Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Most Important Thing

Do this in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:24)
THE AWARD-WINNING SPORTS BROADCASTER, Jon Miller, has provided play-by-plays for major league baseball for many years. Jon’s voice of authority and sense of drama make even a blowout game exciting. While broadcasting a game, Miller never forgets the most important thing. An egg-timer reminds him to give the score every three minutes.
The Lord’s Supper is, in a way, like Jon’s habit of remembering to relay the score. Amid all of the hard work, drama, and disappointment the game of life brings, the Lord’s Supper causes us to stop and remember the most important thing—Christ’s covenant of grace. Like the Passover from which this sacrament grew, we do this to remember Him, to look back upon the meaning of our redemption.
But it’s not just a thanksgiving feast of looking back. The Lord’s Table reveals the link between the cross and the crown. As we sit down for Holy Communion, we also look forward to our ultimate salvation. So especially on days that feel like a blowout, it helps to stop, remember, and get excited about the incredible winning game God has planned for our future. For we know, They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is the Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)    
                                                                                                                 —Susan Browning Schulz

Celebrate your salvation regularly by choosing a memorial of some kind and keeping it visible.



Monday, October 28, 2013


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me (Matthew 25:31-36).
ONE NIGHT WHEN Robert Louis Stevenson was young, his nanny called him to bed. Oblivious to her summons, he stood staring at something outside his nursery window. The nanny asked, "Robert, what are you looking at?" He pointed to the lamplighter setting the streetlamps ablaze. "Look, Nanny! That man is putting holes in the darkness!" When we serve others like Jesus describes in the passage above, we illuminate our surroundings. By “putting holes in the darkness” we also give the earth’s inhabitants a peek into the kingdom God prepared for His people since the creation of the world.

Do you think Jesus calls us to serve others only because people need our assistance? My experience has resulted in more than filling a need. He calls us to help others because of what happens to us when we serve—humility blossoms in our hearts and our character grows and matures. Even though deeds like feeding the hungry could never buy our way into God’s presence, He promises that our acts of kindness will not go unnoticed. Jesus will reward us.

How about finding a worthy cause to help every month or quarter? Jesus’ message reveals what a difference a simple gesture makes. When we shine our light on those around us, the melodious words of Jesus, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father” will brighten each day.


—Susan Browning Schulz 


Serve others and watch God’s promises come alive in your life.

Photo courtesy of


Sunday, September 22, 2013


Be still before the LORD,
all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.  (Zechariah 2:13)

IN ANCIENT GREEK MYTHOLOGY, the Muse spent a lot of time in solitude and thinking. It’s not a surprise then that muse as a verb means to think or meditate in silence, as on some subject. How interesting that the letter “a” used as a prefix renders a word into its negative form. Amuse means to hold the attention of someone; entertain or divert in an enjoyable manner.

Built on the principle of amusement, the entertainment industry’s goals are to let producers, directors, actors, and athletes think for us and distract us from seeking solitude. They provide an escape to a place where we there’s no need to consider our own lives and reflect. Our enemy, Satan, loves to use this business to keep us from thinking for ourselves, especially taking the time to contemplate God and meditate on His word.

In our passage today, God instructs us to be still before Him. In another popular verse in Psalm 46:10, God tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” To be still requires us to spend some time by ourselves pondering life and God. To know God is to know His word. These commands leave us with a choice—muse or amuse. Will we live mindfully or will we live mindlessly? God promises to live with those who muse.

—Susan Browning Schulz  

Make a plan to spend regular time meditating on God and His word.

The picture above is the view from my parents old home on Big Pine Key, Florida. I find it easy to be still and know here! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Trusting Our Horizon Indicator

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

AIRPLANES ARE EQUIPPED with an instrument called an artificial horizon indicator. Human senses may become confused in the foggy thickness of clouds, but the horizon indicator cannot be fooled. Following the indicator’s guidance, pilots keep their planes safe and on course.

This illustrates our natural wisdom compared with God’s heavenly wisdom. When Abram (later re-named Abraham) questioned God’s plan, it was like a pilot trying to fly his plane through a cloud bank while relying on himself instead of the flight instruments. Even though Abram had received an unconditional promise, he felt hopeless because God had still not given him an heir.

But Abram recovered almost as quickly as he wavered by focusing on the instrument panel, God’s word. He chose to receive the truths God spoke into his life. The history that followed has been amazing. We still reap the great reward of Abraham’s belief in God’s promises today. Thinking about this blasts me back to the past. During elementary Sunday School class we marched while singing, “Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had Father Abraham, and I am one of them, and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord!” We shouldn’t leave songs like this in our childhood. The great truths in them can correct our perspective and help us focus on our horizon indicator.

Dear Jesus,
Help me to follow Abram's example by choosing to believe, being set right with you, Lord. Amen!

photo courtesy of 


Friday, February 8, 2013

Lily the Rabbit Teaches a Lesson on Faith

Author, Cynthia L. Simmons (, is concerned about our families being under attack and wanted to hear some encouraging stories about families doing life God's way. She launched a writing contest, "Doing Family God's Way." I won in the overcoming obstacles category. I never forgot this event because God taught me not only about childlike faith through this silly rabbit, but also that God can be trusted to nurture my children's faith, even when I worry about them needlessly.

“Uh oh!” I blurted out as my daughter Jenna and I approached the rabbit hutch. Worries for Lily started the moment I saw the cage door standing open. Just because we couldn’t see her didn’t mean she wasn’t there. She could have been sleeping in the enclosed part of her pen. But when I popped open her bedroom door I knew we were in trouble. No one there! Jenna’s big blue eyes began to pool with tears.

I said, “Let’s get a move on and look for her! She can’t be too far, right? Before we get started, let’s pray.”

I grabbed her little four-year-old hands right there in front of Lily’s house, we bowed our heads and prayed: Dear Jesus, You who created Lily, know exactly where she is. Please open our eyes to see which direction she went so we can put her safely back into her cage. Thank you Jesus! Amen.   

My thoughts went south at Amen and doubt began to creep in. What if God didn’t answer our prayers? What if Lily is never found? How much damage would this do to my children’s youthful faith. Jenna’s brother and sister were due home from school in about an hour. How would they take the news?

Jenna and I canvassed the entire yard more than once, but to no avail. We gave up and went inside.

Our rabbit adventure started when my three children, D.J., Kim, and Jenna inherited two Dutch bunnies, a hutch, and all of the needed supplies from a friend. Jack and Lily (based on the movie Legend) taught my children a thing or two about life right away. We figured out quick that if you don’t want a lot more than two bunnies you can’t leave Jack, the big brown and white banded boy, with Lily, the delicate white girl with black splotches alone in the same cage. We watched Lily pull the fur off her belly to make a super soft bed in preparation for the arrival of her precious little babies.

The children loved the new members of our rabbit family. After they were covered with fur and up hopping around and eating on their own, we played with them a lot. All three kids loved to take them out onto the front lawn and watch our border collie herd them up so no one would get lost.

“You know kids, we don’t have enough room to keep Lily and Jack’s babies. If we did no telling how many rabbits we would have.”

They seemed to understand. With minimal complaints, off to the Pet Store we went to trade our baby bunnies in for a separate hutch for Jack. The Pet Shop loved receiving dual profits; free adorable critters to sell, who were calm and used to being held, plus the sale of a new cage.

Now here we sit with one empty cage and another one filled with poor, lonely Jack.

I heard the rush of the school bus’s diesel engine roar by and knew Kim and D.J. would walk through the door at any moment.

After our greetings and shedding of backpacks I said, “We have some bad news. Jenna and I went out to the rabbit hutches earlier and the door to Lily’s cage was accidentally left open. She has escaped and ran away. We prayed and looked around for quite a while, but could not find her. I’m so sorry.”

“Mommy, D.J. and I haven’t had a chance yet to try and find her. Why don’t we look for her again?” Kim said.

D.J. nodded in agreement. As I saw the worry well up in my children’s hearts I continued to doubt God would answer our prayer to find Lily, but I decided it would be best to repeat the prayer Jenna and I had prayed earlier—then we hurried out the back door in search of Lily.

We weren’t to the bottom of the back-deck stairs before I heard D.J. scream, “There she is!”
I couldn’t believe it! Lily, right there near the bottom of the steps munching on grass after Jenna and I had looked everywhere for her only an hour earlier. Kim scooped her up.

“I’m so glad you came back, Lily” she said, holding her close to her cheek. “You were a bad girl to run away! Jesus answered our prayer, Mommy.”

“He sure did,” I said, wondering why I ever doubted.

“I want a turn holding her” D.J. said.

“Me too,” Jenna said. “Lily, you were a bad, bad girl; don’t ever do that again!”

After the gentle scolding, things began to settle down. We placed Lily back into her hutch with extra care focused on closing her door latch. Everyone wanted to make sure Lily remained safely tucked away.

The kids may have learned a lesson on how not to be careless, but we all learned something important about God from Lily that day. Our trustworthy God hears us when we pray and is willing and able to help us through any obstacle we face.

Yes, I’ve lived long enough to know that God’s answers are not always a happy ending, like with Lily, but through that escapee rabbit He taught me that when I’m faithful to teach my children about Him and encourage prayer, even when I doubt, He loves them more than I do and can grow their faith more effectively than I ever could. And when I worry about how my children’s faith will be affected from hearing the answer, “No, not this time,” I can rest assured that His answers and timing are uniquely designed for each one of them. Little actions, like leaving a cage door unhooked, or the bigger ones that come later—who to date or what to do when offered that first drink—are covered by God’s sovereign grace. When we do family God’s way, we can’t lose.







Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are You An Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Addict?

I may have posted this on facebook or somewhere before, but I think it is worth repeating:
Are you an Adult Child of an Alcoholic or Addict? I discovered an eye-opening explanation as to why we do some of things we do.
             Poking around on Google while writing about my experiences with alcohol addiction in my family I came to a forum on I was amazed at what I found when I read about the "13 Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics." As I recover and heal from the damage alcohol has had on me I asked God, "Why do I judge myself so harshly? I don't understand, Lord. And the more I work on trying not to, the more aware I am of how often I condemn myself." 
             God answered this question and many more through this enlightening list. Not all of them apply, but many do.
             Knowing why doesn't solve the problem, but it definitely lightens the load and makes the three important A's in recovery much easier: Awareness, Acceptance, Action. Now that I'm aware I can accept the problems that apply to me on this list and take the necessary action to heal. Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus for answering my heart's cry, speaking to my heart and carrying me through this recovery process. You are so good to me.
Here is the list. I hope it helps and enlightens you as you seek recovery. I'm praying for you! 

1.      Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) guess at what normal behavior is
2.    ACOA have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
3.      ACOA lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
4.      ACOA judge themselves without mercy.
5.      ACOA have difficulty having fun.
6.      ACOA take themselves very seriously.
7.      ACOA have difficulty with intimate relationships.
8.      ACOA overreact to changes over which they have no control.
9.      ACOA constantly seek approval and affirmation.
10.  ACOA usually feel that they are different from other people.
11.  ACOA are super responsible or super irresponsible.
12.  ACOA are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
13.  ACOA are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self loathing and loss of control of their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of time cleaning up the mess.
 When I think of Recovery I think of the Serenity Prayer, and the place I feel the most serene is on the water, hence the picture of my old home place: Big Pine Key Bay :)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Personal Wailing Wall

            The ring of the phone startled me.  I glanced at the caller ID and quickly lifted the receiver. “Hi Dad, what’s happening?”
            “Suzi, the hospital here in the Keys is unable to do anything more for your mother.” I could sense the helplessness in his voice. “They are ordering an ambulance to transport her to Mount Sinai Medical Center on Miami Beach tomorrow.”
            “I’ll pack today and leave for Miami first thing,” I said. “I’m bringing the kids with me, OK?”
            “I’ve arranged for you to stay with your cousins. They have plenty of room for all of us, so I’m sure it’s fine for you to bring the kids. But I’ll let them know.”
            I didn’t have the heart to tell my father why I would bring the children. My husband and I prepared for the worst. We had decided that I would drive the three children from Atlanta to Miami. He would stay home to work and fly down when I needed him.
            The kids and I finally reached Miami. Soon after settling the children in, my father and I headed for the hospital. At Mount Sinai Medical Center, we located my mother’s wing. As the automatic door whooshed open, a blast of antiseptic air met us head on. Walking towards the elevator, my desperate heart led me to look for the chapel. True to hospital pattern, a plaque on the doorframe to my left indentified the Surgical Waiting Room, and another door on the right, Chapel.
            “Hold on a second Dad,” I said. “I want to take a quick look in here.”
            My gaze drew straight ahead to the far wall, where coral rocks covered it like a fireplace surround, but without the hearth. Against the mottled beige rocks, words made of brass stood out, first in Hebrew, then in English—Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
            Many worried hearts had been there before me. Prayers written on pieces of paper and folded neatly were stuffed into the crannies of the rocks, making it a miniature Wailing Wall.
           While watching my mom experience what I consider torturous medical procedures and grave illness, I kept the picture of the personal Wailing Wall in my heart and mind. I reached depths of anguish, sorrow and heartache over and over, whether standing in front of that real mini Wailing Wall or the one I built in my mind.
           At my mother’s bedside, I saw she was so ill she could barely communicate with us. I watched my dad wring his hands. My own frustration rose.
           Dealing with my mother’s illnesses and surgeries had become a way of life for my family. I can’t count how many times she had been in the hospital. When I finally made a written list of her surgeries, because this is something hospitals and doctors want to know for their paperwork, the total came to 27.
            This visit entailed an intestinal blockage. A gall-stone the size of a Grade A extra large hen egg had made its way out of the gall bladder and into her intestines. The surgery was so rare the doctor told us he had it videotaped to be used for teaching surgeons. Nothing, however, could be considered rare with my mom. If something could go wrong or weird, it did. And this happened over and over again. I never understood why.
            At times, I compared my mom to the Biblical character Job. Job never found out why so many bad things happened to him, but in the end he learned that God can do all things and that he never wanted to be the one to obscure God’s counsel without knowledge. I learned to accept her life of constant medical challenges and God’s amazing, right on time gift of peace through each trial.
            Like Job, in the process I learned a lot of amazing things about God. Through standing by and watching my Job-like mother, God polished my character. He has convinced me that he will never leave me and I’m forever thankful he continually supports me and comforts me when I need it most. When I stand in front of my personal Wailing Wall and cry out of the depths to the Lord God of the universe, he hears and delivers his comfort and peace that passes understanding again and again.
            Because of the long distance to the Miami hospital from my parent’s retirement home in the Florida Keys, my parents decided it may be best to move to Georgia to be near my sister and me. We live northwest of Atlanta within miles of each other. Soon after this gall stone incident, the house across the street from me went up for sale. My parents really liked it and ended up buying it.
            After the move, Mom had a lengthy reprieve, not from doctors, but from hospitals. She stayed home from the hospital for almost two years. When she was up to it, her favorite thing to do was to attend church and Bible studies. My mom possessed quiet wisdom. When she did finally speak up, people would stop and listen. I’ll never forget the day in Sunday School when we were studying women of the Bible. That day we studied Esther, who at the risk of losing her own life, requested to speak to the king on behalf of her people. As we attempted to apply Esther’s bravery to our daily challenges, our class buzzed with conversation. My mom contributed with a saying we use to this day. She said, “You know, if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” We all burst into a roar of laughter.  
            But when the day came she did have to go to the hospital for heart failure, we almost couldn’t get her to go. The medical personnel said she required what they call a “tune-up,” to remove excess fluids her weak heart could not get out of her body.
            The next two years were different—many more visits to waiting rooms, examination rooms, and hospital beds. I don’t know how I would have handled that time if my mother and father had remained in the Keys. During her last visit, one of her doctors pulled me aside and said my sweet precious Momma was in the last stages of heart failure. He didn’t give me a time frame, but in my heart I knew it would be soon. I tried to talk to my father about it, but he just would not accept the fact that she would be going home to heaven soon.
            I could sympathize with my Father, because even though I had prepared myself so many times, nothing prepares you for the actual event.
              Our last Christmas together, I got really sick. I had a case of kidney stones that sent me to the hospital twice. And afterwards I remained in pain. Come to find out, I needed a hysterectomy. The surgery went well, but during recovery I started feeling distraught and helpless. What could I do to help my mom? Without being able to lift anything, there wasn’t much I could do to take care of her. As she worsened, my dad became exhausted trying to do everything for her. As soon as I could, I walked over and just sat with her, trying to love on her as much as possible.
            Exactly three weeks after my surgery, my mother collapsed in a heap at the base of the stairs. We had tried to get her to a doctor’s appointment that day. I rode in the ambulance with her and went into this weird auto-pilot mode mixed with a little adrenaline. I don’t remember much pain and to my amazement I had energy to stay up all day and walk up and down hospital corridors, meeting every visitor and grandchild, to escort them to the emergency room bed two at a time. I took my Dad home that night, never to see my mother coherent again. Early the next morning I realized by my mom’s dire condition and the nurses quietly monitoring her, whispering to each other, that they had kept her alive with IV meds to give us the consideration of being able to say goodbye.
            Back to the Wailing Wall I went. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.” God used the tears to heal my heart. It felt strange to feel relief. My mother didn’t have to be poked or prodded ever again. I mourned the loss of my mom, but God comforted me and still does. I put my selfishness aside, because deep down I knew that I really didn’t want her to stay here any longer. It would just cause her more pain. I would have to wait to see her again in glory and oh, what a glorious day that will be.  
           Even though my mom lives perfectly healed and happy, I can’t help but miss her. Sometimes I catch myself reaching for the phone to call and chat. Through it all, I have discovered the cleansing power of tears. They wash away the hurt and pain. Visits to my personal Wailing Wall won’t ever stop. While praying, God’s children hold the key to survival in this broken world. They also receive his indescribable gifts, one of which is his sweet, soothing consolation.
My beautiful momma