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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

January 20, 2019


I took my position in the bow of the boat. It was just enough small to land that label rather than ship. It was roomy and convenient for fishing. A couple of the men hoisted the sail and we settled back for a cold sail across the sea. The sun had already dipped behind the mountains, the afterglow in the winter sky created an orange wash on our faces as we pushed off from the western shore toward Behtsaida, nestled on the northern shore of Yam Kenneret.

I breathed deeply, filling my lungs with the fresh, chilled air of the sea region. I smelled…  ( Click for more )

January 13, 2019


Rain plinked on the roof, a soothing sound far outweighed by the splattering of rain in the puddles. The dampness soaked into my clothes and settled into my bones. The small blaze in the brazier finally gave up the fight against the cold and went out. I shivered.

Slipping the roped leather sandals from my feet, I tossed them to the corner of my bed and tucked my feet under me to warm them. I succeeded in chilling the only part of my body that had any warmth left. I brushed dirt from the thin sheet, my hand found a worn place and my broken nail caught a thread,…  ( Click for more )

January 6, 2019

The sun is warm on my face and it feels good to these old bones of mine. I listen, but the house is still. It is only me and Hara now. The children have homes and children of their own and my sweet husband has gone to rest in Abraham’s bosom. That other is gone, too, God bless her. Why Hara stays and takes care of this old woman, I do not know. God’s blessing, for sure, but why a young woman would care for an old woman when she should be caring for a husband is beyond the reach of my mind.

“Enjoying the sun, my dear ‘Em? Here is something cool…  ( Click for more )

December 30, 2018

Eleven years ago I posted in this column a series about the seven motivational spiritual gifts. I thought what better way to start the new year than to find out how better to serve our Lord and Savior? So that is how we'll begin this wonderful year 2019...

Only twenty percent of the Body of Christ actually functions as it should and the rest are spectators. Those eighty percent are missing out on God's great blessings. When we are smack in the middle of God's plan, His ministries, then we have the best opportunity to stand under the showers of blessings that are poured out…  ( Click for more )

December 23, 2018

We all know what Faith is. It is the certain knowledge of the things hoped for, evidence of the things not seen... *-----**-----**-----**-----* The light gradually grew brighter. I tossed the light covering aside and slipped on my robe. The cold stone felt refreshing to my feet only for a short while then the cold crept up my legs into my bones. Oh, it wasn’t the cold stones. It was despair. I had passed depression long ago. Despair gathered the corners of darkness and wrapped it around my whole being. Defeat tied the knots. One day had melted into another without…  ( Click for more )

December 16, 2018

In your living room or somewhere in your house there may be a green tree standing tall and draped with beautiful, tinkling jewels of light and gaiety. Today there is an ongoing argument whether it should be called a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree. Most Christians realize holiday is a derivative of holy day, therefore there is no real difference between the two if we get down to the brass tacks of the matter. In fact, if we want to be extremely technical, the expression “happy holidays” describes the season better than “Merry Christmas” because Satan…  ( Click for more )

December 9, 2018

Under the tree is bare except there might be a scrap or two of wrapping paper back in the corner. The toys are scattered about. The slippers are warming the feet and Dad's tie looks great with his new shirt. Leftovers still taste good and memories of another glorious family celebration are still fresh in our minds. I'm wondering if you've unwrapped every gift? Is there one that is drawing your attention? See it sparkling in the Christmas lights?

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who is the One saying to you, Give Me to drink, you…  ( Click for more )

December 2, 2018

[Story continued from here.]

Three days later, I screamed a scream of anguish and outrage. So loud and so long that the neighbors began banging on my door. My son, my little man, the last gift from my husband was dead at my side. Blue and cold… The world stood still and everything in it. No breath, no heart beat, no city sounds… everything was draped in a death pall. Anguish like no other washed through me, leaving a blackness akin to that of the Dragon’s Dungeons. The Angel of Death had visited my house and left my first born dead. What had I done? People…  ( Click for more )

November 25, 2018

Pain lanced through my back like a spear. Not that I had ever been lanced before, but I have seen it. I saw the look of surprise and then the anguish of pain on the man’s face; it was not pleasant. I have been hit in the lower back before and that was most excruciating. It was a bar brawl. I was waiting tables and serving the drunks because by then there wasn’t a sober mind in the place. But, the pain of that elbow jab into my back must have been the cousin to what it feels like to be speared. Now this pain was worse that than one. There were numerous spears within…  ( Click for more )

November 18, 2018

“Moses.” “Yes, LORD?” “I saw where it was written about you that you are the meekest man upon the whole of the face of the earth. Why did you write this about yourself? Isn’t that being a bit prideful?” “Well, Father, I would like to recall you to a certain time. Back to the time before the writing of these books of Law You gave us. Back to the time when You called me to a mission.” “Ah, yes. I remember that day very well. I sat upon a bush and caused it to burn. That was a great attention grabber.” “Yes,…  ( Click for more )

November 11, 2018


There was a man whose feet, I recall, were shod in thin leather sandals, his coat was well worn and his prayer shawl was beautiful in its simplicity. The tzit tzit on his shawl were short, unlike the priests prayers shawls with tassels that dragged behind them as they walked the street. His face was not handsome like those silly girls at home giggled over, but I have never seen a face so full of peace and kindness as this man’s face except the first time I saw it. That day, I thought no man could forget. It was almost the Passover. I hurried…  ( Click for more )

November 4, 2018

I was happily in the middle of breakfast when I heard that the Supreme Court had upheld Congress and President Bush’s aversion to the practice of partial-birth abortion.

There are rarely "no opinions" on the subject of abortion and it usually draws the proverbial line in the sand along with raising blood pressures.

However, this Supreme Court ruling is probably the most significant ruling since Roe v. Wade back in 1973. It is so unusual because for the first time in eons, the Congress, the President and the Supreme Court agree on a single issue: partial-birth…  ( Click for more )

Did God allow Job to be harmed past endurance? Did God share with Job that Satan was the one playing havoc in his life? Were any of us around when God laid the foundations of the world and when He hung the stars in place?

Well, if you answered "yes" to any of those questions, please email me, we need to talk.

No, God did not allow harm to Job beyond Job's endurance. Anyone else might have committed suicide. God knew the exactness of Job's strength, faith, will and mental health. God did not allow him to be pushed past a point of no return. God will do no less for…  ( Click for more )

October 21, 2018

Does anyone else think our world is addicted to lust and becoming allergic to God? (That's The Message's interpretation of 2Timothy 3:4,2 Peter 2:10).

It seems that Christianity is the only "religion" that it's okay to persecute. Jesus said that would happen, and it did to the Apostles, and it continued through to today. But perhaps some of it is Christians' fault. Now hear me out before you make a raspberry.

Jesus told us that the way the world would know Him was by how we love one another. The majority of true believers exhibit that love, kindness, gentleness,…  ( Click for more )

October 14, 2018

An irritated chirping sounded from the bushes behind me. Good, I thought. Better the birds should be uneasy in this hush before dawn. I had never heard the city so quite. My chest hurts from so much weeping. I think I have poured out all my tears and yet, more come. My body aches from so much lamentation.

I seek a more comfortable position on this hard rock I chose for my night’s repose… more like a vigil, though. The chill in the fibers of my being had little to do with the chill of the night, although, it truly is unusually cold this night, too. …  ( Click for more )

I never really liked going fishing with my Mom. Oh, I loved the fellowship with her, but she caught all the fish while I trailed my hook in the water and fed bait to the fish. One clear day in June, she had talked me into going fishing (her job) feeding the fish (my job). We were trolling along her favorite spot on Lake Bruin and something grabbed my hook. I was so startled I nearly lost my fishing rod. I pulled back then let out the line a little. It was a very strong fish. It headed out in front of the boat then turned back and shot under the boat. That maneuver broke the…  ( Click for more )

September 30, 2018

There is a time to rely on feelings and a time to ignore them. Someone said, I know there are times when I'm not saved because I don't feel saved. Pooh! John wrote the believers so that we could be assured of our salvation. There are several things that give us that assurance. 1 John 4 beginning at verse 13.

1. We don't just talk the walk but we walk the walk. We show love and compassion to our brothers and sisters. We act like a family.

2. We put action to compassion. We help those we see in need. Like James says we don't just pat them on the shoulder and say, "I'll…  ( Click for more )

September 23, 2018

Usually when "one of those passages" keep coming back to my mind, I have found that God is trying to teach me something very important. I have been thinking about the Free Will question. In order to understand Free Will, we need to study what happened in the Garden.

God created Man and he created Woman. He called His creation Good. This is important to completely understand because at first everything was pristine and good and without sin.

We don't know what kind of fruit the Tree of Knowledge had on it. Someone somewhere decided that it was an apple (shrug)…  ( Click for more )

September 16, 2018

Anna Nicole, Brittney Spears, Lindsey Lohan. Everybody knows them. They’re famous. One is dead and no one knew who the father was of that precious baby of hers until after she died. The other two were traveling a road that is fraught with pitfalls.

Where is their security? Brittney was raised in a Christian home, and at one time in her life knew what Christian living was like… at least that’s what she has said. Who knows about Lindsey? It is so sad what I see in their lives; the choices they have made,

Give a person a lot of money and loose any…  ( Click for more )

Not one R-rated movie has made a top ten gross since 1995.

According to, a movie statistics website, the movies taking top dollar gross from 1995 to 2007 are PG-13 movies with a whopping $48.55 billion (yes, that is with a B) made from 1,247 movies filmed since 1995. R-rated films come next with a cumalative $34.1 billion made on 2,321 movies. Next in line are PG movies with 638 films grossing $19.9 billion and finally 207 G-rated films grossing $6.35 billion.

Doing a little math, the R-rated movies grossed 30% less than the others, yet more of them were filmed.…  ( Click for more )

September 2, 2018

Ultimate Worship

It is fitting that we examine the ultimate worship in our little study of worship. Who on earth can worship God as He deserves to be worshipped? Only redeemed humans can, but this physical world puts a temporary blindfold on our eyes and other senses so that our worship falls short of God’s glory and worthiness of worship.

All failure to truly worship is rooted in a lack of seeing and understanding. Redeemed humans do have a greater understanding than the unredeemed do, but Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what…  ( Click for more )

August 26, 2018

Isn't it fascinating to think about the fact that all of nature will rejoice and praise God on the Day of Judgement. In fact, all of nature points directly to God Himself every day. We see it in a bloom. We hear it in bird song and trees clapping in the wind. We smell it after the first drops of rain hit the ground on a scorching day. We see it in a rainbow and the colors of a sunset. We see it in sun kissed clouds on a clear evening, and most especially a sparkling night sky, or moonlight drenched garden.

Mankind thinks much of himself.

God knows he is nothing more than grass…  ( Click for more )

Rosh Hashannah... Jewish new year... blowing of trumpets... The Gathering... makes me tingle all over.

When I lived in Baton Rouge, I had a delicious opportunity to go to a Messianic Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashannah (Feast of Trumpets). If you ever get a chance to celebrate this you are in for such a wonderful experience. I had never before heard the Shofar blow. The lights were dim and there was a hush as everyone found their seats. I looked at my friend with a, "Well, now what?" expression. There was a trembling excitement from the unknown and the known. The…  ( Click for more )

August 12, 2018

Sun beating down, heat rising up, sweat rolling down and still the man chipped away at the tall stone in front of him. With each pounding of the hammer, more stone pebbles spattered down the stone face adding to the already deep pile of sand and chips. Sand had gathered in the tiny wrinkles of his skin, and his sweat only partially washed the bits of grit away. For hours and hours, perhaps for days he worked on each stone. Words formed as the grit fell away.

יהוה קרא משׁה... ... YWHW called unto Moses …  ( Click for more )

Have you ever thought how God might talk to stiff-necked Christians? Have you ever thought about how we weary Him with our cries for help? We act like that servant who owed his master millions then when his debt was forgiven, he badgered all the other servants to pay him back the $10s and $20s. Do you think He might say something like this?

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…  ( Click for more )

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