There Is A Balm In Gilead

A recent post by Rebekah Hope (rebekahhopes.wordpress.com) brought this great old hymn to mind, because not only do we need physical healing in this life, we also need spiritual healing. Jesus is the Great Physician, but how often do we go to Him with our deepest hurts?

There Is A Balm In Gilead

Refrain
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.

Some times I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.

If you can’t preach like Peter,
If you can’t pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.

God cares…
God cares about your broken marriage.

God cares about your grief over a loved-one who was struck down by cancer.

God care about your dysfunctional relationships.

God care about your friend who is suffering from chronic illness.

God cares about all of your hard questions, including those that start with “WHY?”.

God cares about your anxieties and insecurities.

God cares about your physical ailments.

God cares about your addictions and struggles with persistent sin.

Answers…
God doesn’t always give us the answers that we want, but He WILL give us the strength to carry on.

God doesn’t always heal our broken relationships, but He will give us the strength to work through our own emotional and psychological hurts and aches.

God won’t take our grief away, but He will wrap arms of love around us as we work through our grief.

God doesn’t always heal our physical ailments, or those of our loved-ones, but He will help us deal with them in a manner that makes us better people and trust Him more deeply.

God won’t take away your anxieties and insecurities, but He may send people into your path who can help you with your anxieties and insecurities. He may also give you the courage to own and face your anxieties and insecurities.

God may not take away your friend’s chronic illness, but He may send you to help that person get through those times of illness.

God may NOT Take away your addictions or release you from your persistent sins, but He will give you arms of love to flee to as you realize that those things are bigger than you are.

The Balm of Gilead…
Yes, there IS a Balm in Gilead, and that Balm is the blood of Christ. Some of our wounds ARE deep. Some of our struggles are over our heads, and we ARE powerless to release ourselves from sin, but none of those things are beyond the power of God through the blood of Christ. That is what GRACE is all about. God is able to do what we are powerless to do, to heal our sin-sick souls.

May you come to the Great Physician for His healing Balm of Gilead.

Steve

LGBTQ Issues

Many Christians are getting bent out of shape because non-heterosexuals are making big gains in rights in our society. I believe that Christians have the wrong emphasis. I believe that the Church has the wrong emphasis. God has given US, His children, a code of conduct which applies to how WE live our lives. He never gave us permission to sit in judgement on those outside the Church for not keeping His code of conduct, but God did say “Love your neighbor as yourself“, and that command DOES apply to US.

Jesus was often seen in the company of “sinners“. The Pharisee’s two biggest gripes about Jesus were that He associated with “sinners“, and that He didn’t meticulously keep their “rules“. Jesus met people in their places of need, not with condemnation, but with love and grace. The Incarnate Son of God, the eternal Word made flesh, chose to associate with the “scum of the earth“. What part of that do we not understand?

As I have read the Apostle Paul’s epistles to the various churches, most of which were in heathen cities, I was struck by the fact that, while he gave those believers a code of conduct, he never authorized them to go on a “clean-up campaign” in their neighborhoods. We also never read where Paul himself undertook a “clean-up campaign” in any of the cities he preached in and established churches in. Paul simply preached the Gospel, the Good News, and left the results up to God.

Paul did not denounce temple-prostitution, even though it was rampant in those heathen, idol-worshiping cultures. He simply told the believers that they were not to be part or party to it. Paul also didn’t denounce the pedo-homosexuality that was rampant in the Greek culture. He simply told the believers that they were not to be part or party to it. Paul also never told those believers to not go to the gymnasiums, which were centers both for fitness and learning, all of which was done nude. Paul also never told those believers that they could no longer go to the Roman bathhouses just because they would see other nude people and be seen nude themselves. Paul never pointed those believers down the road to prudery. Paul preached the Gospel, because that is what the Great Commission is all about. Paul didn’t try to “change” people, because that is God’s job, not his.

I have several friends who live with people they aren’t “married” to, but my job is to love them, not judge them. I have several friends who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or even try-sexual. If you aren’t familiar with what it means to be “try-sexual“, it simply means that a person will try anything sexual. My job is to love them, not judge them. I also have several friends who are polyamorous, which means that they have more than one intimate relationship. It is my job to love them, not judge them. If you think that I should disassociate myself from these people, you don’t understand either the Great Commission or God’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself“. I may be the only “Gospel” that these people will ever see if I love them and love them well. They might refuse any attempts to “evangelize” them, but nobody in their right mind will ever turn away love. God ALONE is the judge of all the earth, and He has NOT, nor is He hiring “associate judges“.

Rights…
Why are we still, as a nation, bickering about who should be “allowed” to have certain “rights“? The US of A was founded on the principle that “ALL men are created equal“, and yet we still have some classes of people who are more “equal” than others. We also have some classes of people who are less “equal” than others, and the latter includes LGBTQ people. The US of A is NOT a theocracy, even though our founding fathers were mostly Christians. Why did it take an act of Congress for women to get the “right” to vote? Why did it take an act of Congress for people of color to get the “right” to vote, and a host of other “rights“? Why do we still have ANY citizens who are denied equal rights under the law? The answer is that certain people still believe that they are more “equal” than others, and some of those “certain people” are Christians.

I have heard the tired old argument against same-sex marriage that “If we legalize same-sex marriage, we will be opening the door to legalized polygamy.“. What is so “bad“, so “wrong” about polygamy? Polygamy was practiced throughout the Old Testament, and Jesus, the Messiah’s “father“, King David was a polygamist. Prophesies foretold that the Messiah would “sit on the throne of His father David“, and Jesus was called “King David’s greater Son“. Sorry to pop your theological-bubble, but there is only ONE place in Scripture where monogamy is the “Gold-standard“, and that is for church officers, Elders and Deacons. So much for the vaunted “Traditions of the Elders…“.

The Church…
Would a same-sex couple be welcome in your church? How about a trans-sexual? How about a cross-dresser? How about a biker? How, and whether we accept these people, who are “different” than we are, is a matter of the heart, whether we have a heart that loves God above all else, and a heart that, in gratitude to God for the love that He has lavished on us, loves our neighbor as ourselves. I wouldn’t be welcome in many churches because I have a beard, and my hair is way more than “shoulder-length“. I am “different“, and in many churches “different is bad“.

Final thoughts…
You have the right to associate or not associate with people who are “different” than you, but you don’t have the right to NOT love people who are different than you. It is not coincidental that several of my recent posts have been about love. God has been working on me, and I can’t help passing on what I am learning about love to you, my beloved readers. How am I doing? Not good enough, because I flunked a test just last night, when I didn’t greet and warmly-welcome someone who seemed to be “different” to a group I belong to, a group where, in some ways, I am also “different“. I knew what I should do, but I didn’t do it, and in so doing, I failed to love them as I ought. I am still a work in progress.

I know that there are many Evangelical Christians who would take strong exception to what I believe, but that is between them and God. I have been there also, but God hasn’t allowed me to stay in that place. My wife and I lived in an RV park which was owned and managed by a same-sex couple, and there were several other same-sex couples in that park. I had to learn to love them, and to love them well. I am now in a meetup group which welcomes people from all sexual-orientations, sexual identities, and relationship statuses, including polyamorous. Oh, and there are a few atheists, Wiccans, and assorted and sundry other kinds of people. I believe that God has brought me into that “Samaria” to not only teach me some badly-needed lessons, but also to be salt and light in that diverse community. I am not a “closet-Christian” in that community, as anyone who reads my community profile can easily see, and it hasn’t gone un-noticed. Someone in the group asked me about it at a meetup just a few days ago. Am I being “salt and light” in that community? Only God knows for sure.

Are you “loving your neighbor as yourself“? Are you being “salt and light” in your community? I pray that you are.

God bless!
Steve