Posts tagged #peace

Jackie's Journey: Calm or Chaos?!


I’m minding my own business…reading through Proverbs… and “quarrelsome wife” keeps popping up on the pages!

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife”. Proverbs 21: 9 

Just ten verses later…”Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome or ill-tempered wife.”  And in the next few chapters…”Better to live…” an exact quote of Proverbs 21:9!!

How important is peace to you?

With chaos all around us (wives and mothers), what would it take for us to maintain a calm peace in our homes?  We just celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday. A day set aside to encourage us in our commitment to our families. We are reminded of our role and responsibility to be all God has called us to be.  It takes two to quarrel and whether you live with a good listener or an argumentative person, it requires your participation to induce a “quarrel”.  No great revelation, but a great challenge for those of us who have our own opinion and think that opinion has value enough to be verbalized.

Most attempts at resolving an argument are fought on the battleground of confessing the sin of the other person, rather than acknowledging our own.  No one ever wins an argument!  Our energy, limited as it often is, is spent recklessly.  Our focus is on our need to be right or to have a sense of personal value or to correct a false accusation, rather than the need to know God’s perspective and stepping into the classroom of life and growing-up!  

What value does our argument have in the light of eternity?

 How will it profit His life in us? 

In the heat of the moment the issue seems important, maybe even life-changing.  Our perspective is often clouded by our self-life, personal desires and expectations.  We are held captive by a force (Satan) pushing us to get our way or have the understanding we think we deserve from our husbands to validate our worth.  Self is demanding its rightful position in the relationship.  Satan stands back and just laughs!

God’s design from the beginning has been to use our inability to resolve issues to draw us to a place where we hear His voice alone.  There is no argument worth sacrificing our peace with Him; no right or expectation is as important as pleasing Him in all our thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.  Our weakness in being able to discern the greater need of identifying the real source of our disagreement and resolving issues more quickly, demonstrates our immaturity. “For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”  Phil 2:21

Laying down our demand at the moment and sensing His quiet voice of peace in the chaos of our situation is what His life in us is programmed to do!  As mothers, it is easy to lose focus temporarily, and none of us is immune to its pull, but the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts (plural) and minds (plural) when we choose to bring Phil. 2:1-3 into focus in that moment of decision before the climatic altercation gets a foothold.  Moms, this promise we can “take to the bank”… every time!

The promise is the “God of Peace will be with us” if we put into practice that which we have learned or received or heard or seen from Him.  Our little ones (and big ones!) are watching and listening to see if we “walk our talk” in the things we say to them to resolve their issues when they are arguing. 

Do they see God at work or hypocrisy with no hope?

Finally, sisters, “if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ or any comfort from His love or any fellowship with the Spirit or tenderness and compassion, then make His joy complete by being like-minded, having the same spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition and conceit but in humility [not self-defense or rationalizations] consider the other person more important than yourself.”

 However difficult this exercise is when in the thick of an argument, this is the admonition and solution to avoid whatever we feel is more important than maintaining our peace with Him!

Our choice:  Peace or Chaos!

Which will you choose?

~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: Conflict

Conflict…the plight of the ages.

My husband tells me conflict is “confessing another’s sin instead of your 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 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 it depression and failure.  It lies to us about our value.  It leaves us discouraged… 

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.  Psalms 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 results in conflict.  My response to a 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 wars among societies to crossed wills with a two year-old child!  We are specifically addressing conflicts in relationships with an emphasis on how can I avoid a conflict!?

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?

If 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 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 often 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?

“… 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.  

~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. 

Finding the Silver Lining

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4

How easy is it for you to find joy or the “silver lining” in every situation?

What exactly is a silver lining? 

Looking up into the sky right before a storm, I can often see dark clouds passing overhead. As they get into position and do their job of creating rain, they also block the sun. When I look closely at the edges of those ominous clouds, I can see the sun shining around the edges, like a silver lining.

Difficult times come to each of us.  As someone once said, “It is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ they will come”.  When the dismal clouds cover over your life, what do you do?

I continue to learn when trials come there is ALWAYS a silver lining.

Every time. 

I can find something to be grateful for.  During this difficult time of finding cancer again, I find it is easier to be less stressed than the first time.  We have done this before and we will do it again.  I find I am less hesitant to let people help me and I am more able to take the rest God is providing in the midst.

Here are a few things that keep me grounded and focusing on the “silver lining” during my times of trial:

  1. I journal gratefulness.  Each day, I make myself find 10 things to be grateful for.  They have to be “new every morning”, and I don’t allow myself to pull points from yesterday.  This God-inspired ritual helps me see the goodness in the midst of the pain.  I have had surgery and am recouping, but the silver lining is more time to spend with friends who visit and to rest with no agenda.  I have to eat a very simple fare - which is a challenge at times - but the silver lining is in eating the food God made for us, I am the weight I should be.  There is always something to be thankful for.
  2. I remember God’s miraculous power.  I was a miracle not once, but twice now.  As I study God’s word and live out the plan He has chosen for me, I find joy in seeing his miraculous power.  He is able to do anything.  I am grateful for the many answered prayers, but even in the unanswered prayers I am confident that He is God, no matter what.  The silver lining is being able remember who God is – His power, His goodness and His love.
  3. I get out in God’s beauty.  Nothing grounds me more than being in nature.  I feel connected to God’s majesty and to the ages past.  Nothing seems as big of a deal when I am sitting on the beach listening to the waves or hiking in the mountains near a waterfall.  Suddenly, my worries slip away, and I am able to focus on who God is and who I am not.  This is the silver lining found in trials.  A truth I often forget is: God never intended for me to take all my burdens on my shoulders.  He has it all under control.
  4. I seek out peace and tranquility.  For me, this is Sabbath rest.  To find a shalom in every day allows me to rest in who God is.  The silver lining of trials is that I seek this.  I crave it!  For me, it looks like a quiet house in the morning before I wake up, scrapbooking my family memories or a stolen coffee shop hour to study or write.  Peaceful times to hear what God is saying and hear my own heart’s worries in the light of His goodness.
  5. I embrace God’s community.  During difficult times, friends abound and rush to your side.  Nothing brings out the best in people like the “C” word.  In the past, I may have acted like I can do all things myself.  Now I allow myself to take the break when people give it.  To really love and embrace those who are wanting to pray for me.  I have a tendency to feel embarrassed that I always need to be prayed for.  It does get old.  But the silver lining in a trial is the blessing of Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth to help in these times.

These are my silver linings in the midst of cancer battle.  I just have to say this is a battle that the Lord is winning, too.  In my heart and mind, I am being transformed into more of who He wants me to be.  My body is healthy and fit.  I have no idea what the future holds, but, my friends, neither do you.  So take those times of difficulty today – a crying child, a health issue or a financial difficulty, and focus on the “silver lining”.  The evil one doesn’t like it when we do this.

What are ways you focus on the “good” in the midst of the “bad”?