Posts tagged #sacrifice

Jackie's Journey "Never Sacrifice the Permanent on the Altar of the Immediate!"

I heard this quote while in college and I remember the impact it had on me then… and still has on me now.  Life is short…man’s days are determined;(God) has decreed the number of months and has set limits we cannot exceed. Job 14:5 Our time is ordained by God.  We can’t presume on the future and we can’t change the past.

Life is a series of continual choices.  Each choice determines the direction of our developing character.  Convictions make us who we are.  The difference between a conviction and a preference is what it takes to stop us from doing the right thing in the light of what we know is right by what the Word teaches.

We are continually making decisions, both good and bad, that influence our destiny and the direction our children will take when given similar circumstances.  In a world filled with immorality, drugs, alcohol, and compromise at every corner, we are faced most often with the only biblical option…to stand alone.  Standing alone defines our loyalties toward others and also, defines the loyalty others have to us. 

But, most importantly, it defines our loyalty to God.

In a world where having friends, fitting a certain mold for popularity, defining our own values in a world with no eternal values and having to accept the inevitable consequence of our decisions,  often leaves us baffled with only two options…. standing alone on God’s side or the alternative, compromise, which will offer immediate gratification, but the cost will be on the altar of the permanent.   

Which will it be?

 The decision you make will infinitely influence those who are following you…

 Compromise means you sell out what you are…

for what you hope to get.

BUT

What you hope to get is not what you want

because you have been destroyed in the compromise process.

Who you were…you no longer are!

The permanent has been sacrificed on the altar of the immediate!

~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. 

Jackie's Journey: Recalcitrant Priorities!

When I was in missionary Language School, I had a linguistic teacher who had served in Bolivia under the most difficult of circumstances.  Newly married, her husband had been martyred reaching an unreached primitive tribe. She later returned to that village and witnessed her husband’s murderer coming to know Christ!  She had a sense of purpose on her life.  Her name was Jean Dye Johnson. 

She was a continual inspiration to me of God’s wonderful and powerful transformation in a life committed to Him. …  She was a woman who told us that only “God could have changed her selfish heart into a shepherd’s heart”.  She wrote a book called God Planted Five Seeds and the previously untold story of five martyrs…who blazed a trail for Christ in Bolivia, sixteen hundred miles from the spot where five others later laid down their lives in Ecuador.  

She weighed her priorities and recognized the importance of the permanent taking priority over the immediate!  At the University Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said,

“Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.”

I think most of us have a daily battle with this principle.

How many times have we done that….today?!!

 We are forever making choices that tell us what is most important to us.  The continual interruptions are usually the permanent choices we are being asked to sacrifice!

How are you doing with your priorities?  Will you hit your goal?

There are many good books written that address this very issue.  Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest said, “If God is first, God is Second and God is third… there will be no problem.”

The pragmatic application of learning what is permanent in life (those choices that have eternal value) and the immediate choices that bombard our every busy mom thoughts are forever confronting us, demanding attention. 

Priorities presuppose we have defined our goal (what we hope to do to fulfill our life purpose) and we understand who we are and know where we are going…at least the general direction!  There are two kinds of goals: God’s and The Fools!  Proverbs 17:24

Do you believe God has a purpose for your life?

Jer. 10:23 says, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps!”

If we do not direct our steps…who does??

There are only two choices: 

God or The Destroyer

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord (or the devil).  How then can anyone understand his own way?”  Pro. 20:24

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me…” Pro.25: 12

God made us each with personal destiny!

 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do!” Eph. 2: 10

“Who then is the man who fears the Lord?  God will instruct him in the way chosen for him.”  Psa.128: 8

God definitely has a plan and purpose for each of us!  How, then, can we think apart from His determination for our life?

Since God has a divine purpose for us, don’t you think it would be in our best interest to harmonize with His will and purpose by setting Godly goals and priorities… and working toward them? 

Can you find His purpose or set Godly priorities without making the Bible a major part of your life? 

*God Planted Five Seeds can be ordered from New Tribes Mission Bookstore.

Jackie's Journey: The Inspiration of Gratefulness!

 

“Give thanks in all circumstances (inclusive; no exceptions!), for this is God’s will for you…” 1 Thess. 5:19

Recently a missionary friend posted a picture from our New Tribes Missionary school.  It was taken in what we called “the little dorm” in our early years on the field.  In the picture of about 15 children were my two daughters.  Christina was about 4 and in the foreground was a less-than-2-year-old Kim.  The picture was not significant in itself but the fact that I could not recall when my girls could have ever been in that picture was significant!  I literally, burst into tears!

Christina, my eldest daughter, reminded me that they had spent 6 weeks in “the little dorm” after I was flown out of our village with a ruptured appendix.  There was unrest in Panama City (guns in the streets, riots, etc.) and the Military Police were closing the airport!  We were the last fight allowed to land or take off.  I was hastily loaded onto a gurney directly out of the plane and I watched our Cessna take off into the stormy skies with my two little ones inside! 

I was unaware of most of what was transpiring around me, but I knew my circumstance was bad.  I was rushed to the Military Hospital and was rapidly being moved down the corridor, when Ralph heard someone call his name.  He turned to see a Surgeon that we had recently met through our Pucuro partners.  She had been on duty for 72 hours when she caught a glimpse of Ralph in the hall and instantly turned to help us, never leaving our side until she had run tests, completed my emergency laparotomy and safely escorted us to the ICU hours later.  God had gone before us and sent her to us in His perfect timing…

This is the posted picture!  Are these not the cutest missionary children…ever!!

This is the posted picture!  Are these not the cutest missionary children…ever!!

I am emotionally astounded that I was so desperately ill that I did not know where my two little girls were in those first days! My recovery was slow and I ran a low-grade fever for a year after this event.  Wanting to reunite our family as quickly as possible and return to the interior, which was our home, we found ourselves in a quandary because we could not get a release from the doctors to go back! 

As I’m writing this, my past and present merge and the surge of gratefulness is overwhelming!

How many people can you think of offhand who have benefited your life in the past?  Whose name immediately comes to mind?

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 that time and 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 busy field leaders, “adopted us” for another six weeks (!) until the doctors would release us to return 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 mindfulness of:

  • My Unworthiness…and His Holiness!   
  • 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!
  • My Powerlessness…and His Omnipotent Presence, faithfully accomplishing His purpose with my blindness to His silent footsteps all around me!
  • My Desperate Need to express my gratefulness and indebtedness to God and others! 

Do you make it a habit to thank 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 so blessed! 

Will you take time today to reflect glory back to Him… the Author of every blessing?  Let’s take today’s opportunity to acknowledge those who have and are benefiting our lives!

What to get your husband for Valentine’s Day

“My lover is mine, and I am his” Song of Solomon 2:16

Valentine’s Day is so filled with expectations for me!  My love language is “gifts”, so I am anxiously awaiting the perfect gift from my husband that shows that he has listened to me, he has taken notes, he has read my crazy, not-even-sure-what-I-want mind and got me the perfect gift that he has exquisitely wrapped.  Yeah, that doesn’t ever happen.  But for me that is OK this year!  I can get buried and disappointed with the expectations, but this Valentine’s Day I am coming into it with a fresh perspective.

Instead I am going to focus on him.  He always says,  “Remember to think of me, just as much as the kids”!  He says this is what all husbands want.

Okay, I think, what does that look like?

As we prepare for Valentine’s Day and showing our husbands love, I want to go over the Word WIFE and put some meat on those letters.

 W= Our husbands want us to be Wordly-wise.  

When you think of yourself as a wife, would you say you are wise in the scripture?  One gift we can give our husbands is to know what the Bible says about our role as wives.  Not only know it, but live it out.

If I know what the Bible says about being a good wife, I have everything I need to do the job.  If I am walking with the Lord, I know my husband will feel it. I will be praying for him and lifting him up daily.  I have to make sure that I am filled with God’s word daily and use it as a filter for the things of the world.  Because I can’t do it alone!  I want to be the best wife I can be and I can’t do it without GOD!  I can really be ugly on my own! 

I have to ask myself the hard question : How wordly-wise am I when it comes to being a wife?  Do I know and follow all verses that God has given me?  When it comes to being a wife, do I know what God’s charge is to me? 

I have put together a bunch of scripture that tells us about what God says about being a wife.  Listed them for you. Gen. 2:18; Proverbs 31:10-31; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:3-5; Eph. 5:33; Gen. 2:24;  Eph. 5:21-31

Thought to ponder: the OPPOSITE of Wordly-wise is Worldly-wise.

  I = Our husbands want us to be Intentional. 

I am so intentional with my kids.  Aren’t you? I am planning out their activities and their parties, their entire lives!  I am always trying to find ways to tie their heartstrings to mine and that takes so much time and energy.  I have to plan out my day and be intentional with those moments that I have. I am looking for a key to their hearts. 

But am I being intentional with my husband?  Am I planning my day with him in mind?  The gift my husband wants from me this Valentines Day is to plan on how to love him.  What if I were intentional with each moment I had with him? How much would that bless him and make him feel loved?

For Christmas this year, I did the 12 days of Christmas for my husband.  Twelve days before Christmas I began with something each day for him.  3 types of hot chocolate . . . 4 sleeves of golf balls . . . 7 chapters of a book . . . 8 cuffs to wear. . .  9 snacks for work . . . a 10 minute massage . . . 12 socks for his feet, you get the idea.  And you know what the outcome was? My husband LOVED that I thought of him each day.  I was intentional with my time and he noticed.

Thought to ponder: the OPPOSITE of Intentional is IGNORANT to his needs.

 F= Our husbands want us to be FUN!

I want to be the fun mom on the block.   If you are like me, I am constantly thinking of what would be fun for my kids.  I love when they have smiles on their faces.  I find joy in the things that bring them joy.  But my husband is a grown man, he can take care of himself.  I don’t need to worry about him.  He should be thinking of me and how to bring me joy, right?

I know I don’t think that much about my husband and the fun he may or may not be having.  My husband married me first because I was a Godly woman, but secondly because I was fun!  I think there is a degree of the fun button for each husband.  Because in a study of men, their number two need was for us to be a “recreational playmate”.  You are all probably wondering what number #1 was:  Sex!  What exactly does “recreational playmate” mean?  According to the book His Needs, Her Needs by William F. Harley, “A wife needs to develop an interest in the recreational activities that our husbands enjoy and tries to become proficient at them.  If we can’t enjoy them, we need to encourage him to consider other activities that they can enjoy together.  We want to become his favorite recreational companion and he will associate us with his most enjoyable moments of relaxation.  We want him to want to be with us, because our #2 need is conversation.  If we are his recreational playmate, we will get our needs met because our husbands open up and want to talk to us.”

When I was single, I learned to play golf so that I could be his recreational playmate.  Today, I can’t afford the 5 hours it takes to play a round, but we do love to get away and travel any opportunity that we can.  My husband loves date nights, too!  That speaks love to him.  What does your husband like to do?  Can you do this with him?

Though to ponder:  The opposite of FUN is fatigued.  It is impossible to be fun if I am too tired.

  E = Our husbands need an encouraging cheerleader!

I am my kids’ cheerleader.  How about you?  I am  always encouraging them to do their best and helping them through situations that are hard.  I want them to know that no matter what “I’ve got their back”.  I cheer them on in sports, activities, Christmas plays and academics, just to name a few.  I put notes in their lunch boxes, hug them for each mealtime and talk with them as we tickle their back at night.  I listen to them and help them along the way.  What happens when our young men won’t talk to us – only grunt or say “fine”?  What do we do?  We read books on how to draw them out!  Also what does mama bear do when someone hurts our kids or makes fun of them.  What do we do when their reputation is threatened?  We are the ones ready to fire all guns at their accusers.

So now if I think on my husband, do I do all these things for my husband?  Do I listen to him when he is struggling? Do I give him my full attention or am I doing something else?  Do we write him love notes – love emails – put them in his lunchbox?  Do I tickle his back at night to listen to him and encourage him?  So many women say – “but they won’t talk to me!”  Are we drawing them out?  Do we protect their reputation when other people talk about our husbands or are we the ones that are trashing our husband’s rep?  Do we hang out with people that do?  

We no longer can afford to take our husbands for granted.  Remember 65% of all men, Christian or not, will have an affair before the age of forty. Remember there are beautiful, bright, charming or caring women in the workforce in big numbers who are better at seducing your husband than your husband is at being able to resist.  That alone should keep us from taking them for granted.  And many of these affairs start with an encouraging word – something he isn’t getting at home.  It seems harmless to them to love it, but it is dangerous.

Thought to ponder:  The opposite of an encouraging cheerleader is an EXHAUSTING NAGGER! Proverbs 21:19; 27:15; 25:14

Ultimately, my husband wants a helper – a lover – and a friend.  So this Valentine’s Day, I am committed to be his WIFE and think on him as much as I do the children.  Who is with me?

This weekend is Valentines Day!  Won’t you be a Godly wife, intentionally plan something fun for you to do so that you can tell him you are his biggest fan!!!!

Posted on February 12, 2015 and filed under Spiritual Growth.