Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eternity set in our hearts

My mother sent this to me yesterday. It struck a cord deep in me. The idea that this is not all there is has been a big issue for me in these last several years as I have grown in the desire to get to know my Savior better. I have this longing always for something more. Not that I am discontent but rather even in times of great joy, I have a longing for more. More of something that can never quite be satisfied. There have been times when I have dreamed of taking trips to far away places--places that I was sure would fill the longing deep inside me. I have made a few trips and yet the longing remains.
I once heard Beth Moore say that there would always be a longing there that would never be filled except by God once we step into the eternity that He set in our hearts at the beginning. It is almost a feeling, for me, of discontentment. And I know that Paul said he had learned to be content in any state that he was in.
Not accepting peacefully, where God had him, would have filled him with discontentment-- which would have been sin.

So in these past two years I would say that for the most part I have learned to be content.
And yet, not content to remain where I am or to be satisfied with what I have.
Do you know what I mean?
I long for more --more than I believe I will ever experience this side of eternity.
Eternity was what I was made for--this is just a time of preparation.
Will I step in to eternity prepared?
If I let Him have his way.......... so that He can do His perfect work.
May He be glorified in us all today and each day.

This is an absolutely incredible interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California .
His wife now has cancer, and he now has "wealth" from the book sales.
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

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 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 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 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.


Nicki said...

That was good for my heavy soul today. Thanks!! I really liked the last part, I'm going to say that to myself all day. Hope you are getting settled good!!

Dee said...

Very interesting. Good reminders -- I'm feeling a bit bogged down today too. D

BunnyGirl said...

BLimey, this is a challenging post. Having been through a very tough time during the last 18 months to come out the other side, I'll be honest and say there is a part of me now saying "okay so good times are here again. When#s the other shoe going to drop (a way of saying, where's the bad stuff that will inevitably happen?). It seems a very small way to live life. But a good point is made by Rick, even if it is difficult to grasp fully (or maybe I just dont want to grasp it!). Thank you for this post. It's a tough one but a good one.

forgiven4this said...

Amazing, hit a heart string with me. I too like the last part and need to remind myself daily about it, so thank you for sharing it.

P.S I came across you blog and I am blessed because of it.

Blessings to you!

eph2810 said...

Thank you, Sharon for sharing this. I don't know if I will ever get where Rick Warren is, but I think his attitude is awesome.

Blessings to you and yours.