Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
That title is not misspelled. Let me explain, but I'll have to explain by going around the mountain like most Southerners do.
I was lounging on the beach on a mini-vacation several years ago, minding my own business. I was with several female friends and this little trip was a Mother’s Day present to all of us from our husbands.
They were going to take care of the toddlers all weekend long while we got to rest, relax and recoup from Mommy Things. Theirs is a different story than this one.
On the beach this fellow from the North sat down close to our group. ( Click for more )
I don’t know if you have ever come face to face with a snake before especially if you are a city-lubber. If you've ever lived in rural America or vacationed/camped/woods-walking, you most likely have.
Snakes are God’s creatures just like the birds and deer, but for a reason God granted most of us a healthy fear of snakes.
My favorite Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal were really upset, all atwitter and fussing up a storm in the ligustrum right outside Mom’s bedroom window. Flitting from ground to branch to the top of the roof back to the ground. Their bleating was almost ( Click for more )
Second in a two part series with one week in between...
The pastor asked her if she had any studies at her apartment. She said she sure did. Then he asked to come. She was thinking that he would come and teach, but he told her that he wanted to learn. He brought about 10 people from his church.
Nana had a study night and a movie night. When they studied Genesis, she showed "The Prince of Egypt" when they got to Moses, explaining to them that it was a cartoon, but there were many things in it that were Biblical. When they got to Esther, she showed "One Night ( Click for more )
In today's world, 30 seconds seems an eternity, and to wait two minutes for a cup of coffee seems so long. I remember when we had to wait 30 minutes for a cup of fresh brewed coffee to perculate, and it didn't seem all that long to wait.
There is a wonderful poem by Russell Kelfer called Wait. Look it up, it speaks to the heart of why God has His children wait for blessings that He always intended to give.
Take Hannah, for instance. This woman waited and waited for a child of her own. She sat by the window and listened to the children of her husband's second wife play. She ( Click for more )
I do not know who was the first to say, "Freedom isn’t free." The sentiment is certainly true. Our men and women who have given their lives for our freedom are being honored tomorrow. Actually, those who have served in our Armed Forces...
I can hardly read the stories of some of these men who fought for us, without tears streaming down my face.
I wonder sometimes, did they know?
Did they know that years later I would appreciate their bravery and discipline to stand between me and the bad guys with such deep gratefulness? Did they know while hunkered down ( Click for more )
By Gina Burgess
Her sister and her husband have been in China since China’s doors opened up to the Western world, and after Nana’s husband died, her sister told her now is the time for you to come to China. She did. In January of 1999, Nana went to China to work with an orphanage that took care of handicapped children. The Chinese do not believe any handicapped person can be useful to society, because they are broken, so many children who become handicapped or who are born that way are put in orphanages. They do this because each ( Click for more )
Here's the wonderful thing about Freedom. When we accept Jesus as Savior -- That's the last decision we ever make on our own. We have much greater wisdom at work in us than mere human wisdom after the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts. Choosing Jesus means choosing Him as Ruler of the Heart and Mind and Body and Soul. It means being owned by Him and solely Him because He bought and paid for us. There is great freedom in that.
I have heard people scoff at me for being a slave to Christ, but they do not understand the real difference between being Christ's slave and being a slave ( Click for more )
1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."
All the widow had to buy food with was 2 mites. These small coins were worth 1/8 of a penny each. She gave to God the only money she had. Jesus watched as she gave her offering. (In the Temple ( Click for more )
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 ( Click for more )
…and the blind see.
by Gina Burgess
My eyes leak tears of great sadness. The darkness has overcome 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, because of stumbling and tripping. The tears flooding 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 ( Click for more )
Stand-up comedians will tell you that most people laugh at the ridiculous, at a “twist” of meanings and a surprise outcome to the end of a story. This is why jokes are funny, they surprise us and it is why some jokes are not funny, the punch line isn’t a surprise. Or sometimes the images conjured up are so ridiculous that we laugh no matter how many times we've heard the joke. Other people laughing is contagious. A merry heart does good like medicine, but sorrow dries the bones. Solomon said that. What was it that made you have a mind-cleansing, soul shaking belly ( Click for more )
The Hebrew word for Laugh is Tsachaq pronounced tsaw-khak'. It means to laugh, mock, play, to jest to sport, play, make sport, toy with, make a toy of . The first mention of laughter in the Bible is in Genesis 17:17. And Abraham fell on his face and laughed. And he said in his heart, Shall one be born to a son of a hundred years? And shall Sarah bear, a daughter of ninety years? What is Abraham laughing at?
Abraham falls on his face. When a person falls on his face, usually two words follow "and worshiped". He is humble and reverent before the LORD. He laughs ( Click for more )
There are certain people in this world that have come to believe that they are completely useless. They have come to believe this for many various reasons. They believe they are only useful to be punching bags for others, to be rugs for others and that they could never be worthy to even breathe air much less to be of use for anything other than to cook, clean and introduce new life into this world they see as dark, hopeless, grungy place. These people believe what the world tells them and that is they are ugly. They believe what those around them tell them and that is they are ( Click for more )
A psalm by Gina after reflection upon Salvation of the Lord from the sin in her life…
Shout out with praise...
Shout out with praise
To the LORD on His Throne!
Sing with me all the earth,
For He set me Free.
He unlocked the shackles
He unwound the chains
I am Free.
He filled the darkness with Light
Fear fled, demons tremble.
I am Free!
He bent down to lift me up.
He put the chains and shackles on my foes.
But, I am Free!
It was I that caused His great pain, you see.
It was for me that He stuck to that tree. ( Click for more )
The Bible is quite clear that God is immutable and unchangeable. On one hand. On the other hand it says in several places that God repented.
It seems as if the Bible is in contradiction of itself.
It isn’t, though.
If one reads the text carefully and in context, you can see that God’s repentance is merely His response to man’s response to Him.
Does Prayer Make God Change His Mind—Repent?
Yes. But not in the New Testament meaning of repentance. In the New Testament, repentance means not only changing one’s mind, but changing one’s ( Click for more )
Yep, we've all felt that way at one time or another. I get that way when ever I don't study my Bible for a few days.
What you are feeling right now is an emptiness, like you are sitting on the edge of a cliff.
Take this promptly to God. Seriously, don't stop to smell the coffee and don't do anything until you've spent time on God's lap or at His feet. Ruts are dangerous. Satan just loves it when Christians suddenly look up and the sides of the rut are higher than their heads.
Galatians 5:16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. ( Click for more )
That question stopped me cold. It is a double-edged sword. Let's back up several years. I'm sitting on this comfortable couch. My friends from several different churches are gathered about the TV and Beth Moore is teaching her Bible Study, "Jesus the One and Only" on the tube. We have our Bibles open on our laps and she's teaching about having a deep, open relationship with God through our prayer life. It must be vibrant. It must be personal. It must be a priority. It must be on purpose and for a purpose. I'm nodding my head, 'Yes, of course! I knew all this.' ( Click for more )
Since September 11th, we have been bombarded with the message that Islam is a peaceful religion… that only a few fanatics have twisted the message. Islam is practiced by 1/5 of world’s population and that number is growing every day. A web search reveals over 125 million web sites dedicated to Islam, or teach about the Islam religion, but when I searched for “Islam the Religion of Peace”, I found only 2.2 million web sites. It is not a religion of peace.
In the Koran, Surah 9 verse 29 states “Fight against…those who acknowledge not the religion ( Click for more )
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. The water’s chill infused the wind, and 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 it.” ( Click for more )
“The fact is,” said Rev. Haggard in an Associated Press interview, “I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem.” He wrote that in his letter to his congregation, “I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all my adult life.”
Adultery is wrong. Sexual immorality is wrong. Absolutely, no question. There is no half-way point where it is okay up to "here" and then it begins to be a sin.
Before anyone starts ( Click for more )
Love…. no stones
It was hot that day. Sweat dripped from my forehead into my eyes and stung. It slid down my back making my robe stick to it, but that didn’t help me keep the front closed. My feet were bare because the men who dragged me from my bed never gave me time to put on my shoes. One of those high and mighty Sanhedrin guards dragged me into the hot street. He didn’t care what I looked liked evidently, because he didn’t bother to toss me my girdle as he dragged me out of the house. One guard took pity on me. His eyes held pity, but his mouth ( Click for more )
For the past few weeks we've been studying the Fruit of the Spirit in illustrations. God gives us special gifts to use as we toil for Him in the fields ripe for harvest, but not without these special tools that come directly from the Holy Spirit. How vast is His grace that He equips us especially with the perfect skills and motivations to do the work He prepared for each one of us from the foundation of the world. We are that special to Him, never deserved it, never earned it, but He cared enough to equip us to win not fail, to have courage, never fear. He gave us a spirit of power, ( Click for more )
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 )
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 )
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 )
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