Posts filed under spiritual growth

Jackie's Journey "Grateful and So Blessed!"

 Meet my niece, Olivia celebrating God’s gift of Fall!

Meet my niece, Olivia celebrating God’s gift of Fall!

Were you wondering what we did when the doctors would not release me to return to our village?  We were desperate to return to the only “home” we knew in Panama…

BUT God had another plan

 Gratefulness is recognizing the benefits, which God and others have provided.

From the pilot risking his life to save mine to the missionary families who sacrificially opened their hearts and homes to us to see me recover, my heart overflows with inexpressible thanksgiving for their generosity toward our family during this conflicting time in our lives. 

 Gratitude is the memory of the heart! 

It is said to be the parent of all the other virtues. 

My gratitude for those members of the field

that picked up the slack and totally covered

for me is overpowering.

 Norman and Barbara Slaymaker were the “little dorm” parents at the time of my emergency flight and surgery and they took the loving responsibility of my babies for six weeks after our pilot, Scotty, and his wife, Mary, filled the gap in those first few days in Panama City.  After leaving the hospital, John and Ruth Jenkins, our very busy field leaders, “adopted us” for another six weeks (!) until the doctors would release us to return interior to our post!  What a tremendous weight we must have been…a family of 4 for months!!! 

 My memories are scattered and few.  I isolated myself into a survival mode.  I really thought I was going to die.  I had no time for tears and cannot remember even wanting to cry during those weeks, although I am sure I must have and those whose care I was under would readily attest that I did!  My heart cannot express the genuine gratitude that is flooding my eyes and consciousness as I write this!  I am mentally rehearsing the personal cost of the missionary families that encouraged me during those days and blanketed me with prayer and hands of intervention!

 Why this flood of overwhelming gratefulness?  Why now?  What is it about life that at unexpected moments God opens our awareness to the magnitude of His Sovereignty, Majesty, Grace and Mercy on our behalf?

 I am sitting here with a keen sense of:

Ø  My Unworthiness…and His Holiness!  

Ø  My Pretense of thinking I have any kind of control in this life (other than to choose to walk with Him)…and His complete and encompassing Rule and Protection!

Ø  My Powerlessness…and His Omnipotent Presence, faithfully accomplishing His purpose with my blindness to His silent footsteps all around me!

Ø  My Desperate Need to express my gratefulness and indebtedness to God and others! 

 Do you make it a habit of thanking God and others

for the many things in life that others take for granted?

 I would like to express my gratitude to you for joining me each Monday morning and for your encouraging words.  I am like Olivia…so blessed!

 Will you take time today to reflect glory back to Him

for His faithfulness to you…

the Author of every blessing? 

 Let’s take today’s opportunity to acknowledge those

who have and are benefiting our lives!

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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 Journney "The World's Changed...Try to Keep Up!!"

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All of us have the need to be relevant in every generation.  Something in us wants to make a difference. The effectiveness of all advertising is based on this premise.  We hear the younger saying,  “The world’s changed…try to keep up!”

As a young missionary in my 20’s my children needed me, my husband needed me, the tribal people needed us, our ministry was consuming and fulfilling, etc.  I looked to those older than I was and saw the need to glean from their experiences.  I had an unpretentious sense of relevancy!

 For 5 years in our 30”s we found our relevance in…pastoring, evangelizing, teaching, mentoring small groups and “trouble-shooting” in our home church.

 We weren’t in that “older” group yet!

 Returning to the field, still in our 30’s, we were busy dorm parents to 15 young people at the Mission School.  We had the “big dorm” and we were blessed with students from five families.  Our need to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6) and the ministry in the local Chame community kept us relevant…………... we were still viable!

 In our late 40’s our girls were in their teens and would soon start college.  Christina attended Biola and would bring her friends from school and church to meet us.

 We were becoming the “older” group that had more experience”!

 When asked to mentor a group of young college girls I excitedly responded believing God would give relevance through His Word.  Eventually a group of their prospective husbands took form, which my husband taught!  We were busy church-planting Spanish-speaking churches and over the next 15 years we saw God raise up seven young churches in Southern California, Mexico and Panama.                

 God’s was still using us!

 Still relevant to our culture and generation in our 50’s, even honored for our faithfulness to our God and His calling on our lives, we actively taught in English and Spanish. 

Now we were really in that “older” group and yet…

 God continued to open up opportunities to serve Him.  We had 7 grandchildren and they were magic!  Still church-planting, called to speak, teaching multiple mentoring groups weekly, trouble-shooting with young couples, and writing The Princess Parable Series were all welcomed responsibilities! 

 In our 60’s we watched our tiny grandchildren grow like my garden weeds (really fast!!) and they now stand taller than I do!

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Keeping relevant is an absolute pre-requisite to maintaining the open hearts of our grandchildren!  Finding that conversational relevance in a “generation time warp” is a prayer-filled occupation of mine!

 Now… here is the rub.  The world’s younger generation looks at “age” and determines its value.  Consequently, they, then, turn their attention to the more appealing relevance of younger mentors, pastors, and teachers, rather than the older generation.   

 We are, after all, each expendable to the more like-minded,

trendier, faster moving and thinking generation!

Can’t you hear it?  “The World’s changed…try to keep up”!

 God never changes…cultures do, ideologies do, and philosophies do…

 Relevance is a basic need to stay connected.

It is tied directly to an understanding of God and His inerrant Word!

 Scripture never changes!  It is always…relevant!

 Our present day cultural insurgence has been saturated in a declining morality of divorce, abortion, pornography, social-acceptance determined by social tolerance, adoption of the “acceptable sins” (you know…demanding personal rights, entitlement-I deserve this!, wrong attitudes, anger, deplorable speech, actions etc.).

 The young are bent on convincing their offspring to:

(1)  “Stand up for yourself; Be more aggressive” – disregarding God’s command to follow His example of serving others… first.

(2)   “Look for your own path in life” –disregarding the instruction in the Word to look for the Will of God…first

(3)   “Claim your rights; you are entitled” – disregarding God’s command to yield all your rights to Him… first.  No anger for your personal benefit.

(4)  “Be first “ at everything  - disregarding God’s command to make others successful…first!  

(5)   “Live in the Now” - disregarding kingdom teaching. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God….and all these things will be added unto you”. Matt. 6:33

 In a day when our culture is being eroded from within, our godly history is being re-written and the Word of God is being ripped of its inerrant integrity, we need relevance for our day if we are to present truth that promotes change.

 What can we offer that people need?

 We ask ourselves that question whether overtly or subliminally every time we come in contact with another person.  We are relevant when we discern the need of the individual we are speaking to and risk whatever it takes to meet that need for the other person’s success.

 It is not age that makes us relevant…it is His life in us as we aggressively stand up with Godly conviction and step into the space He puts us in… wherever, with whomever that may be!

 The purpose of relevance is to keep the truth of God’s Word

alive in us for the benefit of others!

 Will you make yourself relevant today in the life of someone who is in need?

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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 "Me...Invisible?"

          My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long-life bring understanding?” Job 12: 12

 The “Mom Song” on Youtube is the voice of the ever diligent, often-unheard,

invisible Mother.

(www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lep8WE6bqwM)

 However, there is another category of individuals that are even more imperceptible…

 Regardless of our involvement in the lives of our children and grandchildren, they reach an age of development (if we have done our job) where their need for us lessens.  They now have their own friends and activities that occupy the time that was once ours!  Life is a whirlwind of academics, team sports, community outreach, horses, piano lessons, theater and musical practices and performances, tennis coaches and tournaments, swim practices and meets, church youth group activities, bible studies, revivals, camps, etc.…!

 Finally, one day… they get drivers licenses, go to college and get married!

 Keeping pace with all of this is a tremendous challenge…for all of us!  I am a grandmother of seven; my mother is a great-grandmother of 25 great-grandchildren! She lives on her own, cares for herself and is alert with a memory that would put an elephant to shame!  She gives new meaning to the verse in Job 12.  There are very few topics that have applicability to our everyday life, that if asked, she cannot wisely put in perspective, yet she often feels invisible and speaks of her sense of loneliness and need to keep relevant.

 I have thought about her statement and Job’s proclamation and wondered why in our 21st century culture the advanced in age feel they are being set to one side, listened to less and invisible in a large group of the younger generation.  

 These vital soldiers have earned their place among those that should be the most honored, respected and valuable in our culture. Titus 2: 3-5 admonishes “the older women to be reverent in the way they live and to train the younger..”  There is so much to be gleaned from these seasoned veterans that have gone before us, paving the way.  We will quickly step into the print they have left behind!

 Our local churches defer to the younger generation. The young fill the jobs in women’s ministry and teach the even younger.  They no longer turn to the older generation.  They have been replaced with quick and empty answers found in the latest technology, social media and their peers.

 BUT…“Is not wisdom found among THE AGED”?

 While in Panama, our good friends, the Jenkins, a couple with perfect pitch and harmony, put this definition below to music.  I have been humming it for years and sing it out loud when my natural inclination to think “I’m all that!” overrides what Scripture says should be the godly point of view!

 “Reverence is acknowledging that God is using in my life, people and events to produce the character of Christ in me”.  It is wisely looking at life’s situations (all of them!) from God’s point of view, not my own,

 THENthe warning:

Soooo… be wise my son (daughter), heed my instruction (instantly placing myself in harmony with Him and His will and directives), leave that road that leads to destruction, hallow my name (don’t walk in shame)…Proverbs 23: 17,18

 I want to be a wise mom, wife, grandma and whomever else I am purposed to be.  That means I am commissioned to look at all of life’s situations from God’s point of view and get out of His way. There is no way I can produce reverence and wisdom apart from Him.  He uses the people and events in my life to produce His character in me!  My job is to wisely yield all circumstances with a grateful heart, regardless of how it looks, seems or feels to me.  He knows what He is doing…It’s His plan…

The reward is Wisdom!

Will you join me in applying reverence to your life?

It’s a win…win.



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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 November 5, 2018 and filed under Character and Virtue, spiritual growth, Motherhood.

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 "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 "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.