Jackie's Journey "A Cruel Companion!"

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After major emergency surgery in Panama my recovery was slow.  While my husband returned to our village in the jungle, I was taken in by dear friends who cared for me and our two daughters until his return and a doctor’s release to re-enter jungle work.  Christina attended the mission school during those months and I attempted to care for a very active three-year-old, Kim.  To say that she was lively would be an understatement.  Her boundless energy was an extreme contrast to my very slow and weak frame and keeping up with her was daunting.

 Kim, to this day, can walk into a room and the whole room lights up, full of energy.  Her middle name is Joy and she certainly brings that into our lives!  Her willful defiance to correction in those early days brought this young mom to an impasse…we would continually lock horns or I would just count my blessings and give in! 

 Ever been there?

 I have one of those faces that can’t hide anything.  I wear my emotions on my face, not my sleeve.  I consider myself to be a fairly even-tempered woman with a clear understanding of what it means to be angry.   I know the functional definition of anger, the peace I have to sacrifice to give into it, the guilt that results, and the pain required to resolve it. 

  One day at our friend’s home, Kim’s “lively activity” drew attention for some needed help. I was asked how I was going to respond to her. I answered the question with a silent non-verbal,… “what...what do you mean…?”  My face must have spoken loudly because I was then asked, “Are you angry, Jackie?”  I responded, “Of course not!”  My friend replied, “Jackie, look at your expression in the mirror” (there was a mirror on the wall where I stood).   

 I looked…and there was no denying the fact that my face said what my mind clearly denied…I was angry! Sometimes I pause and glaze over while processing, but this was different!  I slithered off into my temporary bedroom and made an attempt to rationalize my situation!  Don’t they realize how fragile I am?  This can’t be fair…I just had a Laparotomy, forty-four stitches inside and forty-four stitches to close…I was in bad shape…don’t I get a smidge of extra consideration???  My self-pity consumed me…why… I thought I was a victim (the biggest lie from the pit!), well…wasn’t I??  

Sound familiar?

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming….

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming….

Anger is a cruel companion. The emptier the pot the quicker it boils!  Anger does everything to undermine truth and defeat us!  It is nothing more than “someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”  By that definition no one can makeme angry!  I choose it all by myself…I can’t blame anybody!  It is my fault!

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 “When God wants to bring more power into our lives, He brings more pressure”.

A.B. Simpson

 There was no verbal argument and no laboring the point…just my humbly taking personal

responsibility and acknowledging …my guilt!

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Prov.21: 19   The last thing I wanted to be was that angry woman!  My children deserved a godly example, not an excuse!  My husband, bless his heart, deserved a wife free from anger to humbly love him unconditionally.  

 Anger and humility cannot dwell together…one has to go.

 Henry Drummond in The Greatest Thing in the World, wrote:

  “It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and unchristian sins.  For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of…TEMPER.”  

 We call TEMPER by many socially acceptable names in an attempt to excuse it: impatience, frustration, wrong response, irritation, and annoyance…    We find clever ways to rationalize our anger.  We protect it, guard it, defend it, and yet its ugly head rears up and betrays us.

 I am grateful and forever indebted to the family who forced me that day in Panama to face my anger and its subtle and insidious hold on me!  That new light to recognize anger and its deceptions, to call it by name, to ask forgiveness and to walk in the promised victory keeps my Christian life liberated daily, as I continue to learn.

 Are you an angry woman?

 Is humility your signature attribute?

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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 "Run...Fire!!"

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Fires can be devastating!  In the jungle there is no 911, no 

Fire Department, Fire Fighters or fire hoses and trucks…no place to run…

 One afternoon the entire village stood on the riverbank and watched across the rivers swift moving waters as a raging fire approached our settlement.  Like a tornado it swept across the forest floor consuming everything in its path.  The entire area was a patchwork quilt of gardens planted with bananas, rice, yucca, corn, and sugarcane… 

 Many of the new believers had fields laden with produce, as did their unbelieving neighbors.  Shocked at what we were watching, the believers began to pray.  My thought was…could that fire jump across the river?  The blaze began to pick its fields to blister as it “zigzagged” toward us. 

 To our utter astonishment the fire leaped over the believer’s fields and consumed the others. Not one field of a believer was touched! God’s demonstration of Sovereign control over the elements was undeniable. 

God was in that fire!

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“And I myself will be a wall of fire around it, declares the Lord, 

and I will be its glory within.”Zechariah 2:5

 Since time and memorial, the Darien jungle and its unpredictability had ruled!  Whether it was the fluctuating weather, the epicenter earthquake, the remote isolation, the absence of communication to the outside world, the challenge of transportation or the miscellany of wild animals, poisonous creepy crawlers, army ants, snakes and vampire bats…we were captive to the jungle around us. This was one of those days when my mind concurred with the reality.  

 We all stood amazed at God’s presence in that most obscure place.  He had been there all along.  The boldness of His Sovereignty was magnified in that raging fire. The assurance that regardless of the circumstance we were experiencing we were “…shielded by God’s power…”(I Pet. 1:5)was our pre-eminent thought as we stood “shaking in our boots”.  The promise that “the beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall cover him all day long” was as real that day as it ever would be.  We surely sensed that covering as we surveyedHishandiwork! 

 While buried in the jungle, I often sang a song taken from Psalm 32:7. “You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble and you surround me with songs of deliverance, whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You…”  Delivered and protected, standing on the edge of the Pucuro River, I was reminded of the truth “God makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants”! Psa. 104: 4 

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Ralph, my husband and God’s servant, teaching in our Kuna house with our daughter, Christina listening in.

 We are saved to serve, called to be “flames of fire”.  

Alive, dancing through life, consumed with the burden on His heart…

controlled by His sovereign will.

 “HE makes his ministers a flame of fire…”Psalm 104: 4

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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 Hate Conflict!"

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Conflict…the plight of the ages.

 My husband tells me conflict is “confessing another’s sin instead of my own!”  It happens more often than we want.   It often comes when least expecting it.  It can be planned and contrived for personal benefit.  It is unspeakable if entered for selfish purposes. It speaks its own ugly language. It brings with it a sense of guilt and rejection.  It leaves a taste of loneliness, if unresolved.  It defies common sense.   It strengthens selfish resolve.  It denies truth.  It stands in the way of peace and unity.  You have to sacrifice your peace with God to be a participant in it.  It divides friends and fellowship.  It has no godly purpose or end.  It separates all that is good and emphasizes the negative.   It wounds the Spirit.  It brings with its depression and failure.  It lies to us about our value.  It leaves us discouraged.  It….

 Ever been there?

Who hasn’t?  What causes conflict and how can we avoid it?

 If everything has a purpose…what is the purpose of conflict? Is there anything redeemable in a clash of wills?  The Word of God is filled with conflicts and resolutions.  I don’t have to look far to find God’s mind on the subject of conflict.  Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, records David’s prayer in the midst of conflict.  The first four verses express a promise and a goal.  “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.  Blessed are they who keep his statues and seek him with all their heart.  They do nothing wrong; they walk in His ways.” Then comes the conflict.  “You (God) have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.  Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your degrees!  Then I would not be put to shame...”

 Conflict is a direct result of not fearing and obeying God.  His Word clearly records my responsibility (vs. 12-40).  My failure to follow His instruction in my relationship with Him (and others) results in conflict.  My response to conflict reveals my true character and my relationship with God (Verses 41-48).  Conflict is my signal that I have violated a very simple scriptural principle… I have ceased to fear and obey God!

 There are varying types of conflict from world wars and societies to crossing wills with a two-year-old child! While at Bible School someone asked me if I believed in “personality conflicts”.  It was certainly a common phenomenon on campus and in the dorms and the question was thought provoking. 

 What do you think?

 f I am walking in the Spirit in all the light I have and you are also, can there be a conflict? Not likely.  There will instead be deference and understanding of one another. However, if one of us, or both of us, is not walking in the light of God’s Word we can count on conflict! Both of us want our own way!  We have sacrificed our peace for the conflict! What a destructive exchange!  Harmony is the absence of unsettled offenses. “A genuine confession is explaining how I have failed so that God will not be blamed for the consequences”.  

 Years ago, Ralph gave me a verse that I quote to myself when tempted to enter into conflict…It goes like this:  “Great peace have they that love Thy law and NOTHING shall offend them (or make them stumble)”.  Psa. 119:165   That means that NOTHING (or no one) has the power to bring offense that I would choose to accept.  There is no excuse for anger, self-protection or division. “Great peace have they…”   The choice is to maintain my peace and walk in the light or choose all the negatives that come with conflict!

 Which do you choose most often?

 As Moms, our children are busy reading us, while we are communicating with one another.  What do they hear?  The purpose of conflict is to teach us the power of the peace of God in our lives.  To sacrifice peace for conflict is disobedience against our Creator and demonstrates the lack of fear we have of the consequence that comes with every act against His will.  

 The next time you are given a choice, which will you choose?

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“… my heart will be blameless toward your decrees, 

that I may not be put to shame…I put my hope in your Word.”!  Psa. 119: 6-11. 

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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 "Who Said I Was Lazy??"

I saw my first Sloth while traveling down the potholed Panamanian Highway!   It was so sad…my heart ached to pick it up and lift it safely into the tree it was approaching.  Toiling with every move, the poor little thing seemed lonely and abandoned.  I wanted to hurry its journey along, be a good servant and speed him on his way.  He sluggishly lifted his head and peered up at me…I imagined he was beckoning me for help.  However, his long claws and musty smell rendered him unapproachable.  His coat was matted and green…greasy looking… which only accentuated the stifling heat and humidity where we stood.  His slow motion gave new definition to idleness! He seemed so needy. I just wanted to fix it!

 Have you ever been there?

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What do you think of when you look at this mammal?

 I envisioned something creeping up on him while he was sleeping and his not being able to defend himself. The sloth, I understand, sleeps 15 hours day and night!  This motionless mammal is so still that the moths move into his thick hair!  He hangs upside down 90% of his life cycle and eating is his primary occupation. When food becomes scarce, he goes hungry…a sloth will die of starvation if food is not always within grasp!!  

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Slothfulness brings deep sleep; and an idle soul

will suffer hunger” Proverbs 19: 15.

 I love to study the world of nature for insights and analogies.  As I watched this mild-mannered sloth struggle to move, I realized there is a lesson to be learned.

 In extraordinary times God looks for extraordinary men and women that He can count on.  This remnant does not need great intellect, talent, or resources.  But they do need to be obedient moving channels through which God can show himself strong.II Cor. 12: 9-10

 For most of us the enemy of disobedience is the willful rebellion of crippling slothfulness.  It is crippling because its subtle characteristics are usually unrecognized until the pattern of laziness is set!

 Would you consider yourself a slothful person?

As mom’s, we don’t like to think of ourselves as being lazy! 

Our lives are busy from sun-up to sundown….

 But listen to the 6 symptoms of a slothful mom:

Ø She hears God’s Word and walks away with no change (she doesn’t believe she has a need)

Ø She does not seek the Lord with her whole heart (she has become guilty of little surrenders)

Ø She does not value the importance of time (she rationalizes and procrastinates)

Ø She does not finish tasks (she may be a great starter but a poor finisher)

Ø She lives in wishful thinking and vain imaginations (she’s a dreamer; not a doer)

Ø She forgets where she came from and is self-deceived Jas. 1:22-24. (she lives in fear)

 Life is a race against time. We are called to be “doers of the Word”. 

All is not lost! We still can win the race

if we realize the following truths about respecting time:

§ Time is limited! (Make the most of what is left!)

 Do you procrastinate? Do you live for the moment and let the future just take its course?

 § Time has a certain deadline…Death!  What will your legacy be?

Are you a person of example or excuses?  Are you spiritually prepared?

 “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment…” Heb.9: 27.

 § God determines our days and time is short!

Are you busy with the task on God’s heart?  Are your children prepared?

 “The length of our days is seventy years or eighty,

if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,

for they quickly pass and we fly away”.

Psalm 90:10.

 We are moms with a purpose and destiny! 

How committed are we to eternal purposes?  

 § Days must be counted. (1 week has 168 hours!)

How much time do we spend eating, sleeping, playing, activities, on social media…?

              How much is left for productive work? Meditation, Reading the Word, Prayer…?

 “So, teach us to number our days, 

that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”

Psalm 90:12.

 § Our time requires accountability. (1 week has 168 hours!)

Do you rationalize your need to be held accountable? 

 § Time is given with purpose for God’s Work. 

Are you busy with the task on God’s heart? 

Or are you preoccupied with your own busy life?

 “…The night cometh, when no man can work” John 9: 4

 We cannot recover lost time! 

When its gone…its gone!!

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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 "Earthquake!"

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The day started like any other day.  The stark silence of the night was broken by clamoring voices on the path outside our bedroom window that led into the dense jungle floor.  Moms with crying babies were arriving at our front door to trade eggs for sugar and oil.  The happy and animated chatter of our two little girls jumping up and down, hungry for those fresh eggs, motivated me to move into high gear! 

 It was only daybreak but life was already on a steady fast track.  As mom’s, we long for stability and a safe place for our children to grow up in.   Sometimes we look for it in the comfortable and familiar…our best laid plans.  Dressing was next and it was familiar and easy…I owned two Kuna dresses and wore flip-flops…no closet required!  Hot coffee, fresh eggs with rice and beans were on the breakfast menu and then off to the river to wash clothes.

 Humming and comfortable that the day was programmed from start to finish and clipping along as planned…I proceeded back up the river bank to hang the clean clothes on the lines strung from the outhouse to our tin roof line, get started on homeschool, then some language study before lunch.  I love it when a good plan comes together….

 The house was full of Kuna’s when we returned from the river.  My husband, Ralph, was seated…Bible open.  The hammock was stretched across the center of the room welcoming us… but no time!  It was almost 11:00 a.m.  It really was a day just like every other day… until the unthinkable happened

 “Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty 

came with thunder and earthquake and great noise…” Isa.29: 6

 The ground began to shake; a bold and abrupt jerk, a rumbling sound and then a LONG roll.  Our lantern, hanging from the 10’ ceiling, began to swing 2 feet in each direction.  The floorboards began to buckle and the entire house began to sway! I looked down and Kim’s high chair was rocking from side to side.  I grabbed her and reached for Christina already moving toward me.  She wrapped her arms around my leg. Stumbling toward Ralph, I was having difficulty standing; I was swaying and bobbing like a boat in a storm!

 When everything is moving, what does one grab for safety?  Ralph, immediately on his feet, saw my dilemma and reached for us across the room.  With one hand he grasped Kim and I and set us securely in the swinging hammock in the middle of the room.  With his other hand he lifted Christina up into his arms and tucked her in against us.  

 Turning to look outside, we all watched the ground heave and fall in surges.  The dogs were struggling to stay on their feet.  Every house in the village was moving.  The bark walls and thatch roofs were unstable and the tremors were continual for months!  We lived on a riverbank and the river was turbulent and threatening.  I am a California girl and I have experienced my share of earthquakes, but this one was in a class all its own!   It was longer, stronger and more forceful than any I had ever known. 

This, definitely, was NOT a day like any other day!

 In the jungle, interruptions are expected.  The Darien is full of them…creepy crawlers…poisonous spiders, frogs, snakes, ants and caterpillars… Drug runners or sick or injured Indians from other villages from Colombia passing through… These were predictable and probable challenges, but we happened to be in the 8.3 epicenter!  Not predictable…NO…NOT! 

I was reminded that God honors us most 

when He puts us where we will trust Him most?

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Safety was NOT in our house in the Darien jungle!

  Weeks after the initial jolt, someone offered us a third story apartment in Panama City for a few days to renew our visas.  Secretly, my hope was that half a country away from our village in the city, the tremors would not be felt!   Our arrival was after dark so we settled in and headed for bed.  As my head hit the pillow, to my utter astonishment, the earth began to shake and the entire three-story building began to sway!  Again, I was reminded that our true character is what we are in the dark!  

 Safety was NOT in Panama City!

 In those first few moments in the Darien with everything rattling around us, the Kuna believers in our house stood up totteringly and began to sing and pray!  We had found our safety in those first few moments…found only in a Sovereign and Almighty God who gives direction to the elements on earth. For the weeks that followed the initial earthquake we had tremors of varying degrees every hour on the hour!  

 Safety isn’t in a place or our best laid plans…

Safety IS in the Lord!

 “…Then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble.”  Proverbs 3:23

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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 "Thank You ,Mom!"

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My Mother turned 100 years old this year!!

This is a current picture…I am abundantly blessed…

 MOTHER’S DAY was yesterday and I was reminded of “a story about four preachers who were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible.  One liked the King James Version best because of its simple, yet beautiful English.  Another liked the American Revised Version best because it is more literal and comes nearer the original Hebrew and Greek.  Still another liked Moffatt’s translation best because of its up-to-date vocabulary.  The fourth minister was silent!  When asked to express his opinion, he replied, ‘ I like my Mother’s translationbest.’ The other three expressed surprise. They didn’t know his mother had translated the Bible.  ‘Yes, she did,’ he replied.  ‘She translated it into life, and it was the most clear and convincing translation I ever saw!’”

 There is a woman in the Bible…we don’t know her name or what she looked like or her personality.  We learn of her character and we know she “was her own person”.  She took full responsible for herself and her family. She was not a victim in life making excuses.  While reading Proverbs 31: 10-31 I noted her some of her multiple characteristics. 

This is the mom we all want to be to our children and grandchildren.   

Let’s take a look at this unnamed godly woman whose actions

were extraordinary and pleasing to the LORD.

 This godly woman is PURE. “Who can find a virtuous woman of moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiates from her life, as she obeys God’s Word?   For her price is above rubies.” Vs. 10  

 She is TRUSTWORTHY and “the heart of her husband can safely trust in her, so that he lacks nothing of value.” Vs. 11 Can your husband have full confidence you in all areas of your life?

 She is COMMITTED and “will do him good and not evil all the days of her life!” Vs.12

 She is DILIGENT andRESOURCEFUL and this is demonstrated in vss. 13-16 where she “selects wool and flax and eagerly works willingly with her hands…she gets up while it is still dark (!) and provides food for her family and servant girls…and then, she considers a field and buys it (!) and then,…with the fruit of her hands (her earnings) she plants a vineyard”. (Is sheINDUSTRIOUS, or what?!!)   

She is BOLDLY DETERMINED and girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong for her tasks. She is physically fit! How do you view exercise?  She sets about her work vigorously (goal- oriented!).   She sees that her trading is profitable (good business sense) and her lamp does not go out at night, but her “wonder woman” hand holds the distaff and she grasps the spindle with her fingers!! Vs. 17-19

 She is COMPASSIONATE and opens her arms to poor and needy.  Vs.20

 She isWISE and unafraid of the snow for her household. Why, you ask?  Because she prepares ahead of time and makes fine scarlet and purple linen for ALL of her household! She is CREATIVE.  Strength, dignity and honor are her clothing… 

 She has a SENSE OF HUMOR because she can “laugh at the days to come”.  She speaks with wisdom (ability to see life from God’s perspective, not our own!  She understood God-control and the blessing of surrendering to Him her choices and her faithful instruction is spoken in kindness. Vs. 21-27

 She is HONORED and her children call her blessed. She respects her husband and he praises her by saying, “Many women do NOBLE things, but you surpass them all!” 

 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 

 Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Vs. 28-31

Are you this godly woman?

 Are you being praised at the gates?

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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 May 13, 2019 and filed under motherhood, Character and Virtue.

Jackie's Journey "True Greatness!"

 Who doesn’t want to be acknowledged and occasionally praised at the gates?

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 All of us want to be important…to be accepted… to be successful…to experience meaningfulness…to get to the end of our life and have accomplished something that will live on after our departure.  God builds a desire for greatness into us.  Our understanding of the term and means of achieving it will surely vary depending on our character.

 While in missionary Boot Camp training we were privileged to have a veteran missionary from Brazil as our instructor.  His hip had been crushed in a boating accident on the Amazon River.  He was bravely battling cancer and in constant pain, yet his focus was on us succeeding and getting us to a foreign field.  His name was Jim McKnight.  He and his wife, Betty, would never claim greatness, but those of us who knew them would say their character was marked by it. They walked with God and taught us by example how to live and selflessly serve. 

 “Greatness is not a goal to be sought after but a by-product of learning to serve.” (ATIA)

 Man’s idea of greatness and God’s idea are diabolically opposed.  We all know of successful people who have sacrificed their family while reaching their goal.  Their marriage is in shambles and their children have no honor for them.  They are in the Hall of Fame by the world’s standard, but have failed to reach true greatness by God’s standard.

 What price would you be willing to pay for a sense of importance?

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True greatness is accomplished by understanding the difference between God’s view and man’s view of importance.    We tend to focus on possessions, power, position and prestige. God’s focus is on humility, service and character.    Our concern is on what we will gain…God ‘s concern is on where and to whom can we give. We spend a lot of time seeking the approval of men…not the approval of God.  We strive to be out front leading others…rather than striving to follow God.  We are competitive…God’s interest is in cooperation and if we are a team player. Does our spirit function independently of Him and others, or do we understand how to live in harmony with the success of the other person being our priority? 

 Do we clearly understand the difference between the two views?

By whose standard do you live your life?

  We are often tempted to fulfill God’s vision for us with human effort.  If we yield to that temptation, we will experience continuing negative consequences and totally miss the blessing God has for us, and for others through us! “It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.”  It’s a choice we make…

 When the disciples disputed among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, “… The greatest among you, should be as the youngest; and the one who rules like the one who serves.” Luke 22: 26

 When He, their Lord and Teacher, washed the feet of His disciples, He said,  “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master...”  Jn.13: 15,16   

He clearly set the bar for us.

 Do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought?

 “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt. 23: 11,12  

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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 "A Treasure Found!"

This little dolly is the daughter of a my dear niece.  She is reading her Princess Parable Grace book from The Princess Parable Series.  I was reminded of the message of the parable in this book and challenged again to live in the blessing of God’s pursuing love, understanding that grace “is the will and power to do what God desires.” Phil. 2: 3  Not my desires with my will in mypower!

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What is it that God desires? What is His will?  

 I certainly know what my will is!  I am tempted daily, multiple times to give in to the cry of what my will wants!  We live in an age where entitlement and personal demands are rampant.  We see it in our homes, relationships, schools, churches and communities.  We saw it in the jungles of Panama.  The human heart is wicked and deceived. Deception believes a lie that begins when our mind and emotions agree on an error and it is fulfilled when we willto do it.  The world is screaming for personal rights…we hear it every day when one of us is complaining!  Contentment is elusive and unattainable by the ungrateful heart.  Whining and “woe is me” has become an acceptable sin! 

 As mom’s, God’s desire is for us to learn to walk in Hisway and to teach our little ones His way.  They learn ourway by watching and listening to us!   We will be held accountable for the spiritual teaching our children receive from us.  Seeing that they are nourished from God’s Word and given godly instruction is within our sphere of responsibility. 

 Many years ago, I sat in a hammock deep in the middle of the Panamanian jungle with my two little princesses, reading to them. Each book I picked up presented a unique challenge. It told a story but did not introduce my girls to a biblical worldview or a character quality they could incorporate into their young lives.  I would purpose to impose these two principles into the pages of every book I picked up in terms they could understand that had eternal values targeted. My heart was burdened for just such a book, not just for myself but also, for other young mothers who needed a tool that would give their little princesses both of these elements with a clear application and a pragmatic understanding of the Word of God.

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My two little jungle princesses! 

 My friend’s little granddaughter is being given the opportunity at a very young age to fall in love with a biblical parable. She will be challenged to respond to God’s pursuing love in the diary of Princess Grace at the end of the book.  Her heart will be inspired to live outside herself and to adopt attitudes that will bring blessing on her life.  This is the book I dreamed of, as a young mom living on the Colombian border!    Jeanna, my co-author, and I are blessed to be able to make “The Princess Parable Series”and now,  “A Royal Easter Story”, available to you and your little princesses.  

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I am an 18” Princes Grace doll!  I am a Limited Edition and now available at 

www.theprincessparables.com

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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 April 29, 2019 and filed under motherhood, announcements, spiritual growth.

Jackie's Journey "Bunnies, Baskets and New Beginnings"

'The Princesses celebrate the Risen Savior

'The Princesses celebrate the Risen Savior

Ah…Spring!  Don’t you just love it!  Martin Luther wrote, “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

In Panama we had only two seasons…Dry Season and Rainy Season.   I used to miss spring in the jungles.  With the introduction of spring comes family Easter reunion, refreshing the garden and the promise of new life everywhere!  

  As Moms, we try to make every holiday one that will commemorate the occasion and create a family tradition.  We decorate and plan special family gatherings with a menu that is reminiscent of the day being celebrated… Christmas Dinner, Fourth of July B-B-Q’s, and Easter Brunch with Easter baskets filled with colored eggs!  Our homes become “show pieces” for enhancing the lesson of the season. Easter affords us one of the most amazing opportunities to rehearse again the enormous sacrifice of our Savior and His Resurrection that is our living hope after death!

  Easter reminds us of the Life the invisible Creator has given us. Rom. 1: 20  The barren ground exploding with magnificent splendor, as far as the eye can see.  The magic of new life bursting from the earth bringing forth flowers of every imaginable color and size…poppies, tulips, lilies, lilacs, daffodils… Tiny bunnies, fluffy chicks popping out of eggs, foals, fuzzy lambs and every other living being confirm the wonder of revival of life after a long winter.  

 Revival can also be personal and immediate.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit transforming God’s Word into our soul.   There has never been a need, as great as today for revived lives, revived families, fellowships, communities and nation. The desperate need is there but the realization of our personal need is not!  And revival starts with us!   

 “For revival is not a green valley getting greener, but a valley full of dry bones being made to live again and stand up an exceeding great army. (Ezekiel 37)  It is not good Christians becoming better Christians—as God sees us there are not any good Christians—but rather Christians honestly confessing that their Christian life is a valley of dry bones, thus qualifying them for the grace that makes all things new”! (Roy Hession) For the Christian… death is a promotion! New Life springs from our continual choosing to die to our pride and selfishness.

  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, 

to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, 

which is your reasonable service.” Rom. 12:1

 Some give Him a place; some give Him prominence; but what Christ wants in our lives is pre-eminence.  The fruit of His being pre-eminent in our life is a spiritual renewal that restrains the anger of God, restores our God-consciousness and reveals His continual activity in us.

 For those who have humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God at that place where sin is washed away, it has meant revival of their Christian lives in the truest and simplest sense of the word.

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As we look forward to celebrating our Savior in the coming days, let’s use this time to revisit our need for personal and continual revival.  His death and resurrection came with plan and purpose.  It was to give us life from death.  New life does not begin with someone else.  It begins in each of us! 

 Let’s exchange dry bones for New Life!

 “If you are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,

where Christ sits on the right hand of God.”  Col. 3:1

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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. 

Jackie's Journey "Thorns and Thistles!"

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“By His wounds we are healed”.  Isa. 53

 The cross is the center of our commemorating the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His selfless and sinless sacrifice in our place is our reason to celebrate and praise His Name.  We call the holiday Easter and for a moment in time we stop and rehearse His ultimate sacrifice…His life for ours on that thorny and thistled  “old rugged cross”.  Not only did he die for us but also on the third day He rose from the dead and gave us the promise of a resurrected life after death!  

 This deliberate and divine act of love was to give our lives promise, plan and purpose.  We are destined and programmed to serve others first, not ourselves.   In our Easter release to the Princess Parable Series, “A Royal Easter Story”, we introduced our five young knights who present a challenge that draws our young princesses into a chariot race that reveals the truth of what the cross teaches.  

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead …” I Peter 1:3

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead …” I Peter 1:3

Do you live a life selflessly and sacrificially serving others?

 We cannot be consumed with a life that seeks its own and find life abundantly.  It is impossibility.  Local churches open their doors on Good Friday to give us the opportunity to take a personal account of our commitment to our first love and renew our loyalty to live as Jesus challenges us to live…Holy!  We are reminded to live serving others, as He did, with eternal values and purpose in view.

 As moms, we are dedicated to living and then, teaching the character of Christ into our little princes and princesses.  We focus on drawing their attention to the importance of serving, helping and caring for others.  That is why we find ourselves saying, “Can you comfort your little brother” or “Will you help mommy?”  Teaching by example, without excuse, is the most powerful tool in our toolbox!  We are “known and read” by these little eyes and ears.  They know if the cross is real in us, or not.  We don’t fool them but we do confuse them when our life message does not speak the reality of Christ in us!

Are your little ones confused?

 “Then said Jesus to his disciples, IF any man will come after me,

 let him deny himself, and take up his cross,and follow me.”

Matt. 16: 24

 The cross holds the hope of humanity.  Denyingself-life (our pride and selfishness in all its ugly forms)…and taking up His cross(His desires and His perfect Will for us)…  authenticates His life in us.  Living life consistently with no unconfessed sin and nothing between another person and myself enables me to follow Him.  “His crucifixion is the key; His resurrection the door…it is only by His death that we have the mandate to enter into the gates of eternal life.  His door is open always.  Christ is King.”  Isrealmore Ayivor

  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; 

yet not I, but Christ lives in me: 

and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, 

who loved me, and gave himself for me.” 

Gal.  2: 20

“There are no crown-bearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

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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.