Posts filed under spiritual growth

Jackie's Journey "Have You Ever Eaten a Rat?!"

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There have been many things I have thought, and sometimes verbalized, that I never wanted to do in life.  Like:

 Ø Never again will I lose my temper…

Ø Never again will I let my fear control me 

Ø Never again set a bad example in speech, attitudes, actions… (everyone would be watching! I can’t protect Hisreputation that way!) 

Ø Never again be a complainer (life is complicated and challenging…get with the program, Jackie, think opportunity!)

Ø Never again think “my first” (followers of Christ can’t be selfish!)

Ø Never again put anything before my time in the Word… (I know how a normal day rolls and there simply has to be time!... Right?!)

 What are the “I said I’d never_________” in your life?

 While living in the jungle we learned to cook with what was available in the jungle! The Kunas would bring us meat in rainy season in exchange for the use of our rifle and three bullets. They rarely failed to take those three bullets and bring home enough to divide up among the entire village!  We welcomed the protein from any and all forms of meat that they offered us.

 One day they returned the rifle with a quarter of white meat that looked unfamiliar, but proved to be sweet and delicious.  Curious, I asked what it was and when could they find it again!  They called it a Neki.  “What does a Neki look like?”, I inquired.  From the description I thought it must be some form of very large rabbit or small deer???  Years later, while visiting the San Diego Zoo, I met the Neki… it is called Capybara…and is a member of the rodent family! 

 As moms, we know we should never say “never or always”!  Those promises just don’t pan out!  We don’t even hear it when we say it!  We do it to our children:

 Ø  I always tell the truth (You cannot have that cookie until after supper ….)

Ø  I never discipline in anger… (I told you …for the third time!)

Ø  I never use a condescending tone of voice that belittles (What’s wrong with you?!…)

Ø  I will always be a mom who encourages first,before I correct (Uh, huh?) 

Ø  I will never make excuses for my disobedience or my child’s (“I’m sorry…I was up with the kids and didn’t sleep last night…I don’t mean to be cross!”  Or “She’s fussy because she needs a nap, diaper change, food…she didn’t mean to do it” ….)        

 We are forever in a theater of war with what we know to be true and what we want others to think of us.  Moms are the leaders in the march through the attitudes and activities that make up our day in the home.   We are giving it everything we’ve got, after all!

  Finding authenticity with God and within ourselves is an exercise worthy of our time and attention.  While we have good intentions and are committed to a standard of personal integrity, we often are deceived by a lie and self-imposed expectations (and our failure to meet those expectations).  Realizing the absolute necessity of living transparent before God and man is our only hope of escaping the “Nevers and Always” in our lives.

 Children are the most susceptible to our expectations and they listen to our, ‘Never do that again!’; I told you to “always put your toys back! “They want to see the Christ of the bible we teach alive in us.  The balance of acceptance, loving discipline with firm admonishment, encouragement, forgiveness, instruction with understanding of consequence and right and wrong…keep us alive in Him…totally dependent.   The opportunities are unending.

There is always the guilt when we fall short.  We don’t aspire to set ourselves up as “pack leader”, but there is no denying its reality when we see our little ones doing and saying exactly what we do and say! They are mute to our verbal instruction but alert to reading us and becoming carbon copies….

 Christina, my first daughter, giving her doll a firm admonition

 that came right out of my mouth!

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 Have I faced the “Always and Nevers” in my life successfully?

My children and grandchildren will totally answer that one honestly!

What kind of influence am I?

 How about you?

Are you the leader He is looking for to guide your children into truth?

Or are you the excuse your children use to do as they please?!

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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 "The Calling of Princess Grace"

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I love the name “Grace”, don’t you?   I have a granddaughter named Grace.  I love it so much we wrote a book about a Princess named Grace who was willing to walk through the danger of the Black Forest and face her fears because of the value she placed on the life of her lost little kitten!  Phil. 2:13 gives us the definition of Grace.  It means the desire and power to do what is right.  God blessed Princess Grace with the willingness and power to keep in harmony with the instruction of her authority…even in times of trouble. This is my prayer today for the prince and princess in your life.

 “LIFE is a stewardship, not an ownership; a trust, not a gift!

With a gift you can do as you please; but with a trust 

you must give an account”!

 “Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight!  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before HISeyes and to HIM we must give an account”! Hebrews 4:13

 Personally, these have always been “call to action”words to me! They have been a strong motivating force in my life.  Those of you who know me, know I am the “little much afraid” in the book ,Hinds Feet in High Places…I am the person who forces herself to walk through the door of fear to find God’s GRACE and freedom on the other side!

 The fact that God is holding me accountable has driven me to take the stewardship of my life:  as a woman, author, missionary, pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother very seriously. This God of love is going to hold me accountable one day…and there will be no excuses, no escape!

 Scripture tells us children are a gift to us that come from the Lord with stewardship.  They are a trust given for a short time and our responsibility for that life is enormous!  Our failure to take that trust and do it God’s way, not our own way in our strength, (which is our natural inclination) will, of course, result in total failure…

 I hate failure!  I am afraid of failure!  I am a failure…apart from Him!

 We, moms, are commissioned by God to guard our every word, thought, action, attitude and motive.

 WHY???  Why can’t we just be “ourselves” and say and do what we want?  

After all, we are thoughtful and mature women!  Right?

 Could it be because we are bent on evil… apart from him?

We are NOT full of Grace… HE is!

We are to: Watch our Thoughts, they become words.

  Watch our Words,they become actions.

  Watch our Actions,they become habits.

  Watch our Attitudes,they become character.

  Watch our Characterfor it becomes our destiny!

 Children are the seeds of all our finest hopes in this life.  They are our heritage. Moms…our children are watching, listening, and learning…we are the first book they read…all the time!  We cannot allow the enemy any entrance into their lives. They deserve the opportunity to grow in grace and to become all that He has predestined them to be for His glory and purpose. 

 Are you a godly steward of the trust you have been given?

in the life of your child?

 What are your children observing?

We all fail… but what is yourpattern??

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I still have the privilege of looking into the face of the most precious Mother that ever lived and I see her responsibility for me wasn’t just those first years until I went away to college…she still “sets the bar” for me at 100!  I continue to watch her words, actions, habits and observe her character… and I listen and learn!  Christina and Kim, my two daughters, are still holding my “feet to the fire” and looking for an opportunity to use me as an excuse for their wrong choices (It’s always moms’ fault, isn’t it?!).  And my seven grandchildren are watching their grandma to see if her God is real!

But most importantly, God has His eyes on me and is listening

 and He is holding me accountable!

 Grace is an attribute of God.  All God’s attributes are active, not passive!

     (Love – gives; Joy- refreshes and is the reward of giving; Peace- governs, etc.…).

 Grace IS NOT:

 God’s passive indulgencein letting us do what we want! (Our present cultural philosophy – everyone is entitled and we are the exception to every rule!).

 God’s removal of consequencewhen His laws are broken! (We reap what we sow!  No escape!)

  Freedom to rejectGods commands!  (God’s laws are NOT a “Smorgasbord” …I like this command; it works for me; I’ll keep it! That one does NOT work for me…throw it out!

 Grace IS:

 The desire, willingness and power to do what God wants!  It is ACTIVE!

 “Be strong in the grace

that is in Christ Jesus.  2 Tim. 2:1

 Is God’s grace ACTIVE in you?

 Have you taken stewardship of your life?

 What about the life of your child?

 When God calls you into account…will you be ready?

 My prayer for you is that, like Princess Grace, you will fulfill your calling, take the stewardship of the trust God has given you in your children, keep in harmony with the instruction of your heavenly authority and lastly, that your little prince and princess will follow your godly example.

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

Jackie's Journey "Words Kill!"

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

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

 This was my friends comment on them:

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

            Thought you would like to hear another review. 

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

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

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

WORDS HAVE POWER!

 Do you speak LIFE with your tongue… or DEATH?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Proverbs 6:2

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

I am reminded of the old adage:

                              Watch your Thoughts, they become words.

                                        Watch your Words, they become actions.

                                        Watch your Actions, they become habits.

Watch your Habits, they become character.

Watch your Character, for it becomes your Destiny.

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

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

Proverbs 18:21

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

Jackie's Journey "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 "Are You Wise in Your Own Eyes?"

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As moms we have the ultimate privilege of having little innocent ones look up to us, think us wise, copy our every move and watch our pattern of responses to life’s situations. 

We nurture them and delight in the fact that we are so needed and well thought of at our young age.  To our little ones everything is new and learning about the world outside is an adventure we readily take with them, carefully exposing tiny hands to the beauty of flower petals, cautiously moving furry caterpillars and catching the wind blowing leaves.  We experience the joy of living through the eyes of these that see only the splendor…then reality hits!

 We don’t live in that world anymore.  We are fraught with the truth of our own reflection in their innocent eyes.  We are in the adult theater of war with the manifestations of our self-importance!  The enemy has blinded us with a pursuit of self-recognition and self-exaltation and a desire to control.  We have become complainers; mothers who pass judgment on God (by judging others!); women of bad attitudes and angry looks; contentious; perfectionists; chatterboxes about ourselves; women consumed with what othersthink; unteachable; sarcastic; devastated by criticism; defensive; disrespectful to our husbands; self-sufficient; irritable; jealous; envious; full of self-pity…you know you best…you fill in the blank!  

 All of these and more are marks of arrogance in the life!  Being wise in your own eyes!  Don’t give approval to your child with a lower standard than God gave us in His Word regarding pride.

 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; 

assuredly, he will not be unpunished.” Proverbs 16: 5

 “There is one character quality that will enable us (to be the moms we are called to be) and all Christ wants us to be.  We cannot come to God without it.  We cannot love God supremely without it.  We cannot be an effective witness for Christ without it.  We cannot love our children or husband and serve others without it.  We cannot (be that model or) lead in a godly way without it.  We cannot resolve conflict without it.  We cannot deal with the sin of others without it.”  

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In short, we must embrace and live out humility in order to truly live and be who God means for us to be.”(Stuart Scott…emphasis added)It is for this reason that God exhorts us through Paul:

 Therefore, I the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner 

worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all HUMILITYand gentleness…Eph. 4:1-2

 “We can have no power from Christ unless we live in the persuasion that we have none of our own.” John Owen We cannot be humble without realization of our areas of sinful pride; calling it by name, repenting in brokenness and reflecting glory back to God. As difficult as the battle between pride and humility seems, the provision to live triumphantly is possible only by His promise and delivery of grace made available to the humble.  “Humility creates the vacuum that divine grace fills.” (John McArthur)  Moment by moment decisively walking a life absent of self opens the door to all the grace needed for humility to grow.

 God’s most powerful illustrations have been in the lives of men and women who knew their weakness, but who learned how to draw on God’s strength!

 Charles Spurgeon taught “every Christian has a choice between

being humble or being humbled”!

 Which will it 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 "Do You Want the Formula for a Successful Life?

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How’s LIFE going for you?

Living in wealth and honor?

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

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

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

What was the formula?

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

 The question was “HOW?”

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

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

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

 The promise that comes with living our life in HUMILITY

and THE FEAR OF THE LORD is 

Wealth, Honor and Life!   

 Who doesn’t want that?

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

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

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

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

 Which will you choose?

 Humility + fear of God = wealth, honor and life  

 OR

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

 A triumphant life or a defeated life

Your choice!

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

Jackie's Journey "You choose...Calm or Chaos!"

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I’m minding my own business…quietly reading through Proverbs… 

and the words “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 tranquility 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 a few weeks ago. 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!

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 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 mother’s, 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.  Mom’s, 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. 

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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 His 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?

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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 "A Treasure Found!"

This little dolly is the daughter of a my dear niece.  She is reading her Princess Parable Grace book from The Princess Parable Series.  I was reminded of the message of the parable in this book and challenged again to live in the blessing of God’s pursuing love, understanding that grace “is the will and power to do what God desires.” Phil. 2: 3  Not my desires with my will in mypower!

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What is it that God desires? What is His will?  

 I certainly know what my will is!  I am tempted daily, multiple times to give in to the cry of what my will wants!  We live in an age where entitlement and personal demands are rampant.  We see it in our homes, relationships, schools, churches and communities.  We saw it in the jungles of Panama.  The human heart is wicked and deceived. Deception believes a lie that begins when our mind and emotions agree on an error and it is fulfilled when we willto do it.  The world is screaming for personal rights…we hear it every day when one of us is complaining!  Contentment is elusive and unattainable by the ungrateful heart.  Whining and “woe is me” has become an acceptable sin! 

 As mom’s, God’s desire is for us to learn to walk in Hisway and to teach our little ones His way.  They learn ourway by watching and listening to us!   We will be held accountable for the spiritual teaching our children receive from us.  Seeing that they are nourished from God’s Word and given godly instruction is within our sphere of responsibility. 

 Many years ago, I sat in a hammock deep in the middle of the Panamanian jungle with my two little princesses, reading to them. Each book I picked up presented a unique challenge. It told a story but did not introduce my girls to a biblical worldview or a character quality they could incorporate into their young lives.  I would purpose to impose these two principles into the pages of every book I picked up in terms they could understand that had eternal values targeted. My heart was burdened for just such a book, not just for myself but also, for other young mothers who needed a tool that would give their little princesses both of these elements with a clear application and a pragmatic understanding of the Word of God.

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My two little jungle princesses! 

 My friend’s little granddaughter is being given the opportunity at a very young age to fall in love with a biblical parable. She will be challenged to respond to God’s pursuing love in the diary of Princess Grace at the end of the book.  Her heart will be inspired to live outside herself and to adopt attitudes that will bring blessing on her life.  This is the book I dreamed of, as a young mom living on the Colombian border!    Jeanna, my co-author, and I are blessed to be able to make “The Princess Parable Series”and now,  “A Royal Easter Story”, available to you and your little princesses.  

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I am an 18” Princes Grace doll!  I am a Limited Edition and now available at 

www.theprincessparables.com

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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 April 29, 2019 and filed under motherhood, announcements, spiritual growth.