Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Looking for more


I often experience, as I know many of you do, a conflict between what is, what has been, and what could be.

We are encouraged in Philippians to “be content whatever the circumstances.” And yet, for many years, I have prayed these verses, “God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about you, and I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees. Do among us what you did among them. Work among us as you worked among them” (Habakkuk 3:2, Message).

I’ve been reading a biography of Aimee Semple McPherson. She was a controversial figure at times in the first half of the 1900’s, but even the biographer who was not of the Christian faith, made clear that so many of the works God did through her were well documented, undisputed, and long lasting—the salvations—the miraculous healings.

When I read of the hunger for God during that time with people lined up for hours to get in services, the picture contrasts sharply with the current struggle of churches today to even regain ground lost during the pandemic.

In these pages, I see the personal cost to those involved in the work of God, so that’s why one thing seems clear, in order for God to move mightily, He will require full surrender—nothing held back. Because if one is not fully surrendered, there would be an inability to endure the upheaval that a move of God brings.

In biographies of others used in a big way by the Lord, you see this surrender—John Wesley, George Whitfield, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and in fact Aimee was often called the female Billy Sunday.

She came along about the time the Azusa Street revival was beginning, from which God also wrought many incredible works.

As I read, the longing in my heart for more increases. I ache to see God move in a great way to save and heal both in spirit and in body. But hunger needs to company with surrender. And so, we need to fully commit to the Lord so that we might be fitting vessels for whatever God would want to do through us and in us.

I know this post is more preachy than I usually am here, but it’s what’s heavy on my heart today.

A friend of ours used to say that I had a favorite phrase, and I will repeat that phrase here with a wistful longing for the more that only God can bring, “Who knows what the Lord will do?” Because you see, we can’t imagine the wonder God would bring if we would only give him our all.

So, here’s to being content, yet always looking for more in the Spirit. 

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

When you can't imagine


Something happens, and it seems so random. Try as we might, we can’t connect to any good result.

And yet, God’s purposes which are at first veiled often yield an amazing effect.

A verse I had perhaps skimmed over in the past came into sharp relief for me this week.

In Galatians 4:13, we find these words, “As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.”

No one knows what illness the writer, the apostle Paul, might have referred to or whether it was his “thorn in the flesh” he referenced in other places. As one Bible scholar offered, we don’t know if he came to Galatia to heal from an illness he already had or whether in his travels, he intended to just pass through, but was instead stricken with an infirmity that caused him to stay. In any event, Paul tells us it was the illness itself that brought him there and supplied him the opportunity to proclaim the good news of Jesus to the Galatians. And then because of his relationship with them, he continued to correspond with them to encourage and admonish.

We can draw a line from Paul’s illness to the writing of the letter to the Galatians included in our Bibles today. Who could have seen that coming?

I’d say that was quite an enduring outcome from an unexpected happening.

This verse also illustrates how God can use us in our own perceived weakness. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul said, “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.” He also shares these words the Lord spoke to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We cannot measure our strength by our feelings, but we allow our feelings of weakness to cause us to lean on the Lord. “For when I am weak, then I am strong,” he says. (Corinthians 12:10).

When I had breast cancer twenty-two years ago, the Lord prepared me for a difficult road ahead through many dreams I had. I wondered if God had done all of this why hadn’t he just healed me. After my diagnosis, a dear friend sent me these verses in Romans 5, “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” I lived on these verses trusting that God was using what I was going through in unexpected ways. There was much that came out of that time, but one of those things was God launched me into my next chapter, which was writing.

So, if you’re facing your own version of an unexpected problem, take comfort in God’s ability to use it in ways you may not even be able to imagine.


Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Knowing the character


While plundering notes and journal entries for another book project, I came across a verse from Isaiah that had special significance years ago. When I searched my blog to see if I’d written on it before, I came across around fifty other posts from Isaiah but none from this passage. I decided to rectify that situation.

Here it is as I’d copied it down from the Classic edition of the Amplified Bible:

“And therefore, the Lord (earnestly) waits (expecting, looking, and longing) to be gracious to you and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortitude, to be envied) are those who (earnestly) wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him (for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship).” Isaiah 30:18

I love the amplified version because it gives us greater insight into the translation of several words.

And here for a more edited version in the NIV:

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

I had written this verse in my journal when we were dealing with a difficult thing in our family that could have had long lasting challenging consequences. It was months before we knew the outcome and during that time, we were leaning hard on the Lord. We knew that things don’t always turn out the way we want them too, but no matter what, we were confident God would be with us.

Still, we hoped for the outcome we wanted.

Sometimes, we can see God as tightfisted with his blessings—holding back. Doling them out incrementally as if somehow, He only has so much to give.

And yet, this verse tells us the complete opposite is true. God wants to bless. He longs to be gracious. He rises to show mercy and justice. These words also encourage us to wait as well as expect, look, and long for Him. And I’m so struck by the fact that Isaiah says we are blessed in our waiting as we look to Him. We are blessed in the process—in the between before the answer comes.

In our humanity, the between time is often filled with anxiety. In case you wondered, I’m talking to myself now. However, repeatedly, God has shown me that the waiting time is filled with wonder.

In the end, our situation resolved in the way we’d most desired. We were so grateful and still are. God did rise to show us mercy. But that would have been the case no matter what happened.

So, if you’re out there today wondering, faced with a foreboding challenge, try meditating on Isaiah 30:18. Let it go down deep in your heart, so that no matter the outcome, the character of God will be imprinted in your soul. 

For those of you receiving this by email, I apologize for the multiple posts that went out last week on the Blogger feed. I honestly don't know how that happened and have no control over it. Hopefully, it won't happen again. Blessings. 

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

What it's time for

Last week, I read again God’s response to Job’s complaints in chapters 38-41.

Among God’s questions:

“Who shut up the sea behind doors . . . when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt?’”

“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place . . .?"

“Have you entered the storehouses of snow . . .?”

“Can you loose Orion’s belt?”

 “Do you give the horse its strength . . . It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing . . . it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds?”

“Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom?”

Humbled, Job responds in 40:4, “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth?”

The Message translates this verse a bit more bluntly, “I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth. I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen.”

God is waiting for all of us to reach that point where we realize we’ve been too verbose and are ready to listen.

Of course, God wants to hear from us, but if on our part, it's all talk all the time and no listening, we miss the point. We would never be able to carry on a relationship with another person that way and neither can we with God.

We often complain about not hearing from God. Perhaps we’re not being attentive.

So, it's time to give give Job 38-41 another read and also time to turn our ears heavenward. Right there with you.

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022



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