NCFI Care: Do Justice

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Our turbulent world is in constant turmoil with wars between nations and peoples, and one crisis after another through disasters and violence. Micah, a prophet in the Old Testament, also lived during a period of upheaval and crisis.  According to Bible scholars, Micah’s prophetic purpose was to show Judah that a necessary product of her covenant relationship to God was to be just and holy. Instead of their vain acts of religion through meaningless sacrifices and gaining possessions. They had lost sight of their relationship with God. Micah reiterated the Lord’s character and commands—to love the Lord and to love their neighbors through this amazing verse:

He [the LORD] has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you. But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

How can we “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God” during our own turbulent times? In the next 3 NCFI Cares devotions, I will share my insights.

Let’s begin with justice. How can we “do justice” in light of our relationship with the LORD through Jesus Christ?  We can advocate for victims, educate the unlearned, administer health services for the poor, provide basic services for the destitute, and many others. These are many of the things as health care workers we think of for administering justice. Yet, to “do justice” is also more than just following God’s commandments as faithful servants, for then we miss the character of God. Our Lord is a loving Father to the orphan and cares for the widows (Psalm 68:5) and has compassion on all of us (Psalm 103:13-14). Also, when we extend justice to others as a response to the grace and mercy of God we have received, we demonstrate the heart of God to our neighbors and replicate the life and teachings of Jesus.

There will always be inequalities on earth. We live in a sin-saturated imperfect world. Only the return of Christ will end the unjust world we live in. Until then, we can live out “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Pray with me for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes for opportunities to “do justice” for our neighbors both near and far.

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Christian Nursing 101: Human Personhood & Dignity

When I was asked to review the book, Lighting the Way: A Handbook for Christian Nurses and Midwives, I was excited to see how my Christian colleagues “across the pond” encouraged nurses and midwives. What you quickly discover is some of the health care issues we face in the States are similar to those of our colleagues around the world. Thus, I wasn’t surprised with an article on how society’s idea or worldview of humanity is rapidly changing. The chapter on personhood gave me a more alarming philosophy of the actual dehumanizing of mankind. Usually we see where scientist and creationist are tweeking with the DNA for a better human, almost like a special ordered human being. But, Wyatt’s article discusses selecting and deselecting some attributes that will no longer be classified as humans. An article like this and others, send me to my knees pleading with the Lord, “Please come quickly!” Do not let us become any more depraved and wicked, rejecting your ways and your laws (Romans 1).

I would love to hear from you!

Other links:

Check out the article in the Journal of Christian Nursing 

My review of the Lighting the Way

 

p.s. I am so thankful to Steve Fouch for the privelage of including my NCFI Cares devotions and contributing to this wonderful work.

NCFI Cares: The Two-Year Old “No”

Recently, I spent the day with both of my two-year old grandchildren. Since they have different moms, I seldom see them together. The beautiful day was filled with bright sunshine, cool swimming, tasty ice cream and 2 two-year old’s saying “No”.  In case you are unfamiliar with two-year old’s, their favorite word is “No”. They say no to everything.  They even say no to things they want.  They enjoy swimming, yet they will say “No” to swimwear. They enjoy eating ice cream, yet they will say “No” to getting out of the pool.

Later as I was reflecting on my afternoon filled with “No’s,” especially one filled with so much fun, I couldn’t help but think of us a children of God. How many times do we say “No” to God? Do we say “No” even though a “Yes” will bring us pleasure and enjoyment? How many of us say “No” so firmly it is like a two-year old temper tantrum?  Before you say “No,” let me describe an adult two-year old temper tantrum. We say “No” so firmly we stop talking to God, we close our ears to hearing him, refuse to read His word, start skipping church and justify our reason for saying “No.”

All Christians can be tempted to say “No” to God; and I am sure we have all had temper-tantrums. They may not be the physical and screaming like a two-year old. Instead, they may be sulking and/or withdrawal. Just like a two-year old who needs the loving guidance of a parent to grow and mature; we need the loving guidance of our Heavenly Father to help us mature in our faith.  He will guide us to say “Yes” to Jesus and his teachings and say “Yes” to the  Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:1-12).

The Lord says, “My child, if you receive my words, and store up my commands within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom, and by turning your heart to understanding…you will understand how to fear the Lord and will discover knowledge about God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5).  Let’s be children of “Yes” to God and his tender leading to mature faith.6e861-ncficares_3bloglogo

NCFI Cares: Global Prayers for Sierra Leone

 

By now many of you have heard of the horrific land slide in Sierra Leone. Luke Laari, our brother in Christ and colleague on the International Board of NCFI sends this petition for prayer:

It is my prayer this email meets you in good health. A couple of days ago our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone experienced a Mudslide disaster and over 467 have lost their lives, 600 unaccounted for and over 3,000 individuals are rendered homeless. In times like this, it is easy to look at the numbers as statistics, but take a minute and think, if you had lost one of your family members. Be prompted that, these are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children and friends who were and now no more. Paul in Gal. 3: 28, reminded us that, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Taken a clue from this proclamation I call on you to say 5 minutes prayers to our fellow humans in Sierra Leone.  This is to retell us also that our lives are just but a hired asset. Someone owns it and decides when it should be taken. It is only sad it happened this way, but that is a caution to the living, this could have been any of us. The least we can do is to pray for them and few of our members there. May those who lost their lives find their maker, those missing be found and may the Lord render shelter for those rendered homeless.

Romans 12:15. “Weep with those that weep!”

 

As the chair of the Prayer and Care Committee for NCFI, I not only share this petition with you, but take this opportunity to elicit regular prayers for our global family. I would ask that every time you hear of a natural disasters, acts of terror or a breakout of illness and disease that you take a few moments to pray. Follow Luke’s suggestion and pray

-victims and families would come to know the Lord Jesus Christ

-the missing or wounded would be healed

-the Lord would bring shelter and supplies.

I would also suggest that you pray for the health care and emergency workers. As nurses, we know with every tragedy there are men and women whose work and calling puts them in harm’s way and work tirelessly giving of themselves for their patients. Pray

-strength and health to care for others

-protect their families, so they may not worry

-grace and love as they are witnesses to the tragedies and evil in our world.

Unfortunately, tragedy has become common place in our world today and as the Lord’s workers we are the hands and heart of Jesus. His hands grows larger and his heart expands when our prayers join the Holy Spirit who intercedes for all of God’s children.

“With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.”   Ephesians 6:18

Book Review: Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground

 “Perhaps no scriptural theme so well models the spiritual posture of nursing practice ass the Old Testament depiction of Moses and the burning bush. In the biblical narrative God reminded Moses that, when he stood before the Lord, the ground beneath his feet was holy. For it is her, in the act of serving a brother and sister in need, that the nurse truly encounters God.” (p. 1) Mary Elizabeth O’Brien in Spirituality in Nursing:Standing on Holy Ground opening statement sets the stage for the examination of nursing practice in relation to the nurses spirituality in caring for patients, participation in providing holistic care, and the nurse’s role as a healer. O’Brien shares the results of formal and informal observations to provide guidelines for meeting the spiritual needs for the mentally and chronically ill, despair and dying, children and families and others in the diverse practice settings of nursing care.
Quite a few years back, while I reviewing books and articles written by experts, I discovered O’Brien’s Spiritual Assessment Scale (SAS). In my experience there are two-broad categories of spiritual assessment tools: brief and used with patients/clients (FICA, SPIRIT, HOPE, etc); and multidimensional assessments or scales that examine the complex dimensions of spirituality. O’Brien’s SAS captures the multidimensional aspects of spiritual health through the Christian paradigm of a relationship with God: Personal Faith, Religious Practice, and Spiritual Contentment. Since SAS can be used for research and statistical analysis, the scoring is a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. Here is an example of an assessment question for each category:
Personal Faith: “I receive strength and comfort from my spiritual beliefs.”
Religious Practice: “My relationship with God is strengthened by personal prayer.”
Spiritual Contentment: “I feel that I have lost God’s love.”
I also want to mention that O’Brien has given permission for NCFI to use the SAS in The Art and Science of Spiritual Care. The scale is used as a self-assessment for examining the participants own spiritual health. Knowing one’s self and caring for one’s spiritual health is an important part of nursing practice and essential to providing spiritual care. 
Spiritual Care is not an “add on” or “alternative/complementary” to nursing practice. This is especially true for Christians. O’Brien invites nurses welcome nurses to stand on holy ground and encounter God through our acts of service in nursing.

NCFI Cares: A Miracle Lullaby

I was recently at a hospital attending a conference where a brief, beautiful lullaby played every time a baby was born. The short 10 second tune notified all the staff, visitors, and patients on the mother/baby unit that a miracle, our Creator had breathed his life-giving Spirit into a new child. As I sat in the conference, this beautiful lullaby would attempt to interrupt the speakers with the brief proclamation of life.  I kept thinking that each time the song played, possibly 3 or 4 times that morning, how many times do we take note of the miracles in our lives? Do we notice when the Lord has miraculously intervened on our behalf? If we happen to notice the Lord’s hand in our life, do we stop our actions to pause and recognize with amazing wonder? Better yet, do we praise God for his unending grace that extends to each one of us personally throughout the day?

We can take untimely interruptions and praise God for his everlasting miracles in our world. We can celebrate his continuous abiding in our community and for his life-giving presence in each one of us. Let’s also give the Holy Spirit permission to interrupt our lives, day or night, with opportunities to praise our Creator who works miracles every day!

p.s. During the writing of this devotion, I was reminded of Michelangelo’s fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling “Creation of Adam”–enjoy!

Aside

My Christian Nursing Mentor

Mary Elizabeth O’Brien is an amazing Christian nursing researcher, scholar, and practitioner.  I discovered her book Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground while in grad school. I was researching Spiritual Care for various papers I wrote, as well as implementing Spiritual Care into an Associate Degree Nursing Program and then with The Art and Science of Spiritual Care: Train-the-Trainer project for Nurses Christian Fellowship International. Later, I discovered her other works and have used them as resources for my books and articles.

Sister Mary Elizabeth is a woman of God, a servant for Christ, and an excellent mentor. Even if it is only through her publications. She merges Scripture with the practice of nursing with a humble, compassionate and gracious spirit.  I owe my maturation as a Christian nurse to her and recommend her works be part of a Christian nurses library.

O'Brien books

 Checkout a review for each of O’Brien’s books on my Facebook page.