NCFI Cares: Joshua’s Leadership Tips #4: Do a Heart-Check

Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

Psalm 26:2

The pandemic has been brutal on nurses. We may have found ourselves in places we never expected—like struggling with depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and others. Do you relate to any of these emotions? Or maybe, you have distanced yourself from God. This can be a normal reaction to difficult experiences. Or perhaps, you sense that something is amiss in your walk with God and are unsure what it is.As nurses coming out of the wilderness experiences with the coronavirus pandemic, we may need to do a mini-spiritual assessment. Similar to the Israelites needing to be consecrated before entering the promised land. Or the need to be restored or dedicated like Peter experienced after his denial. One way to complete a mini-spiritual assessment or “heart-check” is to reflect on a passage of scripture and explore areas of repentance and improvement. Galatians 5:22-26 is an excellent passage for reflection.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

5:22-26
  • Is your day filled with frustration instead of patience?
  • Do you find yourself filled with worry instead of peace?
  • Are you impatient or angry instead of self-controlled and kind?

Wilderness journeys can undermine our faith and fill us with doubt and hopelessness. It can leave us emotionally exhausted and frustrated. Sometimes, we don’t even know what has happened; we just know something is amiss. Take time to invite the Holy Spirit to “Test our mind and heart.” (Psalm 26:2).

 Keathley has powerful words as our final thought: “When there is a lack of consecration through confession for the defilement of sin along with a commitment to God’s purpose for our lives in service or ministry, we hinder the power of God.”

Keathley III, J. Hampton, Studies in the Life of Joshua. 3. Crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3:1-4:24)

NCFI Cares: Joshua’s Leadership Tip #3: Get Ready for Miracles

Joshua told the people, “Ritually consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform miraculous deeds among you.” (Joshua 3:5)

Before the Israelites could participate and witness God’s miracle, they needed to be consecrated to the Lord. Joshua leads them into consecration or “getting right with God” on two different occasions. The first is before they cross the Jordan River (Joshua 3) and then before they go to battle (Joshua 5).

The Israelites needed to get spiritually ready for the Lord’s work through them. Keathley, a Bible scholar, asserts that consecration includes preparation and dedication to the Lord’s purpose. In other words, God prepares us to do mighty works in Him!

Keathley includes the importance of preparation and dedication in consecration:

  • Being reminded of God’s holiness – God cannot have fellowship with a sinful man or woman. (1 Peter 1:16) 
  • Demonstrating the necessity of the cross of Christ—without faith in the cross and the cleansing, we can’t be set apart for God’s use or blessings. (James 2:22)
  • Recognizing that God doesn’t use unclean vessels—believers are saved and cleansed by the work of Christ; consecration reminds us to deal with the known or unknown sins in our lives. (Colossians 3:8-10)
  • Accepting the necessity of understanding our purpose as God’s people along with the commitment to God and His purpose (2 Timothy 2:21)
  • Recognizing the need for the Holy Spirit for consecrated living. (Eph 3:16; 5:18)

A New Testament example is seen in the life of Peter. Even after he denied knowing Jesus, the Lord reinstated Peter as a disciple and as a leader of the church (John 21:15-19; Matt 16:18). Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I do.” Jesus then told Peter distinctly to care for the church, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus’ conversation with Peter was a form of consecration as Peter was prepared for the ministry ahead.  

As we pray for God to do a miracle in our workplace, let’s open our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying hand.

Keathley III, J. Hampton, Studies in the Life of Joshua. 3. Crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3:1-4:24) https://bible.org/seriespage/3-crossing-jordan-joshua-31-424

Catch up on Joshua’s Leadership Series and read the posts in order.

Challenges to Godly Excellence with The ICN Code of Ethics

The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses includes 4 principal elements that outline standards of ethical conduct. In the presentation, I supported each element with biblical scripture and Christian nursing resources. Watch the presentation and then feel free to respond to the following questions.

Element #1 Nurses and Patients, other people requiring service. Luke 10:33-37 or The Good Samaritan

Element #2 Nurses and Practice. Colossians 3:12-17

Element #3 Nurses and the Profession. 1 Peter 4:7-11

Element #4 Nurses and global health. Originally I chose Proverbs 3:27-28. I would change it to Matthew 25:35-40.

I would love to hear which one of the elements is the most difficult to live out as a Christian nurse.

Is it providing compassionate, empathetic nursing care to difficult patients?

Do you lack the moral courage to speak up with conscientious objection?

Have you been unkind and/or unprofessional to your colleagues at work?

Are you blind to the health inequities within your area of nursing or health care?

If you prefer, you can email me your response at nurses4him@gmail.com

Defining Godly Excellence Through Applying Scripture to The ICN Code of Ethics

In October of 2022, at the NCFI PACEA (Pacific and East Asia) Regional Conference I had the wonderful honor to be one of the conference presenters. I used this opportunity to encourage Christian nurses to live out biblical scripture in fulfilling each element of the ICN Code. I have included the abstract, the video presentation, and a link to the ICN Code for your reference. Enjoy!

Abstract

The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses defines ethical values, responsibilities, and professional accountabilities to nurses in all areas of practice. Each principal element of the code is a framework for the application of ethical conduct with patients, within nursing practice and the profession, and most recently for global health. Christian Nurses use a biblical worldview based upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ to guide ethical nursing practice. The application of scripture to each element of the ICN Code of Ethics provides a basis for godly excellence in nursing.

 “The Good Samaritan” teaching in Luke 10:33-37 supports Element #1: Nurses and Patients or Other People Requiring Service.  In the passage, the Samaritan (or nurse) reached across racial/societal barriers to implementing person-centered nursing care. The compassionate nurse promoted human rights while striving for equitable and respectable health care through Christ’s teaching of “love thy neighbor.”

Element #2: Nurses and Practice speak to the identity and role of the nurse. Colossians 3:12-17 reminds nurses they are God’s chosen ones clothed in kindness, humility, and patience. The Spirit of love, peace, thankfulness, and joy form a solid ground of competence and dignity so that everything the nurse says and does is in the name of Jesus.

Christian nurses live out Element #3 Nurses and Profession by contributing to research, managing disasters, and improving organizational environments. 1 Peter 4:7-11 is the basis for collaborating with professionals and using godly gifts to contribute to nursing. Professional characteristics of prayer, self-control, sound judgment, love, and hospitality distinguish the use of gifts to serve and glorify God.

Proverbs 3:27-28 speaks to Element #4: Nurses and Global Health. Christian nurses should make every effort to do good and give to others. Our neighbors, especially those across our borders, have needs and we should not delay in providing for them. At the same time, we can actively advocate against evil in exploitation and abuse.  

Godly excellence is defined by the application of scripture to each element of The ICN Code of Ethics defines by implementing compassionate evidence-informed nursing care, upholding personal and professional standards, engaging in the advancement of the nursing profession, and contributing to the health of all peoples.

Here is the presentation:

Defining Godly Excellence through Applying Scripture to The ICN Code of Ethics

Presentation at PACEA Regional Conference

NCFI Cares: Prayerful Waiting During Advent

As nurses and midwives, we are in the business of waiting. Whether our patients are waiting for surgery, an upcoming test, healing from an infection, or for an update on their condition, nurses wait with their patients. As nurses, we not only wait with our patients, but we also wait for physicians to see our patients and update their plans of care. We wait for the multidisciplinary team to visit our patient and provide services. We also wait on other nurses. We wait for a report from the previous shift or another facility, or at the end of our shift or day, we wait for the next nurse to take over our assignment.

The Advent Season is a time of waiting also. We seek to find time to quiet our hearts from the busyness of the season to spiritually wait for the anticipated birth of our Messiah. Since we are living in the post-coming of the Messiah, we also equate our spiritual waiting with His future coming (Revelation 22:20).

During these final weeks of Advent, let’s turn our physical waiting into spiritual waiting. We can do this for both ourselves and our patients. Turn the time of inactivity while you are physically waiting with your patient into a time of contemplative waiting. Take those few moments to praise the Lord with the angels from Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Or repeat from Mary’s praises, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” Luke 1:46-47.

If you are waiting with your patient, then quietly pray for your patient following Zechariah’s proclamation in Luke 1:78-79, “the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  You can also spend time waiting with your patient and sharing how as Christians, our time of waiting is over. As believers, we boldly join Simeon in proclaiming:

“Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.”

(Luke 2:29-32)

Christmas Blessings from NCFI

NCFI Cares Joshua’s Leadership Tip #2 Change Your Perspective

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, What does my lord say to his servant? And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy. And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5:13-15 ESV

Joshua experienced amazing miracles in his life prior to becoming the leader of the Israelites. He witnessed the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the miracles of manna, and the stopping of the Jordan river. As he prepares to take on the city of Jericho, he comes face-to-face with the Captain of the Lord’s Army, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ (1). Every time I read the passage; I stop in awe at the encounter. I wonder what it would have been like to have the visible Jesus Christ suddenly appear. I imagine walking around my campus strategizing who will teach a course, how can I recruit faculty, and what will happen if I have to cancel classes or delay graduation. I can imagine being deep in thought when suddenly I look up and see a strange man standing before me. I most likely would not think he is an enemy. Instead, I could see myself asking him if he could help me with my problems, especially if he was dressed as a nurse. I am that desperate! 

Instead of answering my question, the man responds, “I am the Commander of the Army of the Lord. Now I have come.”  Like Joshua, I would fall face down in shock. I have to admit, I would be too dumbstruck to respond in reverence to the Son of God. Maybe after a few minutes, I might be able to pull myself together enough to at least listen to what he had to say. I doubt it though.

Beyond my personal reflection behind, I find profound meaning behind the encounter between the Commander of the Lord’s Army and Joshua. There were two principles communicated to Joshua:

The first one is for Joshua to realize God’s claim over him and His purposes.

“We tend to approach our battles and causes backward; we turn things around and try to marshal God to support us rather than to submit and follow Him…Joshua, as with all of us in the army of the King, must be following the Lord, submitting to His authority, taking our orders from Him, and resting the battle in His hands because we realize it is really His battle as the Supreme Commander.” (1)

In other words, instead of seeking God to provide wisdom for my problems in nursing; I need to submit and follow God. Instead of being stressed and racking my brain for solutions, I need to follow Joshua’s example and state, “What has my Lord to say to his servant?” After Joshua replied, the Lord provided directions for taking Jericho, which, if you read on through Chapter 6, was not a military maneuver.

The second principle is the commander brings God’s powerful provision and personal presence.

“The promise of God’s personal presence always carries with it the assurance of God’s personal care. Likewise, the promise of His powerful provision always carries with it the promise of His infinite supply and power no matter how impossible the problem may appear to us.” (1)

When I recently asked the question, “What has my Lord to say to his servant?” The Lord replied, “It’s all mine and I will tell you what to do.” His answer changed my perspective. Yes, I still am looking for instructors to teach.  Yet now, I wake up and ask the question and do what I can to solve the many problems. I don’t get stressed and am not afraid of worst-case scenarios. It is up to God, and he will decide what the future brings. He will tell me what I need to know when I need to know it. I wait for His directions, and when they come, I act. I take them one step at a time, expecting God’s personal presence and waiting on God’s powerful provisions to address the challenges I face.

(1) Keathley, J. Hampton, Studies in the Life of Joshua. 4.Consecrating the People (Joshua 5:1-15)

Moral Courage for Pro-life

Have you ever felt like the Lord had you on faith journey that you were completely unaware of it until all the pieces came together. This recently happened to me in regards to abortion.

Approximately 45 days ago (#of days is important, so hang on), I was perusing our local catholic website. Even though, I am not catholic, my husband and I have attended events. As I was scrolling on the website, an advertisement for 40 Days for Life. I clicked on the link and learned about the organization.

40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil, and community outreach. They take a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out His plan for the end of abortion in America. The 40-day campaign tracks Biblical history, where God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities…and the entire world.

To say the Lord “smacked me” sounds violent and crazy. It was violent to my spirit! God called me out.

I felt like God drew a line in the sand and said, “Carrie, I am opposed to killing babies! Where are you?” Theologically we can’t lose our salvation. Yet, I knew God was giving me an ultimatum in regards to my relationship with Him. It took me two-seconds to fall to my knees weeping and saying, “Of course, Lord. I love you and will always love you!”

I immediately ordered a sweatshirt, 40 days Devotion book and the book What to Say When: The Complete New Guide to Discussing Abortion. I knew I needed to get informed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I started the 40 Days for Life fast guided by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Lord’s timing was perfect with when I became informed.

I also watch the movie Unplanned about Abbey Johnson, a Christian mom, who worked as a clinical manager for Planned Parenthood. You can stream it for FREE on Tubi, AmazonPrime, Vudu, and other services.

A few comments…

  1. If you are old enough to remember the Pro-life movement being violent, hateful and grotesque, then I invite you to peruse 40 Days for Life. They are a peaceful, science-based, multi-faith organization that reaches out to everyone affected by abortion (women, unborn babies, abortion workers, ex-planned parenthood employees, and doctors).
  2. Sometimes we find ourselves on the fence with issues. I will admit I was never, per se Pro-Choice, but I had justified abortions in cases of rape, incest, and did not want abortions to return to “back-alley” procedures. The Lord set me straight on His truth and where I needed to be. As a Christian who holds firmly on the truth of the Bible, I needed to be disciplined and reproofed in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
  3. Pray and search out the scientific proof and Biblical proof. They align together. Life begins at conception and God’s is the creator of all life. He intimately knows each human, even in the womb (Psalm 139).

God had been leading me to this point through many small steps. Now I just pray for the moral courage to live out His truth in love and grace.

The Call for Ethnic Reconciliation

One Blood by John M. Perkins

I became a Christian as an adult at the age of 28. Since the church I attended was a diverse with people from all ethnicity and cultures, I assumed Christianity did not have racism or racial divisions. Since that time, some 30 years ago, I have learned the truth. How Christian white slave owners justified slavery and racism using the Bible. How during the Civil Rights movement in Christian denominations split to provide segregated churches. I was aghast at this evilness done in the name of Jesus.

I began to pray for the church to be the leader of love and grace to all peoples:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 (NASB)

With my heart and soul on the future found in Revelation 7:9

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;

At the same time continue to reach out in love and grace to all my brothers and sisters in Christ while trying to understand their perspective and experiences. (Side note…why I love NCFI!) Because I am an unapologetic book worm, I continued to read books on the subject from many great Christian writers.

I recently became aware of John M. Perkins book One Blood. This was the answer to my prayers. My women’s group read and discussed the book. It was a great experience to listen to my sisters talk about their experiences and views.

In the meantime, leaders from many churches in the Bay Area had been discussing how to respond to the deaths and hatred acts towards Blacks, Asians, and other racially motivated events. My pastor was part of this group and began inviting various parishioners to participate in One Blood Bible Study and Discussion. I immediately joined the study.

The problem is that there is a gaping hole in the gospel. We have preached a gospel that leaves us believing that we can be reconciled to God but not reconciled to our Christian brothers and sisters who don’t look like us–brothers and sisters with whom we are, in fact, one blood. (p. 17)

I am committed to praying and doing my part to live out the gospel of reconciliation to all people!

NCFI Cares: Joshua’s Leadership Tip #1 Stand in Confidence

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; so now arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot steps, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.

Joshua 1:1-3 (NASB)

God promised Moses, Joshua, and the Israelites through his covenant with Abraham that they would possess the land (Genesis 15:7; Exodus 3:17). As the successor to Moses, Joshua stood firm on God’s promise to Moses, “Every place you put your feet, I will give you.” The promise was beyond the teachings of Moses and was made real as they entered the land to possess it. Every Israelite could look down where they stood and say, “This is my promised land.”

We face seemingly unsurmountable challenges in nursing. Yet, as Christian nurse leaders we can have the same confidence as Joshua. The Lord promised us spiritual blessings.  Keathley’s teaching on Joshua states:

“…from the moment of salvation, God has provided every believer with every spiritual blessing and provision. Of course, as this book (Joshua) makes perfectly clear, having a title deed to the land (or our blessings in Christ) does not mean our lives will be without testing, conflict, struggles, and pressures. It indeed will, but since the battle is the Lord’s, since God has done the most for us in Christ, with the testings and temptations comes God’s deliverance through faith and the application of the Word.” (1)

As we nurses go forward in confidence, we will need to be creative and steadfast in solving the nursing crisis. One way you can stand in confidence is to regularly prayer-walk through your workplace. For example, if you work in a hospital, walk down each hallway, patient room, office, eating area, conference room, and other areas to pray.

Here is a simple prayer:
“O, holy, sovereign God. This is Your hospital, and You are working here. You have blessed me by being called a nurse. I am an instrument of Yours equipped to bring your love, grace, and truth to my colleagues, my patients, and families. I give You thanks God, who in Christ always leads me in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of You everywhere. Amen.”

Hebrews 13:21; 2 Corinthians 2:14

The Israelites faced many challenges. Through Joshua’s innovative leadership skills guided by God, he led the Israelites to conquer the land and begin their new life. God says the same thing to us as he said to Joshua, “o one will be able to oppose you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not desert you nor abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5 NASB)

Whether you are a nurse leader in a hospital, clinic, home care, or in academics, like me, we need timeless guidance from great leaders like Joshua. A devout follower of God who served God in his work and in his home.

NCFI Cares: Fit To Be A Leader

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:7-8 (ESV)

We know Joshua as an amazing leader, but who was he before the book of Joshua? First, his name means “Jehovah is salvation” and when used in the New Testament, it is the same word for “Jesus” (see Hebrew 4:6). Joshua was born a slave in Egypt. He shared in all the events of the Exodus and held the place of commander of the Israelites at their great battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16).

Joshua was Moses’ minister or servant and accompanied him part of the way when he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the two tablets (Exodus 32:17). Joshua was also one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:16,17). Joshua and Caleb were the only men who gave an encouraging report. Commentators believe both men were 40 years old when they were sent out. Thus, Joshua was 80 years old when he was commissioned by God to be Moses’ successor.

Bible scholar Dr. McGee says the following about Joshua “He was a man of prayer, courage, dependence upon God, faith, leadership, enthusiasm, and fidelity. He is a type of Christ in name and work.”

As we begin to study the leadership style of Joshua, we can reflect on our own steadfast faith and professional calling in nursing.  As Christians, we don’t rely solely upon the world’s definitions of leadership.  Instead, we bring both our faith in Christ and nursing excellence to characterize our leadership.

If you are someone who says, “I can’t be a leader.” or “I am not leadership material,” then this final anonymous quote is for you.

“Joshua shows that a man of average ability may become a leader in the church. He received his call not in flaming letters across the sky, but from an old man, who knew God and knew Joshua, and saw that he was fitted by God to be a leader.” (McGee)

Let God fit you to be His leader!

Prayer: Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Briefing the Bible by Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible, www.ttb.org

https://ttb.org/resources/briefing-the-bible