Summary: If the God of the universe speaks into your very being saying, “I love you,” what else do you need?
On many of our minds this morning is the latest of a string of shootings. The latest happening this past Sunday at the nearby West Freeway Church of Christ here in Fort Worth. Our church has taken a number of steps to ensure your safety and will continue to do so. From a volunteer security team to a police officer’s presence on Sunday along with a police vehicle parked outside. We cannot live in fear because our God is our refuge and our fortress (Psalm 91). But we can be smart and we will be smart. Please do not be offended if one of our volunteers asks to inspect an item such as a backpack. Please be mindful that people wearing long coats maybe asked to reveal what is inside. These efforts are done to ensure your safety. We live in evil times much like the demon-possessed people of Jesus’ day, only now they are armed. So we must think strategically and we must also trust in the Lord, our God.
Will you join me in praying for the families of Tony Wallace and Richard White, the victims of last week’s shooting? Will you join me in praying for Mr. Jack Wilson, the man who successfully defended the lives of so many people? Will you join me in praying for the family of the man who sought to kill others as well – I’m sure they are struggling.
I invite you to join me for a seven-week study starting Wednesday where we investigate the royal family of Israel.
This morning, I want to talk about creating margin in our life. Creating margin so that we have room to breathe and grow. Adding margin in our life to truly connect with the people we care about the most. Adding margin in my finances to enjoy what the Lord has given me. Adding margin will allow you to be generous with those in need. Margin in our life to truly worship the Lord. We have no time to ourselves. If stress were measured like rpms of a car’s dashboard, then we would be running in the red.
If you have a Bible, I invite you to turn to Philippians 4 with me.
Let’s talk about normal people for a moment. Normal people are the people you work with. Normal people are stressed and living beyond their means Normal Americans believe they will always have a car payment & they will always pay rent or a mortgage. The Normal American has no money in the bank for an emergency. And the normal people are up to his/her eyeballs in debt. But God has called His people to be anything but normal. According to the people at CNBC, only 40% of Americans could handle an unexpected $1,000 expense such as an emergency room visit or car repair. One of the major reasons we don’t have margin in our life is because we don’t have contentment in our lives.
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:10-13).
The author of the New Testament book of Philippians is the Apostle Paul and he’s anything but normal. He is in prison when writes this small letter (Philippians 1:14). Here we have Paul in prison when is facing death and he has the audacity to say, “I have found the secret of being content. I have this inner gyroscope. I have this deep calm and equilibrium no matter what the circumstances. I have learned the secret of being content.” Twice in these verses he stated that he had learned contentment. Not only does he say he is happy in verse 10 but Paul says he is greatly happy. He’s really happy because of their concern for him.
The distance between Paul in prison in Rome and the church in Philippi was around 800 miles. A letter from one place to the other would have taken around 40 days to deliver. Paul is really happy they went to all this trouble to show their care for him. A guy named Epaphroditus showed up in Roman prison cell with a care package in hand.
Do you see the word “revived” in verse 10? That word “revived” is a rare word and it pictures your perennial flower budding forth in the spring. When the Philippian church sent this guy all the way to see Paul in prison, Paul bursts forth in joy. The people all the way down on the other end of the cell block would have heard the happiness of Paul. Paul says in effect, “I am content whether you showed concern or not. I’m content.”