NCFI Cares: A Song in Your Heart

I have a granddaughter who is constantly singing. When we are driving in the car, hanging out at home, or walking to the park, she is singing a song. Many times, she repeats the chorus or refrain to a recent pop song over and over. I enjoy listening to her sing even when it is annoying to her older brother. At times I do have to have her tone it down, especially if her singing borders on the edge of screaming. The beautiful thing about her singing is it comes out naturally; in fact, she was born with a song-in-her-heart. When she was just a few days old, I remember holding her and she was humming along. Since she had just left the Lord presence, I asked her softly, “Are you singing the songs of angels?”

I share this with you, not just to brag as a loving grandmother, but also to remind us that we can all have a song in our heart. The natural song or verse in our heart overflows from a heart and spirit filled with the goodness of God. We sing praises of his wonderfulness and out of gratefulness to Him and all his provisions.

There are many verses which speak of having a song in heart:

“singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord always giving thanks to God the Father for all things” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

“Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises” James 5:13

“The Lord strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude.” Psalm 28:7

Take some time this week and put a song in your heart. If you are naturally musically, invent your own melody of praise; otherwise find a favorite hymn, song, or refrain to fill your heart with the Lord’s praises.

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NCFI Cares: The Cross-Cultural Mission Field at our Workplace

Throughout scripture we see the Apostles bringing the love of God and grace of Christ to various cultures and religions. The most dramatic is Philip, who was led by the Holy Spirit to travel to a specific road in Gaza to meet with the Ethiopian court official (Acts 8:27-39). He explains the passage of Isaiah and then proceeds to lead the official to salvation and baptism. Earlier in Samaria Philip had provided physical and spiritual healing to Simon, a magician who practiced in the dark arts (Acts 8:9-13).

Reaching out cross-culturally to bring the love and grace of Christ to others, doesn’t have to be a call to the mission field. We can bring the love of God and grace of Christ cross culturally to those within our sphere of influence. We can connect one-on-one with people around us and explore their religion, country of origin or ethnicity. Here are some ideas to get started:

–Take extra time to talk with a patient or their family exploring their home life.

–Have lunch with a coworker and learn about their religious practices

–Connect with a student and discover their cultural traditions.

As Christians we have the tendency to spend time with only Christians and like-minded individuals. Instead, with the influx of immigrants in most nations and the diversity of global travelers, we have an opportunity to learn about various cultures and religions right within our work environment. As we take time to pray for our coworkers, our patients and/or our students, we can spread the love God has for all his children through our conversations and professional relationships.  

Also, don’t be afraid to talk with those who practice in the evil arts. Get to know these religion/practices, seek prayer support from your pastor, and then hold on to God’s promises, “He that is in me and you is greater than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). How else can those from various religions ever learn about the love of God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

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)

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.