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