Sue With Deer

Sue With Deer
"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants after You."

Monday, May 23, 2016

A New Neighborhood

When Christ came into us and we came into Him, God gave us an account, so to speak. 

“But to him who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted (credited) for righteousness.”  Romans 4:5

“Reckon yourselves (an accounting term) dead INDEED unto sin, but ALIVE to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:11

So what is in the “credit” side of being in Christ?  Are there any debits?  The Scriptures say we are rich in Him.

If a person lives in the slums and the next thing you know the neighbors notice he’s driving a new car, wearing different clothes, and the mover truck is moving him out of the neighborhood, they obviously would think “he’s come into riches.”

This is a human analogy but a good illustration of our spiritual lives.  We really do come into the riches of Christ – our garments (clothes) are different, we “driving” now in the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (not the vehicle of death), and we change neighborhoods.  We’ve moved out of death into LIFE and LIBERTY of HIM.

There’s more.  We are in relationship and fellowship with God the Father and His Son – His Son took care of our sins in His body.  He is our Savior and Lord now . We live in His house.

What would that person do if someone from the old neighborhood started screaming at him – “You don’t deserve those riches,” or “You’re not really rich, you are just pretending,” or “You don’t belong in that new neighborhood, you belong right where you used to live.”

There is a temptation among believers to dwell in that “old neighborhood.”  Yet we really do not live there anymore.  There are answers to those screamers when they say “You don’t deserve this.”  

And the answer is:  “You’re right – I don’t deserve this – but it was given to me, not by my own work and efforts but through Someone who says they love me and wants me to live in their house now, from their riches and life, not mine.”

Or how about the lie, “You’re just pretending!”  And the answer is:  “No, I’m not – I am really seeking to believe what has been given to me so I am stepping out there in faith and possessing what He has given!”

And lastly, “You don’t belong there – you belong with us!”  And that answer is:  “No, I changed my clothes – I took Jesus as my Savior, you take Him too!  He wants to give you the same thing He gave me – He’s want to move you out too, into His place.”

I’m glad the Spirit of God in us frees us so we can KNOW the things that have been freely given to us by God through Him.  Some of us may be slow but the riches of Christ remain.   He is there for us to know Him by grace – the fullness of His grace and of Himself.

The child of God lives by faith in God’s Truth – finding out what is His God’s will is exciting and a joyful discovery.  Since we do live in God’s house, He really is the Father and wants us to acknowledge Him as so.  Therefore we do indeed, do all things His way.  He does discipline us so that we know His way and truth, but it’s all love.  “For (earthly fathers) they indeed chastened us for a few days as seemed best to them, but He (Father God) for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.”  Hebrews 12:10

This is why He came to live inside of us – to teach us Himself and conform us to the image of His Son.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined these He called; whom He called, those He justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”  Romans 8:29, 30

Sue Gaither

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Wealth of Spiritual Understanding

I've been pondering the word “understanding" as I read the Scripture penned by Paul, “May the Lord give you understanding in ALL things.”  Is that not a marvel - that the Lord would grant us His understanding in ALL things?  Reckon “all” means “all?”  I think so.

Well today I felt compelled to read Colossians. It is among my favorite letters in the New Testament.  In Chapter 2, “hear” a verse a little differently.  “For I want you to know…how great a struggle I have…on your behalf…and for those in Laodicea, AND for ALL those who have not seen my face…”

I typed it out that way because God had Paul pen “on your behalf and for ALL those who have not seen his face.”  Paul’s had yearnings and intercession I believe, for ALL those who would come into Christ Jesus – not just in his generation but in all generations following his.  This is why I believe God had the Holy Spirit pen these words.

So what did he say his struggle was about?  Here it is:

“That their hearts may be encouraged… (powerful statement)…having been knit together in love…”

Like to stop there for a second and take a snapshot at the phrase “knit together in love.”  Some ladies out there know how to knit (I used to at one time).  Knitting is not a hurry up thing.  There is a careful stitch by stitch, precise, and deliberation to what one is doing when they are knitting.  It takes shape after a while.

So it is with God.  He does wants our love to be real and something we are aware of HOW God is knitting us together in that precious reality of Christ from WHOM and WHOM is the Love.  We start taking shape.

What is the rest of this great verse, what does God want, and what is the knitting together in love for?

“…AND attaining to ALL the wealth that comes from the FULL ASSURANCE of UNDERSTANDING…”

God truly wants understanding in us.  And Paul writes that when we do understand spiritually God’s Words, His ways, His Son we have this tremendous reality of how rich we are in Him.

Now this is what I love.  There is a result of this spiritual understanding and being knit together in God’s love.  What is it?

“…resulting in a TRUE knowledge of God’s mystery…that is, CHRIST HIMSELF…in WHOM are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

This is what astounds my heart.  There is a true knowing of Christ Himself beyond just the words we say and share.  This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in us – to bring about the awareness and reality of Christ within us and among us.

We don’t have to get all out of joint when we speak of that word, “mystery.”  God Himself uses it – it is a mystery to the world.  The Lord has to unveil the reality to us (this is where understanding comes in) that when Adam fell, sin and death came.  He lost life – the life of God.

And now through the Son of God, Life has come in.  Jesus Himself has come in our spirits made alive through Him.  It is through our union with the Son of God by the Holy Spirit we can even begin to bear fruit of real and genuine righteousness.  So the Source is NOT us ever – Jesus alone is LIFE.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  John 11

As long as it depends on us, our outward motions and ideas of following the ideal of Christianity, we won’t discover the riches and wealth of having the ONE who IS all these things producing His life and fruit through us.

May the Lord really and truly give us this spiritual understanding of HIM dwelling and working in and through us – being our all, our victor, having His mind, His wisdom, His life flowing evermore.

It’s a wealth we have not tapped into yet.  This is why I think Paul was so persecuted.  He “crossed the river” so to speak.  He was saying and I’ll say it in a southern accent:  “Ya’ll, this Gospel of Grace and Christ coming to live in you does NOT compare to anything that has happened on earth since Adam.  Get to know the ‘last Adam” who is Christ in YOU.  I’ve been struggling and interceding for His body to understand God’s mystery which is:  “Christ in you, your hope of glory.”

Love to all in and through Christ our Lord,

Sue Gaither

Questions to Ponder

Have you ever asked this question:  Why do I really need a Savior if after becoming a Christian, I act “for God” as if I now can make myself do what He what I think He requires of me?

So that question invokes more questions:  What does it really mean to be redeemed?  Are we redeemed from just sin?  The Scriptures tell us we are also redeemed from the curse of the law AND to be dead to the law.  Listen to this Scripture:

“Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”  Galatians 3:25

I started learning to put Scripture together with Scripture – Romans with Galatians.  Specifically, Romans 6, 7, 8 with Galatians 2, 3, and 4.  These are powerful and revealing truths from God about His Son for us, to us, in us, and through us.

Paul explains that the power of sin had imprisoned EVERYONE until God’s plan of redemption was finished:  Christ’s crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and seating.  He is the only reason we have His LIFE now in us.  We simply just RECEIVED Him and the Truth.

The great deception is that we “try” to fulfill God’s Holy Standard in the Law by our efforts to “climb the ladder” again so to speak.  Consequently we start comparing ourselves or competing, OR the flesh resists God’s Law by running away from it and God too!  But in both cases, we then “feel” we are not close to God.

We can have the “outer look” of being this, doing that but this is not God’s plan for us.  There really is something, SOMEONE God wants to show us.

If  the conscience KNOWS we are not measuring up to God’s standard if we are “trying” to now accomplish perfection, sanctification by OUR EFFORTS, we live or walk distantly of God always “trying” and “hoping” He’s pleased with us.  It’s a dilemma but it is real.

However, the frustration of living and walking this way can also be a great forerunner to a GREAT REVELATION!  I’m telling the truth!

When the Holy Spirit OPENS our eyes and ears to the finished work of Christ but more than this, the Christ Who is LIFE in us, we will see why the Christian, the child of God must have faith only in the Son of God as their means of fruitfulness and works.  “The way in IS the way on.”

The key word is management.  Who has really, really, really managed their lives to perfection?  I mean if we are going to do any comparison we do need to compare with the Right Person:  Jesus Christ.  Instead the comparison goes on with other vessels.  This is where we see flesh in forms of “doing pretty good” seemingly, or “doing pretty bad.”

God does not have a “better answer.”  He has one and only one answer:  Christ in you, the true hope of God’s glory!”  We ALWAYS NEED the Savior as life, HIS goodness, fruit, and ALL that HE Himself is.  He is so HAPPY too, to be our savior all day long in all things, all situations, all relationships, ALL, ALL, ALL.

So God has called us to know the meaning of having not only reckoned ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6) but also dead to the Law (Romans 7 which arouses the power of sin by flesh “trying” to produce a holier standard instead of faith in the Son of God). 

Think about it.  God has ALREADY achieved what He wanted in Christ Jesus.  His Son did it all, paid it all IS “it” ALL.  He’s ALL.  How more glorious could it be than for the ALL in ALL to be living in you and me?

Is this the truth?  If it is, how is God able to convince us individually?  If it is the Truth and God’s way for the child of God, how can we know that we know this life of grace through faith, Christ alone in us, His Spirit’s producing, and the JOY UNSPEAKABLE?

What will first cause us to know we’ve “let go” and allow faith to arise from our hearts in God’s Truth, the Person of Christ in us, instead of flesh’s (human’s) ability to be “something” for God?  And what is the encouragement we need to believe and know, AND follow His Gospel in every way?

How are you going to know that I am really walking this way or that you are?  Or I know that you too are walking by faith and not by sight?  A dear friend and sister said she read the opposite of faith is not doubt (or even fear), it is SIGHT.  The Scriptures say: “We walk by faith, NOT by sight.”  So if you like what you see in me or let’s say you don’t, does that mean I am walking by faith in the Son of God?  Oh ponder this!

Oh What A Savior!  Thank God, we don’t have to just sing it, but can know what HE really means.

Happied Up,
Sue Gaither

Rehearsing the Gospel

To rehearse the Gospel everyday is a beautiful thing – to pull out all those pictures of Jesus Christ developed in the heart and mind over years is a beautiful thing. 

We are called to “gaze” at the Lord Jesus Christ.  God did not mean for us to do this as a “one time deal,” but I believe to do this daily.  As we do, we are refreshed in Truth, reminded of the Words of Life that keep us flowing in His life and glory.  I’ve come to know and understand, “there ain’t nothing else!”

One of the things I have truly observed while here, (and I did this, and must guard against thinking this way) is that some are still walking in a way that they think God is not pleased with them.  That their current  “mess” is because they failed to “do” something required by God.

Now there is something there that is true, but it’s not always what we think.  Sometimes the reason truly is, because we have failed to “believe God,” not for something, but for what He has already done and who we are in Christ Jesus.  Sometimes this is the reason alone that our lives are conducted in our walk in a different manner that should be, BECAUSE we do not believe we really are what God says.

An example:  If I do believe that God is not pleased with me or that I do not measure up, I’m going to “try” harder to do things that I “think” or was told would be the “ticket” to God thinking more highly of me.

 One time we had a guest in our home that truly did not believe they had worth and value, so they felt it was necessary to do things to help us accept them.  Yet as it happened, they did a few things that turned out to be disasters (really).  For instead of consulting or asking, they presumed and managed a few things.

Now does that sound familiar?  How many times have we managed some things, presumed that God would be happy if we did this or that, then the mess came.

Praise the Lord, He is the Redeemer, the Friend of Heaven who I believe understands the process of growing in grace and knowledge of Him.  Part of His job is to truly enable us to “see” how we do indeed to “see” Him and grow through and by Him in our hearts and lives.

We are blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ.  Here are some things to remember from His Holy Word and thereby is the Truth:

1)      Through His work on Calvary and Resurrection, God has made us 100% percent accepted in His Beloved Son no matter, I mean no matter what others opinion might be.  This includes where we are in Him, our walk.  To believe God will mean a better walk!

2)      The gift of His Spirit in us and the truth of His Word worked in our understanding is the key to walking daily in joy, love, hope, and fruitfulness.

3)      We have FREE, I mean FREE access to the Father God in the Most Holy Place – the Holiest of All by the blood of Jesus, His Presence, AND the settled FOREVER sacrifice of His body and blood.  There is nothing we do EVER that qualifies us to be in this place through faith – it was and is Jesus Christ alone that qualified us and continually qualifies us.  He’s not going anywhere!

Therefore, when Paul wrote that by “beholding” His Son in fellowship with Him AND with the Father by the Spirit of God, we are TRANSFORMED by the same glory of Jesus through His Spirit of Truth.

Isn’t this beautiful?  How more blessed could we be than to set our faces like a flint upon the face of Jesus Christ and God’s happiness with Him.  Yes, God is happy.  Happy that you and I BELIEVE and RECEIVED His Son.  Happy that His Spirit lives in us and gives us CONTINUAL HOPE, an EVERLASTING CONSOLATION that though yesterday was not quite what we hoped to walk out according to these truths, but TODAY we get to discover again – over and over again, the strength, the power, the Person of Jesus Christ in us – our ONLY hope of glory!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses me every single day.  People may not know my thoughts – they can only see my outer man and when we get opportunity, things that come out of our mouths.  Until then, to others we may just look like “regular” folk.  Treasure in hearts has to get the lid open and come out.

You and I have this Treasure in our earthen vessels.  The Treasure of Jesus:  He is the MOST BEAUTIFUL JEWEL in the universe.  And He is yours and you are His.

Here’s to setting our eyes on Him,

Sue Gaither

The Law of Life

Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

2 John 4 – “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children WALKING in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.”

2 Corinthians 3:6 – “…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Hebrews 13:7, 9 – “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?”

Okay, Sue – how are you going to put all those Scriptures together?  J

In John the Apostle’s last two epistles, he talks about doctrine; the doctrine of Christ and abiding in it.  Doctrine is a big word among Christians.  It is important to know and understand doctrine.  Another way to say it, the facts regarding Jesus Christ, His cross, His resurrection, His ascension, seating, return, etc.

Yet if we examine John’s life as well as the Apostle Paul (and of course the other apostles), they understood something far beyond what had always been their history of being Jews.  That we’re not talking about Jewish religion or any religion, but a powerful reality of Christ Himself now dwelling in believers.  And speaking too of what all Christ Himself had accomplished.

When John refers to children walking in truth, the operative word is walking.  Walking denotes to me a genuine activity of reality working in a person’s life – not just the words on the page, but movement.

If we ignore the ministry of the Holy Spirit today, we would find ourselves merely learning doctrine and not walking out the reality.  It really is the Spirit’s ministry to REVEAL first of all the living Christ not only from when he was on earth, but His ascension and His now living within us.

Doctrine without the Spirit, itself alone can lead to the letter that kills.  Yet doctrine (the Word of God) and the Spirit in us, then puts it all together in the powerful reality we all need.  For the Spirit is life and so is His ministry.

I always think of the Wright brothers working on an airplane.  They had the plans all laid out, day and night probably discussing it, talking about the possibilities of being in the air, what was not in alignment yet, the law of aerodynamics versus the law of gravity, etc. This would be a picture of doctrine.

Then the day came.  Oh my, think about it.  They actually got in the plane they built and it went up in the sky!  Now that’s the reality of all they worked on, studied, discussed and the like.  This then, is a picture of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

I wonder what it was like.  I say it was indeed, joy unspeakable!  Hear him in the airplane in the sky, “Oh man, this stuff is really true – I can fly!”

Get the picture?  This is why I believe that if a person has communion and fellowship with the Lord by His Spirit in a very personal way, and is leaning upon Him all the time to unveil the Christ to their mind, they will walk in the very truth (doctrine) we Christians always talk about.  They are both important.

Yet sometimes someone might go for the personal relationship and intimacy and find themselves knowing truth (because the Spirit Himself is truth) because they are leaning on Him to bring understanding to their mind.  Then later discover – “hey, that’s in the Bible!”  That happens too.    

Lastly, the Scriptures I believe in Hebrews about the Father’s chastening is regarding Truth – and when John refers to having received “commandment from the Father…” that’s pretty important.  For the Father God Himself is watching over our lives so that we know and understand HIS SON – all that He accomplished through Him and yes, the reality of His Son dwelling in us. 

We are God’s sons and daughters.  Therefore it is important that we understand God’s way about all these things and have our hearts before Him in such a way that we want to really understand and walk it out His way

 “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”  I John 1:3
Let’s get in the plane! J

Sue Gaither

Friday, April 1, 2016

Daily Hope

“For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came AFTER the Law, appoints a SON, made perfect FOREVER.”  Hebrews 7:28

There is a song my friend and I were singing the other day after we came to North Carolina – some of you would know it, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning….”

The tune is probably now rolling around in your head.  But now change the words to:

“Nothing could be finer than to be in Christ Jesus, F-o-r-e-v-e-r…”

There really is nothing sweeter or finer than to understand spiritual realities.  The Holy Spirit was given to us so that we might KNOW, that we might be strengthened in the Truth, that we might understand CHRIST living in us. 

Because of this we can live in daily hope – hope that each day we can grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ Himself.  We all need this hope on a daily basis – hope that if we experience our flesh one little iota, that there is definitely someone living in us WHO is bigger than all flesh – no matter what the flesh struggles happen to be.

God made His Son.  He made Jesus in the womb of Mary – a virgin.  God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as we all know.  There was no contamination when Jesus was conceived.

And our Lord made it through the planet, He made it through all the temptations of the evil one – no sin ever entered Him.  Only time sin touched Him was again, as we all know, on the cross.  It was for us!

So He is the PERFECT SON.  Thing is, He died once for all for our sin.  No more dying – only living forever.  He died once, He was raised once!

Jesus has endless life.  Hebrews declares He is the FOREVER HIGH PRIEST of heaven.  He didn’t even come from the tribe of Levi.  He is from a different tribe:  Judah.

What a wonderful truth – that God made a way for us to not be under any system – the Levites were under the system of the Law as Hebrews  points out.

Anyone now who comes to Christ is UNDER GRACE – IN HIM – in His endless life and the Son whom God declares perfect.

This is so why we have to have that shift in our thinking – that my whole life on the planet is about discovering the Son of God in me – that He, by the Spirit in me, through my faith in Him will produce righteousness and holiness – not some made up religion, but the sweet fruit of the Spirit and love being the CROWNING garland of our being.

Sometimes we think things happening to us are punishment and they are not.  God will and can use anything that happens in our life to get us to move on to the real salvation of Jesus Christ in us.  One of the biggies is to perfect our FAITH in HIM/Jesus – the love of God – and the power of HIS life through the Spirit in us.

Bottom line for me is that each day when I wake up I know that I want to know Him more – and be close to the Lord’s Spirit in my heart, recognizing Him as I walk through the day.  Also believe His Word of Life.

AND…to be like a cow – what?!?  Well cows chew on their cud (food) and I understand they spend up to 8 hours a day chewing on it.  We’re to daily feast on truth and by dependence on the Spirit He can pull up truth from our hearts and minds to enjoy, to be enriched, to be strengthened in and through His wisdom apply in our daily lives.

There’s not a day go by when I see that there is truth I can and NEED TO apply to my life.  Just the mere fact of living in this world I see opportunities to refresh myself of the hope of Christ in me, WHO HE is, WHAT He has done – for the world is a reminder for  it contains exactly the opposite!
Another good reason for us to heed the words from Hebrews:  “EXHORT ONE ANOTHER DAILY…”

So here’s to chewing on His marvelous Word,

Sue Gaither

P.S.  By the way, God can teach us how to think upon Him daily, even when we have things to do, work, people to see, etc.  We just need to ask Him.

The Work of God's Spirit

2 Corinthians 3:6 – “…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

The greatest thing that happens to us I believe, through the work of God’s Spirit in us, in when we realize the word “know” is so much more than the way we think of two plus two equals four.  I “feel” no emotion when I think about mathematics.  J  But I need it to count change, balance a checkbook, etc.  Yet I don’t fellowship with the facts – I don’t say stuff like, “Oh two plus two I love you so much – you mean everything to me!”  Other people need a greater knowledge of math to work in laboratories, be scientists, and so forth.

To know the Spirit in us as He develops truth and knowledge we have grasped is His crowning work in us.  It’s really hard to explain in human terms because it goes beyond classroom exercises.  Listen to this Scripture, asking God’s Spirit to put His “neon” light over it and inspire us with life and glory with His words:

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we would be called children of God, and such we are.”  I John 3:1a

Now this one:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”  II Corinthians 13:14

And then these two:

“For truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”  I John 1:3b
“…and to KNOW the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” Ephesians 3:19a

If everything God did for us is about His great love, if everything He does in our lives is love, and if everything He has planned for us for all eternity is love, it is of great importance to KNOW in the deepest part of our hearts His great love and grace.

The letter kills, but God’s Spirit is life, gives life, brings life and light to His own knowledge of Himself.  All the reason we so need to lean upon Him to make ALL His words known to our hearts and minds personally.

It is so important to get know the Person WHO lives in us.  He is the Father and the Son through His Holy Spirit, the Author and Finisher of our Faith and the Author of His Word.  Neglecting Him could lead us to see things, His Word in a wrong interpretation or it to be like “two plus two equals four” with no deep meaning and true application to our lives.

“Thank you dear Father for causing us by Your Holy Spirit in us, to interpret ALL things through Truth, through Jesus Christ and His finished work, through knowing and understanding Your Words of Life.  Even in our trials, thank you for causing us to “see” the only way you see things – to take the time to listen, absorb, understand until we DO KNOW the things of God in the pure way YOU wrote them.  Thank you that it is your will to do so – let us believe and by faith, receive daily all that You desire to speak and do in our lives.  In Jesus wonderful, precious name, Amen.”

Sue Gaither