ISAIAH 61:1-4

ISAIAH 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to
Preach the good news to the poor. .
Bind up the brokenhearted,
Proclaim freedom for the captives,
Proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners,
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them
The oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The following is interview with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. My niece sent this, and I thought it would be appropriate to share. (I don't have the date or the occasion. If I find either, I'll add the info later.)

Photo: Shop window in Zihuatenejo, Mexico (Phylis Huerta)

"People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a
nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last
forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my
body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend
trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in
eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure
that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're
just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your
character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in
making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal
of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the
toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a
dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't
believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind
of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have
something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always
something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always
something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,
"which is my problem, my issues, my pain."

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus
off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of
thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy
for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened
her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given
her a t estimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For
instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15
million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal
with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for
your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money,
notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that
helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our
lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary
from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The
Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care
for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years
since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was
liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism?

Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say,
God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You
more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to
fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I
do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet
moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment,

And I'll keep working at praising God in everything. During all the examining and poking and proding and waiting, I'll keep trusting God.

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