January Editor’s Letter

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feed them. Are you not of more value than they?…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:26, 34

Kitchen Tune-Up

For as long as I can remember I have loved a blank page…I used to write short stories. My elementary school teachers frequently assigned an original short story using the week’s spelling words. I could get very creative and completely disregard the word count. I fear I wrote a few novels instead!

New years are like blank pages – except that we are not completely autonomous creators of the story that writes itself on our personal page. That thought would cause me great fear if I didn’t completely trust the God who is writing the story and attending me on life’s journey. Sure, we can make many a choice and live with the consequences, but there are so many unforeseen events that come to each of us each year – things altogether beyond our control. How we deal with the things we can’t control has a profound impact on our peace, joy, and quality of life.

It occurs to me that if we spent as much time incorporating God’s specific instructions into our daily habits, we would cope with those unexpected challenges with less angst and more confidence in the future. You know the Greyhound bus corporation’s motto, “Leave the driving to us.” Life works better when we leave the steering wheel in God’s hands, too.

Tim Tebow has been much in the news lately. The critics seem to take great delight in telling us all the reasons he is not a great quarterback. And yet, he keeps snatching victory from what appears to be a defeat in a come from behind finish. I love watching his grace under pressure.He does his part at giving his 100% best effort, does not lose his cool in the heat of the battle and leaves the results up to God.  Does God care about football? Probably not per se, but He does care about excellence and effort and being faithful in the place He has called us.

Baptist Health Systems’ CEO Mark Slyter seems to operate by Tim Tebow’s principles as well. Athletics and a strong family provided the training ground for his significant faith lessons, too. In the journey that followed his high school and college sports career, he discovered that the same commitment to preparation and excellence that served him well in the athletic arena brought God’s bountiful blessings in every other area. No matter what the nay-sayers say, God’s way always works best.

If you are staring into 2012 and making your list of all the resolutions you intend to adopt, my suggestion is that you keep it simple. My mother’s favorite Bible verse is the best advice I know as we approach the coming year with its big blank page staring us in the face. “He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

A few years ago I gave a talk called “Backdoor Lessons,” and I have given it a gazillion times since then – so much that I feel embarrassed when I recognize someone in the audience who is there for a second time. I am sure they thought I had had a new revelation by now. I am working on it. So for whatever it is worth, you can call the following ideas “More Backdoor Lessons” and expect me to comment on them along our journey in 2012.

Happy New Year!



Marilyn’s Latest Backdoor Lessons

  1. Be intentional. Life is too short not to be,
  2. Be grateful. Find the joy in the moment.
  3. Hold the world loosely – it’s all temporary.
  4. Pray that God would teach you contentment in your trials.
  5. If you love someone, tell them now.


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