NCFI Cares: Big Shoes of Leadership Includes a Plan for Success

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.

Joshua 1:8

As Joshua stepped into the big shoes of leadership the Lord not only provided courage to lead, He provided a plan for success:

Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not desert you nor abandon

you…be careful to do according to all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you;

do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may achieve success wherever

you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on

it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for

then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success. Have I not

commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:5-9

The Lord provides us with the same plan He gave to Joshua:

  • Don’t Panic — trust God with all your misgivings, doubts, fears, etc., and He will guide your steps.
  • Focus on the Word–like Moses, Joshua, Billy Graham and other great Christians, our strength is found in obedience to the Word.
  • You have a Partner–God is faithful and is with you always.

Whether you have a title, position, or specific calling, all nurses are leaders. Our big shoes of leadership are probably not as big as Moses’ shoes; but like Joshua you are to lead others following Christian principles.

Read: Joshua 1:1-9

Reflect: Which component of God’s plan for Joshua’s leadership is the most challenging for you?

Prayer: Holy Lord, just as You guided Joshua in filling in Big Shoes of leadership left behind by Moses, guide us in filling in Big Shoes of Leadership in our facilities, schools, and clinics. Amen.

*Previously published in CARES II: Reflections for Nurses. Available as a free pdf on the NCFI website or as a paperback book on Amazon. Learn more about the nurses devotional compilations entitled CARES Reflections for Nurses and CARES II!

NCFI Cares: Leadership Tips from Joshua

Nurses around the world are experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue. The demands from the coronavirus pandemic have created a crisis in nursing. Nurses are leaving their units, facilities, and the profession. The results are devastating with a horrendous shortage of nurses to care for patients, teach students, and manage clinics and hospitals. Now more than ever health care and academics needs effective nurse leaders to navigate through these difficult times.

In the book of Joshua there are timeless leadership guidance from the life of Joshua, who was tasked with leading the Israelites into the promised land. The Israelites had spent 40 years in the desert and were only familiar with the nomadic life of desert living. Joshua led them to conquer cities and adjust to a new way of life while following God’s laws—a monumental challenge.

In the next series of devotions, we will explore the amazing leadership of Joshua. To get us started, we will look at what the Lord said to Joshua in preparation for his leadership role. These devotions were previously published in CARES II: Reflections for Nurses.

Big Shoes of Leadership Includes Courage

[The Lord said,] “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not desert you nor abandon you. Be strong and courageous.”

Joshua 1:5-6

Nurses are called into leadership positions and as Christians we should take these opportunities to have a greater influence towards Christ-centered nursing. At the same time, the big shoes of leadership can be daunting and overwhelming, causing many nurses to decline the opportunity.

When Joshua took Moses’ place as Israel’s leader, he had big shoes to fill. For 40 plus years, Moses had been the spokesman for God, the giver of the law, the indwelling presence of I AM, the warrior against Pharaoh’s army, builder of a nation and caregiver of God’s people. He not only directed the building of the tabernacle and guided them to daily sustenance of manna and doves, Moses governed the legal, political, and economic status of a nomadic, rebellious nation.

How could Joshua, Moses’ attendant, step into those huge leadership shoes? Was Joshua frightened, worried, or anxious? Did he doubt his ability to be a leader that Israel would follow? Was he afraid of disappointing the Lord? Was he afraid to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor and never witness the fruition of his labors because of disobedience? These were big shoes to fill. Was Joshua ready for the challenge?

We have insight into Joshua’s concerns and his need for assurance from the Lord. The Lord tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” In fact, the exhortation is repeated 3 times. (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Today, the Lord speaks to you with the same encouragement: Be strong and courageous. The Lord will be with you, just as He was with Moses, Joshua, and other leaders.

Read: Joshua 1:1-9

Reflect: Have you declined a leadership position due to fear or concern about your abilities? If so, ask the Lord to open your heart to His courage in following His guidance.

Prayer: O’ Lord, I will not be dismayed, nor tremble for You provide me with courage to lead. Amen.

*Previously published in CARES II: Reflections for Nurses. Available as a free pdf on the NCFI website or as a paperback book on Amazon. Learn more about the nurses devotional compilations entitled CARES Reflections for Nurses and CARES II!

NCFI Cares: Next Steps on Our Journey

“Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

Many of us have been in or are still in a wilderness journey with COVID, job struggles, family problems, grief from loss of loved ones, and other personal experiences. As we continue to trudge along we can find hope in Moses’ guiding words to the Israelites.

As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reminded them of their experiences in Egypt and the judgements they had witnessed. He pointed out how God had provided for their every need including shoes still in good shape and clothes that had not worn out for 40 years (Deuteronomy 29:5). In addition, God had not only protected them from their enemies, but He had also taken another nation’s land and given it to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 29)

Moses guiding words included next steps for the Israelites:

  • Remember their slavery in Egypt.
  • Remember how God loved and cared for them in the desert.
  • Take possession of the land.
  • Do not let the blessings of the new land lead them sin.
  • Love and obey God enjoying the blessing he gave them.

God promised the Israelites that if they would stay faithful to him, they would keep their promised inheritance (Deuteronomy 30:20).

As we live in our wilderness journey we can follow Moses’ advice and look to our promised inheritance of eternal life:

  • Remember times when God freed you from your past and/or sin(s).
  • Remember God loves and cares for you during this time
    • May be helpful to list what you do have (food, clothes, shelter, etc.)
  • Possess the abundant life you have in Christ (faith, hope, love, joy, peace, endurance, and strength)
  • Do not let fleshly desires and the temptations of the world lead to sin
  • Return to abiding in Christ through prayer, worship and living in the Word

I love the practicality of God’s word to the Israelites found in Deuteronomy 30:11-14:

 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’  But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”

In other words, God says, “You Got this!”

NCFI Cares: Intercession with The Lord’s Prayer

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:13

The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 is Jesus’ response to the disciples’ request, “Teach us to pray.”

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory, forever. Amen (NASB).

There are countless books, Bible studies, and sermon topics written on this timeless prayer. Depending upon your faith tradition, you may be quite familiar with the Lord’s prayer. The prayer may be part of corporate worship or a liturgy for personal prayer. The prayer can also provide a template of sorts to intercede for believers and non-believers alike.

As we bring friends, families and colleagues concerns to prayer, we recognize that we have a holy, loving Father who cares for everyone, the saved and the unsaved. We petition, first and foremost, for His will to be accomplished and His just and merciful kingdom found in heaven to come to earth.  The recognition and verbal proclamation of God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will reminds us of His purpose and plan for others.

With our hearts and spirits focused on the Divine, we can make requests for others. Through the petition for daily bread, we recognize that a loving Heavenly Father daily meets all physical and temporal needs. We ask for nothing more and nothing less than the Father’s provision for this basic necessity.

Just as He meets the physical, the Holy Father meets our primary spiritual need, forgiveness. The first request is for others to receive forgiveness from the Father; with an immediate recognition that the gift of mercy is based upon extending mercy to others.

A final necessity is a petition for the Spirit’s help in thwarting temptation and deliverance from evil. Two simple requests that recognizes the balance of power we consistently face. Yet, we do not lose heart in our intercessory prayer for others. We conclude with bold proclamation of God’s kingdom, power, and glory will exist eternally. Amen.

Blessings, Carrie

NCFI CARES: Submit to God at Work

Be subject for the Lord’s sake…For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God

(1 Peter 2:13, 15-16)

Throughout my time as a nurse, I have dialogued with many nurses who were looking at changing jobs. Prior to the high stress and demands of caring for patients with the coronavirus infection, Christian nurses’ complaints focused on unkind coworkers and/or harsh work environments as a result of their faith. Nurses shared how they couldn’t talk about their personal faith at work. One nurse said, “Forget inviting colleagues to church. I was afraid to even share how involved my family was in church. A few nurses on my unit began badgering me about being ‘one of those people.’ ”

Another nurse shared when he was doing his devotion and praying in the break room. He was firmly told by the charge nurse, “Don’t bring your Jesus here!” It was made more confusing because the unit was working on implementing caring into the unit. The manager had encouraged a group time of “meditation” and “centering.”

These nurses and others were praying about transferring units or leaving the hospital.  As I listened to their concern and assisted them with navigating these complex issues of faith and work, I was reminded of how we are the hands and heart of God.  Wherever we work, we bring the love and grace of God to everyone. This isn’t just a spiritual truth; it is reality of what Christ has called for His followers. In my experience, the Lord will purposefully place a believer in a hostile, unwelcoming work environment. Not for the nurse’s convenience or comfort. Instead, God needs someone to bring Himself to the people.  If we don’t go, who will show God’s grace to our colleagues? Who will demonstrate God’s love if we aren’t there to pray for their loved ones? How can our colleagues find the peace of Christ if we don’t show them?

I challenge everyone wanting to leave their workplace, to spend time in prayer seeking the Holy Spirit. You may not need to leave. Instead, you may need a fresh passion and strength to be the light God wants to use in your workplace. In addition, you may need prayer and support from Christian nursing colleagues. No matter what decision you make, find strength in the Word and in fellowship.

My prayer for you: “Now may the Lord direct your hearts toward the love of God and the endurance of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

NCFI Cares: Great is His Faithfulness

Whether the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness is one of your favorite worship songs or one that is new to your playlist, take a moment to intently listen to each verse and the repeating chorus.

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

This wonderful hymn is so simple, yet communicates such sweet promises hidden in the faithfulness of our Lord. Here are few a found in the verses:

  • There is no shadow of turning – God doesn’t change, nor was He surprised by COVID. (James 1:17)
  • His compassions never fail – God will never stop loving us, no matter what we do. (Psalm 100:5)
  • He is always the same — yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8)
  • His faithfulness is seen in the changing seasons and celestial movements (Psalm 104:19-20)
  • His faithfulness has secured our salvation and brought us peace (Titus 2:11; John 14:2)
  • His presence is here to cheer and to guide us (John 16:1 & John 10:3)
  • He brings us strength for today and a bright hope for tomorrow. (Isiah 40:29-31

Did you notice how the hymn depicts God’s faithfulness through His character, His creation, and then makes it personal with “Blessings all mine”?

The repetitive, simple chorus reminds us that every morning God provides new mercies for you and me to see. We don’t need to wait; we don’t have to wonder if we will see them. Each morning with the rising of the sun God’s trustworthiness reveals new mercies shining bright and warm (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Feeling secured in God’s daily promise we can proclaim, “The Lord has provided all that I have needed.” This is poignant reminder that nothing I have needed today, nor anything I will need tomorrow is beyond the faithful providence of God. Thus, I can rejoice in God’s faithfulness “unto me!”

Take time this week to share the faithfulness of God with a patient, colleague, or family member

NCFI Cares: Our Great Intercessor

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22:31-32

In one evening, Peter experienced the full circle of faith, weariness, fear, and despair. He was in the Upper Room when Jesus washed his feet to indicate service and love (John 13:1-9). When Jesus tells the group that someone will betray him, Peter joined the other disciples in proclaiming, “Surely not I, Lord.” (Matthew 26:21-22). As Jesus prepared the disciples for what was about to transpire, Peter, once again boldly proclaimed, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” (Matthew 26:33). Jesus went further and warned Peter of Satan’s testing. The courageous, bold fisherman will be broken and his faith will be challenged.

The evening continued and Peter was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane trying to keep his eyes open. Once again, Jesus warned Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37-38).

Judas, accompanied by Roman guards and religious leaders, identified Jesus with a kiss and the betrayal was set. In fear and confusion, Peter reacted with earthly strength and cut off an ear. Jesus immediately healed the centurion and reminded Peter of the Father’s will (John 18:11-12).

Suddenly, the world has changed. Disciples fled fleeing while Jesus was arrested. In a matter of a few hours, Peter had experienced a whirlwind of events and emotions. He was dazed, confused and left to wonder at the validity of the Jesus’ claim as the Son of God. He was vulnerable and couldn’t imagine how his world could get worse, but it did.  Three denials later, Peter is in despair. In shock and anguish Peter came to the realization that he has spurned his best friend, master, and teacher. The worst part was Jesus knew it would happen!

And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75)

Jesus knew Peter needed to be tested. He needed to experience the betrayal and the subsequent bitter grief. Peter needed to leave fishing behind and come out on the other side as a strong leader. James 1:3-4 says, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

What we see today that Peter probably didn’t understand until later, is it could have been worse. Peter could have fallen away and left the new church without a leader. Thankfully, Jesus prayed specifically for Peter’s faith. Yes, Peter would deny Christ. Yes, the experience would leave Peter in despair and sorrow. Yet, Jesus was not done with Peter. He reaffirmed and restored Peter/s faith and their relationship. In Acts 2, Peter is boldly proclaiming the gospel to all in Jerusalem.

We have the same assurance that as Jesus interceded for Peter during one of his most difficult tests, Jesus will intercede for us. We will be tested. Not that God tests us (John 1:3). Instead, God uses difficult times to mature our faith, to increase our trust in Him, and to complete His perfect will (Romans 12:2). Our spiritually wise brother, Peter, poignantly teaches us:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3-7)

And like Peter we will come out on the other side of the testing perfect, complete and with a steadfast faith.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Whatever you are going through you are not alone. Find assurance and strength in knowing Jesus is praying for you!

NCFI CARES: Huddle with God

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;

In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

Psalm 5:3

One of the biggest challenges new believers and possibly seasoned Christians face is daily setting aside time to spend with the Lord. Even though believers recognize the importance of a daily prayer, most struggle with being consistent.

Recently, I was reminded of a common practice in health care—Huddles! Just in case you are unfamiliar with the practice, here is a description:

A huddle is a short, stand-up meeting — 10 minutes or less — that is typically used once at the start of each workday in a clinical setting. The huddle gives teams a way to actively manage quality and safety, including a review of important standard work such as checklists. Often, standard work will be the output of previous quality improvement projects, and huddles provide a venue to ensure process improvements stick. Huddles enable teams to look back to review performance and to look ahead to flag concerns proactively.

Huddles were put in to place for patient safety. Research showed improved patient outcomes and better unit communication when health care members met daily to discuss the priorities and strategies of the day.

Maybe the struggle with setting time aside for prayer and devotion is in our perspective. How about if we thought of our quiet time as a “Daily Huddle” with God? Instead of drudgery or boring prayer and Bible study, refocus the time as a “check-in” with God. When we meet with Him to discuss His plan for the day. Here are some suggestions:

  • Share important activities or stresses that you will be facing. This may include difficult conversations or challenging projects.
  • Share your concern for others – this is a great time to intercede for your colleagues and bring their concerns to the Lord. 
  • Include a personal focus  – are you actively seeking to grow spiritually or implement a suggestion from a sermon topic? Take time during the huddle to be intentional about how you want to mature as a believer or grow closer to Christ.
  • Take a moment to listen – this can be the most challenging! Yet, even 1 minute of quiet opens our heart to listen to our Great Physician’s plan.

A huddle brings a health care team together for better communication and collaboration, and the same is true for our huddle time with God. We can connect with God and prepare for the day, while benefiting from checking in with Him.

NCFI CARES: Respond to Stress by Praising the Lord

Shout out praises to the Lord, all the earth. Break out in a joyful shout and sing!

Psalm 98:4

Have you ever had one of those days, when you are running around, and your stress is escalating?   Recently, while teaching an all-day class, my phone vibrated continuously with urgent voicemails needing my attention, my phone buzzed steadily with multiple texts exclaiming endless problems, and my email in-box filled up with crucial questions that only I could answer. I won’t even get into the family crisis that raged throughout the day. UGGH!!

At the end of the day when I got into my car to drive home, a worship song playing reminded me of when I worked in the hospital. As a cardiac nurse, my colleagues and I had many crazy hectic days. We even had horrible, chaotic days when the entire unit couldn’t keep up with the emergencies and the multiple crises. We would run from one cardiac resuscitation, intubation, stat surgery, to the next stroke alert, anaphylactic reaction, and family emergency. Forget lunch. There were days I didn’t go to the bathroom, nor get a drink of water.

In the midst of this chaos, a colleague of mine would start singing: “Praise be to God, alleluia.” To say he would sing, is not really correct; he would proclaim loudly! “PRAISE BE TO GOD, ALLELUIA!” We knew our everyday chaos had hit a certain peek for him, when his praise would echo across the nurses’ station and down the halls: “PRAISE BE TO GOD, ALLELUIA.” Keep in mind, I worked at a non-Christian hospital. A few other colleagues and I were the only Christian believers on our unit.

This memory brought a giggle to the end of my stressful day. I thought, “Hmm, maybe I should try proclaiming a praise song amidst my next crazy day!”

NCFI Cares: A Friend with You in the Fire

I am sure many of you are familiar with the popular modern worship song by Hillsong United entitled “Another in the Fire” (2019).  The opening lyrics are:

There’s a grace when the heart is under fire

Another way when the walls are closing in

And when I look at the space between

Where I used to be and this reckoning

I know I will never be alone

There was another in the fire

Standing next to me

Hillsong United

The title and major phrase refers to the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace. They had been placed in the furnace for refusing to bow down and worship the idol of Nebuchadnezzar. (Daniel 3). Our favorite passage is Nebuchadnezzar proclaiming, “But I see four men, untied and walking around in the midst of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!” How we rejoice with the miracle and stand firm on the promise that we will never be alone.

I love celebrating the miracle, but I also am thankful for the love and support of friends. There are three friends who were willing to die for the Lord together. I am sure there was much prayer and praising going on PRIOR to their big push into the furnace. Especially when the guards were immediately incinerated when the door was opened (Daniel 3:22).  What scripture doesn’t tell us, is what was Daniel doing? Since prayer was an integral part of his relationship with God, we can be confident that Daniel was praying for his friends. I imagine his prayer was for his friends to maintain their faith, not give in to pressure, and have courage in the face of certain death.

We have the assurance of Jesus staying faithful, even when we are wavering in our faith. Some of the ways Jesus encourages us is through our faithful friends; and He uses us to encourage our friends when they are experiencing “times of fire”.   

The Psalms were a prayer book during Daniel’s time and is a prayer book for us today. Search the Psalms for a phrase, section, or entire Psalm that you can use to pray for a friend, colleague or patient “in the fire” of life.

Find the song by Hillsong United here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmNc0L7Ac5c