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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

August 28, 2016

Too frequently I hear someone calling adultery a “mistake,” or when caught stealing it’s called “messing up.”

Clay Waters of the New York Times Magazine chided Republicans for calling illegal aliens "illegals." He says they should be called "undocumented." Let's see. Did they come into the U.S. without permission to do so? Did they have visas? Did they apply for green cards in order to take a U.S. citizen's job? To my way of thinking that is: Breaking and entering, fraud, and stealing, and I call that definitely illegal. Now…  ( Click for more )

August 21, 2016

What was your latest storm’s name?

Was it death in the family? Divorce? Financial difficulties? Lost job? Upheaval in your church?

Even one of these things can not only disrupt peace, but can displace your faith if you allow it. I hear your pain because I’ve suffered all of the above several times. Each time Satan tries to destroy my peace and my faith, it only makes them stronger. It certainly didn’t use to be that way. Years ago, I would worry and fret at the least little thing like paying bills with invisible money, or dealing with a husband with a roving…  ( Click for more )

The Voice of the Martyrs reports Christians in Bangladesh have been "pressured

to worship at a mosque." The church is 25 Christians strong, and had been meeting secretly. More than 200 protesters marched against this tiny congregation, and authorities threatened burning of homes if they did not close the church and comply with denial of their Christian faith. The Christians threatened with beatings and banishment from their village if they refused. Eight people caved in to the demands. The Constitution of Bangladesh protects the religious freedom of its citizens. They…  ( Click for more )

August 7, 2016

In these days of soft-soap Christianity and the feel-good-do-it society, I've noticed that people reach for that pleasure factor in worshiping our Lord God Almighty. Have you noticed that?

I think there is nothing wrong with going to God for the pure pleasure of it. In fact it gives great pleasure to believers to go into the Throne Room to worship and bring praises to God our creator and our deliverer. But just…  ( Click for more )

When someone hurts you, can you tell if it was intentional or if it was in reaction to something or someone other than you? Do you snap back without even thinking it through? I've done it plenty of times and to my dear sweet mother, too!

Well, when a brother or a sister has a field day with your feelings...

First, pray. Ask God for guidance in how to respond. You know He'll say, forgive. That's a given when dealing within the Body. Don't even think differently because Jesus spoke plainly about that to Peter.

Second, tell your sibling exactly how you feel. Do not…  ( Click for more )

July 17, 2016
Ruined I fight to open my eyes, but something inside me warns me not to wake up. My stomach hurts. My head feels heavy. And who’s vacuuming? Don’t they know I’m trying to sleep? Where am I, anyway? “Happy birthday dear Chloe, happy birthday to you.” I blow out the six pink candles, straighten the princess birthday crown on my head, and eagerly anticipate a giant piece of angel food cake with strawberry frosting and my most favorite ice cream—chocolate, chocolate chip. “Oops, Mommy, I dropped ice cream on my princess…  ( Click for more )

At that time, the LORD started sending troops to rob and destroy towns in Judah. Some of these troops were from Babylonia, and others were from Syria, Moab, and Ammon. The LORD had sent his servants the prophets to warn Judah about this, and now he was making it happen. The country of Judah was going to be wiped out, because Manasseh had sinned and caused many innocent people to die. The LORD would not forgive this (2 Kings 24:2-4).

What an aching statement that is. The LORD would not forgive this. Those innocent people are the many babies, first born sons, that Manasseh…  ( Click for more )

It took nearly 20 years to write this book, but it is now published and available at I actually did pour my heart and soul into this book, when you read it, you'll understand why it took so long to write it. It is packed with practical advice on how to handle difficult people, what to do when you face adversity in the workplace or at church or in the home. These are things that God taught me the hard way. But not just me, numerous pastors and other Christians have given insight in how to deal with difficult people, how to deal with hurt dished out by those close to you,…  ( Click for more )

June 12, 2016

Charles Stanley once said to never throw away your notes. If it was important enough to write it down once, then it is important enough for you to retain because your memory will fail you.

How true those words are, especially since I have grown so much older.

I really needed what I was reading this morning in my notes. I have been trying to do everything by myself because God gave me those abilities. Those things that I can do in a most excellent way because of the training and talent that God has blessed me with through the years. When things get piled up so…  ( Click for more )

As I studied for our ladies Bible study class, I noticed some things that indicated a corrupt nation. I shivered when I noticed that our news is filled with examples like this. Oh, not every day, but you can still find examples of children disrespect of their parents, idol worship (whether that is money, family, occult, church work, etc. it’s all the same thing—making something more important than God), and greed for and taking what doesn’t belong to a person.

All the subcategories under these three things are touched on in these three chapters as well.

We’re…  ( Click for more )

May 22, 2016

Job 38 has a huge list of things that God designed.

Job 38:4 Where were you when I founded the earth? Declare if you know understanding.

Adam was only a twinkle in His daddy's eye! I do not understand how God spoke and brought the universe from nothing.

Job 38:5 Who has set its dimensions, for you know? Or who has stretched a line on it?

Oh... yes! God stretched a line around the earth's middle and we can see it from space. Job didn't have the faintest notion what the line meant or looked like. He could not see the "big picture" that we can see…  ( Click for more )

Sometimes we react to a situation instinctively. We run in fear, or we swallow hard and stand our ground. One way or another, fear can actually be our friend by helping along a healthy reaction.

One beautiful morning I was drinking coffee and reading my bible, all was right with the world. My cat Scooter had just jumped from my lap to stretch, then he wandered to the sliding glass doors to bask in the sunshine behind the curtains. All was right with the world.

Engrossed with the Psalms, I forgot about him. Suddenly, there was such a commotion and scrabbling I jumped…  ( Click for more )

In the Bible study I hold in my home (open to anyone who would like to come!), we walked through the book of Matthew. It was as if we were singing that song, Today I Walked Where Jesus Walked. Chapter 4 is particularly interesting, so here are some of my thoughts, some stuff from Matthew Henry, and a point to ponder.

While Jesus was fasting the 40 days and nights, He was not hungry… He was filled with sustaining spiritual food. We do not know if He had water, but He was in the desert. We do know that the human body can only survive without any water for 3 days or 72 hours;…  ( Click for more )

This mighty warrior, man of valor, judge is one of the most interesting men in the Bible to me. When one reads the text closely, we find some extraordinary things about him.

He was the son of a harlot… but his father owned him, and raised him. This means he probably didn’t have much love growing up. Yet, he got a good education in the history of Israel, and because Israel’s history is so intricately entwined with the law in the Torah, he had a good understanding of the Law.

His brothers hated him, so when his father died they threw him out without one bit…  ( Click for more )

April 17, 2016

In our little walk through Judges, we've noticed something quite troubling about the Israelites. They have a terrible time keeping God first. Joshua told them that “you cannot serve the Lord for He is a holy God,” He’s jealous, and won’t forgive their transgressions and sins. This is a deeply troubling statement to me. After all, I know He has forgiven me all my sins. But then, I believed Him about His Son. I trusted Him with my life and heart.

Then Joshua explains why God won’t forgive them. “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign…  ( Click for more )

None of the scholars that I usually study before writing a column or chapter study make a connection between what happens in Judges Chapter 9 and what happens in Revelation, but I see such similarities I have to point them out.

Judges was a time when God was the ruler and authority over Israel. He raised several men and one woman to lead the Israelites along the path God had made straight for them, and to keep them in the right of the Law. After Gideon, though, the people wanted him to be king. He rightly refused. Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, and my sons…  ( Click for more )

April 3, 2016

Today is the day for wisdom to triumph and pride to be killed. Say that out loud even if you might feel a bit silly. Of course, if you are in the public library, someone might shush you, but never let someone shush your resolve. Overcoming is too important for persevering believers.

In every bit of research I’ve done for this book, there are two themes that always bubble to the top, and those are prayer and the old adage that hurt people hurt people. Another truth that abounded is that God’s perfect will is for His children to never stop learning for their eternal…  ( Click for more )

In the Garden…

Seemingly the women and the men are working at cross purposes toward the same end: annointing of Christ's body before burial. The women and also Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimethia want to prepare it. (John 19) Since Nicodemus and Joseph were associated with the Jewish leaders, the women (as we say here in the South) had no truck with them so separate preparations were made. Since Joseph asked for Jesus' body and the tomb was his, this is most likely why he and Nicodemus were able to prepare Jesus' body for the burial before the women got finished…  ( Click for more )

March 20, 2016

I've often thought the movie The Passion of the Christ was horrendously accurate concerning Jesus' crucifixion. That doesn't come close to reading this article written so many years ago. The anguish and brutality, the love and the hate come to life in ways that the facimile of a movie cannot produce. I weep everytime I read this.

A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion

(Originally published in Arizona Medicine, March 1965, Arizona Medical Association. A medical explanation of what Jesus endured on the day He died.)

By Dr. C. Truman Davis

Dr. C. Truman…  ( Click for more )

After weeks of scorching heat and baking sunshine, I tried to lift my head at the faint scent of moisture in the air. I wasn't wrong. Definitely moisture wafted on the breeze because a tree frog began his anxious croaking. He smelled it too, and began rejoicing over that first drop of water before it even fell. Then the thunder cracked with an earth-shaking boom. The first drops of rain tickled my arms, but I was too weak at the moment to do anything but thank God for the rain. Rain began lightly enough, refreshment for the parched ground and sending up a wonderful fragrance…  ( Click for more )

A soft answer turns away wrath…

This Wisdom of Solomon that had not been written yet, was well proven by Gideon. When he called his tribe’s brother, the tribe of Ephraim, to go get the heads of the kings Oreb and Zeeb. The tribe did so, and then Ephraim reprimanded him sharply for not calling them to help fight against the Midianites and Amalekites.

Gideon says softly, “Didn’t God give into your hands the heads of these two Midianite leaders? What did I do that was better than that?” This wise answer calmed them down so anger did not escalate…  ( Click for more )

February 28, 2016

Gideon rose early. I often wonder if the biblical writers mention that these warriors of God such as Joshua and Gideon “rose up early” to contrast that they used to stay up late and consequently slept late. Probably not… they didn’t have electricity back then nor did they have books to read that would keep them awake to all hours. Solomon tells us that sleepiness clothes a person in rags (Proverbs 23:21). The early risers had purpose in their hearts, ready for the day after a night’s good sleep.

The call went out to the tribes most effected…  ( Click for more )

February 21, 2016

In the beginning of Judges 6 we see that the Children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. I’m thinking this is a parenting problem as well as a spiritual problem. Not that parents are raising heathens. According to the most recent Pew Study, almost 8 in 10 millennials are raised in a Christian home, but as adults they are leaving the church and prefer being called "nones" as in "none of the above." That has to be distressing to Christian parents. One of my daughters went that direction. I am heartsick about it.

Back in the late 60s church…  ( Click for more )

Is there a person in your life that causes sparks to fly just like iron scraping iron?

That person may be your Jabin. He was king in Hazor, a city state of Canaan during the time of the judges. God sold the Israelites into his hand because they went back to their wanton ways after Ehud died.

There had been peace in the land for 80 years. The longest time of peace recorded in Judges. Evidently, Ehud had kept the people on the godly track during that time by restraining and punishing everything that smacked of idolatry, keeping them in service to the one, true God…  ( Click for more )

January 31, 2016

Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. Judges 2:18

This is a crucial verse to keep in mind throughout the study of Judges.

God is always in control, and He will allow some things, albeit bad things, to happen in order to train us up and to test our hearts. The four essentials for victory in these ‘bad things’ are gifts from God to us, and He expects…  ( Click for more )

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