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 "Chance or Choice!"

 

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

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

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

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

that is necessary for them to make right choices,  

would our answer prove we know how to choose

the things that matter most?

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

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

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

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

Are you a wise decision-maker?

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

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

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Meet my single-minded friend, Nancy Sanchez

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

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

You are my refuge and my shield.

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

Psalm 119: 113-114

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

Jackie's Journey "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 "A Cruel Companion!"

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After major emergency surgery in Panama my recovery was slow.  While my husband returned to our village in the jungle, I was taken in by dear friends who cared for me and our two daughters until his return and a doctor’s release to re-enter jungle work.  Christina attended the mission school during those months and I attempted to care for a very active three-year-old, Kim.  To say that she was lively would be an understatement.  Her boundless energy was an extreme contrast to my very slow and weak frame and keeping up with her was daunting.

 Kim, to this day, can walk into a room and the whole room lights up, full of energy.  Her middle name is Joy and she certainly brings that into our lives!  Her willful defiance to correction in those early days brought this young mom to an impasse…we would continually lock horns or I would just count my blessings and give in! 

 Ever been there?

 I have one of those faces that can’t hide anything.  I wear my emotions on my face, not my sleeve.  I consider myself to be a fairly even-tempered woman with a clear understanding of what it means to be angry.   I know the functional definition of anger, the peace I have to sacrifice to give into it, the guilt that results, and the pain required to resolve it. 

  One day at our friend’s home, Kim’s “lively activity” drew attention for some needed help. I was asked how I was going to respond to her. I answered the question with a silent non-verbal,… “what...what do you mean…?”  My face must have spoken loudly because I was then asked, “Are you angry, Jackie?”  I responded, “Of course not!”  My friend replied, “Jackie, look at your expression in the mirror” (there was a mirror on the wall where I stood).   

 I looked…and there was no denying the fact that my face said what my mind clearly denied…I was angry! Sometimes I pause and glaze over while processing, but this was different!  I slithered off into my temporary bedroom and made an attempt to rationalize my situation!  Don’t they realize how fragile I am?  This can’t be fair…I just had a Laparotomy, forty-four stitches inside and forty-four stitches to close…I was in bad shape…don’t I get a smidge of extra consideration???  My self-pity consumed me…why… I thought I was a victim (the biggest lie from the pit!), well…wasn’t I??  

Sound familiar?

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming….

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming….

Anger is a cruel companion. The emptier the pot the quicker it boils!  Anger does everything to undermine truth and defeat us!  It is nothing more than “someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”  By that definition no one can makeme angry!  I choose it all by myself…I can’t blame anybody!  It is my fault!

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 “When God wants to bring more power into our lives, He brings more pressure”.

A.B. Simpson

 There was no verbal argument and no laboring the point…just my humbly taking personal

responsibility and acknowledging …my guilt!

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Prov.21: 19   The last thing I wanted to be was that angry woman!  My children deserved a godly example, not an excuse!  My husband, bless his heart, deserved a wife free from anger to humbly love him unconditionally.  

 Anger and humility cannot dwell together…one has to go.

 Henry Drummond in The Greatest Thing in the World, wrote:

  “It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and unchristian sins.  For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of…TEMPER.”  

 We call TEMPER by many socially acceptable names in an attempt to excuse it: impatience, frustration, wrong response, irritation, and annoyance…    We find clever ways to rationalize our anger.  We protect it, guard it, defend it, and yet its ugly head rears up and betrays us.

 I am grateful and forever indebted to the family who forced me that day in Panama to face my anger and its subtle and insidious hold on me!  That new light to recognize anger and its deceptions, to call it by name, to ask forgiveness and to walk in the promised victory keeps my Christian life liberated daily, as I continue to learn.

 Are you an angry woman?

 Is humility your signature attribute?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God was in that fire!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

controlled by His sovereign will.

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

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

Jackie's Journey "I Hate Conflict!"

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Conflict…the plight of the ages.

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

 Ever been there?

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

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

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

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

 What do you think?

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

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

 Which do you choose most often?

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

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

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“… my heart will be blameless toward your decrees, 

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

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

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

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

 Have you ever been there?

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

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

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Slothfulness brings deep sleep; and an idle soul

will suffer hunger” Proverbs 19: 15.

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

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

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

 Would you consider yourself a slothful person?

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

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

 But listen to the 6 symptoms of a slothful mom:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All is not lost! We still can win the race

if we realize the following truths about respecting time:

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

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

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

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

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

 § God determines our days and time is short!

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

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

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

for they quickly pass and we fly away”.

Psalm 90:10.

 We are moms with a purpose and destiny! 

How committed are we to eternal purposes?  

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

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

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

 “So, teach us to number our days, 

that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”

Psalm 90:12.

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

Do you rationalize your need to be held accountable? 

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

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

Or are you preoccupied with your own busy life?

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

 We cannot recover lost time! 

When its gone…its gone!!

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