


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845