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Living in the Kingdom

Here's a wonderful article - the first in a series of blogs, called An Everyday Kind of Jesus By Alicia Purdy. I like her style! And I think you will, too, especially if you are a Bible-reading Christian. I am going to add a blog of my own below which is informed by The Urantia Book...but first, here's a nice snip from Alicia's blog:

"I'm going to start right up front by telling you that being a real person and being a Christian aren't two conflicting states of being- at least not in my world. I hope you'll join me here as I, a real human, navigate life in light of the grace of God. Whether or not you believe in Jesus, accept Jesus, like Jesus or think you're Jesus, I am looking forward to sharing some thoughts, lessons learned, regrets (maybe), insights, challenges and other sundry real-person, life-actually wisdom that will hopefully inspire or at least entertain you."

Click to read the article

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Kingdom living

It's important for "everyday" kinds of people to speak up and speak out about how they navigate the troubled waters of modern life here on Urantia. It is good to share with others our practical ways of finding the Father's will and living in the kingdom of heaven. In fact, living in the kingdom is the surest way for anyone to find God's will. It is not all that elusive. Remember: the kingdom is WITHIN us. And it's never a burden or something that we should be reluctant to embrace. The kingdom provides a safe bastion of peace and spiritual joy - a solid platform from which to be in the world, but not of it.

Jesus' original gospel is sweet. It's simple. In fact, it may be so simple that those who hear it may be confounded. It consists of only two elements. The first requires faith. I accept by faith that I am a child of God - that he is my spirit Father. The second element springs from that faith/belief and it says that all other human beings are also children of God. This fact makes us all siblings in the family of God. The gospel encompasses Jesus' two great commandments: love God, love people. Believing in this gospel is your ticket into the kingdom. Here's what Jesus taught about it:

170:2.1 The Master made it clear that the kingdom of heaven must begin with, and be centered in, the dual concept of the truth of the fatherhood of God and the correlated fact of the brotherhood of man. The acceptance of such a teaching, Jesus declared, would liberate man from the agelong bondage of animal fear and at the same time enrich human living with the following endowments of the new life of spiritual liberty:

The possession of new courage and augmented spiritual power. The gospel of the kingdom was to set man free and inspire him to dare to hope for eternal life.

The gospel carried a message of new confidence and true consolation for all men, even for the poor.

It was in itself a new standard of moral values, a new ethical yardstick wherewith to measure human conduct. It portrayed the ideal of a resultant new order of human society.

It taught the pre-eminence of the spiritual compared with the material; it glorified spiritual realities and exalted superhuman ideals.

This new gospel held up spiritual attainment as the true goal of living. Human life received a new endowment of moral value and divine dignity.

Jesus taught that eternal realities were the result (reward) of righteous earthly striving. Man's mortal sojourn on earth acquired new meanings consequent upon the recognition of a noble destiny.

The new gospel affirmed that human salvation is the revelation of a far-reaching divine purpose to be fulfilled and realized in the future destiny of the endless service of the salvaged sons of God.

That's pretty heady stuff - pretty grand and glorious promises! Who wouldn't want to experience that?

Getting to know God

Having faith in the existence of God is something that many people experience. And yet, a lot of us believe in a God who's just a little bit scary! As we've grown up and heard about him, we might get the idea that he's a deity that is SO big, and SO powerful that we can't come close to him. And also we might think that he's just a little bit unpredictable. Maybe if I do the wrong thing, there's going to hell to pay. Some people think that, literally!

Thinking of God as an impersonal "It" can bring those thoughts. But, when we know God as a person, when we can experience him as a Father, the dynamic can change dramatically.

Did you have a good father? If you did, lucky you! Not everyone is fortunate that way. But when we discover the Fatherhood of God, we discover a Father who IS good...a Father who loves us like a rock...a dad whose lap we can sit on and whose ear is always bent towards us. Best of all, he's Father to OUR earthly fathers, too. They are all just little kids like us. It helps if we can see our own dads this way, especially if they haven't always done the right thing by us.

I love this passage in The Urantia Book about God and how good he is:

2:6.1 In the physical universe we may see the divine beauty, in the intellectual world we may discern eternal truth, but the goodness of God is found only in the spiritual world of personal religious experience. In its true essence, religion is a faith-trust in the goodness of God. God could be great and absolute, somehow even intelligent and personal, in philosophy, but in religion God must also be moral; he must be good. Man might fear a great God, but he trusts and loves only a good God. This goodness of God is a part of the personality of God, and its full revelation appears only in the personal religious experience of the believing sons of God.

The experience

Having that personal religious experience of God is life-changing. How do we get it? For me, it was like getting to know a new person for the first time. Because of the Urantia Book teachings about the indwelling Thought Adjuster, it became easy for me to just start talking to God in my inner thoughts, and having the faith that I was on the right track. Again, the kingdom is within us.

I wanted more than anything to live in the kingdom, so, I just began sharing my inner life with God - having an inner dialogue with him. And even when nothing particularly changed in my outer life, my attitudes changed. My perspectives changed. My relationships changed. It was is if I was seeing the world again through new eyes. Knowing that there is this loving presence with me all the time means so much to me. Here's a great way to frame it that could be a game-changer for you, as it was for me.

Facing new situations used to be scary for me. Being fearful is a hard way to go through life. Today, I know to ask God to help me think the right way about whatever situation I am facing. I ask him to go before me and make my way smooth. In any moment of uncertainty, I know that I have only to breathe a momentary prayer to God - to just mentally look in his direction as I proceed. Help is always forthcoming. It comes through better thinking, expectant faith, and the assurance that all is well. Responding to life from that perspective is so different than responding from fear.

That kind of experience builds upon itself. The more we succeed, the more experience we gain. I like the saying: The better it gets, the better it gets. And that's how I feel about God and kingdom living.

The Father rules the universe - he is a mighty ruler, for sure. But now I know that he rules the universe by the power of his LOVE. Love is always the right response, no matter what the question may be. And love is always the will of God. If there's ever a question of what God's will is, always choose the loving option. Life in the kingdom is a life lived for love...love of God and love for my brothers and sisters. It's really very simple...not always easy, but very simple.

The rewards

What's not easy? It's not always easy to be kind to someone who rubs me the wrong way. It's not always easy to let someone have the last word. It's not always easy to step out of my comfort zone so that I can help someone else. It's not always easy to give of myself or be generous with my resources. But sincerely desiring to be a good citizen of the kingdom and wanting to stay there is a great incentive to take those chances.

I love Jesus' teachings at Tyre, that talk about some of these attitudes that are not always easy. For example:

You are destined to live a narrow and mean life if you learn to love only those who love you. Human love may indeed be reciprocal, but divine love is outgoing in all its satisfaction-seeking. The less of love in any creature's nature, the greater the love need, and the more does divine love seek to satisfy such need. Love is never self-seeking, and it cannot be self-bestowed. Divine love cannot be self-contained; it must be unselfishly bestowed.

God-knowing individuals are not discouraged by misfortune or downcast by disappointment. Believers are immune to the depression consequent upon purely material upheavals; spirit livers are not perturbed by the episodes of the material world. Candidates for eternal life are practitioners of an invigorating and constructive technique for meeting all of the vicissitudes and harassments of mortal living. Every day a true believer lives, he finds it easier to do the right thing.

As you grow older in years and more experienced in the affairs of the kingdom, are you becoming more tactful in dealing with troublesome mortals and more tolerant in living with stubborn associates? Tact is the fulcrum of social leverage, and tolerance is the earmark of a great soul. If you possess these rare and charming gifts, as the days pass you will become more alert and expert in your worthy efforts to avoid all unnecessary social misunderstandings. Such wise souls are able to avoid much of the trouble which is certain to be the portion of all who suffer from lack of emotional adjustment, those who refuse to grow up, and those who refuse to grow old gracefully.

That last one is particularly pertinent, as I am definitely "older in years!" Having some experience in the kingdom is wonderful. Having been within its protective and peaceful environs has changed my life for the better. It's a place I will never leave. Never.

The Urantia Book is full of information about the kingdom. I have really only scratched the surface. We have a good topical study on it HERE. But, the best explanation of it - the best invitation to it is given by Jesus in Paper 170. I hope you'll take it to heart, join up, join in, and help make your life - and the life of all your siblings - better. It's your kingdom as much as it is mine! And entrance is assured if you are sincere.

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