In spite of escalating turmoil in our world, there remains one last, great outpouring of mercy during the end times (see Matt. 24:14; Acts 2:17). This supernatural season of grace has been predetermined. It is an "appointed time" of the Lord.
For those unaware, an appointed time is, in truth, an open display of the sovereignty and power of God. In it we discover with absolute certainty that nothing is impossible for God. For this is a season when God fulfills His will on earth, fulfilling in the process His promises, and the hopes and dreams of His people.
The psalmist wrote, "But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your name to all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come" (Ps. 102:12-13).
There is an appointed time coming for Israel, and an appointed time for you and me. If the Lord has promised, He will certainly bring it to pass.
Recall that Abraham and Sarah had waited in faith for a quarter century for the promise of God. Finally, as they neared 100 years of age, the Lord told Abraham, "At the appointed time I will return to you ... and Sarah will have a son" (Gen. 18:14). One year later, "at the appointed time" (Gen. 21:2), Isaac was born to aged parents!
While there are, indeed, appointed times of judgment (see Mark 13:33), the phrase most frequently represents a time, preset by God, when He reveals "wonders, plans formed long ago [that unfold] with perfect faithfulness" (Is. 25:1).
Demons may stand arrayed against the Lord; nations may align themselves to fight Him. It does not matter. He who sits in the heavens laughs. For He makes "all things [His] servants" (Ps. 119:91). Even His enemies' plans for evil are reversed and made to serve His purpose (see Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28; Acts 2:22-23).
If God gave you a vision, a spiritual hope or dream for your future, there will be an appointed time when what God spoke comes to pass. Thus, the Lord assures us: "Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time. It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay" (Hab. 2:2-3).
If you have a vision or promise from God, that vision also has a time of fulfillment. Write it down and place it where you can see it every day. Though it tarries, wait for it. For it will certainly come to pass at the appointed time.
Appointed Servants of God
When the Lord manifests Himself openly in an appointed time, He actually moves through a power grid He established in hiddenness during the time of preparation. His work appears suddenly, but its preparation may have taken many years. Either way, an appointed time flows through appointed people. He predestines the time of their breakthrough in advance, even as He works silently within their hearts in preparation.
Consider the Lord's word to His disciples: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain" (John 15:16).
Every disciple feels that, at some point, he or she chose Christ. Yet, the deeper truth is that God chose us before the foundation of the world and has been working in us. At the appointed time, we choose Christ, but only after He chose us (see Eph. 1:3-5). We could not even come to Christ had not the Father drawn us (see John 6:44).
Yet, He who chose us also appointed us to bear much fruit. The same power that worked surrender in us and then inspired our faith continues to work in our hearts throughout our days, appointing us to bear fruit. The idea that we can just sit quietly in church is a deception. You may look at your life and feel unfruitful. But God is not done with you yet. Do you believe God has chosen you? Then believe also that He has appointed you to bear fruit.
The Enemy's Work
One may argue, "But I know people who were good Christians who have fallen away." Yes, but in many cases you will find that, at some point, they fell into deep disappointment about some failed spiritual expectation. Disappointment is not just a sad, emotional state of mind; deep disappointment actually can sever our hearts from faith. It is the enemy's work. Demonically manipulated disappointment can actually "dis-appoint" a person from God's destiny for their lives.
I have known many who were doing well, moving toward their appointed destiny. The future God had for them seemed almost close enough to taste. Then they became disappointed in someone or something. By accepting into their souls this demonically manipulated disappointment, their faith turned dormant; a bitter winter took over their souls. It is here, even in the throes of disappointment, that the righteous learn to live by faith (see Hab. 2:1-4).
We all face times of disappointment. I went through a time when the promise of God seemed like a foolish spiritual fantasy. For nearly three years I had not been involved in pastoral ministry. No doors would open. God was doing a work in my soul to cause me to trust Him, but I felt abandoned and cut off from my calling. In a moment of abject honesty, I prayed: "Lord, You promised that those who believed in You would not be disappointed. Master, You know all things. Look at my heart. I am full of disappointment."
The Lord simply replied, "Your life is not over."
Of course, I knew that. I was a healthy young man not older than 40. Yet the spell of disappointment had flooded my soul with darkness, causing me to conclude erroneously that God was done with me.
Listen well, my friend: Satan can stop your destiny or mine if we accept the power of disappointment into our lives. Once we accept the heaviness of a deep "dis-appointment," backsliding is often not far away. You see, "dis-appointment" cuts us off from our vision, and without a vision people perish.
Are you carrying disappointment in your heart? Renounce it. Forgive those who have let you down. Have you personally or morally failed? Repent deeply and return to your Redeemer.
Holy Spirit, I ask You to remove from my brother and sister the paralyzing sting of disappointment!
Beloved, the Spirit of God has come to release you of the effect of the "dis-appointment." He reminds you, your appointment with your destiny is still set.
About the author: Francis Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. In June 2009, he retired from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries and is devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God's Word. For more about his ministry, go to www.frangipane.org. The preceding message is adapted Francis' book, This Day We Fight, published by Chosen Books. To order, click here, or to order from Francis' Arrow Publications, visit arrowbookstore.com.