Jackie's Journey "Choosing to Live Courageously!"

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No matter which side we are on in this “journey of motherhood”

 it is nothing less than challenging, is it not??

 School is in full swing again!  My hats off to teachers! I have taught in three languages and was a home-school mom.  I taught my girls in the jungles of Panama with E-Beka, which, by the way, was the only curriculum available in the seventies (I actually think, I may be one of the original home-school moms!) and I have had the joy of teaching all seven of my grandchildren to read.  My girls survived every imaginable curriculum and school setting because our lives were itinerate. If it’s any encouragement, they both are college graduates and one with a Master’s Degree! All accomplishments are God’s, in spite of me!

“If you have a child, then you have an assignment from God.  Whether by birth or adoption, whether you go to work in an office, on the mission field or in the kitchen, regardless of your age or experience or natural talent for nurturing, God has called you to be a mom.  And it’s an unrelenting, heart-wrenching, beautifully ordinary, holy job.” Elizabeth Elliot   

In this journey called motherhood, we are “christened” names like, “mama bears” when our little ones need a voice, “over-protective” when they are in what we translate a pending danger, “independent; not team players” when we don’t fit the mold and choose a different path of education or disciplining…       We are "warrior moms"… "outside the box" moms, courageously seeking what is best for our child!  

No matter where you are in your educational excursion with your children, all of us desire to become “conquering moms” with the future of our children in full view.  We are choosing to live courageously in a world that is bent on destroying our every effort! I am standing on the other side of motherhood, yet still a fully engaged grandmother.  I have had the privilege of having godly counsel along the course of my journey and learning a few things through the hard knocks of life (called experience).  There are five life-lessons on this life trek that have changed my life.  

Those of you who know me would recognize me as a wife, mom, friend, mentor, former tribal missionary, Bush nurse, Spanish-speaker, Bible teacher and discipler, lover of character and attitude training and teaching and, in my later years, an author of a series of books for children. 

What you do NOT know is…I am also the least likely to be involved in foreign tribal missions or to author a series of Princess Parable books or anything else…because I am the one who crusades against my paralyzing fear!

Join me next Monday for life-lesson Number 1…!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on October 22, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, grandmotherhood, spiritual growth.

Jackie's Journey "Are You a Wise Person?"

 "WISDOM CALLS ALOUD IN THE STREET..." PRO.1:20

"WISDOM CALLS ALOUD IN THE STREET..." PRO.1:20

Do you consider yourself to be a wise mom?

 We each hold value systems that form our basic philosophies.  These we purpose to pass on to our children through goals we set for them.  Our desire is that they wisely hold our most highly valued principles.  As caring moms, our goal should be nothingless than to produce wise children who are self-motivated to do good and hate evil. 

 Where do we begin...?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of WISDOM and to fear the Lord is to hate evil.

 I, Wisdom, hate pride, arrogance, evil behavior (rebellion) and perverse speech.”

Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 8: 13

What is a wise child?  How would you recognize one?

Foolish children are easy to spot!

 When Wisdom calls…LISTEN!

“Wisdom is seeing life’s situations from God’s point of view and acting in harmony with Him”. (ATIA)  We will recognize wisdom in our child through his or her attitudes, words, and actions!       

Knowing God and knowing our responsibility in life does not guarantee we will be successful in parenting!  If we do not know how or what to do…we are lost.  Most moms have teachable hearts that want to understand God’s instruction. Some even demonstrate a desire to honor God with a wise decision-making process regarding the manner of child development by adhering to God’s Word and voice of instructiion when He calls!

Children are to bring us REST and to DELIGHT our soul!

Discipline your son or daughter and he will give you PEACE;

he will bring DELIGHT to your soul”. Proverbs 29:17

Do your children bring delight to your soul?

Do they bring you peace and give you rest?

 Wisdom knows the right path to take.  Integrity is taking it!

We want wise children with integrity!

 When our girls were not bringing us “rest” or “delighting our soul” we knew WE were failing in our training.  My life was not that much different than yours…lots of activity and responsibility and never enough time!  We were convinced, as you are, that our success as parents would come from making our children successful.  If they weren’t, we weren’t!

When we take responsibility for our child’s behavior then we are in a position to change it!  This is called Discipleship…the key to training.  The goal of raising a wise child should be to develop godly character. 

“Godly character is developing right attitudes that produce right actions, habitually”. (RJ)

This involves the need for consistent “attitude training” which educates the spirit of a child, as well as the will. (Ask:  Was it kind? Was it considerate?).  It brings integrity back into focus by replacing the “action-response” teaching  (Mom said, “don’t do that! Don’t touch! Stop it, I said don’t touch…no…no”)!

Action-response” teaching has this sequence:

Ø  Warning

Ø  Warning

Ø  Elevated tone of voice

Ø   Threat added for emphasis

Ø  No consequence and no resolution

 This sequence cultivates REBELLION!  God hates rebellion…

“For rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft…”!  I Samuel 15: 23

 Developing character in our little “prince and princesses” presupposes that WE are wise women of godly character!  “We are known and read by our children all the time…” I Cor. 3:2.  There is no hiding our true character…they read our spirit!

Do you know the test for measuring your own character??

 Character is revealed by what we do in secret and

Maturity is revealed by what we do with our free time.

 What do I do in secret?   What do I do with my free time?

 Abraham Lincoln said, “There is just one way to train a child in the way he should go

and that is to travel that way yourself!”

 We are an example or we are an excuse!!

Which are you?

 Children learn what we are first, through our attitudes; then, what we teach them.  Training is first discipleship and then learning! Our job is to cause that learning in our child by lovingly training them to submit to our authority so they can be taught. 

A child that is not under control of his/her authority is preoccupied

with resisting that authority and he/she cannot receive teaching!

The child that resists authority IS the teacher!!

When the course of action you are using has the goal of developing godly character through attitude, not action, training, the child will mature with wisdom, balance and will understand purpose in his or her life. 

 What course of action are you on?

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Got Any 'Gray' Areas in Your Life?"

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What is your philosophy regarding those “gray “ areas of life?  You know…the amoral things we face daily that are so pervasive in our current culture… Think of all the areas that are presently acceptable in our Christian community; maybe not acceptable in your individual world, but rampant in this fallen world.  Let’s name a few…aggressive driving and behavior that demands the “right to the road”, “Christian” swearing, living with unresolved relationships, overuse of our current social media platform, concealed bitterness, body piercings, “tats”(tattoos), brunch with alcohol, drug use, pornography, divorce on unscriptural grounds…veiled sins of all kinds…

There are many decisions in life that are not clearly right or wrong and have not been explicitly defined in scripture.  Some of the above-mentioned choices are clearly defined sin, some are not.   However, the point is that each decision we make in life is based on whether it is good or evil for us (or someone else that is following our example!).  These are the choices that are left to our spiritual maturity and discernment.  Spiritual maturity is based on discerning good from evil…not human reasoning over “gray” areas.  As moms, our decisions are determined by choosing a life of selflessness for the benefit of making those little eyes watching us more successful than we could ever be.  “The path of the just is as a shining light…” Proverbs 4: 18”  

“This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all!” I john 1: 5   God condemns any darkness!  “Gray” is a mixture of darkness and light!

 What does that tell you about “gray” areas?

“You know our foolishness, Oh God; our guilt is not hidden from you. 

May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of us?

May those who see you not be put to shame because of us…”

Psalm 69:5, 6

What we consider a “gray” area will ultimately be determined as good or evil by God one day.  He holds us accountable!  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in her body, according to what she has done, whether it be good or bad.”  II Cor. 5: 10   We cannot lean on our own understanding and follow the crowd around us.  Our job is to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil!”

A point in fact:  Those who taunt us with “gray” areas tend to be offended by those who would question whether something is right or wrong.  Recently, I was talking to my 15-year-old grandson who plays on a national all-star baseball team.  He is exceptional in every way and his high school teammates have been relentless in their rejection of him.   You’ve seen and heard it…the bullying, name-calling crowd…you’re “holier than thou” or you’re too “legalistic”.  When anger between coaches and players reached a high pitch during a game last season and the team got into a “knock down, drag out” fight on the field and my grandson chose not to participate, he was accused of not being a team player by the coach!!  Hardly a “gray” area to my grandson, but apparently, acceptable behavior for the coach and his young impressionable team! 

Defensive, argumentative, combative, contentious, competitive attitudes

are all warning signs of compromising in “gray” areas.

Can you walk in the light and have fellowship with those

who desire to live in “gray” areas?

 This, then, is the message we have heard of Him, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone that does evil, hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest her deeds should be reproved.  But she that does the truth comes to the light and her deeds will be manifest, that they are of God.” John 3: 19-21

 Where are the “gray” areas in your life?

Are you a stepping-stone or a stumbling block?

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Scarred for Life!"

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In the early days living in the rain forest among the Kuna Indians of Panama, we were invited to join them in their weekly meetings called a “Congreso”.  It was here the Kuna leaders decided village life and activities.  Occasionally, Colombian woodcutters would join the group and then disappear down the Tuira River back into the jungle.

One afternoon we heard an outboard motor coming up the winding river toward our village.  I could hear the Kuna’s running to the shoreline and in a few minutes they were screaming for help.  The woodcutter had taken the motor covering off to replace a pin and had not covered the motor again.  He had ducked to miss a low hanging branch, forgetting the blade was still open!  The sharp edge of the blade had sliced into his face and the gash was long and deep, the cheekbone fully exposed. 

As he cleared the 12’ river embankment toward our house I could see he was leaning on the men assisting him and there was blood everywhere!  Within minutes the entire village was in our front room, whispering excitedly, each seeking the sordid details.

There is no exaggeration here!  His cheekbone was protruding through the skin and the skin had slipped back toward his ear, leaving a huge gap.  He had taken the only available clothe in the dugout, which was loose cotton, and packed it tightly in the wound to stop the bleeding.

He was now seated on the bench directly in front of me.  He sat silently, calm and trusting.   Looking up, his eyes inaudibly pleaded for help and my heart stopped for a second while I contemplated my next move.  We headed for the rushing clear waters of the river to thoroughly cleanse the wound and remove the cotton. 

My adrenals were now on steroids as I mutely cried out to God for leading and direction!  It had to be sutured from the inside out or it would not hold together…I had sutured fingers, arms, legs (usually machete accidents), but never a face!  Once the gash was cleared of debris, it looked even more intimidating than before!  After a close examination and gathering up the necessary tools to begin this procedure, I laid everything on a cloth…and froze!

In that moment God spoke quietly to my heart,

“I have chosen you, Jackie…so do not fear,

for I am with you; be not dismayed.” (Isaiah 41: 10)

 I picked up the tweezers and began to remove the last of the stained pieces of cotton before scrubbing the wound and suturing the interior.  Just pulling the two skin flaps together was challenging, but the truth of the matter was…the scar was going to be massive and it was on a very handsome face!

 It seemed like forever before I finally dressed the wound and gave him an antibiotic shot.  He never flinched or spoke a single word through the entire procedure!  My husband was sharing Christ with him the entire time.  We prayed for his healing and he stood and left.

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                          He was not one of the regular woodcutters that lived outside our village

so I thought I would never see him again.

Months later we heard an outboard motor coming up the river and to my astonishment, God brought that young man through our front door!  We were thrilled that he had healed with no infection and the scar that was left was beautiful! 

 He was grinning from ear to ear and he laughed at my little faith!

I am often reminded of the day God “chose me” and told me not to fear, that He was with me and would do what He had called me to do.  Since I am a person whose battleground often involves fear, God’s words to me are profoundly meaningful!

What would you say is your particular battleground? 

Where are you struggling today?

 Have you identified a pattern in your life that pokes its head up regularly?

Maybe it’s fear, anger or bitterness.

 Can you hear God’s voice?

He speaks to you with

promise, rebuke and instruction regarding your battleground…

John 9:31

Listen carefully …heed His call!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Betrayed!"

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“…for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet,

 but you know, Oh, Lord, all their plots to kill me.” Jeremiah 18:23

 Has anyone ever set a snare for your life?

Shortly after we returned to our village in the remote jungles of Panama after a two-month absence, a young Kuna man came to our door apprehensively, but confidently, to share with us that Aquileo, the town representative to the Panamanian government, was plotting to kill my husband!  The only word that would describe my shock was…ESCAPE!  However, our isolated village made an escape impossible!

In my traumatized state of mind a verse in Jeremiah raced into my consciousness…  Jeremiah was facing his plotting antagonists and said, “But the Lord is with us like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail…” Jer. 20:11   This plan had taken Aquileo two years to put together and we were being informed that the time had come to carry it out! 

My first thought…my two little girls…what could I do? 

Would we be disposed of in the river? 

No one would find us…ever!

This was all a nightmare…this could not be happening!

My heart was stunned, on the one hand, because Aquileo and his wife had been consistently friendly to us, visiting in our jungle home, laughing and sharing. The terrifying reality was, they were planning to kill us at the same time!!  I was terrified… I felt betrayed because so many in our Kuna family had known of this plan and no one, until now, had told us.  I felt indebted to the young man who had risked his tribal reputation to protect my husband. 

When?…Where?…How would this be carried out??  What should we do? 

What could we do!

Ralph, took one look at me and instantly, reminded me that I should “joyfully” be giving thanks to God that for the two years of planning I had been spared the stress of knowing about this development!  He had recently given me a mathematical “formula”, as a reminder, for just this kind of situation.   It went like this:

Trials + Acceptance of the Trial with Joy = Maturity

 I asked myself these 6 questions:

 1.     Could I trust God’s Sovereign plan?  Romans 8:28

2.     Did I believe God would never give me a trial too big?  1 Cor. 10:13

3.     Would He give me a way of escape? 1 Cor. 10:13

4.     Is every trial given with divine purpose and benefit?  Rom. 8:18; 11 Cor. 4: 17

5.     Am I convinced the Holy Spirit will help, comfort and carry me through this trial? Rom. 8: 26

6.     Do I believe that testing will produce Godly character in me?  Job 23: 10

 For the formula to work growth and maturity in me

 I would have to answer each of these questions with a “YES”!

Ralph’s response was, “This is impossible, Aquileo is my friend!”   Denial was never an option I considered in my thinking!  Ralph immediately stood up and bolted out the door, crossing the village to confront his nemesis! 

In that talk Aquileo shared a verbal wound that he had received from my husband when we first moved into Pucuro.  He felt he had “lost face” among the men in our very tight community.  Ralph had no idea that the result of his jesting had caused such pain and immediately humbled his heart and asked forgiveness. 

I found that accepting the trial (even this one!) with joy proved to be a life-lesson that made a permanent imprint on me to this day, as I face life daily.  Accepting not just the formula, but also its applied truth with a joyful and resounding “YES” has changed my life!  The struggles continue to come, but accepting God’s purpose, provision and control with joy is the quickest path to peace, growth and maturity.

JOY is not the absence of suffering but the presence of the Lord.

C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is never in our power, it is the fruit of accepting God’s

provision in difficult circumstances!”

We waited to see what would happen to us.  Days passed slowly, the nights were even longer (!), and one bright morning, Aquileo and his family arrived at our front door… smiling!  I cannot put into words the delight and relief I felt as I opened the door and invited them inside!

 “Consider it PURE JOY whenever you face many 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

Are you finding joy in your times of difficulty? 

 

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "I Have My Rights...I'm Entitled!"

As a young tribal missionary wife and mother, I felt I had a right to be understood.  Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  I was living with so many unknowns. Knowing my husband understood how hard I was attempting the impossible was important to me. It seemed like a legitimate right…don’t you think?  It was imperative to have someone to talk to in my heart language (English).  Poor Ralph…he was it!  He is not a detail guy and I speak in paragraphs!  My anger would reveal itself in various forms demanding his attention.Would you consider yourself an angry person?

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1.     Does your family (or whomever you live with) ever see you lose your temper?

2.     Are you able to quickly admit when you are wrong?

3.     Do you complain about how others treat you (when you’re slighted or get

your feelings hurt)?

4.     Do you grumble when things don’t work out the way you planned?

5.     Do you demand prompt attention from family members, friends, teachers, employers, etc.? (Do you feel hurt when others get more attention than you do!)

All five questions reveal patterns of anger that are not uncommon to all of us!

 The best functional definition I have ever found for anger is:

“Someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”

 Someone crossing my already decided will!

“A Right”…

is a legal demand of our will that we impose on each other–

something, someone, or some attitude apart from God’s will.

It has its own authority with no power

It produces anger or hurt feelings

It assumes God and everybody owes us something

It refuses humility (the key to the Christian life!)

What rights do you claim?  

My anger popped up more often than I care to admit.  I had an unprincipled habit of making excuses or blaming others for:

Ø  My Pride – reserving the right to make the final decision

Ø  My Insecurity – structuring my life around temporal values

Ø  My Reputation- projecting the image I wanted others to have of me

Ø  My Expectations

While living in the jungle I jotted down a “few” of my rights in my journal!

I had a "right":

·      To a normal standard of living

·      To ordinary standards of good health

·      To privacy

·      To hold others to their responsibilities

·      To be angry

·      To make the final decision on a matter

·      To judge others

·      To do it my way

·      To be understood (self-justification)

·      To be envious or jealous

·      To be uninterrupted

Do you identify with one or any of these as a daily occurrence?

By making excuses for my anger rather than tracing my “anger” to a violation of one of my personal rights, I failed to live in victory. 

By calling the “right” by its name and repenting, I found freedom in a consistent Christian walk…No more excuses.  I exchanged them for gratefulness and found peace!  

What is the hardest right to give up?

Answer: The right to make the ultimate decision!

I continue to learn to stop before yielding to my demand for my way and put my will in neutral, acknowledging His control and His will (not mine or my husband’s).  It brings harmony into my life in the midst of unknowns and confusion.  My demanding to be understood is now my friend and my signal to yield to Gods Will by giving my “demand” to HIM and giving thanks instead!

In the New Testament Christ gave up:

1.     His Rights- “did not consider equality with God”

2.     His Reputation – “Made himself nothing, becoming a servant”

3.     His Ego –“Humbled himself”

4.     His Will  - “Obedient unto death”!

“Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.” Philippians 2: 6-8

 How can we do less?

An independent, willful and demanding spirit will keep us from living in victory.  Let’s choose to agree with God, call anger the sin that it is and walk as He walked, honoring the cross and remembering the price He paid for our Victory over sin!  No more excuses…

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey " Draw the Battle Lines!"

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“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”

II Cor. 10:3

 Is Someone Attempting to Destroy your Life?

The answer is YES… Every moment of every day!  We are at war.  Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “How can God remold my mind from within unless I continually test what I read and hear from the world by the ‘straight edge of Scripture?’”  Moms, we are inundated with time consuming activities of every kind that are compounded by social media: Face booking, tweeting, texting, Instagraming, blogging, etc.

Where is the voice that speaks transforming truth?

“Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven”.  Ps. 119:89  “The Word of God is living, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword”! Hebrews 4:12

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 How many days did you get in the Word this week?

The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah wrote in Chapter 6,  “This is what the Lord Almighty says…to whom can I speak and give warning?  Who will listen to me?  Their ears are closed so they cannot hear.  The Word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it…”

When you read His words what do you hear?  What are you looking for? (His power? His life in you? A change in your bad habits?  A good story time?  A verse to meet someone else’s need?  A class assignment?)  What?

Listening to His voice and allowing His words to “dwell richly” in us brings life and blessing. Neglecting His Word brings spiritual devastation and destruction.  The Bible is the heart and mind of God…the transformer of renewing my mind. Rom.12:2  It is the roadmap to life!  I have this imperative need to ask God to “open my eyes so that I can see” the road, since His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways.” Isa.55: 8  

I explore His Word by purposing to read for a “BUMP”…a verse that jumps off the page at me!  It might be for someone else, but it is mine first!  It is the transforming voice of God speaking to me in an area that I am blind to that hinders the goal of His transforming life in me. 

 What is your goal? Do you have Steps of Action to accomplish that goal?

There are 5 questions I ask myself as I begin to apply the "bump" verse into my life:

1.     Is there sin for me to AVOID?

2.     Is there a PROMISE for me to trust?

3.     Is there an EXAMPLE for me to follow?

4.     Is there a COMMAND for me to obey?

5.     How can this passage increase my knowledge of the Lord God (not just about Him)

WARNING!!

 “Many false prophets (with false philosophies) will appear and deceive many.”

Matthew 24:11

 Beware of these 5 strong voices in our 2018 culture:

1.     Evolution:  How creation came into existence and developed

2.     Egalitarianism:  Defining the role of man and woman

3.     Economics:  Contentment = Having

4.     Experience: Instant Gratification = I want, what I want…NOW!

5.     Ego:  It’s All about Me!

These voices are universal and give us a checklist to reveal our true convictions and the confirmation or absence of His Word in our lives. They help define strongholds that have been yielded to the destroyer. 

 “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal (our joy, youth, peace, seeds of truth, etc.) and kill (relationships) and destroy (us!);  I (Christ) have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly”.John 10: 10

Revival is the power of the Holy Spirit transforming God’s Word into our soul!

Let’s pick up the Word of God this week and

devastate the devil’s attempts to destroy us!!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Culture Shock!"

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Have you ever been in a situation where your heart goes “into shock?”

 My life was totally surreal!  The storm had passed.  We had pulled the mosquito netting over us in the darkness to keep the blood-sucking mosquitos and vampire bats from attacking us as we attempted to spend our first night in our remote location.  The jungle noises were as foreign as our locality!  Night passed slowly…

The jungle had a different face in the morning light.  I slipped out of our king-sized plywood bed that was topped with a firm 3” piece of foam rubber and welcomed the possibilities of the day.  Two little faces popped up out from under the netting.  Both were happy, dry and VERY hungry!

 Don’t you just love it??

 I surveyed the barrels all around the open room of our new home…eighteen of them!  Which barrel had a cooking pot for oatmeal?  No toast…no electricity! 

I am paralyzed wondering where to begin.  But two little rested and hyperactive girls have me well motivated…they are REALLY HUNGRY!

First Barrel:  Rice, beans and dry goods,

Second Barrel:  Clothes…no oatmeal!

                                   Third Barrel:  Pots and pans…yeah!  But still…no oatmeal!

While opening the thirteenth barrel, a beautiful young woman walked through our front door offering us bananas and mangos!!  Since I did not understand her language or culture and not wanting to be aggressively offensive (I REALLY wanted to grab that fruit!), I waited patiently for her to put the fruit in my hands and graciously thanked her.  I lifted my head toward heaven, whispering,  “Thank you, Lord… for the kindness of my new neighbor and for a perfect breakfast!” 

I had heard the women stoking their fires in the very early morning before light.  They had already eaten cooking bananas hours before.  They were now filing into our house with an understandable curiosity and began pulling everything out of every opened barrel!

 All I could think was…PLEASE, LORD, LET THEM FIND THE OATMEAL!

The Kuna women seemed to have an inexplicable interest in my appearance.  Did they think I was a man? I was too tall, too skinny, my hair was too short and I was wearing jeans! I was a nursing mother yet I towered over every living person in the village at 5’8”, except for my 6’ 2” husband.

Being the strong, confident woman I am, I took it all in stride…NOT!

Not at all!   This was totally surreal!  Would my life always be like the

last 24 hours?

Would they ever accept someone like me?

Clearly…. "culture shock" had set in!

While in training for this mission, the instructors (who were seasoned missionaries) introduced us to this phenomenon.   I told myself I was not going to be the “weak” one who goes into her village and gives in to her fears…that was for someone else…I hated failure! 

There are certain undeniable signs of culture shock:

Ø  Screeching in the night for your kidnapped baby who has been abducted by near-naked, tribal people who are “way deep into what you once considered your comfort zone”

Ø  Crawling into a bed that has been drenched by the rain coming through your bark walls and adjusting to the misting on your face through the mosquito netting, but unable to sleep

Ø  Furiously tucking in the netting around every inch of your bed…not knowing what is already in there with you…its pitch black after all!

Ø  Listening all night to the critters scurrying under your bed and in the open ceiling rafters and visualizing the unthinkable!  What animals are nocturnal in the rain forest?  All of them!!! 

Ø  Having an intense desire to communicate with the women busily dissecting our belongings, yet powerless to do so…

Ø  Etc., etc.

The dictionary defines Contentment as freedom from care or discomfort!

 Genuine Contentment is avoiding the bondage of personal expectations and realizing God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.  Contentment understands that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want!  I Timothy 6: 6-8

 Was I content?   What were my expectations?

                                      Where was the fruit of my contentment??

Here I was again, finding Him in that secret place of my learning heart.  God was waiting for me to enter into His presence with thanksgiving, acknowledge His authority and claim all that is mine, regardless of my personal failure and present circumstances.  “God wants me to be present where I am.  He invites me to see and to hear what is around me and, through it all, to discern the footprints of the Holy.”(Richard Foster)

Pressing toward the goal, like Paul in Philippians 4:11,  “…I have learned (I continue to learn) to be content, whatever the circumstance...”

 What is your level of contentment this morning?

 “Blessed is the woman who listens to me, watching at my doors,

waiting in the doorway.  For whoever finds me, finds life and

receives favor from the Lord”   Proverbs 8: 34,35

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on September 3, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, Spiritual Growth, womanhood.

Jackie's Journey "The Longest Journey"

                     "Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it."  I Thessalonians 5: 24

                    "Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it."  I Thessalonians 5: 24

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary.  Marriage is nothing less than the proving ground for developing our loyalty toward God!  My parents were married 72 years and my husband’s parents were married 47 years, so 53 years does not seem inordinately long to either of us…

I met my Prince at the University and if you were to ask our college friends they would be astounded that we are celebrating our 53rd Wedding Anniversary!  Most did not give us two years!  Ralph and I are polar opposites in almost every way.  However, we had the one element in marriage that will guarantee longevity…we were both individually committed to “burn out” serving God wherever He led us. My husband’s godly zeal and spiritual leadership in our home has been preeminent and a constant for the last 53 years! 

I have been blessed with a man who has loved me unconditionally and when he said “for better or worse” he meant it.  We have weathered the storms of life with near death experiences more than once and his loyalty to God and me is noteworthy.  Ralph and I continue to learn and grow together.  Choosing to live in deference is a key to our taking our two wills and finding harmony in God’s will.

Ralph’s name means “bold counselor” and that he is! He is a man of motion and direction.  He was once told he is an ”afflicter of the comfortable and a comfort to the afflicted!”  I could write a book with all his wise one-liners, biblical formulas and scriptural definitions.  His capacity to see things in Scripture and interpret them from the inside out to give a total new look to a familiar verse is uncanny! 

Christian missionaries are people whose passion is to make the Lord Jesus known to the whole world.  They are completely under the command of King Jesus (Ralph often rolls out of bed, stands at attention and salutes heavenward, committing his day!), and they will go anywhere, under any circumstances, for no pay, with poor living conditions and food, even though no one ever notices.  They know their Sovereign God is watching every minute, and that is the only reward and joy they seek…a true missionary is someone who will risk everything for the sake of the lost of this world…this is my husband!

We have a precious heritage that is a loving reminder of our loyalty to God

and our responsibility into the third and forth generations.

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God's Faithfulnes...!

Our lives are based on Proverbs 3: 5,6: Trusting the Lord with all our hearts and allowing Him to direct our paths and Matt. 6:33:  “Seeking first the King of heaven” and allowing Him to supply everything we need for life and godliness.

We are convinced that He takes the weak and confounds the mighty.  We are proof of His faithfulness…I Corinthians 2: 1-2 speaks my heart, like Paul’s, when he says, “…I did not come to you with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling. My message was not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but God’s power”.

If we had these 53 years to do over again, we would like to serve more and better, as we were bought with the price of His blood.  Romans 6: 16-18 says, “We were slaves of sin and now are slaves of righteousness”.   We work daily on being better slaves!

Have you found your marriage to be a proving ground

for your faithfulness to God?

                                                             Christmas...53 years later!

                                                            Christmas...53 years later!

 

 

Jackie's Journey "Passport: Darien Jungle"

                                                           The airstrip in our Pucuro village

                                                          The airstrip in our Pucuro village

 Our pilot risked his life for mine…the flight of my life!

“When you are flying over the jungle in a single engine plane and the prop shears off, ripping the engine out of its mounts, it’s a good sign you are in trouble.  The next indication is engine oil spreading across the windshield, making it impossible to see.  Then when the torn engine cowling begins beating violently against the side of the plane, your life flashes before your eyes”.  So writes a Boot Camp missionary friend, Macon Hare in his 2013 NTM@Work Newsletter.

Sound like fun?

There are many unknowns in jungle travel.  For those of us on a remote post, there are particular challenges that as a single person I would have found the risk challenging; however, when I became a mother and responsible for the decisions made for my two little princesses, I became more skeptical and less intrigued with the thrill of the ride.

Sitting next to me in our tiny one engine flying craft was my five-year-old daughter, Christina and her two-year-old sister.  Their trusting and smiling faces strangely comforted me.  Leaving civilization behind, I looked out the window into the vast unknown and as we taxied down the runway I bowed my head, placing my confidence in the One who had brought us to share the gospel with these isolated people and had promised to  “…keep us as the apple of His eye, to hide us in the shadow of HIS wings. He makes the clouds his chariots and rides on the wings of the wind.”  Psa.17: 8; Psa. 104: 3 "Wings on the Wind" is the name our field had given our plane!  

For those of us living interior the plane is a lifesaving connection to the civilized world.  The hour flight over the clear blue coastline waters of the Atlantic Ocean and then the twenty minutes beyond over a solid wall of 150 feet tall Quipo trees inspired me to again acknowledge His Majesty and control!  Our missionary pilot was required to hit a tiny band aide airstrip that the Kunas, my husband and our partner, Jay had carved out of this dense blanket of trees.   My caring father had sent hundreds of pounds of seeds from the states to this remote area and had turned that slippery, mud-sliding landing strip into a functional beauty to behold!  

Our brave pilot made his approach by flying low, crossing the river; but not too low, being careful not to crash into the 18’ riverbank on the other side.  He approximated the length he had to land with the 150 ’trees looming up into the sky at the other end.  He would clear the river and abruptly drop and land safely on a tree-lined ribbon of a very short runway!   Creativity is defined as “finding ways to overcome impossible obstacles”.  He had been a “crop duster” before entering missionary service and I cannot express enough gratitude for this pilot’s creativity! 

          On the other side of the river is the cleared patch of jungle for the bandaide airstrip

         On the other side of the river is the cleared patch of jungle for the bandaide airstrip

Our village had experienced an epidemic that affected almost every man, woman and child.   The small clinic we ran was open early every morning and the people responded well to the anti-biotic injections and after two weeks, we were beginning to “see light at the end of the tunnel”.  People were returning to work and life seemed normal again.

One afternoon I began to run a fever.  For two days I ran a 103 temperature and nothing would bring it down.  I was not responding to treatment.   It peaked one morning at 106.  I needed outside help!  It was a two-day trip by dugout and then banana boat if we made timely connections.

We had awakened to the “storm of storms” with thunder and lightning that morning.  The sky and clouds were black.  The wind was fierce and the air was heavy.  In those early days we had a two-way radio that gave us daily contact with our pilot.  I could hear my husband telling him our circumstance…that there was no visibility, the windsock was standing straight up and it would be impossible to fly into our village.  He asked if there was a doctor in the city that could assist us over the radio until the weather lifted?  We would wait out the night and check again by radio early the next morning.  There was a pause and then…

  I heard the pilot say, “Hold on…I am coming!”

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We looked outside and knew it was impossibleBUT “Bush Pilots” are a rare breed.  True to his word, about two hours later in the storm-filled darkness of that afternoon, we heard a plane in the distance approaching our landing strip.

Our pilot, Scott Wolfe, had risked his life to save mine!

 That man had landed that plane on an almost invisible airstrip in the middle of the Darién jungle in the worst weather imaginable!   The doctors at Gorgas Hospital in the Canal Zone confirmed that had he not come for me when he did I would not be telling this story.  God had made the clouds his chariot and brought Scotty in on the wings of the wind!

Thank you, my all-knowing God and thank you for Scotty!!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.