Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

A Window Into The Soul

by Tim Hall
Is there a way we can see a person’s soul?
In reading reviews others had written about a product I was thinking of buying, I was abruptly stopped by one review. In discussing what he did and didn’t like about the product, the man mentioned that he uses a wheelchair. For some reason that surprised me. Why?
There are many differences that separate us all. Some are visual: skin color, clothing, physical shape, hair color, etc. When we see these, we immediately draw inferences about others, though they can be quite misleading. Other differences are detected by voice alone: the language spoken, the tone of voice, dialect and vocabulary. Again, hearing these cues – even if we don’t see the person – leads to inferences (read, stereotypes).
The written word strips away most of the differences that separate us. Until they reveal such, we don’t know anything about the writer’s race, age, gender, personal tastes or values. In a sense, we see the sameness of our souls when we read one another’s writings. Words may be the closest we can come to a common denominator between people.
There was one who excelled at looking beyond the differences between people. Jesus of Nazareth was not intimidated by the outward marks that tend to drive people apart. He reached out to women (John 4:7-26), people with “unclean” diseases (Luke 5:12-14), those whose reputation had been tarnished (Luke 5:27-32), or the rich and powerful (John 3:1-21). Traits and cues that cause us to think twice about reaching out to others seemed not to have that effect at all on Jesus.
Jesus’ way of viewing others should become our way. When asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus went further and also noted the second greatest: “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:39, NKJV). At the heart of that command is this principle: People are really not as different from one another as we often think. When we look beyond the externals we see that we’re all made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
Is it coincidental that Jesus was referred to by John as “the word” (John 1:1-14)? Instead of envisioning him as a Jew, a humble carpenter, an associate of sinners or of the gender of a man, we see him at his ultimate when we regard Jesus as the word. He is the finest communication of what God wants each of us to become.
By focusing on the words, we gain access to a window into the souls of others. By looking to “the word” (Jesus), we have a window into the greatness of what souls can become.

Hope Springs Eternal

by Tim Hall
Christ abundantly supplies that which our souls need most.
waterflow.JPGSpring was a special time for students of Chad Elementary School. Like a scene from “The Waltons”, the students of that three-room school in Eastern Kentucky rushed out the door each day for recess. Spring was a time to cast off those bulky coats and run in the sun-warmed air. We would find on these days new rivulets of water on our playground. Underground springs had swelled to the point that they had to find outlets.
Those springs didn’t last long. As spring gave way to summer, the ground became dry once more. Other places in the mountains boasted year-round springs. At any time you could find water flowing from within the earth.
God has the ability to create springs where formerly there were none. How well we remember the famous incident in the desert when Moses struck a rock with his rod. There was no water to be found moments earlier, but at God’s direction gushing streams issued forth to satisfy that multitude of people and their animals (Exodus 17:1-7).
God’s ability to refresh his people has not diminished through the ages. He made this promise in Isaiah: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert … to give drink to my people, my chosen” (Isaiah 43:19,20, NKJV).
The promise in Isaiah was not meant to be interpreted literally, though God had shown his ability to bring forth water from a rock. Israel needed spiritual refreshment, water to assuage their souls. God was the source of that blessing, too. His springs would faithfully satisfy their needs.
Jesus renewed once more the offer of water for the soul: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37,38). Not a trickle does Jesus offer thirsty disciples, nor even a mere sprinkling, but rivers. There is abundant refreshment for those who come to the Lord.
“Hope springs eternal” wrote Alexander Pope in the 18th century. The source of that stream, however, began centuries before Pope. Only in Christ do we find that which our souls need most.

The Day Of Love

by Tim Hall
How can others be convinced that love is genuine?
valheart1.jpgHis love for her was greater than words can express. Words had been used, but people are prone to view them as only words. So what could he do to prove beyond doubt that he loved her?
Preparations for the day of love began well in advance. Decades earlier the tree had been planted that would provide the crossbeams. Thousands of years earlier iron ore was buried deep in the earth, providing the material for the nails. 33 years earlier a fetus was conceived in the womb of a virgin that would bring to the world a different way to live.
Then the appointed day arrived. Jesus was not ambushed. It didn’t come as a total surprise. Before taking on his body of flesh he knew what would be demanded of him. One writer described the bittersweet journey to Calvary: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV).
How could anyone view their execution with joy? Only those who know their death is the means of rescuing the one they love can experience such feelings. Jesus had spoken of his love for his church just days before: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
This awesome love is a feeling shared by all in the Godhead: “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Many great events fill the headlines of the world’s newspapers, but only one event makes headlines in heaven – the retrieval of the lost sheep (Luke 15:7). Why else would the shepherd leave 99 sheep in the fold to find one that had gone astray?
On February 14, men around the world scramble to find just the right gift to prove their love to the special women in their lives. But none has ever given as deeply as Jesus: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
Is Valentine’s Day the day of love? Or is it only a faint shadow of that day millennia ago when the Son of God gave his life for you and me?

Connecting The Broken Link

by Tim Hall
Is it possible for us to communicate with God?
telephoneart.gifTelephone calls are a regular part of the work day. Without thinking I pick up the ringing phone, and communication begins almost instantly. It matters not whether the person on the other end of the line is next door or across the continent. Our voices are conveyed as speedily as if we were face to face.
A recent call, however, was markedly different. I never heard the voice of the person who initiated the call. She is deaf, I learned through the operator who facilitated the call. Though she might be able to produce intelligible sounds, she would not be able to hear my reply. To make her call possible she relied on a mediator. The link that was broken by her inability to hear was reconnected by the operator.
Job wasn’t deaf, but he felt disconnected from God. For years he had served his Lord faithfully, but trials were now about to crush him. Making matters worse was what seemed to be a breakdown in communication. Here is how Job described his feelings: “For [God] is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both” (Job 9:32,33, NKJV). What does one do when he can’t communicate with the only source of help available?
We know the feeling. We’ve brought it upon ourselves by our own stubbornness and rebellion against God’s will. Isaiah stated the case clearly: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1,2).
We broke our link with God. Though we cry out to him for help, he will not hear us because of those sins on our accounts. Are we doomed forever, without any hope of reconnection?
Paul responded to Job’s despair over having no mediator: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). That is certainly the best news the world has ever heard.
In our sinful condition we could not approach God directly to ask for his mercy and help. Through Jesus, our mediator, we have that opportunity. Just as the operator enabled the deaf woman to communicate with me, so Jesus enables us to approach God. And don’t miss Paul’s main point in that statement: there is only one mediator between God and men.
How we need Jesus! A person who awakens to find their house on fire depends on a live telephone connection to call for the help needed. Those who find their souls in jeopardy from sin depend on the living connection Jesus established. May we do all we can to maintain that connection with our Lord!