Once or twice a month I visit a correctional facility with a few other guys ... this week I had a chance to give a message on "Taking Refuge in the Lord". I used the Psalms as my text - there are 43 direct references to the word 'refuge' in the Psalms ... also many other indirect references. Here are a few of the points I used:

A refuge is a place of shelter, safety and trust. The principal words used in the Old Testament applied chiefly to God as a “refuge” for His people. Taking refuge in God is somewhat of an abstract concept because, unlike a European castle-like fortress, God does not have an address. Finding that place of refuge in God involves a few key principles.

Taking Refuge in God always involves release. Psalms 62:8 says
"Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
Three years ago I was faced with the trauma of dealing with a crisis on the high seas when my wife became paralyzed from the waist down after we boarded the a cruise ship. I vividly remember the crisis and how God spoke to me about letting go ... He whispered these words to me "You cannot project manage your way out of this. You need to flow with Me in this and give up control". Taking refuge in God always involves releasing control of your life ... release is the doorway to God's refuge.

Another aspect of entering Refuge involves worship. Psalms 64:10 says
" Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!."
I can vividly recollect a time in my life when worship became a mode of survival for me. I was in my early forties and my first wife was suffering from a failing heart and failed kidneys. I felt so afraid and alone. I remember times of solitude ... singing along with worship tapes … weeping uncontrollably … pouring my heart out to the Lord ... and taking refuge in His presence to make it one more day. In a deeper way I understood that His strength is made perfect in weakness … I have never been the same person. When we worship we take refuge in God.

The Fear of the Lord is another way that we take refuge in the Lord. Psalms 2:12 puts it this way
" Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
During a very difficult episode in my career I was dealing with an injustice done to me … thoughts of revenge overwhelmed me … the Holy Spirit began to make me aware of what was going on. One day, as I sat at my computer composing an e-mail message to an executive in my organization, I heard Him whisper to me "You can go there if you wish … but if you do I will not go with you." I'm not sure that I can adequately put into words the sense that came over me. I can only describe it as the fear of God. The Fear of the Lord is a place of refuge … walking in this fear keeps us safe.

The scriptures are a place of refuge. Psalms 18:30 says
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Walking in obedience to the scriptures is a place of safety. I am consistently challenged by Jesus’ instruction in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus always goes to the heart of an issue and more importantly to the heart of man. We enter God’s refuge when our heart motives and the scriptures are in agreement.

Lastly I want to say that there is a blessing to the one who enters God’s refuge. Reiterating the last part of Psalm 2:12
"Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
It is good to remember that we are blessed when we release control, worship the Lord, fear Him and align our hearts with the scripture.


  1. Wow. Really, really powerful stories supporting an even more powerful message. Thank you.

  2. "I can vividly recollect a time in my life when worship became a mode of survival for me."

    Beautiful. And I can remember a time in my life when I had no worship, no faith to fall back on, and the desperate sadness you describe had Nobody to cling to. It's bad enough with a Savior. Without - I wouldn't go back to that for anything.

  3. So what's the prison ministry like? A friend of mine is interested in becoming involved in something like that but doesn't know where to start.

  4. Hi Fisher,

    I have been involved in both weekly prison ministry and monthly jail ministry. The prison ministry felt more like a bible study because it was weekly and the same guys were there each week ... focus was dicipleship. Jail ministry is more evangelistic because you see new people each time ... even though we minister to many believers ... and looks more like a Sunday morning service.

    Tell your friend to check out Prison Fellowship and find out what opportunities are available in his area.

    Blessings, KB


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