Monday, October 9, 2017

Becoming the Balm of Gilead


The hills of Gilead. 

In case you don't remember, Gilead was a mountainous area that included Mount Nebo, located east of the Jordan River.

It was from one of those Gilead mountains (Nebo) that Moses viewed the Promised Land. He died and was buried by God there. Some people believe Jeremiah hid the Ark of the Covenant in a cave on Nebo.

The prophet Elijah was from Gilead.

In the Tyndale translation of the Bible, (KJV) there's reference to the "balm of Gilead." It was used for healing and thought to be made from a specific shrub that grew in the area. Jeremiah used the phrase to symbolize hope. 

In a way, the land of Gilead is a place of hope and healing, and it's one of the sweetest places I know. 

A few months ago, I had the great joy of visiting that beautiful area, and am still in awe of the people there. They were the most generous, hospitable, and welcoming of any group I've ever met. 

In a very real way, the people were the balm of Gilead to me.

My time there changed me in deep ways. I came home with a new appreciation for their culture and a desire to be as gracious and welcoming to visitors in our country as they were to me. 

We, the church, should be among those with the most hope to share, the most healing to offer, for we know the Great Physician. We should be the balm of healing and hope to those in need. 

If my experience is any indication, becoming balm begins by welcoming strangers, whether they are from another country or from our own. Stopping to listen. Opening our arms. Opening our hearts. Opening our lives. 

If we want to be balm for those who need it most, we must be willing to slow down and invite others into our lives, our faith, our hope, our healing. We who know the Healer must we willing to introduce Him to those in need.

Here's our challenge for today: Look for that one person in your path today in need of hope and healing and be the balm of Gilead for them today.

"Go up to Gilead and obtain balm..." Jeremiah 46:11 nasb
"Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 esv
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I'm headed back to that beautiful land tomorrow, and am eager to see the friends I made, to hear their stories, and breathe the air of Gilead.

My small group, the Sisters of Strength, are praying me through, just as they've done before. They've scheduled an alert on their phones at 12 noon daily to stop and pray. That's 8 pm where I'll be. My phone is already set. I hope you'll schedule a prayer-alert, too.

If you'd like to share in my experiences, you can join me for mostly-daily email updates. Please message me with your name and/or email address. I'll update as I have internet access. (I will not be able to share most stories on the blog for a variety of reasons.)

If you feel led to partner with me for the upcoming Middle East trip, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

You can also mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

Please like and share to extend our digital reach.

In case you missed it, here's the link to the most recent post: When Our Faith Rests on the Power of God