Since writing about it a few days ago, I’ve been doing some more contemplation on the idea of margin and how I spend my time. Thomas Merton urged Christians to recover a “simple and wholesome life, lived at a moderate and humanly agreeable tempo.” I think that succinctly describes a life with margin.
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William D. Longstaff wrote a poem in the early 1880’s that has become a classic hymn. It describes a life I feel confident would result in the correct amount of margin. I’m singing it this morning as a personal challenge and prayer. Will you join me?

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Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

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Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

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Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

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Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
©Brenda Pace, 2010

I came across this hymn by William Cowper this morning and decided to post it. I thought someone else, besides me, may be feeling some insecurity about the future. I found this ‘Hymn 15′ from the Olney Hymnal (published in 1779) to be of great comfort. The word picture of the ‘fearful cloud’ breaking into ‘blessings on your head’ was especially meaningful. What ‘fearful clouds’ are hanging over you today? Be encouraged by these faith-filled words:

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.

The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.