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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

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

I have talked about this verse before in an earlier column. Can't you just hear the exasperation and the deep frustration? I can and it makes me laugh. It reminds me of Solomon saying "Living with a contentious woman is like incessant, dripping rain." (Loose paraphrase).

And here is another one, Proverbs 11:22 As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. That is so true and said with such a twist of humor I can't help but laugh at…  ( Click for more )

February 9, 2014

My favorite verse that gives me hope and helps me trust is Zechariah 4:6 So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.

When people seem to get in the way of what God is trying to do, I get frustrated. When people take over my job, the task I've been trusted to do, I get frustrated. My column is very late this week because of so many reasons, but I have to remind myself that God is in control. No matter how much a Diotrephes tries to take over, God's work will be done…  ( Click for more )

(I feel so strongly about this I've posted this on my blog also. Please forgive the repetition.)

Here is another case of Satan using laws of the land against biblical belief in biblical principles.

In a note from Tony Perkins where he highlights the battle occurring in Massachusetts over a homosexual male teaching in an all girls Catholic academy. He applied. Got the job. Then when school officials noticed that this man listed his spouse as his homosexual partner as the one to call in an emergency, they called him in and rescinded the job offer.

Catholics have…  ( Click for more )

Several years back, I had wondered why the apostles had to journey to Samaria to "lay hands" upon those believers there in order for them to receive the Holy Spirit. I took a closer look at the over all indwelling of the Holy Spirit which led to a closer study of the gifts of the Spirit.

I believe that understanding comes from asking God for help with my understanding so I asked Him. Several passages and other things came to my attention concerning this. One was Peter's vision of the sheet dropping down with all types of food to eat (including those things that were…  ( Click for more )

Do you ever wonder why David cut the corner off Saul’s robe rather than killing him in that cave? (1 Samuel 24). Then David’s heart was troubled after he did that. That word troubled is a very strong word in Hebrew that means to strike (as the KJV translates it) but also means to kill, slaughter, murder, stripes, wound.

David felt that for just cutting off the corner of Saul’s robe. Yet, he took the life of Uriah (1 Samuel 11-12). One would think that David would remember how his heart wounded his soul for taking the robe’s corner, but…  ( Click for more )

January 12, 2014

No one understands God's perfect ways or even why God acts in such a way for some and in another way for others. How do we even know for sure we are walking in His will?

We can't see the future. Our feelings are fickle. We can't control other people's decisions. So how do we walk down that specific path God has lighted for us?

We live in a very imperfect world and since we don't control other people, we can't be responsible for their choices. The only alternative we have, then, is to walk the closest we can to the Lord God Almighty and expect Him to turn us from the…  ( Click for more )

(I'm cheating... this is from my blog post yesterday.)

I get depressed thinking about making New Year Resolutions. Do you? Do you look at your list six months down the road and think... ACK! I've failed!

How often do we recognize what others need to change in their lives before we recognize what changes we need to make? So many of us make New Year’s resolutions with truly less resolution and more "feel better about myself". After the first month it seems all the resolution to change and be a better person dissolves. Sometimes we keep those resolutions…  ( Click for more )

December 29, 2013

Lord, help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 7:41:23 a.m. p.s.t.

Lord, help me to consider people's feelings, even if most of them are hypersensitive.

Lord, help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they're usually not my fault.

Lord, help me to not try to run everything. But, if You need some help, please feel free to ask me!

Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it exactly right.

Lord, help me to take things more seriously, especially laughter, parties, and dancing.

Lord, give me patience, and…  ( Click for more )

December 22, 2013

Many times in my life the splendor and glory of God bursts upon me in sudden and astonishing ways. When I was much younger, it felled me to my knees. Now that I am older, this majesty that explodes before me spiritually puts me on my face before God. I cannot fathom even from the depth and breadth of my soul just how wonderful and marvelous God is to astound me, pointedly and specifically.

After 20 years of marriage, God gave me permission to leave my husband. I had been providing for him for almost three years—providing his liquor and his women while he lounged…  ( Click for more )

Over on Studylight.org, my dear sister in Christ, Julianne, of Family Blueprint, had posted an article that sheds some light on something that is truly shocking. The article is no longer there, but I have a copy of some of it here.

I have suffered through co-dependency. I have seen friends of mine suffer this. Women have emailed me after reading about my co-dependency on my blog, so from my perspective, it may seem more prevalent than it really is. On the other hand, abuse toward women in the church is more prevalent than people would like to think. It doesn't just happen…  ( Click for more )

My very first inkling there was something magnificent in Scripture when God used the word rock was in a youth retreat study comparing the Israelites trek through the wilderness and the Christian lifestyle. There I came face to face with the notion of strict obedience to God’s word because He has special meanings for that obedience. At the time, I had no real idea of the kind of spiritual truth God was portraying with the physical illustration. When He told Moses to strike the rock for water at the first place of contention, Moses did and sweet, fresh water came pouring…  ( Click for more )

December 2, 2013

There was a story told long ago about a certain wealthy man. He had so much wealth he struggled to remain alive because he did not want to leave behind his wealth when he died. When that fatal day finally came, the angels came for him, and he begged and pleaded to bring at least some of his gold with him to Heaven. The angel tried to explain to him that naked he came into the world and naked he would leave. But, his gold had never let him down. He had always been able to open locked doors with it and to build bridges to foreign lands with it. So after vigorous pleading, the angels…  ( Click for more )

November 25, 2013

This Sunday morning we are studying John 11. I never get tired of studying this passage because there are so many volumes spoken in these few words. Jesus illustrates His perfect purposes in this chapter. One of His famous I AM statements is here. He weeps. He is troubled. His glory is illustrated in such magnificent ways I am constantly astounded. He is so amazing!

“A person can cry for multiple reasons.” I have grown up a little since I wrote that last year in a column titled Jesus Wept.

I said that I believed Jesus wept because of a deep compassion…  ( Click for more )

November 18, 2013

Let me ask you this...

Matthew 11:11 "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than He.

Why did Jesus say this if there was no difference between OT saints and NT saints? I am not trying to prove a hierarchy just that Jesus pointed out a difference between OT and NT. Was it so important to have this distinction?

John the Baptist was the awaited Elijah, Jesus said so.

John died before Jesus did. John died under the Law. Those "least…  ( Click for more )

November 11, 2013

Sage advice from Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson. Who would want to wrestle with pigs?

Isn't that just what we do when we fire back at someone who has hurt our feelings, which is what Michael Hyatt is saying. It isn't worth the fight for Believers to jab and stab at every opportunity, is it. I have heard some folks wax on proudly that they have some great debating skills like being cutting with words is something to be proud of. Well, in my book it isn't. How could that edify the body?

Solomon has a great deal to say about self-control when anger threatens…  ( Click for more )

November 3, 2013

I am in the midst of refining my article that will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Religion, Digital, and Media Culture. I will post a link here to the article when it is published so you may take a look at it if you so desire. Thank you for your prayers about this milestone for me…  ( Click for more )

Were the OT saints that came out of their graves after Jesus died on the cross and after He rose from the dead in glorified bodies or were they visible spirit bodies ... ghosts? Look at Matthew 27:51-53

Matthew 27:51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. If they were spirits, or “ghosts”…  ( Click for more )

There are certain characteristics that must be present in order for a great relationship to develop. One of the most famous, truly great relationships occurred between David and Jonathan, and we find that in 1 Samuel 18. To understand this relationship there are some characteristics of each man that contribute to the relationship. However, the most telling is how God says in 1 Samuel 18:1 Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

That is so telling because this relationship…  ( Click for more )

October 13, 2013

I started a series a while back about the promises of God in His word. There are numerous promises where God does not require anything from us such as His promise to never again destroy the world by water. He caused the rainbow to appear as a reminder of that promise. However, there are more than 300 if/then statement promises that mean there is something required of us for God’s promise to happen.

These take many forms. In Genesis for example God says to Abraham, If I find more than 50 righteous in Sodom, then I will spare the city for their sakes. Powerful promise.…  ( Click for more )

October 6, 2013

…in hectic daily living.

What does your average week day morning sound like? Is it filled with soft, shuffling breezes carrying the scent of frying bacon and brewed coffee? Does the gentle sound of children’s giggles waft to you as the dulcet warmth of a hot shower cascades down your back?

Neither was mine twenty years ago. Kids gathering homework, phone ringing, breakfast frenzies, all the while trying to get mascara even and hose untwisted, the right color shoes and so on. You are up to your neck in alligators five minutes after you awaken. It was nothing…  ( Click for more )

It was the sixth hour—around noon. Can't you just feel the heat of that day? Jesus was weary from His journey from Jerusalem to Sychar in Samria. He was hot and He was thirsty, but that didn't stop Him from recruiting a most unlikely missionary. Someone who was counted as worthless in her village, but would be instrumental in the salvation of the entire village... He chose Jacob’s Well to rest.

The word John uses for well in 4:6 is pege meaning gushing or running. Jacob’s well is spring water that is still running today. When the woman mentions the well…  ( Click for more )

September 22, 2013

The sweet sound of rain splashing outside filled me with joy this morning. It was so soothing I went back to sleep listening to it. So, I slept late. Sometimes that is a very good thing, and this morning was no exception.

When I awoke again, the rain was still coming down, and it was still dark outside. I love how it sounds dripping through the oak trees, splashing in the puddles. Refreshing, cleansing, and reviving. I was acutely reminded of when I lived in the high desert of Arizona.

Months of dry, clear skies, and months of heat never washed clean of dust by cleansing…  ( Click for more )

September 15, 2013

How can it possibly be all right for any person to sin and then to blame someone else for the sin?

Because we say, "That's okay. It's all right, I forgive you," it feels as if we just told the offender the act was okay. (Which is what forgiveness actually feels like on the surface.) When an offense has been committed, it is not okay. However, who wants to carry dead weight around? Letting go of the offense and allowing God to deal with it in His own way and His own time is the act of forgiveness. I seriously doubt that anyone who forgives an offense can completely…  ( Click for more )

September 8, 2013

Five years ago I posted this article here after I studied the Crowns for a Sunday school lesson. It is one of the most popular articles I have on my website. More people copy this one than any other article (more than 12,000 so far). I then taught it to my Thursday morning Bible study class after doing a lot more digging into Scripture. God kept nudging me (you might could call that nagging me) to put it all down in a book. Many prayers, late nights, study, and 130 pages later, the book is published.

You can read the first chapter, and order the book at Amazon. My missionary…  ( Click for more )

September 1, 2013

An interesting online survey was conducted by Lifeway

May 24-25 from 1040 respondents to a survey with a margin of error +/- 3.1%. Some of the questions asked were: Q: “How do you feel about God when suffering occurs that appears unfair?” Q: “When a natural disaster occurs, my interest in God increases.” Q: “I trust faith-based disaster relief agencies to use their donations more responsibly than secular groups.” Q: “Praying can avert natural disasters.” Q: “Do you post that you are praying…  ( Click for more )

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