Refreshment in Refuge, by Gina Burgess is a devotional with meat on it’s bones. The book contains 40 readings, some with short stories followed by practical application, some the sharing of personal lessons learned. The theology is sound and the lessons are enlightening and uplifting. If you are interested in refreshing and strengthening your walk with God, this book can help.
The first story in the book gave me pause. It really isn’t very well written, however, the lesson it imparts is outstanding. Happily, the odd story structure is an anomaly and the book is quite easy to engage in. I happily recommend it as your next devotional.
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson (February 21, 2011)
***Special thanks to Gina Burgess for sending me a review copy.***
Gina studied journalism in college, took a detour to raise two beautiful daughters, then graduated Magna Cum Laude from Midwestern State University after twenty-five years. Gina’s first love is using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. She is committed to bringing God glory with her writing.
She’s been an editor for several publications, including Lifestyles Editor at her home town newspaper the Picayune Item; a weekly column for Studylight.org; and bi-weekly columns at www.EverydayChristian.com.
She’s a book reviewer for several publishers, and has taught Sunday School and Discipleship since 1970.
A little dog revived with rain, a desperate woman comforted by warm arms, an intimate look at Mary Magdalene’s thoughts the morning Christ arose, and a woman’s unselfish desire are a few of the stories in this volume about living the Christian life. They illustrate some extraordinary paradigm breaks and parallels in living as Christ would have His Bride live. Sometimes everyday living creates a fog over our spiritual enlightenment, dulling our understanding and even our relationship with God. Other times, we get entangled in the worries and cares of the world. Christ’s light will guide us to clear thinking, and He will burn off that fog, just like sunshine. Refreshment in Refuge is a collection of stories and studies of how to make Christ the ruler of our heart, allowing the Son to dissipate the fog of trials and troubles that invade our lives on a daily basis.
List Price: $17.95
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson (February 21, 2011)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
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 repaired car from the bay and bring in another to work on. Thank goodness God was good to provide so much work when the economy was so bad. Just as the back wheels cleared the bay doors, one of them ran over something. He didn’t have a clue what it could have been, since it had only been a couple of hours since he’d driven the car in the bay. Then his heart constricted and he groaned in sudden agony.
Alfie’s job was to meet and greet all customers that came into the shop. His throne was the cushioned chair that was next to the desk. Sure it was grimy, but it was comfortable for a small, snowy white, very fluffy dog. Normally, Alfie rarely ventured into the bay area. He preferred the cool office and comfy cushion to the cool, but mucky shop floor. Alfie was the beloved owner of the man and his family. His other job was to give love and happiness to those he loved best.
The man climbed from the car, dreading what he must surely find.
His fear was confirmed when he saw Alfie lying still and flat under the car. Tears welled up, and his heart wrenched again. Suddenly, the bright day darkened to night. The dog must have scooted out the door when he got coffee. Even though he wasn’t allowed in the shop, the dog had obviously disobeyed the standing command.
He cradled the little dog in his arms, unsure of what to do. The lifeless form just lay there; head lolled back and tiny pink tongue slack instead of happily panting. The shop owner sat down in a grease-smudged chair with the dog across his lap. What should he do? How would he tell his sweet wife and those precious girls what had happened to their sweet, adoring Alfie? Finally, he decided to put the dog in the dog food bag, and place him in the dumpster because he couldn’t possibly bring Alfie home to bury; and in this concrete garden called New Orleans, there wasn’t anywhere to bury a pet. He just couldn’t possibly bring the little thing home to bury. His daughters would be inconsolable.
The rest of the day, he worried and fretted how to tell the family they had lost one of their own that day. There was no good way to do it, so he blurted out as soon as he made it home, “I ran over Alfie at the shop today.”
The family mourned, and rain began to patter against their home’s windows. God, it seemed, was sharing the family’s grief.
The next morning, the man found no joy in his morning routine. Alfie didn’t jump all over him, ready to do morning walk, no cheerful clink of food in his bowl. Going to work was a heavy chore. Sighing heavily, all the way to work, he opened the shop for daily work, sans his beloved, tiny, fluffy companion.
The coffee had just finished brewing when the owner of the neighboring body shop burst into the office. “Are you going to tell me why your dog is in the dumpster?”
“Well, Jeb, I know he’s in the dumpster. I didn’t have any place else to put him. I ran over him yesterday.
“No, you don’t understand. Your dog is barking and jumping and trying to get out of that dumpster!”
“What? Are you kidding me?” With joyful heart, the man ran to the dumpster and grabbed up that fluffy bundle of excitement. That little pink tongue was exploring every inch of his face. That little dog had only been knocked out, and the most refreshing rain, that gift from God, had refreshed and revived him. Alfie wasn’t dead after all, he just needed reviving.
Today, how many Christians look dead? How many are asleep at the wheel or get knocked silly by being someplace they are not supposed to be? Disobedience breaks fellowship with the LORD, and we can’t afford that when we are to be ready for that great and glorious day the Father looks at His only begotten Son and says, “Go get Your Bride, Son.” Glory!
Paul tells the Ephesians And to you did he give life, when you were dead through your wrongdoing and sins, 2 in which you were living in the past, after the ways of this present world, doing the pleasure of the lord of the power of the air, the spirit who is now working in those who go against the purpose of God; 3 among whom we all at one time were living in the pleasures of our flesh, giving way to the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and the punishment of God was waiting for us even as for the rest. Ephesians 2:1-3 Bible in Basic English (1965)
Paul was talking about how they acted as unbelievers, but I have seen a lot of Believers act just like that recently. The Bride of Christ is sick these days, sick with the evil ways of the world and sick with disbelief. We can be like the Rich Young Ruler and say: These commands I have kept, I have not sinned. But, how many of us have watched a movie lately in which God’s name was blasphemed? How many of us worry and fret, harbor anger, bitterness, jealousy, seek vengeance, are critical of others, controlling, gossip, pray by rote, fudge the truth, go places we shouldn’t go, do things in secret that we’d die if it were printed on the front page of the newspaper? How many pirate music? How many think if it doesn’t hurt other people, it is okay? How many haven’t returned something that was borrowed? How many of us allow work, family, hobbies, playtime come first instead of the LORD?
How many of us have given up on a brother or sister in Christ because he looks dead? How often have we thrown a sibling in the dumpster without thought to the prayers of a righteous man and the resuscitation process laid out by Jesus in Matthew 18: 15-17? Refreshment in the refuge of Jesus is what this book is about. We cannot give up on our siblings because it isn’t God’s plan. He created us and saved us for a mighty purpose. We cannot give up on ourselves because God considered us worthy enough to send His precious Son to pay the ultimate Bride price for us.
Let me paraphrase Luke 8:17, not one thing happens in secret that won’t be found out, and not a single thing is done in the dark which will not be brought to light. But, why would we care more about what could be said of us in a front-page news story than what God thinks of us? How could it matter more than our precious relationship and that refreshing rain from above?
Revive us LORD Jesus, send your refreshing rain of blessings and awaken us from our dead sleep. Help us labor, watch and be ready. The Bride awaits her Groom. Come LORD Jesus and find Your Bride doing the mighty works prepared before the foundation of the world. Amen.
This column was inspired by one of my favorite preachers, Dr. Preston Nix. He is an Associate Professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Preach it, Brother, preach it.