Posts filed under character and virtue

Jackie's Journey "The Inspiration Effect!"

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I recently received a letter from a missionary who went through the training with us before we left for the mission field.  My mind flooded with gratefulness as I remembered the influence she had had on my life and how God used her to bring us into a community that was entirely foreign and outside our comfort zone.  I am a city girl and although my heritage is grounded in the heartland, I was apprehensive of this small country town and its established culture.

 Have you ever found yourself in a totally unfamiliar situation

and you are positive you will do or say the wrong thing?

 We were in our last few days of Language School.  We had successfully completed a year of Boot Camp and another year of Language School. Our series of required injections for our targeted mission field were in process and our passports and visas had arrived.  We had been tested for Tuberculosis, given Yellow Fever shots, Tetanus shots, Dengue Fever inoculations, Malaria pills and a small pharmacy had been accumulated for the specific needs of our remote area, etc.…and we were on a fast track to get into the jungles of Panama!  

My husband became aware of a need of one of the mission families and volunteered us to “stop by and check on a family of six children who had just lost their father” on our way back to California.   Christina was almost five months old and that little “stop” saw her celebrate her first birthday in that beautiful Nebraska farming community! 

 During our time there, God confirmed to us that he could and would use us on the mission field and our time there formed the basis of what we are still using to challenge, win, and disciple.  His faithfulness in building His character in us over those months prepared us for the years of ministry ahead of us.  Being adopted by this community allowed us the confidence to keep pressing on!

 One of the valuable lessons that came out of this well-spent time was the fact that I am responsible for my influence, regardless of how I feel or how others perceive me!  My husband, children and now grandchildren, and not to forget everyone I come in contact with every day, are observing and reading me.  “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.” II Cor. 3:2   A Christian woman is a living sermon, whether or not she says a word!

 Will others speak well of my Lord because of me or 

will I be someone’s excuse for a bad attitude or behavior?

 The unfamiliar is a great proving ground for our “real” character! Being conscious of my total dependence and need for Him to live the Christian life through me, rather than being pre-occupied with my failure or “will I say or do the right thing” was liberating. 

 His fruit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (not insecurity!), meekness, temperance…Gal. 5:22-23   When this is NOT my fruit, I know He is NOT living through me!  We don’t always know what to say or do when “in the trenches” with our little ones (or big one’s) but He does!  We often go to friends, counselors and self-help books, looking for answers, while the Bible sits dormant and contains the key!  

 Could we, moms, really make a difference?

Is our influence the catalyst in the behavior of those entrusted to us?

Could our godly conduct control the spirit of our home and bring peace instead of turmoil?

 “Let no man imagine that he has no effect.”  Henry George

 This missionary has no idea how she influenced my life with hers. We are never fully aware of our sphere of influence, but… for better or worse…the influence of our lives carries power… either for the success or the destruction of others!

 “Theselfless person increases the value of every other person 

whom he influences.”

The selfish person becomes the excuse for the person following him.

 Which will you be?

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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 "Chance or Choice!"

 

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving”.  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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“I’m glad for the Bible. It gives me a chance to see how other people chose…and the results.  There’s the contrast between Abraham’s choice and Lot’s choice before Sodom.  There’s Moses’ choice of his fellows rather than the riches of Egypt.  There’s Joseph’s choice in the prison house of Potiphar, and Daniel’s choice of the king’s vegetables rather than his meats.  Paul paid a glorious price when he chose his lot with the early Christians. Christ made marvelous choices when he set his face toward Jerusalem, at the Garden of Gethsemane, and in the Judgment Hall.

 Adam’s choice cost him Eden; Esau’s, his birthright; Achan’s his life; Lot’s, his home and herds; Absalom’s, his father’s throne; Saul’s, his kingdom; the rich young ruler, the companionship of Christ.  Judas lost his apostleship; Demas, his discipleship.  Pilate, Agrippa, and Felix chose wrong and missed immortality. Ananias’ choice fooled no one but himself.  Caleb and Joshua chose well, while Jonah’s first choice nearly shipwrecked himself and the crew….” Robert G. Lee

 As mothers, if asked how do we build the character into our children 

that is necessary for them to make right choices,  

would our answer prove we know how to choose

the things that matter most?

 “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”  William Jennings Bryan

 Life is a continuous series of choices determined by our wise or unwise decisions.  The Bible gives us a pragmatic biblical principle that teaches us that we reap a life with purpose and blessing, if we sow wise choices.  We reap what we sow… The opposite is also true…if we sow unwise choices, we will reap the consequence of destruction on our heritage and ourselves…

 What are you sowing?  What is the pattern of your life?

 Decisiveness is the ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God.  We build decisiveness when we refuse to reconsider or rationalize a decision that we already know in our spirit is the right choice!  “Rationalization is allowing my mind to find reasons to excuse what my spirit knows is wrong!” Romans 2: 21 

Are you a wise decision-maker?

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The opposite of decisiveness is confusion and double-mindedness.   The mother who thinks she can ride the invisible and non-existent fence is fooling herself.   There is no middle or neutral ground.  “…That woman (man) should not think she (he) will receive anything from the Lord; she (he) is double-minded, unstable in all she (he) does”! James 1: 8

 I have never been the fastest decision-maker, but I have a treasured friend who makes me look like the “Road Runner”!  She meticulously finds every pro and con to every decision.  Detailing its purpose, longevity, functionality, and preference in comparison to a multitude of other possibilities.  I, frankly, am honored I made the cut and she has chosen me for one of her closest friends for almost 40 years!  There is one area of her life, however, where she has absolutely no difficulty in making a decision and consistently makes the right one.  Her secret…she is bent on seeking the will of God, above all else, disregarding her own will!  She is single-minded!

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Meet my single-minded friend, Nancy Sanchez

 When facing a decision, check your facts, seek wise counsel and make sure your goals are clearly defined. But most importantly, make sure that Matt. 6:33 is in play first…” Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (His Will!) and all these things will be added unto you”.

“I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.

You are my refuge and my shield.

I have put my hope in your word, oh God.”

Psalm 119: 113-114

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Run...Fire!!"

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

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

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

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

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

God was in that fire!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

controlled by His sovereign will.

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

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "I Hate Conflict!"

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Conflict…the plight of the ages.

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

 Ever been there?

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

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

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

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

 What do you think?

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

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

 Which do you choose most often?

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

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

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“… my heart will be blameless toward your decrees, 

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

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Who Said I Was Lazy??"

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

 Have you ever been there?

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

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

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Slothfulness brings deep sleep; and an idle soul

will suffer hunger” Proverbs 19: 15.

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

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

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

 Would you consider yourself a slothful person?

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

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

 But listen to the 6 symptoms of a slothful mom:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All is not lost! We still can win the race

if we realize the following truths about respecting time:

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

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

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

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

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

 § God determines our days and time is short!

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

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

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

for they quickly pass and we fly away”.

Psalm 90:10.

 We are moms with a purpose and destiny! 

How committed are we to eternal purposes?  

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

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

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

 “So, teach us to number our days, 

that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”

Psalm 90:12.

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

Do you rationalize your need to be held accountable? 

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

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

Or are you preoccupied with your own busy life?

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

 We cannot recover lost time! 

When its gone…its gone!!

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

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

'The Princesses celebrate the Risen Savior

'The Princesses celebrate the Risen Savior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Let’s exchange dry bones for New Life!

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

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

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Thorns and Thistles!"

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

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

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

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

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

Do you live a life selflessly and sacrificially serving others?

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

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

Are your little ones confused?

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

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

Matt. 16: 24

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

  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; 

yet not I, but Christ lives in me: 

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

who loved me, and gave himself for me.” 

Gal.  2: 20

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

Charles H. Spurgeon

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Jackie's Journey "Treasure...Really?...I Want Some!"

 

I love Fall and look forward to it every year.  It is a lesson on death of sorts, but it brings with it the promise of new life to come in the Spring.   “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies….it remains only a single seed, BUT if it dies, it produces many seeds” Jn. 12:24 My humble garden waves goodbye until spring and the fall leaves on the trees surrounding it burst into vibrant colors and then slowly brown and drop to the ground… waving their final farewell!  

 The reference refers to “death to self” for the benefit of others.  However, everything and every one of us faces physical death.  There is no possibility of escape.  It is an undeniable reality!  Godly obedience comes with the promise of long life…but death is inevitable and we are all dying a little each day!  

 What we do with the time we have here, short as it is, tells us what we value most and where our treasure is.  During the “Fall Season of Life” here on earth, we are more mindful to consider that our treasures being stored up are eternal, not temporal.  

Princess Hope’s treasure box that sits on my desk…her book teaches the true meaning of “eternal treasures”…

Princess Hope’s treasure box that sits on my desk…her book teaches the true meaning of “eternal treasures”…

In a society where our monetary treasures are on the cusp of being devalued to nil, the temporal world is feeling pretty insecure.  If we define our “treasure” by worldly standards we are in deep trouble!  

  I was reading in Proverbs 24:4 this morning and stumbled over:

 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

 Knowledge is familiarity gained by insight to (biblical) truth, experience and accumulated acts and reports.

 We are not to envy persons that “linger over wine and sample mixed wine” or to desire their company; for their hearts plot violence and their lips talk about making trouble.” Pro. 23: 30  By wisdom a house is built…by understanding it is established; by knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Prov.24:1 I do not think it is coincidence that these two verses follow one another.  Envy is a robber of the soul.  It is a greed that consumes time and swallows up treasured values. 

 So then, how do we get knowledge so we can acquire “rooms filled 

with rare and beautiful treasures”?

 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge…” Pro. 12:1

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Discipline is accepting suffering as God’s fastest path to growth and giving thanks for it! (Lam. 3:33) The realm of tribulation becomes the home of revelation and the resource of knowledge.

 What??  Who loves discipline???

 We had better love it, accept it, practice it and endorse it because scripture states, “he who hates correction is stupid!” Pro. 12: 1NIV  I already fight stupid!   So for me, it is imperative that I get biblical wisdom, understanding and knowledge because I want the fruit …those ”rooms filled with rare and beautiful eternal treasures.”

So, how does Scripture say I gain knowledge?

 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of KNOWLEDGE.

Prov.1: 7

I need to fear God!

       The present-day Christian cultural message is that there is no need to fear God…He’s a loving God.   Let’s let the Bible define what God means when He writes, “to fear the Lord”.

 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance, 

evil behavior and perverse speech”.  Prov. 8: 13

I need to hate SIN!

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This means no “acceptable sins” permitted:

·     No Deception or rationalizations

·     No Covetousness

·     No Fearfulness

·     No Loneliness

·     No Stinginess

·     No Dominance

·     No Double-mindedness

·     No Disrespect

·     No Slothfulness

·     No Presumption

·     No Apathy

·     No Hypocrisy 

·     No Extravagance

·     No Wastefulness

·     No Anger 

·     No Rudeness

·     No Irresponsibility  

·     Etc.!!!

Are the rooms in your house “filled with rare and beautiful treasure”?

 Why not?

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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 "My Shadow Princess"

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Arturo, Luisa, their family, and their oldest daughter, Anita

 As the plane lifted into the sky, I caught a glimpse of the entire village…waving farewell.  There was one girl who stood in front of the crowd, crying.  I would miss her most of all!  

 That young girl was my nearest neighbor, pictured above…almost as tall as her dad. She quickly became my shadow.  When two-month-old Kim would cry, she would run quickly to get her and bring her to me.  I did not understand her kind action but I always thanked her and stopped whatever I was doing to receive Kim into my arms.  

 Later I would learn what a very special gift I was receiving. The Kuna’s were very accommodating and took turns caring for each other’s babies, freeing mothers to leave the village and go into the jungle to tend their fields for hours. When the baby cried, the first mom to reach the distressed child would comfort and nurse that baby! 

 In our village, some of the mother’s had tuberculosis and “my shadow” had dutifully protected Kim for those early months after our entering Kuna land.  Our permission to live in Pucuro was granted by the Kuna elders. It was specifically given for us to bring medicine to the women who were losing their babies during childbirth and care for the sick.  In those early days, we were oblivious to much of their culture, yet silently God met my “unknown need” through the loving heart of a beautiful Indian princess named Anita.  

 Like Jacob of old in the “barren and howling waste of the desert”, “He (God) shielded us and cared for us, He guarded us as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them on its pinions.”  (Deut. 32:10-11)  The eye of an eagle can detect a rabbit or fish from over a mile away!  How much more is the protective eye of God on those who walk with Him.   

 What is your understanding of God’s protective hand? 

                         Did you know it comes with a condition?  

 “Dear friends,if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases Him.”  1 John 3:21   Promises given in Scripture are generally followed by a condition.  

 Living under the divine protection of the Almighty God is a promise guaranteed, if we choose to walk by His standards and not our own.    Knowing He is invisibly working on our behalf when we are totally unaware of our need is a magnificent reality to comprehend when finally revealed in the light!  And it is a daily reminder to “walk our talk” so our heart does not condemn us.

  “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; 

                    and the Lord shall cover him all day long…”.  Deut. 33: 12

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on March 18, 2019 and filed under motherhood, spiritual growth, character and virtue.

Jackie's Journey "Jonah...HELP!"

 

If you have not heard the Story of Jonah told by the daughter of Lindsey Douglas, you are in for a treat!  Listen to the heart of a precious child who makes this blog very understandable! 

 

http://www.vimOeo.com/16404771  

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It was not the sin and corruption of the Ninevites, although those were great.  It was not the graft-ridden police force or corrupt politicians.  It was not the false cults and religions.  The biggest obstacle to the salvation of Nineveh was found in the heart of a pious, prejudiced man named Jonah!  There was no deceitfulness in all of Nineveh like the deceitfulness in Jonah’s heart. Jonah was the key to the salvation of Nineveh.  God’s people are the key to the spiritual climate of our nation and the world.”   George Sweeting

 Deceitfulness comes from a secret lust.  It is a result of a long sin pattern.

Jonah was foolish enough to argue with God!  He thought he could run away from God…

 Do you ever feel that way? 

 Jonah deceived himself! His prejudice against a people he was called to preach repentance caused his downfall.  His job was to take the message of God to Nineveh, the capitol of Assyria.  The Assyrians were old enemies of Israel and he was not fond of these people and did not want salvation for an enemy, among other things.  So he decided to run from God…

 Have you ever felt the call of God to do something that was inconvenient

or outside your comfort zone?

 Did you rationalize your situation and argue with God or did you instantly obey?

 Rationalizing the clear “prompting voice” away is difficult the first time, but gets easier as we pass the responsibility onto another person or time causes the prompting voice to almost disappear.  Rationalizationis nothing more than allowing my mind to find reasons to excuse what my spirit already knows is wrong.Rom. 2:21

 Jonah was disobedient to God’s request and he reaped the consequence.  His willfulness not only caused problems for him but for others…sin has a way of doing that!

Do these work for you?

Do these work for you?

It is obedience to all the Ten Commandmentsor none of them. 

If we disobey one, we disobey all!

 We only deceive ourselves by believing the lies that come with rationalizing our sin:

I will do it later…

I am too busy right now…

I will only eat one bite!

I can stop any time I want…

I can do it myself and I can do it my way…

I exercised poor judgment…

I made a mistake…

It was poor communication…

I couldn’t help it…

Nobody’s perfect…

I just can’t help myself… 

It wasn’t that bad!

I am a victim of my circumstances…vs. I totally take full responsibility

You fill in the blank…what excuse do you use most frequently…?

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Jonah missed the blessing by disobeying God.  He repented but his sin still carried a consequence.  

 How do you reply when God speaks to you?

Do you instantly respond to the initial promptings of His Spirit

or do you silently argue with God, rationalizing?

 Obedienceis following God-given instructions under the protection of God-given authority so the one being served will be fully satisfied. Like Jonah, God gives each of us a choice multiple times…daily.  

11 Cor. 10: 15  

 Do we answer God’s call like the little girl responded on the video?

 “I’m listening…I’m on my way!” 

Someone said “An intelligent person can rationalize anything, a wise person doesn’t try!!”