He Was “Goodness”- a reblog from August 24, 2012

He was “Goodness” by Amanda Elder Silvers

 

While researching the topic of “goodness” as one of the fruits of the Spirit I came across the following definition on www.discipleshiptools.org– “Goodness is the fruit that virtue and the rest of characters combine to produce endearment. It is the character that makes people liked and even lovable by others.” The example of “goodness” that I’d like to give to you this morning weighs heavy on my heart. I hope it will speak to you.

News has travelled quickly this week through the small town in which I live that a young man most all of us knew has passed away. Jette was the very definition of “goodness”. He was a Christian and and active church goer. Jette excelled in practically everything he attempted both in sports and academics. He had movie star good looks and was that boy that all the young girls in town would swoon over (even if quietly so). My own nieces- when they were about 4 and 6- told me that one day they’d marry Jette. Jette was well mannered and well spoken. He had a kind heart and often times would play his guitar at church during the service. He was the type of boy that parents would dream of as a husband for their daughters and that every girl would dream of as a spouse.

 

Jette was in his twenties and had moved on from our small town to go to college and pursue a career in the medical field. He was married to a lovely, young girl last December. On Wednesday of this week whispers started filling the air through the town of Rogersville… “Have you heard about Jette?” I accidentally walked into a conversation about this while standing in line to fill out paperwork at a local business. It was spoken about just loudly enough for me to hear. I immediately jumped in with complete shock, “WHAT?! Jette? I know him. What happened?” One of the greatest tragedies in life, I believe, is when a young person dies. You immediately feel the void that their absence leaves and you can’t help but wonder what mark they would have continued to make on this earth had they stayed. All I have heard people discuss this week is what a “good kid” and a “good young man” he was. Jette wasn’t even aware, but he has left a legacy behind and been a role model for young men after him to live up to.

“Goodness” in people seems to be a fading quality. I just remember thinking how sweet it is that everyone remembers Jette in the same way I do. That megawatt smile, his laugh, his kindness, his goodness. The Love of his Lord simply radiated through him. You couldn’t help but be affected.

Jette’s absence has been felt by many and will continue to be felt. It’s troubling to lose someone who brought such goodness into this world…. a world which seems to be so empty, and selfish, and harsh. Each of us should hope that when our time comes to leave from this earth that those who knew us will be able to say about us, “He was such a good man.” or “She was such a good woman.” Jette was a perfect example of God’s goodness. He will be greatly missed.

(Thank you to Ashley Goan for permission to use her prom pic with Jette from 2007)
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Be Kind to One Another- a reblog from August 17, 2012

Be Kind to One Another by Amanda Elder Silvers

 
It’s been said that “It’s a cruel, cruel world”. The older I get the more I find myself agreeing with this statement. We seem to live in such a fast-paced society that I feel the “human” element of life often times gets lost in the hustle and bustle of each quickly moving day. As a mother it seems that every moment of my day is planned before my feet even have a chance to hit the floor. It’s difficult to take time for the things we enjoy- a quiet cup of coffee, a moment in a favorite rocking chair, or a visit with our neighbor- when we seem to be on the go from sun up to sun down. We live in a day of instant communication- text messaging, social networking, e-mails, etc. Our generation is learning that instant gratification is not only possible, but very much expected. We drive through a McDonald’s and if we have to wait any longer than about 3 minutes for our meal of processed meat and greasy french fries we fall all too pieces. Our days seem to be spent watching the proverbial clock.

In the rush of life, somewhere along the way, I think some people have forgotten the importance of nurturing our personal relationships. We work at our jobs. We work on our houses. We work on our cars. We work on growing our bank accounts. We need to remind ourselves that our relationships with others require work as well. The Bible is full of verses instructing us to be kind to those we know and even those we do not.

Eph. 4:32
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Gal. 6:10
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

 

As Christians it is imperative for us to remember that each of us were created equally and in His (God’s) own image. He didn’t make any of us any more special or perfect than the other. He loves each of us just the same. I remember a few years ago a phrase was sweeping our country. Everywhere you turned, it seemed, someone was talking about “paying it forward”. I loved this movement in our country. The premise was that if everyone would practice even just ONE act of random kindness and then the person receiving the kind act would then “pay it forward” to someone else…. well, then we would literally be caught in a avalanche of kindness. What a wonderful thought! I read accounts of acts as simple as paying for the meal of the person at the drive through window behind you to major acts of kindness which went above and beyond anything one would expect. The point of the exercise is that if we get used to treating others kindly and in turn being treated kindly ourselves we can move mountains. I’d encourage each of you to put this exercise to the test today. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. It doesn’t have to cost anything. You can take a piece of paper and slide a note to someone telling them how much you love and appreciate them.

 
Today let’s start showing kindness to its full capacity. Let’s think before we speak. Let’s love instead of judge. I wish each of you a blessed day and weekend.

The Lesson of Long Suffering- a reblog from August 10, 2012

The Lesson of Long Suffering – by Amanda Silvers

 
A phrase that I find reoccurring in my communications with my friends of late is this, “We’re never promised this is going to be an easy ride.” Boy howdy! Now there’s a statement I could write volumes about.

Long suffering is described as “patient endurance”. Patience is most definitely NOT one of my strongest virtues and endurance is something that I know the Lord has woven into the tapestry of my being. Endurance isn’t even an option or a choice. It’s a necessity. As Christians we are promised in His Word that there is nothing too difficult or too tedious for us to walk through with His help.

Romans 8:28-29
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

Most of us during our time here will experience certain life events which put our patience to the test. A death, a divorce, a crisis…. it is in these moments that our feet are held to the fire and required to make a choice. We can chose to crumble or pull the covers up over our heads and try to keep reality out as much as possible or we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and put one step in front of the other and move….even if it’s slowly…. moving forward.

Another lesson that’s come into play in my own life personally is this- there is only so much we are able to control with our human hands. The big picture is in His hands. We can waste time frustrated and running around trying to orchestrate and rearrange issues in our lives or the lives of others which we don’t understand or agree with, but the truth is those efforts are futile. It isn’t our “control” which matters. We didn’t create the universe. We aren’t gifted with omniscient power and wisdom. It is only a Most High God Who has perfect insight. We are merely human. We have trials. Our instruction is to turn to Him during these times and trust that He is in control.

Proverbs 19:21
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

 

Our Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. He has given us His Word, our instruction book on what to do when things feels too much or too unbearable. In what I imagine as a perfect world we would all live together in harmony. We would help those who were suffering and love those who were struggling. There would be no judgment and no condemnation. We would realize that none among us is any more important or special than anyone else. God views us all the same. We were all created in HIS image. Not just a few of us- of you- ALL of us.

My prayer is that each of you will have a wonderful week and weekend. Take time to be quiet and listen to Him. Turn your cares and concerns over to the Father and let Him carry your burden for you. He wants to so much. All we have to do is ask. Be blessed!

Love- a reblog from July 20, 2012

Love by Amanda Elder Silvers

 
“Love is a many splendored thing.” No other feeling or emotion can so thoroughly engulf one’s soul that we are able to be transported to another planet through the euphoria of it or slammed down into the darkest pits of despair because of the heartbreak of it. As a woman I love “love”. I appreciate the importance of it. I enjoy both the giving and receiving of it. I have seen firsthand the healing powers it possesses and I’ve seen the wreckage and the harsh aftermath of love gone bad or taken for granted.

If you were asked to define the word “love” what would you say? I could post a dictionary definition of the word, but I’d like for you to really take a second and think. I love ice cream. I love my children. Is it the same?…. hardly. Love can wear any number of faces and it can been seen through any number of actions. First love. Love lost. The power of love. The gift of love. True love. Eternal love. I’m not sure there really is a right answer. I believe that if we are blessed enough in our lives to have love then we base our definition upon our personal experience with it.

In high school if asked to define “love” my answer would have most definitely been directed toward some boy who made my palms sweaty and heart race. Books, music, and television all convince us that we are on a quest to find “perfect love”. <I’ve become a little hostile to the media because of this insinuation> In college my opinion was probably much the same. Into adulthood however, after my children were born, my answer would become much different. Enter unconditional love. What an amazing thing to experience. Before I even met these two little beings I loved them and would have given my life for them. As a pregnant woman you eat healthy, you live healthy, and you’re much more aware of your daily actions knowing now that everything you do won’t just affect you, but this precious little being you have inside. Once I had the pleasure of meeting them I knew in an instant that the love I felt for them would never fade. There is nothing either of those cute, loud, rambunctious little young’uns could ever do to diminish even 1% of the love I feel for them. If anything it increases daily.

I like to think this is just a very small-scale version of the love God has for us, His children. He was and is the supreme example of unconditional love. While we were yet sinners, He loved us and gave His Son to die on a cross that we could have the opportunity for an eternal life spent with Him in Heaven. THAT’S the most amazing love. His love is the truest love and the one we should most desire. The beauty is that we don’t even have to do anything to deserve it. He loves us even before we are born. His love never fails.

Psalm 136

Praise the Lord! He is good.
God’s love never fails.
2 Praise the God of all gods.
God’s love never fails.
3 Praise the Lord of lords.
God’s love never fails.
4 Only God works great miracles.[a]
God’s love never fails.
5 With wisdom he made the sky.
God’s love never fails.
6 The Lord stretched the earth
over the ocean.
God’s love never fails.
7 He made the bright lights
in the sky.
God’s love never fails.
8 He lets the sun rule each day.
God’s love never fails.
9 He lets the moon and the stars
rule each night.
God’s love never fails.
10 God struck down the first-born
in every Egyptian family.
God’s love never fails.
11 He rescued Israel from Egypt.
God’s love never fails.
12 God used his great strength
and his powerful arm.
God’s love never fails.
13 He split the Red Sea[b] apart.
God’s love never fails.
14 The Lord brought Israel safely
through the sea.
God’s love never fails.
15 He destroyed the Egyptian king
and his army there.
God’s love never fails.
16 The Lord led his people
through the desert.
God’s love never fails.
17 Our God defeated mighty kings.
God’s love never fails.
18 And he killed famous kings.
God’s love never fails.
19 One of them was Sihon,
king of the Amorites.
God’s love never fails.
20 Another was King Og of Bashan.
God’s love never fails.
21 God took away their land.
God’s love never fails.
22 He gave their land to Israel,
the people who serve him.
God’s love never fails.
23 God saw the trouble we were in.
God’s love never fails.
24 He rescued us from our enemies.
God’s love never fails.
25 He gives food to all who live.
God’s love never fails.
26 Praise God in heaven!
God’s love never fails.
 
(Source: Biblegateway.com)

Dive On In- a reblog from July 6, 2012

“Dive On In” by Amanda Elder Silvers

 
There is so much that I love about summertime. I love having the kids home from school. I love not having to rush around in the mornings to be out the door by 7:30 a.m. I love spending time outside with them; but most of all, as anyone who knows us can attest, we love the water.

From the time my children were infants I’ve had them in water. When I had just had baby number one and was pregnant with baby number two we lived in a house which had an above-ground pool. I’ve never been a fan of those- aesthetically speaking- but that all quickly changed when I could put my precious 9-month-old baby on a raft with me and let my 6 month pregnant belly soak in that cool water. It was heaven. It brought such peace.

We love all things “water”. The city pool gets our business every summer now that we have moved from the house with the pool. My daughter has even joined the swim team this year. That 8-year-old girl practically has gills and fins. She’s always been my little fish.

pEvery year since their arrival we’ve taken our babies to the beach for the summer. It’s such a nice change from the pool experience we are so used to in our free time. The beach offers something for my family which is hard to describe, but I know many people who feel the same. Standing on the shore, toes buried in the sand, and looking out at nothing but beautiful water for as far as the eye can see is an amazingly humbling experience. We are so small, so minute. My mind drifts to what may lay on the other side of that vast body of water. What lives take place far, far away? Who are those people? What experiences have they had? Being at the beach always makes me feel closer to God. I am standing in the very presence of his handiwork and never cease to be awestruck. What an amazing God we serve. I love that He is capable of creating such beauty. Throughout my year during times I feel stressed or overwhelmed I will often close my eyes and just imagine being on a beach listening to the quiet sounds of the waves. I can feel His peace simply wash over me like the tide coming in and immediately I’m relaxed. It’s a powerful entity unto itself.
 
 
Happy summer, everyone! Take time to enjoy the little things. Take time to marvel in His beauty.

Encouragement- a reblog from June 29, 2012

Encouragment by Amanda Elder Silvers

 
An online search of the word “encourage” yielded these results-

en·cour·age/enˈkərij/

 
Verb:
  1. Give support, confidence, or hope to (someone): “encouraging results”; “I feel encouraged”.
  2. Give support and advice to (someone) to do or continue something: “pupils are encouraged to be creative”.
 
Synonyms:
embolden – hearten – support – promote – stimulate

My spiritual gift from day one has been the gift of encouragment. For as far back as I can recall I am usually the person in my circle whom the others come to for guidance and advice. I’ve always been hardwired that way. I believe I’m a good listener and truly want to hear what is happening in the lives of others. It’s a very social responsibility, however it’s not a responsibility I take lightly. Frankly it is one which comes with a great deal of pressure. It’s necessary that we hold that mirror up to ourselves when we are offering advice and support to others.

Scripture instructs us throughout to be encouragers.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

It is our responsibility as believers in Christ to love, encourage, listen, and to hold one another’s feet to the fire when necessary. It’s not always an easy task, but it is the one to which I was called. Life can be challenging at times and sometimes we all just need to hear a kind word from another human who can show us a glimpse into the pure love of Christ. I try to be that person for my family, my friends, and even strangers. If I’m being honest there are times I fail miserably, but it’s comforting to know that when I, “the encourager”, need support I can always to to a Holy God Who will never keep His love from me.
 
My prayer for each person reading this is that God has blessed you with a person (or several people) who are encouragers to you on a daily basis. I have my support. They are often times what keeps me sane! In a world which can be so cruel at times I personally find it of foremost importance to know that there are people who will listen and help steer when I feel I’m drifting off road. I’m honored to be able to return the favor.
 
 
Have a blessed weekend!

Moments of Accomplishment- a reblog from June 22, 2012

Moments of Accomplishment by Amanda Elder Silvers

 
There are many moments in life which pop easily into the forefront of one’s mind. A birth, a death, a wedding, a graduation- all are things which seem to automatically embed themselves deep inside us and are available for us to draw upon and reminisce about whenever the time calls. In keeping with this week’s topic of our proudest life accomplishments I’ve had to break them into a few categories.1. On a superficial tip: Some fun life events I’m proud of, but which don’t really amount to a hill of beans, would be that in high school I had the pleasure of serving on the homecoming court, the student council, the yearbook staff, the National Honor Society, and the cheerleading squad. I went to a small, private Christian school so it’s not really a testament to my overall “fabulosity”, but more so that the odds (being in a graduating class of 21) were simply stacked in my favor. 🙂

Getting involved, taking risks, and learning to participate in groups were key elements in shaping me into who I am today.

2. On a grown up tip: I have been fortunate in that I’ve been able to put my college degree into action during most of my career years. I’ve always desired to work in a job which served people. My theory is that we are all here for a purpose and I wanted my purpose to count. I served several years as a psychiatric technician at Woodridge Psychiatric Hospital in Johnson City, TN, working with adolescents. This job was then followed by working for the State of TN in Chattanooga on the Crisis Intervention Team. We served as case workers who worked exclusively with families of adolescents going through the juvenile court systems. I loved, LOVED these jobs. Neither a high-paying position, but both came with rewards beyond any dollar amount.

Knowing what your spiritual gift is and utilizing that during your time on this planet is key to happiness, peace, and fulfillment.

3. On a spiritual tip: As a believer in Christ I feel we all have a responsibility to live up to our obligations. We are here to worship our Lord and to bring others to Christ. I’m most proud, on a spiritual and eternal level, of the people in my life I’ve been blessed with the honor of sharing the Word of God and praying with them for salvation. My first experience with this came somewhere around the age of 8 and my last around the age of 30. My “numbers” aren’t nearly as high as they need to be. The beauty of writing with an amazing team of bloggers such as this group is that I’m being kept in check (even though they may not realize) and I’m going to up my game in this arena.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share. Have a wonderful weekend, friends

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