Friday, December 24, 2010

How do we give to someone who has everything?


We spoke of how we wish to give to Jesus more intentionally this year. Obviously, we cannot wrap a gift and place it under the tree hoping He will receive it and unwrap it. Although, I believe He could if He wanted to. So, how can we give to the "King, eternal, immortal, and invisible"?

Some quick ideas that we all can still do and I pray that we won't let the "Christmas Season" limit our time span on when we can do these things.

1- Give out cards with the Word of God to as many as you can afford.

2- Learn a homemade skill and take the time and energy to give to those who have blessed you this year.

3- Spend some time on the living room floor, or out around a bonfire and sing songs together as a family to the King of Kings. Christmas songs are great for this.

4- With all that practice on singing those Christmas carols as a family, think of someone you can bless   (whether you think you sing well or not) by going to see them and singing a few for them. So many experience sadness and loneliness during this time. The kids will bring a warmth and comfort to them, I promise you.

5- Our kids are putting on a Christmas drama for us this year. This was all their idea and we have encouraged them and made time for them to practice. They will perform it for us on Christmas day and then two more times as we meet together with family. Our prayer is that God will use the little children to encourage those who are faithful and plant seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of those who are lost without Christ.

6- Participate in the Lord's Supper together as a family.

7- Take the money that you saved from downsizing and pick out two or three ministries or a needy family and give it away.

8- If you are going to watch t.v., then try to center it on Christ. Pull out the old Christmas movies that have a story line of giving, sacrifice, worship. The Nativity Story, The Jesus movie, Veggie Tales Christmas movie, etc.... Fill your home with Christ-honoring music, even if it is only piano music with no words.

We could list numerous more things, but I know that even while reading you can come up with some on your own. Pray for God to show you how to give to Him this year and next year, and the next.

It is amazing to think that, "when we give to the least of these, we give to Him".

The Boggs Family

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"What do you want for Christmas, Mama?"


Tonight we all gathered around the living room with the Christmas tree lit and candles burning throughout. It was a peaceful setting and peace is what I was looking for. With lots of little ones it can be challenging to have everyone sit quiet for a Bible story and verse memorization and prayer.

While changing Maleah in the back of the house, Keith must have asked the kids what there favorite thing about Christmas was. I missed the answers, but walked in just as the question was being altered by one of our children to, "What is our favorite thing that we want for Christmas?" Ah, just like us to turn Christmas back into "all about me" mentality. They went around the room answering from the youngest to the oldest.

Then came my turn. "What do you really want for Christmas, Mama?" I knew what they wanted me to answer with. They wanted me to say a new dress, stuff for the kitchen, etc...Those things would be nice, but I couldn't shake the thoughts of what I feel like God has been speaking to me in the last few weeks. Maybe even the last few years.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5

Santa Clause, Frosty, candy canes, Jingle Bells, gifts, gifts, gifts, debt, debt, debt (for so many), pressure, stress, busyness, feelings of loss and only memories to hold on to. Christmas parties with cakes and candy. Cantatas and the Nutcracker. Special times with family and friends. Surprises and disappointments for what was given and what was not. Holly jolly moments and moments of deep depression. Christmas miracles, perhaps only noticed during this time that something "higher" was responsible. My mind goes on and on.

As the Lord allows me to pull all of these things back, though many are fun and harmless, I realize that it is only about one thing. I have let all of the these things cloud my vision. In this dark state that I found myself in over 20 years ago and sometimes fall back in to, the light has been shining and I do not comprehend it. Because really isn't this "Christmas Season" that we get so excited about and celebrate the birth of Jesus supposed to be more than a season, but our very life lived out every day in surrender and obedience to Christ? A life lived in excitement and celebration for the one we call Savior?

"Mama.....what do you want for Christmas?"

"I want peace and simplicity. I want this time to be all about Jesus and not about us." What I didn't say, but wish that I had is that I want to give to Him this year.

"But, Mama, what do you really want?"

"That is what I really want."

Nichole

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Glory in the Highest!

Now to the King
eternal, immortal, invisible,
to God who alone is wise,
be honor and glory
forever and ever.
Amen.

1 Timothy 1:17

The Christmas Season is a special time of year and for me, this Christmas seems more real to me than ever. I guess it could be that I am a year older. I'm closer to 40 than I've ever been. I'll turn 38 in 2011 and as I look back through the years I am amazed at the brevity of life. Scripture is so true, my life is only a vapor (James 4:14). As I look back over my life, I see a precious wife, a full quiver of children, wonderful brothers, a sweet sister, Godly in-laws, countless friends, three precious churches that I have served, and so much more.

I also see a life stained with sin. There have been some obvious downs over 37-plus years. I have made poor financial decisions, stupid relational decisions, said hurtful things to those I love. There have been seasons in my life where I was at a guilty distance from God, choosing my way instead of His, and I have learned that there is a high cost to low living.

Trying to gain a perspective over life can be difficult. It takes time to meditate through those ups and downs. Upon reflecting and considering my worship to the King, I am arrested by the verse in 1 Timothy 1:17, Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. The first thought that comes to mind: This is the only way to live.

One of the things that the Lord has taught me of Himself this Christmas is that He is worthy of my worship. In other words, He is worthy of my entire life... all that I am and all that I have should give Him the highest honor and the highest glory. Yes, glory in the highest! The word glory is a great word crafted with such significance. The word can be used to refer to the worship of and honor of the character, the nature, and the reputation of God Himself.

Try pondering God's character, God's nature, and God's reputation for a few days as you reflect over your life. Over the last few weeks I have and I am still needing more time to reflect and meditate on such a profound privilege of worshipping this new born King. Glory in the highest! Why?

There is no one with a character more sterling than the Kings!
There is no one with a nature more supernatural than the Kings!
There is no one with a reputation more supreme than the Kings!

One song that has ministered to me the last few weeks is the song Christmas Offering. Take time over the next few days to reflect upon these words below (or better yet, see the video), I am sure you will conclude, shouting: Glory in the Highest!

At the feet of Jesus,
Keith


Christmas Offering
Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three wise men seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace
The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love
There is no shadow in Your Presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It's only by Your Blood and it's only through you mercy
Lord I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You're due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You're due
O Lord I bring an offering to You

Friday, December 10, 2010

Meet Maleah Grace! #7

We have been patiently waiting to introduce our youngest because we knew that she would soon be turning one year old and as of 11:41 p.m. last night, she is officially 1!

Maleah is something else. She came into the world different than any of our other babies. She was due on the 11th of December and we welcomed her into the world a couple of days before that in our very own home.

I knew when we had our sixth child, Stephen, in the hospital (which was nearly a perfect experience) and had to wait approx. 25 minutes on the doctor to get there before I could begin to push his little self out, that I may want to consider a different option for the next baby.

A very reluctant husband humored my desires to find a midwife and consider an actual home birth. After an initial consultation and then follow-up visits we both really liked her and found her to be very caring and knowledgeable. After months of anticipation and some anxiety of the "unknown," we began laboring about 1:00 in the afternoon and about 10 hours later Maleah was born under water in a birthing pool set up in our bedroom! Not only was a home birth (and a waterbirth) a first for us, but this was also the first time we did not know the sex of the baby. That was a lot of fun. I will never forget.... once we turned her over after she had been laying on my chest, we saw that she was a girl! Our other four girls, who had witnessed the birth, began to jump up and down and celebrate! They ran down the hall to tell their Papa (who had teased them all along that we were having a boy) that he was wrong!

Another first for all of us was a total commitment to infant potty training with Maleah. We began taking her to the potty at a month old. She went the very first time! We do cloth diapers, so I figured whether she went or not, if we could just get her to have a bm in the potty it would be worth it. Who wants to clean that out?! It has definitely been an experience and a conversation piece for sure. Does she go in the potty? Yes, almost every time. Does she still wet her diapers? Yes, almost every time! Although barely wets most of the time. Babies go a lot!! Maybe one day I will post on the ups and downs and pros and cons of infant potty training.

Maleah was born chunky and dark. Very dark hair and skin. Actually she had a redness to her skin for a few days and looked like a little Indian baby. She stayed chunky through the next months. She went from chunky to plain fat. And, I didn't mind one lick if someone called her such. She was sweet and cuddly. So soft and huggable. She has been a pure joy. Maleah has a fun personality. She scrunches up her nose when she laughs. She will laugh out loud at something that she sees funny or just to get some attention. She gives great hugs and kisses already. Some of her words include."mama, daddy, papa, Joshua (sort of), bye, night-night, stop, no (yes, she has said this to me), Sam (our dog), Jake (one of her friends from church), and baby".

She began to take her first steps a couple of weeks ago. She began to crawl at 5 months old. This was earlier than any of our others. I much prefer the late crawlers. She was into everything soooo soon. She eats everything off the floor! One of her favorite places to play is in our boy's room. In there she can drive cars, bang blocks, take books out the box, open drawers and throw their clothes on the floor. She loves it! Although Maleah adores all her siblings, she can only handle so much of them. She is independent and wants some quick lovin' so she can be on her little way.

Maleah has changed quite a bit in her looks. She has gone from the very dark hair to a blonde. She has an unusual eye color. We are not sure yet what they will be. Kind of gray at this point with a touch of brown or blue...it is hard to tell. They may not be the same color as the rest of the children, but they are big like the rest of them. She has a golden color to her skin. A little round face that reminds us of her sister, Morgan.

We are blessed to have Maleah. She is a gift from God. There is a lot of work involved with having seven children. I once said that if you could have three, you can have ten. Well, easy to say for someone who didn't have ten! And, it really isn't true. There are obviously more mouths to feed, more bodies to clothe, more clothes to wash, more beds to make....

There are also more lives to instill godly character. There is school to be taught. There is a dying to self that must take place with me and Keith on a daily basis as we sacrifice our desires to give to them. I don't mean monetary things. I mean the giving of ourselves to them. Our time. Our attention. Our energy. Our prayers. Our sleep. Our food. Our love.

We are constantly asked if we will have more children. I believe our answer is genuine when we say that we really don't know. Whatever the Lord wills for us, is what we will have. Probably. We have experienced no trouble conceiving yet. We believe Psalm 139, where the Bible says that God's thoughts are precious to each one of our children... GREAT are the sum of them!! We look forward to learning what God already knows about each one of our children that have been fearfully and wonderfully made! Marvelous are His Works and that we know very well! Just as Hannah in the Old Testament was "visited" by the Lord and conceived Samuel, we believe that all seven of our children are a result of the fact that the Lord "visited" us and we accept his gift to us. Selfishly, we can say "no more", but we truly do want to honor the Lord and His control of this area of our lives.


So, where will these little feet go?


And, what will these little hands do?


What will these eyes see?

Our prayer for Maleah is that these feet, these hands, these eyes will be an extension of the Grace of God and will reach, teach, touch, and love just like Jesus... to the ends of the earth. Just like our other six children. Just like any the Lord may see fit to bless us with in the future.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Speaking Thanksgiving: Part 2

Yesterday we attended our senior adults Christmas party. They try to meet once a month for food, fellowship, and some sort of activity. We try to attend as many as we can. We love to fellowship with these dear people and we love to see our children interact with them. It has been a great blessing for our family. The decorations were beautiful. The food was great. Everyone looked festive in their Christmas attire. After dinner we had great music as a guest played several songs on his saxophone.

Above is a wonderful picture of our children. But, there is alot that took place in effort to make this picture. I spoke the other day of speaking thanksgiving to others and I even listed several things that I was thankful for. Shortly after sending out that post I thought about how easy it is to be thankful for all the things that makes us happy. I then began to think that the depth of my thankfulness will be tested in the difficult circumstances in my life. Although the story behind this picture is very minor in respect to all the difficulties in life, I am still thankful for what took place. I learned a lesson this day.

Lesson for me: No group pictures taken during an event that will cause possible disruption and distraction. You see, we borrowed my daddy's camera for a couple of days to take some photos for the blog and I thought since I had his camera I should take full opportunity of it. How often do all 7 children match and look this cute with such a great backdrop? It was too tempting. BUT, how difficult can it be to get all 7 children to look at the camera and smile like they are happy and love each other dearly? I know this and yet I forget....only to be reminded pretty quickly.


Not only did I catch Madison yawning, Meghan was on the brink of crying (she is done with pictures after the first shot), and Stephen had refused to pose and be a part of this memorable moment and so.....


We lose Stephen. Yes, he disappears temporarily. In this picture he has collapsed onto the floor beside his brother Joshua and so we are disrupting and distracting at this point. Picture time is done.

The first picture on this post with everyone somewhat smiling was taken after everything was over and only a few people were left. I also used a candy cane as a bribe, which I never do and it was a mistake. We had major melt down afterwards because I didn't break off a big enough piece or something and so chaos and confusion and craziness began. I learned that I put our children in a position, that if I would have thought more carefully about it I would have chosen not to, for increased possible failure.

I am also thankful that when we came home ( I had to get the attention of Keith to come and help me because the problem only escalated and I wasn't sure I could get them home by myself) we disciplined those who needed it and then Keith and I talked about the situation and decided to make some guidelines for them and to communicate with them our expectations. The very next day after our family Bible time we had a family meeting just like a coach would with his team. We talked of the previous day's situation and of our expectations for them. We not only talked with them, we practiced as if we were in a certain situation and how they needed to respond. It was Keith's idea. And, I loved it. I felt like we were working together as a team to help our children win.  

I pray that our children walked away from our meeting today feeling like they were loved and cared for and that mama and daddy really do want what is best for them . 

I am thankful.....

for stressful moments such as these that give us times to learn from our mistakes. 

for my mother who tried her best to help me calm some down, reason with others, and carry a little one  in her arms.

for others seeing that our family is just as real as the next. 

for a husband who came along my side and helped me see my error.

for a husband who lovingly corrected our children and creatively showed us all how we can do better.

for children who listened attentively. 

for humbling moments that make me realize my mothering is dependent upon a Holy God working through me.     

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4       

Nichole

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Speaking Thanksgiving

All through Psalm 145 you will see how we are encouraged to speak our praise and thanksgiving out loud to those around us. Private thanksgiving between us and the Lord is vital, but there is something that breathes life into us and others when we speak it verbally for ears to hear. And what a privilige to be able to do this with the very children that God has blessed us with.

 "One generation shall praise your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts."

As I have sought to be a woman of gratitude I can see how my words bring life or death into our home. I have an 11 year old daughter. Why have such things taken so long for me to grasp? She needed a mama of gratitude when she was a baby and a toddler and a little girl.....But, I will not be defeated, because she is still under my care and in my home, so I begin to speak life and I see life breathed into her very being. It is not too late. She begins to speak life into her little sister and her little brother. It is slow going. We are learning to undo a way of thinking. To undo a way of speaking.

"Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts and I will declare your greatness. They shall utter the memory of your great goodness and shall sing of your righteousness."

I am a blessed woman and overwhelmed at the goodness of God...

for a daddy who buys several bales of hay to take his grandchildren and grown children out for a hayride on Thanksgiving Day.

for a mother who spends endless hours stuffing a turkey and baking it to please the tastebuds of all her family.

for time spent with my younger brother and his sweet family.

for a husband who tells me that he will take a temporary leave at the head of the table to go and sit by our 2 yr. old who needs some training in table manners.

for a husband who wants us all to sit around the computer to watch a street preacher share the gospel with an unbelieving culture.

for daughters who sing while they clean the kitchen.

for daughters who race to give Maleah her first kiss after awaking from her sweet sleep.

for the eight steps our little one took in her beginning of independence.

for a little boy consumed with collecting cocoons that have "bagworms" inside of them.

for another little boy accepting a challenge of a sword fight with a stick from his older brother.

for our six year old, minutes after pulling her second tooth out, calling for her daddy to tell her again how she can be saved.

for the moments around our home that is shaping and molding us into the image of Christ, so that He can use us to reach the ends of the earth with His gospel.

"All Your works shall praise you O Lord, and Your saints shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of kingdom and talk of your power. To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts and the glorious majesty of His kingdom."

Nichole

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lord, Take the Wheels Off!

The Bible says in Acts 13:2, As they ministered to the Lord... referring to the prophets and teachers in the church that was at Antioch, specifically: Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul. They ministered to the Lord, what a profound statement. Do I minister to the Lord? No doubt I know He ministers to me. He teaches and instructs me in His ways. He looks after me. He cares for me. He watches over me. He leads me and guides me according to His Word.

But what about my ministry to the Lord? In trying to understand this phrase from Acts 13:2, I asked myself this question, "Do my children minister to me?" I would have to answer, "YES! Almost daily!" There are times they bring me great joy and great pleasure as I watch them carry out a truth that Nichole and I have been teaching, instructing, and coaching in our home. Yes, there are times of adjusting and affirming as we train them just as there are times of adjusting and affirming in our relationship with God. But, each one of my children minister to me when they begin to apply what we have been teaching, instructing, and coaching in our home.

For example, a couple of years ago, Joshua learned how to ride his bike in less than a weekend. He had been riding on training wheels for quite some time. But, the day came when it was time to take the training wheels off Joshua's bike. We went out to the yard and I told him what we were going to do and he began to get excited. As I was taking off the training wheels, I talked with him about balance and gave him a few instructions in how to steer and balance with the handle bars. I talked to him about vision and the importance of looking straight ahead and gave him some more instruction on peddling for balance as well.

Soon the wheels were off, and so were we! Ministering to each other along the way. It was a joy! It was a pleasure! It was a blessing! It was ministry! It was ministry from me to Joshua, and ministry from Joshua to me. It was special! As the day went on, Joshua tried to do what I instructed him to do. Yes, he would fall down, but he would look into my eyes for encouragement and instruction for the next attempt. Yes, he struggled in getting his feet to push those peddles as he also tried to look straight ahead. There were tears and cheers as he learned to apply what his father was teaching him. Each attempt Joshua made to ride that bike without training wheels that day and the next, ministered to me. “Why,” you might ask? Joshua simply did what he was asked to do, giving his best, all the while ministering to his father, the one who was providing him instruction. And before long he was riding his bike on his own.

The word "minister" can be defined as "worshipper of God." Even though I sometimes am limited in my ministry or worship to the Lord, there are times when God has been teaching me a truth and I am responding with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. He knows my heart, and I bring clean hands and a pure heart in what He is teaching me and no doubt, I minister to Him. I worship Him. I ascend into the hill of the Lord, I stand in His holy place! And, to God be the glory! While studying that one phrase in Acts 13:2, they ministered to the Lord, I learned a very powerful truth...

My ministry to the Lord is my worship of the Lord.

The word "ministered" is derived from a Greek word "ergo" which means "to work; toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act :- deed, doing, labor, work." That same word "ergo" is the word for "worship" which is used twice in Rev. 22:8-9, where the Bible says, "Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. [9] Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
   
Lord, since my ministry to You is my worship of You, help me experience more times of worshipping You, and You alone. Help me to respond obediently to the things that You are teaching me as You minister to me through Your Word. May I keep the words of this book and worship You, God. Help me bring You joy! Help me please You and bless You! Lord, I want to minister to You! Lord, take the wheels off as I worship You!

Keith


Monday, November 22, 2010

Give Thanks To the Lord...

When I came to my office this morning, I began reading Psalm 136, as suggested by my wonderful wife, Nichole. In Psalm 136 the Bible makes clear that the mercy of God endures forever. It is one thing to read that phrase at the end of every verse in Psalm 136, but it is entirely another to experience the mercy of God enduring you in the present... just when you need Him the most.

Having faced a difficult journey over the last several months, I must confess that I have found myself depleted spiritually, emotionally, and physically. As a result, it was difficult for me to give thanks to the Lord, to the God of gods, to the Lord of Lords, to the God of heaven as commanded in Psalm 136:1-3, 26. It was difficult for me to praise God even though I have so much for which He deserves all the praise and all the glory.  I read that passage and thought through the verses as best I could, trying to reflect on how God's mercy endures... forever. I also found myself in other passages in the Psalms wanting to give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever. At each reading, I was longing to give thanks, longing to praise Him, longing to worship Him.

I also read two Sunday School lessons and a couple days in Oswald Chambers devotional guide, My Utmost for His Highest begging God to speak to me. I picked up a periodical from Operation Mobilization, looking for a Word from God.

I prayed for God to help me praise him and went about my day. And then God spoke through a phone call from a man driving a truck from Utah into Wyoming. He called just to say that I was on His mind and he had been wanting to call me to let me know that he had a job driving a truck. He said that he called to thank me for everything I had done for him. I really had not done much for him a few months back other than listen to him and pray for him. We spent a little time together looking at passages in God Word. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever.

I continued through my day and then God spoke again through another phone call. This time the call came from an office located in the northern part of the country with four men asking if they could pray for me. I was overwhelmed as I heard the prayers for me from each one of them. As I listened to their prayers, I heard the passages that I had read earlier in the day being quoted as they prayed... Psalm 121, Psalm 37 specifically. The passages they had quoted ministered to me, because I spent time meditating on them or reading through them earlier in the morning. I have been memorizing and meditating on Psalm 121. I also read Psalm 37 this morning. It had been used by two other men for encouragement to me in recent days.

When they finished praying they assured me that they would continue to pray for me. I went back to my Bible to read some more. The more I read, the more I cried. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 143:1, "Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me..."

Psalm 143:6, "I spread out my hands to You, my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah"

Psalm 143:8, "Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift my soul to You."

Psalm 143:10-11, "Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good; lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake! For Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble."

With tears in my eyes, my phone rang again and I could hardly answer. This call was from a dear man in southeast Georgia, near the coast, right on the border of Florida. He wanted me to know that he had been thinking of me the last few days, I could only cry. For His mercy endures now.

And then the Word of God proved His ministry to me today in how He used other men as instruments of His mercy... Psalm 142:7, "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me."

No doubt, God has used these men to bring my soul out of prison so I could praise Him. He used these men (the righteous) to surround me and dealt bountifully with me! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever.

Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake,
Keith

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A New RESOLVE...

While being in El Salvador for five days, I had the privilege of being a part of a team of pastors and leaders that ministered to other pastors and leaders from all over Central America. It was a very busy yet rewarding time. In five days, I taught and or preached seven different times. I spoke twice Thursday and Friday to pastors and leaders. On Saturday, I spoke once in a service to young adults after ministering at the church's Rescue Mission. And on Sunday, I spoke in two different churches.

But more importantly, God spoke to me while there. On Friday afternoon, during the last service of the Timothy Barnabas Pastor’s Conference at Miramonte Baptist Church, God clearly spoke into my heart. The message that was preached by Steve Flockhart was about the Great Commission. His text was Romans 9:1-3. I have preached this text before and as I was reading it to myself before he began his message, I felt the Lord’s Spirit nudge me and in my heart I said, “God, give me a new response to the Gospel.”

I gave my heart to Jesus on April 29, 1984 when I was 11 years old. Over the last 26 years as a Christian I have been nudged, even moved time and time again by God’s Word and Holy Spirit. In 1996, after being out of the will of God, I fully surrendered my life to Him and His will. So, for almost 15 years now I have been learning how to be obedient to His call upon my life. 

Me with MARGARITA, she's a Giant in the Faith

After hearing that message and seeing the response of one little lady named Margarita, whom I had lunch with the day before, I was moved to say the least. Margarita’s testimony among the staff and members in Miramonte Baptist Church is stellar. She was described as being a Godly lady, a faithful soul winner, a prayer warrior. Even though Margarita and I could not speak the same language, we connected through God’s Spirit and she ministered to me in what little time I was with her. She was contagious with the Spirit of God resting upon her and I could tell that she loved Jesus to the utmost.

During the invitation, I saw Margarita at the altar with her head down while committing to three things…

1) To tell her story,
2) To shed tears for the lost, and
3) To demonstrate her commitment to the Great Commission.

While seeing her respond, God moved me from asking Him to give me a new response to Gospel, to... God, give me a new RESOLVE for the Gospel. The word “resolve” is a BIG word, and packed with power. Resolve means to “reach a firm decision.” It means “having a firmness of purpose; being determined.”

The Hymn, I Am Resolved, puts it this way:
I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.

I appreciate the ministry and courage of Jonathan Edwards. He once made a profound statement that I reflect on often. He said, “Resolved, that men should live for the glory of God. Resolved, second… that whether others do or not I will.”

Please pray for me as I continue to ask God to give me a new RESOLVE for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray that with God’s help, I would...

R – Refuse to leave the world the way I found it.
E – Embrace His will for my life.
S – Seek first the Kingdom of God.
O – Obey Biblical truth today.
L – Live a life that is contagious with the Gospel.
V – Venture to see the impossible become possible.
E – Expect God to do great things for His glory.

Lastly, please prayer for Margarita and her renewed commitment as well.

Resolved for the Glory of God,
Keith

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wisdom spoke to me this morning

" A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."

Today I refuse to let circumstances make me speak harshly.

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."

It is true. God does see everything I do. May it please Him.

"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life..."

Instead of being harsh, I will speak life.

"In the house of the righteous there is much treasure..."

As I strive toward righteousness in all things, I am a wealthy woman.

"But He loves him who follows righteousness."

Not only am I wealthy, but greatly loved.

"A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance."

Oh God, give me a glad heart so those I love will find peace and joy in my countenance.

"But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast."

No matter the affliction, I can be filled with Your glory and Your abundance.

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred."

Love never fails and will make our meals a delight as long as we are together in love.

"A wise son makes a father glad."

God, give our boys godly wisdom.

"Folly is a joy to him who is destitute of discernment."

I pray something I never thought of until now, discernment for my children.

"And a word spoken in due season, how good it is."

I will refrain from speaking until you say, "speak".

"But the words of the pure are pleasant.'

And when I speak, may they come from a pure heart.

"He hears the prayer of the righteous."

I can only be righteous in you and only you can answer my prayers.

"The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise."

Am I looking and watching? Have I learned from the past? The rebukes of life are everywhere.

"And before honor is humility."

I will choose humility today. You say pride is an abomination. How many times have I been an abomination to you? Rid me of pride and may I know every day, every moment is a gift from you.

Nichole

Proverbs 15 in quotations.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Daddy is Home

I am thankful that our children love their daddy.

Madison said she couldn't wait until daddy came home and she would stay up no matter how late to see him arrive.

Morgan said she missed her daddy very much.

It was obvious that Mallory did as well.

Meghan said that staying up until 2 a.m. was nothing if it meant seeing daddy.  

Joshua told his daddy, "I wish you could stay here forever."

Stephen, while sucking his thumb and playing with his ear, nodded and smiled when I asked him if he was ready to see daddy.

Maleah, barely awake, wrapped her chubby little arm around her daddy's neck in the wee morning hours and gave him a precious hug.

Tears come to my eyes as I thank God for bringing him safely home to us.

He is a part of us. He completes and compliments us. The whole family just works better when he is around.
Life is simply sweeter when he is here. 

Nichole

I am glad to be home after being in El Salvador on a mission trip to minister to pastors and churches from Central America. When my responsibilities were over, all of my my attention turned immediately to my wife and children. All I could think about was seeing each one them and I couldn't wait to get to the airport and get on that plane and fly to the United States of America.

But, things got a little difficult since the flight out of San Salvador, El Salvador was delayed an hour, which meant that I missed my 8:30 PM flight from Atlanta to Jacksonville. Finally though, I caught the 9:50 PM flight to Jacksonville and landed just before midnight. I still had another hour ride home from the airport. I missed my family. I missed each and everyone of them so much and could not wait to see them.

Nichole had told me they would ALL be waiting up on me. I didn't expect to see Maleah up, not even Stephen or Joshua. But I was sure that Madison, Morgan, Mallory, and Meghan would be awake and I would hear them say, "WELCOME HOME!" just as soon as I opened the door. I couldn't wait to see them!!!

Well, when I got home it was obvious that they weren't awake. As a matter of fact they were scattered all over the living room floor, the couch, and recliner. Just seeing that they tried to stay awake made the homecoming very special. To top it all off, I walked right into my wife's arms... a place like no other!

I look forward to sharing about the mission project in El Salvador in the next day or two. Please pray for the people in that country as there is some unrest among the citizens. But one thing is for sure, God is at work and it was a blessing to join Him in what He is doing in that part of the world.

Keith

Friday, November 12, 2010

Meet Stephen Nicholas! #6

Hey, my name is Stephen, or as my daddy calls me "Stevie B". My mama calls me, WORK. I am your typical 2 year old little boy. And, instead of going on and on as if Stephen was speaking to you himself and sharing all of this wonderful stuff , I will cut to the chase and tell you all about him from our point of view.
Stephen has light brown hair and blue eyes. He loves to suck his thumb and pull on his right ear. He is super sweet and can be super ugly. Mostly sweet, though. He seems to be more laid back and quiet than his big brother, although he won't hesitate to let his sisters know when he has had enough!

Stephen is into everything!!!! More than any of the others. I am telling you that I can pick up one mess only to find that he has made another one while I was cleaning. His eyes immediately search out what he can get into. I do have to say that it seems that in the past few months it hasn't been as bad.I have decided that boys require so much physical energy. His likes to play around with different kinds of balls. He likes to ride his tricycle motorcycle. He loves to watch deer or turkey hunting on t.v. with his daddy. He is eagerly anticipating the day that he will actually get to accompany his daddy on a hunting trip. He and Joshua have been playing more together lately and enjoying time outside during this cooler weather. We love to see these brothers playing together. Even if it means we have to clean off the carport and pick up all the balls in the yard and turn off the running water and fill the holes in the ground back up with dirt or untie the ropes hanging out of the trees or bang the mud out of their shoes and scrub it out of their ears.

Stephen is our hugger and our kisser. He is very affectionate. We like to cuddle and love on Stephen, because he enjoys it as much as we do. I tell him he is my little "handsome" and he tells me, "No, I am Stephen."

One night after supper he came to me and said, "Thank you mama, that was berry good". Now won't that just melt your heart? So how could such a sweety test you to your very limits at times. He has been the first child to hit at us. Although, thanks to his daddy those times have been very few. We are working on training him to sit at the table the entire time we are all eating, to be still and quiet during church, to stop screaming when a sibling is bothering him, that temper tantrums will get him nowhere in the Boggs' house, to hold that head up when reprimanded, and please give that thumb a break!! We could go on and on. Does anyone see where I got the name WORK from? It is work to train up a child in the way of the Lord. It requires dedication, consistency, love, and joy.

Did I tell you that he loves his baby sister? Never a hint of jealousy with him since the day she was born. He immediately loved her and will just hug and kiss on her and be as gentle as any adult would with a baby. He tells her he loves her. We love him, and our prayer for him couldn't be any better than the prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit that Keith spoke over him just yesterday.

"God, I thank You that I can pray for my boy, Stephen. I love his name. I love to hear it. I long for Stephen to live according to his name... in that his life gives You maximum honor and glory. And as Stephen Nicholas grows and matures physically, I pray that he will develop spiritually into a man, as Stephen in the Bible, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. God, crown Stephen victorious because he lives for You. Use him in our home now as he loves his mother and his siblings while I am away. In Jesus Name, Amen."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Healthy Living and... Water

This is my very first post on healthy living. I have purposefully delayed in sharing any information on this, because it is such a passion of mine that I did not want it to be all that this blog was about. Our intentions are to point families to Jesus. While I believe that nutrition in particular is not first on that list, I do feel that if at all possible it should be something we desire to look into for the benefits it might give to those who have been entrusted into our care. I believe in doing this, we bring glory to His name.

Unfortunately, we don't see any difference in the health of the Christian and the health of our culture.

For almost 6 years now I have been learning and growing and changing in the area of nutrition and healthier living. I am no expert. Just a mom who wants to do my part in building up healthy immune systems that can fight off sickness or at least decrease length and severity of sickness.I believe it is my responsibility as one who believes the Bible is our source for all things. Even what we eat.  I do not believe that by adhering to Old Testament laws concerning diet one is considered spiritually unclean or spiritually clean. But, I do believe that God cares about our health and has given us some wisdom about it in His Word.

I have had several people in the past ask my advice on becoming healthier with their diet and how can they go about it. My very first response is so incredibly easy and I don't have to give one thought to it. WATER. This is the easiest and cheapest first step toward healthier eating and drinking. Some of these people are mainly interested in losing some weight. I would still say water. After getting a little information on a close friend of mine's diet, I went on to tell her that if she would switch from sweet tea and coke to water she would have no trouble losing the weight. Just think, that hour at the gym was such hard work only to burn off the calories of that coke or that big glass of sweet tea!! I have always said that I would rather eat my calories than drink them.

You will find that in Deuteronomy 33, God promised His people that they would live, "in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew." Dew is pure water. God created this precious beverage. Our own bodies contain 65 percent of water. We need water. Water suppresses the appetite naturally. It reduces fat deposits. Are you suffering from water retention? Drinking more water reduces water retention. It does this because your body does not believe that it is suffering from lack of water and does not hold on to it in areas we don't want to see it (such as our ankles). It flushes out excess sodium and rids of body waste. Water helps maintain proper muscle tone and helps reduce the saggy skin you may see on someone who has lost a lot of weight. Water can help with healthy and resilient skin. And on and on and on.

What kind of water am I talking about?
Pure, filter tap water or a spring that has been naturally filtered by the earth. To find a spring near you, visit http://www.findaspring.com/

What about bottled water?
40 percent of bottled water is tap water. The plastic from the bottles are not good for our environment nor our body. National Geographic has cited that in the U.S. we go through 50 billion plastic bottles a year. Yikes! The chemicals in the plastic also leak through into our water and then into our bellies. How many of you have left the case in the trunk for a few days while the sun cooked that plastic and then you had a little extra somethin' somethin' in that very expensive water you just bought. It is a rip-off, costing 1,900 times the price of tap water.

How much water?
 At least 8- 8ounce glasses a day. An easy way to do this is to fill up a 2 qt. container and drink on it all day until it is gone.

What if I don't like water?
You will. Just keep drinking and you will get used to it and then find yourself craving it. For something a little different and for added benefits, add some honey and lemon occasionally to your water. As you learn more, you can add some herbal teas that are not only pleasant to taste, but  beneficial for many different things.

I love to see our children guzzle down a cup of pure water. I love the fact that they crave it. It has taken time, but my sweet tea and coca-cola lovin' husband has enjoyed water so much that he is okay with us not even buying the stuff. It is our beverage of choice!

May it become yours as well.

Nichole

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winners and Not Whiners!


With November well on its way and our surroundings (if we look around us) showing off the magnificent handiwork of an Almighty God, we are ushered into a time that our culture celebrates all the things that we are thankful for.

In the blogging world, what few sites I browse through every so often, I am seeing a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness in many posts.

A couple of months back I picked up the book, Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Our memory verses for me and the children are from Philippians 4:4-9 where we are encouraged to be thankful and think only on things that are true, just, noble, pure, lovely, and of good report.

We are teaching our children to be Winners and not Whiners! With seven children in the house all the time, one can only imagine the amount of whining that could go on if allowed. How do we deal with children whining? Especially for our oldest, they are not allowed to continue whatever they are speaking about until the "whine" is replaced with a normal voice. For all children, whatever they are whining for, they do not get. If it takes place during playtime with a sibling, then they are not allowed to continue playing until the whining has ceased. From experience, whatever you decide to do about whining, nip it in the bud when they are little (like around 2!) or you will end up with a whiny 7 year old and then a whiny 12 year old and maybe even a whiny adult! Their future mate, children , pastor, coworkers, etc... will be so thankful you did!

This post was really not intended to coach parents how to transform whiny children into children with a winning attitude, but it could not be ignored. This post is simply a reflection of what I believe God is trying to teach me. I have simply become a whiny adult. In soooo many ways, I am not the grateful woman that He desires for me to be. I see that in my marriage. I see that in my parenting. I see that in my self-image. I see that in my friendships. I see that in my outlook on the world. This is going to be a major undertaking! But, I BELIEVE with all of my heart that is foundational to my success as a christian woman desiring to be fulfilled in Christ.

I don't know what this journey of gratitude is going to look like for me, but I am taking those steps down this narrow pathway hand in hand with my Maker and I believe it will be for my good and His glory. I hope to share much more on this in the days to come, but for now I would like to leave with you a quote by Lucy C. Smith and also encourage you to meditate today on Philippians 4:4-9. May we as women of God refuse to remain whiners. May we become winners in the area of gratitude!

"One thing is indisputable: the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character."

Maybe, just maybe.... if we stop whining, our children will as well.

Nichole

Friday, November 5, 2010

Meet Joshua Spencer! #5

Howdy! I am Joshua... also called J-Man. I am 4 years old and approaching 5 as fast as I can. I am the first boy in my family and it has been a tough task, but I've got help with my little brother, Stephen, you'll meet him next week.

Anyway, let me tell you a little about myself. I love to play ball, any kind of ball. I played Upward soccer for the first time this past year and loved it. I went all season without scoring a goal until the last game. I finally got the hang of it and scored twice. I like the "golf" ball, the "base" ball, the "foot" ball, the "soccer" ball... and probably other balls as I grow older. As a matter of fact, I like having a "ball." I like being outside and love to ride my bike and play with my daddy's stuff (tools, flashlight, hunting and fishing equipment, etc).

I also like to go hunting and fishing with my dad. I do pretty good sitting quietly and still. My favorite colors are red and black. I love to eat chicken-n-dumplings and chocolate chip muffins. One of my favorite things to do is to watch the garden grow and to pick the vegetables when it is time... waiting on the vegetables to grow is hard though.

Just a note from mama and daddy:
Joshua is a charmer for sure. He probably talked the earliest out of all the children. His vocabulary was big and very clear. This always attracted attention and Joshua has always loved attention. You know that kid that does something over and over and over just to hear you laugh one more time? That is Joshua. When we have a guest in our home for meal time, we have no need to worry for lack of conversation. He will talk to anyone. Especially senior adults. We love to see him carry on conversation with these special people. He is about the cutest thing with sandy blond hair and big blue eyes. He seems to have a small frame compared to other children his age. His spirit makes up for his size. We love to see Joshua get excited. His laugh is contagious. The biggest thing that we are trying to work on with Joshua is to teach him to be a "winner" and not a "whiner". It is a work in progress! Our prayer is that God would raise up another Joshua like one spoken of in the Old Testament. His name means, "God is Salvation." Every night at bedtime he refuses to sleep until his daddy and his mama come in to pray for him. Please join us as we pray that God would save Joshua at an early age and use him to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Okay, Okay, Okay......


This recipe is dedicated to all FIVE of our consistent blog readers out there!!

Last Wednesday I wrote about the dynamic duo of the pumpkin and the sweet potato. Well ,I have had a couple of people ask me for the pie recipe that I mentioned. We have tried it and love it. We have also tried it without the sweet potato and just added extra pumpkin at the same amount called for with the sweet potato. It was great that way as well.

And, I also wanted to show off this pretty pumpkin from our garden. I know it is yellow, but in a few weeks(we can already see it changing color) it will be orange. We have five of these things growing right now. This is our fourth time planting a garden, and we get excited about anything that will actually grow out here. We are such amateurs at this. As a matter of fact, last night after picking only enough mustard greens to feed half of the family because they simply just aren't growing that well, I told Keith that we aught to be thankful that it isn't up to us to feed the family or we would starve.  We love it. I think we grow to like it more and more every time we plant. So, thankfully something is growing! It is great to see God at work even in the garden!

You will need pie crust for 2 pies. Pillsbury is a good pie crust and you can find it in the freezer section at your local grocery store. Or....... you can try a good homemade one on your own. I will give you the recipe that I use. A recipe made from freshly ground whole wheat.

2 1/2 cups of freshly ground soft white wheat flour (or 2 cups of all-purpose flour)
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cups and 2 Tbs. butter (12 Tbs.)
7 Tbs. cold water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter. Add water and mix. If the dough is too wet add a little flour. Divide dough in half and roll out on floured surface. Makes 2 pie crusts.
*I am thinking of adding a little sugar  (2 Tbs.) to this crust because this particular pumpkin pie recipe is not very sweet.

Filling:

2 cups of half and half
3 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (or 1 3/4 cup of fresh pumpkin puree)
1 cup of drained pureed sweet potatoes (from can or fresh)
3/4 cup of sucanat (or sugar)
     go checkout http://www.breadbeckers.com/ to find out what sucanat is
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (yum!)
2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon of dried powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon of salt

While the pie shell is baking for about 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees, whisk cream, eggs, yolks,and vanilla together in bowl. Combine the rest of the filling ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a sputtering simmer over medium heat (takes a few minutes). Continue to do this, stirring, for about 10 minutes allowing the extra water to evaporate and the spices to incorporate. Remove pan from heat and whisk into the bowl with the cream mixture. Stain through a fine mesh strainer to get out  lumps and the stringy ginger. Pour even amounts into the two warm pie crusts. Cook on 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn down to 300 degrees and finish cooking until the middle looks a little "jiggly", which could be anywhere from 30- 45 minutes. The pie will need to cool and set for atleast 2-3 hours. It is soooo worth the wait. It is so pretty and shiny. Just like a picture. I wish I had one to show you. It is also very smooth and creamy.

This can actually be considered a pretty healthy dessert. Especially if you make your own whole grain pie crust. These are just great all-natural ingredients that make for a nice treat and sometimes even leftover for breakfast the next morning. My kids thought it was a great breakfast!

If you would really like more detail and specifics, head over to http://www.americastestkitchen.com/. You have to kind of sign-up by giving your e-mail, but they have fantastic recipes and the detail is great for those who want to "get it right" and "get it good"!

Enjoy,
Nichole


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

May They Set Their Hope in God

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,.." Psalm 33:12

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14:34

As we look into the eyes of our children we can see joy, sadness, trust, excitement, aggravation, disappointment, thoughtfulness, consideration, pondering, wondering, seeking, and hoping.

What does tomorrow hold for them?

Will they marry?

Will they have children?

Will they have strong convictions based on God's Word?

What will America be like for them?

What will the children of America grow up to be like?

Has our nation "under God" shown them God at all? Will we prove to them that we do care what tomorrow will be like for them? Do we desire for them to experience the freedom we have experienced for many years in the gift we have of worshipping our God no matter where or when? Will we cast our vote based on the standard of God's Word? Because "truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven." And yes, "The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase." There is no doubt that "Righteousness shall go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway."

The question is, will we follow? In obedience to Him, but also for.... them.

Please take time to go to WallBuilders.com and watch the video by David Barton, the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage. For more information on voting for your state, go to the website he mentions at the end of the video.

Take time to read Psalm 78:1-8.

Keith & Nichole


Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day 2010: UNDER or OVER?

As a Nation, we've gone from... being a Nation Under God to being a Nation Standing Over God. We are a prideful people resulting in a pitiful lot as we approach Election Day 2010. With tomorrow being Election Day across our county, my prayer is that we get under God and stay there! The answer to that prayer may be more about me and you than those we will be voting on tomorrow in the voting precincts.

Consider the following...
 
The Bible says in Psalm 75:6-7, "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. [7] But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
 
Junior Hill, a longtime Southern Baptist Evangelist, said several things about promotion in his book, They Call Him Junior…
 
  • Men and women are never promoted because they deserve it—but because God desires it.
  • While promotion does always imply an act of God’s hand, it does not necessarily imply and act of God’s honor. We would do well to remember that in the economy of Heaven exaltation is never synonymous with commendation.
  • Sometimes God puts a man at the top of the totem pole just to teach him who made the pole!
  • As strange and unusual as it may seem, the ever wise and omniscient God of Heaven has a mysterious and peculiar way of lifting a man up so that in due time He may bring him down.
  • When God promotes a person it is not always a promotion of honor!
  
Junior Hill further states in the book, "…All of us have watched with deep sorrow as greatly gifted men and women have risen to what appeared to be places of high honor, only to later learn that their lofty positions served only to reveal their unbridled selfishness and pride... That’s why men and women of God had best learn to be satisfied with who they are and where they are—to faithfully take their place and let God do the promoting… we can rejoice in knowing it has been freely given by Him and never seized by self-will or self-promotion."
 
Jonathan Edwards once declared, "Pride is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of religion. It is the chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit."
 
John Phillips said, "Pride is extremely destructive… Pride has wrecked more homes, mobilized more armies, broken more friendships, and ruined more lives than any other force in the universe."
 
The Word of God says in Proverbs 11:2, "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom." The Word says in Proverbs 29:23, "A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." And in James 4:6 the Bible says, "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
 
Did you see that statement in James 4:6? God resisteth the proud. What does this statement mean?
 
1. God opposes the proud.
 
2. God is determined to be against the proud.
 
3. God sets Himself up against the proud.
 
Perhaps the most important vote taken will be the one that we cast in our own hearts. Below are some truths to consider taking before a Holy God in prayer before voting in Election Day 2010:
 
1. Pride is derived from a word meaning "high." It suggests elevating ourselves, looking down on others, seeking to lord it over them. Sound like America? Proverbs 21:24 (NKJV), "A proud and haughty man--"Scoffer" is his name; He acts with arrogant pride."
 
Pride is a God defying sin. It flouted the justice of God as did Cain. It confronts God and challenges Him to combat as did Pharaoh. Scriptures say the satan fell because of his pride. He lifted up his spirit and wanted to be God himself.
 
2. No proud person (family, community, church, Nation, school, etc...) will go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5, "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." Proverbs 16:18-19, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. [19] Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." Proverbs 18:12 (NKJV), "Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility."
 
"Destruction" speaks of a total shattering of what a person has and is; it refers to a crashing down from a cliff or high place. "Fall" refers to stumbling off the edge of a bank or precipice.
 
Johnny Hunt made a clear and precise state when he said, "The only thing worse than pride is being prideful and not knowing it."
 
3. Pride does not want to admit wrong, especially publicly. Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
 
4. Pride causes us to be self-righteous, self-congratulatory and self-sufficient. Pride blinds us to our true condition and our great need. Pride causes us to fear men rather than God. One of the greatest statements I have read of late was made by CH Spurgeon. Spurgeon once said accurately, "Brethren if our righteousneeses are so bad, what must our unrighteousnesses be? There is sin in our very holiness; there is unbelief in our faith; there is hatred in our love; there is the slime of the serpent upon the fairest flower of our garden."
 
5. Pride causes us to compare ourselves to others and breeds a competitive, critical spirit.
 
6. Proud people don’t want help because they don’t “need” help.
 
7. My pride will strangle the life of Jesus right out of my family and even the church I have the privilege and responsibility to pastor. My pride will kill and quench any momentum given by God’s Holy Spirit. I can take my family and church from the position of being under God to the position of standing over God. That is a price that I cannot afford to pay.
 
God help me and my family get under You and please keep us there!
 
James 4:6-10, But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. [7] Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [8] Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. [9] Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. [10] Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
 
Keith

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Meet Meghan Elizabeth! #4

My name is Meghan. I am six years old and in the first grade. My favorite color is red. I like to play with my American Girl Dolls, Molly and the twins. It is especially fun when my sisters, Madison, Morgan, and Mallory play with me. I love to go swimming in the summertime. I like to draw and color and paint. I like to ride my bike. I like to ride horses. I like to do the monkey bars on the playground.

I have played Upward Soccer for the last two years. It is fun. This year I joined the drama team at church and I like it alot. I like for my mama to cook chicken and dumplings for me. My favorite dessert is chocolate pot de creme. Yum! Mama likes for me to help with Maleah, my baby sister, sometimes and I don't mind it at all. She is sweet.

Just a note from mama and daddy:
Meghan has long, dark brown hair and brown eyes. Some say that when Meghan smiles, so do her eyes. They seem to sparkle. She has olive skin and a brown birth mark on the back of her leg. We tell her it is because of all the chocolate her mama ate while she was in the womb. Meghan has a shy and timid personality. She is also one of the sweetest little girls. Behind that pretty little smile, Meghan may very well be up to some kind of mischief!!She has been our "wanderer". If we aren't careful, we can look around after a few minutes and Meghan will be out of sight. Meghan, though somewhat quiet and bashful, has a determination in her that has surprised us all. Looking back over the last few years we can see how Meghan has basically taught herself how to swing, ride her bike, swim with no help, and even read!! Schooling her has been a breeze. She will pick up her sister's fourth grade book and try to read every word. Sounding out the words until they make sense to her. Although at this point Meghan has not vocalized the desire to know Christ as her personal Savior, we can see that through His Word and our desire to raise her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, her heart is becoming tender and God is drawing her to Himself!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Dynamic Duo!



Our family came across a recipe a few weeks ago that showed a scrumptious looking pumpkin pie. After bringing home several pumpkins from our trip to the mountains, we were all craving this pie! Unique to your normal pumpkin pie recipe, this one called for some sweet potato. The kids said, "Yuck!". We decided to do a little research and see why the creator of this recipe recommended such an addition. Sweet potato was said to "enhance" the pumpkin flavor. I assured the kids they would not taste sweet potato, but only "enhanced" pumpkin. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we have enjoyed 4 of these yummy pies. We all agree that the recipe is a keeper.

Now if you would humor me for a few minutes, let's say Keith is the pumpkin and I am the sweet potato.  Biblically we know that the woman was created for the man, to be his helpmeet. I truly believe that a major part of being a helpmeet would definitely be as an enhancer. The dictionary defines enhance as to make greater, better, to heighten. 

I honestly do not remember going into marriage thinking that I would like to spend my time and effort helping Keith become greater and better. I loved him, but I wanted to become greater and better. Over the years my love for him has grown and become more sacrificial as I have learned what God's Word has to say about the role of a wife. I now have a strong desire for God to use me to help Keith reach the heights of all that God has intended for him. Because really when I do this, it will only take me higher as well. So, what are some ways that my "sweet potato" self can enhance my big hunk of a pumpkin?

1- Choose to become a joyful woman.  Smile a lot. Learn to laugh a lot. It is even okay to get silly from time to time.

2- Learn his strengths. Acknowledge that his gifting in whatever area is what he probably receives great fulfillment in. Begin to encourage him and cheer for him. Show him respect and honor for his decisions and his hard work for the family.

3- Show gratitude. It is so important that we become grateful and thankful women. Grateful for everything we have. Concentrate and focus on the good and don't let the devil take your mind down into the pit for all the things you don't have.

4- Provide him a warm, comfortable, and clean home. His time at home is so short and so treasured that we should spend some of our day getting ready for that time. Whether that is fixing nice home-cooked meals, straightening up an hour before he arrives, making sure he always has clean underclothes, playing soft music, lighting a few candles. Whatever you know that makes your husband happy will be worth putting the energy towards.

5- Physically love him. Enough said.

So ladies, I pray that every time you see a sweet potato and a pumpkin in the grocery store, God will bring to your remembrance that you are to enhance that great husband of yours. Make him greater. Make him better. Take him higher.

Nichole

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Do We Do What We Do?

Sunday morning we had the privilege to begin revival services at church with a very special man to our family, Dr. Gerald Harris. We have known Dr. Harris for almost 5 years now. It was an instant connection with him.  His sincere love for our children as he engaged them in conversation and his mentorship to us over the years has been a gift to us from the Lord. His friendship made this Sunday extra special for us. We were honored to have him perform the dedication service of Maleah.

As he called our entire family to the front, including the grandparents, he began to tell us why we do what we do when we choose to take a special time to dedicate our children to the Lord. He gave us two biblical accounts of similar stories. The first story was when Hannah, who had desperately wanted a child for some time, took Samuel to the temple to dedicate him to the Lord just as she had promised. The second was when Joseph and Mary took baby Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.


He gave a challenge from God's Word to our immediate family beginning with us and then to the children. Maleah will not only learn from her parents, but the siblings have such an influential role as well. It seems as if Madison is thinking this part over as he speaks!


Next, from Proverbs 17:6, he challenged the grandparents (Papa and Granna) to make a commitment to help us in our training in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He also asked them to commit to see that Maleah received this Biblical training in case anything ever happened to us. They agreed. They are great in honoring our leadership as parents in our children's lives. They really try to adhere to our desires whether they be physical or spiritual. That is such a great help for us. We are blessed with these two!


Thirdly, he asked that the entire church stand and commit to be one more reinforcement in Maleah's life. Prayerfully as God uses the mom and dad, the siblings, the grandparents, and the body of Christ to teach, train, discipline, love, and guide little Maleah during her lifetime, she will hear and see the gospel of the Lord Jesus lived out on a daily basis and one day trust Him as Lord and Savior.


As we came to a close, Dr. Harris asked Keith to take Maleah to symbolize him being the spiritual leader of the home. He then asked Nichole to come along side of Keith to symbolize the support that is needed for a healthy marriage so that Maleah would feel security and freedom to follow Christ with all of her heart. We had a sweet moment of prayer as we dedicated Maleah's upbringing to our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Pray for us as we try to train and raise a family that is a blessing to the Kingdom!

Keith and Nichole

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Shaking Like Crazy!

On October 21, 2010, my daughter, Morgan, and I got up early to leave Waycross around 6 AM with a friend, Jimmy Lynn, to go hunting in Pearson, GA. We went into an area that is a river swamp most of the year. The area was suggested by Walter James, another friend that owns and manages the property. I had been in that area bow hunting earlier in the season and saw three doe so I knew where we would be setting up our ground blind. We made our journey through the woods as quiet as we could and even saw one deer's eyes with our flash lights on the way in. After making a 200 yard walk, I got our blind set up and we were ready and settled at least 10 minutes before daybreak.

We sat there for a good while and did not see much movement. After two and half hours, Morgan whispered quietly, "Daddy, what time is it?" I whispered back, "9:30. Why? Are you ready to go?" She answered, "Yes. I am tired." I told her that we needed to try and stay for 30 more minutes if we could. She said, "Okay." and silently prayed for God to allow us to see a deer.

A few minutes passed and I looked to my left toward the trail where I expected the deer to come and saw a buck walking down the trail. I told Morgan to be very still because it looked like he was alerted by our ground blind being in his area. I reached down to get my rifle and leaned back to see the deer, Morgan was being very still just as I asked her. I think the buck saw me move in the blind because he turned and went back 5-10 yards in the direction he came. His move gave me time to get my rifle out of the front window of the blind for a shot. His move also allowed Morgan to see him and we both watched him stop, turn, and look back in our direction.

I whispered, "Can you see him?" She replied softly and with excitement, "Yes!" I made sure my crosshairs where on him, and then pulled the trigger.


A great day together in the woods.

It looked as though he was hit as he made his way back down the trail. I got out of the blind, walked over to where I thought he was standing and found his blood trail. Meanwhile, Morgan had used my phone to text her mother, "Daddy shot at a deer and is looking to see if he got it. I am shaking like crazy."

I went back to the spot where our blind was set up to gather up our gear. Once we got the blind down and the chairs together, Morgan and I walked over about 20 yards from where we were hunting to began tracking his blood trail. After about 40 yards of tracking, she spotted him and we both celebrated the blessing of God by being together and having the privilege of harvesting a 170-175lb, 7 pointer.

To God be the glory! It will be day that she and I will never forget. Getting a deer was special, but being together, in the woods, talking back and forth was priceless.

Keith