Bible Study: Knowing Vs. Doing

As presented at Crossroads Community Church

You know, there’s a difference when you KNOW something and when you ACT ON something.  Some are basic truths, like I know for a fact that if I exercised more I would lose weight and would feel healthier overall.  However, I hardly ever exercise and have a great many justifications as to why.  More complex is that I can be given some pretty strongs facts that bungie jumping with a licensed firm is very safe, but you will NOT catch me jumping off ANYTHING with a rubber band tied to my ankles.  This is very similar to me spiritually, because we’ve talked before that as a believer, I am a Child of God.  However, I don’t often walk in that truth in my day-to-day life.  My salvation?  No worries.  Today’s problem?  Ah…….

Let me step back and share some background with you – and maybe you can relate to this.  A little over a year and a half ago Deana and I were in dire straits.  My job at the time was bouncing payroll checks, was being investigated for IRS fraud, Deana was unemployed, and we were living in Southern California.  Fear often gripped me, not knowing if we would get through the next two weeks if my check bounced, let alone deal with all the stress that was consuming our lives.   During this time I was slowing thawing to the idea of going back to “organized church”, the establishment that I had ran from since coming out and being viciously treated.  Our family slowly began attending Glory Tabernacle and, in the midst of what I felt was the darkest point in our lives since coming out, we began to stop focusing on the horrible situation we found ourselves in and started welcoming back the Lord into our lives.

Long story short, through what has to be nothing but a miracle, I received a job offer in Dallas.  It included perfect timing, the pay I requested, the type of job I wanted – you name it, I WAS AMAZED and rejoiced at what the Lord had done.  And He also brought Deana, me, and the kids to Crossroads Community Church, where we have found forever spiritual family members and have grown so much in the Lord!  It was wonderful!

So, this is where I tell you that I learned to not stress, to live in the fact that I am  King’s Kid, and trust in the Lord.  But I can’t…….

You see, the honeymoon period of my new job wore off within 6 months, and before I could say “can I have a raise”, I was writing my practice resignation letter – full of vinegar, I might add – and sending out resumes.  It’s not really important WHY I was feeling that way, more that how I reacted to my situation.  I asked for prayers, I prayed, and everyday the anger inside of me grew, the fear in me grew, the feeling of dissatisfaction almost consumed me at times.

Oh, my faith was strong at this point – I KNEW I could pray to God and He would help.  I mean, he helped me find THIS job in the prefect timing, right?  And the Bible assures me of this as well, too.

1 John 5:14-15 NIV

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

So I would take this Truth – you all agree the Word is living and true, right? – and I prayed like this:

“Lord Jesus, I know You hear me!  If it is your will that I find a new job, then make it happen!”

And then the cycle would continue!  No new job, not even a NIBBLE on my resumes!  And the things that bothered me the most at work were growing – more people bothered me.  More issues that I felt were wrong appeared.  I would try harder to shine the light of Christ throughout my day, but inside bitterness was taking hold of me.

Now, I think it would have been good for me to remember at this point the following verse – turn to Proverbs 20:22 NIV

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”  Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

Some days I was interested in deliverance, I wanted revenge.  I wanted to file claims against my firm, contact the media, you name it – I WAS JUSTIFIED!  And I don’t know about you, but I was not walking in the Truth that I was a Child of God.  I was letting my frustration, my anger, and my impatience rule me.  Further, I don’t think I was even thinking about MOVING in the truth that I could truly expect Jesus to ANSWER my prayers.

Let’s check out Romans 5:1-5 NIV

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, I was out of whack.  I was not feeling the follow:

•    Peace
•    Faithful
•    Appreciation (or rejoicing)
•    Hope
•    I was NOT persevering
•    My character was NOT being improved!

Instead of was feeling:

•    Anger
•    Fear
•    Worry
•    Bitterness
•    Impatience
•    Apprehension
•    Vindication
•    The list goes on…..

I think you get the drift!

So let’s recap:

•    Gina and family in bad situation
•    God saves Gina and family miraculously
•    Gina and Family start walking in the Truth of who they are in Christ?  NO!
•    Gina and Family find themselves in the same mess, different city

While all this was going on, miracles were still happening in our lives by no power of our efforts;

•    Deana found an amazing job with the City of Dallas
•    We have learned to walk in faith in other areas of our lives, such as tithing
•    We built and moved into a brand new house, which is a story in itself!
•    We have watched our children grow in their own faith
•    I was continually receiving God’s favor at work, winning prizes, iPad, money, getting bigger and more important accounts…..

And yet this issue with my work remained for over a year!  I sincerely prayed, put my petitions in the prayer box, and TRIED with my own efforts to make this thing happen.  It now went like this:

“Lord, I know I have inherited everything you have as my own, I know I am your child with Your full authority on earth.  If your will says there is a new job for me out there, I believe it and received.  Please make it so.”

And then Pastor started a series and once again started proclaiming the truth as derived from 1 John Chapter 5 –

•    We KNOW we have salvation in Christ
•    We can trust Jesus to not fail us
•    We should be like Jesus and not worry about the details
•    If you have Jesus, you have HIS life and He will not flake on you!

And then Pastor challenged us –

•    BELIEVE IT
•    Live like it’s TRUE
•    Not as proof that we are Christians, but because it strengthens our relationship with Jesus.

Now, let me tell you, half of me is Type A – I like control.  Relying on Christ is not fleshly easy for me.  And I am not going to stand here and tell you I walked out of church and everything fell into place.  But I started “doing” what Pastor encouraged us with instead of just “ACCEPTING” or “KNOWING”.

•    I acknowledged that I still needed to learn something from the Lord – Hosea 4:6a – my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
•    I knew I needed to rely on my faith in Christ.  Romans 10:17 – Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
•    I told myself, even when it was just words, that Jesus has got this

Jesus knew the desires of my heart, yet all along I never really believed that He would answer MY prayers.  Somehow, despite all that He had done for me and my family, I didn’t walk in the knowledge that He’d really provide me a new job.

Then, as I was preparing our home Bible Study, the following truths were revealed to us:

Romans 8:32 – He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Hebrews 6:18 – God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

“Jesus has got this, and I can trust Him”  God cannot lie.  It’s not that He won’t lie – He is not able to lie.  If He could, He would lose His identity as The God of Truth.  SATAN is a liar!  He wants us to believe we are powerless.  In Christ, we have the keys to walk in victory.  God has given us power through His Son, and Jesus’ death and resurrection has already defeated Satan.  This truth means that God has removed every hindrance.

Colossians 2:15 – And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

“Why was I focused on getting revenge, when it has already been dealt with?”

2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

“There is nothing else I need to MOVE IN THE TRUTH that I will have that new job I wanted”

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

“It’s not too late for me to learn this lesson.”

I was determined that my attitude would change, but here’s another truth – often, the more you walk in the Truth, the more Satan stirs up trouble.  I left for Alice TX, a small town near Corpus Christie, for a client engagement that Monday.  While I was on site Tuesday and Wednesday, all of a sudden several co-workers became very belligerent with me, and in ways that had never happened before.  Some were outright lying, and others became so enraged that they were very hurtful.  I was out in the middle of nowhere, at first wondering what the heck was going on!

I ain’t gonna lie, there were moments when this was happening when I easily fell into my old habits, but the Holy Spirit in His loving-kindness reminded me to walk in His Glory, not the circumstances that surrounded me.  On Thursday, as things were building and it felt for the first time that my job might even be in jeopardy, I prayed then went to Monster.com because of my whole “you need to act in the truth” thing, which is a little different than “I’ll show you”.  I applied for the first two jobs in the list – one for an Accountant Position, the other a mix of accounting and software support similar to what I am doing now.  I could NOT tell you anything about either job as I just felt I needed to act and stop wallowing in my fear at that time.

So Thursday continued and Satan certainly was not letting up, but through the Power of Jesus I just kept saying to myself, “I will not be robbed of God’s Glory.  You have no power over me.”  And this is what happened next:

•    I got an email saying from a person named Melanie, “Gina, we received your resume and would really like to talk to you!”  I was at the client site, so couldn’t even check what job this was for, but still ……
•    I replied to the email and a 3pm phone interview was scheduled during my trip back to the airport.  At this time I found out it was the software position and I was able to research them a bit.  The call went VERY well, but was told the hiring manager would be going on vacation, so I might not hear more until after 8/8.
•    By the time my plane landed at 7pm that night, I had a new email saying the hiring manager wanted to talk to me the next day.  Now, Satan was in full force, because one of the owners of my current job had blown up right before my flight.  But as I replied to that email, I said “Jesus, you provided me a new job and I will NOT let Satan turn my face from you.  He can go to hell!”
•    The Friday call went VERY well and the hiring manager Johnny said he’d like to meet with me the day he returns from vacation on 8/8.  However, shortly afterward Melanie called and said the company didn’t want to wait that long, so one of the owners was flying out the following Wednesday to meet with me.  I was amazed!!!!!

Then low and behold, here come Shaw teaching on Sunday – last week –  and sharing her story about praying for her foot to be healed.  If you were here, I am sure you remember it.  But if you were NOT here, here is the gist of it:

•    At first she’d pray something like this: “Lord, if it’s in your will to heal my foot, I receive it” and then would later ask her foot, “How you feeling?”  Does that sound familiar?
•    But after realizing the TRUTH that we are ALREADY healed, she changed her stance to something more like this, “Jesus, I receive the healing you’ve already provided and thank you for healing my foot.”  Then, if her foot started giving her hints of trouble, she’d say “Foot, you need to align yourself with the Word!”  She went from a life-long foot problem to being HEALED.

So I began last week with a new attitude, and was often gently reminded by Deana, that I can and should LIVE IN the Truth and ACT ON the Truth of my position in Christ.  So I changed up my prayer:

“Lord, I no longer want to focus on my problems at work, but instead focus on You.  I will no longer fight my way through each day with myself and other people.  I will let You reign over every situation and not worry about getting revenge.  Most importantly, WHEN I receive the new job that you’ve already provided for me, I will share the miracle of who You are and all you’ve done.”

I walked into work Monday and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, there WAS a change!  Now, don’t forget the previous week had several issues that should have put me in a state of fear or at least encouraged me to come in fighting.  However, in areas where I disagreed with approaches or issue, I voiced my concern very diplomatically, but didn’t escalate to the previous arguments that were my norm.  This type of thing happened all day, to the point where several different co-workers asked me, “are you okay?”.  My reply was “Well, yes I am!”  And that reminded me of Pastor’s sermon last week from Mark where the people were afraid when the crazy person was no longer crazy.  ☺

Wednesday came and I met with Chuck, one of the owners, and I walked into that interview with several praying for me and with my cloak of the Truth surrounding me – THIS WAS A DIVINE APPOINTMENT AND JESUS HAS GOT THIS.  I was NOT nervous, I was NOT anxious.  Everything went well.  And, bottom line, I was offered the position the next morning at 8:05am – one week to the day I applied!

This job was 100% provided by my Lord, through no real effort on my part, and I truly believe all I really needed to do on my side is walk in the Truth of who I am in Christ.

I don’t know what you’re in the middle of, but I leave you these two verses:

Psalm 27:1 NIV

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
   whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
   of whom shall I be afraid?

Phil 3:12-16 (The Message)

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.

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

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