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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Introduction In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he admonishes and corrects these new Christians not because he wanted them to accomplish more good works, but because he deeply desired that they be more than just good works. Brad House reflects on this theme in his book on how Christians in small groups can be more than just Christians in ordinary small groups meeting the needs of others. He states in the introduction to the book, “I want to bring together theology and ministry philosophy with practical application and strategy that is worked out with effectiveness”…  ( Click for more )

September 17, 2023

In Romans 11:25, Paul says Israel has been blinded in part until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. However, it isn’t only the Jews that have been partially blinded. In Ephesians 4:18, Paul tells us that Gentiles have suffered the same fate. God deliberately blinds some people to the truth of His Son? How can that be? It seems so intrinsically wrong, and against the character of the Sunday school God we have all learned about. That Being who is warm and fuzzy, who is loving and forgiving of the most vile sin. It is in the Bible, so it must be true and must be…  ( Click for more )

September 10, 2023

... so where is man's doing in any of it? We do not give our blood to defend ourselves from the wrath of God. It is Jesus who has purchased us, who has done all the work, who has left no loopholes or leaky excuses. However, from the Father’s viewpoint, He did give up His most precious Son to willingly remit His Son's blood for our sins.

All we are responsible for is to answer His call to seek His face. The proof of this statement is in John 3:19-21; and we are either walking in darkness or walking in the Light. Since God is doing all the work, why do we backslide? Why…  ( Click for more )

September 3, 2023

Why does God test our hearts? Why does Jesus look into our hearts (Revelation 2:23) God knows already what will happen; and who will love Him and who will hate Him. What purpose does it serve?

God so loved the peoples of this world, all of them...past, present and future. John 3:17 He sent His Son so all the peoples of this world might be saved: making His sacrifice available to all of them. John 3:18 Those people who believe are not condemned and those who do not believe are condemned already.

Take a look at that verse for a moment: Already condemned before…  ( Click for more )

...separated to the gospel of God, Romans 1:2 which He promised before through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son who came of the seed of David according to flesh, 4 who was marked out the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord;

Separated to the good message of God. Aphorizō (af-or-id'-zo) meaning to set off by boundary, also exclude, divide, appoint, sever... When I look at this I see a goodly portion of Paul's teaching summed up in this one word. The Divine message…  ( Click for more )

August 20, 2023

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God

I have heard many arguments against Paul being a true apostle of God, although not so many of late. I'm thinking that Paul was not thinking about his old name Saul which has a connotation of being called for. I believe that Paul was a true blue Apostle with a capital letter A. Although, Paul had to defend himself and the title because, it seems that many in his day refuted his claim to the title else why would he write, 1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have…  ( Click for more )

August 13, 2023

Anyone ever notice that Paul's sentences go on and on forever but they make such great sense?

Romans 1:1 Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God,

What a sermon in these three phrases, eh?

A slave of Jesus… I have often thought that being a slave was a bad thing. Then after studying this for a long while, I realize just how much freedom there is in being a bond servant to Christ. We have the freedom to choose the exact path that He lights up with His word which is also a lamp for the feet.

I know you are far too…  ( Click for more )

August 6, 2023

Would you consider the story of Hosea and Gomer a romance? What if you read it from Gomer’s point of view? Was Hosea truly in love or was he just following God’s command?

I have heard it preached from the pulpit. I have experienced the prejudice first hand. I have seen the devastating disappointment incurred by the mistaken belief that divorce is a sin. It is not a sin. What caused the divorce is the sin. Yes, God hates divorce; and from the very beginning it was not ever a godly solution to human problems. However, God exposes the sin which is good cause for divorce…  ( Click for more )

I have been studying something for months now because I see a trend that is frightening. The hours spent viewing several different programs where teams are in hot pursuit of paranormal activities from the netherworld have been heartbreaking. These teams are in earnest, yet have enormous nerve in that they taunt the entities of whom they are hoping to get physical evidence that paranormal entities exist.

They do exist. They are not ghosts as in human souls, but are spirits as in either angels or demons.

The commonalities of paranormal experiences within these shows are: …  ( Click for more )

July 23, 2023

There is a saying in Latin Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo - If I cannot move heaven, I will solicit hell. A lot of Christians would say, “I’d never!” But then turn around and do that very thing through a plethora of seemingly minor things which result in major consequences. If you’ve lived long enough to know right from wrong and to understand the meaning of the word no, then you’ve experienced this.

We’ve been following Balaam for the past few weeks uncovering some unsavory things about the man, and a lot about human nature.…  ( Click for more )

Both Balaam and Balak sought to bribe God with sacrifices, little understanding that God knows the heart of each person. In Numbers 23 we see the saddest effort to coerce God into rejecting His Chosen People and to go back on His every word. How idiotic that sounds, yet how often we do the same thing when we bend His principles, or when we try to justify our actions reasoning it is for the “greater” good that we did not specifically and immediately obey His will. We bargain with Him when trials overtake us saying, “God if You’ll just ___________, I will…  ( Click for more )

July 9, 2023

This Sunday, Southern Baptists focus on the Sanctity of Life with the focus usually on how abortion is murder. For the longest time I believed the poppycock that unborn babies were just parasites until I was teaching a Sunday school lesson on this theme. I realized how wrong I was. Then came time for me to kill a snake, and I just crumpled inside when I took its life. Killing roaches doesn't make me crumple, but I do cringe. Taking life from something that God has blessed with life just makes me raw inside.

Two years ago, almost to the day, a father of four children, (four…  ( Click for more )

Jesus told the Pharisees that men will have to answer for every idle word that passes their lips in Matthew 12:36. In context these religious leaders had just accused the Son of God of doing the devil's work. Jesus warned them that everything will be forgiven mankind except the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. I have often heard young people express fear of mentioning the Holy Spirit for fear of committing this unforgivable sin. Personally, I do not believe that a person who is a true believer could ever commit this sin because our hearts are indwelled by the Holy Spirit; and according…  ( Click for more )

June 25, 2023

The profiteering prophet

We know there are spiritual forces that we cannot see. They are both good and bad. Paul speaks of these things in his letter to the Ephesians, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (6:12). In this we see the hierarchy of the spiritual world from princes of kingdoms such as the one of Persia who fought against Gabriel who had the help of the Prince of Israel, Michael, (Daniel 10)…  ( Click for more )

June 18, 2023

Editor's Note: This story has no author that I can find. If you know who wrote it, please email me the author's name. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection.

Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of their family estate. The widowed elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s…  ( Click for more )

June 11, 2023

The Hebrew propensity for character analysis through a person's name is indicated by God when He changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah. Joshua's name was originally Hosea before Moses laid hands on him and changed it to Joshua. When we study the lineage of Jesus closely in both Matthew and in Luke we see there are four women mentioned -- Rahab, Tamar, Bathsheba, and Ruth.

For the Hebrews, the listing of lineage was almost like telling a story, but also the lineage reveals God's promise. I think God revealed Himself as much as He trusted mankind to know... a little…  ( Click for more )

One night a man lay sleeping peacefully and hopefully, settled in how his life would unfold. Nothing spectacular, mostly ordinary with a future of creating things with his hands. It would be a good living, maybe not rich, but good, with his young wife by his side.

One night that man lay awake tossing and turning, and the future looked so bleak. He had been betrayed. He was shamed. Life would not be so good. His life had suddenly shattered around him like over-fired pottery. His wife was found to be with child. She was his betrothed, and the official ceremony had not actually taken…  ( Click for more )

May 28, 2023

Vigor, to be firm, might, power, strength, wealth—this is what the Hebrew word kôach means. This is just one facet of our God.  

Psalm 5:11 But let all who put their trust in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever, because You cover them. And let those who love Your name be joyful in You.  

Romans 15:13  And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, for you to abound in hope, in power of the Holy Spirit.

What greater power is there in the universe?  Genesis 1:2-3 the Spirit of God was moving gently over the face of the…  ( Click for more )

Why does He love us so? We have so much to be thankful for and the question is are we? Will we sit at our tables next Thursday and contemplate what we have to be most thankful about? Remember when love first blossomed in your heart?

What about now? Is it Saturday Night Fever or is it Monday Night Football? Is it The Sound of Music or The Sound of Silence? Is it $60 a dozen or $1.50 a stem including thorns? Ideal or Idle? Which of these best describes your fellowship with your First Love, our LORD Jesus?

Those questions come from one of my very favorite devotions coming…  ( Click for more )

I was researching a story when I ran across something surprising, actually staggering. Al Jazeera posted a blog by Paul Rosenberg early September 6,2011 concerning Dominionism. I had never heard the term so I dug a little deeper. It seems this was defined by Pat Robertson in a speech given in 1984. He said,

"What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours - I'm talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television,…  ( Click for more )

The Apostle John lived in perilous times. He sometimes spoke in a kind of code so that his letters would not be redacted or even destroyed because of the tremendous persecution prevalent against Christians of the time. However, we can take what he wrote at face value, and we have a rich and beautiful assurance of God’s love and devotion to His beloved children. That assurance is evident throughout his first letter, in fact he tells us that is why he is writing, so that we may be assured of the Truth, specifically that our “joy may be full.”

His warnings…  ( Click for more )

What? Oh you want something from Me? Let me guess. You want me to heal you, or is it you want Me to take away your pain. Ah... you always pray to Me but your prayers are like the bleating of plugged trumpets letting Me know you are in trouble of some kind as if I don't know it already. Heigh-ho, it's always something.

Your troubles are not special and are most common to mankind. I look down at you and I don't see you doing anything that I've taught you to do. You fast, but you fight with your brothers and sisters. You run your workforce into the ground, and they lay there…  ( Click for more )

April 23, 2023

It feels like forever. The constant waiting and waiting. When, Lord? When will You go to my defense? When will You fix this problem? When will I see daylight? When will I feel normal again? When will I be able to look up from this problem and focus on others again? When will You release me from this prayer vigil? When can I stop and rest? That's just it. We must rest or we burn out. God knows just how long we need because it was He that issued the 6 day work week and the 1Day of Rest. Only that day of rest is supposed to be competely devoted to God and the worship of Him. Huh?…  ( Click for more )

April 16, 2023

At the risk of repeating myself somewhere else in this work, there are several verses in Scripture taken in context that indicate Praying in the Spirit is much more than speaking in strange tongues. (Praying in strange tongues can also be done silently--but for what purpose if there is no understanding?)

First verse is when Jesus is in the Garden and He says in Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus is teaching here not only about the current situation but also about…  ( Click for more )

April 9, 2023

Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head.[i]

The horse’s snorting breath mirrored the man’s angry mutterings. Saul of Tarsus was on a crusade to stamp out the heretics. He had put many in jail, many had died there and many had been taken to Rome for sport; and he had vowed with God’s help he would hound many more before he was done. He would this day arrive in Damascus and present his letter of authority to root out those witless jackanapes who believed that balderdash spread by that man named Jesus. The man huffed and hawed while…  ( Click for more )

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