The Preacher Says....  
  Just a Closer Walk with Thee  
  Paul tells us that the law of Moses was given to the children of Israel to make sin exceeding sinful; to remind them of imperfection; to make them realize they could not author their own salvation. But it had the opposite effect. They came to revel in the trappings of the law, observing its letter openly, to please themselves and other men. They forgot the spirit of that law which spoke of justice, mercy and faith. This case is comparable to the secular law of our own land where the end has not been well served. Men have tried to create a millenial utopia by law, inundating our society with laws, regulations, rules, orders, and ordinances thereby turning the nation into one of lawbreakers and benders of the law who try to fit square pegs into round holes in order to manipulate the outcome. The underlying morality, if it ever existed, has been overlooked. The complexity of it all leads to inherent unfairness. It has become like playing a game. The law has desensitized us. We are numb.

This moral morass has been reinforced by economic conditions in which we find ourselves. A panoply of pleasure awaits us out there, some innocent, some not so innocent: sports, books, plays, TV, travel, scuba diving, snowmobiles. You name it, weíve got it. Itís available to all precipitating a social condition we call "complex society". We say to ourselves that itís hard to know right from wrong these days; not quite wrong, not quite right; so many gray areas, no more black and white. We deceive ourselves, as we are so capable of doing. This complex society ought not to obscure simple truth. It has, however, because weíve allowed it to happen. But the fact is we have the mercy of God; we can hide in Jesus. Jesus never saw things in gray. Black was black, white was white. He who is not with me, is against me. This is pretty clear. Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad. You can tell a tree by its fruit. There is no mention of half and half trees. No doubt about what Jesus wants us to be in Matthew 5 (NEB): .

Blessed are those who know their need of God.

Blessed are the sorrowful.

Blessed are those of gentle spirit.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail.

Blessed are those who show mercy.

Blessed are those whose hearts are pure.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Blessed are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of right.

Paul also tells us what a Christian ought to be like. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the lower nature with its passions and desires. He encouraged deep roots and a firm foundation for strength to grasp with all Godís people the breadth, length, height and depth of the law of Christ. Know this law, so you will attain to the fulness of being that God requires. Paul continues in Romans, leave no claim outstanding against you, except that of mutual love. Pretty plain, isnít it? The crusher in Cor 15 is that there are some who know nothing of God; to your shame I speak it. How blind we are. .

How do we cure this color blindness, this inability to see anything but gray? If we are the salt of the earth, the salt has become tasteless. How do we become pure in heart? Donít look for a complicated answer; the answer is simple. Jesus tells us to learn from little children. Make them your example, not the reverse. Except you be converted and become as little children you shall not enter into the kingdom. Consider the well brought up child (not infant or late adolescent), age 8 to 18 perhaps. It is an age of innocence, without guile, trusting, free from cynicism. The good child?and most are? sees things in terms of what his parents want him to do. Everything is black and white; a thing is good if the parent thinks so. What greater pleasure does the parent have when his child, who wants so much to please, does so. This is the greatest pleasure, bar none. Apply this thought to your relationship with God. .

God is unknowable, as Job found out. We can only know Him by analogy, by giving Him human characteristics. He wants us to do this, or else why does He call Himself Our Father? Why did He send the man Jesus, who said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." It is no sacrilege for us to think that God is full of joy when we please Him. It is no sacrilege to say that His son, our brother, who will be our judge,, is proud of what his young sibling has done. .

Let us learn how to be obedient, to see our path more clearly, by learning from our children. We can also learn about Jesus from a song they sing: .

Put your hand in the hand.

Of the man who stilled the water, .

The man who calmed the sea. .

Take a look at yourself and.

You can look at others differently. .

Every time I look into the Holy Book.

I want to tremble; when I read about the part.

when the carpenter cleansed the temple. .

For the buyers and the sellers were no different.

From what I profess to be; .

And it causes me pain to know.

Iím not the man I should be. .

Another older song, a hymn, played largely by jazz bands, the title of which may help us to see clearly what we ought to be striving for: Just A Closer Walk With Thee. A pretty phrase, isnít it? Is that all it is? .

Blessed Jesus, hear our plea