This week we celebrate the lead up to Easter. It was the last week of Jesus’s life on earth, and it deserves contemplation. The story is still relevant. A man who preached the Good News is a shock to the Jewish system of Religious law. The people love him, then they turn on him, and alas, Jesus is tried and convicted, and then the resurrection, mission complete.
Backed up against the superficial and vacuous list of superhero’s we have on the silver screen, it was encouraging for me this past weekend to see so many people show up to see the new Christian film St. Paul the Apostle. For a movie that saw little mainstream promotion, it is clear to me that people are hungry for biblical stories because they contain so much heroism, reflection and conviction, qualities sorely lacking from movies like Dark Water, Pacific Rim or the latest blockbuster Black Panther.
Real heroes inspire, and this is a great week to be inspired. So this week on my radio station LISTEN HERE we are airing/streaming the UB Narrative of the final week of Jesus’ life on earth (UB Papers 190 to 194). In full and rich detail, you can hear the day-by-day account of the Masters’ final week on earth and those who came into contact with him.
Please share the link with others, tweet about it, post it, give the story away to people you think need to hear the good news. People are hungry.
by James. R Watkins
Prayer is such a personal thing. Prayer is all about spirit, mind and will. Our mind, focused on the will to reach beyond ourselves to touch, if even for just a fleeting moment, divinity.
I can’t imagine a more personal, intimate moment when the choice we make to reach out is consummated by the desire of our Creator to reach us where we are and how we are at that moment.
Numerous studies have shown that prayer helps. From relieving stress to recovery from horrible sickness, prayer mobilizes our most powerful weapon: our desire to have spiritual intimacy with Deity.No other animal on the planet seeks toworship, but we do; and every person who has done so will testify to its feelings of satisfying peace after having prayed.
The Revelators went to great lengths, in Papers 91 and 92 to tell us where the desire for prayer comes from, and how we can be more effective at it.
Prayer works, they say, because when we pray the highest part of our consciousness is motivated and actualized by a potent spiritual force, as opposed to behaving in concert with our more animal natures and tendencies.
But in this crazy world of non-stop entertainment, dazzling screens, Candy Crush, incessant music and video, Facebook and Snapchat, one wonders if prayer even still matters.
If it is true that prayer also effectively increases wisdom through spiritual insight and revelation, then we may be in trouble. If Prayer as an act of spiritual mobilization becomes less frequent in our daily lives, are we effectively dulling our “spiritual senses?”
What are our :spiritual senses? they are that part of us that strives to seek a better understanding of the world around us, and thus, becomes more acute in pursuing those worthwhile goals based on truth, beauty and goodness.
In our daily acts, imagine if we started the day with a very simple prayer of thanks, or praying to be a better person, forgetting ourselves for just a moment and focusing our heart and mind on how to have better relationships with not only our Creator, but with our family members, friends and business associates as well.
And the best thing about prayer is this: prayer is an instinctive act, no previous experience required. It is intrinsic to our natures as ascendant mortals; the desire to pray is, shall we say, hardwired into us, just like a Mac is hardwired to connect to a wi-fi router, or an iPhone to a cell-tower.
Using a tired metaphor, if you don’t water the garden the plants will wither and eventually die.
And if we stop utilizing prayer, what are the social ramifications on a sociological scale?
Perhaps prayer could begin to stimulate the better natures of mankind; if we all prayed a little bit more (and not just for things – but for insight), the fruits of this prayer would show forth in displays of better conduct, more cooperation and a reduction in the vitriol we now see spilling into the streets and in social media.
Maybe prayer on a global level could change the world for the better. What have we got to lose?
“What shall it profit a man who would gain the world and lose his soul?” – Mark 8:36
by James R. Watkins
Stephen Hawking was no doubt a brilliant thinker when it came to Science. In the age of Reason, Hawking was propped up as the go-to guy to explain how reality came into existence. He stayed true to his convictions, he pushed his ideas as far as they could go. Stephen Hawking gained the universe, or at least a better understanding of it. Yet despite his acute understanding of the cosmos, Hawking seemed to discard a Creator, a master designer, God.
How does a man who marvels at creation believe that such a creation would come into being of its own accord? And why does modern Science present Hawking as the final authority on all things real, discounting any notion of Intelligent Design, when the very mind of Hawking was able to penetrate a deep understanding of creation that (supposedly) had no mind, no planning, no purpose?
Would it have hurt his credibility to have some faith in a Creator? And do scientists (and people in general) believe that having spiritual faith is contrary to believing in Science?
Perhaps it would be fair not to judge the great physicist, after all, it is possible that during his life he had some doubt that maybe, just maybe there was a great designer; perhaps on some visceral level, while Hawking couldn’t prove it, felt inclined to suspect our universe was not just a cause-and-effect reality after all. Maybe in his final moments of life Hawking might have heard the faint whisper of God calling him to the great beyond, the beyond Hawking couldn’t explain and couldn’t prove with hard data.
I’d like to believe he did.
My faith tells me that in order to receive grace, you have to have faith in it, as Jesus stated, “it is your faith that saves you.” Jesus also said that it is not for us to judge others as to their relationship with the Father, but to minister to ‘even the unbeliever.’
While I always admired the tenacity and the insight of Stephen Hawking, it was also irritating that such a smart man would exclude the idea that our universe was created for a reason, that existence has a spiritual purpose which underlies the cosmos, and that it wasn’t just an accident, or a ‘Big Bang.’
If Hawking missed that point it would be a shame, for such was a man who did gain an understanding of the universe, but failed to see the most important aspect in that universe, the nurturing of the eternal soul that see’s the divinity in creation and not just creation itself.
by James R. Watkins
I’ve been spending a number of evenings pouring through some interesting articles provided by Urantia Book researcher George Park. I invite you to check out his research if you are into astronomy. I was so impressed by his work, I invited George to be my guest on Perspectives (now streaming on our Live broadcast stream and as a podcast on our Archives page).
For the first time, someone has taken the information in the Urantia Book and put this information into context within today’s contemporary astronomy.
Among the highlights:
- Where the geographical center of Paradise is located (Yes, where God lives!)
- How new discoveries in astronomy now seem to contradict the Big Bang theory
- Possible locations of Jerusem, Edentia, Salvington, Uversa, Havona and even Paradise (the “Heavens”) in the night time sky
- The meaning of The Sloan Wall and its implications in astrophysics (especially in disproving The Big Bang Theory)
In summary, Park makes the statement that the Revelators of the Urantia Book must have anticipated scientists would refute many of its cosmological claims since little evidence in 1955 was available, but new discoveries in astrophysics are now coming to light which vindicate the cosmological narrative of the Urantia revelation after all. We are now learning, through discovery of things like The Sloan Wall and CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background), which measures active energy throughout the known galaxy, that seems to indicate the uinverse is an oblong disc of cosmic matter which contradicts the Big Bang “balloon” model of equal energy dispursement, a model that states all matter and energy expands in all directions equally, the Standard Model in Astronomy.
Science and Religion stand at opposite ends of human experience. What George has done is clarify the Urantia concepts in a manner which brings these two paradigms closer together.
After all, if Science can someday learn that there is a “master designer” who put all of existence into motion, how many hearts would be lifted by such knowledge that there is, in fact, someone (or something) in control of this otherwise seemingly random existence?
Science, according to Park, may not be able to prove the existence of God, but it most certainly can learn that our physical universe has far too much “design” (pattern) to be explained by random causation, a theory that, a hundred years from now, may seem as silly as believing Earth is the center of the solar system, a theory once embraced by – you guessed it – scientists who thought they knew better and were too stubborn to let go of their belief system.
Again, if you like astronomy, you will enjoy reading much of Parks’ works, which is located at www.UBcosmology.com