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Archive for Margin



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When I was doing my final dissertation for my degree, I became aquainted with the rules of academic writing. My degree program used the fifth edition of Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. One of the first rules of academic writing concerns margins. In fact, one of the members of the faculty was reputed to take a ruler out to manually check the margins of the final draft! Margins on paper are important because they create readability and simplicity. The goal is not to cram as much copy into as few number of pages as possible. Words need space to be effective and have an impact.

Margin has the same effect on our lives. We need margin in every area so that we can be effective and have an impact! Are you living life without margin? Or are you living on the edge of the page?

I believe the time has come to learn how to create margin in our lives once again. But how do we simplify? How do we find margin in a world that insists on complexity?

My new series titled Enough is not going to be a series with tons of practical bullet points on how to manage your time or create a budget. There are far better resources available for that than what I can offer. Besides, I think we’re smart enough to realize that our solution is not in a better gadget or a new piece of software.

I do believe it’s important to see what God says about life as he intended. If your life is not rich and satisfying, something is wrong. If your life is not characterized by joy and you’re constantly tormented by worry, something is wrong. Those wrong things cannot be corrected with gadgets and planners. If we will get it right at the foundation, we’ll get it right at the point of execution. In other words, if we’ll believe right things, we’ll behave in right ways.

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Life as Jesus Intended

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If I were going to share one verse in the gospels that best describes life as Jesus intended, it would be John 10:10.
In the NIV it reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
In the NLT, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
And in Eugene Peterson’s The Message, “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

Does that reflect your present experience with life?

Matthew 6:25 Jesus says that our lives are not to be governed by worry. When is the last time you enjoyed a worry free day? 1 Timothy 1:7 says that fear is not a part of God’s plan nor does it come from Him. Are you afraid? Philippians 4:4 and 1 Peter 1:8 indicate that our lives are to be characterized by joy. Is joy frequent in your life? Or a rare experience?

Life as Jesus intended was to be rich and satisfying, free from fear and worry, characterized by joy. Yet, we find ourselves addicted, compulsive, overloaded, overwhelmed, burned out, and searching for off ramps. We appear to have had enough. Americans are rediscovering simple. At least they are aware of their need to rediscover simple. People are looking for simple because the world has become so complex. A recent survey conducted by Rainer research has revealed that Americans are struggling with four areas in life:

1. Time: Even though our schedules are packed to the limit, we take on more and more.
2. Relationships: We say that our family is our priority, yet our actions betray our commitments.
3. Money: We live without financial margin. Less than 2% of Americans possess a savings account, and routinely spend more than they make.
4. God: We know we need to be spiritually connected, but God gets the leftovers. Studies report that very few followers of Christ maintain any kind of devotional life.
Jesus modeled simplicity. As a result, he was always on point. He was always balanced. Jesus created margin in his life that allowed him to be effective in each of the four areas I just mentioned. Tomorrow I’ll continue this thread from my new series titled Enough.
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