Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Balm of Gilead

I have been suffering from a severe sinus infection and congestion for the last 7-10 days. Not only have I been ill, but my children as well.

So, yesterday, with the invitation from a well-meaning friend, I went to an apothecary of sorts. A little herbal pharmacy. There were herbs and salves, teas, books, dried and ground plants of every type. Many of them I had seen before, some I had not. On one of the large glass jars that lined the walls was written, "The Balm of Gilead". Now there was a name I was surprised to find. One whose spiritual implications I recognized, but one that I didn't know truly existed in physical form!

I stopped. And read it again. The Balm of Gilead!

In my mind, I remembered what God's word says about The Balm of Gilead:

Jer 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

In the jar were little dried pods that looked a bit like hollow date pits. They were long and dark and brown. I marveled at them, their purpose, and inclusion amid so many other recognized healing agents. Among all the other glass jars, hundreds of them, in a clearly 'new age' store, was a picture of Christ.

I had ventured there in search for a cure, to learn a few things about natural medicinal remedies. But, a day later, I have learned something far more vital.

You see, my head remembered, but my heart had not. Distracted by the myriad of offerings, I returned the jar to the shelf and went on shopping. After making a few purchases, I left that store and went to another 'all natural' store to complete my collection of remedies. I even went to a third store when I had forgotten a few 'key' ingredients at my first two stops! I purchased teas, vials, oil, and various vitamins of all sorts. Thinking my healing could be bought from a store, I came home and promptly took each and every remedy.

You know what happened? I got worse.

My sickness increased, my throat became unbearably sore and rock hard, my sinuses swelled, my body began to ache. How, I wondered, can I take so many touted remedies and have an increase in illness? I was tired and defeated. Dry and weak, I went to bed and reflected on my experiences of the day.

I remembered seeing that large glass jar and its miraculous label. Then, I thought back to the Balm of Gilead, and who He really is. I realized that I never asked the Lord for His involvement and direction. I had recognized the miracle of there being a physical representation of His healing power on the shelf, but I didn't seek His face. I distractedly forgot my Lord and went on to buy whatever healing was for sale.

Repentant, and very sick, I cried out to the Lord. "Father, please forgive me for not coming first to You, my Jehovah-rapha, my Great Physician. Please forgive me for focusing on the healing power of what You have created, and failing to rely on the presence of my Creator to make it effective. Please heal my heart of its disease, and cleanse my body as well."

This morning I awoke a little healthier. I am still battling my physical illness, but I have gained a spiritual perspective.

You see, God provided something physical, something tangible and real, to teach me a very valuable lesson. It is the lesson of Asa, a king of Judah whose heart was not fully devoted to the Lord.

2Ch 16:12
And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians.
2Ch 16:13
So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.
2Ch 16:14
They buried him in his own tomb, which he had made for himself in the City of David; and they laid him in the bed which was filled with spices and various ingredients prepared in a mixture of ointments. They made a very great burning for him.

A mixture of ointments! How ironic. That which could not save his physical life is what accompanied his body in death. He never sought the Lord, but only what man could offer of His creation. He was buried with his folly. How effectively this scripture revealed the folly of my own life.

Now, don't get me wrong. I came home prepared to mix a special tincture for the remedy of my children's ear infections. It was the first time I had taken on the creation of such a concoction on my own and, interestingly enough, it also took overnight. :-)

I was reluctant, to be honest, to put forth the effort. But with the mid-night change of heart the Lord graciously gave me and seeing the product of adding certain healing agents together today, I have in a way become convinced in their effectiveness of being just that, an agent.

Natural remedies are simply things the Lord has created. We are among them, part of that same creation, our origin is God. No salve or herb can make our bodies last forever. Using natural remedies may increase the quality of our lives, but only one thing can guarantee true life, the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Only a true and vibrant relationship, one with a heart fully devoted to a worthy God, can bring wholeness and wellness. This spiritual truth applies physically because all creation testifies to His faithfulness and His desire to be known by us. Now I know why these natural sources of health are so effective. They were created by the Lord for our physical healing and wellness. They are just an example of how Jesus Christ lives to provide the Way, the Truth, and the Light for our eternal wholeness. God has provided for our spiritual wellness just as He has for our physical bodies. The only reason earthly remedies have any power at all is because they are what God made them to be, examples of God's desire for restoration. It is His will and power that creates or destroys. He alone brings illness or health.

Deu 32:39
'Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

It is He that I need to first approach when I am in need of healing or help. Graciously, He is teaching me this lesson and reminding me that He is always there to warm me, to bind my wounds. He desires such intimacy with us.

Psa 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Thank You Father, for your hand in my life today. Thank you for teaching me so gently and generously that I don't need to go searching for what can bought for relief or nor do I have to rely on self-provision. You are ready to do a great and mighty work in my life. Thank you for the healing knowledge of You, the true Balm of Gilead.

Psalm 103:
Praise for the Lord's Mercies
A Psalm of David.

less the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!


Friday, June 27, 2008

I Am Healed

"See my ouchie Momma?" Sam asked me, raising her foot up high in the air for me to see. She was sitting in her car seat examining her toes.

"Yes I do, Sam. It's all better. That's so good!" I said.

I couldn't really see it, but I had seen it the night before and knew that the large infected ant bite between her big toe and the next had sealed itself, shriveled and was ready to fall off. I had scratched at it and off it came. Beneath where the festered green swelling had been was fresh new pink skin and only a remnant of dead skin from where it had been attached while it was healing.

"Momma, is my ouchie all better?" Sam asked.

"Yes, baby. It's all gone." I said with a smile.

"Is it going to come back, Momma?" She asked.

Laughing a little at the innocence of the question, I replied, "No baby, once God heals an ouchie it's all done." But then I heard the answer in my heart as I spoke it and recognized the Spiritual truth that was being taught to both of us that moment.

"It can't come back, because it's all better." I added, as I recalled some freshly healed wounds that had been hidden deep in my past. How miraculously true that is, I thought. They are gone, aren't they?!

Yes, Lord. That is so true. Once that wounded flesh has been healed, sealed, cleansed, remade with all the illness removed, it is all better. A scar may remain, but that which is beneath it is whole. It has feeling and is pink with life. It is no longer harboring illness or dis-ease.

I am whole because You have healed me. Healed by my Jehovah-rapha, it is the Lord who heals. I have peace, given by God's grace. You are so good, God.

Jer 17:14
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

Thank you Lord, for Your miraculous healing. For showing us what you wish to do for our souls by that which You do through our bodies. You are amazing!

May I come running to bring all my ouchies to You!

Thank You Lord, and thank You for Sam, too. With all my heart.

Amen. :-)

Psa 41:4 I said, "LORD, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."

2Ch 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Isa 61:1 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Isa 57:19
"I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,"
Says the LORD,
"And I will heal him."

Mat 8:7 And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Go Where I Go

Jacob has been sick for the past few days. Being only 20 months, I afforded him the luxury of having Mommy carry him around and hold him while he felt poorly.

Meanwhile, my husband has the opportunity to find employment in England and in NY state. One sounds cool, the other, just cold.

These two circumstances converged on a sweet little lesson from the Lord two days ago.

I was carrying Jacob around, thinking about moving, and not wanting to move, and wondering what it would be like, and whether or not we'd have to sell our house, or even our car. Wondering if I wanted to, or if we were called to. In my distraction, I took to going where Jacob pointed, retrieve a car from here, go and get his juice there. A few minutes later, when I realized what time it was and what I needed to accomplish, I changed course and needless to say, took Jacob with me.

Well, he balked. He pointed in another direction, urging me to follow his desires. I realized I had been following his directions in an effort to be close to him, but now that things had to be done, I was required to be in command of where and when we went.

So, I boldly proclaimed to him, "Jacob, if you want me to carry you, you have to go where I go."

Ah... Yes, Lord. I heard it, too. And from my own lips!

If I want the Lord to carry me, I have to trust that He has bigger and better and far more important things that are in the works for me, than just what I want right now. He's preparing things for me, good things. I need to cling and trust. In fact, I wish Jacob would be a little more content with my presence and devotion in wanting him near me. Gratitude, that is something else I am sorely lacking.

So, Lord, I want to give You a heartfelt, "Thank You" and yes, please carry me where You want me to go.

I want to be where You are, always.

Deu 5:33 Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

Thank You Lord for carrying me and wanting to be near me. I am forever grateful. Teach me to walk in paths of righteousness for Your Name's sake.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Can you? or Would you?

Can you? or Would you?
These are two entirely different questions.

Sam often asks me,

"Mommy, can you make me some water?"

"Yes, of course I can Sam." I answer, " Would you like for me to?"

"Yes ma'am." She answers, nodding.

"Then," I say smiling, "you should ask like this:"

"Would you please give me some water, Momma?"

And then I hear my own Heavenly Father whispering those very words into my heart, too.

"You know I can. Ask me if I would, so that I can fulfill that request for you. If you only ask if I can, the answer will always be, "yes". But that's not really what you want to know, is it? Ask if I would, and the answer will always be given in love. "Yes" or "No" makes no difference. The answer is always love. Invite me in, my child, and see what I would do for you."

Such a simple difference. But is really is a matter of whether or not we invite Him, isn't it?

Lord, would You please watch over me and my family tonight. Please keep my husband safe and my children peaceful.

Thank You, Father.

It is my pleasure to give you thanks and praise. For as a parent of my own small children, I know just how wonderfully the gratitude of a little one warms a parent's heart.

Thank You.


Mat 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Mat 7:8

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Mat 7:9

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Mat 7:10

Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

Mat 7:11

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Psalm 20

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;

may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary

and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices

and accept your burnt offerings.


4 May he give you the desire of your heart

and make all your plans succeed.

5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious

and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

6 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;

he answers him from his holy heaven

with the saving power of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

8 They are brought to their knees and fall,

but we rise up and stand firm.

9 O Lord, save!

O King, answer us when we call!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Battle Cry of Praise

It starts with a whisper, or better yet, a whimper.

"Please, God. Hear me, Father. Where are You? Where am I, so far from You?"

Struggles, strife, upcoming events and things in our midst. Things that we can not conquer in our own strength. They urge us, require us, prompt us, toward battle.

I have found myself amid many a spiritual battle lately, both large and small in these past few months. What I have learned from the book of James teaches me how to deal with trials and difficulties. It also tells me why I am encountering them.

Jam 1:2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

Jam 1:3

because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Jam 1:4

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Nevertheless, knowing these things are only for my perfection and benefit and eternal good, I still needed to learn how to truly go into battle. How do I fight this fight?

Through a very challenging trial, I have learned that the battle, every battle, is the Lord's.

2Ch 20:15 He said, "Listen, King Jehoshaphat! Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.

So, how am I to fight? With Praise!

2Ch 20:21

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,

for his love endures forever.”

2Ch 20:22

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Driving in the dark with headphones on so as not to disturb my sleeping family, I was bleary when I took the wheel and started the CD. As I listened, my thoughts were on the upcoming battles that awaited me once we arrived at our destination. But looking back now, I realize I was in a battle at that very moment. A battle for my attention, for my affection, for my thoughts.

Near the end of the CD, as I was listening and being refreshed by the praise being sung, there came a prayer, a song, sung slowly and melodically.

Quite my mind, Lord, make me still before You.
Calm my restless heart, Lord make me more Like You.
Quiet my mind, Lord, fill me with your Spirit.
Calm my restless heart Lord, make me more like You.

Raise up my hands that are hanging down
Strengthen my feeble knees
May Your love and joy abound
and fill me with Your peace.

Fill me with Your peace.
Fill me, come and fill me.

As I sung this song silently in the dark, echoing what I know of Him: He is my redeemer, nothing else in this world can take His love from me; He is eternal and faithful and full of love and justice; He is love; nothing can snatch me out of His arms of love. As I remembered who He is, my heart and my hands, my face and my countenance were lifted. Lifted, filled with triumph and victory over all that I was dreading and fearing and loathing. My prayer went from desperation to battle cry! I went from heart down and broken, weary and worn, sick and sad, to uplifted and victorious in praise! He gave me wings as eagles and lifted me up above the storm. He makes the storm His pathways. The storms of life that make us cling to Jesus, our life raft! Praise God! May we cling! May we be shipwrecked at the Cross, with nothing else to hold on to save for God's mercy and redemption. Redemption not only for us, but for all people.

May we sing and praise Him. May we start with that most feeble of prayers, seeking and searching for the Lover of our souls and may we repeat it over and over, searching for Him desperately. He has promised that those who seek Him will find Him. Those who knock will have the door opened. May we start, even if it's ever so fretfully, to call to our Redeemer. It starts with a whisper, a whimper, a cry. It often starts in a place of defeat. Yet, as we draw closer and closer to Him who is our shelter and provider, we grow in strength and our prayer in intensity. It builds as we rise up and march toward the front line of battle, claiming victory in WHO our God is. It is the battle cry of Praise! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!

May we never fear approaching Him. May we run from the stragglers in the back up to the front lines where we are promised victory, where the battle is the Lords! And may we go into battle as Jehoshaphat did, with PRAISE! We have no need for anything but Who our God IS.

He is our Jehovah - nissi.
The Lord is my banner.
May we lift the battle cry of praise.

2Cr 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prayer and Praise


For the choir director: A psalm of David.

The heavens tell of the glory of God.
The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or a word;
their voice is silent in the skies; [fn1]
yet their message has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to all the world.

The sun lives in the heavens
where God placed it.
It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom
after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete
eager to run the race.
The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight to life.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to those who hear them;
there is great reward for those who obey them.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep me from deliberate sins!
Don't let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Great I AM

Last week, I was feeling terribly overwhelmed. Focusing on my inability, I questioned, how can I do all of these things I am supposed to do everyday? All the things I expect to accomplish are too much! And then there are the things the Lord calls me to do! Keep the house clean, train up my children, be sweet and kind constantly, be a Godly mother and wife, on and on I could go, but that's not the point. The point is, that I was feeling overwhelmed.

Then through a little experience with my daughter, at the height of my self-pity, the Lord spoke to me ever so kindly. This was about four days ago and I am still digesting the wisdom and truth of His message and marveling over His gentleness.

How can I do this? How can I do that? Help me! Help me... my heart cried.

Then from across the house, "Momma! I need help!" Sama cries.

She's standing at the top of the ladder of a set of bunk beds. Yelling from the other room, she calls again, "Mamma, help me!"

"Here I come, Sam." I say.
"Help me, Momma. I need help." She says, more emphatically.

Truly, she's sulking a little. She's scared. Looking down at the ground from the top of the bed near the ceiling, she waves her little leg around as if it's too short. She know she can't do it by herself, or at least she doesn't want to try. Just like me, I realize in hindsight.

Sometimes I wish my children weren't so needy. Momma do this, momma do that. I need help here, I need help there. Help me, Momma!

But, really, isn't that the way we are supposed to approach life? Dependently on God. We do need help. We are to cry to Him from the other room, expecting Him to respond.

I've learned something else about God's methods of teaching. He's always there, beside me. Ready to help. But sometimes He's insistent that I take those steps of faith myself.

"OK, Sam. Turn around. Good girl. Now, reach one foot down. Lower, good girl. You made it. Now, move your hands down a little and reach down with the other foot to the next rung."

"I can't Momma. I can't. I need help!" She reaches our for me to rescue her.

"I AM helping you, Sama. Now keep going. You're doing good."

I hear these words, they are meant for me, too.

I continue to encourage her without removing her from the ladder, "That's right, reach your foot down until you feel the step. Now put your weight on it. It will hold you. Good girl. That's right, move your hands down a little further. Good. Now, reach down with your other foot. Yes, there's the step. Good girl! You only have one step more. You're doing good! There, move your hands, this last step is the biggest."

"I can't do it!" she cries, with one step left.

Undeterred, I say, "You're almost there, Sama. Reach, further, down a little more. Good Girl! "

"I made it Momma! I did it!" She exclaims smiling brightly, brushing a tear away with the back of her hand.

"Yes, you did, my darling girl. You did it." Her victory is also mine.

The Lord, He gently whispers to my own heart the very words I have just proudly and lovingly proclaimed, "Yes, you can do it, too, my darling girl. One step at a time. I AM right here. I AM helping you along your path."

You see, He is taller than any ladder that I have to descend, ready to reach out and catch me at any time. He will be with me just as I was with Sam. He sees every step. He knows how far the drop is and that I can depend on that next rung. He wouldn't have me do it if He knew I couldn't do it. AND, I would never learn to climb those ladders, or trust Him, if He rescued me from every difficult or trying situation.

Everyday is another rung. Another plausible experience that I cry out to the Lord for help with. And, with each day, I am learning and He is leading.

Thank You, Father God, for teaching me so beautifully and gently. You are so wise and I am so grateful. May I parent as You do.


Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I AM God Almighty; serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.

Gen 28:13 At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, "I AM the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I will give it to you and your descendants.

Exd 3:7 Then the LORD told him, "You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I AM aware of their suffering.

Exd 3:14 God replied, "I AM THE ONE WHO ALWAYS IS.* Just tell them, `I AM has sent me to you.' "

Exd 6:7 I will make you my own special people, and I will be your God. And you will know that I AM the LORD your God who has rescued you from your slavery in Egypt.

Exd 20:2 "I AM the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt.

Mal 3:6 "I AM the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already completely destroyed.

Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I AM humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jhn 14:6 Jesus told him, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Rev 3:11 Look, I AM coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.

Rev 22:7 "Look, I AM coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the prophecy written in this scroll."