Life doesn't have to be a continual struggle. Jesus said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But be of good courage, because I have overcome the world."1 Jesus died and rose from the dead not only to give us an eternal life, but an abundant life here on earth.
This may sound strange coming from a prisoner like myself, but the secret to living a victorious life is to simply abide, trust and rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ. When Jesus shouted from the cross, "It is finished", I believe he was saying we can stop trying to obtain righteousness through the works of the law, because He established the only way to obtain forgiveness, righteousness and life.
Many of our struggles are with guilt and shame resulting from illicit sex, divorce, abortion or other sinful behavior. There will be consequences, but Jesus shed His blood 2000 years ago to provide forgiveness for all sin; past, present and future. 2He rose from the dead to give us an abundant life, regardless of present circumstances. 3
I woke up singing the song: "Everybody ought to know, Everybody ought to know, who Jesus is. He's the lily of the valley. He's the bright and morning star. He's the fairest of ten thousands. Everybody ought to know." I can't get that song out of my mind.
In an August 2005 survey of 1004 Americans, NEWSWEEK magazine andBeliefnet found that 67% say the soul goes to heaven or hell when we die. Remarkably, 81% of Protestants and Catholics believed that a good person of another faith can attain salvation or go to heaven, even though their Savior Jesus declares: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." 1
Myth or Fact?
There are numerous myths deceiving the minds of Christians. One is that you can get to heaven by being good. They believe God weighs your good and bad works, and if your good works outweigh your bad, you get in, otherwise you go to hell. This is not the way God saves. Without faith in Christ, our works will signify nothing but rebellion.
In the last Monthly View, "The Ezekiel Wheel Project" helped us to visualize that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. 1 We read about these men of faith in Hebrews, chapter 11. They were men who walked by faith in God, not by sight. 2They dared to believe in the invisible God, Who created them for a personal realization of Him in the Spirit. Today, they are our heroes of faith.
The Throne's Seven Levels
These heroes help us to see the seven levels of God's throne, which are illustrated on the Ezekiel Wheel Project chart. The center core, the first level, is revealed in Revelation 4:2,3 by the Apostle John saying, "...I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne." The invisible God Almighty [El Shaddai] became visible to him, "And He who sat there was like a jasper [red, yellow or brown opaque quartz] and a sardius [reddish brown] stone in appearance, and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald [deep green]." John saw God's throne in its entirety in this one verse, the throne of God on the highest level to the rainbow, or the outer seventh level. Can you see the view from where you sit?
The world is experiencing an information overload as radio, television and the Internet battle for our time and attention. These devices provide a vision that dictates how we should look at the world around us. We receive these communications through our physical senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Similarly, we communicate with God spiritually with our spiritual senses. Whether physical or spiritual, these sensory views not only create the way we see the world, but the way we see God.
This worldview is our life perspective and determines how we interpret events, situations and circumstances, such as our religious and political views or the war in Iraq. It makes up the thoughts and beliefs that shape our lives, and our relationship with God.