NCFI Cares: Our Faith: A Construction Project?

Are there times when you feel like your faith is a construction project? A time or season in your life when it seems like God is busy tearing down old walls, removing dilapidated furnishings, refurbishing an old room, or maybe even building a new room (Philippians 1:6).

Building of our faith can occur during times of adversity and suffering when we feel like the Lord has a wrecking ball to our hearts, or a jack hammer pounding on our souls, or a hammer to our faith. The death of a loved one, pain and illness from a disease, a loss of job or financial challenges, a strained relationship and other personal experiences are all opportunities for the Lord to renovate our faith. Like a construction project on a building the use of the correct building materials with endurance and patience can rebuild our faith into a sturdy, long-lasting building.

Building up of our faith can also occur when we experience a dry or a desert time in our faith.  Maybe you lack faith or patience in your personal walk with the Lord; or maybe you have picked up some worldly bad habits—less time in prayer, no longer attending church, and other non-faith building projects.

Or maybe you sense the Lord is not tearing something down, but instead is building something new, like a new role in nursing, a change in job, or in ministry. Even the good changes in our lives feels uncomfortable and causes anxiety and pain. Even though we pray for the process, many times we resist the Holy Spirit when he starts laying out the construction plans (Philippians 1:6)

Whether the Lord is tearing down to make something new, removing bad habits, or is preparing us for a future role we need to partner with the Lord on faith reconstruction project.  Instead of being resistant to change and holding on to our current circumstances submit to God. The Lord is always looking for ways to conform us to be more like Christ and to equip us for His work.

Give him the hammer and the nails and let him go to work; so that you will always be equipped and able to do the work God has called for you to do (Ephesians 4:12-13).  

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love. For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

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CARES: Reflections for Nurses–English Only

CARES English Cover Only

I think the best way to share the good news is tstart with an insightful story.

Recently, I was in Taiwan and gave the CARES: Reflections for Nurses to a Taiwanese nursing student. He received his gift with joy and thanks. The next day, he approached me and said, “I can’t read this book, it is in Spanish.” This is when I explained how the book is bilingual–English on one side with Spanish on the other side. With the simple explanation, he went away happy excited to enjoy his gift.  A few days later, he confirmed his enjoyment of the English reflections.

This incidence solidified a thought I had been contemplating, to publish an English only edition. So here it is with a bonus feature. Instead of just removing the Spanish translations, I went one step further to add a note page for each reflection. This provides space for meditations, insights, and/or prayers.

page view

The book is available through Amazon Book Store

Hopefully soon, it will be available on the NCFI webpage as a free pdf.

Christian Nursing 101: Intercessory Prayer: Differentiating the Source

When I first thought about writing this article, I wanted the title to be “Take Back Prayer in Nursing”. That is because I feel we have let prayer, communication between God and man, become a buzzword for anything spiritual. Once a reverent privilege to enter the throne room of God to speak praises, confession, or petitions to our holy Creator. Prayer has been relegated to an existential experience of sending positive thoughts, connecting with the universe, or random words to the unknown. My concern is not with non-Christian and their spiritual journey.  Instead it is with  Christians who espouse their prayers and petitions to a random receiver, or worse to evil spirits.

Thus, the article guides Christian nurses back to the tenets of our faith and Bible teaching on prayer. Since not all prayers are the same, Christians should be cautious when asked to pray for at least two reasons: who we pray to does matter and prayer is more than just reading a few lines.

Finally, we should strongly resist a compulsion to communicate with other gods, energy force or entities by patients, families, or staff. The Bible clearly teaches the \reality of evil spirits or demon world; which is in contradiction to God and Christ.

I would enjoy hearing more about your experience with non-Christian prayer in nursing.

NCFI Cares: CALM by Guest Contributor

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanks giving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.(Philippians 4: 4-8)

These verses and meaning of CALM, I got them from one of my best friends during our hospital crises. I already shared in our NCF-I committee meeting and it was encouraged me a lot. I hope you also will get benefit from those verses.

She observed me sometimes but I didn’t aware about it. One day I invited her for dinner with me. When she came she just ask me are you okay Bulbuli, then again in the middle of dinner ask me are you okay Bulbuli and I thought she ask me more than 3times. I always answer yes I am okay. When she was asking me few times then I told her yes, I am okay with my husband, my both daughters are okay, my mom is okay, everything is okay but I am worried about my hospital. She told me yes, I knew that you are so sad and upset about the hospital. Then finish our dinner, before she go home, she gave me a card and explain why she was asking me how you are. She realized I am worried about something but she wanted to listen from me. She gave me lots of example, she told me about the CALM and how it is helpful etc etc. It was gave me comfort, peace inside when she shared with me. Here is the meaning of CALM:

Celebrate God’s goodness (verse 4)

Ask God for help (verse 6)

Leave your concerns with God (verse 7)

Meditate on good things (verse 8)

So we have celebrate about good thing first because every day we have many good things beside the bad things, so thankful to HIM. If we are worried about anything, he is always ready to help us so we have to ask him for help. If we worried or heavy loaded then give them to God’s hands and he promised us to release from that. Finally we have to meditate and give focus on good things. If we can do this our heavenly father will give his comfort and give his supports all the time.

Amen.

by Bulbuli Mollick, International Board Member, Bangladesh

CALM best

 

NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Praise to El Shaddai

Are you in need of a Big, Almighty God? Then you will like the next name of God – El Shaddai. The name was used first in Genesis to reveal God’s name to Abraham “I am God Almighty.” (Genesis 17:1). As I thought about El Shaddai, I was reminded of the wonderful worship song. Below are the lyrics and a link to the youtube video. Spend time worshiping the God Almighty.

El shaddai, el shaddai,
El-elyon na adonia,
Age to age you’re still the same,
By the power of the name.
El shaddai, el shaddai,
Erkamka na adonai,
We will praise and lift you high,
El shaddai.

Through your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of abraham;
Through the power of your hand,
Turned the sea into dry land.
To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God who really sees,
And by your might,
You set your children free.

El shaddai, el shaddai,
El-elyon na adonia,
Age to age you’re still the same,
By the power of the name.
El shaddai, el shaddai,
Erkamka na adonai,
We will praise and lift you high,
El shaddai.

Through the years you’ve made it clear,
That the time of christ was near,
Though the people couldn’t see
What messiah ought to be.
Though your word contained the plan,
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of your son.

El shaddai, el shaddai,
El-elyon na adonai,
Age to age you’re still the same,
By the power of the name.
El shaddai, el shaddai,
Erkamka na adonai,
I will praise yo ’till I die,
El shaddai.

El shaddai, el shaddai,
El-elyon na adonai,
Age to age you’re still the same,
By the power of the name.
El shaddai, el shaddai,
Erkamka na adonai,
I will praise you ’till I die.
El shaddai.

Songwriters: Michael J. Card / John W Thompson

El Shaddai lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Song w/ lyrics.

NCFI Cares: Yahweh Tsidkenu: The LORD our Righteousness

A few months ago I attended a funeral service provided by the Mormon church. I was saddened, as I listened to an Elder of the church discuss the the spiritual journey of the deceased. First, the sermon detailed the need for Mormon’s to keep the 10 commandments found in the Old Testament in addition to the 2 commandments in the New Testament–Love the Lord and Love thy neighbor. The sermon also included how the deceased was in a placed called “paradise” working to achieve his eternal body for the next phase of eternal life.  I have to admit I was exhausted and saddened by all the work the Mormons are required to do to achieve eternal life. It also grieved my soul to be reminded of how people devoted to God can truly believe their hard work will bring them to eternal life.

Yet, at the same time, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for the grace and mercy of God. For the Lord loved and saved me from a life of worthless devotion and meaningless work. See, I was Mormon until the age of 19. Then, after a period of rejecting God and the Mormon church, I responded to the call of Holy Spirit. Weary and heavy laden I accepted the wonderful free gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ. This salvation secured my righteousness found in the Messiah or God’s other name Yahweh Tsidkenu—The LORD our Righteousness.

The name Yahweh Tsidkenu was first used by the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “The days are coming,” declared the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6). This was the anticipated Messiah for the Israelites and for us.  

As we meditate upon the name of God–Yahweh Tsidkenu and celebrate our unearned righteousness,  don’t forget to pray for the unsaved. Keep in mind, there are millions of people who have been led away from the truth of Christ by the Deceiver.

More information on Mormonism at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism

NCFI Cares: How We Grieve the Holy Spirit, by Guest Contributor

Recently, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the passage in Ephesians 4:26-32.  Yes, the Holy Spirit’s work is to bring to our remembrance all things that Jesus taught [John 14:26].  I was counselling two staff who had a conflict over some work matters.  One was angry, a believer and the other staff, a non-believer, told me that she would no longer ask for help from the other.  I sat down with two of them and talked openly about the conflict.  As I was talking, the passage of Ephesians came to my mind and I affirmed that to be angry was a normal human response but not to do anything to resolve that anger was wrong.  Later I further talked to the Christian staff whom I said that not to forgive and to hold on to the anger would grieve the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 4:30].  I left her to think further on what God’s Word had said.  The incident made me reflect further on my own responses in anger towards others rightly or wrongly and how I too would have grieved the Holy Spirit if I continued to hold on to that anger. 

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, grief is deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement.  In medical terms, there is no consensus on the defining features that would distinguish normal and pathological grief, it is generally accepted that grief becomes pathological when the reactions are excessive, prolonged, or unresolved.  In counselling the grieving, one understands that the loss of a close person, or loss of job or loss of a dream can be devastating.  The Lord allows us to go through grief and in this, we can identify with Jesus who is acquainted with grief, and even borne our griefs, a man of sorrows [Isaiah 53:3, 4]. Christ’ humanity brings us closer to Him and we can accept our human frailty of experiencing grief because He also experienced it. God has emotions but He is transcendent, beyond our comprehension.

The Bible uses the word “grieve or grieved” 37 times in the New King James translation.  The Old and New Testament mentioned six times that God or Holy Spirit was grieved[Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40; 95:10; Isaiah 63:10; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:30].  Genesis 6:6 “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” tells us that God is grieved when man rebuffed his covenantal love in sin and disobedience. God was also grieved when the Israelites rebelled in the desert under Moses’ leadership. God’s anguished response to sin is evidenced in two main ways: divine judgment and compassion for the sinner. Because God is holy, He has to judge sin but He offers compassion and salvation for sinners in the process.

May we be very conscious that the Holy Spirit can be grieved through our actions, speech and our attitudes in our day-to-day life responses.  Lord, teach us how to live and walk by the Spirit.

Sharing by Goh Swee Eng

NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Yahweh Sabaoth–Eyes of Faith to See the LORD of Hosts.

Our look at Yahweh Sabaoth takes us to one of my favorite accounts in the Old Testament found in 2 Kings 6:15-17. Elisha and his servant are sleeping in Dothan. The servant arises early and sees the king’s army has encircled the city with their horses and chariots.

Can you imagine the servant’s fear and anxiety? I am sure he thought that he was going to die. He probably doubted himself, the Lord’s plans, and definitely Elisha’s wisdom. Panicked, the servant awakens Elisha and says, “What shall we do?”

Elisha reassures the servant: “Do not be afraid, for those with us are more than those who are with them.” Instead of scolding the man for his lack of faith, Elisha recognizes the servant’s need for faith in God, not in a prophet as the miracle worker. So, Elisha prays for the Lord to open the eyes of the servant, so he too can see through eyes of faith. Sure enough, the Lord opens the servant’s eyes and he personally witnesses the LORD’s army of chariots, horses and fire encircling them. The cross reference for the text says, “The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the LORD is among them:” (Psalm 68:17). Wow! That is too many to count. No wonder Elisha is so calm and dozing in the early morning hours seemingly without a care in the world. There are innumerable angels ready to protect Elisha from the king’s army.

The reason this passage is a favorite, is because it reminds me that we are unaware of what truly goes on in the spiritual world.  We don’t see the Holy Spirit working in our lives, nor as the LORD’s name Yahweh Shabaoth reminds us, we don’t see the LORD of Hosts commanding an army of angels to care for you, me, and all the saints today. “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).

The passage is also a great reminder, to not beat ourselves up when we lack eyes of faith to see into the holy spiritual dimension. Instead it is a time to relax and trust in the God who commands his Holy Army to protect and provide for us—especially when we are anxious and fearful (Hebrews 1:14). And finally we are reminded to model faithfulness like Elisha and provide prayers and encouragement to others who are filled with doubt and worry.  

NCFI Cares: God’s Name In Nursing: Yahweh Shamma–The LORD is There

Yahweh Shamma is from Ezekiel’s vision when the Israelites were exiled in Babylon. Ezekiel prophesied that the Israelites would return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and temple. Then the Israelites would be reunited with the Lord and would name the city “Yahweh Shamma” the LORD is There. (Ezekiel 48:35).

For New Testament Christian believers, Yahweh Shamma communicates much more than just a city or church that the Lord will inhabit, instead through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, that began at Pentecost, believers have a continued promise of Yahweh Shamma. He is with us.

As I reflect upon this miraculous assurance and blessing we have from our Lord, I am reminded of our patients who need the assurance that Yahweh Shamma is with them as they face the unknown of cancer treatments, high-risk pregnancies, or a debilitating illness. Yahweh Shamma is also with our coworkers who are alone and afraid; those caring for chronically ill children and/or parents with dementia; and the single parents struggling to live a godly life in a worldly society. Yahweh Shamma is with each of our patients, families, and coworkers providing comfort and guidance for their life journey.

Similar to the Israelites, we are personally acquainted with those who feel exiled as they live outside the fellowship of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We can be rest assured that Yahweh Shamma is there also. Waiting to be reconciled with his beloved children. They just need to open their hearts and spirits, and they will notice the Yahweh Shamma, the LORD is still there.

NCFI Cares: Lost Joy by Guest Contributor

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“The joy of the Lord is our strength” Nehemiah 8:10

There are things we tend to lose, right? The things that we most easily lose in our daily tasks are the pen, the glasses, the cell phone, the piece of paper where we had an important annotation, and some would say “our hope”. But there is something that we all easily lose, especially Christian nurses, and it is joy.

On Sundays we leave the church joyfully excited to serve the Lord. Yet, as soon as we arrive at the hospital, there is bad news, a change in our work plans, the absence of a colleague, work overload, and a host of other things that make us lose our Sunday joy.  Romans 14:17 says: “The kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Joy is a natural consequence of following Christ. While we are living during these difficult days. we are reminded of Lamentations 5:15 “The joy of our heart ceased, our dance was changed into mourning “. It seems like the complaint and the hopelessness cover us. There are many things that make us lose joy.

  • An unbalanced schedule: the nurse knows a lot about this, we overload our schedule and then frustration comes when we do not comply with everything.
  • Selfishness: when we want to only receive the benefits of our profession and not deliver the added value to our work, such as love and mercy. Knowledge sometimes puffs up, but love builds and as a result fills us with joy.
  • Unused talents: Sometimes we do not use all our talents, our gifts, abilities and fall into a routine.We must use all that God has given us to enrich our work and thus find the job satisfaction we so crave.
  • Unconfessed sin: inside we know that we have unresolved things, such as not accepting a partner, feeling upset with our supervisor, jealousy, anger, strife, and others. We need to confess to the Lord and help us look at the another with the eyes of Christ.
  • Unresolved conflict: like negativity, gossip, bad humor, bitterness.
  • A malnourished spirit: we can only face all these things that rob us of joy, strengthening our spirit with the Word of God and with prayer.

In Psalm 51:12 the psalmist asks for the restoration of joy. “Return to me the joy of your salvation and noble spirit sustain me.”   When you become aware that you have lost your joy, remember that nothing is comparable to what God has done for you.

“And the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15: 13.

Lic. Martha Fernández Moyano, Argentina NCFI IB

Member of Prayer & Care committee of NCFI