NCFI Cares: Problem + Solution = Faith Lesson

In Acts 6:1-5 we read how the Hellenistic Jewish were being left out of the the daily allotment of food for their widows. So, the Jews made a complaint to the disciples about the unfairness of distribution.

“So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ “ (verses 2-5).

The early church had experienced rapid growth after Pentecost. I imagine the disciples were pulled in every direction and working 24/7 to facilitate believer’s maturity while extending the gospel to others. A closer look at this passage reveals how the Lord used this opportunity to not only provide a solution, but to also guide and teach the early church valuable lessons relevant for us today:

  1. When there is conflict or complaining, instead of ignoring the problem or labeling the spokesperson as complainers listen and understand the concerns. It was only after the complaint that the disciples recognized their priority as leaders—not to “serve tables or distribute food”.
  2. Seek the Lord for the solution. The problem and/or the solution may be an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to emphasize an important Biblical truth in our personal and ministry life. Thankfully, the omniscience God of miracles provides a solution while guiding us in living-out His will more fully.
  3. Finally, no matter how busy our work in nursing becomes, ministry is sustained by the two-fold, intertwined process of the word of God and prayer.  This lesson is especially relevant in nursing. We can get pulled in multiple directions and forget to take the time to pray and study God’s word.

Seek the Lord for the faith lesson found in both the problem and the solution.

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NCFI Cares: Grace & Mercy–Kids Style!

Recently my 9-year-old grandson came to my house for the weekend with a cloud hanging over his head. His mother had received an email from his teacher stating he had misbehaved in class and had repeated episodes of incomplete homework. Since, my husband and I would care for him for the weekend, we were responsible for deciding on how to proceed with his punishment. We decided that our grandson would spend the weekend “making up his homework.”  His punishment for his bad classroom behavior would be “no t.v., no phone games, and no outside play”.

As the weekend went on we noticed our young grandson taking responsibility for his actions and working hard to make-up his homework. So we took the opportunity to teach our growing young man about 2 important attributes about God–grace and mercy. I explained that grace is where we get something that we don’t deserve. For example, we dispensed grace and let him watch a movie with the family Saturday evening since he had a good attitude towards his punishment and had made up his homework.

We laughed with him as he tried to figure out if he wanted grace or mercy, for at times he wasn’t sure. He just wanted to watch t.v. or play a game on his phone. So we would remind him: grace is getting something you don’t deserve; whereas mercy is not getting something you do deserve. For example, he probably deserved stiffer consequence for his bad behavior, like a weekend filled with chores, a week without “electronics” or some other stiffer penalty.

On Sunday evening, when we passed our grand-parenting responsibilities back to his mother, he proudly told his mother about his new word “Grandma and papa gave me grace which means I watched a movie; or maybe mercy. I am not sure which one it is. But my sister got to pick out the movie, which was okay.” We weren’t sure whether his future would be filled with grace or mercy, for Mom had yet to dole out her consequences.

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NCFI Cares: His Chosen Instrument

When you enter the surgical suite or an operating room you will notice the patient, health care staff, various equipment, and an array of instruments. Many of you are probably more familiar with the specific names and functions of each surgical instrument than I am. Yet, each clamp, cutter, extractor, and needles have a specific purpose and use for a myriad of surgical procedures. When surgeons plan their procedures, they request specific instruments for each surgery being performed; and not all surgeons will use the same instruments for the same surgery.  Each individual instrument is chosen and then utilized for the best results.

Just as a surgeon, the Lord chooses and identifies instruments for the work of His Kingdom in the world. We see this in Acts 9:15, Luke shares with us how the Lord identified Paul as a “chosen instrument of mine” to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, kings, and Israel. In Romans 1:1, Paul identified himself as the specific instrument “servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of Christ”.

We are also chosen instruments of the Lord useful for nursing. We are not only useful for nursing and bring an array of knowledge, experience, and expertise, we bring our individual personalities, talents and spiritual gifts. And just like the various surgical instruments, we are all unique and have a specific purpose in the Kingdom of God. What is wonderful about our Master Creator, together we compliment one-another to fulfill the Lord’s plan and purpose

This is what the Lord says to each one of us: But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man or woman is my chosen instrument to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel patients, family, nurses, health care workers, students, colleagues and fellow Christians. (Acts 9:15)

Praise and thank the Lord for crafting you to be a chosen instrument, useful for nursing and the Kingdom of God.

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NCFI Cares: In the Garden with Jesus

With Easter fast approaching and Christians around the world preparing to celebrate the resurrection, the tendency may be to rush past the pain and suffering our Lord endured. He invites us into the garden and into his experience: “My soul is deeply grieved, even to point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” (Matthew 36:39). Amidst his anguish and turmoil, we can learn from our Master to steadfastly pray, to endure suffering, and to welcome death as a path to life with him. (Romans 6:8; 8:17). Use the hymn below entitled, “Go to Dark Gethsemane” as a meditation or reflection as we spiritually accompany our Lord through his suffering.

Go to dark Gethsemane,

Christ In Gethsemane

Christ in Gethsemane by Michael D. O’Brien

You who feel the tempter’s pow’r;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see;
Watch with Him one bitter hour;
Turn not from His griefs away;
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

Follow to the judgment hall;
View the Lord of life arraigned;
O the worm-wood and the gall!
O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suff’ring, shame, or loss;
Learn of Him to bear the cross.

Calv’ry’s mournful mountain climb
There’ adoring at His feet,
Mark the miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete:
“It is finished!” Hear the cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die.

Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom;
Who hath taken Him away?
Christ is ris’n! He meets our eyes:
Savior, teach us so to rise.

GYouTube video: https://youtu.be/vD6tcMroY0A

Hymnal w/ music: https://hymnary.org/text/go_to_dark_gethsemane

NCFI Cares: Meditate on God’s Character

77ba6-ncficares_3bloglogoSo often we mull over, moan over the wrongs that people have done to us.  People like family members, church leaders, members, colleagues and bosses who misbehaved.  Choosing this habit of thinking will produce a toxic mind set which will only rob us of the joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit and of course, our health and life.

Just to encourage you on the journey of transformation by the renewal of the mind, read and meditate Psalm 36 which have 12 verses.  In my New King James Version of the Bible the title of this psalm reads “Man’s wickedness and God’s perfections”.  David, the psalmist, states that it is an oracle (which is a divine utterance delivered to man, usually in answer to a request for guidance) within his heart mentioning the transgression of the wicked in the first 4 verses which is 1/3 of the psalm.  However, he spent 2/3 of the psalm (verses 5-12) focusing on God’s character – His mercy, faithfulness, righteousness, judgments, loving kindness, provider, fountain of life and God’s action of protection at the end of the psalm.

We can choose to dwell on bad behaviours or wrongs of others or we can choose to dwell more on God, who He is and what He has done and can do.  Like the psalmist, choose to dwell on who God is and His actions –  part of the renewal of the mind process.

 

Contribution by Swee Eng Goh, Singapore

NCFI Cares: How Can We Have Self-Control?

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Self-control is probably one of the hardest things to master. How often have we been defeated by a bad habit, a bad attitude, or a wrong mindset? We make promises to improve. We ask someone to hold us accountable. But deep inside, we know that we don’t have the will or the ability to change. We can talk, we can plan, we can read from books, can pray but we still find it difficult to overcome and control many of the things that are inside us!

Thankfully, we know our God knows our weakness, and He also knows the medicine which we need! The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). The only way to gain self-control is by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us.

God is not nearly as concerned with our ability as He is with our surrender.

In other words, our key focus is not effort but surrender—to live moment by moment submissively trusting in the Lord rather than in self. Paul says this is what it means to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16).

Are you ready for a change? You can change, for God is in you and in us. As you surrender control to Him, He will help you bear the fruit of His likeness.

So our new year can be started like this: “I am in need, Lord, of your power so that I might change and grow. I surrender myself to You. Please help me to understand how to be submissive to You that I might be filled with Your Spirit.”

Written by Bulbuli Mollick, Bangladesh, NCFI Board Member