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God’s Promises

Do You Believe?

A year or two ago I listened to my brother, Pastor Jim Schmitt * preach an incredible series on believing and faith. These words are so closely mingled. Defined as, “being fully persuaded/convinced.” Whenever one of these words is brought up in conversation I immediately think about this teaching.  “Do I have faith? Do I believe? Am I fully persuaded?” That’s good preaching right there!

Last week my pastor, Steve Lewandowski**, began to talk about faith, the faith of Abraham, the faith of our heroes in the Bible. I hate to admit this, forgive me pastor, but my mind wandered to being fully persuaded.

I love words. I’m crazy about looking up words. So I went home (maybe I started while in church) looking up believe and faith in the Old and New Testament.

I’m not going to chisel this down and dissect, I will leave it to a couple of my favorite experts; Rick Renner***  and Brian Simmons **** .

Here it is! So simple. When we use the word AMEN do we realize it is the same as “I believe” “I have faith?”

In the Old Testament all three words come back to the Hebrew word âman, which means: sure, firm, to build up or support. “I’m sure.” “This is firm.”

When I pray and say, “Amen” I am saying, “I am convinced, I am firm, I am persuaded, I am sure.” “I have faith.” “I believe.”

What are you praying for? What are you believing? Have you brought it to God in Jesus’s name? Did you say AMEN and mean it?

I’m so excited about this. I know, I seem a little slow to catch on. Twenty-six years a Christian and these words just all came together and made sense.

I now say, “Amen” and understand I am saying, “I am sure, I am persuaded, I trust God, the one who’s promises are firm.”

Be encouraged,

Susie

Below is a list of the great men of God I referenced:

* http://www.wocc.ie/

** http://www.kfaonline.org/

*** http://www.renner.org/

**** http://stairwayministries.org/

Glory in Your Dream

Sometimes we have to walk away and forfeit; a way of life, a home we love, being close to family and friends, a certain job, comfort of “the way we have always done it,” etc. For a call that we know is bigger than what we see. Then while working on this call we get tired and discouraged, think about what we sacrificed. Well, if we give up on that goal (call) it makes the sacrifice seem empty. “Wait, I gave all this up. For what!”

In the end the only way the sacrifice makes sense is to reach the goal. How beautiful to have completed something you have always dreamed about. How terrific to complete something you thought was too big for you. How wonderful to have the people you love and influence watch you cross the finish line!

Whatever you are working on, stick with it. Press through!

Philippians 3:12 MSG  I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

She’s Hopeful

 

 

Who or What is your strong tower?

Psalm 61:2-4

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.

Oh what beautiful words to give us assurance.

My prayer today is that whatever you are using to subside your pain, cover your shame, mend your broken heart; you will cry out to the Lord instead. He is trustworthy and loves you until the end of time.

It’s a lovely Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining and the flowers are blooming. Time to look to the creator instead of these temporary bandaids.

It’s always been a matter of trust,

Susie

 

New Chapter

How do you identify yourself? I’m a….. I’m a Biology Teacher, I’m the wife of Dr. Dunning, a mom, a daughter, a grandmother, a blogger (albeit inconsistent), a writer. On and on and on.

Some of these identities are fleeting. For example; I am no longer teaching biology, my children are grown and don’t need me as they did. If I only identify with one occupation or another it becomes dangerous.  These are not my talents or my core values, these are what occupy my life. God created me to be a Hopeful teacher who loves to serve. I delight in His promise of Hope. I get grieved when life doesn’t point toward Hope. I do all occupations based on this description.

When I introduce myself or someone introduces me to someone I usually get introduced in context. “This is Susie Dunning, Dr. Dunning’s wife.” “This is Susie Dunning, Ginny Schmitt’s daughter.” I will proudly wear all hats that are given me. I am never offended and think, “Is that all I am?” No this is all I get to be.

Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 

Life here is Zoe. Greek, meaning Life physical and spiritual in Christ: Abundant!

The Bios definition, also Greek is Life, all living things.

What defines me? Zoe. Abundant Life in Christ. Striving to be the best me God created me to be.

Who are you? Have you thought about what drives you in all of your roles?Dr-Seuss-Youer-Quote

 

Thankful ~ Susie

 

Fear vs Trust

It’s been quite a year. Heartache and joy. We’ve (my sister Micki and I) made the decision to celebrate everything. Yes anguish, fear, pain, grief can paralyze and hold your soul captive but don’t get stuck there. If you look back at your life and see how many times God has answered the call, “Help, I need You!” you can use those experiences to press through whatever it is you are needing of Him now. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I’ve learned that the little knee scrapes and goofs prepare you for the catastrophic events that knock you to your knees or  the blindsided blow for the knock out.

Thanks to Beth Moore in her Bible Study Esther she goes through a scenario of If _____ Then God. Meaning there is nothing you can go through that God isn’t the answer. I have used this to get me through the darkest days. No matter what, I have God and I have seen Him provide and stabilize my entire life.

I’ve been spending time reading about Jesus, spending time reading in the book of Luke about His life here on earth. Over and over again we see how he changed lives. See, He came to change us not to leave us the same. Our times of mourning and tragedy can be used as times of change. Please don’t think I am calloused, I do hurt and mourn over the death of my sister or a move that has taken me thousands of miles away from my family and all that is familiar. Know this. Philippians 1:20:21 whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. “Then God”.

Everything is …. Then God. He is our refuge. Try Him. Oh believe me, it really has always been “A Matter of Trust”. How to trust Him to make things right, or to heal the hurt that weighs so heavy on our hearts, or put just the right person at the right time in my life to walk along the way?

As we walk into a season where the river has risen, all of the memories of Mary’s tragic death come flying to the surface. I have to choose Life or Death. I will choose life.

Psalm 71 is so beautiful, reading it guides us from the time we saw God in our need so we can lean on Him again through this time.

Verses 1-5

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.

Then God,

Susie

Blessing in the Storm

The Truth shall set you free.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

No matter what season we are in there is one Truth. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I have experienced some incredible highs in my life when I am singing, dancing and rejoicing in the love of our Lord. On the contrary I have been through some doozy trials and tragedies still to find, singing, dancing and rejoicing in the love of our Lord.

Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say Rejoice.” There was a time when I looked at that and thought. What if I was faced with a devastating trial? Is Rejoice the right word?

Well, I’m here to tell you, yes, Rejoice in the Lord always. God is only good.three girls

While spinning through the disappearance and death of my sister I asked for clarity. He gave it (mind you, I had to ask often, I spun and spun). Tragedy and death of someone dear to you brings out emotions and thoughts you never imagined. God was faithful from beginning to end. He is. Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This isn’t just once, this is constant. Our mind thinks crazy thoughts, we constantly have to renew it to keep our imaginations and arguments captive to the obedience of God (2 Cor 10:5).

There is a song by Kirk Franklin that says, “There’s a blessing in the storm, just help me see it.” Well, the midst of the storm that was my sister Mary’s death, our family saw blessings and miracles unfold right before our eyes. Our lives are changed. And we saw and continue to see the generosity and compassion of people who love us and know us well as well as complete strangers and acquaintances.

God is good and His mercy endures forever!

I’m so thankful I can see through faith eyes when my own are clouded with despair.

Loving the Truth ~ Susie

Recovery

I have been running for almost twenty years. I started because I gained quite a bit of weight and was cramming my mouth full of Oreos. I have done some sort of fitness throughout my life, I couldn’t afford to join a gym, I was working two jobs and had a goofy schedule so I thought a pair of running shoes would be a reasonable investment. My pastor was a runner so I asked him, “I want to start running what should I do?” He told me where to buy shoes and how to get started. So it began. I didn’t know how much I would love it. I have been so blessed to travel; I pack my shoes and running gear and see city from a different perspective. I’ve run the streets of Barcelona, SpainD&Sbarcelona Grand Rapids, MI with Kirstiend riverbank The streets of New York, Central Park was a dream come true. The street vendor hot dog was a treat.356_44764532867_2358_n Steamy Panama370_44758357867_3620_n Running through the streets of our nations capitol is the creme de la creme!356_44739647867_3785_n Completed the Austin Marathon with Brett417312_10150740556087868_711770847_n Yes I ran the streets of Jerusalem (Jane my partner and I ran and ran)206911_10150183937392868_4070684_nThe streets of San Francisco have felt my feet hit the pavement, The stale beer smelling streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans have had these fresh morning feet trod along, Honduras, Georgia, Florida and on and on. I have never been injured. I have had a few aches and pains but I met my match…   283532_10150320623972868_1872657_nThe roads of the Hualapai Mountains think they won but I will be back! I think it’s my new shoes. Why oh why does Brooks have to change their shoes every year?? They have been working for me, why change?

So I have some sort of Achilles tendonosis/itis and I am grounded. Hmm, I biked these brutal hills for my “light biking” that I can do with this tendon issue. I am going to be back hitting the pool and maybe a little more consistent with Tony and the P90X gang.

All I know is;  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Phil 4:13 I will thank God for where we live and the privilege to be here Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

All this to say; Psalm 91:9-13 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

Oh how I love the Lord ~ Susie

My Girls

Long ago and far away there was once a dreamer who dreamed her daughters would live down the street, ok or at least just a few miles away. The dreamer would run over and have coffee, discuss marital issues and successes, babysit in a moment’s notice, etc. But alas, unbeknownst to this dreamer weddings pass and dreamer moves to the desert. The desert holds many treasures and many adventures with her beloved and she loves right where she is. Her heart can not help but break and long for the shiny eyes of miss hazel and blue eyes.

Miss blue eyes is on to new adventures in the hills of Tennessee. She and Mr. Blue eyes now have baby boy blue eyes who is filling their hearts with joy. They are incredibly blessed with family in the hills and an environment rich for growth.

Miss Blue, planned the party, carved the pumpkin, made the costume and continues to create a loving home for Mr. and Baby boy. Mr. Blue callused from hard work, runs home to see his beauty. This delights me to no end. This makes me so proud. I love her so. She has grown strong and learned to survive without Muah! Oh how could I hope for anything else?

Miss Hazel has found her prince. They married on a beautiful June day. She fulfilled her goal to become a cosmetologist, danced out on her own, launched her career and in walks Mr. Hazel. What? She did all of this without Muah! I am so incredibly proud of her. 

I am so thrilled with the life she is creating in Michigan with her fishing, softball playing, hardworking Prince Hazel. She makes people feel beautiful and better about themselves. She loves to love Prince Hazel. I am overjoyed with the road she has chosen; to create an environment that her man finds intoxicating and can’t wait to get home.

These are my girls, my joy. Can’t you see why I would love to live down the street from them?

Hazel and Blue, I long to see them soon.

Philippians 1:8-10 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

Overflowing ~ Susie

 

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

John 14:12-14 NKJV “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

v 23-26 NLT Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.  Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.  I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.  But when the Father sends the Advocate (Helper) as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

Jesus asks so little of us, Believe, Obey, Love. This whole 14th chapter of John speaks of how much we are cared for. Ask, obey and love Jesus, that means you love His Father and therefore He will send His Holy Spirit to teach us. We just have to LISTEN and obey and do.

Oh please listen, love Him and ask Him.

I am celebrating the Joy of the Lord.

There are so many twists and turns and uglinesses (is that a word?) in this world but Jesus is on our side. This is a great team to belong to. Just DO IT! Walk with Him, talk with Him, ask Him, keep His word.

Feeling so Loved ~ Susie

 

Quite a lot

Sorry folks, it’s been 12 days since my last post. Wow, a whirlwind of terrific things happening all at once. Like this….and this….

Mayhem!

Joy of my life..

And the icing on the cake…..

The wedding was splendid, I believe the bride and groom had the day of their dreams. I got to meet Angela, got to know Pete better, spend alone time with Samantha and Erin and a grand baby sleepover. We saw Pure Michigan at her best; sunny skies, green grass and trees, summer flowers in full bloom, Lake Michigan never disappoints showing itself bright and bold for Brett, Angela and Zoe and last but not least, lawn games.

We are back to the western high desert and fulfilled. We are so unbelievably blessed by God. He has sanctified us and I celebrate our family and give God all the glory!!

Proverbs 20:7 says; The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.

My dreamy husband chooses life. He makes decisions based on truth, God’s truth and because of that we have an abundant life surrounded by children and grand children.

Beaming ~Susie