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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

1"Shout! A full-throated shout!

Hold nothing back--a trumpet-blast shout!

Tell my people what's wrong with their lives,

face my family Jacob with their sins!

2They're busy, busy, busy at worship,

and love studying all about me.

To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people--

law-abiding, God-honoring.

They ask me, "What's the right thing to do?'

and love having me on their side.

3But they also complain,

"Why do we fast and you don't look our way?

…  ( Click for more )

January 5, 2020

A trip to the store on Wednesday had me reaching for a blindfold. What are women thinking? I saw lots of belly fat through thin T-shirts. I saw lots of chest skin and held my breath hoping against hope that a woman’s breasts would not fall out of her shirt when she bent over to unload her basket. Why do women think this is pretty? Why do young girls cheapen themselves by wearing next to nothing?

Why aren’t mothers telling their daughters, "You can’t wear that, it makes you look cheap," which is what my mom said more than once as I was bouncing…  ( Click for more )

December 29, 2019

What is the one thing that usually gets us in trouble? James says it can light a fire. James 3:5 So also the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how little a fire kindles how large a forest! I used to have a plaque that had an "Elroy-was-here" face on it. If you are too young to remember that, back during WWII, you could find this hand drawn icon in a lot of different places. It was a straight line with a huge nose draped over it and large round eyes and hands on each side of the nose gripping the fence. My plaque read, "Lord, help me to keep…  ( Click for more )

December 22, 2019

Motivational Spiritual Gifts and how Jesus illustrates them

As a Server He worked with His hands as a carpenter, He washed His disciples feet and said the greatest is the servant. He exhibited a great amount of energy in his 3.5 year ministry. How He kept going is an amazing feat. If you'd like the Biblical references for these, email me and I'll send them to you. As a Teacher He continuously taught as He went. The crowds would gather, He would sit and teach. He taught at synogogues and on the hill sides in boats and as He walked along. He fulfilled the Law. He taught Truth…  ( Click for more )

December 15, 2019

Practical Applications The epitome of practical application of Spiritual Gifts is Jesus. He had them all in equal measure and applied them perfectly. We only need to read one of the Gospels to find Jesus illustrating them all. Since we are not Jesus, and since God promised us a prominence in one gift for the edification of the church body as well as for our own motivations, we have a huge range of applications to discover. You have probably already thought of various applications for your gift as well as the gift of others in your church. If you are on a personnel committe or a…  ( Click for more )

December 8, 2019

Attributes of the Gift of Mercy Greek word – Eleeo (el-eh-eh'-o) -- to have mercy on to help one afflicted or seeking aid to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched to experience mercy kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one's self merciful of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ the mercy of Christ, whereby at his return to judgment he will bless true…  ( Click for more )

December 1, 2019

Attributes of the Gift of Administration

Also called the Gift of Organization

Greek word – Proistemi (pro-is'-tay-mee) - to set or place before to set over to be over, to superintend, preside over to be a protector or guardian to give aid to care for, give attention to profess honest occupations Histemi (his’-tay-mee) word origin -- to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set to bid to stand by, [set up] in the presence of others, in the midst, before judges, before members of the Sanhedrin; to place …  ( Click for more )

November 24, 2019

Attributes of the Giver

Please note from the definition that this gift is not limited to people with large sums of money and is not limited to the giving of money. This gift considers time, talent, and any resource God gives as the best to use in the work God has for us to do. It is often confused with the gift of server. Take careful note of the differences. Greek word – Metadidomi (met-ad-id'-o-mee) is a compound word and comes from meta – afterward, after the fact and Didomi – 1. to give 2. to give something to someone of one's own accord to give…  ( Click for more )

November 17, 2019

I hope you have realized by now that God gives each of us a healthy dose of each gift so that we can function properly within the Body of Christ as well as to understand why our siblings act in particular ways or say peculiar things. I now find it amazing how I can pick out who has which gift. I understand people so much better and I can usually predict with a fair amount of accuracy how a person will react in a given situation. It is almost uncanny, but I know it is the Holy Spirit.

This week, we'll study the Attributes of the Teacher. Regardless of whether you are a man or a…  ( Click for more )

November 10, 2019

__________________Attributes of the Server Gift of SERVICE – MINISTERING Greek word – Diakonia (dee-ak-on-ee'-ah) service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others of those who by the command of God proclaim and promote religion among men of the office of Moses of the office of the apostles and its administration of the office of prophets, evangelists, elders etc. the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection esp. those who help meet need by either collecting or distributing of charities the office…  ( Click for more )

November 3, 2019

Don't you just love Paul? Boy can he ever write a sentence that goes around the world and still make sense, right? Have you read Galatians lately? It is packed with so many jewels of wisdom that it is hard to wear them all. We are looking at the seven gifts that Paul talks about in Romans 12. Exhorter is next on the list. What exactly is an Exhorter?

Greek word – Parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh'-o) to call to one's side, call for, summon to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc. to admonish,…  ( Click for more )

October 27, 2019

Paul outlines seven gifts that motivate us to do God's work in Romans 12. Each of us having a gift given to us according to the grace given to us. And we know these are motivational gifts because Paul says this: "for the body is made up of many members, and all members do not have the same function." We are all members of one body. Then he notes each of the seven gifts.

Prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhorting, giving/sharing, administration/organization, and mercy.

Attributes of the Perceiver...

Because of the definition today’s society has dedicated…  ( Click for more )

October 20, 2019

Part 3 in our series...

1 Corinthians 14:1 Prophecy or Perception 1Love should be your guide. Be eager to have the gifts that come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy.

Galatians 5:13 Service 13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.

Colossians 3:16 Teaching 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your…  ( Click for more )

October 13, 2019

Part 2 in our Special Gifts series.

1 Corinthians 12:1

“Now concerning Spiritual Gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”

The meaning of the word translated “ignorant” is to be misinformed, unlearned, or unaware. Here is a crucial question:

Do you, or do you not believe that you have an enemy who desires to keep you ignorant? ­­­____

In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 we see the different kinds or varieties of gifts.

1. Motivational; 2. Ministry; 3. Manifestation

What reason are they given by God? ­­­­­­­­­­­­For…  ( Click for more )

October 6, 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 of the windows of Heaven. Amen.

A crucial fact to remember is that when God squeezes us through circumstances, people or finances, His goal is to get His "life" out of us as an extension of His own life to others. What many forget is that in order for…  ( Click for more )

September 29, 2019


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 was asked that question not too long ago. It is a very real problem because we are still in our frail bodies and in our natural state so we will sin at one point or another. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I'm fairly certain that Paul had both the Lost and the Saved in mind when he wrote that. So, how do you fellowship with someone in ministry who falls flat on his or her face, then blames someone else for the sin? Interesting question because Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove…  ( Click for more )

Behavior that offends or harms someone is a broad definition of workplace bullying. Mary tells Sandra that Betty is sleeping with the boss, when in fact the rumor isn’t true. Spreading gossip or rumors is one type of indirect bullying. When a vicious rumor is spread with the intent to get a person fired, that is defined as an intent to harm, but few would call that a criminal act worthy of jail time. According to Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, workplace bullying is "the repeated mistreatment of one employee targeted by one or more employees with a malicious mix…  ( Click for more )

September 8, 2019

A six year old girl is walking home from school. The street is deserted and there are no other children at play close by. Suddenly an older girl stops her bicycle in front of the little girl. She grabs the little one’s chin and slaps her face leaving a redden hand print on her little cheek. The older girl then verbally abuses the child and slaps her again, threatening the child with more of the same treatment if the older girl sees her walking down her block again. The child’s parents are concerned, but don’t have a recourse because they don’t know the older…  ( Click for more )

September 1, 2019

That kind of wind that dances with your pant legs whipped out across the lake. It teased the tops of waves and got colder as it raced across the top of the water. It laughed making the waves ripple. And the water’s chill infused the wind. It got colder. The breeze off the water hit the marble of the steps and spewed up, circling around and finding a perfect hat. It was made of wool and black as night.

The owner of the hat clamped her hand down on the hat. The hat whimpered to the wind. But the owner grinned and turned into the wind.

“You can’t have…  ( Click for more )

A pastor friend of mine told me that he liked my wisdom droplets post then he said, "When are you going to do something like that for men?" Huh? I didn't think I knew enough about women to advise men about them. Sometimes, with us women, it is all about me. Other times, we give to everyone but ourselves because we love the ones we are with--children, husbands--and everything else that is in our date books. Then I heard a talk Beth Moore did on Hannah. I don't have that CD anymore. There are, however, certain things about Hannah that just shout out, "WOMAN". …  ( Click for more )

August 18, 2019

We just cannot grasp the concept of eternity... or infinity for that matter. Our finite minds have no concept of it because we have a beginning and we know our physical bodies will have an end. After all, we all know someone who has died. I cannot fathom the sheer giant-ness of God. Psalm 95:4 The deep places of the earth are in His hand; the summits of the mountains also are His. I cannot fathom the never beginning of God. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; I cannot fathom the never ending of God. Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness…  ( Click for more )

I have had a very long time to consider the question of time management. Nevermind how long, just suffice it to say that a long time ago, I had to manage time in a hit or miss manner. It was only after my kids were grown and out of the nest that I actually sat down and studied this problem of time management. One day when I had too many things to do that absolutely had to be done, the day was half over and I hadn't scratched the surface. I sat down and asked God to manage my time for me. I was very polite and explained exactly what I needed done and why it must be done that day. He…  ( Click for more )

August 4, 2019

...except, maybe, in church.

My maternal grandmother was 16 when she got married, and my paternal grandmother was 14. Babies really. My maternal grandmother was married to my grandfather for 76 years. They had eight children, and they were a Paul Harvey Tournament of Roses marriage. If you remember, Paul Harvey would celebrate long term marriages of 70 years or more on his radio show. My paternal grandmother got divorced and never married again, but she had 10 children before the divorce.

The creation of life is beautiful. The wonder and majesty of how that life grows in…  ( Click for more )

July 28, 2019

What did the disciples try to do under their own strength? Sail across a lake in a storm... cast a demon from a boy... walk on water... understand Jesus' teachings... Probably a better question would be what did they not try to do under their own strength. Jesus made it very clear when He called them little-faiths: ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos (ol-ig-op'-is-tos) From G3641 and G4102; incredulous, that is, lacking confidence (in Christ): - of little faith. We smile and shake our heads and say, 'How…  ( Click for more )

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