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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

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 )

July 21, 2019

Sometimes a person just has to say "Enough." I did that yesterday, or was it the day before? I've slept since then and there is a lot on my plate that shouldn't or can't touch each other, sort of like how Monk eats his food. Normally, I love to just stir my food up and mix it all together, but these things don't have a lot to do with each other so they must be kept separate. Can I get a witness? 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…  ( Click for more )

July 14, 2019

There I was, ten years old, standing in the movie theater and just crying my eyes out. Big, sloppy tears soaking the front of my shirt, making it stick to my chest… not a tissue to be found, either.

“Get your coat on, Gina,” Mom said as the credits to “Little Women” were rolling on the huge screen in front of us: The old black and white one starring June Alison as Jo, and Peter Lawson as Laurie.

“But, Mom,” I wailed, “why didn’t they get married? They loved each other.”

At ten years old,…  ( Click for more )

July 7, 2019

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 as Solomon found out there is a limit to how pleasure pleases the mind and the body (Ecclesiastes 2) It becomes empty. It is exactly like marrying a woman for her body...…  ( Click for more )

Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the work of the olive fails, and the fields make no food; the flock is cut off from the fold, and no herd is in the stalls,

Ever had a day like that? Raise your hands because I know you have. You sit at your desk and look at the sun coming up and the depression that oppresses your soul is like a sore tooth, but you do not know where the soreness is coming from or why it is there. Life should be good... but, it is not at this precise moment.

Seriously, I never thought Habakkuk could ever…  ( Click for more )

June 23, 2019

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 )

June 2, 2019

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 )

May 26, 2019

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

Lifestyles Editor


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 )

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