Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
One of these days there's going to be a great wedding. The bridegroom is on the way. It doesn't make good sense to know He's coming without being prepared for him to come. Everywhere we look, there are signs that say he's coming back again. Although we've had many false prophets lately who predict the time of his coming, we don't know the date. Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. The Lord said, "What I want you to do is spend some time watching. He says in 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh. It will be a time when you least expect him. While we're hanging around fussing, arguing, and complaining, the Lord is on his way.
Notice what he says in 24:50 The Lord of that servant shall come at a day when he looketh not for Him and in that hour that he is not aware of. He could show up any time. We must be continually looking for the coming of the Lord. We must actively prepare for His coming by staying true to the faith, actively working for the Lord, keeping our hearts and minds right, and doing good. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. We must keep the hope fresh that He will come back again. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive, and remain shall be caught up together with them in the cloud to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. There must be personal preparation.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...
We like to sing about death. I took the initiative to observe men while they were singing about chilly waters. They were all smiling and getting into it. We shout on those kinds of songs. I used to sing Save A Seat for Me quite often. Folk would just fall all out and run into each other. Songs of that nature seem to get our attention. I'm going to move upstairs. I'm toiling through the storm and rain. All of those songs have reference to death. We sing about it, but we don't like to discuss it. Most of the times when we hear of these kinds of messages, it is at a funeral. Our minds are never on the message. We are thinking of the person that passed. Some in the audience wish they could say something. There are others that say something then wonder if they messed up when they talked. Still others are angry. As a believer, we should not be shocked by death because we all know it is going to happen.
It doesn't make sense to me to know that you are going to move yet fail to make provision before that time comes. My family shouldn't have to fight over what I have. I already know their attitudes. If I don't write it down before I leave, it's up for grabs. It is so simple to take a moment with an attorney and write it out. Make out your own will down to the chair. Choose the color of your casket so they won't argue. I know some members who fell out over the color of a casket. Their momma is dead and they are arguing. Maybe you have an outside child somewhere and you love that child. Your family knows about the child. Don't just think your children will treat her right. No they ain't. That's going to be the first one they cut out. Sit down and write out what you want each one to have. And don't forget the church you love that has been such a blessing to you where you have gained your strength for twenty years.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The saint should be like a tree. Why a tree? After all God used the wind, water, and fire to accomplish many wonderful things. Can't I be like water? No, because water likes to take the image of everything it gets next to. If you put water in something flat, it will lay flat. Put water in something crooked, it will be crooked. Heat it up, it will evaporate. Freeze it, it will turn to ice. So saints should not be like water. Neither should a saint be like the wind that is constantly changing. It comes from the south this minute, the north the next, then the east or the west. A saint must be solid. And a saint can't be like fire, because God is saving His fire for the last days. All liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire. The same fire that warms now will burn later.
God says, "I want my saint to be like a tree." Lets examine a tree. Although other things lie down when they die, a tree dies standing. It becomes a hazard to those around. A dead tree limb can hit you in the head and kill you on the spot. Have you known people that killed your spirit through only a look? Just looking at them changed your whole attitude from happy to grumpy. These people are a hazard while standing up.
Most living things shed their heavy garments in the summer and put on more in the winter. A tree is just the opposite. A tree takes off its clothes in the winter and puts on its clothes in the summer. If I'm a saint then that means I ought not to act like the world. The world doesn't need to look at me and think I'm one of them, because I'm different. I look different; I act different. I live in a completely different way because I'm not following the world. The world needs to follow me.
And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them.
Daniel had been selected to be in charge of the presidents.
Daniel was a little fellow from a foreign land who had now moved to be Prime Minister. Now brothers and sisters when you get elevated you create more enemies. If you are the top boss on the job, you've got a lot of folk that don't like you. It isn't because you did anything wrong, but just because the spot you got. When I was young and coming up, I enjoyed shooting things in the trees. And sometimes the tree would be full of birds. It could be big birds on the limb or it could be a little one on the top limb. And the one on the top was the one I would aim at. And the devil is like that. The devil likes to get the top bird. He likes to get the one that's holding the top spot.
Have you ever been elevated somewhere and you thought everybody wished you well? You thought they were waiting congratulate you and give you a pat on the back. But they acted like you hadn't done a thing. They don't like you. They have problems with you when you've been elevated. That's what happened with Daniel. Three presidents got together with their committees and said, "Look, we don't need to let Daniel stay in this spot. Let's see if we can do something to destroy him. Let's cut him down. He can't be that good. Ain't nobody that good."
So they followed him and watched his every step. They put a tap on his phone and trailed his chariot to find out where he was parking it. They investigated his past. After several weeks they had their committee meeting saying, "We can find no fault in Daniel. Let's create a fault. If the devil can't get you one way, he'll fix something in order to pull you down. But they were plotting against the wrong man. It would all come back on them. God had elevated Daniel and man would not take him down.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.
Even from the days of your father He said that one of the reasons you have done this is that you inherited this custom from your parents. We are creatures of habit. We do what we saw others do. I knew of a sister who cut the four edges off a pot roast every time she cooked one. One day her neighbor came to eat pot roast with her and commented on how delicious the roast was. She noticed that the four edges had been cut off the pot roast and asked why. The sister said it was what her mother did. She thought it made the pot roast taste better. Next time she saw her momma, she asked her about the why she cut the corners of the roast. Mother said, "Well baby, to tell you the truth, I don't really know why. I think it has something to do with the flavor, but I got it from my momma. Every time she would cook she would cut the corners off the pot roast. I think it makes the pot roast tender. I'm not sure, but when I go out in the country I'll ask your grandmother about it. And she did. Grandmother said, "Well baby, when you was at home, I had a pan that was too small to hold the pot roast. And for it to fit in the pot, I had to cut the corners off the roast for it to fit down in the pan properly." They had gone through three generations and nobody ever asked anybody why the corners were cut.
In our churches today, we have $2 members who put $2 in church because your momma put $2 in church. And the reason your momma put $2 dollars in church is because her mother put $2 in church. But if you ask momma she would tell you that what she made every day was $2. But you don't make no $2. None of us make only $2 a day. You give $2 out of habit because we are creatures of habit. But God said, "You have gone away from mine ordinance."
—365 Days in the Presence of God