John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
Are you anxious because of the current economic crisis? Are recent world events leaving you feeling troubled and concerned about your future?
With the rising cost of gas and food, water shortages, global warming, war and terrorism, it is fair to say that the world in which we live is a very troubled place at the moment. Our world is truly being shaken.
As believers, none of us should be surprised by these world events. In Hebrews 12:26, God makes a promise; “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” God said that everything that can be shaken would be shaken, so that only that which cannot be shaken will remain.
While the key to our victory in these times of crises is faith, we must remember what it goes on to say in Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear for our God is a consuming fire”. We must remind ourselves that we belong to an unshakeable kingdom and an unshakeable God.
In Mark 11:22 Jesus had an amazing word for us; “Have faith in God.” At this point, he has already had a very successful ministry for over three years, but he is also about to face the greatest trial of his life and the greatest battle in the history of the universe. The cross is looming and no doubt it is weighing heavily upon him.
Prior to this scene, Jesus and his disciples leave Bethany. On departing the city, Jesus is hungry and seeing a fig tree in the distance, He goes to find out if it has any fruit. When he sees that there is none, (because it is not the season for figs) he declares to the tree; “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
The next day the disciples pass by the same tree and exclaim; “Look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” They are asking Jesus, “Why did you do that?”
I believe it was an act of prophetic symbolism on Jesus’ part. The fig tree represents the nation of Israel and Jesus used this symbol to demonstrate to his disciples that they were transitioning from the Old covenant to the New covenant.
Although he still doesn’t really answer their inquiries, He says, “Guys, have faith in God.” He took the opportunity to tell them that when trouble is coming, when the earth is shaking, put your eyes on God!”
Let’s take a look at the life of Elijah. Even though he was a mighty man of faith whom God used powerfully, he struggled to continually fix his eyes on the truth. When he did fix his eyes on God, he was able to face unimaginable trials and, as a result, saw a great many signs, wonders and miracles. Elijah saw nations change at the hand of God, yet he experienced his fair share of discouragement.
In 1 Kings 19, we find Elijah at the point of his greatest victory and the climax of a 3 1/2 year struggle with King Ahab, his wife, Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal. Elijah had called for a drought because the people had turned from serving God and continued to worship the prophets of Baal. Elijah was a wanted man, on the run from the king who had declared that he wanted Elijah, dead or alive.
They looked everywhere for him; but God had him hide out in the desert where the crows fed him. How would you like being fed by crows brought you meat and bread every day? It would probably be road kill, but that is what he ate, and it didn’t end there for Elijah. Even after the Lord brought fire down at Mount Carmel and the Baal worshippers declared, in 1 Kings 18:39, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God,” Elijah fled for his life in fear of Jezebel. Not only did he flee but he lay down and prayed to God that he might die. (1 Kings 19: 3-4)
Sometimes, right at the point of greatest victory, we feel like giving up.
In spite of God answering your prayers, have you ever been in a situation where you felt that the battle is too intense and you can’t take one more hit?
I’ve only been that discouraged once, when my first marriage failed. I’d tried everything to fix it, but the more I tried, the worse it got. I got so bummed out one time that I felt like I just wanted to go to heaven. If the Lord had answered that prayer, I would have missed this revival, and I would have missed being married to carol for 29 glorious years.
In these situations, we start to lose faith in God. When the world around us starts to shake, we cannot fix our eyes on our circumstances; we have got to keep our eyes on Him no matter what. God is never limited by circumstances.
There is absolutely nothing that is impossible with Him.
Elijah was human, with hopes and expectations. One of his biggest desires had been to see the nation of Israel rid of all Baal worship. When the Baal worshippers finally declared that the Lord was God, Elijah was so excited that the Spirit of God came on him, and he picked up his robe and ran in front of king’s chariot all the way into the city. But then he suffered one more blow. Jezebel threatened his life. She vowed, “May the gods do so to me and moreover also if I don’t make your life as one of those dead prophets by this time tomorrow.” This final threat got to him, and he caved in.
It happened because he took his eyes off the Lord and put them on Jezebel. He remembered that she was the one who killed hundreds of the Lord’s prophets and was largely responsible for bringing Baal worship into the land.
You can’t walk by faith and look at the devil. You must get your eyes on Jesus and say:
“My heavenly Daddy is watching over me.”
Do you know what I have found? Jesus said, “According to your faith, be it unto you. “ I have noticed that when I believe there will be a counterattack, the counterattack always finds me. But when I have faith in God, and I put my trust in Him, I notice that God’s word is true: “Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.”
Genuine faith believes Psalm 91. “A thousand may fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand but it will not come near me.” And if you put your faith in Romans 8, which says that if you trust Him, He will cause all things to work together for good for you, then you will have the faith to persevere even though everything around you is shaking.
Always remember that by faith, He causes everything to work together for you. Jesus told his disciples to have faith when He was going through one of His most trying moments. He knew that the countdown began that day. The Old covenant was over and the countdown to the cross had begun. Yet He told His disciples “Have faith in God".
Many times we are just like the prophet Elijah. We’ve come through trials and difficult circumstances and ask the question, “Now what?” But what Elijah didn’t know, even as he asked God to take his life, was that his greatest days were just ahead. He did not know that he would soon anoint Elisha and that Elisha would bring a great deal of righteousness back into the nation of Israel.
It wasn’t until Elijah heard the voice of God and fixed his eyes back on the truth that he was able to move on from that place of fear and hiding and continue on in his destiny, which eventually changed the entire nation.
God is always in control. Jesus Christ is still the answer. He is still your answer.
Around 1991, a man by the name of George Otis wrote a book called 'The Last of the Giants'. He was talking about 3 giants in society: Islam, Hinduism and materialism that needed to come down. In his original draft he had four giants and the first one was communism but before he could print the book, communism fell, so he revised the manuscript.
Right now, in our lifetime all three of those giants are absolutely shaking! Communism is virtually gone. Islam is shaking, Hinduism is shaking and materialism is shaking. Why? Because God said, “everything that can be shaken will be shaken.” Only that which cannot be shaken will remain. It is called the kingdom of God, the unshakeable kingdom. Grab hold of it with all of your heart and all of your soul and say, “Wow, Lord, I’ve taken hold of the kingdom of God and I am absolutely not letting go.”
In Luke 12, Jesus is talking to his disciples. Once again it is during the countdown of his last days on earth. In verse 22, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not worry about your life.” We need to hear those words today just as much as the disciples needed to hear them all those years ago. Do not worry.
So what’s the answer? Put your faith in God today. You have a loving Father who knows you need food, clothes and shelter. So you don’t have to worry; you just have to live in a kingdom dynamic. In verse 31, Jesus goes on to say: “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” He then continues by saying, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He wants to give you the kingdom. The kingdom is yours. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken.
Here’s the key. Have faith in God.
God’s presence is an ever present reality. You need to drink it and take it into yourself on a daily basis. If you are discouraged I want you to be honest with yourself and say; “Oh God, I am discouraged, but I am not going to stay discouraged.”
I want you to know that you are heading into the very best days of your life - as long as you keep your eyes on Jesus. I encourage you to choose right now to look away from any disappointing circumstances and fix your eyes on Jesus!
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Nov, 2008. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.