Joel Osteen - The Shaking Is For Shifting
I want to talk to you today about The Shaking is for Shifting. This pandemic that we're dealing with is something that we've never experienced: the economic world is shaken, people not able to go to work, our social lives are shaken, having to stay apart. With all the fear and uncertainty many people's emotional well-being is shaken. In life we all have these times where things shake us to our core. An unexpected illness, we lose a loved one, we've been at that job for years but now there's opposition, people that are trying to push us out, and all the stability that we were used to: the finances we were counting on, the children doing great things, it's no longer there.
It's easy to get discouraged and wonder, "Why it happened"? But here's the key: the shaking is not there to stop you, the shaking is there to shift you. If you'll keep the right attitude, that shaking will shift you into promotion, it will shift you into greater influence, shift you into better relationships. God uses these shakings to get us in position for new levels. Without the door closing we would never get out of our comfort zone. We may not like it but the shaking is forcing us to change, it's forcing us to grow.
If everything kept going along as is, we would never reach our potential. Stay open for something new. Don't go back to the same ways you used to do things. The reason God allowed the shaking is to shift you into something better. Maybe a company had to for low you - that wasn't a surprise to God, he shook things up so he could give you a better position with better benefits in a better environment. It looks like a setback, but really it's a setup. God is using it to shift you to where you couldn't go on your own.
In Acts chapter 2 the disciples were in the upper room, the Holy Spirit came in like a rushing mighty wind, they were all filled with the spirit. They knew God was with them and they were going to do great things, but in chapter 8, a man named Saul came along. He hated these disciples, he had letters from the government to have them arrested and put in jail. The scripture says (Acts 8:3), "Saul wreaked havoc on the church in Jerusalem".
Here the disciples were going along, seeing God's favor and out of nowhere Saul showed up and turned things upside-down, their whole world was shaken. It's interesting that Saul came to Jerusalem and caused so much turmoil. Jerusalem means the city of peace, this was home for many of the disciples, this is where they felt secure, they could relax and be comfortable. But now this city of peace was the city of chaos. I'm sure they thought, "God, where are you? Don't you see what Saul is doing and how much trouble were in"?
Just a few chapters earlier God sent the rushing mighty wind. It's not like he could not stop Saul - he parted Red Seas, he closed the mouths of lions, he could have kept Saul from ever entering Jerusalem, he could have sent angels to hold him back. But sometimes God will allow things to be shaken, he'll allow a Saul, a difficulty, an unfair situation. If you don't understand that the shaking is not there to stop you, but to shift you, it's getting you in position to go to a new level, to see things you've never seen, then you'll live worried, upset, wondering how it's going to work out.
Anyone can trust God when things are going their way, life is good, you're seeing favor. The real test is: will you trust him when things are shaking? Will you stay in faith when there's uncertainty, things you don't understand? God has you in the palm of his hand, nothing can happen to you without his permission. And something or someone may have wreaked havoc in your life, things feel like they're out of control, can I encourage you? God is still on the throne, He's still ordering your steps, that shaking is not going to defeat you - it's going to promote you. It is setting you up for what God is about to do. You're on the verge of something better than you've ever imagined. God is working behind the scenes. Things are in motion that you can't see.
Thoughts will tell you, "It's not gonna work out. You're not going to get well. Your child is never going to get back on course. This virus is going to ruin you financially". No, the shaking is a sign that a shift is taking place. God is about to launch you to a new level, you're about to see something that you've never seen. It's not going to be ordinary, common, it's going to be uncommon, unusual, unprecedented favor, healing, opportunity. One day you'll look back and say, "Wow what I thought was a bad break was really setting me up for this new level. The shaking wasn't there to stop me the shaking is what shifted me in the increase, into promotion, into talent that I didn't know I had".
Saul created so much havoc in Jerusalem. There was so much opposition, the scripture says Philip had to leave Jerusalem and go to Samaria. It doesn't say Philip prayed and decided to go to Samaria, he didn't have a choice, he was forced out of Jerusalem. When you're doing the right thing and a door closes, somebody walks away, the contract comes to an end, that's not the enemy stopping you, that's God shifting you. The enemy may have minute to harm you, but he doesn't have the final say. God wouldn't have allowed the door to close, he wouldn't have allowed them to walk away if it was going to stop your purpose. Have a new perspective: it's shifting you to the new things that God has in store.
Now, I've learned: when one door closes, if you'll stay in faith, God will open a bigger and a better door. You may get pushed out of Jerusalem, but Samaria is waiting for you. There's a place of victory, a place of abundance that God has already prepared for you. There are people that God has already spoken to to be good to you, people that will use their influence to push you forward. There are divine connections, people that God has already ordained to come into your life, people that will love you, people that can't wait to be with you. Quit being discouraged over who pushed you out, who didn't want to be your friend, who played politics and got the best of you - they didn't stop your destiny, they shifted you. They were a part of God's plan to push you forward. You're about to come into the new things that God has in store.
Philip arrived in Samaria not by choice, he was pushed out of Jerusalem. He could have been discouraged, but he understood this principle, he knew that God was still in control. What's interesting is Samaria is where his ministry took off, Samaria is where he flourished and stepped in to a new level. The scripture says, Philip saw all kind of miracles in Samaria: blind eyes were open, the crippled could walk, great favor was on his life. He never saw that in Jerusalem. If he would have stayed there, he would have missed the fullness of his destiny.
Many times a great shaking precedes great favor, great difficulties precede great promotion, great opposition precedes great influence. If you could see what God is up to, you wouldn't be stressed over the shaking, complaining about the trouble, upset over the setback. When you realize it's taking you to Samaria, a place where you're going to flourish, do things you've never dreamed, see favor, abundance, breakthroughs, then you would thank God even in the shakings, even though it's uncertain you would have a smile on your face, a spring on your step, knowing that God is up to something. All through the day, "Father, thank you that this shaking is not going to stop me, but it's going to shift me. It may have been meant for my harm, but I know, it's leading me to my Samaria, where I'm going to flourish and see favor, that I've never seen".
Keep the right perspective. God never said there wouldn't be times where things were shaken, unfair, we don't understand - that's not the time to fall apart, that's the time to kick your praise into a new gear. That's the time to speak victory over your life. That difficulty didn't come to stay, it came to pass. God being for you is more than the world being against you.
The scripture says there was great joy in Samaria. Philip left Jerusalem in great distress, it was a great disappointment, but look at how God works: Philip went from great distress to great joy, he went from great trouble to great victory, from great rejection to people that loved him greatly. He didn't realize, when he was having all the opposition in Jerusalem, that great joy was waiting for him in Samaria.
You may have gone through things that have caused you great pain, great disappointment, great loss. You could be bitter, live discouraged, but that is not how your story ends. Like with Philip great joy is coming, great favor, great relationship, great health. The enemy thought he was stopping you, he didn't realize - he was setting you up. In the shaking God was shifting you. You may not be there yet, but stay encouraged, you are headed toward great joy. Not just "Joy". Not just "I'm okay. I made it out, thank God I'm still here". No, great joy is coming. Great victories are up ahead.
You don't have to look back and think about the good old days, "I wish I was there", can I tell you? There are some good new days in your future. The best days of your life are still in front of you. You may have gone through great disappointments, you need to declare every day, "Father, thank you that great joy is coming". The scripture says God will fill your mouth with laughter. You're going to laugh again, you're gonna love again, you're going to dream again. Great joy is headed your way.
In 1999 my father had a heart attack and went to be with the Lord. I had worked with them here at Lakewood for 17 years behind the scenes. We were the best of friends. Outside of Victoria I spent more time with my father than anyone else. I used to think, "What am I going to do when my father is gone"? When he suddenly died at 77 my whole world was turned upside-down. I thought my father would live to be a hundred and fifty years old. He was my hero, but now he was gone.
I've learned in these times of shaking God will always give us the grace we need. The scripture says God has armed us with strength for every battle. If we'll tap into that strength, we won't go around overwhelmed and stressed out. But all these thoughts flooded my mind, "What's going to happen to the church? What if it doesn't make it? Who's going to be the pastor"? In the middle of all that turmoil with so much uncertainty, I felt a peace like I'd never felt, something I can't explain. Even though I miss my father, I didn't get depressed, I didn't fall apart - I knew deep down God was still in control.
What I didn't know at that time was that shaking was about to shift me. I never dreamed I would become a pastor, I never wanted to get up in front of people, but when my father suddenly passed I had the desire to do it. I knew I was not only supposed to step up, but now I wanted to do it. My father had tried to get me up to minister for 17 years, I never had the desire. But the Psalmist said (Psalm 37:4), "God will give you the desires of your heart". Sometimes we think that means God will give us what we want, but another way to look at it is: God will put the desires in you.
In that time of shaking God shifted my desires. And I didn't know if I'd be any good, I didn't know if people was come I was afraid, intimidated, but I thought: I'm not going to come to the end of my life and not know what might have happened, if I would have taken that step of faith. Some opportunities don't pass by a second time. Out of that shaking, out of that loss came talent that I didn't know I had. Like God pushed Phillip out of Jerusalem and he began to flourish in Samaria, God had to push me from behind the scenes to be an in front of people.
It's significant that my flourishing, Philip's flourishing came out of a shaky time, when there was uncertainty. It looked like nothing good was happening, when in fact God was using that shaky season to shift us, to get us in position to flourish, to see his favor, blessings in new ways. In one sense that's where we are now. Things are shaky, uncertain, we've never seen this.
All these questions: when will it get back to normal? What about my finances? When the children's will to go to school? How's it all going to work out? We don't see anything positive, but in this shaking God is shifting you. It looks like a setback, but really he's setting you up. You're going to come into new opportunities, doors that weren't open before are going to open for you. You're going to have desires that you've never had. Talent is going to come out of you that you didn't know was in you.
Where you've been told no before, because of this shift, you're going to hear yes. Yes to that business, yes to that new house, yes to that promotion, yes to that ministry. The shaking has changed people's minds. Those that were not for you wouldn't give you the time of day, things are shifted they're going to be for you, they're going to want to help you. The medical check-up: every time you've heard, "No improvement, nothing's getting better", get ready for some YESes, "Yes, you're getting healthier. Yes, your blood pressure is back to normal. Yes, the cancer is gone". There's some shifting taking place. You can't see it yet, but don't worry, you're coming into it. You don't have to find it, it's going to find you, it's already in round, the miracle is already in motion.
Friends, God is doing a new thing. Don't think that the whole world being put on pause is just a physical thing, there are spiritual things happening. God is up to something big. He's looking for people whose hearts are turned toward him, people like you, people that honor him, people that keep him first place. You're going to come out of this shaking into levels that you've never dreamed.
Proverbs 13:32 says, "The wealth of the ungodly is being laid up for the righteous". There are things that God has laid up for you. There's going to be a transfer of wealth from people that have nothing to do with God, that only think about themselves to people that will use the resources to build the kingdom, to lift the fallen, to feed the hungry, to bring justice to those that have no voice, to make the world a better place. God is about to shift some contracts, some businesses, some opportunities, some inheritances. It's going to be unusual income, things that you couldn't make happen. It's already headed your way, it's just a matter of time before you see God do unprecedented things.
Now, make sure that you keep in first place. You don't have to seek the blessing, just seek him and the blessings will seek you. Part of this slowdown is an opportunity to draw closer to God. One thing this virus shows us is how little control we have. With all the advances over the last years, we can fly airplanes, we have incredible technology, the internet, smartphones, there's amazing medical procedures, we can transplant hearts, but this one virus, this one seemingly small thing has shut down the whole world.
If we put our trust in our finances, they can go down like that. If we put our trust in our job, our career, it can suddenly change. That's why it's so important to put your trust in God. He's the one that doesn't change, he's our source. That's where we get our strength, ideas, creativity, resources, wisdom. God is the giver of all good things. And yes, we appreciate the companies we work for, we're grateful to have the income each week, but they are not our source, they are simply a resource that the source is using.
Now, I believe the source, the Most High God is about to do some unusual, unprecedented things in your finances. You're going to lend and not borrow, he's going to prosper you even in a downtown. The scripture (Psalm 37:19 )says, "Even in famine the righteous will have more than enough". Not just enough, but overflow. There are blessings that are going to come looking for you.
Just recently, during this time when everything is closed down we received a large payment to the ministry. It was something we were owed from over 10 years ago, had to do with broadcast rights. I've had people explain it to me three times, I still don't understand what it is. I've read about it, studied it, but I don't see how it applies to us, doesn't make sense to me. I've stopped trying to figure it out and I just receive it. I believe, it's one of those far and beyond blessings that God has laid up for the righteous. It's a part of the transfer of wealth.
But it's interesting that it came at this uncertain time. The shaking is a sign that things are shifting in your favor. "Well, Joel, I don't believe this is going to happen for me". You're right, this is for believers. It's only going to happen if you release your faith. Say, "Father, thank you that this shaking is shifting me. Thank you, that you're giving me new desires, giving me creativity, opening new doors, blessing me, so I can be a bigger blessing".
I talked to a lady that watches us on television. She owns her own business and has been very successful. She's in the manufacturing industry, she has stores all over the country. A few years ago things begin to slow down, they made adjustments and were able to keep going, but they were struggling, barely surviving. One day she received word that 36 of her stores were closing. That was almost half of her business. She couldn't make it without that income.
Her whole world was shaken. She had poured her heart and soul into that business, built it from the ground up, she never thought she would be in this position. And all the circumstances said it was over, she could have accepted it, give it up on her dream, but in the middle of that shaking, with all the uncertainty she said, "God, I trust you. I know you're still in control and you can make a way where I don't see away". A few weeks ago a large company that she's never done business with called her and said, they wanted to put her product in 360 of their stores. Overnight she went from 36 stores to 360. She thought she was going under, but suddenly she had ten times the amount of stores.
I've learned God is not so much into addition he's into multiplication. One touch of his favor will catapult you ahead. We look at our circumstances in the natural and think this could never work out, but we serve a supernatural God. He's not limited by what limits us. One good break, one contract, one phone call and God will multiply what you have. He'll thrust you to a new level.
If this lady were here, she would tell you: the shaking is a setup, it's a sign that God is about to shift things: there's going to be a shift in your finances, a shift in your career, a shift in your health, a shift in your marriage. It's shaky right now, things seem uncertain, you're tempted to live worried, stressed out - get ready, a shift is coming. God is going to make things happen that you couldn't make happen.
Perhaps the medical report doesn't look good, it's shaking your world - come back to a place of peace: God can do what medicine can't do. He promised, the number of your days he will fulfill. Maybe a child is off course, your business went down, you're in a legal situation, you never dreamed you'd be dealing with this, it's keeping you awake at night - it's not a surprise to God. He wouldn't have allowed the shaking if he didn't already have a solution. If he didn't have some area already lined up, he wouldn't have allowed the trouble in Jerusalem. Instead of being stressed over the shaking, why don't you start thanking him for the solution? "Father, thank you that a shift is coming, breakthroughs, healing, favor. Thank you that what you started in my life you will finish".
In Acts chapter 16 Paul and Silas had been put in prison for sharing their faith. They were in the deepest dungeon with chains around their feet. The authorities were so afraid of their influence, they went to great lengths to make sure they couldn't escape. But God will never let you get in a problem that can't get you out of. It may look like your situation doesn't have a solution, the odds are against you, but God has ways to do things you've never thought of. What's impossible with people is possible with God.
At midnight Paul and Silas were singing praises and thanking God. Verse 26 says, "Suddenly there came a great earthquake, all the foundations of the prison was shaken, immediately the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened". Notice what the shaking did, it opened prison doors, it unloose chains that were restricting them. Paul and Silas walked out as free men.
The shaking on the surface may have seemed like a negative thing, but without the shaking Paul wouldn't have fulfilled his purpose. The shaking was necessary for him to become who he was created to be. We may not like the shakings, the times things seem out of control, but like with Paul, they're not going to stop you, they're going to shift you. Out of this shaking new doors are going to open, new opportunities, new relationships, things that you didn't see coming.
Chains that have held you back are about to be unfastened: chains of depression, chains of lack and struggle, chains of addictions. Don't complain about the shaking, it's serving a purpose, God is using it to thrust you where you couldn't go without it. Now every day, "Father, thank you that the shaking is shifting me into promotion, into healing, into new levels". If you keep this attitude of faith, I believe and declare: like Philip you're going to come out of the shaking into great joy, great favor, great increase, great relationships, into the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.