Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Are you wise or foolish?


Did you ever wonder about the difference between wise and foolish people? Foolish people don’t give much thought to the effect their actions have on others. They don’t really think through their decisions, then complain and feel like the world is against them when life doesn’t work out according to their plan. On the other hand, people who have some wisdom understand their actions have repercussions, and usually think before they act. When they make a mistake, they own it, and try to recover.

Wisdom
 A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger.
Wise people use knowledge when they speak, but fools pour out foolishness.
As a tree gives fruit, healing words give life, but dishonest words crush the spirit.
Wise people use their words to spread knowledge, but there is no knowledge in the thoughts of fools.
People with understanding want more knowledge, but fools just want more foolishness.
A wise son makes his father happy, but a foolish son disrespects his mother.
 A person without wisdom enjoys being foolish, but someone with understanding does what is right.
 Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others.
People enjoy giving good advice. Saying the right word at the right time is so pleasing.
 Wise people’s lives get better and better. They avoid whatever would cause their death.
Good people think before they answer, but the wicked simply pour out evil.
Good news makes you feel better. Your happiness will show in your eyes.
Respect for the LORD will teach you wisdom. If you want to be honored, you must be humble.
Foolishness

Fools reject their parents’ correction, but anyone who accepts correction is wise.
Those who make fun of wisdom don’t like to be corrected; they will not ask the wise for advice.
If you listen to correction to improve your life, you will live among the wise.
Those who refuse correction hate themselves, but those who accept correction gain understanding.
People with quick tempers cause trouble, but those who control their tempers stop a quarrel.

A lazy person’s life is like a patch of thorns, but an honest person’s life is like a smooth highway.
The person who quits doing what is right will be punished (by his own undoing), and the one who hates to be corrected will die (because he doesn’t listen to reason and act carefully).

Greedy people bring trouble to their families, but the person who can’t be paid to do wrong will live.
Much wealth is in the houses of good people, but evil people get nothing but trouble.

Actions and Effects
Happiness makes a person smile, but sadness can break a person’s spirit.

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast. (Therefore, share your happiness with those who suffer; bring cheer and hope to those who are in despair)
It is better to be poor and respect the LORD than to be wealthy and have much trouble.

It is better to eat vegetables with those who love you than to eat meat with those who hate you.
How God views the difference between wise and foolish lives

The LORD knows what is happening in the world of the dead, so he surely knows the thoughts of the living.
The LORD’S eyes see everything; he watches both evil and good people.  

The LORD hates the sacrifice that the wicked offer, but he likes the prayers of honest people.
The LORD hates what evil people do, but he loves those who do what is right.

The LORD will tear down the proud person’s house, but he will protect the widow’s property.
The LORD hates evil thoughts but is pleased with kind words.

The LORD does not listen to the wicked, but he hears the prayers of those who do right.
Proverbs 15:1-33 (NCV)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are you thinking of suicide


Life can be brutal. I found myself at a crossroads seven years ago. I was very sad; my grandchild has just passed away. My job was stressful, and, no matter what I did, I never seemed to do well enough for my boss. I doubted my ability to be a good enough person. I became lost in a dark and desolate place.
As I sat on the edge of my bed, thinking about ending the confusion, I had a piercing of light. Where I was in my life was very low, I did not think it could get any worse. And I realized that this was a horrible place, about as low as I could feel, so it was not going to get any worse. I realized that as long as I breathed, there was hope of life getting better.
I will not tell you it happened overnight, but I will tell you that my life is so good now, it was worth the pain. And I will tell you that there is a God, and He loves you.
Perhaps you have heard that God so loved the world He sent His only Son into the world to become the graceful reconciliation of God and man. Maybe you think, “Well, God did that for everybody, no especially for me”. But God did do this especially for you.
God sent Jesus because we can never be good enough on our own, no matter how hard we try. Jesus will come along side of you and infuse you with hope. Take another breath, then another. Ask God to help you.
Then call someone and talk to him or her about how you feel. Maybe you do not think you can talk to those who are close to you, and that is okay. There are 24-hour hotlines with people like me who really understand the depth of your despair and pain.

Call 24/7 1-800-273-8255. Someone is waiting to help you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Honoring your parents


I saw a woman in the elevator at work. She was taking her mom to or from an appointment. The woman’s mother looked to be around eighty or so. She had twinkling blue eyes and she smiled at me. The woman with her mother looked bored and aggravated, as if this action of taking care of her mother was the most unwelcome chore in her life.
I remembered when my Dad was in the hospital at the end of his life. He was very ill, and apologized to me for being such a bother. I thanked him for the great life he provided for me, and told him never to apologize. I said “Dad, you didn’t throw us out when we were too much trouble, you made sure we were fed, sent us to good schools, and never turned your back on us (there were six siblings) even when we deserved it.”
People are living longer now, and many people have taken on the role of caregiver to their aging parent. I see some of them. They are aggravated with their parent for being old and needing care. And, yes, it is difficult. But so were they when they were they were babies, toddlers and teenagers.
If you are in this situation, remember your parent took care of you when you were unlovable. And, the way society is today, your parents could have ignored you, walked away from you, or simply thrown you out of the house.
There is a psychological toll when a care-giving child has to come to terms with the fact that they, the caregiver, are no longer children. It is a kind of forced adulthood. However, do not dishonor your parents. Do not act as if this is a huge inconvenience and wear your distain on your face. No parent wants this situation when the roles reverse.
Remember the fifth commandment:
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16 (ESV). This is not just for kids.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What is so wrong with prosperity


I have been looking at the many objections to prosperity teachings among Christians. I did a word study of the word prosperity and found some interesting information.
Prosperity comes from the Latin word prosperitas and means good fortune and success. The word prosperity was first used in the 13th century. So what happened in the 13th century?
The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380's AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe was well known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe.
I looked at John 1:1  in the handwritten English version. Old English.
Today, the word prosperity means "the condition of being successful or thriving; especially:  economic well-being." (www.merriam-webster.com)  I am thinking that the association with economic success is what causes Christians to pause.  In the Word, we are cautioned: For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV).
However, many people forget that it is the love of money, and not the wealth itself, that is the root of all evil. There are many scriptures that point out how riches are deceitful, and those that trust in them trust in vain. Trusting in wealth is foolish. Wealth can come in many forms: a wealth of talent, a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of beauty-trusting in any wealth instead of trusting in God can create a heart of pride and self-confidence.
God wants Christians to be prosperous. God wants His children to be rich in spiritual knowledge, wisdom, spiritual gifts, and in love. He wants His children to thrive. Throughout the Old Testament, God tells Adam, Noah, and the Israelites to be fruitful (abundantly productive, thriving). In the New Testament the Word says: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Colossians 1:10-11 (KJV)
Our lovely English language, which gave birth to the word "prosperity", has many meanings for the same word. Fruitful, an adjective, means productive, rich, abundant, successful and profitable.  Prosperity, a noun, means success, richness, and wealth.  Each is part of the same theme God has for His people- that we would be abundant in the riches and wealth of His Spirit and multiply the Word of God (Jesus) in the earth.  For the heavens and the voices of angels are “saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”  Revelation 5:12 (ESV)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why are Christians stoning each other

I was talking to a friend the other day who did not like Joel Olsten. When I googled “Why don’t people like Joel Olsten” I found a few Google pages of websites talking about what was wrong with Joel Olsten. Curious, I search for “why don’t people like Joyce Meyer” and found many websites that spoke against her.

Hummm.  I serve a BIG God who is able to search the hearts of men and bring all things done in darkness into the light. I listen to many preachers and teachers. If they say something I don’t agree with, I pray for wisdom and search the Word of God.  But I was still courious why so many people were so worried God was not BIG enough to tear down a false prophet.

So  I search “false prophets 2014” and I was amazed at what I found. According to one site, listening to religious apostates like Joyce Meyer, Rick Warren and Joel Osteen will lead Christians astray. There is a site that lists the 10 most false prophets naming James Swaggert,  Oral Roberts, Pat Robinson and John Hagee among these. Creflo Dollar is a false prophet at another site.  Another site lists Billy Graham, Kenneth Copeland, and many others as false prophets.

As I searched for false prophets, I found Christian sites naming almost every speaker and minister as a false prophet. So are we all going to hell?

I didn’t find much about who a true prophet was, and that made me feel a little better.

Christians might do better by spending more time reading the Word than judging those who are delivering the Word to the nations. In the Bible I read it says:

 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 (KJV)

I (Paul) appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)
    
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11 (ESV)


So am I going to spend my time obeying the Word of God, or stoning others? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Understanding the Christian Walk


“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. (Job 38:4 ESV)

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Cor 10:21 KJV)

I have a difficult time listening to Christians who believe they alone have the truth. There is one truth-Jesus is Lord. There is one church-the followers of Christ. There is one God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16). The goal is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, learning to trust God above all else, even our own wall of wisdom.

When I hear Christians bashing other Christians, my heart hurts. Yes, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but when we hear servants of the Lord speaking words we don’t necessarily agree with there are proper actions to take.

Pray and ask God why you are having a difficult time with the message.

Gain understanding that words mean different things to different people. How we hear a particular word can be colored by our upbringing, or the place where we stand in our walk. For example, I hear the word “jerk” and it is an affectionate word for me. My Dad use to say, with love, “come here you little jerk”

Choose to disagree without slandering the brother. I had a very difficult time with a one of the days in Rick Warrens 40 Days of Purpose. When I read the sentence “God does not care about….” I closed the book. I was going through a very hard time coping with the death of my grandson.  Later when I read the book, I had less internal pain and more understanding.

Show grace to the brethren.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Realizing Jesus: Reasoning or Responsive


I have been perplexed lately about the disturbances I have felt in my heart. I listen to others talk, and hear their ideas concerning leading people to the Lord, and about how they believe they should live. All are good, but there is something that is unsettling to me.
I have been praying and seeking God about this. I did not know if I was missing something, believing falsely, or what was going on. I began to look up the word ‘reasoning’, because this is what seems happening in the conversations. And, in my Christian walk, I do not count on reasoning, but simply believing God.
I read John 8:47 and this helped me a lot. John 8:47 (KJV) He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Based upon my own experience with Jesus, it was not argument or justifications, but the overwhelming presence of God and the realization that this was the truth.
During the 70s, the “Jesus Movement” began. Many of my friends were being saved, and we talked about their experience. I was not moved, and did not feel a great need to ‘find Jesus’. I was working on a poem about the origins of creation, and asked a woman I worked with, who was a pastor’s wife, if I could come and speak with her and her husband about some questions I had about descriptions in the Bible. We talked for a long time about the giants in the land and some aspects of what the Word said about creation. As I left, the pastor suggested I read the book of John.

Not knowing the Bible, but remembering the word John, I got out the Catholic bible my mom had given me when I was married. I opened it, found John 1, and began to read. This is what happened.

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-14(NKJV)
Agnostic eyes read these words.My brain translating concepts into thoughts:Flowing electricityThrough the fortifications of all I knew.Stunned, I stared at lilac walls,Laced with the afternoon sun.I sat, looking at the big book in my hand,My brain clicking internal binary codes,Programming inroadsThrough disconnected memory filesAnd suddenly,Organized sense awoke.A veil was lifted:I gasped, “I’m saved.”
I believe that God calls to people. Some heed His call, and others, sadly, do not. What I have learned is that the believer's responsibility is to live the Word of God everyday. What does this mean? Being instant in and out of season, ready to respond at a moment's notice, looking for ways to share the love of Christ with everyone, knowing that Jesus knows who belongs to Him.
I do not believe I need to argue or reason with people. I have read a few Christian websites that attempt to answer questions for people who don't believe. Yet I know from experience God calls to people, and those with willing hearts will come.

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sometimes my dreams come true

I love to write, and I love the Lord. When I am able to write about the Lord, it is a dream come true. I am writing for Believe.com, and just looked at my articles.

Pennee Struckman-Beleive.com

Oh Yeah!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Are we in the end times?

Some friends and I were discussing the end times. Are we in the end times? There was a lot of information about how it could be the end of days. But my big question was AND? I thought about this for several days, reading and considering what we, as believers, were instructed to do. We should be aware of signs that point to the end times, and continue to spread the gospel. (Shine the light of the Lord into the darkness). And, overwhelming, not let our hearts be troubled, and go our way.

As I read Mark, I saw how scary it would be. However, I understood that the only way to endure is to trust God. If we are given to persecution, we are not to worry, but to speak the words the Holy Spirit gives us. We are urged to be aware that many will come in the name of the Lord, but they will be false. In other words, we should be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

It’s important to drop the fa├žade that we are able to endure, and realize that only Christ in us will endure. Personally, I listen to God. I test the words I hear by comparing them to what God says. I take myself out of the mix, and realize that my wisdom is really limited. I am a person of the world, and my language and thinking have been shaped by the society in which I grew up. My only hope is in Christ and the wisdom of God.

I wish I could tell people how to do this. But I know that each person has their own walls and gates that guard their hearts. I know that whenever I find a locked place I recognize it before God and ask Him to open it. It is a constant challenge, one that will never be complete. But I live in hope, for as long as we breathe there is hope. When we stop breathing, we will be with God, and know the truth.

Mark 13:5-11 (NKJV)
And Jesus, answering them, began to say: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24:3-36 (NKJV)
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"   And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.  "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near--at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Daniel 12:11-13 (KJV)

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Attitude is everything

I am amazed at what a difference a good night’s rest will do for an issue. Yesterday I battled. All day, I had to remind myself of God’s goodness and faithfulness; of His provision and constant care over my life. I struggled to bring my attitude under control. It seemed almost hourly I was digging myself out of the desire for sadness and self-pity.

I was worn out at the end of the day. I gave it to God and went to sleep. After a good eight hours, I woke and noticed the change in my attitude. I woke up thanking God for all His goodness in my life, and have enjoyed peace all day.