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Wed, October 01, 2014

"Wayward" - The Lost Son

By By Breathecast review

'Wayward: The Prodigal Son,' is a new film based on Jesus' memorable moral tale about a son who abandoned his family in order to live a lifestyle of fame and sin before finding redemption in an unlikely source. The inspirational movie will debut in theaters sometime in the near future.

"[The upcoming film] tells the story of Tyler McMillan [Landon Henneman], a pampered rich kid who gets it all and almost loses everything, including his own life," according to a statement.

Cedar Fort Entertainment's Acquisition Manager Spencer Harden revealed the message behind of the future film. It's about a father's eternal love for his child, no matter how morally corrupt the child was prior to repentance.

"We all know someone who has gone astray," said Harden in a statement, according to a Christian Todayreport, "Every parent hopes it won't happen to their child, but they grow up with minds of their own."

Film director (in addition to writer and producer) Rob Diamond explained why he created his upcoming film, where he also plays as Tyler's dad Robert McMillan.

"I made 'Wayward: The Prodigal Son' because the Biblical story has always touched a deep place in my soul," said Diamond, according to a Christian Today report, "I have been on the receiving end of forgiveness many times for the mistakes I've made in my life. It's the perfect story of love, redemption and forgiveness."

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This looks like it might be a good movie coming up. I watched the trailer and thought it was well-done...so maybe the actual film will not disappoint. I guess we'll see. But I am going to watch for it in November. Maybe we'll write another blog about it by then...

This movie is the enactment of one of the most famous parables of Jesus...one of the most famous and one of the most beloved.

The account of the Lost Son in The Urantia Book is very touching. In it, Jesus tells three parables together, with this parable of the lost son last; this section of The Urantia Book shows Jesus' skill and care in how he ministered to his followers with these parables.

The Urantia Book also gives the context in which these events of Jesus life take place. At this time, for example, Jesus was teaching at Pella, and this was after the resurrection of Lazarus; the chief priests and the Pharisees were finalizing their charges against Jesus, and planning his demise. Here were their charges against Jesus:

169:0.4 1. He is a friend of publicans and sinners; he receives the ungodly and even eats with them.

2. He is a blasphemer; he talks about God as being his Father and thinks he is equal with God.

3. He is a lawbreaker. He heals disease on the Sabbath and in many other ways flouts the sacred law of Israel.

4. He is in league with devils. He works wonders and does seeming miracles by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils.

Meanwhile, Jesus is teaching, preaching, influencing, and enlarging the Kingdom.

Click to read The Parable of the Lost Son

And speaking of the Kingdom, in the very next paper we read a full exploration of the kingdom of Heaven, including Jesus' concepts of the Kingdom, which you will find very enlightening.

The parable of the Lost Son is as relevant today as it was in Jesus' time. Do you know someone who's fallen on hard times? Are you a parent whose child is "wayward?" Knowing this story, and being willing to retell it - or live it - in real-life situations may be of great help to someone in need some day.

Let's hope that the movie will do justice to this wonderful, touching, inspiring parable that tells of God's undying love for his children.

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Tue, September 23, 2014

Substitutionary Atonement-Is It True?

By By MICHAEL BROWN

Did Jesus really pay for our sins on the cross, taking our punishment for us? Did He really die as an atoning sacrifice on our behalf?

In recent years, this doctrine, known as penal substitutionary atonement (PSA), has come under increasing attack, with some Christian leaders claiming that for God to punish His Son for our sins would be an example of "cosmic child abuse" (Steve Chalke).

This past Saturday, I was able to debate this important issue with pastor Brian Zahnd, who was eloquent in his arguments against PSA, claiming that it made our Father into a "monster god" and a "pagan deity." (You can watch the debate here.)

Are these charges true?

As I stated in the debate, I find it highly offensive when anyone characterizes my heavenly Father, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, as a "monster" who engaged in "cosmic child abuse."

This is a perverse description of the glorious gospel, since the doctrine of PSA describes the greatest act of love the world has ever seen: The Father sending His Son to die in our place, and the Son willingly laying down His life to save us from our sins and to make us holy. What love!

We sinned; He died. We were guilty; He took our punishment.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This matter of the atonement doctrine (known in this article as “penal substitutionary atonement (PSA)” is one that is going to be raised more and more by those who love God and know him as a loving Father. Once accepted as fact by so many of us, the idea of this kind of "ransom" being a necessary element of winning God's love is making less and less sense, as the idea of a loving, forgiving God is becoming more popular through the individual's experience with the God of Love.

The author of this article, while certainly well­-meaning, takes great offense at God being characterized as a "monster" and a "cosmic" child abuser; one has to see, though, that if this kind of "substutionary" behavior by a human father were to happen, child abuse would be a mild accusation; that father would spend time in prison for a long time!

The idea of a human father offering one of his innocent children as a death sacrifice in order to pay for the sin of an erring child would be unthinkable...and yet, we are expected to believe that the Universal Father of all is so offended at what his created children have done, that he offered Jesus in just the same way that, in a human father, would certainly constitute abuse of the worst kind. Can human beings have more compassion than God? Is God's ability to control his own emotions less developed than a human father's? This is what the atonement doctrine expects us to believe.

One of the cardinal themes throughout The Urantia Book is the loving character and merciful nature of the heavenly Father. In its pages, the atonement doctrine is roundly rebutted and logically dismantled so that by the time one grasps the GOODNESS of God, the so­-called "wrath of God" that must be appeased by killing an innocent in place of a sinner becomes unthinkable; it is totally uncharacteristic of this new and healthy picture of God that we see in The Urantia Book.

Here are few Urantia Book passages that speak to this issue:

Righteousness implies that God is the source of the moral law of the universe. Truth exhibits God as a revealer, as a teacher. But love gives and craves affection, seeks understanding fellowship such as exists between parent and child. Righteousness may be the divine thought, but love is a father's attitude. The erroneous supposition that the righteousness of God was irreconcilable with the selfless love of the heavenly Father, presupposed absence of unity in the nature of Deity and led directly to the elaboration of the atonement doctrine, which is a philosophic assault upon both the unity and the free­willnes of God. ~ The Urantia Book, (2:6.5)
When once you grasp the idea of God as a true and loving Father, the only concept which Jesus ever taught, you must forthwith, in all consistency, utterly abandon all those primitive notions about God as an offended monarch, a stern and all­-powerful ruler whose chief delight is to detect his subjects in wrongdoing and to see that they are adequately punished, unless some being almost equal to himself should volunteer to suffer for them, to die as a substitute and in their stead. The whole idea of ransom and atonement is incompatible with the concept of God as it was taught and exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. The infinite love of God is not secondary to anything in the divine nature. ~ The Urantia Book, (188:4.8)

Remember, Jesus of Nazareth was the embodiment of God; he said more than once that "he who has seen me has seen the Father." Did we ever see Jesus being unloving? Did we ever see Jesus exhibiting behavior that placed one person in jeopardy for the sins of another? Jesus was the new revelation of God that was to replace the Old Testament picture of God as judge, as wrathful, as punishing. He did a great job of it, but his message was distorted by subsequent generations of believers. The true mission of Jesus to our world has been grossly misunderstood. Now comes The Urantia Book to right that misconception.

In the article above, the author is liberal with quotes from the NT and especially Paul. But Paul did not even know Jesus; his conversion experience was what brought him to God, but he was a man of his time, and was desirous of making converts like himself. He worked within the parameters of his time; and, atonement was a common belief in those days, as was the belief in a wrathful deity.

Here’s more about Paul from The Urantia Book:

The Apostle Paul, in his efforts to bring the teachings of Jesus to the favorable notice of certain groups in his day, wrote many letters of instruction and admonition. Other teachers of Jesus' gospel did likewise, but none of them realized that some of these writings would subsequently be brought together by those who would set them forth as the embodiment of the teachings of Jesus.
And so, while so­-called Christianity does contain more of the Master's gospel than any other religion, it does also contain much that Jesus did not teach. Aside from the incorporation of many teachings from the Persian mysteries and much of the Greek philosophy into early Christianity, two great mistakes were made:

The effort to connect the gospel teaching directly onto the Jewish theology, as illustrated by the Christian doctrines of the atonement—the teaching that Jesus was the sacrificed Son who would satisfy the Father's stern justice and appease the divine wrath. These teachings originated in a praiseworthy effort to make the gospel of the kingdom more acceptable to disbelieving Jews.Though these efforts failed as far as winning the Jews was concerned, they did not fail to confuse and alienate many honest souls in all subsequent generations. ~ The Urantia Book, (149:2.2)

It is difficult to translate an act of barbarism such as was suffered by Jesus into an act of love on the behalf of a supposedly loving Father. Love for whom? It does not seem very loving to Jesus.

Jesus certainly did lay down his life, and he did it willingly, but not to appease some fictitious wrath of his Father’s. Jesus made it plain that mankind is not inherently evil - that man is not born under forfeit of sin, and so, again, the atonement becomes even more fictitious a theory.

In order to understand Jesus’ mission, one has to understand who he was, and why he came here; all of this is detailed in The Urantia Book...but one reason Jesus came is so that he could truly live the life of a typical human being. Jesus needed this experience so that he could regain sovereignty over this world as an understanding and compassionate ruler - a ruler who understands firsthand how human beings live; completing this mission gave him the right to take our world back from the archdeceiver and rebels who were holding it hostage. A typical life includes death. Jesus had to die, yes, but the manner of his death was determined - not by God - but by wicked and evil men, who were threatened by Jesus’ religion of personal spiritual experience with God which was anathema to the rulers of that time.

Click to read more about the Meaning of Jesus’ Death on the Cross

In The Urantia Book, we are given a new restatement of the Life and Teachings of Jesus...a restatement that is gleaned from the eyewitnesses who were there, and who recorded every movement of the Master as he walked our earth. It should make perfect sense to anyone who understands the importance of the Son of God’s incarnation as a human being that this record was preserved. For 2000+ years, all that we have had as records are the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; now, we have the complete story; week by week, and oftentimes day by day, we see the Master - as an infant, a toddler, a schoolboy, an adolescent, a young man, and finally, as the self-conscious Son of God, establishing the Kingdom on earth. His mission and his purposes are stated...his true identity is revealed...and his loving nature (which is also the same nature of God) is outlined in every page of Part IV of The Urantia Book.

Of great importance is the knowledge that God himself was revealed by this God/man...a LOVING God. Atonement cannot be part of his nature, and Jesus never taught such error. Instead, Jesus reveals a loving parental Father who loves all of his children with an eternal love that would never require violence upon an innocent to be realized and appreciated.

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Thu, September 18, 2014

So how would Jesus vote?

By By Great Falls Tribune - Opinion page

What appears at first blush to be a political campaign sign in a yard in Chester reads, upon closer examination, "Elect Jesus for Savior."

It's clever, but it also raises intriguing questions about how Jesus Christ would view today's politics and politicians if he were walking the earth today.

For example, would Jesus be interested in the Occupy Wall Street movement, since he was no big fan of money-changers and sent them scurrying out of a temple?

Would he lean toward folks who are devout Christians? Polls show Republicans have more adherents with regular church attendance.

Or would Jesus lean toward the Democrats, who have more support among the downtrodden, such as the poor and minorities?

Pretty clearly, Jesus in his time was an anti-establishment Jewish man who caused big headaches for officials of the day and drew large crowds.

For our part, we don't think Jesus would care for the nasty partisan bickering that afflicts much of the modern American political scene, or the fact that not much gets done in Washington, D.C. He wouldn't care for dishonesty, spin or bribery, of course. Which raises the possibility that the Messiah might not vote at all.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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 Now that election season is once again upon us, it's a good time to think about values and about character. Even though it is not yet a presidential election, this congressional election finds many of the same issues that have dogged our political process still all-too-active. Division and polarization seems to be the order of the day. Character seems to be lost in the debate...

How would Jesus vote?

It's a question that was posed to us probably ten years ago - or more, and it's a really good time to revisit the well-thought-out reply, written by a staff member from that time:

Here's the reply in its entirety:

I think this is a great topic and it's understandable that people who love Jesus would ponder this at election time.

I have gotten some interesting insights when considering this question of how Jesus would vote. In the first place, I don't think Jesus would ever allow his political position to be known. Jesus fully understood his own power. One of the greatest powers of all is the power of influence. Knowing that humans would take the easy path of having Jesus make all of their decisions for them without thinking these things through for themselves, I think he would keep his political opinions to himself. I'm not suggesting that most of us should do that, but I think that the Pope, for instance, should keep his politics to himself. Religious leaders should never endorse political candidates; this whole election has really driven home for me the wisdom of the separation of church and state.

Clearly, Jesus calls us to learn how to think—not what to think. When we all become adept at independent cosmic thinking we will naturally come to more Godlike conclusions and be able to make more Godlike decisions. That is, decisions which create the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people for the greatest amount of time.

These scientific, moral, and spiritual insights, these cosmic responses, are innate in the cosmic mind, which endows all will creatures. The experience of living never fails to develop these three cosmic intuitions; they are constitutive in the self-consciousness of reflective thinking. But it is sad to record that so few persons on Urantia take delight in cultivating these qualities of courageous and independent cosmic thinking. The Urantia Book, (16:6.9)

We know from his life and teachings that Jesus deliberately avoided making pronouncements on political issues. The closest he came was "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." We could write a novel on what he meant by that. But suffice to say, it doesn't give us much to go on at election time. However, I think we can look at his life by example and infer some definite qualities to look for in a leader. Here are some things I have thought of:

  • He was honest and sincere. He said what he meant and meant what he said. He spoke the truth even when the truth hurt. He was loyal to the highest principals in the highest sense of the word. He would be righteously indignant of the false and malicious political spin and negativity that we have become accustomed to.
  • He was courageous. He was willing to put himself on the line even to the point of direct contradiction with the powerful religious rulers of his day.
  • He was fair. He never would have thought only of the interest of his people (the Jews) or his nation (Israel). There was no self-interest in him. Everything he did was for the greatest good for all. From my point of view, the most powerful man in the world should also be a good world citizen. A true leader would want to lead mankind, not just America, into a new and better way of life. As Jesus said,

"When you once begin to find God in your soul, presently you will begin to discover him in other men's souls and eventually in all the creatures and creations of a mighty universe. But what chance does the Father have to appear as a God of supreme loyalties and divine ideals in the souls of men who give little or no time to the thoughtful contemplation of such eternal realities?" (155:6.13)

  • He was wise. He understood human nature well enough to know how certain people would react in certain situations.
  • He was patient. He waited for the right time to act and chose his battles and his opportunities very carefully.
  • He was respectful and trusting. He believed in men because he knew that God is in them. He empowered men to decide and act and supported the wisdom of the group. When the group made a decision he honored it.
  • He was merciful. He understood the human condition and was forgiving of human frailty. However, he abhorred deliberate wickedness, he said that more was expected of the Master than of the servant, and in the end he did not tolerate the corruption of false leaders.
  • He was sympathetic. He had real insight into the human heart and the human condition. He had real compassion for humanity and wanted all people to "have life and have it more abundantly."
  • He was truly kind. I don't think he would ever have resorted to harming anyone or allowing anyone to be harmed. He once said that he would not defend himself against harm unless he discerned that God was not present in the person who sought to harm him.

Clearly, we can't expect a leader, even one with as much power as a US president, to possess all the wonderful qualities that Jesus did. There were many powerful men in Jesus day that had no respect for Jesus and thought him foolish and weak. There are many powerful people today, even those who profess to follow Jesus, who would never endorse his non resistant and non violent ways. Many who think that, although Jesus ideals are truly good, they're not practical and they won't work.

Sadly, at this point in time, we are stuck with the reality of always having to choose between the "lesser of two evils." That is, two mortal [candidates] who are anything but perfect. We can take the easy way out and vote along party lines, trusting that at least our basic political philosophies will be upheld, or we can look at each [candidate] and try to discern their true character.

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Sat, September 13, 2014

Jesus was not a "Bible-Believer"

By By Frank Schaeffer

Jesus certainly was not a “Bible believer,” as we use that term in the post Billy Graham era of American fundamentalist religiosity that’s used as a trade-marked product to sell religion. Jesus didn’t take the Jewish scriptures at face value. In fundamentalist terms, Jesus was a rule-breaking relativist who wasn’t even “saved,” according to evangelical standards. Evangelicals insist that you have to believe very specific interpretations of the Bible to be saved. Jesus didn’t. He undercut the scriptures.

A leper came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” If Jesus had been a good religious Jew, he would have said, “Be healed,” and just walked away. Instead, he stretched out his hand and touched the leper, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean,” even though he was breaking the specific rules of Leviticus. Two chapters teach that anyone touching a person with leprosy is contaminated.

The stories about Jesus that survived the bigots, opportunists and delusional fanatics who wrote the New Testament contain powerful and enlightened truths that would someday prove the undoing of the Church built in his name. Like a futurist vindicated by events as yet undreamed, Jesus’ message of love was far more powerful than the magical thinking of the writers of the book he’s trapped in. In Jesus’ day the institutions of religion, state, misogyny and myth were so deeply ingrained that the ultimate dangerousness of his life example could not be imagined. For example his feminism, probably viewed as an eccentricity in his day, would prove transformational.

Jesus believed in God rather than in a book about God. The message of Jesus’ life is an intervention in and an acceleration of the evolution of empathy. Consider this story from the book of Matthew: “A woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.”

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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Can I get an "Amen?"

This article is a breath of fresh air, in my opinion. In it, the author asks important questions and posits revolutionary ideas about Jesus, which, taken to heart, can give any believer a new idea about who Jesus was and what his life was meant to be.

This article caught my eye because it echoes what I have learned of Jesus through the teachings of The Urantia Book, a modern-day revelation of God.

In Jesus' day, the Scriptures were thought to be inerrant, much as they are thought to be still today. But, did Jesus believe that? He did not. As this author has discovered through critical thought, "Jesus believed in God rather than in a book about God." This statement is akin to The Urantia Book's statement that Christianity is a religion about Jesus, rather than the religion of Jesus.

For centuries, the Scriptures have been the sole source of information about Jesus and his life...about God and his purposes. But, how's that working for us? Because of the belief that the Bible is inerrant in its teachings, mankind has felt licensed to kill, maim, shame, and otherwise direct and control the spiritual lives of spiritual seekers, believing that this is what God has mandated. And yet, we know that Jesus was the revelation of God to struggling mankind. Did Jesus act in this way? Did he try to direct and control through Scripture? Did he ever use strong-armed tactics to keep his believers in tow? If Jesus did not, then we can rest assured that God does not act that way, through Scripture or otherwise.

One aspect of Jesus' life that is touched on in this article is Jesus' revolutionary attitude towards women. This attitude and his subsequent actions with women are underscored and given a lot of attention in The Urantia Book.

Click to read more about Jesus and Women

One day, Nathaniel asked Jesus: “Master, could you trust me to know the truth about the Scriptures? I observe that you teach us only a portion of the sacred writings—the best as I view it—and I infer that you reject the teachings of the rabbis to the effect that the words of the law are the very words of God, having been with God in heaven even before the times of Abraham and Moses. What is the truth about the Scriptures?”

What follows is Jesus' enlightening discourse on the truth of the Scriptures. I find it to be so important to our modern-day understanding of this topic that I am adding it here in its entirety:

"Nathaniel, you have rightly judged; I do not regard the Scriptures as do the rabbis. I will talk with you about this matter on condition that you do not relate these things to your brethren, who are not all prepared to receive this teaching. The words of the law of Moses and the teachings of the Scriptures were not in existence before Abraham. Only in recent times have the Scriptures been gathered together as we now have them. While they contain the best of the higher thoughts and longings of the Jewish people, they also contain much that is far from being representative of the character and teachings of the Father in heaven; wherefore must I choose from among the better teachings those truths which are to be gleaned for the gospel of the kingdom.
“These writings are the work of men, some of them holy men, others not so holy. The teachings of these books represent the views and extent of enlightenment of the time in which they had their origin. As a revelation of truth, the last are more dependable than the first. The Scriptures are faulty and altogether human in origin, but mistake not, they do constitute the best collection of religious wisdom and spiritual truth to be found in all the world at this time.
“Many of these books were not written by the persons whose names they bear, but that in no way detracts from the value of the truths which they contain. If the story of Jonah should not be a fact, even if Jonah had never lived, still would the profound truth of this narrative, the love of God for Nineveh and the so-called heathen, be none the less precious in the eyes of all those who love their fellow men. The Scriptures are sacred because they present the thoughts and acts of men who were searching for God, and who in these writings left on record their highest concepts of righteousness, truth, and holiness. The Scriptures contain much that is true, very much, but in the light of your present teaching, you know that these writings also contain much that is misrepresentative of the Father in heaven, the loving God I have come to reveal to all the worlds.
"Nathaniel, never permit yourself for one moment to believe the Scripture records which tell you that the God of love directed your forefathers to go forth in battle to slay all their enemies—men, women, and children. Such records are the words of men, not very holy men, and they are not the word of God. The Scriptures always have, and always will, reflect the intellectual, moral, and spiritual status of those who create them. Have you not noted that the concepts of Yahweh grow in beauty and glory as the prophets make their records from Samuel to Isaiah? And you should remember that the Scriptures are intended for religious instruction and spiritual guidance. They are not the works of either historians or philosophers.
“The thing most deplorable is not merely this erroneous idea of the absolute perfection of the Scripture record and the infallibility of its teachings, but rather the confusing misinterpretation of these sacred writings by the tradition-enslaved scribes and Pharisees at Jerusalem. And now will they employ both the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures and their misinterpretations thereof in their determined effort to withstand these newer teachings of the gospel of the kingdom. Nathaniel, never forget, the Father does not limit the revelation of truth to any one generation or to any one people. Many earnest seekers after the truth have been, and will continue to be, confused and disheartened by these doctrines of the perfection of the Scriptures.
“The authority of truth is the very spirit that indwells its living manifestations, and not the dead words of the less illuminated and supposedly inspired men of another generation. And even if these holy men of old lived inspired and spirit-filled lives, that does not mean that their words were similarly spiritually inspired. Today we make no record of the teachings of this gospel of the kingdom lest, when I have gone, you speedily become divided up into sundry groups of truth contenders as a result of the diversity of your interpretation of my teachings. For this generation it is best that we live these truths while we shun the making of records.
“Mark you well my words, Nathaniel, nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible. Through the mind of man divine truth may indeed shine forth, but always of relative purity and partial divinity. The creature may crave infallibility, but only the Creators possess it.
“But the greatest error of the teaching about the Scripture is the doctrine of their being sealed books of mystery and wisdom which only the wise minds of the nation dare to interpret. The revelations of divine truth are not sealed except by human ignorance, bigotry, and narrow-minded intolerance. The light of the Scriptures is only dimmed by prejudice and darkened by superstition. A false fear of sacredness has prevented religion from being safeguarded by common sense. The fear of the authority of the sacred writings of the past effectively prevents the honest souls of today from accepting the new light of the gospel, the light which these very God-knowing men of another generation so intensely longed to see.
“But the saddest feature of all is the fact that some of the teachers of the sanctity of this traditionalism know this very truth. They more or less fully understand these limitations of Scripture, but they are moral cowards, intellectually dishonest. They know the truth regarding the sacred writings, but they prefer to withhold such disturbing facts from the people. And thus do they pervert and distort the Scriptures, making them the guide to slavish details of the daily life and an authority in things nonspiritual instead of appealing to the sacred writings as the repository of the moral wisdom, religious inspiration, and the spiritual teaching of the God-knowing men of other generations.”
Nathaniel was enlightened, and shocked, by the Master’s pronouncement. He long pondered this talk in the depths of his soul, but he told no man concerning this conference until after Jesus’ ascension; and even then he feared to impart the full story of the Master’s instruction.

Bible believers of this age may be shocked as well, AND enlightened. The time is ripe for a new understanding of the role of Scripture in our lives. None have said it better than the Master...

Click to read an extended study about the Gospels and Scripture as presented in The Urantia Book for the 21st century truth-seeker

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Mon, September 01, 2014

Cheek Turning: Is it Practical Advice?

By By Steve McSwain

"If someone strikes you," counseled Jesus, "turn the other cheek!" Completely impractical words, wouldn't you agree?

Who does this? You get sucker-punched on one side of the face and you're supposed to submissively turn the other cheek too? Give me a break! Such nonsense could never possibly work. Just ask the Israelis. Or the Palestinians. Right?

Maybe not. But maybe it does too. But then, how would anyone know? Has it ever really been tried?

Oh, sure, there are those of us who mistakenly think that turning the other cheek means running from conflict, or rolling over and taking abuse, or disappearing to a remote corner to lick our wounds.

I'm not talking about this, and neither is Jesus. However, I do know what it's like to do everything I can to please everybody, to fix everyone as well as every situation, and then, when I fail, which is almost always, running at the first sign of disagreement in order to avoid a negative reaction or, worse, rejection.

Instead, Jesus is talking here about real cheek turning, or a radical departure from the more common method of handling conflict between two people, two religions, or two peoples or nations.

Like the Israelis and Palestinians.

Like Christians and Muslims.

Like the Americans and, well, just about everybody else.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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Are the words of Jesus practical? Are his teachings really usable in the world today?

This article is a kind-of "tongue-in-cheek" response to Jesus advice to "turn the other cheek," but the author wants us to see this advice in a new way, as do the revelators of The Urantia Book.

In The Urantia Book, we witness Jesus offering this advice at least twice. Here, he enjoins the apostles during the Ordination sermon:

140:3.14 "I am sending you out into the world to represent me and to act as ambassadors of my Father's kingdom, and as you go forth to proclaim the glad tidings, put your trust in the Father whose messengers you are. Do not forcibly resist injustice; put not your trust in the arm of the flesh. If your neighbor smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Be willing to suffer injustice rather than to go to law among yourselves. In kindness and with mercy minister to all who are in distress and in need.

But here, in the Urantia Book section called "The Positive Nature of Jesus' Religion," we learn the real meaning behind this seemingly difficult advice.

"Jesus did not hesitate to appropriate the better half of a Scripture while he repudiated the lesser portion. His great exhortation, "Love your neighbor as yourself," he took from the Scripture which reads: "You shall not take vengeance against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus appropriated the positive portion of this Scripture while rejecting the negative part. He even opposed negative or purely passive nonresistance. Said he: "When an enemy smites you on one cheek, do not stand there dumb and passive but in positive attitude turn the other; that is, do the best thing possible actively to lead your brother in error away from the evil paths into the better ways of righteous living." Jesus required his followers to react positively and aggressively to every life situation. The turning of the other cheek, or whatever act that may typify, demands initiative, necessitates vigorous, active, and courageous expression of the believer’s personality.

"Jesus did not advocate the practice of negative submission to the indignities of those who might purposely seek to impose upon the practitioners of nonresistance to evil, but rather that his followers should be wise and alert in the quick and positive reaction of good to evil to the end that they might effectively overcome evil with good. Forget not, the truly good is invariably more powerful than the most malignant evil. The Master taught a positive standard of righteousness: "Whosoever wishes to be my disciple, let him disregard himself and take up the full measure of his responsibilities daily to follow me." And he so lived himself in that "he went about doing good." And this aspect of the gospel was well illustrated by many parables which he later spoke to his followers. He never exhorted his followers patiently to bear their obligations but rather with energy and enthusiasm to live up to the full measure of their human responsibilities and divine privileges in the kingdom of God.

"When Jesus instructed his apostles that they should, when one unjustly took away the coat, offer the other garment, he referred not so much to a literal second coat as to the idea of doing something positive to save the wrongdoer in the place of the olden advice to retaliate—"an eye for an eye" and so on. Jesus abhorred the idea either of retaliation or of becoming just a passive sufferer or victim of injustice. On this occasion he taught them the three ways of contending with, and resisting, evil:

"1. To return evil for evil—the positive but unrighteous method.

"2. To suffer evil without complaint and without resistance—the purely negative method.

"3. To return good for evil, to assert the will so as to become master of the situation, to overcome evil with good—the positive and righteous method."

The author also makes an interesting statement in his article, and asks an intriguing question: could this advice ever actually work? He says:

"But here's the question I cannot escape: How do we know cheek turning is impractical? Has anyone tried it lately?"

We ask also: can we bring this advice of Jesus to the 21st century table? Can it still inspire – and more importantly, can it be practicable? As we read in the passages above, "turning the other cheek" is a metaphor for dealing with conflict; the "positive and righteous method" of effecting resolution of conflict is to return good for evil, thereby becoming master of the situation by force of the God-inspired will.

But this is not an easy task. If it was easy, our world would look far different than it does at present. It is difficult because it does require a decision of will on the part of the God-knowing believer…a decision to rise above evil, and to dominate it by the force of goodness. How many of us are prepared to live this way?

From The Urantia Book:

195:9.6 Primitive man lived a life of superstitious bondage to religious fear. Modern, civilized men dread the thought of falling under the dominance of strong religious convictions. Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.

"Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the religion of Jesus of Nazareth."

This is a passage that should make all of us think whether we are willing to really LIVE our belief – to really act out the principles of Jesus’ religion in our daily lives. If we are willing, we will become beacons of hope in this dark world, and we will become the models (after Jesus) of the joys of living the spiritual life…joy that is born in the realms of the inner life of the believer. The believer who has overcome him/herself in this way has no fear of Jesus’ religion dominating their life; in fact, they desire that above all, for it is a life that can be lived on a plane far above the drudgery of material life – a life that has its foundation in the very real Kingdom of God.

So, is this advice completely impractical? Or is it rather completely challenging? Are we up to the task?

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Sun, August 24, 2014

Jesus Saving the Lost

By By Benge Nsenduluka

Dove award-winning group Selah recently spoke about why there is power in leaning on Jesus in the midst of pain and "brokenness." The trio also shared why they believe millions of people around the world are still drawn to their music after nearly two decades in ministry.

Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry dropped their ninth studio album "You Amaze Us" on August 19, weeks after making Christian radio history when their title track debuted at #1 on Billboard's Christian Soft AC chart.

In the song, which has been #1 for nine weeks, the acclaimed contemporary Christian trio sings about God's grace and the remarkable power of faith during dark times. The song was written as a "reminder," according to Smith, for those in need "wondering if God really does care."

"I think it's usually during your darkest times that's when you lean on Jesus. I think when you've got nowhere else to go. You've got several different choices as to what you can do," Smith told The Christian Post exclusively.

"But typically when I'm humbled, when everything has just been pulled out from underneath – that's when I'm most open to 'Lord I need you' and so [the] lyrics are just reminders to people who are in a dark place and who are wondering if God is there and if he really does care," he explained. "He knows who you are and you need to lean on Him while you're walking through this horrible situation."

 

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This is a wonderful article, and there is some great music in it, too, by the Christian singing group Selah. I recommend that you go and listen to their song: You Amaze Us. The Jesus in this article is the same Jesus that all of us love; some of us are Christians, and some of us are not, but Jesus loves us all the same.

Jesus does amaze us, doesn't he? When you consider who he was and why he came here…the monumental purposes behind his incarnation as the babe of Bethlehem...and at the same time, he said: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. The Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister and to bestow his life as the gift for all. I declare to you that I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.”

His loving heart overshadowed all that he did, all that he said. His primary concern was the welfare of the individual. His mission to the individual was to restore self-respect

169:1.3 “You have been taught that divine acceptance comes after your repentance and as a result of all your works of sacrifice and penitence, but I assure you that the Father accepts you even before you have repented and sends the Son and his associates to find you and bring you, with rejoicing, back to the fold, the kingdom of sonship and spiritual progress. You are all like sheep which have gone astray, and I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.

171:6.3 "... turning to the crowd assembled about them, Jesus said: “And marvel not at what I say nor take offense at what we do, for I have all along declared that the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.”

Maybe those passages are a little different than the Biblical quotes that you're used to, but that's because these passages are from The Urantia Book.  Jesus has not changed at all, but in The Urantia Book, Jesus is elevated and explained; his life is detailed for us, and all the missing pieces of his life are finally in place.

That's right - The Urantia Book is a book about Jesus – and a lot more; but, from the beginning of the book, it is one long introduction to the pinnacle of experiences - both for our world, and for Jesus of Nazareth; that experience was the incarnation of the Creator Son - the very architect of our universe - into the fleshly tabernacle of the human Jesus.

And the crown of The Urantia Book is an amazing narrative of the real life and teachings of Jesus, told in over 700 pages of rich detail and insight into the Master's religious, family, and ministry life.

How did he save the lost? What did he do? How did he minister? The pages are rich with stories that will soothe your soul and lift your spirits. Stories like:

Jesus Takes a Lost Child Home

Jesus Helps a Runaway Lad

The Young Man Who Was Afraid

And these character portraits of the Master and his ministering style:

As Jesus Passed By

The Acme of Religious Living

The Urantia Book is not all that different from the Bible as far as the story of Jesus goes. There are differences; for example these stories above are known nowhere else but in The Urantia Book.  They are a part of a period of time in Jesus’ life (age 28) when he was traveling, and he enjoyed a very personal ministry to many, many people. This is a time in Jesus’ life that no one has known about until now.

If you are a person who wants to know more of Jesus, and you are unafraid to look into a new way to see Jesus - more of Jesus - then you will truly love The Urantia Book’s restatement of Jesus' life.  It is part of the celestial records, made at the time of his visitation to earth, and they are presented to us at this time in our history so as to give modern humanity a new grasp on the Savior through a retelling of the real story. Knowing the full life of Jesus is the most thrilling discovery one can make.

The Urantia Book states:

196:1.3 To “follow Jesus” means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.

It's in there...

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Thu, August 14, 2014

Did Jesus ever treat people unkindly?

By By Morgan Guyton

Morgan Guyton

The lectionary reading for this week is the familiar story of Jesus walking across the water in Matthew 14:22-33. It’s very easy to let your eyes glaze over when you’re looking at the story for the hundredth time. But there’s something about the text that bothered me reading it through this time and I’m not sure that it isn’t supposed to bother me. Peter has jumped out of the boat and done something that required way more faith than I would ever be able to muster: walking across the water to Jesus. And when he starts to sink, Jesus pings on him: "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Little faith? A man who just walked on water for the first time? Really Jesus?

Sometimes Jesus really does act like a jerk. When he’s on the road to Emmaus and he comes across two downcast disciples who are devastated by his death, what does he say in response to their expression of grief? "How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:25). Because the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection of Israel’s messiah is entirely self-evident to any non-fool who isn’t slow to believe the words of the Hebrew prophets? Really Jesus? Sure, you can connect the dots retroactively so that the whole story fits together, but why would it make anyone "foolish" and "slow to believe" that they didn’t connect those dots on their own without Jesus’ help?

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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POOR JESUS...! This article - although I am certain, well-meaning - really rakes Jesus over the coals, accusing him of being a "jerk..." There are three references to events in Jesus' life that earn him this disrespectful slur by this author:

Walking on Water

The Syrian Woman's Daughter

The Brothers at Emmaus

Unfortunately, if one reads these stories in the Bible, they do make Jesus look bad - and sound bad. But happily, people do love Jesus, in spite of some of these questionable things that he says to people, according to the Bible. His goodness eclipses any unfortunate misunderstandings that may arise from Biblical stories about Jesus.

In this article I believe the author is well-meaning, just because it appears to me that this is his way of knowing Jesus better - trying to gain insight into his motivation and mind-set by second-guessing the Master and his motivations. Given the scant scriptural information under which truthseekers have labored all these centuries, it is not too surprising to see a true seeker really delving in the mind of Jesus, trying to make some sense of these events from a novel angle.

Wouldn't it be nice to read the real details and the real truth about these stories? They are all actual events, and really did happen during Jesus life in the flesh - wouldn't it be great if the records of Jesus' life were opened to us, so that we could all know Jesus more completely - Jesus as he really lived and believed?

Well, we DO have access to such records, and they are contained in Part IV of The Urantia Book - The Life and Teachings of Jesus. The Urantia Book is a gift to mankind from heavenly government, delivered by angels, Melchizedeks, and other celestial personalities, including those who were eyewitnesses to the Master's life - all of it.

As a sampler, here are links to those stories covered by the author in the article as told in The Urantia Book:

As you'll read, the entire episode was a vivid dream of Peter's, after a day of emotional stress. It became part of only Mark's gospel; even then, it was hard to believe. The truth is that Jesus would never have walked on water. It would have been an abrogation of natural law, and he had sworn not to do that.

Click to read more about that  HERE

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In this story, we find out that it was not Jesus who spoke so rudely to the woman (Norana by name). It was the apostle Simon. In all stories of Jesus, you will never witness him being sarcastic, rude or unloving to any. His ministry to this woman was superb.

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Here we discover that this resurrection appearance was Jesus' seventh of nineteen appearances

He didn't insult the brothers and call them names. He simply said: "How slow you are to comprehend the truth!" That's all. And then he went on to outline and name every way that he had presented himself to the world, and also he cited the scriptural references that he had fulfilled. Like the Bible story, but much better...

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If you are also interested in knowing more about Jesus and his life; if you are a seeker for truth, no matter where you may find it - The Urantia Book accounts of Jesus' life will surprise and delight you. These three are only a tiny fraction of the thrilling narrative that comprises The Life and Teachings of Jesus from The Urantia Book.

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Thu, August 07, 2014

The Transfiguration of the Lord

By By uCatholic Staff

All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). With remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and death. Peter’s eagerness to erect tents or booths on the spot suggests it occurred during the Jewish weeklong, fall Feast of Booths.

In spite of the texts’ agreement, it is difficult to reconstruct the disciples’ experience, according to Scripture scholars, because the Gospels draw heavily on Old Testament descriptions of the Sinai encounter with God and prophetic visions of the Son of Man. Certainly Peter, James and John had a glimpse of Jesus’ divinity strong enough to strike fear into their hearts. Such an experience defies description, so they drew on familiar religious language to describe it.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This little article about the Transfiguration just begs a response...it raises nothing but questions. This story must have made a temendous impression on Peter, James and John. If it happened today, I suspect it would have an equal impact, and leave as many questions as then. As it is, people have wondered about this event in Jesus life for centuries.

The biggest question to me? Why did such a thing happen?

The Urantia Book, containing the complete, restated Life and Teachings of Jesus includes this story in its matchless acount of Jesus life. The facts are the same, but the true meaning of the event, in the context of Jesus' mission to the world, is revealed as never before.

As a sort of preamble to the Transfiguration, we learn:

"IT WAS NEAR sundown on Friday afternoon, August 12, A.D. 29, when Jesus and his associates reached the foot of Mount Hermon, near the very place where the lad Tiglath once waited while the Master ascended the mountain alone to settle the spiritual destinies of Urantia and technically to terminate the Lucifer rebellion. And here they sojourned for two days in spiritual preparation for the events so soon to follow.

"In a general way, Jesus knew beforehand what was to transpire on the mountain, and he much desired that all his apostles might share this experience. It was to fit them for this revelation of himself that he tarried with them at the foot of the mountain. But they could not attain those spiritual levels which would justify their exposure to the full experience of the visitation of the celestial beings so soon to appear on earth. And since he could not take all of his associates with him, he decided to take only the three who were in the habit of accompanying him on such special vigils. Accordingly, only Peter, James, and John shared even a part of this unique experience with the Master."

Here's the complete story:

Early on the morning of Monday, August 15, Jesus and the three apostles began the ascent of Mount Hermon, and this was six days after the memorable noontide confession of Peter by the roadside under the mulberry trees.

Jesus had been summoned to go up on the mountain, apart by himself, for the transaction of important matters having to do with the progress of his bestowal in the flesh as this experience was related to the universe of his own creation. It is significant that this extraordinary event was timed to occur while Jesus and the apostles were in the lands of the gentiles, and that it actually transpired on a mountain of the gentiles.

They reached their destination, about halfway up the mountain, shortly before noon, and while eating lunch, Jesus told the three apostles something of his experience in the hills to the east of Jordan shortly after his baptism and also some more of his experience on Mount Hermon in connection with his former visit to this lonely retreat.

When a boy, Jesus used to ascend the hill near his home and dream of the battles which had been fought by the armies of empires on the plain of Esdraelon; now he ascended Mount Hermon to receive the endowment which was to prepare him to descend upon the plains of the Jordan to enact the closing scenes of the drama of his bestowal on Urantia. The Master could have relinquished the struggle this day on Mount Hermon and returned to his rule of the universe domains, but he not only chose to meet the requirements of his order of divine sonship embraced in the mandate of the Eternal Son on Paradise, but he also elected to meet the last and full measure of the present will of his Paradise Father. On this day in August three of his apostles saw him decline to be invested with full universe authority. They looked on in amazement as the celestial messengers departed, leaving him alone to finish out his earth life as the Son of Man and the Son of God.

The faith of the apostles was at a high point at the time of the feeding of the five thousand, and then it rapidly fell almost to zero. Now, as a result of the Master’s admission of his divinity, the lagging faith of the twelve arose in the next few weeks to its highest pitch, only to undergo a progressive decline. The third revival of their faith did not occur until after the Master’s resurrection.

It was about three o’clock on this beautiful afternoon that Jesus took leave of the three apostles, saying: "I go apart by myself for a season to commune with the Father and his messengers; I bid you tarry here and, while awaiting my return, pray that the Father’s will may be done in all your experience in connection with the further bestowal mission of the Son of Man." And after saying this to them, Jesus withdrew for a long conference with Gabriel and the Father Melchizedek, not returning until about six o’clock. When Jesus saw their anxiety over his prolonged absence, he said: "Why were you afraid? You well know I must be about my Father’s business; wherefore do you doubt when I am not with you? I now declare that the Son of Man has chosen to go through his full life in your midst and as one of you. Be of good cheer; I will not leave you until my work is finished."

As they partook of their meager evening meal, Peter asked the Master, "How long do we remain on this mountain away from our brethren?" And Jesus answered: "Until you shall see the glory of the Son of Man and know that whatsoever I have declared to you is true." And they talked over the affairs of the Lucifer rebellion while seated about the glowing embers of their fire until darkness drew on and the apostles’ eyes grew heavy, for they had begun their journey very early that morning.

When the three had been fast asleep for about half an hour, they were suddenly awakened by a near-by crackling sound, and much to their amazement and consternation, on looking about them, they beheld Jesus in intimate converse with two brilliant beings clothed in the habiliments of the light of the celestial world. And Jesus’ face and form shone with the luminosity of a heavenly light. These three conversed in a strange language, but from certain things said, Peter erroneously conjectured that the beings with Jesus were Moses and Elijah; in reality, they were Gabriel and the Father Melchizedek. The physical controllers had arranged for the apostles to witness this scene because of Jesus’ request.

The three apostles were so badly frightened that they were slow in collecting their wits, but Peter, who was first to recover himself, said, as the dazzling vision faded from before them and they observed Jesus standing alone: "Jesus, Master, it is good to have been here. We rejoice to see this glory. We are loath to go back down to the inglorious world. If you are willing, let us abide here, and we will erect three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." And Peter said this because of his confusion, and because nothing else came into his mind at just that moment.

While Peter was yet speaking, a silvery cloud drew near and overshadowed the four of them. The apostles now became greatly frightened, and as they fell down on their faces to worship, they heard a voice, the same that had spoken on the occasion of Jesus’ baptism, say: "This is my beloved Son; give heed to him." And when the cloud vanished, again was Jesus alone with the three, and he reached down and touched them, saying: "Arise and be not afraid; you shall see greater things than this." But the apostles were truly afraid; they were a silent and thoughtful trio as they made ready to descend the mountain shortly before midnight.

This wonderful story from The Urantia Book illuminates the amazing event of the Transfiguration like no other account ever has. It is hard to imagine the sheer astonishment of Peter, James, and John when they witnessed this incedible sight; it is little wonder that the accounts of the apostles are garbled and confused. I wonder what any of us might have done, were we in the apostles' place? How we might have interpreted this astonishing occurrence?

Now we have The Urantia Book, to help us understand what the apostles could not...what none of us have been able to understand ever since then...and that is the true meaning of the Transfiguration.

Click to read aout the Meaning of the Transfiguration

Here's part of that section:

That which Peter, James, and John witnessed on the mount of transfiguration was a fleeting glimpse of a celestial pageant which transpired that eventful day on Mount Hermon. The transfiguration was the occasion of:

1. The acceptance of the fullness of the bestowal of the incarnated life of Michael on Urantia by the Eternal Mother-Son of Paradise. As far as concerned the requirements of the Eternal Son, Jesus had now received assurance of their fulfillment. And Gabriel brought Jesus that assurance.

2. The testimony of the satisfaction of the Infinite Spirit as to the fullness of the Urantia bestowal in the likeness of mortal flesh. The universe representative of the Infinite Spirit, the immediate associate of Michael on Salvington and his ever-present coworker, on this occasion spoke through the Father Melchizedek.

The Urantia Book is a true revelation from God to our struggling planet. Its pages contain some of the most inspiring teachings on religion anywhere, and it has given us "the knowledge of greatest value" that can be learned right now: the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it. This story of the Transfiguration is just one of hundreds of stories of Jesus' life in The Urantia Book...many familiar, many unknown, but all narrated with the voice of authority and truth.

Click to see the Table of Contents

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Thu, July 10, 2014

The Nature of Jesus in Christianity?

By By J. Warner Wallace

For over two thousand years, seekers and believers have examined the person of Jesus in an effort to understand who He was and what He said about Himself. All of us, whether we are believers or not, believe something about the man named Jesus. Did He really live? Was He just a man? Is He God? Christianity describes Jesus as more than simply a wise teacher or inspired prophet, and what we believe about Jesus defines us as Christians. Those who believe Jesus is the eternal, uncreated Creator of the Universe are within the Christian family; those who think He is something less may be theists, but they aren’t Christian theists. As we examine the claims of the Christian Scripture, let’s step toward the Biblical Jesus and consider some of the possibilities as we examine some of the groups who hold to differing views about the nature of Jesus of Nazareth

1. Is He A Real Man?

2. Is He A Great Moral Teacher?

3. Is He A Prophet of God?

4. Is He A Prophet of God with Supernatural Powers?

5. Is Jesus God?

 

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This article is pretty wonderful, in my opinion...it is evidntial analysis of some of the primary Christian tenets, and the religious groups that believe them, so that by the end, you can't help but realize-from the evidence-that Jesus WAS God, incarnated on earth...Anyone who loves Jesus will enjoy this article. And it looks like he's a very interesting author of other similar books. When you go to the article, you'll see more about Mr Wallace at the bottom.

Everyone wants to know more about Jesus these days. If they're like me, they just want MORE of Jesus. What we have had, via Scripture, since his life here is pretty scanty; and, we've read the same New Testament stories, by the same authors for generations. Yet, we know that Jesus lived a full human life - he was an infant, a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager, and he grew to manhood for 30 some-odd years before his story really starts. All of the author's evidences of Jesus are hard-won, for he has had to glean them through deductive reasoning, using (mostly) the NT alone. And he does a great job.

Maybe you wish there was more to the story. I always have...

Doesn't it seem reasonable to think that-somewhere-there's a repository of Jesus' entire life...every minute recorded by the angels?

Wouln't it be nice if some of that record of Jesus' life was given to us, here in the midst of 21st century life, so that we might study his life much more fully? Imagine Jesus as an inquisitive five year-old, as a student of music and astronomy, as sole support for his family when Joseph died unexpectedly, as a seasoned traveler in his young adulthood...how many more people did he meet, and what did he say to them?

Well, it IS nice - nice to actually have a lot of those stories that anyone can read. I am referring to The Urantia Book...maybe you've heard of it? In it, we read Jesus life in a week-to-week - and often a day-by-day - account. This account was indeed, recorded by angelic beings when Jesus lived here.

Could it be true that God has not stopped speaking to his children? Could it be that a loving heavenly Father looked upon this planet and perceived how valuable it would be for this world's peoples to discover the real Jesus - the God/man who lived a full life in the flesh?

Does it seem reasonable to think that Jesus' life - his family relationships, his response to hardship, his sense of duty, his friendships, his heartaches and his victories - that this life of Jesus and how he lived it might be of value to human beings in this day and age?

I am not as skilled as the author of the article above, but I am trying to appeal to that in all of us that wants evidence. I can't offer proof that Part IV of The Urantia Book, wherein is found this very same life and teachings of Jesus, is the actual life of Jesus, but I can say that when I first found The Urantia Book, I wept reading just the table of contents of Part IV. So much to read and discover! And there was no looking back, as it rings truer and truer as the years pass.

As we delve through Part IV of The Urantia Book, we actually DO begin to see and observe his life - long before he went into public ministry. His childhood, his adolescence, early manhood, and those later years right before his public ministry...lessons are embedded in every page on how to live a spirit-led life.

Well, I can only offer and share my own experience. I loved the article above, and if nothing else, you should read it. But I also hope you'll do yourself a favor, and check out The Life and Teachings of Jesus as Part IV of The Urantia Book.

To anyone who is fearlessly seeking Jesus, who is seeking MORE of Jesus: This book is for you...

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Fri, May 23, 2014

Faith Insight: Revelation tells us about Jesus

By By Steve Evenson

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1).

We are living in a time of massive change. It seems almost impossible now, particularly for the younger generation, but 30 years ago we had no personal computers, no cellphones, no DVD or BluRay players, no smartphones and no Internet. These few items have changed our lives as much as all the inventions from the dawn of time until 1980.

The era when the biblical author wrote the book of Revelation also witnessed a significant change in technology. The turn of the first Christian century witnessed a transition from scrolls to the codex style of book making. A scroll consisted of a single long sheet of paper, made from animal skins or papyrus reeds, rolled up on a stick. Constructing a codex involved gluing or sticking many pieces of paper together at one end, much like the books you have had in your hands.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

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This article discusses the Bible, the Book of Revelation, technology, and how technology affects revelation. And this should be of great interest to Urantia Book readers, in that all previous revelations of God to mankind have been in the form of personages: Caligastia, Adam and Eve, Melchizedek, and Jesus; The Urantia Book is an epochal revelation on an equal par with these previous four revelations, but in the form of a book.

It was not until about 600 years ago that the printing press was invented; and it is only in the past 50 years or so that the miracle of the internet began to make its presence known as a disseminator of information to the world. I feel sure that the revelators well knew of this coming development when The Urantia Book was given to our world, back in the early days of the twentieth century.

What scrolls and papyrus were in Biblical times, the internet is to us in our modern age.; And, what the Book of Revelation was to its times, The Urantia Book is to our times.

The revelation of The Urantia Book is a modern-day example of God's continuing communication with us. In it, we learn:

92:3.5 Only two influences can modify and uplift the dogmas of natural religion: the pressure of the slowly advancing mores and the periodic illumination of epochal revelation. And it is not strange that progress was slow; in ancient days, to be progressive or inventive meant to be killed as a sorcerer...Evolutionary belief in ghosts laid the foundation for a philosophy of revealed religion which will eventually destroy the superstition of its origin.

101:2.12 Revelation as an epochal phenomenon is periodic; as a personal human experience it is continuous.

103:0.2   As natural religious experience continues to progress, periodic revelations of truth punctuate the otherwise slow-moving course of planetary evolution.

As helpful as the Bible has been - as inspired as those books may be - one can't help but realize that the world is in sore need of new ways to apply spiritual principles to modern problems; expecting that the Bible is God's last word to us mortals can only hold the world back.

When we realize that God has never stopped trying to talk to us through periodic revelations, and DOES talk to each of us continuously in our "personal human experience,"  it becomes more and more reasonable to look into this revelation that is The Urantia Book .

In this revelation, all the gaps in our knowledge are filled in - knowledge about the universe, its composition and its purpose and what all those blazing stars and galaxies are for - knowledge about the earth's history and its formation and destiny - knowledge about the evolution of life on earth and the purposes of evolution - and knowledge about Jesus, who he was, why he came here, and where he is now. And that's only a partial list of the information we can find in The Urantia Book .

Revelation in the Bible, and revelation in The Urantia Book...

Even though presented over 2000 years apart from each other, each has the potential to inspire, but The Urantia Book has the additional potential to EXPLAIN the Book of Revelation and put it into correct context. And it carries us through and forward to an even greater revelation of God's goodness and love to his children on earth. 

The title of this article: "Revelation tells us about Jesus," was the first thing that caught my eye, though. I was of course, thinking about the revelation of Jesus found in The Urantia Book; of course, the author of the article is speaking about the Book of Revelation found in the Bible.

The Urantia Book has several references to this very important book of the Bible, including its authorship and its content. I hope you find these passages interesting and informative:

139:4.14 When in temporary exile on Patmos, John wrote the Book of Revelation, which you now have in greatly abridged and distorted form. This Book of Revelation contains the surviving fragments of a great revelation, large portions of which were lost, other portions of which were removed, subsequent to John’s writing. It is preserved in only fragmentary and adulterated form.

45:4.1 At the center of the seven angelic residential circles on Jerusem is located the headquarters of the Urantia advisory council, the four and twenty counselors. John the Revelator called them the four and twenty elders: “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.” The throne in the center of this group is the judgment seat of the presiding archangel, the throne of the resurrection roll call of mercy and justice for all Satania. This judgment seat has always been on Jerusem, but the twenty-four surrounding seats were placed in position no more than nineteen hundred years ago, soon after Christ Michael was elevated to the full sovereignty of Nebadon. These four and twenty counselors are his personal agents on Jerusem, and they have authority to represent the Master Son in all matters concerning the roll calls of Satania and in many other phases of the scheme of mortal ascension on the isolated worlds of the system. They are the designated agents for executing the special requests of Gabriel and the unusual mandates of Michael.

47:10.2 John the Revelator saw a vision of the arrival of a class of advancing mortals from the seventh mansion world to their first heaven, the glories of Jerusem. He recorded: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and those who had gained the victory over the beast that was originally in them and over the image that persisted through the mansion worlds and finally over the last mark and trace, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, and singing the song of deliverance from mortal fear and death.” (Perfected space communication is to be had on all these worlds; and your anywhere reception of such communications is made possible by carrying the “harp of God,” a morontia contrivance compensating for the inability to directly adjust the immature morontia sensory mechanism to the reception of space communications.)

It is wonderful to know - not only more about John's authorship, but also what it actually is that he was seeing in his visions. This is the gift of revelation...

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