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

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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

 

NCFI Cares: Yahweh Roi: The LORD is My Shepherd

This name for God came from David’s Psalm, 23. As David meditated upon the Lord’s guidance and care throughout his life, he called Yahweh, Roi or Shepherd. David was reminded of his younger days when he was a young shepherd boy caring for a flock of sheep.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Noticed how David didn’t just say “The Shepherd” he personalized with “my” communicating the intimate relationship David had with his LORD. Then David goes on to describe all that a shepherd does for his sheep, in comparison to all his LORD had done for him.

As New Testament believers, we are even more intimately acquainted with our shepherd, the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He knows us, he calls us by our name, we recognize his voice, and he will lead us (John 10:3, 27).

The beautiful part of Psalm 23 is its familiarity to both Christians and non-Christians. The simplistic verses provide guidance and comfort to even non-believers. Since most people have heard of the passage, it is easy to share with patients and families, colleagues and friends. I encourage you share the timeless truth of Yahweh Roi with others.

Here are a couple options of Psalm 23 to music:God's Name Wordcloud2

Lead Me On by Audrey Assad

Psalm 23 (KJV)

NCFI Cares: Yahweh Shalom: The LORD is Peace

Yahweh Shalom

Yahweh Shalom comes from Gideon’s response when he encountered the angel of the Lord.

 “When Gideon saw the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now, I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The LORD is Peace (Judges 6:22-23) or Yahweh Shalom.

Our humanistic response to an encounter with the Divine is fear and trembling. Yet, in this encounter the Lord revealed Himself as Shalom. Not only as one who gives peace or provides peace, but the One who is Peace. Christmas is a time to celebrate the Prince of Peace, Yahweh Shalom realized through Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:6)

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).  

“The peace that Christ brought is primarily spiritual peace from and with God, peace in the heart, peace as the disposition or spirit…This is represented as the ultimate result of the gospel and Spirit of Christ; universal and permanent peace can come only as that Spirit rules in men’s hearts.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia). It is easy to allow the world to turn the peace in our hearts into worry, anxiety, and fear.  When we surrender our own hearts to the transformation process found in redemptive peace of Yahweh Shalom, we experience a peace beyond human understanding (Phil. 4:7). Then we can extend shalom to our colleagues. Remembering that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.” (James 3:18).

Merry Christmas from NCFI

NCFI Cares: Meditate on the Life of Christ–How He Communicated, Guest Contributor, Goh Swee Eng, Singapore

One of the many challenge’s nurses face, including myself, is how to communicate effectively.  I must confess that this has not been easy, whether it is at the workplace, in my personal life or even within NCF.  Especially in situations where the other person appears difficult, unfriendly or there are differences in opinions.  Recently, at my workplace, I almost had a bad dialogue session with a colleague whom during the conversation said that I was defensive.  I reflected and asked myself, “How did I appear defensive?”   Thank God, He can teach us His ways.  Nowadays with the use of emoji in handphone devices, the challenge to say how we feel, or think has been made easier.  Maybe we are relying too much on emojis instead of learning to communicate with pleasant words.   When God communicated, He sent His Son, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us [John 1:1, 14].  In the past, it was through prophets but sending Jesus was the ultimate in revealing His heart [Hebrews 1:1-4].

Thomas Kempis (1380-1471), a follower of Christ who lived in a dark time, regarded meditation on the life of Christ of highest importance.  Like Kempis, I have started reading the Gospel of John to glean ways Christ communicates in different situations and with different people.  For example, He communicated very differently with Nicodemus from the Samaritan woman.  With Nicodemus, He used words and concepts that Nicodemus, a learned religious man, could dialogue with.    Words like “you must be born again”.  With the Samaritan woman, he communicated in such a way as to not display any defensiveness nor being apologetic about being a Jew and what Jews believe. Instead, Jesus communicated in such a way as to make her curious for the living water and used affirmative ways to say “you have well said, ‘I have no husband’ ”[John 4:13, 17]   Wow, it would have been difficult for most of us to say to a stranger something about his or her controversial personal life.   I am appreciating this chapter again though it has been used to teach mainly on personal evangelism.

We need to learn to re-script our words with people and I believe it must be intentional and with practice.  As you read the Gospel, focus your meditation by looking for any aspect of Christ’s life, and then brainstorm a way, even a small way, to apply his example in your own life.  There may be challenges at home or workplace, and you may want to ask God to show you by looking at the Gospel on how Jesus communicated with others.  Journal it down and add as the Lord shows you or teach you something.  These mediations can become raw materials to teach Biblical truth in different settings whether in nursing or personal life.  Let us learn together how to communicate like Christ.77ba6-ncficares_3bloglogo