Ordained and licensed ministers with Christian International Apostolic Network and Generals International.

Reward and Challenge Ahead

January 23, 2013 – Allen and Diane Lake

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a detailed blueprint for the days ahead – knew exactly what to expect, how to prepare, and how to navigate every turn? If you’re like me, you like to have a plan. I like to have concrete information about something to come, preferably even in written form.

When it comes to the days ahead, we can expect to face great challenge as well as reap great reward. The revelation we need will come – when we need it, as we move toward the goal. The key will be the ability to trust that God’s going to make everything all right.

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 surely come, it will not delay. (Hab. 2:3, NASB) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev. 3:21)

An Assignment

I recently felt the Holy Spirit gave me an assignment to read the early Pentateuch. The Pentateuch, of course, refers to the first five books of the Old Testament which Moses is believed to have written. It’s been a long time since I sat down and read the first part of the Old Testament as a segment, rather than in bits and pieces, and I was impacted in ways I didn’t expect.

Several things stood out. Of course, there was the soap-opera drama element, as families lived and loved and maneuvered in all their imperfections. Then, there was a fresh awareness of the heart of God, and how even when the earth was grossly corrupt, He still looked for those who would walk with Him and follow His ways. (See Gen. 6:9-12.)

And there was the element of covenant, and the many times these passages spoke of covenants of promise made by God toward men, and the obedience of men that brought their fulfillment. (See Gen. 22:16-18; 26:3-5.)

Most of all, I noticed the underlying thread of faithfulness – first of God toward men, but also of men toward God. God is faithful, and it is faithfulness of heart – not perfection or appearances – that pleases Him. (1 Sam. 16:7) There will be challenges in the days ahead, but even greater reward, and our faithful God will not let us down. (Heb. 11:6)

An Awareness

As believers, it is important to be able to determine the spiritual times and seasons we are in. (Luke 12:54-56; 19:42-44) Those who understand that we have entered the start of another era in Christ will have a new level of discernment of God’s timetable and purposes in the earth.

Pay attention to the younger generation; there is a great calling and purpose on their lives in the earth at this time. Many prophets have spoken of this. Personally, I sense a dividing line at age 40. If you are younger than this and will sell out to the Lord, you will see and do things that have not yet been recorded on the earth. (See Joel 2:28-32)

If you are older than that, don’t count yourself out! We who are older will both prepare those younger and prepare the way, but we will also experience much of the same things ourselves. And, we have entered into Zechariah 12:8 with great release of spiritual and physical strength. As with Jacob, God’s heart inclines towards those who will not be denied. (See Gen. 32:28.) Whatever you have the faith and perseverance to press in for in this time, you can receive!

The prophets have been speaking much about contrast, and the increase of the light and glory of the Lord. (Isa. 60:1) This verse says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you” (emphasis added).

In this new era, I’m hearing the Lord say, “Arise!” Literally this can be taken to mean, “get up” or “stand up.” It speaks of change, the need to receive or go in a different direction, or to move or implement new strategy. Jacob was told to “Arise” when God instructed him to go to Bethel. (Gen. 35:1) It was at Bethel that God spoke with Jacob and reaffirmed him as “Israel” (his new name) – the start of a new era, indeed! (See also 1 Sam. 16:12 and the anointing of David by Samuel, and Rev. 2:17 and the new name written for him who overcomes.)

A Challenge

It will be essential in the days ahead that the church endures. Matthew 24:12, 13 say, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

The word “end” in this instance does not mean end in the sense of extinction or termination in reference to time, or in and for itself. Rather, it speaks of a goal reached or the completion or conclusion at which something arrives; it means to usher in something else.

One thing our endurance will bring is this: “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev. 3:21)

I challenge you to consider what you want out of life. It is not a time for divided loyalties; remember Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:26-33) If your focus is riches, pleasure, or an indulgent lifestyle, then the Day will come on you unexpectedly. We are warned not to become distracted by the “cares of this life,” but to watch and pray, that we may be counted worthy to escape all the things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36) It isn’t that God will not bless and prosper His people, but it cannot be our main focus.

And, we must not allow our love to “grow cold.” Surely this speaks of our love for others, but first we must love the Lord our God in order that love for others may follow. (Matt. 22:36-39)

The prophet Malachi spoke of those who are sold out in their love for God in the last days. Malachi 3:16-18 say this:

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him, for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

We can expect days of contrast – days of both reward and challenge. But these people will be known for their faithfulness to the Lord.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that the church will “watch and pray” for revelation, trusting that God will reveal what is needed in the days ahead at the appropriate time. (Hab. 2:3; Luke 21:36)
  • Pray for patience and endurance for the saints, that they might be “more than conquerors” and those who are overcomers who are granted to sit with Him on His throne. (Rom. 8:37; Rev. 3:21)
  • Pray for a great spiritual awakening in the youth, that they might arise as those who transition the age and usher in His coming. (Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52)
  • Pray that the faith of God would arise in the church, and that there would be increased hope of great reward. (Rom. 8:25; Rev. 11:18)

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