Posts filed under motherhood

Jackie's Journey "Earthquake!"

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The day started like any other day.  The stark silence of the night was broken by clamoring voices on the path outside our bedroom window that led into the dense jungle floor.  Moms with crying babies were arriving at our front door to trade eggs for sugar and oil.  The happy and animated chatter of our two little girls jumping up and down, hungry for those fresh eggs, motivated me to move into high gear! 

 It was only daybreak but life was already on a steady fast track.  As mom’s, we long for stability and a safe place for our children to grow up in.   Sometimes we look for it in the comfortable and familiar…our best laid plans.  Dressing was next and it was familiar and easy…I owned two Kuna dresses and wore flip-flops…no closet required!  Hot coffee, fresh eggs with rice and beans were on the breakfast menu and then off to the river to wash clothes.

 Humming and comfortable that the day was programmed from start to finish and clipping along as planned…I proceeded back up the river bank to hang the clean clothes on the lines strung from the outhouse to our tin roof line, get started on homeschool, then some language study before lunch.  I love it when a good plan comes together….

 The house was full of Kuna’s when we returned from the river.  My husband, Ralph, was seated…Bible open.  The hammock was stretched across the center of the room welcoming us… but no time!  It was almost 11:00 a.m.  It really was a day just like every other day… until the unthinkable happened

 “Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty 

came with thunder and earthquake and great noise…” Isa.29: 6

 The ground began to shake; a bold and abrupt jerk, a rumbling sound and then a LONG roll.  Our lantern, hanging from the 10’ ceiling, began to swing 2 feet in each direction.  The floorboards began to buckle and the entire house began to sway! I looked down and Kim’s high chair was rocking from side to side.  I grabbed her and reached for Christina already moving toward me.  She wrapped her arms around my leg. Stumbling toward Ralph, I was having difficulty standing; I was swaying and bobbing like a boat in a storm!

 When everything is moving, what does one grab for safety?  Ralph, immediately on his feet, saw my dilemma and reached for us across the room.  With one hand he grasped Kim and I and set us securely in the swinging hammock in the middle of the room.  With his other hand he lifted Christina up into his arms and tucked her in against us.  

 Turning to look outside, we all watched the ground heave and fall in surges.  The dogs were struggling to stay on their feet.  Every house in the village was moving.  The bark walls and thatch roofs were unstable and the tremors were continual for months!  We lived on a riverbank and the river was turbulent and threatening.  I am a California girl and I have experienced my share of earthquakes, but this one was in a class all its own!   It was longer, stronger and more forceful than any I had ever known. 

This, definitely, was NOT a day like any other day!

 In the jungle, interruptions are expected.  The Darien is full of them…creepy crawlers…poisonous spiders, frogs, snakes, ants and caterpillars… Drug runners or sick or injured Indians from other villages from Colombia passing through… These were predictable and probable challenges, but we happened to be in the 8.3 epicenter!  Not predictable…NO…NOT! 

I was reminded that God honors us most 

when He puts us where we will trust Him most?

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Safety was NOT in our house in the Darien jungle!

  Weeks after the initial jolt, someone offered us a third story apartment in Panama City for a few days to renew our visas.  Secretly, my hope was that half a country away from our village in the city, the tremors would not be felt!   Our arrival was after dark so we settled in and headed for bed.  As my head hit the pillow, to my utter astonishment, the earth began to shake and the entire three-story building began to sway!  Again, I was reminded that our true character is what we are in the dark!  

 Safety was NOT in Panama City!

 In those first few moments in the Darien with everything rattling around us, the Kuna believers in our house stood up totteringly and began to sing and pray!  We had found our safety in those first few moments…found only in a Sovereign and Almighty God who gives direction to the elements on earth. For the weeks that followed the initial earthquake we had tremors of varying degrees every hour on the hour!  

 Safety isn’t in a place or our best laid plans…

Safety IS in the Lord!

 “…Then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble.”  Proverbs 3:23

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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 "Thank You ,Mom!"

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My Mother turned 100 years old this year!!

This is a current picture…I am abundantly blessed…

 MOTHER’S DAY was yesterday and I was reminded of “a story about four preachers who were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible.  One liked the King James Version best because of its simple, yet beautiful English.  Another liked the American Revised Version best because it is more literal and comes nearer the original Hebrew and Greek.  Still another liked Moffatt’s translation best because of its up-to-date vocabulary.  The fourth minister was silent!  When asked to express his opinion, he replied, ‘ I like my Mother’s translationbest.’ The other three expressed surprise. They didn’t know his mother had translated the Bible.  ‘Yes, she did,’ he replied.  ‘She translated it into life, and it was the most clear and convincing translation I ever saw!’”

 There is a woman in the Bible…we don’t know her name or what she looked like or her personality.  We learn of her character and we know she “was her own person”.  She took full responsible for herself and her family. She was not a victim in life making excuses.  While reading Proverbs 31: 10-31 I noted her some of her multiple characteristics. 

This is the mom we all want to be to our children and grandchildren.   

Let’s take a look at this unnamed godly woman whose actions

were extraordinary and pleasing to the LORD.

 This godly woman is PURE. “Who can find a virtuous woman of moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiates from her life, as she obeys God’s Word?   For her price is above rubies.” Vs. 10  

 She is TRUSTWORTHY and “the heart of her husband can safely trust in her, so that he lacks nothing of value.” Vs. 11 Can your husband have full confidence you in all areas of your life?

 She is COMMITTED and “will do him good and not evil all the days of her life!” Vs.12

 She is DILIGENT andRESOURCEFUL and this is demonstrated in vss. 13-16 where she “selects wool and flax and eagerly works willingly with her hands…she gets up while it is still dark (!) and provides food for her family and servant girls…and then, she considers a field and buys it (!) and then,…with the fruit of her hands (her earnings) she plants a vineyard”. (Is sheINDUSTRIOUS, or what?!!)   

She is BOLDLY DETERMINED and girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong for her tasks. She is physically fit! How do you view exercise?  She sets about her work vigorously (goal- oriented!).   She sees that her trading is profitable (good business sense) and her lamp does not go out at night, but her “wonder woman” hand holds the distaff and she grasps the spindle with her fingers!! Vs. 17-19

 She is COMPASSIONATE and opens her arms to poor and needy.  Vs.20

 She isWISE and unafraid of the snow for her household. Why, you ask?  Because she prepares ahead of time and makes fine scarlet and purple linen for ALL of her household! She is CREATIVE.  Strength, dignity and honor are her clothing… 

 She has a SENSE OF HUMOR because she can “laugh at the days to come”.  She speaks with wisdom (ability to see life from God’s perspective, not our own!  She understood God-control and the blessing of surrendering to Him her choices and her faithful instruction is spoken in kindness. Vs. 21-27

 She is HONORED and her children call her blessed. She respects her husband and he praises her by saying, “Many women do NOBLE things, but you surpass them all!” 

 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 

 Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Vs. 28-31

Are you this godly woman?

 Are you being praised at the gates?

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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 May 13, 2019 and filed under motherhood, Character and Virtue.

Jackie's Journey "True Greatness!"

 Who doesn’t want to be acknowledged and occasionally praised at the gates?

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 All of us want to be important…to be accepted… to be successful…to experience meaningfulness…to get to the end of our life and have accomplished something that will live on after our departure.  God builds a desire for greatness into us.  Our understanding of the term and means of achieving it will surely vary depending on our character.

 While in missionary Boot Camp training we were privileged to have a veteran missionary from Brazil as our instructor.  His hip had been crushed in a boating accident on the Amazon River.  He was bravely battling cancer and in constant pain, yet his focus was on us succeeding and getting us to a foreign field.  His name was Jim McKnight.  He and his wife, Betty, would never claim greatness, but those of us who knew them would say their character was marked by it. They walked with God and taught us by example how to live and selflessly serve. 

 “Greatness is not a goal to be sought after but a by-product of learning to serve.” (ATIA)

 Man’s idea of greatness and God’s idea are diabolically opposed.  We all know of successful people who have sacrificed their family while reaching their goal.  Their marriage is in shambles and their children have no honor for them.  They are in the Hall of Fame by the world’s standard, but have failed to reach true greatness by God’s standard.

 What price would you be willing to pay for a sense of importance?

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True greatness is accomplished by understanding the difference between God’s view and man’s view of importance.    We tend to focus on possessions, power, position and prestige. God’s focus is on humility, service and character.    Our concern is on what we will gain…God ‘s concern is on where and to whom can we give. We spend a lot of time seeking the approval of men…not the approval of God.  We strive to be out front leading others…rather than striving to follow God.  We are competitive…God’s interest is in cooperation and if we are a team player. Does our spirit function independently of Him and others, or do we understand how to live in harmony with the success of the other person being our priority? 

 Do we clearly understand the difference between the two views?

By whose standard do you live your life?

  We are often tempted to fulfill God’s vision for us with human effort.  If we yield to that temptation, we will experience continuing negative consequences and totally miss the blessing God has for us, and for others through us! “It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.”  It’s a choice we make…

 When the disciples disputed among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, “… The greatest among you, should be as the youngest; and the one who rules like the one who serves.” Luke 22: 26

 When He, their Lord and Teacher, washed the feet of His disciples, He said,  “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master...”  Jn.13: 15,16   

He clearly set the bar for us.

 Do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought?

 “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt. 23: 11,12  

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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. 

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.

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 "I Am Not A Fan!!"

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I have never been a fan of reptiles!

 Panama is the home to some of the most frightening snakes on the planet.  Our corner of the dense Darien jungle was full of boa constrictors, pit vipers, fer-de-lance (this snake bears 60 live babies at a time!), etc.  We were cautious not to poke under rocks or fallen branches, always scanning for any slithering menaces.  Behind our house there was a massive tree that extended its immense roots out into the river shoreline where the girls and I bathed and swam.  The thick mangrove swamp harbored snakes that would lie in the hollow places of the trunk of that tree.  

More than once I cried out Psalm 16:1

 “Keep me safe, Oh Lord, for in you I take refuge.”

 Fear is no stranger to me. I am habitually challenged to walk through the door of fear.   I was told during Missionary boot camp that courage was not the absence of fear, but the conquest of it.  Years ago, while reading “Hind’s Feet in High Places” I had no difficulty in identifying with “Little Much Afraid”!  

 “The highway of fear is the shortest route to defeat”.  William L. Brownell

 Ralph had built a screened-in back porch to the house.  It became home for our gasoline-run wringer washing machine.  The Indians thought the machine was the most ridiculous apparatus they had ever seen!  It was noisy, the water had to be carried from the river (or in rainy season, we could utilize the convenience of the rain barrels attached to the tin roof).   The agitator was a mystery…why would you jerk clothes around in dirty cold water when the river is running and clear? However; the wringer was another story…it worked really well.  Hand wrung clothes could not match that wringer!  I had to agree with them on all counts!  

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While I washed, Kim would play on a blanket or crawl around the porch.  The floor was slightly elevated, lined with wooden planks roughly cut and loosely fit together.  It was not quite finished and as I washed, I saw Kim crawling toward something moving under the slats.  I turned off the deafening machine, snatched Kim up into my arms and yelled for Ralph! Right under our feet, only a few inches away, was a 5’ venomous snake! He had quite possibly been a houseguest for “who knows how long” before we noticed him!

Let me repeat…I am not a fan!! 

 Arturo, our nearest neighbor had heard me scream and came running, He quickly surveyed our predicament, raised his machete and removed the head of that reptile with one swift blow. He held it up like a prized Marlin…its length was above his head and its tail draped to the muddy ground! 

 This story could have had a much different ending, were it not for our Sovereign God, His plan and the life-lessons He was busy teaching me!  School is always in session, if we have eyes to see it. The need to grow and mature will never end on this side of eternity. Fear has been my biggest challenge. I am to fear the consequence of sin, not snakes.  Easy concept until put to the test!

 “Be strong and of a good courage, Fear not, nor be afraid of them (in this case…snakes); for the Lord your God, He it is that does go with me, He will not fail me nor forsake me.” Deuteronomy 31: 16

 What do you fear?

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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 "Hey...What is Virtue?"

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While living in the Panamanian jungle I clung to a promise in II Peter that encouraged me to keep on regardless of my sense of failure.  It says, “His power has given me everything I need for life and godliness through my knowledge of Him who called me.”  Running the medical clinic, delivering babies at night, learning to clean and cook strange rodents, fish and meat, washing in the river, dozens of diapers and no dryer, learning a new language, meeting the needs of my husband and two little girls and acclimating to 90-degree heat with 99% humidity, etc., I found my level of spirituality severely challenged.  Exhausted daily I found the verses in II Peter to be a fresh breath of air on my dripping, overheated soul and with it came a promise I intended to claim!

I wanted to implement that promise He gave.  The provision was there to lead a godly life!  I needed to tap into “His power” and as I kept reading, I realized His very great and precious promises were attached to verse 5.  They were given with clear and present instruction IFI was to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires…like giving in to my anger, impatience, frustration, and believing the lies regarding my inability to accomplish the task He had called me to.  

 “For this very reason, I had to make every effort to add to my faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if I possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep me from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.” 11 Pet. 1: 5-9 (Personalized)

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Always looking for a functional definition to put the “rubber on the road”, I found these marks of Virtue:

·    “Virtue is the moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word”.  II Peter 1: 5   It is learning to build personal moral standards that will cause others to desire a godlier life.  It is reproducing Christ’s character in my life first and then in others.

 ·    Virtue is the fruit of grace as we are given light. There is no excuse not to exemplify God’s character in my life.  I am to be an example, not an excuse! 

·    Virtue is the Godly influence my life has on others regardless of past failures.

The opposite of virtue is hypocrisy.

·     Hypocrisy is the practice of a person who is willfully living in conflict with their soul (their mind, will, emotions)”. 

Virtue is not made in crisis; it is only exhibited.  Crisis reflects our virtue.

Proverbs 24:10 says that we demonstrate what we really are spiritually in time of adversity,

not when things are going smoothly!

 

I was teaching a group of college girls in our home and one of the girls asked my daughter if she considered me to be a virtuous woman.  She hesitated…way to long, and I became acutely aware of my need to take another look at the qualities that comprise the virtuous woman in Scripture!

 Do I consider myself a woman of virtue…of Godly character?

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There is a thief that focuses on robbing us of the best. Time in the Word can be lost to the immediate demands of responsibility and the whirlwind of activity around us. Finding a “War Room” where we can read and pray, uninterrupted, is imperative to maintaining our walk.  Little things can begin to bother us and when people “bump” us, we react selfishly.

 Sound familiar?

 One day away from the Word and I am aware of my desperate need and its crucial impact in my life. Two days of skipping a time of allowing the Word to dwell richly in me and my husband and girls are intensely mindful of my desperate need! 

 What is my response when:

·      I am evil spoken of

·     My loyalty has been betrayed

·     My will is crossed

·      I am forgotten or neglected

·     My friends forsake me

·      I find compromise more inviting than maintaining claimed convictions

 My response reveals to me

 if I am a virtuous woman or a woman of hypocrisy/impurity.

(Impurity is ungodly contamination in any of its forms).

 Which are you?

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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.