Posts filed under Character and Virtue

Jackie's Journey "Who Do We Think We are Fooling?"

 

As women, it should startle us to realize our power of influence.  Even though we are more than acquainted with the call to “walk our talk” and not be an excuse for bad behavior in our little ones (and big ones!), we should sense the intense obligation.

My very observant Grand-niece, Olivia, enjoying Fall Harvest…

My very observant Grand-niece, Olivia, enjoying Fall Harvest…

  We never know who is watching!  Pressures to “walk our talk” are those continuing opportunities for others to observe our true character.  (II Corinthians 4: 17)   A hypocrite willfully lives in conflict with his or her mind, will and emotions.  He or she is motivated by a desire for the appreciation of men rather than the approval of God.  (Proverbs 27: 21)  It is an incredible responsibility when you stop to think about it!

 Can you pass the test for a “Walk your Talk” mom?

 1.     Do you get in the Word of God daily

2.     Do you keep a record of the things God brings to your attention, as He teaches you, so you are continually fresh and ready to share with others?

3.     Do you understand how to maintain a consistent “walk in the Spirit”?

4.     Are you presently witnessing to someone who is in need of our Savior?

5.     Are you mentoring at least one person at this time?

6.     Do you know you are born of God…no doubts?

 How did you do?  

 Our Western culture is consumed with an attitude of “I deserve this”, I am entitled to this!”   “Gimme, gimme!”.  The quality of spiritual life we are going to address in this blog is rarely experienced because we are so busy demanding personal rights.  We have learned to call “our rights” by acceptable, “politically correct” terms.  

But rights, nonetheless, are the separators of us from authentic spiritual reality.

 Here are some acceptable signs (oops, sins!) that tell us our “best” has been compromised and our “walk” may need some attention:

  1. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1Thess. 5: 18   

   Do you give thanks in everything? Or are you selective in the area of gratefulness…maybe you’re a complainer or worrier…?           

·  2.  “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.” Rom. 12: 3 

             Are you proud of YOUR accomplishments, YOUR talents, and YOUR family?  

         Do you fail to see others as better than yourself, more important than yourself, in your relationships in the body of Christ?  Is your goal the success of others?         

·     3. “Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”  Eph. 4: 31           

         Do you find fault, carry a grudge, anger easily, hold people to your expectations and speak unkindly about people when they are not present? 

             Do you enjoy listening to gossip?  Do you pass it on?

     4. “Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds.”  Col. 3: 9  

         Do you ever lie?  Exaggerate? Do you tell things the way you want them rather than the way they are?  

 5. “Even so, you outwardly appear righteous to men, but within, you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”  Matt. 23: 28        

        Do you smile self-righteously during the sermon on Sunday but live in your bad attitudes all week?  Are you the same person in your home, as the one who is trying to impress people outside your home?  

          We are fooling no one!  We are a book… known and read by all men …

especially, children… they read our spirit!

               How authentic are you?         

       What is your demonstration of truth?

       What is your fruit?        

      Will your young knight or princess say you 

       are an unpretentious, genuine mom 

       that “walks her talk”? 

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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 "Instagram Caption's"

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Two of my granddaughters are away at college and I miss them terribly! The Princess Parable Series has an Instagram that I have just learned to access.  My 7 grandchildren opened up a personal one for me one evening after dinner…it took them less than 5 minutes!  Look what I found written by Catherine, my oldest granddaughter…

“I am definitely not one to write a book for an Instagram caption, but I was thinking today about how important it is to step back from this crazy life every once and a while and look at the bigger picture. I get so caught up in school, and my grades, and friendships that sometimes just having a safe place where I can be quiet and reflect on my day can make a huge difference. I was reminded of this beautiful moment from this past summer.  We were exploring Lake Tahoe’s hidden castle, Vikingsholm.  

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The island in this picture actually has a tiny “Tea House” at the very top which was a place for the lady who lived in this castle to drink her tea everyday and enjoy the spectacular view.  When I hiked to the top with my family, I was overwhelmed with how amazing our God is and I was so grateful to be able to stand there at the top reflecting on everything He has blessed me with.  Today, I came across this picture and was reminded of my favorite verse: “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will not run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).  Another version replaces the word “hope” with “wait” or “trust” and I thought that was interesting.  This verse is a reminder to me to step back from life when I am feeling anxious and to put my trust in the LORD (especially with midterm season…) and sometimes this requires waiting, but it is during the wait that we can hear God’s voice and direction for our life.  If you actually took the time to read this, I hope you are feeling encouraged to take on whatever this week throws your way!”

 Thank you, Catherine for these words of encouragement…

 Have a great week, Everyone!

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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 "Words Kill!"

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”Language is the dress of thought”. Samuel Johnson   I have two very precious friends who live in Tucson, Arizona.  I don’t get to see them as often as I would like but they are the eternal connection we all hope that we are fortunate enough to find just once in our lifetime of relationships.  While on furlough from the mission field these girls were eager to encouragingly nurse me back to health while I was crumpled on their living room sofa and they had just the right words that would lift my spirit and keep me going.  Most of all, they offered total and complete acceptance accompanied with a joy of just sensing refuge in their presence.  I recently found an encouraging note they sent me shortly after the first of our books in The Princess Parable Series was released.  This is the note…

 “I loaned your books to a friend, Jackie. Her granddaughters are named Daity and Caity Belle. 

 This was my friends comment on them:

           “Thanks for the loan on the books – they are GREAT! We had to reenact the Princess Birthday one – we baked a cake and invited the dolls – dressed up – it was quite a production.  Daity really liked it and Caity Belle liked the one about the dog – now when they dress up they have to be those Princesses.  So I would say they are a hit!   I love that there is a great theme and then the stories at the end of the book – great illustrations and inspiring and encouraging.’

            Thought you would like to hear another review. 

 Keep up the Lord’s work on your writing.  Love, Jane”

 There are many ways we express ourselves, but, as women, we are exceptionally prone to WORDS…all kinds of words… lots of words…soothing words…volatile words…we love words… 

 “The power of life and death are in the tongue.”  Proverbs 18:21

WORDS HAVE POWER!

 Do you speak LIFE with your tongue… or DEATH?

 “Speech is the index of the mind”. We have a nanosecond before every choice we make each time we entertain a thought…should I say this or should I not???  Often we disregard the warning at that point of decision and blurt out exactly what should have been kept in the “box of better timing” or not at all! 

 For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks…” Lu. 6:45

 and too many meaningless words mark you as a fool!  Ecc. 5:3 

 In Proverbs 15 there are 21 references to words in only 33 verses!!!  There are cutting words, crude words, slanderous words, piercing words, biting words, poisonous words, burning words envious words, healing words, deceitful words, wise words, mocking words, cheerful words, timely words, prayerful words and….you fill in the blank!

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Being a person of many words, I used to think if you isolate me in a remote jungle village with people who speak a different language then the tongue would be much less of a problem…How much damage could I do…I couldn’t speak the Kuna language…?

 How many times have you been “ensnared by the words of your mouth”?

 Proverbs 6:2

 “IF ANYONE CONSIDERS HIMSELF RELIGIOUS AND YET DOES NOT KEEP A TIGHT REIN ON HIS TONGUE, HE DECEIVES HIMSELF AND HIS RELIGION IS WORTHLESS”!  Jas. 1: 26

I am reminded of the old adage:

                              Watch your Thoughts, they become words.

                                        Watch your Words, they become actions.

                                        Watch your Actions, they become habits.

Watch your Habits, they become character.

Watch your Character, for it becomes your Destiny.

 Watch how your circumstances change when you change the way you speak!

 “The power of LIFE and DEATH are in the tongue”!

Proverbs 18:21

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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 "Do You Want the Formula for a Successful Life?

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How’s LIFE going for you?

Living in wealth and honor?

 This week we celebrate the 4th of July and this year is officially half spent!  June and July welcome us with summer…warmer weather, B-B-Q’s, beach days and family vacation time.  School responsibilities take a short break and our focus changes.  We look forward to “fun” time with our children and grandchildren unencumbered by pressure.  Time to think, study, write and talk without the rush of a daily overtasked schedule crammed into days that are entirely too short! Most of us moms’ welcome summer…

 Jungle life in the tropics offered two seasons… dry and rainy.  The rhythm of life in the Darien and its inhabitants kept time for us. What we ate depended on what animals were available to hunt or catch in season.  Life looked different than it does here in the states.   However our motivation in that remote village was the same…to make a difference in the life of someone every day.  

 My husband and our two little princesses were my first daily focus.  I needed a formula to give my life a goal that would keep me motivated. I knew I was created with destiny and my life had eternal purpose.  I instantly saw the promise in the Proverbs 22: 4 verse, but I did not understand the two pre-requisites for achieving it. 

What was the formula?

 We are all influencing someone all the time. I wanted my life to make a difference … 

 The question was “HOW?”

 The answer was locked up in that short, little verse of promise and instruction!  It beckoned my attention because the promise was so inclusive, desirable and powerful.  

 Humility, the first pre-requisite in the verse, is my seeing my sinfulness (Jas. 4:17) in the light of His holiness!  My personal experience is that His holiness is blinding!!   Submission to Him is mandatory…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. The only authority of my life is the fullness of His Holy Spirit, who in verse 5 of James 4 says, He is “jealous for what belongs to God” …ME!  Jas. 4: 1-6

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The Fear of the Lord, the second stipulation, is to fear the consequence of sin and to understand that we are to live as examples of His grace, not excuses!

 The promise that comes with living our life in HUMILITY

and THE FEAR OF THE LORD is 

Wealth, Honor and Life!   

 Who doesn’t want that?

 One requires a brokenness before an almighty God to all the things we hold dear…including and specifically… our self-life with all its wants and demands!  It means an abandonment of our pride.  The other requires an understanding of sin and its consequence.  

 We do whatever it takes to avoid both of these!  Our culture accepts demanding our rights…do whatever it takes to get what we want and that there is no consequence for our actions!  We can blame, rationalize or just plain lie and there is no personal judgment or responsibility.  As a practice, we moms should be teaching our children to “think consequence” before a decision is made, not after!

 I am here to tell you that one formula leads to destruction and the other, a biblical plan, (Proverbs 22:4) that comes with a promise, leads to a dynamic and successful Life!

 “Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing”!  Psa. 34: 9

 Which will you choose?

 Humility + fear of God = wealth, honor and life  

 OR

 Pride +no fear of God or consequence = destruction of self, family and home!

 A triumphant life or a defeated life

Your choice!

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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 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 "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 "I Am Not A Fan!!"

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I have never been a fan of reptiles!

 Panama is the home to some of the most frightening snakes on the planet.  Our corner of the dense Darien jungle was full of boa constrictors, pit vipers, fer-de-lance (this snake bears 60 live babies at a time!), etc.  We were cautious not to poke under rocks or fallen branches, always scanning for any slithering menaces.  Behind our house there was a massive tree that extended its immense roots out into the river shoreline where the girls and I bathed and swam.  The thick mangrove swamp harbored snakes that would lie in the hollow places of the trunk of that tree.  

More than once I cried out Psalm 16:1

 “Keep me safe, Oh Lord, for in you I take refuge.”

 Fear is no stranger to me. I am habitually challenged to walk through the door of fear.   I was told during Missionary boot camp that courage was not the absence of fear, but the conquest of it.  Years ago, while reading “Hind’s Feet in High Places” I had no difficulty in identifying with “Little Much Afraid”!  

 “The highway of fear is the shortest route to defeat”.  William L. Brownell

 Ralph had built a screened-in back porch to the house.  It became home for our gasoline-run wringer washing machine.  The Indians thought the machine was the most ridiculous apparatus they had ever seen!  It was noisy, the water had to be carried from the river (or in rainy season, we could utilize the convenience of the rain barrels attached to the tin roof).   The agitator was a mystery…why would you jerk clothes around in dirty cold water when the river is running and clear? However; the wringer was another story…it worked really well.  Hand wrung clothes could not match that wringer!  I had to agree with them on all counts!  

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While I washed, Kim would play on a blanket or crawl around the porch.  The floor was slightly elevated, lined with wooden planks roughly cut and loosely fit together.  It was not quite finished and as I washed, I saw Kim crawling toward something moving under the slats.  I turned off the deafening machine, snatched Kim up into my arms and yelled for Ralph! Right under our feet, only a few inches away, was a 5’ venomous snake! He had quite possibly been a houseguest for “who knows how long” before we noticed him!

Let me repeat…I am not a fan!! 

 Arturo, our nearest neighbor had heard me scream and came running, He quickly surveyed our predicament, raised his machete and removed the head of that reptile with one swift blow. He held it up like a prized Marlin…its length was above his head and its tail draped to the muddy ground! 

 This story could have had a much different ending, were it not for our Sovereign God, His plan and the life-lessons He was busy teaching me!  School is always in session, if we have eyes to see it. The need to grow and mature will never end on this side of eternity. Fear has been my biggest challenge. I am to fear the consequence of sin, not snakes.  Easy concept until put to the test!

 “Be strong and of a good courage, Fear not, nor be afraid of them (in this case…snakes); for the Lord your God, He it is that does go with me, He will not fail me nor forsake me.” Deuteronomy 31: 16

 What do you fear?

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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 "Hey...What is Virtue?"

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While living in the Panamanian jungle I clung to a promise in II Peter that encouraged me to keep on regardless of my sense of failure.  It says, “His power has given me everything I need for life and godliness through my knowledge of Him who called me.”  Running the medical clinic, delivering babies at night, learning to clean and cook strange rodents, fish and meat, washing in the river, dozens of diapers and no dryer, learning a new language, meeting the needs of my husband and two little girls and acclimating to 90-degree heat with 99% humidity, etc., I found my level of spirituality severely challenged.  Exhausted daily I found the verses in II Peter to be a fresh breath of air on my dripping, overheated soul and with it came a promise I intended to claim!

I wanted to implement that promise He gave.  The provision was there to lead a godly life!  I needed to tap into “His power” and as I kept reading, I realized His very great and precious promises were attached to verse 5.  They were given with clear and present instruction IFI was to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires…like giving in to my anger, impatience, frustration, and believing the lies regarding my inability to accomplish the task He had called me to.  

 “For this very reason, I had to make every effort to add to my faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if I possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep me from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.” 11 Pet. 1: 5-9 (Personalized)

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Always looking for a functional definition to put the “rubber on the road”, I found these marks of Virtue:

·    “Virtue is the moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word”.  II Peter 1: 5   It is learning to build personal moral standards that will cause others to desire a godlier life.  It is reproducing Christ’s character in my life first and then in others.

 ·    Virtue is the fruit of grace as we are given light. There is no excuse not to exemplify God’s character in my life.  I am to be an example, not an excuse! 

·    Virtue is the Godly influence my life has on others regardless of past failures.

The opposite of virtue is hypocrisy.

·     Hypocrisy is the practice of a person who is willfully living in conflict with their soul (their mind, will, emotions)”. 

Virtue is not made in crisis; it is only exhibited.  Crisis reflects our virtue.

Proverbs 24:10 says that we demonstrate what we really are spiritually in time of adversity,

not when things are going smoothly!

 

I was teaching a group of college girls in our home and one of the girls asked my daughter if she considered me to be a virtuous woman.  She hesitated…way to long, and I became acutely aware of my need to take another look at the qualities that comprise the virtuous woman in Scripture!

 Do I consider myself a woman of virtue…of Godly character?

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There is a thief that focuses on robbing us of the best. Time in the Word can be lost to the immediate demands of responsibility and the whirlwind of activity around us. Finding a “War Room” where we can read and pray, uninterrupted, is imperative to maintaining our walk.  Little things can begin to bother us and when people “bump” us, we react selfishly.

 Sound familiar?

 One day away from the Word and I am aware of my desperate need and its crucial impact in my life. Two days of skipping a time of allowing the Word to dwell richly in me and my husband and girls are intensely mindful of my desperate need! 

 What is my response when:

·      I am evil spoken of

·     My loyalty has been betrayed

·     My will is crossed

·      I am forgotten or neglected

·     My friends forsake me

·      I find compromise more inviting than maintaining claimed convictions

 My response reveals to me

 if I am a virtuous woman or a woman of hypocrisy/impurity.

(Impurity is ungodly contamination in any of its forms).

 Which are you?

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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 "What do You Mean... Double-Minded?!"

“A double-minded man is unstablein all his ways”! James 1:8

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Wait!...What??... Unstable…???…

 I am a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, missionary, pastor’s wife,

teacher, author, speaker, etc… BUT the last title I want is… Double-Minded!

 In the Princess Parable Series the story of Princess Hope comes from Matthew 13, The Hidden Treasure.  She is called to “count the cost” if she is to find the REAL treasure!  In her life lesson she learns to focus on God’s promises not the circumstances surrounding her.  Her single-mindednessand loyalty to her grandmother, not to mention her determination with a lot of active creativity, become her constant companions and ultimately bring her reward and blessing.  

 What are the undeniable marks of a double-minded person?  

Transparency reveals a:

·     Fear of examination; fear of being transparent with others; a need to protect reputation

·     Resistance to being vulnerable to the pain of exposure

·      Plastic coating of pride, usually masked under the guise of some form of spirituality

·     Hiding of sin, self and struggle

·      Protection of personal impurities

·       Secretiveness

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Are you double-minded?

 We are to be women of principle with loyal convictions, who cannot be bought and will not compromise.   Loyalty is demonstrated in times of temptation and adversity.  It is the first of 4 basic needs of mankind.  There is a seed of loyalty programmed into each one of us by God.  

 Double-mindedness is disloyalty and springs from an independent spirit.  An unbroken will is a cause of disloyalty and double-mindedness. The fruit is divorce, dissension, division, disharmony, distrust and …

 We listen to double-minded philosophies all the time:

·      I want to serve the Lord, but I don’t want to take responsibility for myself or my life

·      I want to be a disciple, but I don’t want to be inconvenienced or have any discomfort

·      I want to be a servant, but on my own time

·      I have temporal values, but I am totally committed to God

·      I want to be honest, but I don’t want to tell the truth, at least not the whole truth

·      I want to be loved, but I won’t love freely in return or be vulnerable

·      I want to be pure, but I don’t want accountability or to be corrected or examined

·      I want to live morally pure, but I won’t submit my body to my spirit…it feels too good the other way

·      I have a bitter spirit, but I don’t want to hear about it

·      I want to be loyal, but I don’t want to be single-minded!

 “A loyal woman is pre-eminently a woman of one thing.  It is not enough to say that she is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted and fervent in spirit.  She only sees one thing, she cares for one thing, she lives for one thing, she is swallowed up in one thing…and that one thing is to please God. Whether she lives or whether she dies; whether she has health or whether she has sickness; whether she is rich, or whether she is poor; whether she pleases man or whether she gives offense; whether she is thought to be wise or whether she is thought to be foolish; whether she gets blame or whether she gets praise; whether she gets honor or whether she gets the shame… for all this a loyal woman cares nothing at all.  She burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory…   This is what is meant when we speak of loyalty to the cross.”  Bishop Ryle, 1959

 When my life is over, will single-mindedness be my legacy?

 Will I be known as a loyal servant of my God?

 Will you???

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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.