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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

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 )

Proposition 26 – When does life begin?

The Mississippi Supreme Court decided in favor of letting the people decide to give the unborn the same rights as the newborn. Since truly the right to decide that is in God's hands, perhaps the people of Mississippi will pray for God's hand in this decision. Regardless, it is momentous at worst, and Roe v. Wade shattering at best.

God created life. He gives life. Then who are we to take the life of the unborn? Extraordinary that the Supreme Court also decided that when it upheld the law passed by the 107th Congress during the…  ( Click for more )

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 Such simple words and yet they hold all the comfort of a snuggly quilt and a warm, cozy fire complete with hot cocoa and a purring cat on the lap. God's asks a lot of us. We can't see Him. We can't touch Him. Why should we believe Him, trust Him, have faith in Him? Because He said so. If that isn't enough, then there is plenty of evidence that He is real, that He does exactly what He says He'll do,…  ( Click for more )

March 19, 2023

… can you tell if it was intentional or if it was in reaction to something or someone other than you? How often do husbands and wives react to a situation and the spouse suddenly takes it personally, as if the attack was staged and waged purposely to inflict as much pain as possible? Relationships of all kinds suffer from thoughtless reactions to situations, or tactless words.

Do you snap back without even thinking it through? I've done it plenty of times and to my dear sweet mother, too! There has been a recurring theme to my columns dealing with forgiveness because…  ( Click for more )

Ever wonder why the wicked seem to prosper so well while we struggle with all kinds of things?

I did.

Jeremiah did, too, he writes 12:1 Righteous are You, O LORD, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? It is a terrible question. Can you imagine what it would be like to have God far from your reins? We don't have to look very far to see examples of what happens when authority and restraint are far from our reins.

A more explicit example is found…  ( Click for more )

March 5, 2023

We are saturated with the adages, “You can’t help who you love,” and “Love blossoms in strange places,” but I rarely hear the truth about love. Satan has built a huge cult about infatuation and lust calling it true love, yet he has no notion what true love is so how can he define it?

Why do we listen to his lies about it? Simply because he tells us what we want to hear, and we rarely look past that searching for truth because the truth is, love is a lot of work. Paul does an excellent job of analyzing love in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love…  ( Click for more )

February 26, 2023

The fact that all sin had to be paid for in order for it to be finished as Jesus stated on the cross comes from several different places. One is in Leviticus 16 in the Law for Atonement. Aaron was to take two he-goats, one was for sacrifice, the other for confession. He would present a visual to all Israel of the complete removal of those sins, the goat was led away from the Israelites into the wilderness.

What happened to the goat didn’t matter, the purpose was to show the complete efficacy of the removal of sins. Of course laying on hands, confessing the sins of…  ( Click for more )

February 19, 2023

I believe 1 Corinthians 13 is the Christian Plumbline. It is a description of agape kind of love which only comes from the Father and is gifted to us as we become more and more full of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this kind of love can only be exhibited through God. Why would it be necessary for anyone to warn believers about unbelievers? Why would it be necessary to warn believers about themselves? It shouldn't, but God certainly felt compelled to do so; and He preserved those warnings in His love letter to us. Peter had trouble with the agape kind of love and that is true…  ( Click for more )

February 12, 2023

Job 11:12 For an empty-headed man will be wise, When a wild donkey's colt is born a man.

Solomon had a lot to say about wives such as living with a contentious woman is like the constant dripping of rain (he should know he had 300 of them and 700 concubines). His wisdom along with some old Hebrew adages are laid out in simple text in Proverbs. He spoke directly to his son about being wise in the world, with others, in business, and many situations. Some particularly seem to resonate with marriage wisdom from a woman’s point of view.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will…  ( Click for more )

February 5, 2023

Anyone that has had to give a cat a pill or drops or any kind of medicine has had all kinds of trouble making the creature understand that Medicine is Good, being sick is Bad, and Medicine will cure the Sick Kitty. Cats just don't get it. If you really want to know what works, watch this video. However, it is NOT as easy as the video makes it look. We cannot take our cat to the vet without a huge ruckus. People who are stopped at the red lights next to us crane their necks, positive that we are some how abusing children in the back seat. Our cat can be heard over the boom-ba-boom…  ( Click for more )

January 29, 2023

We hear this term bandied about like so much confetti. The fact is, there is no real definition of it. In general terms, the United States began as a social justice government stated in our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…

Although, the term first appeared in The Federalist Papers and, here's a cougher, in The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbons, I had an opinion that Social justice was just an oxymoron…  ( Click for more )

Jesus saved the best for last. This eighth sign John notes for us is found in John 21. One would think this was the least of the signs after seeing Jesus turn water into wine, heal the sick and the lame, feed 5,000 people with no more than two fish and five loaves of bread, walk on water, heal a man blind from birth, and raise a man from the decaying dead.

This sign is one of assurance. Jesus was showing His disciples the importance of obedience. “I write these things, little children, that you may be assured of your hope,” John wrote much later because he recognized…  ( Click for more )

In chapter eleven of John, we see the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Herein lies the seventh sign of Jesus’ authority and prophesy fulfilled.

Martha, Martha… How I can so identify with her. Not that I worry so much anymore, or that I have a dust-free, immaculately kept home, or worry about what to feed a group of people when they drop in; I do not. I figure if someone drops in, they can jolly well have what I’m having. She knew Jesus could have prevented the death of Lazarus. She doesn’t exactly chide Jesus for not coming sooner, but in…  ( Click for more )

On Monday, July 4, it will be the 235th anniversary of thousands of lives given in sacrifice to a young America just so we have the privilege of pledging our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

Shame on anyone in the United States who has lost that patriotic spark when the fireworks go off, the lump in the throat when we sing "Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o're the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?…  ( Click for more )

John 9:1-41 – Jesus heals a blind man from birth

John does an intriguing thing with this story when he includes the Pharisees interrogation of the healed blind man. How extraordinary John draws a distinct line between faith in action and willful unbelief.

Jesus spits and makes mud from the clay then spreads it over the man’s eyes – In the beginning God spoke and many things happened over a six day period. The one thing God created using His hands was human. God personally drew minerals, salt, and water from the earth creating Adam, then drew a rib from…  ( Click for more )

This is the fifth of the eight signs. In John 6:15-21 we read how the people who were fed supernaturally with food from Jesus’ hand wanted to forcefully make him king over all. Jesus was appalled about it and secluded Himself to pray; and immediately (Matthew 14:22) when evening came (John 6:16) He urged the disciples to cross the lake to Bethsaida (Mark6:45). In the fourth watch, while storm winds churned up the waves, Jesus walked on the water to the boat in the middle of the sea. When Peter and He had sat down in the boat, immediately the wind ceased and the sea calmed.…  ( Click for more )

Jesus is the Bread of Life – John 6:1-14; 26-40 – Jesus feeds the 5,000. The crowd was not so amazed at this feat because Jesus was never loud in performing His miracles. Unlike many sorcerers of the day, Jesus was unobtrusive in a lot of the miracles He performed. However, certain followers of Jesus were astounded and said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world,” meaning the Messiah. Jesus explains in verses 26-27 what the miracle of the feeding actually meant. He vocally pointed out the crowd wasn’t seeking Him out because they…  ( Click for more )

There are a lot more, of course, but John depicts eight which John MacArthur points out. Studying each of these will give a broad view of Jesus’ authority. John used the word signs to indicate significant displays of divine power which drew, through the eyes of faith, direct attention to deeper divine realities. Each act was a physical event which depicted a deep spiritual truth. We find the all through scripture.

In John 2:1-12— Jesus is the source of life – Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Mark Lowery said, “You gotta love a…  ( Click for more )

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