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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

January 3, 2021

I do lament today's throw-away society. So often we acquire a “pretty” and then something happens to mar the pretty and we throw it away. My dad never threw anything away. His shop out back was filled to the brim and the overflow surrounded it like undulating waves hitting the sides of a swimming pool. My dad, could fix just about anything which is why he kept everything.

He saw potential everywhere he looked. A roll of wire could tie down, hang up or hold together anything. Coca Cola was good for drinking on a hot day and cleaning battery tops. Nails that held boards…  ( Click for more )

December 27, 2020

I have often thought about, and discussed, Hebrews 6 with many others of my Christian siblings. But, I'll skip over Hebrews 6 for the moment and share with you my thoughts on James 5:19-20. It is more of getting to the point by going through the back door. You know… back door friendship with the Scriptures, so to speak. I have understood James to be talking about the physical life here on earth. Here's why: Straying from the truth means exactly that... to wander away from it and to a greater degree, to sin. To bring a brother back to the truth is to save his breath…  ( Click for more )

I stand amazed at how flighty humans have proven to be. We can't seem to keep on the right track no matter how gloriously God makes Himself available. He provided America for those who desired to worship Him freely. It was not for those to worship any demon or idol, but for Christians. All one has to do is read historical speeches of our founding fathers or historical documents, or even read the inscriptions on the buildings in our capital. Everything points to the one true King of the universe. How sad it has taken less than 250 years for our ardor to go sour. Barna Group asked…  ( Click for more )
December 13, 2020

The man gave the bolt a final twist and stepped back from under the hood of the car. He wiped his grimy hands on a rag and then stuffed it in his back pocket. He gave a satisfied sigh as he headed to the office and the coffee pot. The coffee was strong and fresh, just like he liked it. Tossing a grin to Gertrude, his part time office help, he said, “Gertie, call Kent Boudreaux and let him know his car is ready and he can pick it up any time today.”

With only a little regret, he set his cup down and headed to back the car from the bay and bring in another to work…  ( Click for more )

Ask any champion weightlifter if he or she would like to carry that extra three hundred to four hundred pounds around with them on a daily, 24/7 basis. Of course, the answer would be an emphatic “NO!”. It is fine and dandy to lift three hundred pounds over the head, hold for ten seconds (or more) and then let drop with a bang and clank of the weights rattling together. But does anyone want to strap that extra poundage on their back and carry it around? Bathe with it? Sleep with it? Play with it? How ridiculous! But we Christians do it all the time.

Oh, it isn’t…  ( Click for more )

November 29, 2020

Or Blameless vs Guiltless Or Age of Accountability

There are so many women out there (almost 50 million of them) who are agonizing about the fate of their aborted babies. There are also many parents agonizing over where their little darling who died went—Heaven or Hell? There are many verses in the Bible which give us comfort concerning where these children now reside, and where future children will go who die untimely deaths. Babies and young children go to heaven if they die because God has chosen to have mercy upon them.

Paul tells us positively that All have…  ( Click for more )

Several years ago, okay it more than a decade ago, I had just separated from my wicked husband. I used part of my retirement money to get a new car so I'd have reliable transportation for my job selling cemetery property. Late one night, coming home from work I bounced over a pot hole and the A/C went out. One minute blowing cold air, the next warm and humid, summer night air came pouring through the vents. I prayed about it. I hadn't sold anything for several weeks and I just didn't have the money for a new A/C. (Turned out the pot hole had nothing to do with the A/C.) One…  ( Click for more )

After I thought I'd healed properly, I adjusted to life without. Without what, you wonder. That is precisely my point. I had gotten so used to living without hope and without a husband and without a really good job with benefits that I had adjusted to hopeless living all the while putting on the “Joy Face” at church and with friends. Oh, you know precisely which face I’m referring to. Joy Face is a mask of great deception to one’s self and loved ones. Often the person wearing the mask has no clue that it is, in fact, a mask. This mask has the ability…  ( Click for more )

Burl Cain, warden for Angola Prison in Louisiana, once said that no earthly thing can change a man, only Jesus can. He became warden over a prison that was once called the bloodiest place on earth. Back in the fifties and sixties, no one came out of there alive, and no one served their full term. This gutsy man proved that only Jesus can change a man by bringing Jesus and Biblical principles into Angola. I learned that the hard way.

Here’s what I have learned in the past 50 years:

Foremost lesson is what I learned from the study of Nehemiah: Bring everything to God…  ( Click for more )

November 1, 2020

Probably one of the hardest things to do is to forgive yourself. Someone once pointed out to me that it was not a Biblical principle. I hunted and searched for hours trying to find something in the Bible about forgiving oneself. The closest I came was David’s Psalm 51 when he asked God to create in him a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within him. When you compare his Psalm 32 in verse 3 When I kept silence, then my bones became old, through my howling all day. We see the consequences of unconfessed sin. But that is different from forgiving one’s self…  ( Click for more )

October 25, 2020

The Queen of Sheba traveled about 2,000 miles to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. Gideon put out fleece to listen to God’s will. Abraham listened and his son Isaac was born, and his servant listened to God and brought Rebecca to Isaac for his bride. The people told Joshua they would listen to God’s voice, and they did all the while Joshua was their judge. God told Samuel to listen to the people and anoint Saul. The king listened to Nehemiah and the walls of Jerusalem were built in 52 days. King Ahasuerus listened to Esther and the Jews in Babylon were saved. Lemuel listened…  ( Click for more )

October 4, 2020

My eyes leaked tears of great sadness. The darkness overcame the glorious light. For hours the darkness shadowed the world and I could not see, nor no one could see. It was as if I were blind once again, but this time the whole of the world was blind with me. But, my tears are not because of lost sight, nor because of stumbling and tripping. The tears that flooded my face and the front of my shirt are because a most beloved face is even now twisted with agony and suffering.

Why Adonai? Why give me my sight only to see this horror? I know Who it is that is groaning in great…  ( Click for more )

September 27, 2020

My daughter has one of those GPS thingys… Global Positioning Systems… that tells you how to get from point A to point B. Sometimes it doesn’t take the usual route that I’ve gone for the past several years from point A to point B, and that has given me a fresh look at where I live. I never knew you could drive down Palestine Road and get to Jackson Landing with no traffic. Or take Highway 11 instead of the Interstate and shave off 15 minutes. Fascinating that it will tell you the quickest route or shortest route, all you have to do is plug it in and then type…  ( Click for more )

I have been thinking about this for quite some time. Someone in my Sunday School class said she didn't think that God really cared about the mundane in our lives. After all, why would He care what dress we wore or if our shoes were comfortable? He has so many more important things on His mind. Like what He has in mind for the Bride of Christ, World events, things like that. Which is an excellent overview of the kinds of Wills of God. His perfect will, His absolute will, His divine will, His personal will for each of His children.

There is a personal will because, by golly, He…  ( Click for more )

September 13, 2020

Someone once said that God doesn't share His glory. I immediately thought of Moses asking God to show him His glory and God put him in the cleft of a rock and allowed him to see His backside. That is both terrifying and a little bit funny to me. Terrifying that Moses, chosen by God, who spoke with God mouth to mouth, could not see God's full glory. And funny because God showed him His backside as He walked away. It just strikes me as amusing. Okay... so, I have a weird sense of humor.

On to counting the ways to glorify God… According to Scripture... Romans 4:20…  ( Click for more )

September 6, 2020

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

Can…  ( Click for more )

August 30, 2020

…is that they don’t do anything with God’s rebuke. Matthew 23 wasn’t the first time they didn’t pay attention to God’s rebuke. If it wasn’t their making motions of worship while having greed and murder in their heart it was the painful distress of oppression they brought down on widows and orphans. Isaiah told them. Jeremiah told them. Habakkuk told them. Micah told them. But, Malachi, oh Malachi said it with the sting of a red zinger.

Malachi 2:1 And now, O priests, this command is to you. 2If you will not hear, and if you will…  ( Click for more )

August 23, 2020

Mike Synder has an excellent post at The Master's Artists which was something that made me ponder for a while, in fact almost all day. So we're all on the same page, I quote Mike: Steve and his cronies traded blood, sweat, and elbows with murderers and rapists and thieves. That was their job. And they were good at it, winning more than they lost. The point was not to make friends or to play nice. They played to win first and make friends later. They took no crap and made no apologies. It was serious business with eternal implications. These guys demanded respect, annihilated barriers,…  ( Click for more )

August 16, 2020

Third grade taught us that one times one is one. One times anything is one, except when God gets into the mix. God times one is God.

I have so often thought it would be nice to have someone to share things with when God then reminds me that I do that with my Mom. Then I wonder if I am to live out the rest of my life alone as Paul did. And God reminds me that His grace is sufficient for me. And when I get too big for my britches and say, "Look at what I did, God. How great was that? What's that worth?" He shows me a quarter on the ground and I get the message that…  ( Click for more )

August 9, 2020

The unsatisfied soul is a train wreck waiting to happen… it is the broken tracks that derail an otherwise pretty good life, or so the world may think. Add fear to dissatisfaction and we have a sure fire derailment with a huge casualty list. It creates a life that is completely useless to God, for one who is not satisfied cannot satisfy.

But, let’s look at the real culprit of this deal. Can we actually blame Satan for this? The world? After all reading Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy you come to realize that Egypt is the land of slavery… addictions……  ( Click for more )

Why does He love me so?

Remember when love first blossomed?

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 to my inbox by Alan Smith of Helen Street Church of Christ in Fayetteville, North Carolina called Thought For The Day

I cannot fathom why God loved us so much He gave…  ( Click for more )

July 26, 2020

Luke 15:8 Or what woman having ten drachmas, if she loses one drachma does not light a lamp and sweep the house, and look carefully until she finds it? 9 And finding it, she calls together the friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I lost.

The drachmas, in Jesus time, was equivalent to the Roman denarii and was worth about 18 cents, so ten coins was worth about $2 or approximately ten days wages. James Merritt told his congregation back in March of 2002 that these ten coins this woman possessed were her engagement ring and that…  ( Click for more )

July 19, 2020

In Gone With The Wind, Scarlett stands in the midst of a sea of bodies, some still as death, others rolling and groaning in pain. It's just her and the doctor, and perhaps one or two others. She tries desperately to get the doctor to come help Melly who is having her baby. It is the last vestiges of the Civil War and the South was dying, her sons dying, her cities burned and destroyed, her plantations desolate. Scarlett suddenly decides she has had enough and she races home to pack and leave Atlanta to go home to Tara. Everything seems hopeless until Rhett Butler scrounges up a buckboard…  ( Click for more )

July 12, 2020

Warning: This column is not for the squeamish. The last chapter of Proverbs is probably most famous for the woman worth far above rubies. However, in Proverbs 31: 8-9, we are given a directive that many would probably not consider when thinking about the sanctity of life. Speak for the speechless, for those who are ready for death. Our society abhors child abuse, yet, so often we miss the signs either because we are not trained for it or because we do not wish to see.

"No bite baby. No, no bite baby," an eighteen month old child cried out when she saw her biological…  ( Click for more )

July 5, 2020

Don’t you just love that movie, The Pursuit of Happiness? The main character, played by Will Smith, gets bugged by how happiness is spelled on the side of a wall. He just says it once, “Happiness is spelled with an I, not a Y,” as he and his son go into the daycare. His point is that ignorance is why someone spelled I it with a Y.

My point is that it is spelled with an I because the state of being Happy is generated from within you. It is our choice. It is not generated from circumstances, just like joy or faith or love is not generated from circumstances. …  ( Click for more )

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