Posts filed under character and virtue

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 shepherds 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? 

 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! 

 At the beginning of the year we tend to take note of our priorities.  Priorities presuppose we have defined ourgoal (what we hope to do to finish the course that year and does our life have purpose?).  We like to think 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?

“I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; 

it is not for man to direct his steps!” Jer.10: 23

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

Here again, 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?


~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. 



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


Jackie's Journey "Inexplicable Agony" Part 2



“When God wants to bring more power into your life, He brings more pressure.”

A.B. Simpson

My husband’s increasing pain with no resolve from his visit to the village down river had become a constant pre-occupation.  Pressure, by definition, is a continuing opportunity for others to observe our true character.

 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

II Corinthians 4: 17

Our appointment at the Center for Disease Control was early and to get into the Lab we needed to walk past a zoo-like structure that enclosed a number of caged odiferous monkeys. 



They were loud and aggressive as we made our way to the foyer.

We were greeted by two of the staff that led us down a long corridor to a small room with jars of unspeakable contents lining the walls.  After a series of tests and reviewing the hospital reports, these research doctors, who had been so kind to us, both had smiles of success on their faces. 

 “As incredible as this may seem, Ralph”, they started their calm but deliberate explanation, “somehow, you have broken into a cycle only seen in animals, specifically horses.  You have Strongeloides, a parasite that burrows into the intestinal wall… and eats it!  The reason the Coca-Cola gave you relief is because the parasite would not burrow its head in those few moments because they feed on sugar.  So you were able to sense a temporary relief. This particular parasite is literally eating your intestinal wall!!” 

 Looking for a source of entry, one doctor asked to see Ralph’s feet.  Ralph’s heels were deeply cracked and the parasite had entered into his system directly from the contaminated soil in the Choco settlement he had recently visited!  As interested as Ralph was in the entire explanation, he is, after all, a “just gimme the bottom line” man. All he really wanted to know was “how do we kill these creatures?!”  

 The good newswas that there was a treatment…but…it was for horses!  The bad news was they did not know if it would work on a human…or even…kill him?! They were very careful to explain that under no circumstances was he to take more than one teaspoon a day because the medicine was so toxic.  

 We needed to stay in Panama City another week for them to run a last test to see if the medicine had worked.  After three days and no relief, Ralph looked at the girls, and me, and said,  “It’s me or the bugs!”  He, instantly, took the bottle, turned it upside down, emptying its entirety into his mouth!  My heart started pounding…

 Who does that???

 He seemed fine for the first hour or so, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Then, abruptly, he became agitated and turned into the Hulk!  Literally…he grabbed my arm and yelled something unintelligible.  His wild eyes looked like the man who had broken into the borrowed house for cocaine a few days earlier!  

 What had he done?!

This strong, gentle man had become forceful and alarming.

 Fortunately, we were still in the city, but it was too late to call the the Lab.  When morning broke we loaded into the borrowed vehicle and headed back to Gorgas Lab to see if Ralph had done something irreparable!  He, however, was excited to let the doctors know that the massive dosage of the toxic vial had made him a crazy man …but had not killed him!  The real issue: Did it kill the parasites?!   

 “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?  

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?  Why should any living man complain…”  

Lamentations 3: 37-39

 Needless to say, the doctors were horrified and shocked that he had taken the whole bottle, but were grateful that he had survived!  They were anxious to test him for the parasite.  We sat silently waiting for the test results.  If the parasites lived through the toxic exposure there was no other treatment known to help us. 

They quietly re-entered the room …gleaming!

 Ralph had lived… and the bugs had died!!

 During those days of excruciating pain, never once did Ralph complain.  He was not suffering…just ask him!   He gave thanks continually and even at his worst, submitted to the will of God.

 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; 

he will not be visited by harm”

Psalm 19: 23

 Pressure is the great tester of our spiritual condition…  and “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”  (Wm. Booth)  

 How do you respond to pressure?


~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 December 31, 2018 and filed under motherhood, Spiritual Growth, character and virtue.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 God’s was still using us!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

trendier, faster moving and thinking generation!

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

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

 Relevance is a basic need to stay connected.

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

 Scripture never changes!  It is always…relevant!

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

 The young are bent on convincing their offspring to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 What can we offer that people need?

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

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

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

alive in us for the benefit of others!

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


~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 "Little Much Afraid or Courageous Warrior?"


All of us want to be warrior moms, equipped to

alter the direction of our future and those little ones who follow us!


I am the least likely to be involved in foreign tribal missions or to author a series of Princess Books or anything else… because I am, ALSO…the one who crusades against her paralyzing fear.

How many of you have read, “Hinds Feet in High Places”?  Well, …meet little “Much Afraid”!  My fear has always been connected to my failing someone’s expectation …mostly God’s and of course, the fear of the unknown (as a young mom…raising my girls in the jungles, tribal people, isolation, vampire bats, huge hairy spiders, 13” scorpions…)!  

I have a recent testimony of a young mom who has lived the majority of her parenting life worried that she is failing, scared that she is not doing enough, being enough or giving enough!  Always comparing herself to the success of others…

 Do you ever fear failure… as a mom… a wife…?

Just the responsibility of equipping our little ones

to survive victoriously in this perverse culture

should strike fear in our hearts!!

 Coming to understand, that I need to fear only two things…has freed me to walk thru that door of dread…instead of running the other direction (my natural inclination)!!!

 Can you guess what those two things might be?

1. The fear of God, who faithfully brings me to a particular: point, place or circumstance…to mature me spiritually…

  2. The fear of the consequence of sin!     Not failure… !

 When you fear God you fear the consequence of sin!

 When asked, “If you are so afraid, Jackie, WHY did you go into the jungles to open up a work among an Indian group that had never been reached before?” 

My answer is simple… “That the lamb of God might receive the reward of His suffering!”   I was aware of the need…I was compelled to go…FEAR AND ALL!

 “To Him who knows to do right and does not do it to him it is sin!  Jas.4:17

 Focusing on “walking thru that door of fear with Him”,… allowing Him to live and lead through me was more scriptural and liberatingthan focusing on what happens, if I fail and bear the prideful guilt of thinking… I should have done better …or done nothing at all!  “The highway of fear is the shortest route to defeat.” Wm. L. Brownell

                     Fear is wrong focus!    Trust in the wrong person!

 One sultry day in the jungle I was sitting at my rustic desk crying when our partners walked in and asked, “What happened?”  I proceeded to pour out my heart and confess how I was a total failure as a mother, wife, and missionary. 

 To my astonishment, my friend just SMILED and agreed with me saying, “Jackie, you are a failure“!


He proceeded with…BUT the good news is: You are now in perfect position to receive the grace of God with its power to live victoriously!”  ONCE I GOT PAST THAT UNANTICIPATED SMILE(!)… I began to process the biblical truth and he was right.  I could offer God nothing.  Apart from His empowerment, on my own, “so to speak” - trying, striving, bent on achieving… 

I am a ROYAL failure!

 BUT THAT FAILURE has become my best friend over the years because I now had a recognizable signal when afraid and I could get out of God’s way so HE could do what I was unable to do! 

“His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in MY weaknessIn failure! 2 Corinthians 12:9  

My Husband, who calls it like it is… says “my weakness” is really “my strength in evil”!!  Whatever it is called…I was free…at last…I could surrender to His leading and allow His strength to be made perfect in my weakness.  I was finally at peace!

 Where do you find your strength?


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

Posted on October 29, 2018 and filed under character and virtue, Motherhood, Spiritual Growth.

Jackie's Journey "Are You a Wise Person?"



Do you consider yourself to be a wise mom?

 We each hold value systems that form our basic philosophies.  These we purpose to pass on to our children through goals we set for them.  Our desire is that they wisely hold our most highly valued principles.  As caring moms, our goal should be nothingless than to produce wise children who are self-motivated to do good and hate evil. 

 Where do we begin...?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of WISDOM and to fear the Lord is to hate evil.

 I, Wisdom, hate pride, arrogance, evil behavior (rebellion) and perverse speech.”

Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 8: 13

What is a wise child?  How would you recognize one?

Foolish children are easy to spot!

 When Wisdom calls…LISTEN!

“Wisdom is seeing life’s situations from God’s point of view and acting in harmony with Him”. (ATIA)  We will recognize wisdom in our child through his or her attitudes, words, and actions!       

Knowing God and knowing our responsibility in life does not guarantee we will be successful in parenting!  If we do not know how or what to do…we are lost.  Most moms have teachable hearts that want to understand God’s instruction. Some even demonstrate a desire to honor God with a wise decision-making process regarding the manner of child development by adhering to God’s Word and voice of instructiion when He calls!

Children are to bring us REST and to DELIGHT our soul!

Discipline your son or daughter and he will give you PEACE;

he will bring DELIGHT to your soul”. Proverbs 29:17

Do your children bring delight to your soul?

Do they bring you peace and give you rest?

 Wisdom knows the right path to take.  Integrity is taking it!

We want wise children with integrity!

 When our girls were not bringing us “rest” or “delighting our soul” we knew WE were failing in our training.  My life was not that much different than yours…lots of activity and responsibility and never enough time!  We were convinced, as you are, that our success as parents would come from making our children successful.  If they weren’t, we weren’t!

When we take responsibility for our child’s behavior then we are in a position to change it!  This is called Discipleship…the key to training.  The goal of raising a wise child should be to develop godly character. 

“Godly character is developing right attitudes that produce right actions, habitually”. (RJ)

This involves the need for consistent “attitude training” which educates the spirit of a child, as well as the will. (Ask:  Was it kind? Was it considerate?).  It brings integrity back into focus by replacing the “action-response” teaching  (Mom said, “don’t do that! Don’t touch! Stop it, I said don’t touch…no…no”)!

Action-response” teaching has this sequence:

Ø  Warning

Ø  Warning

Ø  Elevated tone of voice

Ø   Threat added for emphasis

Ø  No consequence and no resolution

 This sequence cultivates REBELLION!  God hates rebellion…

“For rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft…”!  I Samuel 15: 23

 Developing character in our little “prince and princesses” presupposes that WE are wise women of godly character!  “We are known and read by our children all the time…” I Cor. 3:2.  There is no hiding our true character…they read our spirit!

Do you know the test for measuring your own character??

 Character is revealed by what we do in secret and

Maturity is revealed by what we do with our free time.

 What do I do in secret?   What do I do with my free time?

 Abraham Lincoln said, “There is just one way to train a child in the way he should go

and that is to travel that way yourself!”

 We are an example or we are an excuse!!

Which are you?

 Children learn what we are first, through our attitudes; then, what we teach them.  Training is first discipleship and then learning! Our job is to cause that learning in our child by lovingly training them to submit to our authority so they can be taught. 

A child that is not under control of his/her authority is preoccupied

with resisting that authority and he/she cannot receive teaching!

The child that resists authority IS the teacher!!

When the course of action you are using has the goal of developing godly character through attitude, not action, training, the child will mature with wisdom, balance and will understand purpose in his or her life. 

 What course of action are you on?


~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 "Got Any 'Gray' Areas in Your Life?"


What is your philosophy regarding those “gray “ areas of life?  You know…the amoral things we face daily that are so pervasive in our current culture… Think of all the areas that are presently acceptable in our Christian community; maybe not acceptable in your individual world, but rampant in this fallen world.  Let’s name a few…aggressive driving and behavior that demands the “right to the road”, “Christian” swearing, living with unresolved relationships, overuse of our current social media platform, concealed bitterness, body piercings, “tats”(tattoos), brunch with alcohol, drug use, pornography, divorce on unscriptural grounds…veiled sins of all kinds…

There are many decisions in life that are not clearly right or wrong and have not been explicitly defined in scripture.  Some of the above-mentioned choices are clearly defined sin, some are not.   However, the point is that each decision we make in life is based on whether it is good or evil for us (or someone else that is following our example!).  These are the choices that are left to our spiritual maturity and discernment.  Spiritual maturity is based on discerning good from evil…not human reasoning over “gray” areas.  As moms, our decisions are determined by choosing a life of selflessness for the benefit of making those little eyes watching us more successful than we could ever be.  “The path of the just is as a shining light…” Proverbs 4: 18”  

“This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all!” I john 1: 5   God condemns any darkness!  “Gray” is a mixture of darkness and light!

 What does that tell you about “gray” areas?

“You know our foolishness, Oh God; our guilt is not hidden from you. 

May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of us?

May those who see you not be put to shame because of us…”

Psalm 69:5, 6

What we consider a “gray” area will ultimately be determined as good or evil by God one day.  He holds us accountable!  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in her body, according to what she has done, whether it be good or bad.”  II Cor. 5: 10   We cannot lean on our own understanding and follow the crowd around us.  Our job is to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil!”

A point in fact:  Those who taunt us with “gray” areas tend to be offended by those who would question whether something is right or wrong.  Recently, I was talking to my 15-year-old grandson who plays on a national all-star baseball team.  He is exceptional in every way and his high school teammates have been relentless in their rejection of him.   You’ve seen and heard it…the bullying, name-calling crowd…you’re “holier than thou” or you’re too “legalistic”.  When anger between coaches and players reached a high pitch during a game last season and the team got into a “knock down, drag out” fight on the field and my grandson chose not to participate, he was accused of not being a team player by the coach!!  Hardly a “gray” area to my grandson, but apparently, acceptable behavior for the coach and his young impressionable team! 

Defensive, argumentative, combative, contentious, competitive attitudes

are all warning signs of compromising in “gray” areas.

Can you walk in the light and have fellowship with those

who desire to live in “gray” areas?

 This, then, is the message we have heard of Him, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone that does evil, hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest her deeds should be reproved.  But she that does the truth comes to the light and her deeds will be manifest, that they are of God.” John 3: 19-21

 Where are the “gray” areas in your life?

Are you a stepping-stone or a stumbling block?


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

Jackie's Journey "Scarred for Life!"


In the early days living in the rain forest among the Kuna Indians of Panama, we were invited to join them in their weekly meetings called a “Congreso”.  It was here the Kuna leaders decided village life and activities.  Occasionally, Colombian woodcutters would join the group and then disappear down the Tuira River back into the jungle.

One afternoon we heard an outboard motor coming up the winding river toward our village.  I could hear the Kuna’s running to the shoreline and in a few minutes they were screaming for help.  The woodcutter had taken the motor covering off to replace a pin and had not covered the motor again.  He had ducked to miss a low hanging branch, forgetting the blade was still open!  The sharp edge of the blade had sliced into his face and the gash was long and deep, the cheekbone fully exposed. 

As he cleared the 12’ river embankment toward our house I could see he was leaning on the men assisting him and there was blood everywhere!  Within minutes the entire village was in our front room, whispering excitedly, each seeking the sordid details.

There is no exaggeration here!  His cheekbone was protruding through the skin and the skin had slipped back toward his ear, leaving a huge gap.  He had taken the only available clothe in the dugout, which was loose cotton, and packed it tightly in the wound to stop the bleeding.

He was now seated on the bench directly in front of me.  He sat silently, calm and trusting.   Looking up, his eyes inaudibly pleaded for help and my heart stopped for a second while I contemplated my next move.  We headed for the rushing clear waters of the river to thoroughly cleanse the wound and remove the cotton. 

My adrenals were now on steroids as I mutely cried out to God for leading and direction!  It had to be sutured from the inside out or it would not hold together…I had sutured fingers, arms, legs (usually machete accidents), but never a face!  Once the gash was cleared of debris, it looked even more intimidating than before!  After a close examination and gathering up the necessary tools to begin this procedure, I laid everything on a cloth…and froze!

In that moment God spoke quietly to my heart,

“I have chosen you, Jackie…so do not fear,

for I am with you; be not dismayed.” (Isaiah 41: 10)

 I picked up the tweezers and began to remove the last of the stained pieces of cotton before scrubbing the wound and suturing the interior.  Just pulling the two skin flaps together was challenging, but the truth of the matter was…the scar was going to be massive and it was on a very handsome face!

 It seemed like forever before I finally dressed the wound and gave him an antibiotic shot.  He never flinched or spoke a single word through the entire procedure!  My husband was sharing Christ with him the entire time.  We prayed for his healing and he stood and left.


                          He was not one of the regular woodcutters that lived outside our village

so I thought I would never see him again.

Months later we heard an outboard motor coming up the river and to my astonishment, God brought that young man through our front door!  We were thrilled that he had healed with no infection and the scar that was left was beautiful! 

 He was grinning from ear to ear and he laughed at my little faith!

I am often reminded of the day God “chose me” and told me not to fear, that He was with me and would do what He had called me to do.  Since I am a person whose battleground often involves fear, God’s words to me are profoundly meaningful!

What would you say is your particular battleground? 

Where are you struggling today?

 Have you identified a pattern in your life that pokes its head up regularly?

Maybe it’s fear, anger or bitterness.

 Can you hear God’s voice?

He speaks to you with

promise, rebuke and instruction regarding your battleground…

John 9:31

Listen carefully …heed His call!


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

Jackie's Journey "Betrayed!"


“…for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet,

 but you know, Oh, Lord, all their plots to kill me.” Jeremiah 18:23

 Has anyone ever set a snare for your life?

Shortly after we returned to our village in the remote jungles of Panama after a two-month absence, a young Kuna man came to our door apprehensively, but confidently, to share with us that Aquileo, the town representative to the Panamanian government, was plotting to kill my husband!  The only word that would describe my shock was…ESCAPE!  However, our isolated village made an escape impossible!

In my traumatized state of mind a verse in Jeremiah raced into my consciousness…  Jeremiah was facing his plotting antagonists and said, “But the Lord is with us like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail…” Jer. 20:11   This plan had taken Aquileo two years to put together and we were being informed that the time had come to carry it out! 

My first thought…my two little girls…what could I do? 

Would we be disposed of in the river? 

No one would find us…ever!

This was all a nightmare…this could not be happening!

My heart was stunned, on the one hand, because Aquileo and his wife had been consistently friendly to us, visiting in our jungle home, laughing and sharing. The terrifying reality was, they were planning to kill us at the same time!!  I was terrified… I felt betrayed because so many in our Kuna family had known of this plan and no one, until now, had told us.  I felt indebted to the young man who had risked his tribal reputation to protect my husband. 

When?…Where?…How would this be carried out??  What should we do? 

What could we do!

Ralph, took one look at me and instantly, reminded me that I should “joyfully” be giving thanks to God that for the two years of planning I had been spared the stress of knowing about this development!  He had recently given me a mathematical “formula”, as a reminder, for just this kind of situation.   It went like this:

Trials + Acceptance of the Trial with Joy = Maturity

 I asked myself these 6 questions:

 1.     Could I trust God’s Sovereign plan?  Romans 8:28

2.     Did I believe God would never give me a trial too big?  1 Cor. 10:13

3.     Would He give me a way of escape? 1 Cor. 10:13

4.     Is every trial given with divine purpose and benefit?  Rom. 8:18; 11 Cor. 4: 17

5.     Am I convinced the Holy Spirit will help, comfort and carry me through this trial? Rom. 8: 26

6.     Do I believe that testing will produce Godly character in me?  Job 23: 10

 For the formula to work growth and maturity in me

 I would have to answer each of these questions with a “YES”!

Ralph’s response was, “This is impossible, Aquileo is my friend!”   Denial was never an option I considered in my thinking!  Ralph immediately stood up and bolted out the door, crossing the village to confront his nemesis! 

In that talk Aquileo shared a verbal wound that he had received from my husband when we first moved into Pucuro.  He felt he had “lost face” among the men in our very tight community.  Ralph had no idea that the result of his jesting had caused such pain and immediately humbled his heart and asked forgiveness. 

I found that accepting the trial (even this one!) with joy proved to be a life-lesson that made a permanent imprint on me to this day, as I face life daily.  Accepting not just the formula, but also its applied truth with a joyful and resounding “YES” has changed my life!  The struggles continue to come, but accepting God’s purpose, provision and control with joy is the quickest path to peace, growth and maturity.

JOY is not the absence of suffering but the presence of the Lord.

C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is never in our power, it is the fruit of accepting God’s

provision in difficult circumstances!”

We waited to see what would happen to us.  Days passed slowly, the nights were even longer (!), and one bright morning, Aquileo and his family arrived at our front door… smiling!  I cannot put into words the delight and relief I felt as I opened the door and invited them inside!

 “Consider it PURE JOY whenever you face many trials of many kinds

because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be

MATURE AND COMPLETE, not lacking anything…!”

James 1: 1-4

Are you finding joy in your times of difficulty? 



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

Jackie's Journey "I Have My Rights...I'm Entitled!"

As a young tribal missionary wife and mother, I felt I had a right to be understood.  Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  I was living with so many unknowns. Knowing my husband understood how hard I was attempting the impossible was important to me. It seemed like a legitimate right…don’t you think?  It was imperative to have someone to talk to in my heart language (English).  Poor Ralph…he was it!  He is not a detail guy and I speak in paragraphs!  My anger would reveal itself in various forms demanding his attention.Would you consider yourself an angry person?


1.     Does your family (or whomever you live with) ever see you lose your temper?

2.     Are you able to quickly admit when you are wrong?

3.     Do you complain about how others treat you (when you’re slighted or get

your feelings hurt)?

4.     Do you grumble when things don’t work out the way you planned?

5.     Do you demand prompt attention from family members, friends, teachers, employers, etc.? (Do you feel hurt when others get more attention than you do!)

All five questions reveal patterns of anger that are not uncommon to all of us!

 The best functional definition I have ever found for anger is:

“Someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”

 Someone crossing my already decided will!

“A Right”…

is a legal demand of our will that we impose on each other–

something, someone, or some attitude apart from God’s will.

It has its own authority with no power

It produces anger or hurt feelings

It assumes God and everybody owes us something

It refuses humility (the key to the Christian life!)

What rights do you claim?  

My anger popped up more often than I care to admit.  I had an unprincipled habit of making excuses or blaming others for:

Ø  My Pride – reserving the right to make the final decision

Ø  My Insecurity – structuring my life around temporal values

Ø  My Reputation- projecting the image I wanted others to have of me

Ø  My Expectations

While living in the jungle I jotted down a “few” of my rights in my journal!

I had a "right":

·      To a normal standard of living

·      To ordinary standards of good health

·      To privacy

·      To hold others to their responsibilities

·      To be angry

·      To make the final decision on a matter

·      To judge others

·      To do it my way

·      To be understood (self-justification)

·      To be envious or jealous

·      To be uninterrupted

Do you identify with one or any of these as a daily occurrence?

By making excuses for my anger rather than tracing my “anger” to a violation of one of my personal rights, I failed to live in victory. 

By calling the “right” by its name and repenting, I found freedom in a consistent Christian walk…No more excuses.  I exchanged them for gratefulness and found peace!  

What is the hardest right to give up?

Answer: The right to make the ultimate decision!

I continue to learn to stop before yielding to my demand for my way and put my will in neutral, acknowledging His control and His will (not mine or my husband’s).  It brings harmony into my life in the midst of unknowns and confusion.  My demanding to be understood is now my friend and my signal to yield to Gods Will by giving my “demand” to HIM and giving thanks instead!

In the New Testament Christ gave up:

1.     His Rights- “did not consider equality with God”

2.     His Reputation – “Made himself nothing, becoming a servant”

3.     His Ego –“Humbled himself”

4.     His Will  - “Obedient unto death”!

“Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.” Philippians 2: 6-8

 How can we do less?

An independent, willful and demanding spirit will keep us from living in victory.  Let’s choose to agree with God, call anger the sin that it is and walk as He walked, honoring the cross and remembering the price He paid for our Victory over sin!  No more excuses…


~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.