A Balm in Gilead

courtesy bingSandy Kirby Quandt

There is a balm in Gilead, so the African-American slave song says.

Healing. Comfort. It soothes the weary soul. The words of the song are a mix of hope amidst despair, faith amidst great trial, and strength against all odds.

We might think of balm as a soothing ointment, and it is. A balm is also the healing God makes available to each of us. Just as medicinal ointment can reduce pain and heal wounds, so can God’s love.

As far back as I can remember my Aunt Ann used an ointment, Resinol, a balm if you will, on just about any skin condition you could imagine.

This stuff is the best. It has a funky smell I happened to like. Smells sort of like a campfire.

The uses for Resinol include protection for diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, burns; relief from pain and itching associated with minor skin irritations; insect bites, poison ivy, sunburn, minor burns. I’m sure I’ve left something out.

During the prophet Jeremiah’s time Jeremiah asked, rather rhetorically, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”

You see, Gilead was a mountainous area know for plants and herbs that could produce courtesy wikipediahealing balms. So of course there was balm in Gilead.

But the balm the people truly needed to turn their hearts away from their idolatry and wickedness comes only from God; a  balm they refused to seek.

I believe the same holds true for our world today.

God is the balm that can heal a sin-sick weary world. Not alcohol. Not wealth. Not power. Not fame or anything else we chase after and put before God.

No matter how deep our hurts, even the deepest wound can be healed when we apply God’s balm of love, grace, and power.

Aunt Ann told me about the benefits of Resinol when we visited her, but if the balm had not been applied to my wounds, I never would have experienced its healing. She sold me on the benefits of Resinol for life.

Can we say the same about selling others on the benefits of God’s healing balm?

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I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people? Jeremiah 8:21-22 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Jehovah-nissi

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Jehovah-nissi. The LORD is my Banner. Moses first declared this truth during the Israelite battle against Amalek in Exodus 17.

In this battle Moses stood at the top of a hill with the staff God used in Moses’ hand to perform miracles before Pharaoh. As long as Moses held the staff high in the air, Israel won, but whenever his arms grew weary and dropped to his side, the Israelites lost ground. (I wrote more detail about this battle and the importance of helping each other when we become weary here, if you are interested.)

Many times during the Israelites’ battles to possess the land of Canaan they were told to be strong and courageous. They were told not to become discouraged when the odds didn’t look to be in their favor. Because the LORD their God would go before them and fight the battle, they were told to stand firm.

Jehovah-nissi went before them. His banner protected them. Those under God’s banner found victory through him.

God is our Jehovah-nissi just as much today as he was when Moses stood on that hill with the staff of God in his hands. Our Banner goes before us and fights our battles. We can find protection and victory under God’s banner of love.

To claim that protection, however, we must rally beneath his Sovereignty and not go off on our own to fight the battles we face every day.

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 Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). Exodus 17:15 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Shields Up

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

There is a phrase from Star Trek which I’ve begun telling myself. No, not “Beam me up.” I’ve decided to say, “Shields up!” whenever I feel under attack.

Toxic people surrounding us? Shields up!

Improper thoughts? Shields up!

Frustrated plans? Shields up!

One too many disappointments? Shields up!

Unbearable work situation? Shields up!

Unfavorable doctor report? Shields up!

If man-made shields were good enough to protect the Starship USS Enterprise against the attacks of the Wrath of Khan, Romulans, and Klingons, then I am convinced nothing can stand against our much superior Shield of God.

Feeling under attack? Shields up, my friend.

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This God — how perfect are his deeds, how dependable his words! He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. 2 Samuel 22:31 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scripture — Hemmed In

Last year, (seems funny to say that!) I mentioned an organization, National WWII Museum, that sends handmade knitted, or crocheted scarves to American Veterans, which Sissy and I both donate scarves to. This year, 😉 I’d like to mention another organization that sends handmade knitted, or crocheted sweaters – these are SUPER simple – baby blankets, and newborn caps to children all over the world, through World Vision. If you knit, or crochet, please consider creating an item or two, for a child who would greatly benefit from your labor of love. Thanks!

 

Hemmed in. Surrounded. No way out. Visions of an army under siege. Seems kinda frightening. But it doesn’t have to.

Shift your perspective. Think of hemmed in, another way.

Secure. Safe. Protected.

That’s what we get with Jesus. Security. Safety. Protection.

He goes before us, and prepares the way. He goes behind us, and protects us from sneak attacks. He covers us with his loving hand. He shields us from harm. Nothing reaches us that doesn’t pass through his hands first. It is either permitted, or planned.

Feeling hemmed in by the world’s problems? Nestle into the comfort of the One who cares and protects.

You are all around me—in front and in back—and have put your hand on me. Psalm 139:5 NCV

I wish you well.

Sandy

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