One goes through Midlife Crisis….you can say with the Sensex going nowhere today it’s a midweek crisis !
Thought ,like I did,maybe you too have enough time to ponder over two lovely and relevant perspectives in different contexts on Life and Living put forward by Rick Warren & Thomas Friedman…and both of which I received today in the email from those who think I needed these perhaps !…reproducing them below for you
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer, and him having ‘wealth’ from the book sales.
This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, ‘Purpose Driven Life’ author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.
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 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 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.
If you do not pass it on, nothing will happen.
But it will just be nice to pass it on to a friend….just like I have done.
God’s Blessings : HE ARRIVED THIS MORNING, WE HAD PRAYER; SPENT SOME TIME JUST TALKING, AND HE HELD ME FOR AWHILE BECAUSE I WAS HAVING A BAD MORNING.. THEN, HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO YOUR PLACE.
May God bless you – AMEN.
….and this is by Thomas Friedman
The $110 Billion Question
When one looks across the Arab world today at the stunning spontaneous democracy uprisings, it is impossible to not ask: What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are almost identical to the governments we’re applauding the Arab people for overthrowing?
Ever since 9/11, the West has hoped for a war of ideas within the Muslim world that would feature an internal challenge to the violent radical Islamic ideology of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. That contest, though, never really materialized because the regimes we counted on to promote it found violent Muslim extremism a convenient foil, so they allowed it to persist. Moreover, these corrupt, crony capitalist Arab regimes were hardly the ideal carriers for an alternative to bin Ladenism. To the contrary, it was their abusive behavior and vicious suffocation of any kind of independent moderate centrist parties that fueled the extremism even more.
Now the people themselves have taken down those regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and they’re rattling the ones in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman and Iran. They are not doing it for us, or to answer bin Laden. They are doing it by themselves for themselves — because they want their freedom and to control their own destinies. But in doing so they have created a hugely powerful, modernizing challenge to bin Ladenism, which is why Al Qaeda today is tongue-tied. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Al Qaeda’s answer to modern-day autocracy was its version of the seventh-century Caliphate. But the people — from Tunisia to Yemen — have come up with their own answer to violent extremism and the abusive regimes we’ve been propping up. It’s called democracy. They have a long way to go to lock it in. It may yet be hijacked by religious forces. But, for now, it is clear that the majority wants to build a future in the 21st century, not the seventh.
In other words, the Arab peoples have done for free, on their own and for their own reasons, everything that we were paying their regimes to do in the “war on terrorism” but they never did.
And that brings me back to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last October, Transparency International rated the regime of President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan as the second most corrupt in the world after Somalia’s. That is the Afghan regime we will spend more than $110 billion in 2011 to support.
And tell me that Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, which dominates Pakistani politics, isn’t the twin of Hosni Mubarak’s security service. Pakistan’s military leaders play the same game Mubarak played with us for years. First, they whisper in our ears: “Psst, without us, the radical Islamists will rule. So we may not be perfect, but we’re the only thing standing in the way of the devil.” In reality, though, they are nurturing the devil. The ISI is long alleged to have been fostering anti-Indian radical Muslim groups and masterminding the Afghan Taliban.
Apart from radical Islam, the other pretext the Pakistani military uses for its inordinate grip on power is the external enemy. Just as Arab regimes used the conflict with Israel for years to keep their people distracted and to justify huge military budgets, Pakistan’s ISI tells itself, the Pakistani people and us that it can’t stop sponsoring proxies in Afghanistan because of the “threat” from India.
Here’s a secret: India is not going to invade Pakistan. It is an utterly bogus argument. India wants to focus on its own development, not owning Pakistan’s problems. India has the second-largest Muslim population on the planet, more even than Pakistan. And while Indian Muslims are not without their economic and political grievances, they are, on the whole, integrated into India’s democracy because it is a democracy. There are no Indian Muslims in Guantánamo Bay.
Finally, you did not need to dig very far in Egypt or Jordan to hear that one reason for the rebellion in Egypt and protests in Jordan was the in-your-face corruption and crony capitalism that everyone in the public knew about.
That same kind of pillaging of assets — natural resources, development aid, the meager savings of a million Kabul Bank depositors and crony contracts — has fueled a similar anger against the regime in Afghanistan and undermined our nation-building efforts there.
The truth is we can’t do much to consolidate the democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia. They’ll have to make it work themselves. But we could do what we can, which is divert some of the $110 billion we’re lavishing on the Afghan regime and the Pakistani Army and use it for debt relief, schools and scholarships to U.S. universities for young Egyptians and Tunisians who had the courage to take down the very kind of regimes we’re still holding up in Kabul and Islamabad.
I know we can’t just walk out of Afghanistan and Pakistan; there are good people, too, in both places. But our involvement in these two countries — 150,000 troops to confront Al Qaeda — is totally out of proportion today with our interests and out of all sync with our values.