More Than You Can Imagine!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

I think I have a pretty good imagination. At least I did when I was younger. I love playing with children who are still young enough to think up entire worlds out of thin air. It seems that as we get older, it becomes harder to remember how to imagine things that we can’t see or touch.

Hebrews tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith isn’t about playing games with adorable children. Faith is about trusting that the God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think” is still at work today.

Can you imagine a request or problem too big for God’s power? No! In fact, I would challenge you to ask Him to expand your imagination of what He can do in your life. We do not need to resign to the limitations of this world. There is nothing that God cannot do! Ask Him for a miracle! Ask Him to move a mountain! Ask Him to increase your heart’s expectation of what He can do through His powerful work in you!

You may not be able to see it now, but He is working. He is more than able to carry you through whatever struggle you are facing. Give Him an opportunity to show you that He is worthy of all praise and all of our faith!

“To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, Forever and ever. Amen. ”


It Is Well With My Soul

“Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.”
(Horatio Spafford, It Is Well With My Soul)
It was after his son died, a fire burned up his fortune, and his two daughters died in a shipwreck, that Spafford penned the above words. He wrote the hymn as he approached the area in the ocean where his children had drowned.
I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind. I think that if I was looking into ocean’s depths where my children had taken their last breath, the last thing I would be able to say is, ‘‘It is well with my soul.” I’m 100% certain that this man wasn’t happy. I know that he wasn’t smiling, or laughing when he wrote those words. How can he possibly I have found peace at a time like that?
Colossians 3:15 says,
“ …let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”
Letting the peace of Jesus lead our hearts is easier said than done, but it’s not unreachable. The reason that Spafford could say, “It is well with my soul” is because it WAS well with his soul. Would he have preferred that circumstances were different? Absolutely! However,  somehow he was still able to say, “It is well with my soul.”
My favorite part of Spafford’s hymn is verse one. “When peace, like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well It is well with my soul. ” I love the imagery, but what I really love about it is the coexistence of peace and sorrow. It’s easy for me to resign my pursuit for peace when difficulty comes. I can make an excuse for myself to wallow in a puddle of pity when times are hard. However, that kind of attitude and response is not biblical. There is a peace that surpasses all reason, and it can only be found in Jesus.
To pursue peace means to pursue Jesus. My challenge to us today is that we never let the sea billows of sorrow toss us too far from knowing the peace of Christ. Whatever our lot, may we always be able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

What Is Your Mountain?

Every year, the first two weeks in January are a little hard for me. As an accountant, the first four months are consumed with properly recording and concluding what happened financially in 2016 so everyone can file their income taxes and close and report on 2016. At the same time new projections are needed because the calendar says we are already four months into 2017.

What an intersection of information on the front end of each year which I look at with a grimacing face! Like a runner, waiting for the gun to start the race, I get apprehensive about the pace and the time demands that will be needed to finish the work before each deadline.

Something that I don’t want to face turns into a mountain of concern. I realize that each one of us has mountains or obstacles that are as big or bigger than the one I spoke of. What I want to present to you is a united answer to all those mountains out there that have been pushed up by struggles with things like health, financial, and relational frustrations.

God is like a best friend who already knows our struggles and our weaknesses. So you do not have to inform Him about what is going on within your thoughts because He already is aware and understands. However, we are all given a choice to die to our human nature and surrender our hearts to Christ. Out of obedience we must include Christ in our lives through daily prayer and reading the Scripture.

After learning about God’s promises through reading, and your own life experiences, you begin to start to lean on His ways. Even if you have to scale that mountain, God can fill you with strength, determination and a desire to climb to new heights. I have found that if you do take steps to scale that mountain, that with God’s help and a second look, the height won’t seem so unsurmountable.

Remember to pick up some memory stones along the way to place a marker at the top of your mountain. Then you can declare the Lord’s goodness and the awe of a deeper relationship that you have developed along the way.



This past month I had a wonderful opportunity to share some of God’s acres with a friend who recently purchased fifteen of them. Early in the morning just after sunrise we filled our coffee mugs then jumped on a 4-wheeler and off we went on unfamiliar trails. We drove over logs and had branches slap in our faces and tug on our hair but we kept smiling and looking all around at God’s glory. We saw deer just standing there and watching us watch them. They would run off to apparently tell their clan “People are here!” Before long we approached the Tuscarawas River and it was so impressive to watch the waters flowing. We carefully walked to the river’s edge because the terrain was steep and muddy as the water usually covers that particular area. Steam was rolling off the water since it was warmer than the cool morning air. We stopped talking and just stood there and looked.

As I gazed around to take some photographs, immediately I thought of an old hymn that begins like this: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way…” because the scenery was so peaceful! Being the positive person that I am, the second part of that stanza didn’t come to me right away because it’s not a positive thought but we know that when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say “it is well, it is well with my soul.” I know regardless of what I am facing that God is right by my side showing me the right way and he is whispering in my ear the things I should say and do.

After we left the river we rod the 4-wheeler to the high point and we were presented with another exquisite view! They certainly bought a lovely piece of ground to build their new home! I know this huge project will have ups and downs but as this couple continues to move forward with that God has planned for them I can see a deeper sense of purpose and commitment to Him.

So as I walked away from the summit I was refreshed and ready to tackle my day with a sense of renewal because of what He showed me in the skill of His handiwork.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

Look for God’s blessings…they are everywhere!

Focus On Christ Instead Of The Circumstances

Philippians 3:8-11, Philippians 4:11

The Apostle Paul understood how to handle tough circumstances. Even while confined in a prison cell, he kept his EYES ON CHRIST and trusted firmly in the Savior. Therefore, despite being in chains, he was able to celebrate the Lord’s work in his life.

Focusing on Christ is neither a natural reaction, nor an easy one. Our instinct is to dwell on the situations or stewing over the pain and difficulty. As a result, troubles look insurmountable and overwhelm us with a sense of failure.

HOWEVER, FEAR AND DEFEAT CAN’T LIVE LONG IN A HEART THAT TRUSTS THE LORD. I’m not saying you will forget what you’re going through BUT YOU CAN CHOOSE TO DWELL ON HIS PROVISION AND CARE INSTEAD. He is the Deliverer. He is the Healer. And He is the Guide. The believer who lays claim to divine promises discovers that GOD PUSHES BACK NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. In their place, hope, confidence, and contentment take up residence. You aren’t gong to be happy about any difficult situation, but you can be satisfied that GOD IS IN CONTROL AND UP TO SOMETHING GOOD IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLE.

The Lord’s principles and promises don’t change, no matter how severe or painful the situation is. FOCUS ON CHRIST INSTEAD OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES – God will comfort your heart and bring you safely through the trial.

August 2, 2015
In Touch


You Gotta Love It!

Last Friday evening, for most area schools, if not all, began the 2015 football campaign. Young men took the field in traditional combat trying to win the day, keep their season perfect. A lot of preparations went into Friday night’s contest. A lot of weight lifting, plyometrics, calisthenics, drills and more drills. During practice they went over the plays, over and over again. They are running drills in their sleep. Two a day, film sessions, walk thrus and more drills. All this, so that theses “Boys of Fall” could play a game we get so excited about. Football, you gotta love it!

As I contemplate the game, the young men, the coaches, the band, the cheerleaders and the fans I have many thoughts running through my little brain. First “the boys”. They work so hard, at least the ones who are serious. They want to do well, make the perfect block, stop the run, breakup or intercept the pass, catch a pass, race down the sidelines for the score. They work hard, stay focused, do their job… that’s football. The fans, the cheerleaders, the band all watch, cheer, entertain, it’s all a part of “the game”. We watch, interact, cheer, celebrate, are sad when our team loses. Football, you gotta love it!

Now relate this to our walk with Jesus. Let me poise some questions? Do we work hard at serving Jesus? Do we study, practice what we preach? Are we focused in our faith? Do we get excited about our walk of faith? Are we moved with emotion, saddened or rejoicing over faith’s journey? Do we speak our mind, celebration of support, or words of concern? Do we voice our support even when we had a bad day? Do we join the celebration when we experience victory? These are all questions that can be asked. With football as the backdrop, we can see the similarity to our “walk of faith”, our game of life, although it’s not a game, it’s eternity!

Football, you gotta love it!
The Christian walk, gotta love it!
P.S. If you don’t like football, forgive me please.

Looking forward to the season… Football & Life,

The Sweet & the Bitter

“God will not kill his children with sweets any more than he will destroy them with bitters.” C. H. Spurgeon

Is it possible that we often underestimate the value of struggles and the possible harm of our abundance? We often use the term “I’m blessed” to mean that we have financial security, nice things, a high paying job, or when everything is going great. I think that is true, however being “blessed” can also mean being poor, having little, and going through a difficult time.

God’s goodness doesn’t change based on circumstances. His blessings are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. (Leviticus 3:22-23)

Perhaps our struggles on this earth are to develop us into heroes of faith. Perhaps they are to protect us from our own devices. A child given too much freedom often causes harm to themselves and to others.

Whatever the reason for your struggles today, let me encourage you to trust your loving and faithful Father. He sees you. He loves you. He desires the very best for you and this world. Your present day struggles, as well as earthly successes, may both fall into the category of God’s blessings.

If you find yourself in a difficult play today, may I challenge you to give the Lord thanks and seek to glorify Him in it.


Look Up! Look Past the Clouds!

As I boarded the plane from Houston to home last month it was dreary and gloomy. The skies were adding to my sadness as I left the city where my Sunshine Sara resides. I spent my birthday week with my daughter and it was jam-packed with the non-stop fun and fabulous food for five days. We explored Galveston, the beauty of the beach and the excitement of eating at Bubba Gump’s. We attended the Houston Rodeo and all the excitement that a rodeo offers right along with eating our very first Pickle Dog. Are you saying, “What’s a Pickle Dog?” Google it and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! We even ate at a restaurant whose head chef won a cooking reality show recently.

All these wonderful memories flood my mind as the plane’s window become covered in raindrops as it taxied on the runway. While I was sad to leave my daughter I began to look forward to returning home. I closed my eyes, cleared my mind and prepared for the flight home. I was so glad that I was able to get a window seat because I learned something that spoke loud and clear. As the plane went higher and higher, the skies became brighter and brighter. When we made it above those dark depressing clouds, it was sunshine and blue skies and, of course, no rain! I began thinking of the ‘clouds’ in my life and I realized that if I just rise above them and move forward, I will be much better able to serve my God. So the topsides of the clouds were fluffy and white, but the underside was dull and gray. Then, before I knew it, I was singing “Both Sides Now” written by Joni Mitchell in 1969. Yes, I’m one of those strange people who sing out lyrics unabashedly. Thankfully, no one was seated too close to me!

But now they only block the sun,
They rain and snow on everyone;
So many things I would have done,
But clouds in my way.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow;
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall –
I really don’t know clouds at all.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is to look up! Look past the darkness that seems so close. Look past the clouds in your life. Look up! As we continue to remember what Easter is all about, look at what our Christ endured on the cross. Look up! See Him in His glory! Look up! We will rise as well! See the miracle and live for the day when you meet Him in the clouds.

The Lord’s Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
“Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will into be sad, as others who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and that He rose again. So, because of Him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died. What we tell you now is the Lord’s own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.”

~Julie Schultz