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An amazing word of truth

June 16, 2010

Well here I am in New York, arrived last night, head is seriously fuzzy.. long flight, jet leg – I will be ok! My wife sent me this interview with Rick Warren which just really touched my heart big time.  So I hope it does the same for you. Rick is the author of  the mega successful ‘Purpose Driven Life’ suite of books and is pastor of Saddleback Church in California.  It was recorded back in 2005 in an interview with Paul Bradshaw. Here tis:

Rick said: People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not 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 rehearsal. 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 reason ably 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 testimony, 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? Popularity? 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, THANK GOD..

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free click here: Subscribe.  God bless,  Mark Brown

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The portions for today are: Galatians 4-6; Leviticus 1-3

To access the complete plan for the year click here

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29 Comments
  1. Steve Gill permalink

    Awesome. Just awesome. God is so beautiful. People can be beautiful ONLY because of God. How God is working through Rick in this message is just so REAL and so RIGHT. I love you God. I give no man credit for the amazing things you do every day. It must be soooo humbling for RIck and I am so thankful that I get to learn from this witness. I praise you and I love you Lord. You are spectacular! Wonderful! Simply Amazing.

  2. Lynn Sicard permalink

    I have learned to thank God in all situations. I have looked back over my life and seen all the times He was thre when I thought He had just given up on me and walked away. But God allowed me to see that when I felt that way He was actuallycloser to me than ever before. He has provided for me and my family more times than I can count.He’s held me in his loving arms during sad times til my tears faded away. when we were eating our last meal we had in the house, he sent someone to offer my husband a few days to a couple of weeks work, or left a bag of groceries on our door step. when my daughter needed glasses, he sent someone to pay for them.and He has kept me alive when i should’ve died on more times than i can count.

    i’m bi-polar, and right now I’m going through a bout of depression, but I thank God as He has givenme good friends to help me get through this ,plus He walks by my side til this is over with. He helps me to breathe and He gets me thru each day.So I say thank You God, and I say it with a very greatful heart and an attitude of gratitude.

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Lynn…. I am sending you a SMILE today. I believe that Our Lord has heard your cry and your days of being Bi-Polar are shortened. There is healing on the way. As you know, the same God that dropped your groceries on the doorstep is the one is going to send a person to lay hands on you and heal you. I had a habit wisked away from me one day when Our Lord sent a man to help me. The two of us (this man that God sent to me) were travelling to Mississippi after Katrina and I was using tobacco at the time (A 25 year old habit of dipping Copenhagen “Snuff”.) The man did not know I was a user of this “junk”, but he knew that Satan had a hold over me with something. He told me a parable about a man who was blind and was walking toward a pit. As the blind man walked toward the pit…. another man watched as he fell into the pit. The man then went and helped the man out of the pit. Then he told me the story again with a different scenario. This time the man who saw the blind man walking toward the pit yelled “STOP THERE’S A PIT IN FRONT OF YOU” before the blind man got to the pit. SO… this man than said to me after telling me the story…. “Steve… the first man was REACTIVE about the situation and the second man was “PROACTIVE” with the situation. God wants you to be PROACTIVE with Him to be healed of the thing that has a hold over you. Lynn…. Tears flowed from my eyes like never before. The man knew that Satan had a hold over me and he was asking if he could help. SO …. after the tears came, I asked the man for help. We stopped the car and he laid hands on me and flipped through His Word and read passages that were relating to my situation. He did this with only the guidance of The Holy Spirit.

      Two things I learned. God will send a person in our time of need. Also…. and almost more importantly. The healing would not have taken place if I did not have the faith that God could do it. This happened almost 5 years ago and I haven’t even had ONE urge to use tobacco since.

      By His stripes we are healed. Lynn, I’ve read your comments before. God is right there with you all the time. I feel it in your words about what he has done and continues to do. Praise the Lord. He is perfect. Brotherly Love to you and your family. Keep the faith.

  3. gloriadelia permalink

    Reminds me of one of my favorite verses: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

    and I LOVE what Pastor Warren said at the end of the interview —

    Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.

    Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.

    Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.

    Painful moments, TRUST GOD.

    Every moment, THANK GOD..

  4. MARK permalink

    Amen!!!!

  5. Lynn Sicard permalink

    I BELIEVE WE SHOUJD PRAISE GOD AT ALL TIMES,GOOD OR BAD, FOR I BELIEVE GOD HAS SOMETHING GOOD FOR US EVEN WHEN WE ARE HAVING BAD TIMES.1 THING I LEARNED WAS TO TRUST IN GOD AND IN HIM ALONE.AND I’VE LEARNED TO DO MY BEST TO BE OBEDIENT TO HIM EVEN WHEN IM SCARED OUT OF MY WITS.I’VE LEARNED HOW TO SMILE THROUGH BOTH PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PAIN, AND TO GIVE EVEN IN TIMES OF NEED.AND I’VE LEARNED THAT GOD WILL PUT PEOPLE LIKE THE PEOPLE IN HERE IN OUR LIVES TO BLESS US WITH ENCOURAGEMENT AND WORDS FROM HIM. GOD IS THE AIR THAT I BREATHE, MY LORD, MY STRENGHT, AND MY HIGH TOWER, MY HEALER, MY PROVIDER, AND MORE. AND I DON’T REMEMBER WHERE IN PSALMS THIS VERSE IS, BUT IT SAYS THAT I SHALL LIVE AND NOT DIE,AND THAT I WILL PROCLAIM THE MIGHTY WORKS OF GOD. TO GOD BE ALL GLORY,HONOR,POWER,AND PRAISE, AMENAND THANK YOU BOTH

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dearest Lynn, I am always impressed by your faith. Thanks be to god for your encouraging testimony.

    • I was reading your commit about being bi-polar.I am also bi-polar.I have come to believe that it is not Gods will for me at this time in my life to live without being bi-polar.I often think back to it as being my thorn and that I must use it the best way I can for the Lord.I am in church and now waiting for the Lord to show me the right time to start a class for people with depression and bi-polar and like disorders.I struggle day by day but I know that I get strength and hope by seeing God work around me through the people that are going through the things like us.So my prayer is that God will use each christian person with a mental disorder for His Glory because God can use anyone….God Bless

  6. steven rippel permalink

    Mr.Brown, my thanks to your blog, and gratitude towards God for leading me to it.I have have been very conflicted with myself about the main topic of your blog and I feel you have explained it well and set forth a good balanced view for people to learn from.
    Steven,

  7. This is a nice reminder.

  8. Anna Kelermenou permalink

    Mr. Mark, God doesn’t want a single soul to suffer. And when Jesus said I came not to destroy but to give you abundant life, how can you say such a thing as God is not ‘going” to heal your wife? How can you believe that this is something from God? Yes we go through trials but not trials that torment us because that would be in contrast to Jesus promise about our rights as children of God.
    Seriously, I have seen pages on the internet of ppl speaking of their way with God and that at some point they had eg.an accident that crippled them etc and they consider that a tribulation from God. NO!!!!!! All your years close to God is this so little that you understand from His character and that you perceive from His promises?
    The only one who wants us to die and suffer is satan. And we let satan do his thing when we open a door to any kind of sin. So don’t tell me that God doesn’t want to heal your wife cause you insult MY GOD MY JESUS MY SAVIOR!
    If ppl have been healed by God from cancer and all kinds of diseases in our church (and ofc all around the world )why wouldn’t God want to heal your wife or ANY Christian around the world?
    How can you be so blind and make a bad name for God like the other ppl on the internet? GO DOESNT WANT ANYONE TO SUFFER get that into your head! There is no way for a child of God to die out of a disease or unexpected death! It’s God’s promise we wont!!! Wake UP!!!!
    Psalm 91: 7A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. 14Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness–trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].
    15He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.16With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.
    And so many other passages in the Bible.
    The ppl that our Lord Christ Jesus healed, did one single thing. REPENTED!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Dearest Anna. Sister Anna. I want to reply to you with a gentle spirit and a spirit of truth. I certainly can see why you might feel like Rick Warren’s letter does not support your feelings about Our Lord and His Ways. But I must disagree wholeheartedly. One…. the tone in which you write goes against the law of God’s Love so if you are to bear fruit you must not call out a minister of the Word like you are doing. Galations 5:22 says “The Fruit of The Spirit is …. gentleness, kindness, etc.” I did not feel that you were speaking in that way. Mark gives his time and energy to witnessing to many and Rick Warren also does this and we are not there judges. Could they be doing things wrong as Pastors…. YES…. but in this case, I disagree.
      So….. about suffering.
      Your point about Satan being the one who separates us from God is exactly right. And I completely agree that God doesn’t PUT us through SUFFERING. But…. God allows it sometimes because He wants us to grow and mature. The part that is so striking about this is that Rick Warren’s Wife after finding out she had cancer…. instead of going into deep depression and whallowing in self pity…. she used this battle to witness about Her Lord and Savior…. WOW…. the toughest time of her life, dealing with sickness and she counted it a blessing to worship God during that time. If we haven’t been through it…. we really can’t speak about how that feels.
      Anyway Anna…. I am your brother in Christ and I hope that this reply comes to you and speaks to your heart about this letter that you have problems with. I hope I have not offended you in any way. I hope that your heart realizes that we all are to Love each other as Jesus loved all. Thanks Anna and have a great day! In Christ’s Name…. Amen.

      • Anna Kelermenou permalink

        I don’t accept that God refuses to heal anyone who is going trough pain if their heart is sincere and I refuse to agree with the idea that God sends allows diseases to affect His children because that’s simply not what the Bible says.. And if you wanna be another “Christian” who justifies their damaged relationship with God and it’s consequenses believing themselves a contemporary Job then that’s your choise.
        The Bible says to examine ourselves everyday and see if we are still in faith.
        Speaking the truth bluntly doesn’t mean that there is no love in my heart.
        I love God and I don’t want His name to be disgraced and for ppl who look for the opportunity to hear what they WANT to hear to further justify their misery.
        God wants us to be happy at all times that’s what apostle Paul says.
        And living in Holiness means being happy. Being sad is healthy but sadness is something that God can removed from our hearts in 1 second if we give it to Him. Sadness confrotned according to the will of God leads to what? Reptentance. Same with everything else that consists an obstacle in faith.
        HOW CAN CANCER or any other life threatening DISEASE LIVE ALONG WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD , GOD HIMSELF, IN YOUR BODY???????????
        God who gave His life for you and wants to give you life would allow such a life threatening thing blight any true child of His?
        In my experience with GOD, I say a big NO. And that’s also what the Bible says. Prove me otherwise through the Bible, and I stop being a Christian today.
        Or you really think that for a person to mature in faith they have to go through cancer? Yes the Lord works in ways not fully understood by men but His ways are good and benevolent when it comes to His children, and just when it comes to the unfaithful.
        Not blaming God about hardships alone, doesn’t make us a good Christian. And doesn’t prove that we have a healthy relationship with God.
        Tell me just this, is there any reason for God to not want to heal her? When He gave His life for her? Do you think that God doesn’t know of other ways to lead us to maturance but that disease, which is death and death is a result of sin, is the way of God?
        …….

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Of course God Heals. He healed me. Read my comment above. That’s not the point. You are discouraging in your words. That’s not love. Never will be. Never has been. And by the way, you are not listening. We’re talking about two different things.

  9. wanja permalink

    Such an inspirational piece! Thanx for it. It reminds me of the call we have as children of God, to have faith as without it we can’t please Him, a trust in Him as our Father. It is the most blessed place to be, to be able to lift our hands and voices and say like Job, ‘though He slays me, yet will I priase Him’! Or like Habakkuk 3:17-18, declare that ‘though …the fields yield no food…and there be no herd in the stalls..yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation’!

  10. Thank you for sharing this. What a perfect testimony of how to remain humble when life can make us feel proud.

  11. Excellent post; very encouraging – Thank you for sharing this with us and God bless you!

  12. MCLepley permalink

    Oh how thankful I am for you sharing this with me.
    My husband and I have been through a lot these last 3 years. We have felt like you, we are on a road full of blessings and trials and pain. In face I think it’s a good thing God mixes good and bad. If I didn’t have little glimpses into His presence and protection, I’d have let go of Him long ago.
    I struggle sometimes with wanting to “feel” better. Of course that always leads to wanting to satisfy my flesh somehow. It’s been hard to just focus on God and keep the right perspective in the day to day struggles.
    I was very much encouraged by this posting.
    It was a reminder that I desperately needed today!

  13. Price Pickard permalink

    I am most sad to write I am leary of Rick Warren. He shared a stage with Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion President in our history, and Mr.
    Warren said nothing. What kind of lifestyle does Mr. Warren have? The World hates Jesus and does it not adore the likes of Mr. Warren and Billy Graham?
    Pastors and churches that teach “the whole” word of Yahweh are despised and persecuted by the beast system. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing. We
    must have discernment in whom we put our trust. I do understand that over 90% of those that read these comments will not agree and even curse me. I am not writing to the totally blind. I am writing to those that actually want and value the truth. Certainly don’t take my word for it. Many of you probably think Joel Osteen is a man of God, also. May God have mercy on us, the church for being so blind

  14. Idowu permalink

    Hi Mark
    Many thanks for these words of encouragement and your ministry. This came just in time to address one new painful issue in my life. Thanks for reminding me and I pray that God will continue to uphold you and your family and the ministry.

  15. MY heart and soul loves our Father and my mind may not understand it all but- the path to the light I will go together with HIM.. Amen Diane

  16. Rose Reese permalink

    Thank You. That is something I know and believe, but sometimes forget. Without my faith and trust in God I would be in a downward spiral to hell. Thanks to his saving grace and mercy I know that my eternity will be with my Savior, Lord and Master. I am so very, very thankful!

  17. Ardith permalink

    It seemed that you were headed into the false teaching of the Church Growth Movement when you finished your position and started thinking you could do a great work for God. If numbers were the thing that mattered to the Lord don’t you think He would have put it in the scriptures, wouldn’t His ministry been focused on how to reach out to the un-churched? He accomplished saving the whole world already, now we need to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, not the teaching of Rick Warren, a man, but the gospel of God!!! May the Lord open your eyes to this deception, check out this site http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/
    May the Lord open your eyes.

  18. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in yesterday’s email. I needed to hear your words today. I was touched by each facet of what you shared w/ us. From the physical struggles of your wife, to financial blessings, to the thought that we’re not in this for popularity. I’ve been a bit down today due to struggles of my own in each of these areas. I needed to hear it from someone else that Jesus is my focus, even though I know this for myself. Keep up the good work! :)(:

  19. bethany permalink

    wow this have help me have a clearer understand of what God is really looking for

  20. Glenda permalink

    Thanks Mark just what I needed now. I am going through difficulties in my life. Yet I know God is there.

  21. Elomena permalink

    It’s amazing how God works. This is a confirmation of the message in my daily devotional for wednesday. Am blessed and need that same prayer every morning to know God more and love Him better than the previous days.

  22. Marivic M. Naval permalink

    Godbless you, Thank you so much for sharing this, its reminding me and a very good encouragement.

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