Tuesday, April 30, 2019

What cannot be blown away

This past Friday, we participated in a very windy Relay for Life event. So blustery, two of the tents we used were destroyed, the metal supports mangled by the wind's huff and puff. So windy the caterer who does the survivor dinner called for fifty-five gallon drums filled with water to anchor their giant tent, which was floating about a foot off the ground.

The weather threatened to blow our decorations and giveaways off the map.

Despite the weather, we gathered to celebrate and what was most important could not be blown away.

Jerry and I were both honored to speak at the opening ceremonies. Here’s an excerpt from my talk:

“I attended my first Relay for Life Event about a year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At my first relay, we were given sashes, and on them, we attached that year's Relay for Life survivor pin. As I trekked around the track with my one pin on my first survivor lap, I searched for other survivors who had multiple pins. I wanted to find another woman who lived a significant length of time beyond her diagnosis. When I spotted a metal laden sash, it thrilled my heart and gave me so much hope.

You see, when I was diagnosed, though our oldest daughter was an adult, our younger children were only six and eight years old. Oh, how I wanted to be with them as they grew, to celebrate birthdays, soccer victories, and ballet recitals. I wanted to mend skinned knees and help console broken hearts. I wanted to be there for graduations and college decisions and dare I even hope for grandchildren.

I also sensed a call from the Lord to be a writer. But I hadn’t really even gotten started and I knew it would take time.

It seemed a lot to pray for, me with my one pin on my first survivor lap.

But I did pray, and many others prayed for me. As most survivors will attest, I learned to value every day as a precious gift.

The next year at Relay for Life, I added another pin on my sash, and the next year, another.

Today, by the grace of God, here I am.
 



When I make my lap today, I should have about nineteen pins on my sash. I’m missing a couple, but you get the idea. Those young children are twenty-five and twenty –seven. I praise God, I celebrated when my son played goalkeeper at the state soccer playoffs. I was there when my daughter performed in her senior ballet recital. I watched the fireworks when my son graduated from the University of Georgia and cheered as the president of Oglethorpe University handed my daughter her diploma.



As far as my writing, I have four books in print, others on my computer. I’ve contributed to six book anthologies, written over 800 blog posts, countless articles and devotions, and even had a screenplay under option.  
 

If you’re here for the first time tonight, when you look at my sash, my prayer is it will give you hope. Nothing is impossible.  

I’ve been through a few scary times in intervening years, but God has been with me. I know others have prayed just as much and are in a real battle. I have a precious friend there now, so let’s draw courage from the Lord and let’s encourage one another.
 
Whether we have many years under our belt or only one, let’s have hope for the future, and let’s celebrate.”

Our oldest daughter had a baby about a year after my diagnosis. He is a senior this year and his sister followed a short time later. Oh, what joy they have brought us. What a privilege is has been to watch them grow up also.

Jerry was diagnosed with prostate cancer ten years after my diagnosis and he is now a nine year survivor. Anther tremendous praise.

When I see those pins on my sash, I see the wonderful blessings each year brought and my heart overflows with enormous gratitude.

If you know someone who has just been diagnosed, share a picture of my sash. I know from experience, it will bless them.

There are some things the wind cannot blow away.  

 "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us . . . " (Romans 5:2-5).


https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Fashion-District-Beverly-Varnado/dp/1633571203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522872109&sr=8-1&keywords=Faith+in+the+Fashion+District
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue--God wants to use us for His glory.” Nancy Stafford Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author
 
Faith in the Fashion District by Beverly Varnado




 
   A key can open more than a door. The Key to Everything by Beverly Varnado. In print and ebook.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

What are you carrying around?

We do it without realizing.

We pick up these weights adding them to our collection. Maybe they don’t seem heavy at first, but the accumulation grows. Then, without realizing it, we become like Lucy and Desi in the classic movie, The Long, Long Trailer. That big rock collection (spoiler alert) is threatening to propel our lives right over the precipice.

The reasons we hold on to the rocks are many. Maybe we feel carrying that load it is our due punishment for offenses committed. Perhaps, we think we can resolve the irresolvable or we can’t forgive or we are afraid of being found out or . . .

The list goes on.

But here’s the good news.

The tomb is empty.
 
 

Jesus rose from the dead so we wouldn’t have to carry our stones anymore. His sacrifice covered our offenses. Once and for all. We can let go of those heavy burdens. We don’t have to solve all the riddles because He is a living Savior. He’s on the throne and knows all. News Flashwe’re not in chargeHe is and for Him nothing is impossible. He has covered our shame and can help us forgive every offense done to us.  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Time to put down the dead weight. Leave it at His feet and embrace the resurrection power of Jesus.

I’m right there with you.

Let’s experience what Eugene Peterson called the “unforced rhythms of grace . . . living freely and lightly” (Matthew 29-30 The Message).


https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Fashion-District-Beverly-Varnado/dp/1633571203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522872109&sr=8-1&keywords=Faith+in+the+Fashion+District
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue--God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author
 
Faith in the Fashion District by Beverly Varnado
 
       A key can open more than a door.
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

At the Anaiah Press Blog today with What Always Points to Love


 
 
I'm over at the Anaiah Press blog today. Please join me there to read the rest of this post. Many thanks and Happy Easter.

In The Key to Everything, the protagonist Genny faces a sacrifice she never saw coming. In fact, as the author writing the story, I never saw it coming either. But, there it was, and I wondered if I were challenged in the same way whether I would be able to follow through as Genny did.

When I think of sacrifice, O. Henry’s wonderful short story, The Gift of the Magi, leaps to mind. With little in the way of resources, Jim and Della struggle to find a meaningful gift for the other. Both make a sacrificial choice, (READ MORE)

Available in both print and ebook:
 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

What they waved, what He rode, the word they shouted, and why it matters

"They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, 'Hosanna to David’s son! Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Hosanna in highest heaven!'" (Matthew 21:6-9 The Message).

Between today and Easter is Holy Week, the beginning of which is signaled by Palm Sunday, the traditional celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Sometimes, we lose touch with the why of our spiritual observances. A few things to think about this week: 

The palms are symbolic of victory. The disciples and others gathered as Jesus entered Jerusalem indicated their belief in him as a coming king by casting their garments and palm fronds before him as was done in that culture before a dignitary. Perhaps Jews recalled the stories of Solomon’s coronation happening in much the same way (I Kings 1). Palm Sunday is only a foretaste of that great day described in Revelation 7:9-10 when there will be more palm waving. “They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.’”  

The donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem was no accidental find.


Far from it. The donkey was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, “See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey . . .” One scholar, Alan Rudnick, puts it this way, “This donkey was born for Jesus’ wonderful work. It had not been used or ridden by anyone else.”

My friend Pat's donkey, Farley. Note the cross on his back. The legend being Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and later the donkey followed him to the cross, its shadow falling on his back.


 About this business of untying the donkey mentioned several times in Luke 19:3-33, Rudnick continues, “As Christians, we need to be untied from what weighs us down. Palm Sunday is not just a celebration of Christ as King, but a celebration of Jesus as our liberator from dependencies and afflictions.” Untying the donkey points to why Jesus came―to untie us from sin, and all that would keep us from living for Him and with Him.

Hosanna comes from two Hebrew words meaning, “Save now.” The Jews of that time expected a King to deliver them from Roman tyranny. Of course, Jesus had eternity in mind―a spiritual deliverance. In days, the ringing Hosannas faded, as Jesus’ followers scattered to the wind and Jesus' work of saving us took place on the cross.

On Palm Sunday, we may experience the sweet scene of palms carried down our church aisles by children and sing with joy the strains of Hosanna, Loud Hosanna. However, I catch myself holding my breath. I know what’s coming. I know in the days ahead, I’m going to read again the story of Jesus’ sacrifice, the scourging, the burden of the cross, and picture in my mind the nail scarred hands. I remember he knew it was coming too, and yet he made the choice to continue.
 
For me.
 
For you.
 
That my friends, is why we do what we do, why we remember. The donkey, the palms, and the Hosannas led the way for us to be saved, untied, and liberated by the One who set this plan in motion from the foundation of the world.
 
Sources for this post: 
https://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/ask-roger/8-things-most-christians-don-t-understand-about-jesus-triumphal-entry.html

https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/193175.pdf



https://biblehub.com/greek/5614.htm

 Books available in both print and ebook:
 
https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Fashion-District-Beverly-Varnado/dp/1633571203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522872109&sr=8-1&keywords=Faith+in+the+Fashion+District
“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue--God wants to use us for His glory.”
Nancy Stafford Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author


Faith in the Fashion District by Beverly Varnado

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

If you need a guide






 
When our family visits this coastal area, we often enjoy seeing kayakers navigating the vast marshes. In fact, a few of us have braved the marshes ourselves with mixed results, but that's a story for another day.

Expert kayakers warn never to enter the marshes without a guide. At high tide, navigation is easy, but when the tide goes out, and water levels lower, expansive vistas give way to tall sea grass and twisting channels. With limited visibility, this leaves unexperienced kayakers confused, because landmarks have disappeared.

That’s when a guide who is familiar with the area is essential to navigating safely through the marsh.

At one time or another, we may have thought we could handle our lives without our guide, the Holy Spirit. However, when circumstances shift, life can seem like that marsh at low tidea maze.

Been there. Done that.

Jesus knew we would need help, and he sent the Holy Spirit to give us direction. If we’re confused or lost, all we have to do is ask Him for wisdom. It’s good to know we will never be left alone because our Guide has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

It's comforting to know He will always see us home.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
 

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