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Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Times— Are they A-Changin’?


Back in the 1940s the President of the United States betrayed his wife and his nation by living in an adulterous relationship with another woman. Presidents and other politicians have been notorious sexual predators who preyed on the women who worked for them and who (even if they wanted to do so) did not have the personal power to resist their abuse.
Examples abound of presidents who were an embarrassment to their gender and a clear and present danger to every woman with whom they came in contact. Presidents have done things that would have caused them to be thrown in the brig and drummed out of the service if they had been either officers or enlisted men in the military they led as Commander-in-Chief.
President Donald Trump was thoroughly embarrassed by a comment he made to Billy Bush an NBC-TV program host more than a decade ago. When it was revealed he sort of apologized, but then excused his comment as being “just locker-room talk”. I can’t totally disagree with that. I have heard things said by men I considered Christian that embarrassed me even though they seemed to think it was okay.
Locker Room Talk has consequences.
Words, like behavior, has a tendency to impact the people in whose presence it occurs. Bad behavior can disgust some who see it and reinforce their desire to do better, but it can also encourage some to emulate the bad and cause the group behavior to spiral downward to unprecedented lows. When the Commander-in-Chief is a sexual predator it is easy for generals on down to sergeants to think it is okay for them to behave the same.
But it seems people are fed up
I’m not sure why. Perhaps the disgusting behavior of a Hollywood executive who allegedly preyed on scores of beautiful women simply because he had power over them to make or break their careers, was enough to push America over the edge until we were willing to say, “That is enough!”
I hope that’s reality. On the other hand it may also be because he was not a “pretty” man. He didn’t have the charisma or good looks of a John Kennedy or a Bill Clinton. Perhaps women all over America thought of what it would be like to be attacked by a man like him and the revulsion caused them to speak up. Or maybe we’re realizing that sexual predation never has a pretty face if you get below the mask.
Maybe the times are changing
It is easy to say the world is getting worse and worse when we look at this kind of behavior and then add racism, bigotry, bullying or other such atrocious behavior.
Maybe God is at work in our world
We know God is at work, but could it be that perhaps the prayers of the saints and the move of the Spirit of God in the hearts of sinful man is getting ready to do something special in our midst?
Will we be leaven in society?
The work of the kingdom is not to conquer by force of arms, but to penetrate society with the love and grace of God as we live out the life of Christ in home, church and workplace. Unfortunately, there have been times when we followers of Christ have failed miserably at letting Christ lead. We have acted more like the society in which we live (including predatory sexual behavior) instead of letting Christ transform us as a starting place to transform society.
Could it be we’re fed up?
Could it be the sun is now rising on a new day in gender relationships? Are we ready to hold ourselves and all men (and women as well) to a higher standard of behavior? Will we begin to desire Christ-likeness enough to really emulate not only Christ, the person, but his standard of behavior? Can we admit that our own Self-Ish-Nes is sin and binds us in chains that can only be broken with Christ's help as we find a place of confession and repentance? Maybe then we can become the godly, Christ-like persons we are meant to be?
Or maybe it’s just politics as usual
Democrats blame Republicans and Republicans blame Democrats, but both are willing to ignore it in their own party? May that not be! There is no place for predatory behavior in humanity! It is time for men and women, with the help of God, to behave in a manner befitting the most high God in whose image we were created.
Lord Jesus,
May your Kingdom come
and your will be done in earth
[and in me]
as it is in heaven.
I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s My View from Tanner Creek.
    

Monday, December 25, 2017

When God’s “Yes” is Second Best



By Rick Blumenberg @rickblumenberg

Some people think the primary purpose of prayer is to convince God to a change of mind so we get what we want or think we need. But God’s choice for you is for the best. We’re reminded of this in Luke’s version of the Christmas story. The last verse of the angels’ song was about mankind “on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 1:14NIV)
God is not our enemy
Jesus came to earth to tell us personally that God is not our enemy. He is our Heavenly Father and loves us unconditionally—regardless of whether or not we deserve it. He is not trying to defeat us but to help us succeed. His goal is not to harm us but to help us.
God is on our side
In other words, God is on our side. We are the people on whom his favor rests. But which people? Not white people, or black people, or brown people or yellow people, but all people. His favor is not on, rich people, or poor people, or middle class people, but on all people. Actually his favor is not even limited to people. Even though I believe mankind is God’s highest and most favored earthly creation, I believe he loves all of his creation. I base that on my limited knowledge of the incredible care he exercised in creation. No creature is too small to be exquisitely designed. No earthly creature is without purpose and value. With every creation God is the Creator “par excellance” and I believe this indicates his love.
Then why would God say “No”?
Through the years I have heard many things about prayer with which I strongly disagreed. One person said, “What good does it do to pray? God is going to do what he’s going to do anyway.”
According to this line of thinking, the purpose of prayer is to convince God to a change of mind.
Another person commented that if I had any faith I would not pray for God’s will to be done. “Just pray for what you want with faith God will provide.”
But if God’s will for each of us is based on his favor, then surely what God desires is the best thing for us. Whatever God wants for us must be what’s best for us, or at least best for his kingdom. And if my goal in life is that “God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done” (Matthew 6:10NIV) then even if it isn’t what I think I want for me personally, if God knows it will benefit the kingdom in some way (even if known only to him) then I at least want to want it.
Never pray for a Divine change of Mind
So the upshot of all this is that we never, ever, under any circumstances, pray for God to change his mind. If (as I believe) God knows what is best and if (as I believe) God wants what is best in the situation for which I pray, then why would I ever try to change the mind of God? Our task is to help accomplish the will of God through our prayers. Why, you ask, does God need our help if he is really God? Good question! The answer is, God doesn’t need our help but welcomes it none-the-less. When we work together with God we share in his glory and the glory of his accomplishment. Our heavenly Father, loving parent that he is, wants that for each of us.
So God’s “No” is just as loving as a “Yes”
When is God’s “Yes” second best? When we convince him to change from a “No” to a “Yes”.
A “No” from God is just as loving as a “Yes”. If we convince God to a change of mind (from a “No” to a “Yes”) the best we could ever expect would be second best.
I'm Rick Blumenberg and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

        

Saturday, September 30, 2017

All People have Ultimate Worth!



All people are created in the image of God.

All have absolute and ultimate worth. 

Differences such as color, hair, eyes, skin, etc.—

Are all examples of, and merely reveal,

God’s great love of variety and beauty.

Don't ever doubt how much God loves You!


I'm Rick Blumenberg and that's My View from Tanner Creek.
         

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pure Water, Fresh Air, New Birth


By Rick Blumenberg  @rickblumenberg

Years ago Mutual of Omaha, a large insurance company, studied the salesmen who failed to discov­er the rea­sons for failure and "weed out" likely fail­ures before spending so much money tra­ining them. This would also help many avoid fail­ure. 
Many Ways to Fail
They discovered there are unlimited ways to fail. They finally admitted the study was a fail­ure. Every time they thought they knew every possible way to fail somebody discov­ered a new one!
In any situation, the gate that leads to failure and de­struc­tion is wide with numberless ways to get there. Multi­tudes of people find their way t­o and thru it. Every generation invents new methods and previously un­known ways to go to hell. 
On the other hand the gateway that leads to life is narrow. You have to search to find it. Many lose their way and perish before they  get through. That's why the Bible is so important. It tells The way to get to heaven--the way to put all the various parts of life together so life is a meaningful whole. But it only tells one way of salvation and that way is Jesus.

Some don’t like only one way

Several years ago I watched the Donahue Show as he inter­viewed Billy Graham. When Phil asked how to get to heaven he quoted Jesus' state­ment to Nicodemas; "You must be born again."

As you can imagine, Phil didn't like that answer. He knew before asking he would­n't like the answer. He knew what the answer would be. I think his pur­pose, was to make Graham look stupid to his audience because Phil did­n't think it made sense that God would be so "narrow-mind­ed". Logic says if there is a God he would not make only one way to get to heav­en. Anyone who thinks so is illogical, nar­row minded, and bigoted.

I’m constantly amazed that a per­son who is not smart enough to create even one tiny single-celled amoe­ba, much less anything as com­plex as an insect or worm, would still think he/she is smart enough to tell God how to handle His crea­tion!

But perhaps you've asked that same question. Why did God only make One Way to get to heaven—One way to be saved? Does the Bible really teach that? Let's see.

I John 5: 11-12 "...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

Now let me ask you a question: How many liquids do you know that will pre­vent a person from dying of thirst? I only know of one—water. It can come in many forms— milk, cola, cof­fee, or other drinks that are water-based. You can drink gasoline, motor oil or brake fluid but they won't sustain life. In fact, they de­stroy it. If we don't have water, we die. That's pretty narrow isn't it? It just isn't logical. Anyone who would believe such a thing would have to be narrow-minded and bigoted. The problem is…..it's true

How about breath? How many gases can we breathe to maintain life? I only know one—oxygen. We can breathe many gases. Some will kill us, some are harmless, one makes us laugh, but none sustain life. If you don't have oxygen, you die. That's pretty narrow isn't it? It just isn't logical. Anyone who believes such a thing is nar­row-minded and bigoted. The problem is…..it's true.

If we take water out of the liquids we drink, we die of thirst.

If we take oxygen out of the air we breathe we're soon asphyxiated.

If we take Jesus out of the picture, we are "dead in tres­passes and sin". And eventually, when separ­ated from our physi­cal bodies by physical death, that spiritual death be­comes ete­rnal. Without Jesus, life as we know it would not even exist.

Thank God for Water!

Why did God create the human race (and as far as I know, all other forms of life) so we must have water to sur­vive? That's easy. You know the answer. Because water is e­nough! Water is a mar­velo­us li­quid! It brings wealth to a nation, health to it's peo­ple and to all of creation if it's kept clean and pure. Not­hing tast­es bet­ter than a cool, re­fresh­ing drink of spar­kling pure water!  Thank God for water!

Thank God for Oxygen!

Why did God create us so we could only breathe oxygen? Ano­ther easy answer, He only created one gas to sus­tain life be­cause oxy­gen is fully adequate! Oxy­gen is a marve­lous gas! It gives health and strength to all the dif­ferent or­gans in the human body. Nothing feels bet­ter than a deep breath of fresh, clean air! Thank God for oxyg­en!

Thank God for Jesus!

But how about salvation? Why did God plan only One Way for peo­ple to be saved? Why couldn't there be "many roads, winding their way to one God"? The answer is the same as the answer to the two previous questions—because One Way is enough.

Jesus Christ is a marvelous Savior! He brings whole­someness and joy to all who believe! Absolutely noth­ing is as wonderful as living life fully surrendered to the lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the only true and Living God and our Creator!  Thank God for Jesus!  

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.