Above Rubies Daily Encouragement Blogs
Through the weekly and daily devotionals you can be constantly encouraged in your great role of parenting, the highest career in the nation. You can also stay updated on what's happening with the Above Rubies ministry.
Are you rejoicing today? “Help, I don’t have anything to rejoice about,” you exclaim! Sometimes you can feel like that when everything goes wrong, insurmountable problems confront you, or you feel just plain lousy.
However, Psalm 89:16 inspires us: “IN THY NAME shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” It is true that you can’t always rejoice in your circumstances or what is happening in your life, but you can rejoice in the name of the Lord. His name never changes. It is always constant. His name is holy. It is awesome. It is glorious. His name is Jehovah-Jireh--the Lord who provides, Jehovah-Rapha--the Lord my Healer. The name of the Lord is a strong tower into which you can run. And on and on.
And never forget that God has given Jesus “a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-112). Every name bows to His name!
We never have an excuse to not rejoice in the name of the Lord. No matter what your difficulty, by faith, rejoice in His name. Praise Him for His glorious attributes Rejoice that you are called by His name.
“Rejoice in the LORD, and again I say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
Encourage yourself in His name today,
I believe it is important to feed the five Senses of your children at each meal time.
Sitting down to a meal is far more than eating food. Eating not only feeds a hungry tummy but includes all the five senses--sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Can I encourage you to think about this as you prepare meals for your family? It will bring such blessing to your children.
To dish up a meal on an un-set table is, I think, a sacrilege. It is even worse to prepare a meal and let everyone eat it at different times and wherever they want-- even in front of the TV. You can spend time preparing a lovely meal, but if it doesn't minister to the sight, it doesn't have a great appeal. On the other hand, you can sit down to a humble meal, placed on a table that is prepared with dignity and love and it can be a spiritual experience. Proverbs 9:1-2 tells us that the wise woman PREPARES her table.
Even young children feel the atmosphere when they sit up to a delightfully prepared table.
Perhaps you are a mother of young children and you can't imagine one more task during the busy supper time. It takes all your effort to cook a meal without the extra work of setting a table! However, obstacles are only in our mind. It doesn't take long and you can teach young children how to set a table properly. It is a basic task for them to learn and they will love to do it. You can make it a competition, as they each have their turn, to see who can set it the most attractively.
It adds a touch of class and delight to use a tablecloth. If you haven't time for washing tablecloths, purchase some clear plastic which you can place over a pretty tablecloth, or purchase some attractive plastic cloths you can wipe down after the meal. Add a candle, some flowers (even if they are wild flowers or weeds that your children find around), or a centerpiece to your table. Encourage your children to set the table beautifully, not haphazardly. It will make all the difference to your meal.
Did you know that we taste with the eyes as well as the mouth?
Make your food look attractive, too. Arrange it appealingly on the table in serving dishes, or on individual plates if you do it this way.
If you do happen to have TV in your home, make sure you turn it off during mealtime. Put on lovely peaceful music which you can have quietly playing in the background. Create a soothing atmosphere.
Hold hands together as you give thanks to God at the beginning of the meal. Create an atmosphere of togetherness and love.
This is a very important part of each meal. Use herbs and spices to enhance your food. It will not only taste better, but fill your home with tantalizing aromas. There is nothing like smelling the food that is cooking for supper. It really makes home feel like "Home, sweet home."
Did you know that God loves smells? The meat that burned upon the altar was a "sweet smelling savour" to God (e.g. Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18, 25, 41; Leviticus 8:21 and 2 Chronicles 13:11). I don't think there is any more wonderful smell than lamb cooking in the oven! God loves it too. I guess I say that because I am a New Zealander. It may not be the favorite smell of an American! However, you will have your favorite cooking aromas that you love to have in your home.
We wouldn't want to eat food if we couldn't delight in the flavor, would we? Make your food palatable and tasty. Be creative and make different kinds of tastes. Delight in the flavors of the foods God has created. We like to ooh and aah over the tastes of food in our family. I think God is happy about that. He likes us to appreciate what He has created.
You can also train your children's taste buds from a young age. Don't give them sweet foods when they are young and they won't clamor for them when they are older. Feed them healthy food, rather than junk food and that's the kind of food they'll enjoy. Don't even bring junk food into your home and you won't have trouble trying to stop your children eating it.
As you prepare your meal each evening, think about how you can impact the five senses of your husband and children. They will take these memories with them for life.
Enjoy making your meal table more special,
When raising our children, I would try to do something different at the meal table one night a week. One of the things the children loved was COLOR NIGHTS. For example, I would choose a color and put up a notice:
"Tonight is RED Night! No admittance unless wearing something Red. Supper at 6.00 p.m. Please knock before entering."
I set the table with a red tablecloth, adding red candles, napkins, and centerpiece (red flowers if I could find them). I prepared red foods. There are plenty of foods from which to choose, e.g. beets, radishes, red beans, red hot dogs with tomato sauce, tomato soup, potatoes or rice colored with red food coloring, etc. For dessert, you could have lovely red fruits such as pomegranates, blood oranges, cherries, strawberries, watermelon, or red grapes.
You can also purchase red paper plates and knives and forks, etc. I would often wrap a little gift (something inexpensive) in red paper and put it beside their plate. The children loved these nights and we tried every color of the rainbow!
Love from Nancy Campbell
What are some ways you can draw your family around your table for meals?
1. Use herbs and flavors to spice up your meal so the aroma draws everyone to the kitchen.
2. Put a lovely tablecloth on the table. Change the colors of your plates and tablecloths from time to time so you don't get bored. Your table should look attractive. It may be difficult to have time to wash tablecloths when you have little children. But, you can purchase clear plastic to put over the tablecloth so you only have to wipe the plastic.
3. Set the table attractively and teach your children how to set a table properly.
4. Use candles, flowers, or a centerpiece. Create a lovely ambiance.
5. Holds hands together as you say grace at the beginning of the meal.
6. Turn off the TV and all other distractions. Talk and communicate together.
7. Seek to make every meal a LOVE AFFAIR.
Blessings from Nancy Campbell
Painting by Polina Luchanova, born in 1977, The artist having tea with her family.
In a day when many families eat on the run, around the TV, or at different times, why is it important to gather together as a family and SIT AT THE TABLE FOR FAMILY MEALTIMES? Because...
1. The table is a GATHERING PLACE. There is nothing like food to gather the family together. And when we gather together, we relate together. And when we relate together, it binds us closer together.
2. The table is a COMMUNICATING SPOT. It's where we interact with our children and talk heart to heart and soul to soul. Fellowship and food go together. God didn't intend us to eat on the run. When Jesus fed the 5,000 plus, He made them first sit down in groups before He fed them.
3. The table is an ENQUIRING PLACE. It's where the children can ask us questions and we can ask them questions. We become part of one another's lives.
4. The table is a DISCUSSION ASSEMBLY. I believe it is as important to prepare what you are going to talk about at the table as what you are going to eat. Think about topics you can discuss when you sit down for your evening meal --biblical, spiritual, geographical, or political, etc. Ask fun questions and get everyone involved. Or, you can ask each person to come to the table prepared to share about a book they have been reading recently. Or, share about a person who has impacted this world. Sometimes, we have a general knowledge quiz at the table. Use your imagination to make your family table fun and exciting.
5. The table is a RELAXING OASIS. Ooops. I know that it's not often like that when you are still training little ones. However, be diligent to keep training for you will eventually reap wonderful blessings. Food releases oxytocin which is a calming hormone. Therefore as you gather together as a family to eat and share together, you relax. Isn't that great?
6. The table is a SPIRIT-FEEDING PLACE. We have to get a new mindset. The table is not only a place to feed our children's hungry tummies, but a place to feed the whole man--body, soul, and spirit. If we let our children leave the table before we have fed their spirit, they leave half fed. The physical food fills us up, relaxes us, and prepares us for the most important feeding, the feeding of the spirit--Family Devotions. A friend in The Netherlands told me that when she grow up her family called Family Devotions, "Finishing up the Meal." They didn't leave the table only half fed, but finished up their meal by feeding their spirit. Don't starve your children.
Blessings from Nancy Campbell, www.aboverubies.org
For further encouragement about your family meal table go to:
The moment of conception is the beginning of a human being and this great miracle begins in the womb of a woman.
It is the rule and reign of Christ in individual hearts, families, the church, and the nation. Does your home and family belong to the kingdom of God? You will know if you are at odds with the kingdom of Satan. God’s kingdom is opposite to Satan’s kingdom. Neither the two do meet. If we fit in nicely with the world, we better check carefully which kingdom we truly belong to. We can only belong to one or the other and belonging to God’s kingdom will not make us a favorite with the world.
Satan’s kingdom is one of lies and deception; God’s kingdom is a kingdom of truth. When we are part of God’s kingdom we passionately seek after truth. We discern what are lies and deception and depart from them.
Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of death; God’s kingdom is a kingdom of life. When we belong to God’s kingdom we embrace life. We open our hearts to the children He wants to give us (Matthew 19:14). We are life-givers and not life-stoppers. Life-stoppers are antithesis to God’s kingdom.
God has laws and commandments for His kingdom and we can only enter His kingdom on HIs terms (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The devil’s kingdom loves to compromise God’s ways and preaches we must tolerate evil and never judge.
God’s kingdom is an unshakeable kingdom (Hebrews 12:28). When things in our lives begin to shake and fall apart around us we continue rejoicing because we belong to an unshakeable kingdom that will never pass away.
When we live in God’s kingdom we will not be moved by our circumstances or in a continual state of self-pity or depression because God’s kingdom is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).
The kingdoms of this world will all pass away but we belong to an everlasting kingdom! Hallelujah! Doesn’t this make you shout for joy? Read Psalm 145:13; 146:10; Daniel 4:34; 7:27; 2 Timothy 4:19; and 2 Peter 1:11.
God’s kingdom is glorious and majestic (Psalm 145:11, 12). Because we belong to a royal kingdom, we are no longer normal. Because Christ dwells in us we bear the image of the heavenly. We walk in majesty and dignity. We die to our flesh and live the life of Christ which abides in us. God has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
May we each allow God to rule and reign in our lives and in every room of our homes.
Love from Nancy Campbell
We talked yesterday about living a lovely life. 1 Peter 3: 3-6 talks about living a BEAUTIFUL LIFE. It tells us about the women who lived “in the old time,” or as one translation says, “once upon a time.” Once upon a time, away back in history, women made themselves beautiful in a different way than now. But it is a way that is very precious to God. Let’s read about it in a few different translations so we can really get the picture:
New Century Version: “In this same way, the holy women who lived long ago and followed God made themselves beautiful, yielding to their own husbands.”
New Living Translation: “This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.”
Are you getting the picture? Let me give you one more passage where the word “beauty” is mentioned SEVEN times! It’s the Barclay version: “Your BEAUTY must not be the superficial BEAUTY which depends on elaborate hair-styles and expensive jewellery and the wearing of fashionable clothes. No! Your BEAUTY must be the BEAUTY of your inner character and personality. It must consist of the BEAUTY of a gentle; and serene character, a BEAUTY which the years cannot wither, for in God’s sight that is what is really precious. This was BEAUTY with which once upon a time consecrated women, whose hopes were set on God, adorned themselves. They accepted the authority of their husbands. It was in this that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master.”
New English Bible: “Thus it was among God’s people in days of old: the women who fixed their hopes on him adorned themselves by submission to their husbands.” God never commands a husband to make his wife submit to him. God’s commands the husband to love his wife like his own body and as much as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25-33). It is something she does of her own volition, from her own heart, from her humble heart of submission to the Lord. Submission is an adorning. It is how we clothe ourselves, and it is an adorning that makes us beautiful.
Why is submission a beautiful thing? Because it is the same attitude of Jesus who submitted to His father’s will. Although Jesus was God He was willing to leave glory and become a man, humble Himself, even to the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
Do we have a submissive heart or a stubborn and rebellious heart? Are we making ourselves beautiful?
Blessings to you today,
1 Peter 2:12 (Barclay) tells us: “Live a LOVELY life among the heathen.” I was surprised to read the words “a lovely life.” I checked it out in my Greek Lexicon and yes, Barclay’s translation is correct. The word “kalos” means “beautiful (even more than lovely), good, honest, worthy.”
We also read this word in Matthew 5:15, 16: “A lamp is not lit to be put under a bowl. It is lit to be put on a lampstand, and then it shines for EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE TO SEE IT. Just so, your light must shine for everyone to see, so that, when they SEE THE LOVELY THINGS YOU DO, it may make them want to praise your Father who is in heaven.”
Can people describe my life by the lovely things I do? Can they describe your life this way? Firstly, in the home, because that’s where it all starts. Our light first shines for everyone in our home to see and then shines out to neighbors and people around us. How do they see this light? By the lovely things we do and say.
It’s not only what we do. What about our lovely words? Do we speak lovely words to our husbands? Do we speak lovely words to our children? It’s hypocritical to speak nice words to others outside the home if we are angry, shouting, and nasty in the home.
If we are born again, Christ dwells in us by His Holy Spirit. He wants to live His lovely life through us with all His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, and kindness, etc.
Let’s yield to the life of Christ who lives within us and live a lovely life today--doing lovely things and speaking lovely words.
In His love,
I know you are aware that this world is not your home and you are a stranger and pilgrim on this earth (1 Peter 2:11). But did you know that you are not a sojourner on your own? God Himself sojourns with you. God says in Leviticus 25:23: “For you are strangers and sojourners WITH ME.”
We do not walk alone; God walks with us. When we feel like an outcast because we don’t fit in with the culture of this world, God is an outcast with us. When we suffer pain and persecution, God suffers with us. What wonderful comfort to know that God pilgrims with us through this time of exile.
God uses His word to guide us (Psalm 119:19, 54 and Hebrews 11:13). As exiles of eternity we must keep His words in our hearts and mouths. The people who belong to earth live by a different mindset than the God-fearing sojourner. They belong to a different kingdom with different values and worldview. Therefore, if we don’t continually hold on to God’s words we can easily be dragged into the mindset of this world system instead of living by heavenly rules and principles.
It is also important to teach your children that they are only temporary residents and foreigners on this earth and have a greater destiny than this world.
Love from Nancy Campbell
It’s a pink line! You’re pregnant! Wow!
Maybe you’ve been longing for this day. Or maybe it’s a surprise! Maybe it wasn’t the news you wanted to hear! Whatever the reason, I want to remind you that it is a MIRACLE FROM GOD. God is the author of this life. He destined this child. He has plans and purposes for this precious one. Let’s contemplate on the MIRACLE.
M God chose you to be the MOTHER of His child.
I God is INTERESTED in every minute detail of your baby, from creating every part of his/her body in the womb to His plans for his/her life in the future.
R God will REVEAL more of His character and His ways to you as you embrace and nurture your precious baby.
A God will give you His ANOINTING and ABILITY to train this child. He knows you cannot do it in your own strength. And He will AMAZINGLY provide every need for this coming baby. He doesn’t necessarily provide before the baby comes, but when your baby arrives, you will see His daily provision.
C God has CALLED and COMMISSIONED you for this great task.
L God will LAVISH you with His LOVE for this sweet baby. You will not only be overcome with love for your baby, but if you have other children, you will fall in love with them all over again too. And what about all the negative gainsayers and family members? When the baby is born, they will fall in love with the baby too.
E God is creating within you an ETERNAL soul that will live forever. You are embarking on an ETERNAL mission.
Praise God for your miracle.
Love from Nancy Campbell
Picture source: http://www.bellelumieremagazine.com/hampstead-heath-baby-b…/
God intends babies to be nursed at the breast and enfolded in their mother’s arms. We see this in nature. Animals instinctively encircle their little ones to them without having to read books or listen to CDs. What I find hard to fathom is how human mothers can leave their little babies with someone else to look after while they do their career? This is not even instinctive. Mothers and new babies should be inseparable.
~ Nancy Campbell
What is it like to walk in the presence of God? Psalm 89:15 says: “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.” Oh, to walk in God’s light. What awesome fearfulness. And yet what joyful blessedness. In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
In the Scriptures, the countenance of the Lord speaks of His presence. This is the ultimate vision for every believer--to walk continually in the light of His presence. How can you walk this kind of life in your home? Notice the Scriptures says “walk.” It doesn’t say we are blissfully sitting in the presence of the Lord, away from all interruptions! Instead, it talks about our daily walk. Whatever we are currently doing in your kitchen and with your children.
Are you facing squabbles and constant immaturity of children? Are you overwhelmed with all you must do in your home today? I was on the phone to one of my daughters and during our conversation she said, “Mom, got to go. I’ve got children fighting, and even punching!”
The wonderful thing is that God’s presence is not limited to church meetings. God’s presence is available to you constantly. And please remember, dear mother, it is not the hassles, the difficulties, or even sorrow that hides God’s face from you. The only thing that hides His face is our sin and rebellion against Him.
As we seek to walk in holiness because we fear the light of His countenance, we also walk in the unspeakable joy of His constant presence because of His nearness to us--to strengthen us, give us peace, wisdom, and even rest in the midst of chaos!
The Bible commentator, Alexander Maclaren calls it living in “continual sunshine.”
Live in the sunshine of His presence today.
Love from Nancy Campbell
I’m sure you love God’s promise in Deuteronomy 33:24, 25: ”As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” But have you read it in context? It’s in the passage of the prophetic blessing upon the tribe of Asher which says: “Let Asher be blessed with children” and then it concludes with “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Isn’t that amazing?
God doesn’t bless us with children without giving us the strength to nurture and train the children He gives us. This promise is tailor made for parenting.
You may think, “How on earth could I ever cope with another child? My hands are full already.” Dear mother, God is your Strength. He promises to give you strength for each new day. He doesn’t give you strength for tomorrow, but for TODAY. And He doesn’t give you strength and energy for a baby that has not arrived yet. If God sends you another blessing from Heaven, He will give you the strength when that baby comes. What a wonderful God we have.
Look to Him for His strength for today.
Love from Nancy Campbell
Painting by Tuman Zhumabaev
Is your life full of stress? Are you in distress? Please don’t despair. God wants to tell you something. He has promised that you will come into a large place through your distress. Your anguish can overwhelm you or lead you closer to God. Look to God; He is bigger than this problem you face.
Your difficulty may not disappear, but as you put your trust in God, He gives you His wisdom and strength. And He promises to bring you out into a large place. You will come forth stronger in your faith. You will come forth knowing God is faithful. You will be farther along the path than ever before.
So, keep trusting, dear one.
Psalm 4:1: “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast ENLARGED ME when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.”
Blessings from Nancy Campbell
We call her "The Mad Scientist." Serene and Pearl are now working on their new TRIM HEALTHY MAMA cookbook. Every afternoon Serene works on inventing her new recipes--tastes, flavors, and textures that you have never dreamed of before! You can see her writing on her board as I see her every afternoon. But oh, the recipes. When it is eventually printed you are going to be blown away. They are delectable! Amazing! Healthy! And scientifically worked out to not put on any weight! I don't know how she thinks of all she does. It can only be God who gives her the inspiration.
Children love to have friends. That’s why they like to have lots of brothers and sisters. As they get older they love to have more friends. They love to get in the groove with their friends. In fact, many times peer pressure from friends becomes a greater influence than parent pressure! That’s why it is imperative to guard your children’s friends.
Pray and look for godly friends for your children. This is even more important if there are fewer siblings in the family. Refrain from putting them into environments where they may be influenced by worldly and unbiblical lifestyles. That’s why so many concerned parents homeschool their children today. They do not want to put their children into an environment where drawn into sinful habits which will wreck their lives.
Proverbs 13:7 was one of my favorite Scriptures in raising our children: “He that walks with wise men will be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Many wonderful parents cannot understand how their teenagers go astray. Most times it is because they are influenced by the wrong crowd.
I certainly don’t believe in keeping our children at home forever. Our children are all grown and are changing the world. We train them to send out into this sinful and dark world to bring God’s light and truth.
But we don’t send them out . . .
Until they are ready.
Until they are strong.
Until they are ready to face the wolves.
Until they can “withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” against the foe that comes against them (Ephesians 6:13).
Until they come to that place in their hearts where they love righteousness and hate evil and will say No to all temptation.
Until they are established in the truth of God’s Word and can therefore discern all the deceptive garbage that fills our society.
Until then we have a big job getting them ready. Training their senses to understand discernment. Filling them with the truth of God’s Word. Giving them godly convictions. This is our responsibility as parents which we cannot take lightly.
Blessings to you and your children,
The Bible tells us that the mouth of the righteous is “a well of life.” How wonderful if everyone who hears our voice today gets a bucketful of life-giving words. Every time we open our mouths we minister either death or life (Proverbs 18:21). We have the power to change lives or destroy them. We wield this power as a mother as we speak to our children all day long.
Of course, what’s inside us is that which comes out. If we are feeling disgruntled, disillusioned, and downcast, we’ll speak negative words. If we have not been feeding on God’s living Word and wholesome sources of truth, our mouth will be a stagnant pool instead of a well of life. To drink from a stagnant pool can be make you sick.
To pour out life-giving words, we must fill our minds with loving, beautiful, faith-filled, and joyful thoughts. We always speak what we are thinking about. If you are meditating on truth, you’ll want to talk about it at every chance you get.
What are your children drinking from your lips today? What about your husband? Are you a well of life to him?
Have a beautiful day,
Picture by Tacsha * http://www.designing31.com/…/its-a-process-drawingcloser-1/…
It is true that we find joy in lovely moments in life, but we don't always have lovely moments. The wonderful thing is that no matter what we are going through, we can always find our joy in God. He is our true source of joy, no matter what our circumstances.